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  • Hard Core

    A friend of mine back in the Navy days used to work out with me at the 32nd Street Base Gymnasium. We usually worked out at lunchtime and grabbed a protein shake afterward.

    We were both into the Schwarzenegger scene, as were many of our peers, and the gym was one of those testosterone pits filled with the smell of sweat and the sounds of weights clanging and guys grunting while their buddies screamed at them to do one more rep. You wanted aerobics, you ran around the track on the outside of the gym, about a fifth of a mile. Definitely not a family gym.

    Today's workout brought some of that back at me. I took a look in the mirror and decided I need more shoulders, biceps and triceps. Yeah, definitely a testosterone thing. Since today was shoulders and arms, I put together a program that included more weight and intensity than I've put up before. After all, I've lost the weight, I'm keeping it off, so what's next? Get bigger.

    To start off, last night when I set up the weights I increased everything by 5-10 pounds. 5 pounds on the dumbbells, 10 on the barbells and extension machine on my weight bench. This brought my weights up to 30 pounds on one set of dumbbells, 60 pounds on the shrug set, and 60 pounds on the curved barbell.
    Moving up 10 pounds is a challenge for anyone. For my euro friends, that's 13.6 kg and 27.2 kg.

    I started off with my shoulders. 3 sets of 10 repetitions of the following: Shrugs, Side Flyes, and Front Flyes.

    I then moved to the biceps with Barbell Curls using the Blaster, Preacher Curls using the extension, and Dumbbell Curls with the small dumbbells.

    The last movement with the weights was for my triceps, the Overhead Presses with the 60 pound barbell.

    On the way down to the Total Gym, I did three sets of 10 pushups, keeping my arms out wide to emphasize the work on my triceps.

    On the Total Gym, I did two sets of 15 repetitions of Press Ups and Butterfly Raises to hit my shoulders and triceps once again. From there I moved to triceps Pressdowns, then changed position and performed a set of triceps Pullbacks. Finally, I ended the set with two sets of concentration curls of hit my biceps for a final pump.

    Since I have the Total Gym set at level 4, the weight equivalent is 53 lbs or 24 kg. Now when you use both hands on the handles, you divide the weight in half. I do my concentration curls one hand at a time, using both handles in the same hand.

    That friend I was talking about once told me the way to know you've worked out hard enough is when you vomit from a set of curls. I am so glad I work out on an empty stomach. I came very close to experiencing that today.

    When it was over, my arms felt like they were hanging off of me instead of being attached, and it was an effort to walk up the stairs from the basement.

    Lots of protein today. I started out this morning with a steak, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on an everything bagel and ate a cheese snack about 10 am. Lunch after the workout was another steak (these are 4 ounce sandwich steaks) wrapped in turkey bacon with a ½ cup pineapple cup and a strawberry-banana yogurt, and my second cup of coffee for the day. Tonight, I'm making tacos with plenty of toppings and a side of Mexican style corn. Well, that's what they call it, I really don't know any real Mexicans who put chopped peppers in their corn. Whatever.

    Folks, this is not a workout for the casual person who wants to get fit. I ate my lunch standing up because I was afraid if I sat down I would fall asleep at the table. Which is exactly what happened when I did sit down, for about an hour. The body was saying “ENOUGH!” and I agree.

    But as I am writing this, Damn, it feels good. When I look in the mirror, I can start to see the definition and separation of the muscles. I'll be sore tomorrow, no doubt. But it's worth it. In this case, the ends do justify the means.

    Stay strong, everyone. I hope you are having a blessed and powerful day.

    Fred
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