Okay, this is my gym log. It is named thus because I can only eek out a measly 10-pounds with my poor weak biceps. Someday I hope to come back to this thread and say, "Ha, ha, I remember those days!" as I kiss my guns and strike a pose.
As a bit of background. I'm 56 years old, have some back arthritis and spinal degeneration. Everything has really been going downhill lately, so I joined this wonderful Kroc Center in San Diego and I'm fighting back.
I'm doing 2-3 lifting sessions a week and I'm hitting about 8-10 different machines. Not doing free weights because I have no clue. My goal is to do 3x reps of 12 each. I can do that with the legs, but the arms have a looong ways to go.
I've been doing this for 2 months now and here are some of the positive changes I have noted:
1) I'm actually less hungry. I suspect having more muscle mass is improving my insulin sensitivity.
2) I can unload the dishwasher without my back feeling fatigued immediately.
3) Sometimes I can actually run up the stairs at home. Not fast, but not so bad.
4) There are times when my stiff, sore body (from arthritis) feels much better.
5) My leg fatigue is better.
So, about those bicep curls. I started with 10 pounds because that's the lowest setting on the stupid machine. I think I could do one rep at the time. Now I'm up to 3 reps on my right arm. My left arm pooped out after 2.
I found a new machine the last time I went, one that made the muscles around my armpits sore. Could only eek out 2 reps and I probably really should have stopped after one.
Anyway, I think mid next month I will start adding more weight and going for 10x reps. A three-month easy period should be enough to get me ready for that, no?
Anyone out there have advice for an aging woman just trying to claw her way back from the precipice?
Still curling at 10-pounds. I think it will be a year or two before I can graduate to 15. Maybe I should use free weights for that since the machine only comes in 5 pound increments. Although, I really should remember to give credit to the fact that I am increasing reps.
I decided yesterday I really didn't have to do EVERY machine in the gym. Not that I am, but I was doing about 8-9 every time I went and it takes a looong time. So I'm doing abs, legs, and picking a couple of arm/chest machines.
Also did the armpit machine again. Decided I need to go a little easier on that one because it targets something in me that is very weak.
Had a hard time sleeping last night. Last two times I went to exercise, I couldn't fall asleep that night. Cortisol? Also, I trudged up/down the stairs like a cripple yesterday. Hip was really bugging me, but I feel pretty good today.
Nancy: I was "an aging woman clawing her way back from the precipice" when I started weight lifting for the first time. I was a gym rat for a while, but never really enjoyed the machines. I got much better results in my arms when I took up free weights and especially when I started using them at home and at work in spare moments. In the beginning I asked people at the gym to show me how to use them correctly. Take a look around at people with great arms who are using free weights and then ask them to show you how. I guarantee you'll get positive responses because it takes no time at all to give you a few pointers and it's flattering to them at the same time. Don't worry whether they are men, women, old or young. All that matters is you like their results. BTW, 10lbs IMO is much too heavy for a free weights beginner. Believe it or not, I started with 2lbs but very quickly worked up to 5 then 8. I like how many reps and sets I can do at 8lb so have stayed there. YMMV.
ETA: It is very important to pace yourself no matter what form of exercise you use, including machines, yoga, whatever. You are doing this for you, not to impress anyone else, so there is no shame in starting where you feel very comfortable and building up slowly, adding more exertion just a little at a time. You'll be surprised how quickly you can progress that way - without aches, pains, and injuries.
Hi, Nancy. Thought I'd stop by and visit you over here at the gym. Sounds like you have a pretty ambitious program going on there! Hope things are going well. I actually don't believe in "no pain, no gain." But I do like that feeling of really working a muscle.
I'm another aging woman. Not clawing my way back from a precipice but trying to recover what I'd achieved in 2011 (see my gallery photos). I loved my weight training classes at the Y, but my favorite instructor went away, and so did the fun. :(
Now that I've moved back into a house (from a condo) I'm getting together a workout space where I can resume regular workouts with my videos. As Whofan said, good form is important, as well as choosing the right weights. Less is fine until you're really ready to move up. You'll know!
Wish me luck. My house has a lot of stairs, and the old quads will need to be strong. They say old ladies lose their ability to get up from the toilet, and I'm aiming to prevent that, too.
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