Another Semester of Strength Training

September thru December 2011 I beefed up my body a lot working out at CCSF. This semester I didn’t make nearly as much progress. On a lot of fronts I just kept things even. Here are the highlights:

Everything I do is 2 sets of 10 reps. On most machines I stayed even from last semester. Here are the differences:

Chest Press: 75lbs to 110lbs. Excellent… except that I had left off in December at 120lbs. Feh!

Lateral Raise (still trying to build up my shoulder profile) I worked it every time I went to the gym and went from 70 to 85. Importantly, just a few weeks ago I realized I’ve been sitting on the machine such that I’m mostly just using my anterior deltoids instead of the correct posture that would use my anterior AND posterior deltoids. Ugh, it’s waay harder to do the exercise the right way!

Bicep Curl: Still I’m hovering around 95lbs, but I still like how my biceps look and feel compared to before working out.

Yoga ball crunches: I lean back on top of the yoga ball and do a sit-up, it works the abs better than a sit-up, and it burns like someone is stabbing me repeatedly with a knife (joy). The knives used to be unbearable at about 8 reps, 2 sets. Now it’s about 11 reps, 3 sets.


What’s next? I’ve always noted that I don’t have enough cardio. I’ve just been running on the treadmill to warm up for the machines. Well, over the summer I’ll be visiting Megan a lot, she lives in Kensington at the top of the Berkeley Hills, about 800 feet of elevation… I now have a nice bike… Bring it on!


  1. Free says:

    I’m with you on the bicep thing. I’m at about the same amount of weight (although I do only one set, not two). And just recently, I’ve been startled several times by how well defined my biceps have gotten.

    But at your age (and mine), the cardio will make the bigger health difference. Since I started using the Fitlinxx system on March 4, 2011, I’ve done the following:

    * 565 hours, 59 minutes of cardio exercise (a little over 1 hour 16 minutes a day)
    * 527,938 calories expended (a little over 1,194 calories a day)

    Also, getting more fit in a cardio sense actually makes it easier to get more exercise, for two reasons. First, as you get faster, you expend more calories per minute. Second, as you start figuring out how long it takes you to get places by bike, you are likely to go more places by bike. It used to be, for example, that I wouldn’t travel to downtown DC by bike unless I could devote the whole day to it. In the beginning, that was because I had no idea how long it would take me to get to downtown DC by bike. Then once I did, I had to allow for not only a longer time than it now takes me, but plenty of rest breaks. At one point, I estimated that it took me an hour and a half to get there, and three hours to get back. (There is a long uphill on the way back.) Now, I know that it is under an hour to get there, and just over an hour to get back. Counting the time it takes to park, the time to bike isn’t much longer than the time it takes to drive, so I end up biking much more often.

    You can actually see this by crunching the numbers. Looking at just the period since the beginning of 2012, I’ve done the following.

    * 213 hours, 53 minutes of cardio exercise (just under 1 hour 28 minutes a day)
    * 202,990 calories expended (a little over 1,390 calories a day)

    In other words, my calorie expenditure per minute has gone up, but I am still doing more minutes per day of cardio exercise (even without really planning to). And those numbers actually understate the improvement in calorie expenditures per minute, because they don’t take account of the number of minutes I used to have to spend resting, which I no longer do.

    I would also suggest using the online Fitlinxx to keep track of your cardio exercise. It’s a big boost to the morale to be able to see your progress.

  2. lee says:

    1.5 hours of cardio a day… like… every day? Wow! When I work out (1-3 times/week) I do about 6 minutes of cardio, which includes about 2 minutes of walking. I’ve gotta get to it!

  3. Free says:

    Yeah, I’m just a bit obsessive on the cardio. LOL

    One more motivational tip, now that you’re starting cardio exercise that can be measured with a GPS (unlike, say, stationary bicycling or an elliptical): You might want to check out Earndit. You can use one of several devices (including a smartphone) to measure your activity. And you get points for your activity that you can use toward either gift cards or charitable contributions. If you join, feel free to “follow” me.

  4. lee says:

    I might try Earndit. I dunno. I’m not sure I’ll like being “on the clock” with my exercise travels. I’ll try and see!

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