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                 The experience of true pain

After going back to over the road driving as a long haul truck driver a little over one year ago my gym routine predictably fell into oblivion. The pasta piled up, the gym became a distant memory, and my hard-earned muscle shrank. All that was left was a bag of bones, and a newly acquired beer belly.

One day after being out of breath after climbing some stairs I decided to get my lazy ass back in the gym. the problem is as a long haul truck driver gyms are few and far between so when I have the opportunity to get by one I have to make the most of it. What follows is my journey to add some meat to my bones and wave goodbye to the waistline that now follows me everywhere.

An artist’s representation of my current gains

I have decided to start with the main lifts (Squat, Bench, Deadlift and Overhead Press) then throw in some bodybuilding style moves to blow the dust of all my body parts. I also want to ensure than some form of conditioning is done.

Legs:

Back Squat (theoretically 5×5)

Overhead Press (5×5)

This was a painful reminder as to how far gone I am. I start with squatting my body weight, and sitting in the bottom position for a while. My hips, abductors and lower back all feel like they are experiencing movement for the first time in a century. After a couple of minutes of warming up I feel comfortable enough to make it to the bar.

The empty bar doesn’t feel bad, and the movement comes back nicely. I then throw on 22 lbs on each side and bust out a comfortable 5 reps. Feeling optimistic, I go for one more set of the 80 lbs just in case. I can feel my inner thighs and upper hamstrings giving me grief, but nothing I can’t handle. I decide to up it to 130 lbs. This was my warm up weight in the past. I descend into the first squat, an all of a sudden I am beset by the hot wailing of my hamstrings.They are so pumped full of blood that I can barely move. Like a good gym rat I take a couple of breaths and go for another rep. Halfway down reality hits me in the ass, if I move another inch I am going to collapse. I bravely re rack the weight, and decide legs are done for this session. Little did i know this will come back to haunt me.

The overhead presses went surprisingly well, I managed to get out 3 sets of 5 reps at 80 lbs. No I’m not Arnold  Schwarzenegger, but it’s a start.

Back and Biceps:

Bent over Row: 3×12 at 80 lbs

Pull-ups: AMRAP Bodyweight

Dumbbell Row: 3×12 at 20 lbs

Hammer Curls: 3×12 at 20 lbs

Barbell Curl: 3×10 at 40 lbs

Chest and Triceps:

Dumbbell bench Press: 3×12 at 20 lbs

Close Grip Bench: 3×12 Very slow at 40 lbs

Skull Crushers: 3×12 at 20 lbs

Rope Pull-downs 3 x way too many

After these three rather light sessions, I was finished. I had overdone the triceps extensions by a long shot. Not normally one for isolation exercises, for some reason I just felt compelled to keep going. I didn’t feel that I pushed myself too far in the moment. However, for the next week I could barely contract my arms and my legs hurt so bad i could barely walk. I was brushing my teeth by bobbing my head up and down, eating my stooping forward like a dog at water. Sleeping became a horror show for me, every turn tormented me and woke me up in searing agony. I became tired from the unrelenting pain, it followed me everywhere, I began to wonder if it would ever go away and at one point considered going to the Doctor but my wife said quit being a baby and suck it up. Crying was not an option since wiping my eyes would be impossible, so I let the brutally slow passing of time heal me, well, time and loads of anti-inflammatory gel. The crushing, terrifying pain is gone now, but the emotional scars will take time to heal.

I didn’t manage to deadlift, I was in too much pain.

After a healthy dose of deep heat and father time, they got better.

Lesson from the iron: Getting swept up in the moment and doing more than you planned is sometimes good, however, there are always going to be consequences. Be passionate in life, but remember that sometimes un-directed passion results in of deep heat and chronic pain.

Gym tune of the week, might explain why I was so stupid with the tricep pull-downs:

Be Sure to check back for part two cause you’re not gonna wanna miss it!