I spent two and a half years away from lifting weights, at first because of Covid, and then later because money and time were not as abundant as I would have liked. When I went back to university this year though, I had access to a gym with weights, and I was excited to get back at it as soon as I could.
Two things surprised me. One was how long I felt sore. I seem to remember that the first time I started lifting weights, in my late twenties, I felt muscle soreness for a few weeks and then it basically went away and never came back. This time around, in my mid thirties, the muscle pain stuck around almost twice as long. Is my body really that much older? There are lots of factors other than age that might also have some role in this.
The other thing that surprised me was how quickly there was a visible difference. After six weeks, shirts looked better on me, and I wasn’t the only person who could see it.
Not saying I looked like a movie star or anything. But six weeks of lifting weights, probably an average of three or four times a week, was enough to produce a noticeable change. And that’s the case even though I’m currently focused on eating more for health than eating to put on muscle (e.g., I’m not counting grams of protein or paying attention to when my protein is consumed relative to the timing of a workout).
I do mainly the big “compound” lifts, I think they’re called, such as weighted squats, deadlifts, bench press; and I lift a bit on the heavier side (mostly in the 4-6 rep range). I vaguely follow the recommendations of that man with two first names — Michael Matthews, I think, or perhaps it’s Matthew Michaels. I disagree with some of his opinions about the world, but he seems to give good advice about weightlifting, from what I’ve been able to tell so far.
I think I should be able to keep this schedule for twelve months from start to finish, at which point I’ll need to take a look at my timetable and my responsibilities and see what I will do next. It will be interesting to see how far I can get in those twelve months.
But I can’t help being amazed that six weeks of pretty minimal effort was enough to bring about visible change. It can be annoying to pay for a gym membership, and tricky to fit it into a full weekly schedule, but once you’re there, it’s really not rocket science to get good results out of it.