It was with great delight that after 7 training sessions, where I used the maximum weight I could hold and work with, that I saw the wrinkled arms regain muscle and have shape. I was so pleased with myself and started wearing sleeveless again to show off the new body that started returning.
Alas….the gym closed for 2 days, and the third day had me working on something that i did not want to leave at 9am, my gym time. After missing that day, it was easy to miss the other two and then 6 days had gone.
Yesterday was my day for photographing week 3…alas there was not a muscle in sight and the sags were back. That surprised me. Surely one cannot lose tone that fast, but yes, they can. I immediately started using the elastic and isometrics to try and regain the tone. Today I can hardly move as the body is aching so much from overuse. I also walked the beach and the shops carrying my heavy computer bag and luggage.
I was told the muscles never lose their memory and if you return to bodybuilding after a lapse, the muscles will remember and return, and that is exactly what started happening. However, they don’t keep remembering when you do not feed their energy, so if you start training after a lapse of many years, which I have just done, you have to keep up the training. I found 3 days on, a day off, 2 days on and a day off is my best cycle and pattern.
The fact with bodybuilding is that if you stop, the muscles sag…they seem to need the stimulation to keep the tone. This is advice to anyone wanting to start training…when you stop, the body stops tone too. its a never ending cycle.
The cost of attending the gym is also an issue. This week my car cost $300 for a new clutch,that took up my cash and was another reason for not going to the gym. However, I have found that I can do similar exercises using different strengths of elastic instead of using weight and also isometrics. That is how I started retraining a few months ago…Soon I will be traveling and will not have a gym for a few weeks at a time, and this is where the value of the elastic and isometrics comes in, as it is light and portable and you can use it while watching TV, waiting for something or even while walking as all you use is your own body.
In the 60’s and 70’s isometrics became popular, but it ceased to be of use as people could train simply using their own weight and stretching and contracting. However, these isometric exercises that do not require weights are just as good in toning the body. Pushups against a wall, door or on a table or chair, stretching the arms and legs and different parts of the body while holding the stretch for 12-20 seconds..similar to the Yoga exercises. Many of these exercises can be done while you are doing something else, like holding in the stomach tight while shopping or even driving the car.
This is what I am now planning to do to maintain the tone.
I am so ashamed of myself for not going to the gym and not doing exercises or even walking….and losing the tone I developed so quickly, and lost in the same time with no training.
I hang my head in shame….
What Is Isometrics?
Isometric exercise is your body’s answer to the question, “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?” The answer is that your muscles will get stronger without actually moving. If you’ve been doing your homework and reading up on strength training, then you already know that your muscles gain strength when you challenge them to produce more force than they’re used to. This is typically done by forcing them to move against resistance or weight, like when you do a bicep curl while holding a dumbbell. As you gradually increase the weight or resistance, the muscle responds by getting stronger.
But muscles don’t actually have to move this added weight in order to get stronger. If the resistance is so high that they can’t make it move, they can still get stronger just by trying. There are three ways a muscle can contract to produce force (and eventually build strength):
A concentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting shorter. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when lifting a dumbbell up during a bicep curl.
An eccentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting longer. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when lowering a dumbbell back down during a bicep curl.
An isometric contraction occurs when a muscle contracts without changing its length or causing any movement of the bones to which it is attached. The best example of this is pushing against a wall, or pulling up on a window that is stuck. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, if you were to pause anywhere along the lifting or lowering phase of a bicep curl—your muscles are working without shortening or lengthening.