Sunday, April 22, 2018

The strength saga

The new routine:
4:55AM – I wake up (groggy) to the “Morning Flower” alarm tone. I set this up around mid-night, as I crawl into the other room, so that the alarm doesn’t wake up the kids.
5:25AM – Cycle 2k to the gym
5:35AM – 100 jumping jacks, 30 squats, 30 push ups, 10 pull ups, parallel bars and other looseners for warm up
5:45AM to 6:20AM – 6 exercises for specific muscle groups, 3 sets each (1st set to fatigue, 2nd about 8 reps, 3rd about 4 counts or so).
6:30AM – My Cinderella hour comes to an end. Time to put on the baby-sitting hat, just enough time to squeeze in some bridges, toe-touches and crunches.

My last detox experiment, Panchakarma virechana, left me quite emaciated and reached never before lows on the weighing scale. I gave in to the “oh, you look weak” rants from family and decided to put on some weight. I was done with running for a few months, and decided to hit the gym to gain some muscle.

I scouted around for a local gym. I checked “A Hip Gym” out – the ones that send out flyers with models with ripped abs and other assets; Air-conditioned, biometric access, fancy equipment and costing an arm and my bony leg. My mom suggested a gym that her student (from primary school tuition days) had started. NAK’s gym was perfect – high asbestos roof, with plenty of windows for light and ventilation, enough dumbbells, barbells, a multi-gym, squats & leg press stands, etc. A place where you leave your footwear outside, make a silent prayer as you enter and sweat it out. My kinda place.

Kumar, the instructor, immediately noticed my muscle (or the lack of it), he immediately set me a target of gaining 2kgs per week, with a calorie surplus diet, loaded with as much protein as my eggetarian diet would permit.

I took to it like duck to water, the next 12 weeks, I hardly missed a workout. I followed a 4 day cycle:
Day1 – Chest + Biceps
Day2 – Upper Back / lats + Forearms
Day3 – Shoulders + Triceps
Day4 – Thighs + dead lifts

In six weeks I was up nearly 5% of my body weight, my biceps had put on nearly 1 inch. I was up to 4 eggs/ day, sprouts, spirulina powder, nuts and general binging on reasonably good food (not to mention the protein-farts that came with it).

In the next six weeks, I continued to add protein, 6 eggs a day, and was still on the getting-big trajectory. I pumped 50kgs on the bench press, squatted 40kgs, leg pressed a 100, and dead lifted about 130kgs towards the end of this 12 weeks journey.

10 Jan
16 Feb
30 Mar
Weight (kgs)
Chest (in)
Waist (in)
Biceps (Left-Right) (in)
Forearm (Left-Right) (in)
Thigh (Left-Right) (in)

Muscle memory is an amazing thing, my strength training routines came back to me instantly, wiping out the 13yrs since I had stopped gymming. It was pleasantly surprised to see how the body responded to a completely different load & regimen, the testosterone were at new highs.
(don't miss the insert in the picture from 2005)

While I was on my weight gain mode, my cousin S, attacked the curve from the other side. In 10 weeks, he burnt 10kgs, working out 2hrs a day, starting his workout with repeats of running a flight of 20 steps, up and down, 100 times. Yes, one hundred! He went on a 1400 cal/day diet with no room for junk.

For me, weight training seemed like an excuse to goad up my eating. As I write this, I am ramping up mileage, back to eating from the kitchen scale and letting the running-high take over…

But is strength training really going to help my running – only time will tell, research seems to think otherwise-
Come back to find out.
Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Cheers!