My Interest In Bodybuilding/Fitness/Strength Training
Whew, I am LOVING LOVING LOVING this exercise stuff. I almost forgot how passionate I am about it. I feel so thankful and blessed to be able to do it again, and I thank God every day, and I hope this continues for life. Not only has it boosted my self confidence, but it also gives me this passion and vigor for life that I almost forgot I had.
As I have mentioned in my previous posts, I have always enjoyed fitness, and particularly lifting weights. I don’t know where this fascination started. I can remember being amazed by big muscular physiques when I was even a kid (maybe 4 or 5 years old). I used to watch “the Incredible Hulk” tv series (starring bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno), and I always thought it was neat when he “hulked out” and got ripped and huge.
I also used to love that cartoon show “He-Man.” So for some reason I have always thought it was interesting when a person could build this huge muscular physique. This led me to much reading and experimentation with bodybuilding in my late teens. Of course, when I say bodybuilding I don’t mean today’s bodybuilders. They look ridiculous. I am talking “old school” bodybuilding. Back when they were just beginning to get big (before they started jacking themselves with steroids/HGH/supplements galore, etc.).
I’ve always thought it was interesting to build the human body to our God-given potential. In fact, I think it is cool how the bible (thousands of years ago), already was on the ball knowing how physical training can be beneficial. It is funny to recall how at one time (even relatively recently), some people thought it was BAD for your health to exercise.
As the bible says,
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)
Here’s a video of some of my thoughts on exercise:
My Muscle Building, Fat Burning, Health Optimizing Routine
I love putting together workout routines and changing mine up from time to time. It helps knowing all the major muscle groups, and the exercises to develop each one. I gained this knowledge from putting a lot of time into reading books, watching videos, and even some anatomy college-level courses.
This routine probably isn’t best for the beginner. It is more of an “intermediate” routine. I will alter this routine to include more exercises once my body stops adapting and progressing. I may even drop some exercises and focus on heavier movements, and switch back, etc. Also, people have different success with different types of routines, so stick with what works for you above all things.
Also, I didn’t jump straight into this by any means. For the first week or so, I did only cardio. After that, I slowly added an exercise or two each week. Now (nearly 2 months later), I have recently been doing the routine below. I also used to lift a lot a few years ago, so if you are new to this you probably want to find a more advanced routine online. There are tons of exercise routine samples online if you want to check others out.
Keep in mind that for the first few weeks, I had to do this in 2-10 minute spurts to get in my time. I would stop when my hives came out. Luckily, I have no hives coming at all now.
First, cardio—-At this point I do 30 minutes of cario every single day (except my rest day) on my exercise bike. I typically like to knock this out in the morning time, or as early as possible, and do any strength training later on). I have noticed that I get really exhausted (and often develop a headache) on days when I try to do cardio and strength training consecutively without a few hours break.
I hate cardio! At this point it gets really boring. It was fun at first, but now I just suffer through it. What really helps though is that I will do this each time:
- Sometimes I put on a bible sermon (I like to listen to Adrian Rogers, John Hagee, and some of those “fire and brimstone” guys). I also sometimes listen to an audio bible.
- Sometimes I just blast music that pumps me up. One of my favorite workout songs are “Eye of the Tiger” (you Rocky fans know EXACTLY what I mean).
- Sometimes I will use my Roku player to watch some Netflix biographical documentaries or movies while I workout.
I find that those thing really help pass the time so I don’t feel bored, they keep me motivated, and also help me save some time by doing 2 things at once.
Also, I sometimes do cardio in the morning before I eat. I drink lots of water when I do it too. I never like to workout on a full stomach, and I wait at least 30-60 minutes to do any exercise after I eat. Occasionally I will eat a fruit smoothie before exercising.
My Strength Training/Muscle Building Routine
I love lifting weights a lot more than cardio. In fact, I find myself looking forward to it all day, while I typically don’t look forward to cardio at all. The only exception is legs!! I hate working upper legs. For some reason, I can do 3 sets of squats and it absolutely exhausts me. It sucks the energy out of my body or something.
- Sunday: Chest (dumbbell flys–3 sets of 8 reps; push-ups—3 sets to failure; Dips–2 sets to failure); Biceps–concentration curls (3 sets of 8), standing dumbell curls (2 sets 8); Forearms–behind the back curls (3 sets to failure using light weight). I also do cardio this day (30 mins).<—-this is my favorite workout day!
- Monday: Cardio only (30 mins).
- Tuesday: Upper legs (squats–3 sets of around 8-12; Lunges 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps); Lower back–Deadlifts (2 sets of about 8 reps); Upper torso extensions/raises with weight–about 2 sets of 10 reps). Plus cardio (30 mins) earlier in that day. <—this is my least favorite day!
- Wednesday: Cardio only (30 mins).
- Thursday: Upper back ( pullups–2-3 sets to failure; Bent over dumbbell rows of 3 sets with 8-10 reps; pullovers with heavy dumbbell–2 sets of around 8-10); Triceps (skull crushers–3 sets of 8, dips–2 sets till failure); Shoulders: (Dumbbell lateral raises–3 sets of 8; front dumbbell raises–2 sets of 8; bent over lateral raises–2 sets 8). I also do cardio for 30 minutes earlier in the day.
- Friday: Calves (standing leg raises–3 sets to failure); Abs (full crunch/situps–3 sets to failure; Leg raises–3 sets to failure). Cardio for 30 minutes earlier that day too.
- Saturday: Off/Rest/Sabbath/Lazy day
My Exercise Equipment Thus Far
Back in the day when I hit this hard and heavy, I was starting to get a nice collection of exercise gear. Unfortunately, when I moved out into my tiny 1 bedroom apartment, I had no room for this. Plus, I was so busy working and with school (and hives), that exercise was the last thing on my mind. So I had sold my olympic weight set, my nice Olympic bench, and left my home gym at my mom’s house.
So when I started this up a couple months ago, I only started with my trusty exercise fan bike. I had a 20 pound hexagon dumbell that I had kept though, and I used that for most of my exercises.
A few weeks later I finally invested about $50 in a cast iron dumbbell set (total of about 40 pounds). This has been a great investment and my wife and I use it a lot. Unfortunately, I am already outgrowing that, so I will probably be investing in some equipment soon.
I have already decided that my downstairs is going to be transformed into my own personal home gym over the next 2-4 years. Every day I spend a couple of minutes looking at exercise machines I am thinking of buying in the future. The reason I want to do this is that I absolutely hate working out at gyms. I mean, they have great exercise equipment, but there are way too many negatives (such as having to wait on others to finish so you can use a machine, not being able to really grunt loud (I’m a grunter), having to pay a membership fee, etc.). Plus when you add up the gas, time, and membership fees, you often come out FAR better buying your own equipment.
Exercise Equipment I Hope To Buy Over the Next 4 Years
First up, I am going to buy the basics: I need a good barbell, some more cast iron weights, and a good bench (with a leg developer and preferably a preacher curl on it). I have located 2 potential gyms which I feel are reasonably priced, have good reviews, and have most of the features I need.
- Weight Bench–Right now I have my eyes on the Gold’s Gym XRS 20 weight bench. Total weight capacity of 610 (more than enough for me), the bench is separate from the actual rack (which is handy because you can move it away to do abs, legs, or dumbbells without the rack getting in your way), and safety catches for squats/bench press, and more. Plus it has fantastic reviews. Walmart.com has this right now for around $187. On the other hand, I really like the squat cages. I would much rather prefer to find a solid incline/decline bench, and then get a squat cage for it. But, this seems like it is more around $500, so I haven’t decided yet which route I will take.
- Weight Set–Obviously a bench is no good without weights. I already have some dumbbells, but I need a good Olympic barbell and some Olympic weights with collars. This bench and weights alone will do 80% of all I need.
- Dip/Pullup Station–I would also kinda like to have a nice dip/pull-up station. Right now I am having to use chairs for dips, and I am using an old bar in my garage for pull-ups. They work okay, but it would be more comfortable if I had something actually designed for this purpose. They run about $100 or so.
- Squat/Calf machine–I found a squat/calf machine I would really like to have on Amazon. My calves have always been hard to build, and the problem is that it is really hard to hit them without a machine with HEAVY weights on it. I just can’t get them to do anything with what I have now, and they are almost never sore from the tiny amount of weights I use. I also hate doing squats, and I think this machine would make it a little easier (although I will probably also do them with a barbell now and then). But I definitely want this, but it will probably be the low on my list.
- Lat Pulldown/Pulley machine–I’d also like to have a pulley machine or lat machine. The reason is that it is great to work triceps, lats and do a few other exercises with a pulley. This is lower on my list too though.
- Punching bad/Speed bag–It just seems like it would be fun to beat the living pulp out of a punching bag for about 30 minutes (instead of riding the exercise bike) from time to time. Especially if I have a bad day or something happens, I can just go down there and beat the bag. So I would also like to get a nice punching bag later on, but of course this is very low on the list too.
With those tools, I feel I can get up to whatever my genetic potential allows over the next 10 years (God willing).
Supplements and Nutrition
First and foremost I have always lifted weights for fun and health. And while its great gaining some muscles, I am not such a fanatic that I am willing to inject chemicals and hormones into my body in order to do it. I have always done this 100% naturally. What that means is that I won’t ever get very big, but I will be healthy.
If cholinergic urticaria has taught me anything, its that good health is to be treasured and cherished. I have never taken any kind of steroids, growth hormones, or anything else that can damage my body, and I never intend to for the rest of my life.
The only muscle building supplements I have ever tried in my life was weight gainer in high school (which I only took a few times and couldn’t stand to drink the stuff). I also tried like 1 scoop of protein powder at my friends house. That’s it.
My overall plan right now is to stick with solid nutrition, and incorporate high protein meals into my diet naturally (like meats, lentils, beans, etc). I don’t have anything against protein powders, its just that I can’t eat the majority of them because most are made with whey, and I have a dairy intolerance. They do make a few egg white protein powders, but for now I am mostly just prefer to do this naturally for a while and see what happens. I would probably just make my own egg whites before I bought a powder anyway.
Right now I am eating at about a 500 calorie deficit. In the next month, I plan to slowly work my way back up to my maintenance level. Then, in a month or two after that, I may try to very slowly ease my way up to about 100-200 above my maintenance level. At this point in time, I am a little worried about going over that, because I don’t want the hives to come back by messing around with my metabolism by creating too much of a surplus. Yet I will be severely limited on gaining muscle if I don’t eat at least a little over it.
I am going to eat as naturally as possible (with the exception of chips and rice cakes as a snack), and I am going to train hard. I hope to increase the intensity (and maybe add a few more exercises) in a few more months. I also need to take a break in a few months for a week or so.
Oh, and I am still taking vitamin d3, calcium (since I get almost none since I can’t eat dairy), and a multivitamin.
So there it is! My evil plan for fitness…bwahahaha…then I will take over the world…
This was yet another post in my recent series of posts how my cholinergic urticaria went from being very severe to tremendously better (basically gone now). If you have not yet read my previous posts, then I strongly urge you to read them first so you can know exactly how this has progressed:
- My brief history of hives
- What is visceral fat?
- and My Hypothesis of visceral fat making cholinergic urticaria worse
- How to lose visceral fat
- Use Diet to eliminate visceral fat
- High Calorie Foods to Watch
- My Joyce Chen Steamer Review (My secret cookware weapon to reduce calories)
- Low Calorie Snack Ideas–some snacks to help you curb your cravings without adding too many calories.
- High Sodium Diet–How I was eating way too much sodium, and you may be too.
- Low Sodium Diet Tips
- Summary on Diet
- Best Ways to Do Cardio Exercise
- How I was able to exercise with severe Cholinergic urticaria
- My Cholinergic Urticaria is Gone
- My Diet Right Now
Note: Always talk to a doctor or nutritionist before ever trying an exercise program, medication, or new diet program. This exercise program may not be suitable for all people.