If you've been following my month-long Train Like Arnold challenge on Instagram (@rocklockridge) then you've seen various pictures and short videos of me doing various exercises like incline presses, squats, various curls, and yes, even Arnold pushes.
It's come out almost 24 hours a week that I'm banging and banging in my barn. That's a lot, but if you think that's all it takes to train like a bodybuilding legend, then that's a short-sighted observation.
Recovering from that amount of volume is also time-consuming and involves more than napping in the middle of the afternoon and chugging down a few protein shakes. I'm doing this in my 40s, but I didn't want that to be an excuse or a safety net for falling short in this endeavor. So each workout is followed by about 20 minutes of percussion gun work and 20 minutes of full body foam rolling. I also incorporate stretching into my daily routine.
In addition, I have used water in my recovery process. A local pool has both cold and hot water access, so I alternate between the two when making the trip. I've also used my shower to do the same when I'm home. If you go for the shower version, I go for five minutes with hot water and two with cold water. I learned this strategy from legendary wrestler Dan Gable, who used two showers in the locker room after his strength training sessions. His times were longer than mine.
Fuel up to level up
Then there's the food. Although I've lost 15 pounds since starting this challenge, I'm eating more than I did before I started. I have between 5 and 6 meals a day and I don't eat small. I kept my protein at around 300 grams per day. My main sources are chicken, steak, eggs, Greek yogurt, and protein shakes. My fats are around 60 grams per day, and the main sources come from various nuts, egg yolks, and natural peanut butter.
I eat between 200 and 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. I let my energy level dictate how much I eat. My typical pre-workout meal is Greek yogurt with fruits and nuts. I also have rice and oats as carb sources. I've found my body handles it better than other sources like multigrain pasta. As for veggies, since they are low in calories, I have as many as I want. Usually it's broccoli, salads and even carrots. There's no real science behind it, other than when I found it helped me train better without feeling like it, then I stuck with it.
The supplementation strategy is also simple – protein powder, pre-workout, BCAAs and a joint recovery supplement. In case you haven't found that out about me yet - simple works best for me. If I have to think about it too much, it will probably be harder to follow.
Back to the weight room
w let's talk about how I do what I do in the barn. This was actually more complicated for me than the other parts of this challenge. It would have been really easy for me to just do the exercises the way I traditionally do, but this is called the Train Like Arnold Challenge for a reason - I had to train like Arnold. This meant I tried to mimic his form as much as possible so I could better understand how he could train the way he did.
Let's take the dumbbell fly as an example. If you've seen Pumping Iron, you've seen him perform his flies with his arms outstretched and pulled back as far as possible. This is to stretch his pecs deeply. But have you ever noticed his feet? His legs are raised and his feet are over the bench. This makes it even more difficult to perform this isolation movement because the body needs to remain stable. It took a little getting used to, but I got the hang of it. I use 50 pound dumbbells as my top set. That's a far cry from the 85s he could use.
There are some things that I'm limited on due to previous injuries. For example, I can't lower a barbell as far as he could due to previous problems with my right shoulder. I manage to use the best range of motion I can. The odd thing is that because of the twisting in the Arnold presses, I can do these relatively pain-free.
I now have more respect for actors and how they work to portray real people in films. I've watched and read as much as I can about Arnold's training, so I use his form instead of my own. I even went and bought a new copy of The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding to read his descriptions. , I don't talk like him. So you'll still hear my country boy voice when I speak.
My main role: father and husband
Even with all of this, my main focus is making sure my family doesn't feel any ill effects. Believe me, it wasn't easy. Packing groceries while running errands is part of the daily routine. More importantly, I don't miss any of my son's school events. That requires a tight schedule from me, sometimes almost to the minute.
In Part 1 of this series, that it was actually my wife who gave me the last push to take on this challenge. She was the one who convinced me that I could do it. We traditionally have weekly "day dates" while our son is at school to spend some time outside the home. So far I haven't missed a single one. Our lunch menus are different because now I eat for purpose rather than pleasure, but I'm still with her. Unfortunately, I'm just moving slower due to the DOMS, which were also quite present.
Check out my posts on my Instagram (@rocklockridge). If you decide to follow, I promise to do my best to keep it interesting even after this is over.