Monday, February 7, 2011

The World is Full of Angry Young Men

220lbs. That wave just seems to continue. Hmmm do I DARE say this, I want to be near 210lbs by the end of the week. Now I think that working out this week will either make or break me, I am not compensating with calories. I did a little last night because my boy wanted to learn certain exercises on the equipment I have. People, I tell ya, if you want to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass there is no other way to go.

I recommend, at one point in life, that you try to teach someone something that has become almost innate to you. Over the years, weight training has become almost second nature to me. Explaining all of this to a 15 year old can be a bit daunting. It's like trying to describe how to make the perfect cheesecake to an alien who has no concept of a mixer, oven or spring pan. I caught myself using words like "isolation" and "opposing groups" and "recruitment". What's great about a 15 year old as opposed to an alien, is that you can read their faces when something puzzles them. If any of the above phrases puzzle you as well, here is a primer:

Let's hit isolation first. Isolation is where you try to isolate the muscle or muscle group you want to work on. Example: you want bigger biceps but you swing a dumbbell up and down like some sort of crazy person. To get isolation you must first try to do the exercise in such a way that you don't "recruit" other muscles, you control the movement (see how I threw "recruitment" in there?). Putting your arm on an inclined surface or simply putting your hand under your arm, helps to steady the movement and force your bicep to do all of the work. Don't worry about the rest of your arm for the moment, you can work the "opposing" muscle, the triceps, in a moment (see how I threw "opposing groups" in there?).

Now as I thought about myself at the same age, I tried to figure out what I would want to know. What mistakes had a I made while flailing around on my Weider bench with plastic encased concrete weights? Well, I made many. Like I told my boy, proper execution is more important than the amount of weight. Learn, live and love the M.E.D. (minimum effective dose); light weights for a lot of reps will get you nowhere except maybe in a cardiovascular sense. Heavy weights and low reps will get you farther faster. I also told him that consistency was key, every other day for 4 weeks and you will notice results. In 8 weeks, you should be able to get well towards your goal. Now that leads to the most important thing: a goal - have one. Decide what you want to accomplish and do it. Change how you get there occasionally by doing different things but do it.

A few things I noticed from the boy's first encounter with the weight set. He always wanted to go heavy. Which is great but he just does not have the steadiness. It was like watching my daughter take her first baby steps and wanting to run across the room. But all young men have a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. I told him, "The only one that you have to prove something to is you." I also wanted him not to get discouraged. I told him that in the morning he would be hurting (we didn't do a workout, I just showed him the ropes), I was right. He probably hurts in places he never even imagined. I gave him a diary and tonight we will set his maxes so we can track progress. I also will have to remind him along the way the he asked me how to use the weights, so it's all up to him where he wants to take it all. I hope he sticks with it. It will only help improve his life as he goes on.

"All through my youth,
I was shouting and no one would hear.
Blind to the ways,
Of the people who now I hold dear. "

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