**Please read disclaimer at the end of my blog.
Everything in my 21-day journey is designed to establish a habit of health and fitness. On Day One, I did upper body exercises. Did pretty well and felt real strong while working out on the machines. Afterward, I felt energized and encouraged. No pain, no gain. Psssssh! No worries. This is going to be a walk in the park for me. Right? Wrong!
The outcome of my workout on Thursday was less inspiring. Day Two was lower body workout day. Thursday became my Wakeup Day because I discovered a chink in my armor. While working on my legs, hamstrings and calves, I learned that I have lost most of my flexibility and strength because of recent bouts with back pain and sciatica.
I’ve always had strong legs and calves because I used to ride bicycle 20-30 miles a day. I also played racquetball three days a week. I wasn’t all that bulky, but I was in great shape. So when I went to the gym on Thursday, I thought it should be another great workout. Boy, was I wrong?
After a 10 minute warmup on the treadmill , I started stretching my hamstrings. Tammy, my wife/personal trainer, said “lean up against the wall and pull your foot up behind you toward your butt.” I tried and got pretty close to the form she requested, and then I got a sudden cramp in my hamstring. Tried the other leg, same thing.
The past couple of months I have had severe back pain because of my sciatica. For about a week, I walked around with the posture like a question mark. It was excruciating pain and I was popping pain killers and lying around a lot. The pain had subsided, so I thought I was ready for this new workout program.
I quickly learned that the pain in my lower back had sapped out all my core muscle strength and flexibility, making it almost impossible to do a simple stretch to my legs without getting a ginormous Charlie-horse.
Tammy asked me to lie down on the floor to do the stretches and I discovered that I couldn’t get down on the floor without risking injuring my lower back again. So she had me do some simple stretches using a 2-inch wooden dowel threaded through my arms and shoulders and I proceeded to stretch out those muscles.
My workout included a box squat, where I basically sat down on an adjustable-height platform. I did a total of 50 of those. Then I used the machines at American Iron Gym to do leg extensions and leg curls. But every time I tried to do leg curls my hamstrings would cramp up.
We decided that was enough lower body exercise for the day to prevent any possible injury. I was supposed to do 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill but had to stop 10 minutes in because I was starting to feel nauseated.
Day Two of my 21-day plan was a real eye-opener on how weak and inflexible my lower body has become. But I’m not discouraged. It gives me something to work on.
Today, I start Day Three of my 21 day program. I will be doing a ton of stretching, an hour of cardio on the treadmill, ab work on the Swiss ball and a few stretching sessions every few hours throughout the day.
When you are working your various muscle groups, you’re supposed to allow them time to recover. That’s why there is a Lower Body Day, and Upper Body Day, a Cardio Day, etc. Working with muscle groups is a great way to manage your workout regimen and will result in the best gains.
Tammy explained that working the lower body is the most dreaded for bodybuilders and people trying to get in shape because the legs usually have the largest muscles of your body. Therefore, you need to use heavier weights and work harder than with upper body.
I am not discouraged by this experience. It’s something that I can overcome in a relatively short period of time. The key is to keep the weight and amount of exercise low until you gain flexibility and strength in those muscles again. I can do that. I will do that.
Can’t wait to start today’s stretching, cardio and ab workout. 🙂
**Disclaimer – I am a newbie at working out in the gym. My wife is a certified personal trainer and is helping me along this 21-Day journey to health and fitness. The things that I post in my blog are intended as a source of inspiration only. Everyone’s bodies and workouts are different. Using gym equipment improperly can result in muscle tears, injuries and other damage to your body or someone near you. Please seek assistance in using the equipment from someone who is qualified and trained.