What 16 Months of Minimal Dedication Gets You

I’ve been going to the gym regularly for about 16 months now. I joined early February 2013 and it’s almost June now. I can’t say I’ve been particularly dedicated, but I have been going 3 times a week fairly regularly. I’m not militant about it: I’ve taken time off for illness and injury, but I do go.

Here’s what I’ve achieved in that time:

Benchpresses: Start–50 lbs Now: 80lbs (3 sets x 5 reps)

Squats: Start–I couldn’t do them. At least not properly. My abs were so weak from being pregnant, I couldn’t maintain proper form. Now I’m squatting 85lbs (3×5)

Good mornings and split squats (lunges): Beginning: I wasn’t doing good mornings then, but I was squatting 40 lbs with dumbells. Now: 105lbs (3×7). I can probably up it now, too.

Dual pulley press: Beginning: 30 lbs (this is a lateral pulldown but with two pullies, making it twice as hard). Now: 60lbs (3×5), plus an intermediate weight.
Overhead Press: Beginning: 40 lbs. Now 60 lbs (2×5). I’m working on 70 lbs, but can only do 3 in a row of those.

Assisted pull-ups: 80lbs assistance. Now: 50lbs assistance (2×5). The same with dips.

Abdominal exercises: an important part of going back to the gym was strengthening my abs. When I first started, I could barely do 10 leg lifts where you use your  abs to lift your legs in the air. Then my sister introduced me to planks. In the beginning, I could do 30 second planks and it was awful. Now I can do 2 minutes. It’s still awful, but I’m doing it dammit! Since having strong core muscles is crucial, this was essential getting me back into proper squatting gear. I actually ended up injuring my knee doing goblet squats improperly. Strengthening my core helped with that and, with rest, my knee healed.

See? You don’t have to be insane to get strength or get more fit. You just have to work out on a fairly regular basis. My goal is still what it has always been: to do a damn pull-up.

In another year, I’ll post another update and we’ll see if I’ve achieved it by then.