Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Fitness Regimen

The first of these pictures is before I started lifting weights. The second is after about a year of work.

Pretty drastic difference, right?

Metal and fitness have a strange relationship. On the one hand, you have the stereotypical black metal folks, who are either really skinny wimps or big fat wimps. But on the other, you have meatheads who jam out to thrash and groove metal while pumping iron. Most metalheads fall somewhere in between. But I, like Cosmo Lee, view metal and exercise as two different methods of self-improvement.

Let me preface this by saying I am no expert. I would defer any questions of expertise to my brother-in-law, who not only has a PhD in exercise science, but can also dead lift more than 700 pounds. He's a beast. But I have had results, and I think maybe you can learn something from them.

I initially began lifting weights at home when I was in junior high (the same time I began listening to metal), and continued through my freshman year of high school. I stopped again until my junior year of college, when I started lifting daily and eating a lot. I went from a skinny 135 pound kid (at left) to the weight that I am today, 175--which has remained consistent ever since. My bench press was 165.

I lost a lot of strength after that, and put on somewhat of a gut (though no one would have called me fat), and for several years I did almost zero exercise. But then September 2009 I started lifting weights again.

Initially I went to a gym, but got fed up with it. For a year now, I have been working out at home using PowerBlocks. In addition to a small bench that I can fold up and put in a closet, I started out with the U-90 Stage I set (up to 50 pounds in 2.5 pound increments). Since then I've moved up to the U-90 Stage II (up to 90 pounds). I can't recommend it enough. Yes, it seems expensive, but it saves a great deal compared to buying free weights to reach all the increments offered. It's also much easier to change weights, and I put the whole setup in our furnace room.

My workouts have actually gotten more intense and fruitful since I started working out at home, although not everyone will have that experience. (Recently I had the chance to test out my bench press with an actual barbell, and I maxed out at 205 pounds.) I work out 4 or 5 nights out of every week. Here are the routines I do regularly. I do at least 3 sets of everything, and try to choose weights that will allow me to do at least 10 reps per set.

Night 1 (focus on chest and arms)
Bench press
Bicep curls
Incline press
Kick backs
Wrist curl*

*the wrist curl has been replaced by a piece of custom equipment

Night 2 (focus on back and shoulders)
Dumbell rows
An exercise I can't find a name for. I start with the dumbells resting on my knees, with knees slightly bent, and stand up, raising the weights to a point parallel to my head.
Bent-back flies
Lateral raise
Front shoulder raise
Flat flies (I really should move this up to night 1)

Night 3 (focus on legs and abs)
Dead lift
Reverse lunge
Standing calf raise**
Sit-ups (sometimes these get moved to night 4)

**I have custom pieces of equipment for this, although I'm sure you can find it in a fitness store as well.

Night 4
Now, the first three nights' exercises I do every single week. For the additional night(s), I try to do something different. For that purpose, I have gotten a door gym for pull ups as well as a kettleblock handle for my PowerBlocks. I throw in some body weight exercise, like crunches, sit-ups, and push-ups, or isometric exercises. (Try holding 40 pounds above your head for two minutes and you'll know what an isometric exercise is.)

Here's just one more before/after pic to indulge my vanity.

I thought I should cover supplements as well. My brother-in-law seems to think that for most people who do normal workouts, supplements are unnecessary and don't really do any good. I still drink a whey protein shake after some of my workouts (especially night 3 above), and when I do it makes me feel good. On the other hand, I eat a lot of meat anyway, so I probably don't need the extra protein. 

What are your thoughts on metal and fitness? Do you have a routine that works for you, or any tips?

1 comment:

  1. My fitness has been kind of the opposite. I have a fair amount of natural muscle, but I'm typically overweight so when I start exercising more it's usually about trimming off fat rather than building up muscle.

    I've been pretty inconsistent, though. Over the last 5 or 6 years my weight has fluctuated to anywhere between 167 and 240.