T Nation

Hello Again.


Back for another try.

A few years ago i was pretty active around here and then dropped out of circulation, then known as 'Big Nurse' i don't seem to be able to access my old username and account so i have created a new one.

A lot has changed in my life in the last couple of years mainly in that i retired from full time nursing last year and we moved out of the city (plymouth england) and into a little miners cottage in the Cornwall countryside. Most of the last year i have spent working on the 2 gardens here converting them from very broken down 'social' gardens to become productive food gardens like a mini homestead/allotment.

Right at the end of my career in its last couple of years i sadly went from being a very regular weights trainer to almost nothing and that mainly happened after some big changes in my job, the worst of which meant that i was working nights and days in the same week and gradually developing insomnia, at the end i wasn't sleeping properly by day or night and my training just ground to a halt out of sheer chronic tiredness.

Now : its taken about a year to establish a reasonably normal sleep pattern, the good side is that the work here has been very physical, a good example being just one job that entailed me digging out, sorting and shovelling into trailers some 9 metric tons of rubble and soil.
I am in the 7th week of a fresh start in training, so far i have mainly been concentrating on body weight exercise, some running and now getting some kit together to have weights at home.

i don't now live near a decent gym so most of what i do will be right at home and i have at least some space to work in.

I hope it will be good to join in here again although my focus is now very much on retaining muscle mass with inevitable ageing (i am 56 now btw)


Welcome back. Hope all goes smoothly as you transition back into resistance training.


Just to add in some detail.

In terms of kit at home i now have :

An olympic bar but only a pair of 20kg plates so far, i have ordered some lighter plates today.

2 kettlebells.

A beam across a newly built utility area that i can hook my hands around to chin-up to.

A flat working deck area.

So far my routine consists of :

Walk and run as warm up (quite hilly) about 20 minutes.

Sets of press-ups, usually 3 or 4 of 10 although one set today went to 12.
Sets of chins, weak so far , max is 4.
Warm-up with bare bar .
Deadlift with 60kg, 3-4 sets of 10.
Overhead press with bare bar.....need some lighter plates.
Goblet squats with the KB's.

Sometimes finish by walking up the hill and doing a couple of faster intervals.


Maybe some of you good people can help me track something down ?

Bit of a story here.

Over here in the UK i write extensively on a preparedness and survival forum , been covering the ebola outbreak extensively, but answered a question from another member about age related muscle loss (sarcopenia) frailty, falls in the elderly etc. In my last hospital job (clinical nurse specialist) i studied falls in the elderly and one common factor always seems to be age related sarcopenia, loss of strength, poor posture and balance.

Some while back when i was doing that work and incidentally training seriously myself i came across an article that was based on the specific muscle atrophy and weakness that caused the classic 'old person' posture and that can be possibly prevented earlier in life by 1. doing resistance exercise, and yes that's why i am here 2.That there may be a specific set of exercises that directly impact on the specific pattern of age related muscle atrophy.

I just can't find that article, i thought it might have been coach Dan John who influenced a lot of my own training or possibly mentioned by Christian Thibaudeau but having searched through articles by both don't seem to be able to track it down. It might even be related to work on diet and exercise in the elderly which is definitely pointing to resistance exercise and increased protein in the diet.

If anyone knows of any work in this field and can point me in the right direction i would be very appreciative.

Oh...some plates arrived today which means i can start to put some load back on.

Nice to be back.


Well some plates arrived yesterday so i now have (kg) :

2 x 20
4 x 5
4 x 2.5

The oly bar.

2 Kb's : a 16 and a 28 kg.

Yesterday it was a really grey and damp day here so i took a walk around the hill and back lanes here as a warm up and then spent a while working out what kind of routine to do with what i have got and ran through a few sets just to get the feel for things.

Deadlift : started with just the 20's on the bar (60 kg) to get the feel for it again and built that up over 5 sets to finish with 80kg, i know that's staggeringly almost laughably light to you guys but just getting back into it and with a very dodgy back it still felt like work to me.

Squats, i really can't set up here yet to squat with the bar, need to work out something for that, so just do goblet squats with the KB's, again 5 sets : one with the 16 just to warm up and 4 with the 28 for some work, just to add that i have disproportionately long levers and a shorter back which makes my squat a bit weird.

While i was at that i did some chins and press-ups between sets to keep the work happening and then once i had done with the main stuff stripped the bar down and did some overhead press with the bare bar and then with a little weight on.

Protein shake to finish.

The dietary approach i have taken for the last 7 weeks is to have a light breakfast, eat nothing during the day but have a couple of shots of MAG-10 during a heavier work day and then eat well in the evening. Some work days can be a significant workload although that has eased off a bit now.
My own research into my question above is suggesting that i need to work on having a higher protein intake than i normally do and that might need to be in specific proteins, not sure about that yet.

So far this week i have done something towards my strength or 'fitness' 4 days back to back (3 running days and 3 weights and run) so taking a break today.

Looking into using the nearest gym to access things like a squat rack , bench and lats deck that i haven't got here.


Big Nurse, welcome (back) to the forum. I'll be following along as part of my reasons for training include maintaining health while aging.

I suggest you search for Dan John's book Intervention, or some of his posts about the subject on his website. He does talk about training aging populations quite a bit. He has an article called "Training for Middle Age and Beyond" that discusses tonic and phasic muscles. That may be the phrases you were looking for.

Best to you in your training.


Thanks, i have one of his books on order but hadn't heard of that particular one.


I remember you.... welcome back


Hey bulldog....you doing well ?


Great to hear from bulldog again and thanks mrs 'strumpet" (great name) for the pick-up on my question.

Last time i was here was the first time, just into my 50's, that i had ever trained with free weights and a lot of what happened to me was i guess beginner gains and i think that the same sort of things are happening to me again except that i have a much better idea of what i am doing except that i am not in a commercial gym but at home and outside.

I was saying that my training completely broke down during my last job and a lot of that just seemed to be down to the chronic sleep deprivation of working nights and days in the same week, long shifts too. What i tried to keep up with then was the other side, not exactly training but related and that was heavy load carry (rucking) in long preparation for what we are doing now and that is to move from an urban setting to where we are now in the country with a small cottage/larger outside space and a simpler life. Part of that is reducing our reliance on utilities and one of the first jobs here was to get a woodburner installed and start using the tons of firewood that i have cut, rucked and seasonned. Most of my firewood was scavenged load by load from the woodland near where i lived and rucked out load by load about 60lbs at a time so that was a lot of walking and a lot of load carrying, when we moved we had to shift 4 trailer loads (9 foot trailer) and i think about 4-5 tons of wood, its all dense British hardwoods like oak and beech.

Today i periodically keep that up by heading down into the local woods here and bringing out a load to keep things topped-up ahead of time, its not exactly training as you guys would recognise it here, more like conditioning as it puts my heart rate through the roof getting a full load up a steep slope and back to the cottage.
The other aspect of life here is that i have considered the project as my full time job and it has taken a year so far to re convert the gardens from 2 broken down 'designerised' social gardens (previous owner was an older gay man who had design pretensions) into a working produce garden. Given that the site is on top of old cornish mine spoil there was literally tons of clay spoil and granite rocks to remove to build the deep beds and grow beds...part of the problem is that the subsoil is heavy with arsenic and can't be used.
So its been a year of consistently heavy and hard labour and i have no complaints about that as it has set me up well for more focussed work.

My purpose here then is to prevent a lot of the age related frailty that could be down the road but right now its about fitness and strength to pick up on my outdoor life again and some of the oddball adventures i have planned.

Today.....back on the weights and a run around the lanes.


Todays work.

Today was the first 'proper' thought out weights workout session after just trying to get used to things again.

Instead of a run around the lanes first i did a normal warm-up and then got to it.

I decided this time to keep things as simple as possible and not get distracted by working on this bit or that bit , just the simple main compound lifts and body weight exercises combined.
Because i wanted simplicity i have gone for a kind of 5x5x5 routine so : 5 main movements, 5 sets of 5 reps done as 5 rounds to keep things moving and minimising rest between sets.

So the main work was :
Deadlift : ( 1warm-up set) then 5 sets at 80kg
Goblet squat (1 warm up with the 16kg KB) then 5 sets with the 28kg
Sets of 10 press-ups each set
Sets of chin-ups (only getting 3)
Overhead push press : 5 at 30kg

Then a much shorter run.

Ok so that's pretty damn light even by my standards and i am even a bit embarrassed to post that but there has to be a start somewhere and do you know what ? it felt ok and i enjoyed it, no chasing the next plate and do grinding out long groups of sets.

Shot of MAG-10 to finish and then treated myself with a trip out this evening to go and see Fury at the local cinema.


I'm breathing... cant beat that :slight_smile:


Breathing is a good start, nearly everything that follows is a bonus.
Didn't you have a son who was coming along really well ?


Thanks again, now i just need to work out what the specific movements would be.


Monday week 8.

The aim for the week is to complete 5 days of doing the modified 5x5 routine.

It went well today except that it was a lot colder outside and took a lot longer to get warmed up and ready so i had a longer walk around the lanes first and a longer walk and run as a cool down.

Today then , rounds of the same exercises but in a more logical order ie not doing deadlift then squat (doh)

So : Each round as : 10 press-ups, 5 KB goblet squats, 3 chins (trying for 5) 5 deadlift. 10 seconds or less between movements.

One group of 5x5 overhead push press at end.

Mixed walk and run around lanes but it felt very drag-y on my back which is often a problem.

Not quite the same spring today.


Second day.

Pushed the deadlift a bit by doing ascending and descending sets where the middle set was 90kg, so in this iteration of training thats a new personal best.

After the modified 5x5 i hit the road and played with some fartlek intervals, then went walkies with a rucksack as a cooler.


3rd day of back to back training.

Again a slight re-organisation of the order of lifts to make things a bit more logical.

Main work :

Deadlift ascending and descending set centred on 90kg middle set and thats all the weight i have got right now.
Press-ups (10 per set)
Goblet KB squat (5 @ 28kg per set)
Chins. (3 per set) not getting any better except that i am thumping my head into the roof each time.
Overhead push press, middle set went up to 35kg.

5 rounds of that followed by a 20 minute fartlek interval around the lanes.


yes i do and i still talk about him obsessively on my log LOL


Ok i just found the thread again.

Very well done.


Day 5 report.

On mon/tues/weds i did a combination of weights and running, also did quite a high workload week outside where i am sifting and cleaning stones in the drive.

Thursday morning i really felt a generally stiff and sore so i went out and did a warm-up in the lanes and definitely lacked any drive so i had the rest of the day off.

Today i felt even more stiff so i went out and did a longer warm-up and then set up just to do easy sets, mainly just to get through the movements but once i started working i felt a whole lot better so got stuck into it.

The result is that i had the best workout so far.

Nothing exciting to report as i have run out of plates to put on the bar so i just did more sets fully loaded and more sets of the KB squats to generally increase the workload.