I've felt unusually tired this past week. I'm not sure if it has something to do with starting the new workout routine (Phase III) or if it's because I caught something (if I'm working out regularly, I can get sick and not feel the symptoms as long as I keep working out). My eyes have also been unusually sensitive to bright sunlight and headaches have been more intense and widespread.
Wow. That was an awesome workout! For the first time in months I actually had ton's of energy from beginning to end. I pushed through every exercise and challenged myself with heavier than normal weights. I'm not sure if it's the Zinc and Magnesium I started taking last week or the 5mg of creatine I started taking earlier this week -- maybe a combination of both. Either way, I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere. I finally broke through that plateau!
After a long break, I'm back to bodybuilding. In addition to lots of stretching and yoga I'm concentrating on full-body exercises like chin-ups, push-ups, and leg raises. Cardio always seems to die off during the colder winter months, but now that the warm weather is slowly returning I need to pick it up again. I've also started waking up earlier and my goal is to eventually start waking up before sunrise.
Even more difficult than maintaining a good diet and exercise routine is maintaining a good diet and exercise routine for very long periods of time -- I'm talking in years, not months. The past 9 years of my bodybuilding career, although mostly beneficial to my health, have been a roller coaster of workout routines and diets. Dedication, commitment, and sheer will-power made me the fittest I've ever been, but maintaining that physique indefinitely while being in a career that requires me to sit down will be quite the challenge.
I found something I had written for a friend a few months ago (last October, actually) when he asked for fitness advice. I find my own advice, written at a time when I had a regular workout routine, motivating me to start my regular routine once again. There are many reasons (excuses) why I've let my routine slide, but I won't give myself the opportunity to mention them!
Whatever you do, stick with it. If you feel like program A is not working, then don't quit! Modify the program and keep going. Consistency will pay off, whether you're doing the right thing or not.
Eat more healthy. This is kind of obvious, but start with eliminating SODA and any other junk food. Watch the nutritional content labels for high saturated fat and sugar content. Eat more fruit's, nuts, and veggies.
DRINK A LOT OF WATER! If you're lucky enough to work close to a bathroom, drink water until you're pissing every 10 minutes; seriously. When your body changes and fat decreases, your body needs to get rid of all the toxins in your body. It does that by using WATER as a transport mechanism. If you don't have enough water, your body will simply become more toxic.
Don't kill yourself. Create a schedule that fits your lifestyle. For example, start small by dedicating 30 minutes every day to workouts. Then start doing it twice day (30 min morning, 30 min night) if possible, otherwise just increase your workout time. If you feel REALLY sore the day after working out, give yourself a day's rest and start again the following day. Your body does need time to adjust, so give it time. But at the same time, you should be trying to push your limits. Don't use the soreness as an excuse!
Most bodybuilders that you see will have a big strong upper body, but a smaller, disproportionate lower body. Lower body muscles are probably the second hardest muscle to work, second only to abs. A strong lower body is very important though. It's the foundation on which you build your strong upper body.
Those who do physical labor for their daily job generally have a naturally build lower body. Lifting objects and moving around on your feet all day constantly tax the lower body muscles, causing them to grow. I salute those who hold jobs which require large amounts of physical labor (construction workers, the military, etc). Sure, I'm a computer guy and my job generally requires that I sit on my ass all day in front of the computer. Not very healthy for lower body muscles. However, I don't see this as a misfortune, but rather as one of many challenges I must face.
I had another thought today with regards to lower body exercises. Those who actually do work their lower body on a regular basis probably don't see the gains they'd expect because the muscles are so tight. The muscles can't grow if they are not relaxed enough to stretch. With this in mind, I'm going to start doing 20 minutes of yoga and stretching twice a day, morning and evening, concentrating on lower body and hip stretches.
As promised, here is the second workout in my new routine. You'll notice there are a lot of lower body exercises. While doing exercises, it's extremely important that you keep perfect form through each rep. If the weight feels too easy, then slow down each rep and keep perfect form. If after a whole set of going slow they still feel light, then, and only then, increase the weight.
Here is the result of more than two years of eating properly, working out regularly, keeping away from chips, soda, fried foods, fast-food, candy, and keeping a very very regular and consistent workout schedule.
I could have accomplished this a lot faster, but there were months when I didn't watch my diet the way I should have, or when I had an operation for a hernia and was unable to workout for 3 months.
Anyhow, I'm almost to my goal, but not quite yet. : ) By this summer, I'll have reached my goal and post the results again. However, until then watch for an article on this site about how I transformed my body. I'll try to have it up here before the end of this month.