T Nation

Restarting a Workout Routine

I am 48 and was a regular lifter for about 5 years. Nothing really serious, but I followed some of the Waterbury routines found on T-Nation, along with stuff like the mobility complex and some simpler routines I picked up here and there. My effort would be seen as half-assed by most who post here.

Then, about three years ago a case of shoulder impingement became so bad that I couldn’t even take off a shirt. While convalescing from shoulder surgery for a couple of months, my awesome, funked-out weightlifting gym went out of business. (A fancy gym opened up nearby and killed my gym. The new place is more suited to women into spinning and aerobics than bodybuilding or weightlifting. And their price was almost double what I’d been paying previously.)

So, I fell of the wagon big time. I gained weight and lost every bit of strength and muscle. The most exercise I’ve been getting is raising my fat ass up into my car to go to work.

Now, a new, real weightlifting gym opened up only a few blocks from where I live. It was opened by a former NFL football player, so it has all of the stuff that a gym SHOULD have. I joined up about 2 weeks ago. Then, I promptly got sick and haven’t been in it since I signed up.

Now, I’m ready.

So, I’m looking for advice. Does anyone recommend how to really get back into the routine? What workout routines should a guy start with who’s been off for 3+ years?

What would be an ideal first workout or sequence? What cautions would you bring up?

What are you goals? You looking to get stronger, look better, training for an event or sport?

Welcome back. 5/3/1 is the staple program for a good majority of us. It’s simple and effective. For more specific help answer Collin’s questions. Good luck.

Welcome, Deltaname. Awesome luck having such a great gym opening so close.

You say you gained weight and lost strength. Sounds like you need to get diet into order and fast. My personal recommendation is Paleo:


Paleo can be really strict, you don’t have to follow it exactly, but you do need to cut down on carbs and get your protein up. Protein shakes can help. Cut down on alcohol as much as you can stand. If you’re in a hurry to lose the flab, eliminate carbs altogether for a week or so, then start feeding them back in. (Your digestive sytem may feel a bit quesy, that’s OK.) Fruit, nuts and fibrous veggies are good. If you can tolerate it, rice & sweet potatoes are OK. And keep water intake up.

A multivitamin with magnesium and fish oil won’t hurt.

Congrats on your decision to conquer old man Time!


I agree with our man Cav. Right now i am working hard on getting rid of flab, going very nearly paleo but more like a paleo/atkins hybrid=lots of protein, minimising carbs (about 100gm day) drinking lots of water. Fasted walking and lots of other walking seems to hit the sweet spot for me.

Nowhere near enough experience to talk about training but how abouts just getting in there and doing some umloaded bwe stuff just to get moving again ?.

I suggest for the actual lifting (yes, maybe you could start first for a couple of weeks with cardio, doing that will also help get your mindset into doing an effort as well as preparing our body) you do a 3 day program maybe total body each day. One exercise largely each muscle group. Do day 1 off day 2 off day 3 off off.

Use weights that are challenging for 12 - 15 reps per set, about 3 sets, maybe 1.5 - 2 minutes between sets. Follow this course for 6 weeks, making sure you are reaccustomed to form.

then start looking at more advanced programs. One is the Bill Starr Glenn Pendkay advanced 5 X 5.

To start. Pick a routine and do it. BUT with sub-maximal %'s for 1 month to get back in the groove. Then start to slowly ramp up the intensity.

Do your Pre-hab Daily or twice daily. We have a sticky on top of this page.Making this a habit That is most important right now.

And during this month of Re-awakening SLOWLY change your Diet to whatever you decide on.

See that was easy. In a nutshell

  1. Start light
  2. Make it a habit
  3. Repeat
  4. slowly add intensity

Paypal me later. LOL


ps: Hope this helps

Thanks for the great replies!

I’m looking to regain strength and endurance and lose the weight. I’m not specifically targeting size or looking better (although some of that would come with better fitness).

Right now I’m moving toward DeadKong’s advice of a three day a week program, most weight I can get a number of no-failure reps for three sets with 2 minutes between sets. I’ll try to pick exercises that work groups of muscles (total body-ish).

Any advice as to which exercises I could use for this routine? I love squats and deadlifts. Would barbell/dumbbell lunges be ok and not too much of an isolation exercise? I think barbell rows, and that exercise where you squat white pressing a barbell over your head. I don’t want to do isolation exercises, like curls or seated calf raise. I’d rather do stuff that hits more muscle groups.

It’s been so long that I can’t even remember the names of the stuff!

My advice for over all strenth would be Ripptoe’s Starting Strength after your back in the swing of things you can switch to something like 5/3/1.

If you want to get jacked, I can’t help you. Ask ddot, git or Mattyxl.

So tell us all about this awesome new gym.