My bodybuilding program

Below is my current plan at the gym. I lift heavy, and most exercises are 5 sets of 6 repetitions.

Once I find I can do 5 X 6, I increase the load. I have some micro plates which are really useful for this – they fit an Olympic bar and come in .25 and .5 kg increments. Very useful for female lifters and bodybuilders.

Rest days at present are usually Saturday and Sunday. Others days I go for walks, and may occasionally add in some light cardio on the bike or rower.

DAY 1 (upper body):
• Bench
• Rope push down
• Machine seated fly’s
• Machine rear delt flys
• Shoulder press machine
• Hammer strength decline press
• Barbell curls

DAY 2 (lower body):
• Front squats
• Romanian deadlifts
• Leg press
• Seated calf raises
• Leg extensions
• Lying leg curls

DAY 3 (upper body):
• Deadlift
• Dumbbell row
• T bar row
• Lat pulldown
• Front raises
• Side raises
• Barbell row
• Dumbbell fly’s

DAY 4 (lower body):
• Squats
• Leg press
• Leg press calf raises
• Leg extensions
• Lying leg curls
• Hip abductors
• Glute ham raise
• Glute bridges

DAY 5 (upper body):
• Overhead press
• Dumbbell shoulder press
• Dumbbell press
• Dumbbell incline press
• Hammer curls
• Preacher curls
• Kettle bell shrugs

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Sometimes you just need to rest

This weekend I rested and did a re-feed.

I knew I was exhausted. I’d been gymming hard, and had reached the point of becoming weak on every exercise.

So this weekend I took a break from weights. I did a re-feed yesterday, being my calories up for the day from my usual 1321 to 2000. I also did no exercise at all, apart from a little bit of gardening and housework.

Then today I’m keeping my calories slightly raised at about 1600, and kept away from the weights again. I went for a lovely walk for a couple of hours out on the peninsula, and followed it up with 15 minutes on the bike at the gym, before a nice long shower to wash all the sunblock and sweat off me.

It was perfect weather for a walk out on the peninsula today. We’ve had over two weeks of sun since Christmas – unusual for Dunedin! I don’t want summer to end!

So now I’m sitting and relaxing. I’m the only one at home, and the peace is blissful. I’m back at work tomorrow, and really wish I had more time at home to enjoy the sunshine and warmth!

Why a re-feed?

Re-feeding can be a useful tool so your body doesn’t get too used to being in calorie deficit and slow your metabolism down.

Plus, it also feels like a quick pick-me-up.

Even one day of re-feeding and already I feel more energised and able to cope with life.

By Friday last week I was feeling drained and exhausted, but now I’m feeling refreshed and positive again, with lots of energy.

The main thing to watch with re-feeding is that it doesn’t turn into craziness or binge eating. Adding 500-700 calories to your normal pattern should be plenty to wake your system up again. It certainly feels right for me.

Why rest days?

Everyone needs time away from the gym. Even gym rats like me 🙂

1-2 days a week of no lifting gives your body a chance to heal, rest and recover, ready for more gains the next time you hit the weights.

I’ve just created a new program for my lifting (I’ll post it in a second), which gives me 5 days of weights plus 2 rest days, which I can either take consecutively or whenever I need them.

As an older female lifter, I definitely need my rest days, but even young teenage guys need to rest and recover. Everyone does.

I’ve enjoyed my rest and re-feed, but I’m looking forward to hitting the weights again on Monday!

Planning to compete in physique – at age 52? I must be crazy!!

I think I’ve gone crazy. I’ve decided to compete.

The class?: Women’s physique.

The competition?: Women who are all likely 20 years younger than me.

The reason?: Probable insanity.

I’ve a lot of work ahead of me. From this point on, now I’ve made my decision, I’ll be aiming to shed 1% of my body weight until I’m down closer to competition weight, which for me is probably around 70 kgs. I’m nowhere near that at present.

I’ve also got to put a lot of muscle on, particularly on my legs. Luckily I’m someone who grows muscle easily, but there’s still a lot of work in my future.

Then, because this is women’s bodybuilding, there will be things like hairstyles, manicures, pedicures, hair removal, makeup, tanning and sparkly bikinis to think about (men have it much easier – they just have to prance about in a very small Speedo). Thankfully there are no stripper heels in the physique class, or I’d be sure to trip and break my neck. Thankfully!

I haven’t mentioned this to my OA sponsor yet, but I think she’ll be supportive. She’s a marathon runner, so she understands what goals are – even impossible ones. I think she – and the rest of the OA gang – will absolutely cheer me on and be supportive of me doing this. They’ve seen the changes in me since I started at OA. They know how transformed I am, both inside and out.

My husband and family will support me too. I know they will. My husband was a bodybuilder for a long time – we met through the gym – so he understands the process. He’s thinking of going on stage too, so it’s possible we may even do this together.

Part of me is very scared now I’ve decided to take this leap. Mainly I’m scared I’m simply too old. I’m scared of injury, and of hurting myself.

But I won’t know if I never try. There are older women than me who have done this and succeeded. And I can’t make myself younger, no matter how much I might want to, to make things easier.

It’s not going to be easy. But it will make me a better person. Which is what I want to be.

What’s my goal? Physique bodybuilding? Maybe?

As time is going on, I’m starting to question what my goal is.

When I started this journey, I just wanted to become more healthy and lose weight. I’m doing that, and I’m feeling so much better and healthier than I did.

Then I started gymming, and that has made me happier still. I love spending time at the gym, and now my husband and stepdaughter have joined me with memberships of their own. It’s becoming a family thing.

I’ve been back at the gym since the start of October, and it feels wrong when I miss a day with no good reason.

People are beginning to notice me too. I put on muscle crazy easily, and already I’m starting to look like “someone who works out” rather than “someone who eats out”!

But with all of this, I feel like I want a more solid goal to aim for. I don’t want to do competitive lifting, as I have an old back injury that makes me wary of squats in particular. But competitive bodybuilding… maybe…?

I thought about going on stage a few years ago. I didn’t, because of my stomach. I felt like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get around the loose skin issue from having had kids.

But now I think I’m ready to push past that and go screw it! I’m a mum, I had kids, this is my body and I think it’s okay.

I’m not at that point – yet – but I think I might be able to get there.

So I’m starting to think I’m going to do it. Aim for stage. An old woman, 50+, throwing caution to the wind and giving life a go.

Because why not?

If I do make that decision – and I’m pretty sure I will – I’ll blog it here.

Because I think more old women should challenge ourselves and face our fears instead of sitting at home crocheting booties. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not me.

I’m scared that I really think I’m going to do this. Excited and scared. In a good way 🙂

The thing I’m happiest about, oddly enough, is that at least I know I’d be in Physique class, so I wouldn’t have to wear stripper heels!