Weight Training for Beginners

As I’ve tried to get back to the real StandUpRight.ca, I keep finding myself sucked back into the muck and the mire. I will write about exercise, I’ll document my yoga routine, I’ll talk about my boys getting into resistance (weight) training. Then our halfwit Premier will do something enragingly stupid. and I’m back to my “politicians suck” tag.

No politics today, Satan.

I remember back in university when I was  a scrawny geek, just finishing my last growth spurt, dipping my toe into weight training. I did this as a sidebar to my karate training, under the belief that more muscle:

  • looks better
  • is more attractive
  • would improve my confidence
  • would improve my karate

All of which is absolutely true. Seriously, find a thing on that list that bulking up wouldn’t improve.

The problem.

The problem is, my desire ran into harsh reality. Between being an ectomorph, karate thrice weekly, and the high stress life of an engineering student, I wasn’t gaining any bulk.

Oh, I got strong. I lifted with a couple of football players, and lifted nearly as much as they, to their amazement. They (and I) really couldn’t understand how I could be so strong, yet so lean. Ectomorph.

One summer, I worked in concrete. Slugging around 80 lb buckets of concrete, 10 hours a day, I DID gain muscle mass. About 20 lbs of it, and DAMN, I looked good. When I got back to school, I lifted 2 hrs a day, 3 days a week to maintain it, and the mass was gone in about a month. Ectomorph.

The Solution.

I gained a little weight after school, but never got fat like everyone warned me would happen. In fact, I maintained the same body size and shape into my 40s.

Then I started Bikram Yoga.

Over the first year of regular (3 to 4 times per week) Bikram Yoga I gained about 10 lbs, all lower body. Later, over the course of a year of Ashtanga yoga I gained another 10 lbs, all upper body.

The change was so gradual that one day when I weighed myself, I assumed the scale was wrong, because no way could I weigh that much. Yes, an engineer doubting his measuring instrument because it contradicted his assumptions.

Except, I could weigh that much, and did. I even had to throw out half my wardrobe because everything got too tight from 20 lbs of muscle.

Regular yoga provided what weight training could not, the resistance training necessary for me to gain muscle mass. I’m not entirely sure why it was able to do what weight training couldn’t, but I suspect it was the fact that the muscle was useful.

Now, I’m not saying that weight room muscle isn’t useful. What I think I’m saying is that it isn’t as functional, at least in a day to day sense. At least not for me (and maybe all ectomorphs). Everything I did in yoga led to an increase in the muscle mass for daily function. I think.

Sadly, Premier Jellyfish and his capacity restrictions, mean I’m still not getting back to the yoga studio anytime soon. It’s too far away, and you have to pre book your classes and blah blah blah. I’ll go back when (IF) life ever comes back to normal.

In the meantime.

All of the reasons for resistance training remain, plus a good bunch more. So what do I do in he meantime?

My boys solved that one for me. They decided that they wanted to do exercise like Mommy and Daddy, and one of them decided he wanted to transform his “toothpick arms into pencil arms.” So, they went on YouTube and found this.

A nice, easy beginning weight training workout. All you need is a pair of dumbbells and a bit of space in front of your TV. Now, 2 days on, one day of rest, kids 2 and 3, and I, do a nice little weight routine together.