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Starting again

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  • Starting again

    There was a death in my family a couple months ago, and my resistance training fell by the wayside. I found it hard to stay disciplined and simply show up. I’m looking to start again, and would like to do the beginner template, but I am concerned that it will be too much for me to stick to right now.

    I was wondering if you had advice on how to gradually build back up to the volume/intensity of the first week of the beginner template, and make a new habit of showing up (would ideally be morning training).


  • #2
    Hey Tim,

    Sorry to hear about the rough patch. I hope you and the family are holding up okay.

    As far as what to do programming-wise, I think the volume and intensity in the 1st week of the BT (a low stress week) is ideal for this application. I'd do that- repeating it for a week or two if needed to get your feet wet.

    If there are other elements of the training that don't make you feel great about adherence, let me know. Otherwise, I'd strongly encourage you to go to the gym today!

    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
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    • #3

      I'll throw my 2cents into the ring on this if I may. I'm also very sorry to hear about your loss, and hope that you are doing all you can to deal with the emotional and mental pain it can bring.

      I recently went about 10 months with no resistance training to speak of due to degenerative disk disease resulting in extreme pain radiating in my neck, shoulder, and down my right arm/hand. Also had numbness, tingling, and a measured loss of arm/grip strength, which ultimately lead to a surgery and a fusion of the two vertebrae. I was in recovery wearing a neck brace for my 50th birthday! I had continued pain and tingling for months after surgery before the nerve healed up such that I could do much of anything again without severe flare ups of the nerve. I developed DEPRESSION during this time from the lack of activity, and the fear that I would never be able to be active again.

      Anywho, I've been training again for about 8 weeks with zero numbness/tingling, and only very little soreness in my neck from time to time. No radiating nerve pain at all. The first four weeks were bodfweight exercises for legs, like squats, walking lunges, etc. For upper body I did 10-15lb dumbbells for everything like overhead presses, laterals, rows, etc. I'm not suggesting this for YOU, as I was doing this just to get moving with SOMETHING before I lost my mind completely. In retrospect, I probably should have been doing this kind of thing much sooner.

      I've now been on the beginner routine for the last 4 weeks. Surprisingly, I've found my overall strength was only down about 20% from what it was before surgery, and I've recovered 10% of that ALREADY. In other words, I'm only 10% from where I was 10 months ago when I stopped lifting. Very remarkable to me, but perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised by that since I had lifted pretty consistently for 5 years prior.

      However, my work capacity is definitely less than what it was, even four weeks in. But that is not a big deal. I am finding the beginner routine to provide JUST the right amount of stress to help me get back into things without feeling beat up. I'm making progress and that's great, but here's the main thing to me:

      Having to handle weights that are challenging again is SUCH a release mentally, and has provided an influx of POSITIVE EMOTION to help me get beyond the depression I was feeling. The 4 weeks of moving light weights around didn't do that at all, though it was helpful physically. However the reward of facing a challenging weight, however relative it is to my current physical ability, and hitting those lifts as prescribed is where it is at! This is especially true if you feel like you are not in control, lacking direction, or whatever else. That was definitely me!

      So as Jordan suggests, I'd encourage you to go to the gym today. Don't sweat the routine necessarily, but don't be afraid to apply some stress to your body either. Using RPE should regulate that part for you, but you might just find that you suddenly are aware you can do a lot more than you thought you could.

      Best wishes!


      • #4
        Thanks so much for both of your replies and advice. We’re taking it day by day. Grief is no joke, as it turns out..

        I started the 1st week of the beginner template and am planning on repeating it. I’m trying to let my emotional state influence my RPE readings. It’s turning out to be a great mindfulness exercise and allowing me to work through some of the grief by being present to it during training. And working o it again is definitely helping me post-session as well, mentally and physically.

        thanks so much again