After a long time being sedentary and amassing about 299 lbs peak, I decided to get serious about getting healthy. I first attacked my weight by diet and got down to about 210 lbs. Next I started with some light cardio work, and slowly progressed to slightly more intense cardio work and weight training. I use a heart rate monitor for my cardio and got tested at my gym for my personal zones. The test came with a workable plan to improve my cardio workout. However, because I can't afford a personal trainer right now, I'm still a bit in the dark about how good my weight training program is.
My goal is general fitness. After being sedentary for so long I have a lot of work to do to get there. I'm not looking to be an Adonis, or even super athletic. I'm nearly 40, already married, so I don't need to impress anyone. I just want to be healthy.
What I'm Doing Right Now
I do cardio work 4 times a week, with two of those times in Active Recovery (i.e. heart rate in Zone 1 the whole time). Cardio is 40 minutes of training with 5 minutes each for warmup and cooldown.
Three days a week I follow my cardio with the following program (3 sets of 10 reps):
- Inclined Press (currently 70 lbs, soon to increase)
- Squat/Situps (currently 320 lbs, 1 rep is a set of squats and a set of situps)
- Pectoral fly? (currently 100 lbs, unsure of proper name)
- Leg curl/Crunches (currently 110 lbs, 1 rep similar to squat/situp)
- Row (currently 100 lbs)
- Calf raises/Prone iso-abs (currently 200 lbs, iso is 45 seconds)
- Lat pull (currently 110 lbs)
This takes me about 50 minutes to complete, afterwards I stretch for another 10 minutes. I follow a workout with either a protein drink or bar. I try to do it within 15 minutes, but sometimes it's 20 due to shower/changing times.
I assembled the program from what I've been able to gather from web sites that cater more to information than advertising. It's a whole body workout with at least one day of rest in between. The one day of cardio that I have following my combo cardio/weight training day is light intensity (active recovery) with one day of rest before the next cardio/weight training day. When I can get through a full set of an exercise with some reserve energy, the next time I'll increase on the last set. It's pretty tough, but the next session after that I'm usually able to get close to all three sets without needing to rest for a second.
Since I still have my heart rate monitor on from the cardio work, I incorporate it into my weight training as well. Basically, my rest between sets is governed more by the heart rate than the clock. I found that if I can get my heart rate down to zone 2 I can get through a full set even when I increase my weight. Towards the beginning of a workout it takes about 30 seconds to get it down, but towards the end it can take up to 90 seconds. Besides, it gives me a record of the calories burned. A typical week for me would burn around 3,000 calories.
- Am I hitting all the right muscle groups?
- Is the plan balanced? I.e. am I hitting the muscle groups in the right proportions?
- Considering my goal, what should I strive for to maintain? I've heard you should be able to bench press your weight (I've quite a ways to go before then), but I haven't heard anything else for the other types of exercises.
- Should I modify anything in my approach?
Keep in mind that due to schedule limitations I don't have a buddy I can work out with, so I don't feel comfortable doing free-weights without a spotter.