T Nation

Where to Begin? Feeling Overwhelmed

This post is probably better suited to a counsellor than a bodybuilding forum, but I could use some direction in regards to training. I’m 37, I have 4 kids under the age of 7 and I’ve been training off and on for almost 20 years. I’ve had numerous injuries, including shoulder surgery in 2011 to repair a torn labrum & deal with a severe loss of cartilage. I live with shoulder pain and numbness in my arm almost daily and I’ve been told to avoid shoulder and chest pressing.

I’ve found myself getting more interested in the big movements lately, squats and deadlifts primarily and in turn I’m feeling the desire to get stronger overall and work hard to gain more muscle before things start to regress. Having said that, I wonder if this is really that important at this stage of my life.

I love being in the gym, but with kids and sports, a full time career, a wife, it’s tough to stay on track. I’ve been reading more about mobility and also looking more at leaning out and becoming more ‘athletic’ but it’s hard to know where to begin. I guess my question is how do I put it all together into something that will still show progress? I want to lift, but I also want to feel better and be able to run and play with the kids. I’m constantly sore after training and some days my shoulder pain is substantial. I honestly don’t have the time to focus on mobility training, cardio and weights, etc. My training seems limited to 6-8 hours a week and many times my workout is cut short for work of family commitments.

I think the hard part is mentally changing my focus to something beyond just gaining strength & muscle. I don’t really enjoy basic cardio and rolling around on a foam mat for a half hour isn’t too thrilling either, but I also realize it’s time to focus on what is most beneficial for someone my age. If there are experts out there or anyone else that have changed their training methods, please chime in. It’s overwhelming, the amount of info and training methods available to us and as I stated, I don’t know where my focus should lie at age 37.

I’ve said a lot, but I’m still not sure if I’ve said the right things. I have 2 kids tugging at me right now…as usual, so my train of thought is about to derail.

Will try to address tomorrow at work. I have some insight.

[quote]CallMeBruce wrote:
I want to lift, but I also want to feel better and be able to run and play with the kids. I’m constantly sore after training and some days my shoulder pain is substantial. I honestly don’t have the time to focus on mobility training, cardio and weights, etc. My training seems limited to 6-8 hours a week

It’s overwhelming, the amount of info and training methods available to us and as I stated, I don’t know where my focus should lie at age 37.

[/quote]

That’s a great post. I think you summed it up really well.
I think a lot of people reach this stage at some point where the quest for strength at any cost starts to be outweighed by all the aches and pains that go along with it. Only you can decide where your focus should lie though.

You seem to me to want a little bit of everything (like I do), to gain some muscle, get stronger, lose fat, have some cardio fitness and to get more athletic. It’s all do-able, but with such a wide range of goals you might end up “falling between two stools” and not excelling at any (like I do), but the worst you could end up as is a hell of an all rounder.

I was going to suggest Crossfit, but with your shoulder issues I don’t know. Their workouts all tend to be pretty shoulder heavy.

What about something like a fullbody routine 3 x a week followed by some intervals or hillsprints? that would tick most of your boxes and not keep you in the gym too long?

Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on.

Commit some weeks to work on your weak parts. I usually train three weeks and work on specific issues on the fourth.

[quote]FarmerBrett wrote:

You seem to me to want a little bit of everything (like I do), to gain some muscle, get stronger, lose fat, have some cardio fitness and to get more athletic. It’s all do-able, but with such a wide range of goals you might end up “falling between two stools” and not excelling at any (like I do), but the worst you could end up as is a hell of an all rounder.

I was going to suggest Crossfit, but with your shoulder issues I don’t know. Their workouts all tend to be pretty shoulder heavy.

What about something like a fullbody routine 3 x a week followed by some intervals or hillsprints? that would tick most of your boxes and not keep you in the gym too long?

Good luck with it. Let us know how you get on.[/quote]

That’s definitely my goal, to be in better overall health, but I guess the mental aspect of moving heavy weight every time in the gym is what I need to overcome. I’ve used the time since my shoulder surgery to work on my weak parts and I now have had record lifts in both squats and deadlifts. The downside to that is my legs are sore for almost a full week after every workout and add a lack of sleep and recovery and well, here we are…

I think having a list of fitness priorities would be great. Is mobility and flexibilty #1 or should it be strength and muscle building for as long as I can make gains? Is cardio that important, or can I manage that aspect through a weight program alone?? Lots of questions on my end.

Thanks for the help, looking forward to discussing it with you guys.

How about that: Do your big lifts once or twice a week and then do active recovery: mobility, cardio/ conditioning, etc.

If you read around you might find what i found lately. Many after years of lifting switch from focussing on heavy load to 8-15 reps. If numbers are important to you maybe you can add and multiply and realize that lighter loads = more load move in 1 session(shorter breaks).

Doing tabata twice weekly has improved my morning heart rate so you might try to save time compared to cardio.
Veggies are your helpers, double your intake they are a natural alkalinizer and acids are linked to pain. You might also search alkaline foods.

[quote]Avocadoshake wrote:
How about that: Do your big lifts once or twice a week and then do active recovery: mobility, cardio/ conditioning, etc.[/quote]

I think that may be the best plan, thanks. In a good week, I can make it to the gym 4-5 times, so I should be able to do a good mixture of heavy lifting with some core & mobility thrown in. I’m busy with lacrosse in the summer, so some sprinting would be a great option too…once we lose the snow!

Thanks for the veggie tip, I certainly don’t eat enough so that may be a noticeable change for me. Thanks guys.