Diet, Weightlifting And Getting Back In Shape - Midlife Wakeup Call Part 2
Randy and Bobby finished their coffee at the diner and walked a few blocks down to the neighborhood gym, The Iron Pit. They entered the doors and said hello to the people lifting weights that they knew. Halfway to the back of the gym, Randy stopped dead in his tracks and pointed to the deadlift platform sitting ominously behind all of the leg press machines.
“Remember deadlifts, Big Boy?” Randy asked, chuckling. “Oh yes, I remember them fondly,” Bobby smiled, “I think there's still some skin on those power bars scraped from my shins from the old days.”
“May as well jump right into the fire,” Randy said, heading to the platform. “Start light,” Randy advised, “or you won't be able to walk tomorrow, you will be so sore.”
Although Bobby had not stopped lifting weights over the years, he had found it difficult to deadlift because his prodigious bodyweight made it difficult to get down to the bar comfortably, so he hadn’t done them in a long time.
Randy put 135 pounds on the bar. “Let’s see how three sets of eight reps feels.”
He watched Bobby struggle to get down to the bar. “Your belly will be gone soon enough, Randy said, “just do the best you can.”
Bobby wedged himself down to the bar. It was uncomfortable, but he forced himself to get down there. He completed the set of 8 reps without difficulty, but when he set the bar down, he was huffing and puffing like a freight train. “Man, I am out of shape.”
“Yes, you are,” Randy replied, “but guess what? You just took the first step towards your goal by doing that set of deadlifts. It all begins with that first step.”
Randy had Bobby perform two more sets of deadlifts, followed by three sets of bent rows, three sets of one arm rows and three sets of dumbbell curls. The sets were done in a descending rep fashion; the first set was for 12 reps, the second set was for 10 reps, and the third set was for 8 repetitions. Randy added weight on each set, until the last set was very difficult for Bobby to complete.
When the workout was finished, Bobby sat down on a bench. He bent over and looked at the floor and watched the sweat drip off of his bandanna onto the floor, creating a mini puddle. He was spent. “Good work, man,” Randy said, patting Bobby on the back, “now let’s do some cardio!” Bobby stood up. “Just a little walk,” Randy said, grinning at Randy.
It was a beautiful spring day so Randy and Bobby went for a 30 minute walk around town. Bobby was fatigued, yes. But he felt invigorated as he walked with his uncle. Randy was talking about dedication and how nobody gets results by making things easy. “Nowhere in life does that work,” he said, “you have done all of this before, and it will come back to you fast. Don't waver and don't be weak. Tell yourself that today is the beginning of a new life for you.”
Bobby dedicated himself to the process. Every morning he woke up at 4 am, drank some strong black coffee and got on the exercise bike for his thirty minutes of cardio. He cooked his meals for the day after his cardio, and stayed on his diet. But it wasn't easy. He missed his beer and hoagies, but he didn't want to disappoint himself , his uncle or his wife. He'd open the freezer, especially at night when his hunger seemed the strongest, and eye the ice cream. But he didn't partake, he stayed tough.
His workouts took on a new meaning as the reunion came closer. At the six week mark, he had already lost 25 pounds and felt amazing. Randy bumped up his cardio to 2, 45 minute sessions a day. He dropped Bobby's calories some at the 5 week mark, and Bobby could feel the deprivation. He had a lack of energy that he hadn't felt before.
“The worse you feel, the better you look,” Randy said, one night when Bobby hit some poses for him, “Be tough. You're almost there.”
On the day of the reunion, Bobby weighed in at 224 pounds. He had lost 51 pounds and no longer had issues with his blood sugar. He however, didn't have any clothes that fit him anymore. Everything hung on him like drapes. He felt pride when he shopped for a new wardrobe, fitting into clothes that he had not fit into since college.
The reunion was a success for Bobby, his old teammates were amazed how he hadn't changed since college. They didn't know that he was a completely different person just twelve weeks ago.
He stopped off at his uncle's house on the way home from the reunion and knocked on the door. “Well, don't you clean up nice,” Randy said, remarking on Bobby’s form fitting suit.
“ I just wanted to thank you, '' Bobby said, “I couldn't have done it without you pushing me."
“Yes you could have,” Randy said, “I just pointed the way, gave you some structure. Now, here is the important thing to remember: There is no going back from here. This is you now. This is your lifestyle. Yes, we will bump up the calories some, but the template remains the same. Good food, cardio and consistent workouts. You have worked too hard to go back to Big Boy status.”
“Yes sir,” Bobby said, “the new me is here to stay.”
About The Author. Jim Steel has been immersed in athletics and the Iron Game for most of his life. He has been a college football player and coach, powerlifter, Muay Thai fighter and is currently a competitive bodybuilder. In 1999, Steel was named Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania, and moved up to Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator in 2004. He is the owner of the blog basbarbell.com and is a motivational speaker, frequent podcast guest and the author of two books, Basbarbell Book of Programs and Steel Reflections. Steel is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Jim Steel is co-host of the RAW with Marty Gallagher Podcast along with Marty Gallagher and J.P. Brice and is a monthly content contributor at IRON COMPANY.