T Nation

Getting Back in the Game

It’s New Years and I’m trying to get back into shape after 8 years out of the gym. Before stopping completely I’d probobly missed a hand full of days over ten years through my last year as a college athelete. When I stopped lifting I was 6’4 and 265 pounds, I’m now 285 pounds and haven’t grown an inch…well except around the middle. My question is how to go get back into the game. I’ve started back up a few times but have been sidelined by injuries on the 4-5 times I’ve made a run of it at the gym. I think part of the problem is I can still handle some decent weights with good form, but I pay the piper for days afterwords. I know some soreness is normal, but these have felt more like injury than the good sore I’ve always associated with a productive workout. I’m desperate to get back into shape this time. For the last few years good genetics and very wide shoulders have allowed me to hide the fact that I’m getting more and more gut heavy and pec poor. I’m not sure where to start. Should I slide the balance towards cardio in the hopes it will more rapidly increase my ability to recover? Or should I focus exclusively on weight training until I’ve developed a good strength base? I’m also unsure if there is a particularly suitable dieting plan I should follow that will help be deal with the added rigors of returning to training. My thought was to try and follow the Running Man program in combination with OVT, but I’m concerned about being able to push through the program. I know some of my problem is diet. I love my beer and my steaks and I understand these are probobly not going to be a regular part of any new program. Is there a good cookbook or diet plan out there I can pull from? I’m a pretty good cook and I don’t mind doing it, so its really a matter of simply getting the optimal blend of nutrients. Really, I guess I’m just fishing for suggestions on shortening the path back to being able to really go at it at the gym with a focus on advice from anyone who may have gotten back involved after a long layoff due to laziness or injury. Right now I feel like I have to constantly monitor my effort level avoid injury. Is their a back from the dead workout that is buried somewhere in the previous issues I missed? Thanks to any and all…

Whatever you decide to do be sure to use patience.  More comeback runs have been thwarted by "too hard--too soon" than anything else.  

See my thread called “Discipline Help.” I started a few weeks ago and have been addressing/going through some similar issues that you have raised.

Good work on deciding to get back in the game. I would echo what tditt said, as I’ve let my enthusiasm lead to injury every previous time I’ve recommitted. Your story sounds like mine, except I’m more “recovery challenged” (old). I’d first start with another question, what are your goals (priorities)? Assuming they include fat loss, I’d start with the FAQ on the T-mag home page and scroll down to the diet section. T-Dawg 2.0 (good for the steak, bad for the beer)seems to work well for a broad cross section on these forums, and I know it is working well for me. For training, I’d suggest treating yourself like a beginner initially, (Dawg School, Issue #130) and try to get a wide variety of exercises worked into your routine. The challenge with comeback (my experience) is that strenght in major mucle groups seems to come back pretty fast, leaving you vulnerable to injury in your joints and and ancillary areas. I’m trying to incorporate some of Coach Davies exercises (GPP) to avoid them this time around. Patience and good luck
old dogg

tditt is right.

It sounds like you’re trying to amp the volume too high, too quickly. I would start with something a little more “tame” than OVT. Start with something like 5x5. You will adjust quickly, and within three weeks or so, you can start messing with the volume. The nice part about 5x5 is that you can handle some serious weight, but you won’t cripple yourself with soreness in doing so. Plus, I just love training for pure strength.

You didn’t lose it all at once, and you’re not going to get it back at all once, either.

On the diet tip, check out “The Diet Manifesto” right here on this very website. You should find as much dietary info as you can stomach (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Dan “Comeback King” McVicker