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  1. #1
    Registered User T9Fingers's Avatar
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    Just Starting Out - What Next?

    Hey folks,

    First post, after starting lifting for the first time about 8 weeks ago. Before that, almost zero exercise for 20 years, gave up smoking at the same time (40th birthday might have been a bit of a wake-up call). Anyway, it's been AWESOME so far. I feel great, and starting to see results already. One advantage of starting a bit later I suppose is that I'm able to see a PT twice a week, and he's great. Has me started on a good beginner program (as far as I can tell from the internet...) - compound lifts, whole body etc etc, and I'm already getting over the fact that in my first couple of sessions I realized I'd be starting out with just the bar (bench), just the bar (squat), not even the bar (ohp). He's sorting my diet out as well, so I'm trying to count protein/calories - all that jazz. It's going pretty good, the healthier you are, the healthier you want to be it seems like.

    Anyway, I'm doing two hour-long sessions every week which I thought would be the limit for what I wanted, but now I'm here, I kind of feel like I want to add in a third something. But, it feels a bit like I'm only JUST ready for two sessions a week from a lifting/recovery perspective. I've had to get much more into stretching/cooldowns/massage to fend off some niggles, and a lot of (the good kind of) muscle aches are only just faded when it's time for the next session. In other threads and stuff, people tend to be all "Push on noob, the more you do, the more you can do, your body will adjust etc etc", but I wondered if the advice was a bit different for someone starting at 40 (and I mean properly starting from scratch, not "oh I messed around in the gym for a few years" before this or "I used to go rock climbing every week and I like to do push ups for fun" starting, but omfg I can't lift the bar without any weights on, this is embarrassing starting).

    I asked my PT and he advised doing a HIIT session at the weekend (stair sprints), and it'd be nice to get some extra cardiovascular benefits of working out, but on the other hand, my belly's already half gone, and stuff happens when I flex now, and I'm finding that pretty fricking awesome so it'd be good to add in another lifting session if it was going to properly benefit me. With job and family, time is pretty short, so it's not really a question of being able to do it all. I can probably squeeze in a third exercise thing a week, so I want to do the thing that'll work best.

    Anyone been in the same boat? Any advice? Grateful for any steer - cheers.
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  2. #2
    Squats and Milk Bando's Avatar
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    What are your goals?

    Originally Posted by T9Fingers View Post
    In other threads and stuff, people tend to be all "Push on noob, the more you do, the more you can do, your body will adjust etc etc"
    This refers to your first year being a magical time when you can add muscle and lose fat at the same time. Once your body becomes adapted to weight training it's very easy to spin your wheels.
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    Registered User T9Fingers's Avatar
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    Huh, good question. When I started it was "look better, die later". 8 weeks in, it's probably mostly "Get bigger, get stronger" with a side of "get fitter", but my PT pushes me pretty hard during our sessions. No huge rests, so I feel like my workouts are having a fair amount of general fitness improvement too.

    I guess my real question is if I added a third lifting session a week given my history/feelings about recovery times is it going to be as valuable (from a size and strength perspective) as the two sessions I'm already doing. Or is two hard sessions a week about the most I should be doing right now, and I should use a third "slot" for something a bit different (like HIIT or some other cardio thing).
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    Squats and Milk Bando's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by T9Fingers View Post
    is two hard sessions a week about the most I should be doing right now
    If you're working out a total of 2 hours a week, I think you probably have the capacity to do more. What does your trainer recommend? Sounds like he has a clue since he's got you thinking about diet and doing compound lifts.
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    on probation weiss1967's Avatar
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    advice wouldn't be any different for anyone starting at 40. Adaptation period - yes, you do need it. Sounds like you have already done your adaptation period. You can gradually pick up the volume now. Do not fall for this fallacy about fully recovering before the next session. For most people, "full recovery" means falling out of shape before next training session. With 2 hours a week you will always lift the same empty bar and suffer from DOMS in between. Add another session, and then another one, until you train with proper split routine 5 to 10 hours a week. Your recovery will improve. Your body will adapt. All those advices you heard are true.
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    Thanks for the replies.

    @Bando - trainer wants me to do a HIIT session on the weekend. I'm still making pretty good linear progress on the compound lifts, so I'll give that a go I think. I think I really lucked out with my PT - he really seems to know his stuff (as far as I can tell anyway).

    Originally Posted by weiss1967 View Post
    advice wouldn't be any different for anyone starting at 40. Adaptation period - yes, you do need it. Sounds like you have already done your adaptation period. You can gradually pick up the volume now. Do not fall for this fallacy about fully recovering before the next session. For most people, "full recovery" means falling out of shape before next training session. With 2 hours a week you will always lift the same empty bar and suffer from DOMS in between. Add another session, and then another one, until you train with proper split routine 5 to 10 hours a week. Your recovery will improve. Your body will adapt. All those advices you heard are true.
    Hey, the empty bar was weeks ago... there's plates on my bar now . Progress has actually been really good. Squat/bench/DL/OHP all increasing week to week. Given that, I reckon I will add the HIIT session, if progress stalls I can always revisit.

    Also, training five to ten hours a week with my job/family commitments is a pipe dream. I already have a bunch of regrets about not starting at least a decade ago, and that's one of them!
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