After working out consistently for the last 15 years, I started to get bored and little burnt out. So, last year I took up long distance running and ran my first half-marathon last year at the Saratoga Palio (1:46) in Saratoga Springs, NY.
That helped with my cardio, but I lost serious interest in lifting weights. That’s a problem because one of the best ways to burn fat is through strength training. Plus 30 is around the corner and weights become more critical as guys get older.
Check this out from Body Logic MD:
Every year between the ages of 25 and 60, the physically inactive male will lose muscle mass and muscle strength at a rate of .5% and although this number may seem low, it adds up quickly. After the age of 60, male muscle loss doubles to about 1% every year. After 70, muscle mass and muscle strength declines by 2% every year. This doubling continues every ten years until death.
And from Askmen.com
Studies suggest that men lose five pounds of muscle per decade after the age of 40 due to reduced levels of human growth hormone (HGH). According to those harrowing numbers, by the age of 60, most men will have 80% less HGH in their system than when they were 20.
Here are some examples of workouts I’ve done for the last decade:
1. Upper Body / Lower Body (alternating cardio days in between)
2. Day 1 – Chest/tri’s, Day 2 – Shoulders/Legs, Day 3 – Bi’s / Back (repeat)
3 sets, 12 reps for each exercise. Or heavy weight, low reps if I was trying to really bulk up.
3. Full body workout: Chest, tri’s, bi’s, shoulders, back and legs all in one session.
So what does a guy who is a little burnt out from the status quo and has less time to workout do? Strip his workout down to the basics.
For the last four weeks, I have only done 4-5 exercises during my strength training. I write them down on a sticky note with a target number for each one. So instead of saying: “I’m going to do 3 sets of 12,” I say “I’m going to do 150 push ups today” and break it down from there. If I can’t fit it on a sticky note, I’m doing too much.
Check out my workout from Monday:
160 push ups (sets of 10)
50 pull-ups (using a machine at this point) (sets of 10)
100 bicep curls (sets of 20)
200 sit ups (crunches, planks, bicycle kicks, etc.) (sets of 25)
100 body squats (sets of 25)
I also threw in some jump rope (five sets, 30 seconds each). I essentially do non-stop circuits while occasionally stopping for water. This way I’m done in 30-40 minutes and get a great workout in. If I am busier one day, then I just lower the counts.
My numbers have increased though. For example, a month ago I only did 100 push ups. Monday I hit 160 for the first time. My goal is to do 50 push ups in a row and 200 overall by the end of October. On my current pace, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Last week I mixed it up and did the bench press instead of push ups. I benched 40 pounds more than I did three weeks earlier. It was also fun because I hadn’t done it in a while.
This all stemmed from a workout I did with a couple of buddies recently (@jlicciardi is one) who are hardcore crossfitters. I loved the simplicity and practicality of it. We finished in about 25 minutes, but I was sweating and sucking wind big time.
So if you find yourself in a workout rut, maybe you’re doing too much. Evaluate what you can cut out and simplify your workout. There are so many options and techniques these days, sometimes it’s best to stick with the basics. Try it out and let me know how you do in the comments, or if you have other ideas please share those as well.
Now if I can just nail down my eating…