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First Gym Session - Sept 6 2013

Posted September 6th, 2013 at 2:59 PM by Kanzler
Updated September 6th, 2013 at 3:26 PM by Kanzler


So it's my first gym session, and I didn't have any real expectations (grounded in relevant experience). I did have a couple of targets for this trial session, and while I didn't meet all of them, I was pretty satisfied about how I did.

My main goal: to improve my fitness both generally and specifically in ways that benefit fencing. So I thought bodyweight/free weight compound exercises would be appropriate. But I added isolation exercises and bench presses for the upper body, because you know, it'd be kinda neat Strength and size aren't priorities - and I'm not looking to look huge either - I'm looking to make my muscles work better as a team. I pay attention to my form and my movements are generally 2 sec up 2 sec down. If I can't make a good form movement I cut my losses and move on. I generally wait 1 minute between sets (or more if I'm not comfortable), and I'm practicing footwork or jumping in while I wait.

So without further ado, this is how it went, notes are in square brackets:


A note: My goal for most of the dumbbell and bodyweight exercises are 3x15. Exceptions are noted below. Didn't have any expectations for powerlifting exercises, just went with the flow there.

Pullups: 2 sets of 8, 1st set had 4 good pullups and 4 assisted ones, 2nd set had 2 good pullups and 6 assisted ones. [I was aiming for 3 sets of 8, didn't matter how many assisted ones, but I couldn't do a single good pullup after the second set so I moved on.]

Situps: 3 sets of 15. [hit all of them, noted that while the 1st half (crunch) was good, my back muscles were struggling to get my torso all the way up.]

Lunges, back foot elevated 1 foot: 3 sets of 15, each leg. [hit all of them, though last 5 lunges (both legs) for the final set were done with the back foot level on the ground. I wanted to challenge myself by putting more weight on the lifting foot.]

Pushups: 3 sets - 15, 12, 12 [first set was good, the last two sets had me doing knee pushups for the final 4 in each set.]

Bicep curls, each arm by itself, 10 lbs: 3 sets - 15, 15, 12 [was concentrating on form, I couldn't stop my shoulder and elbow from compensating by the 12th rep in the final set.]

Lateral shoulder raises, 7.5: 3 sets of 15 [arms were bent at 90 degrees]

French press, both arms together with dumbbells, 7.5: 3 sets of 15 [arms were starting to shake noticeably at this point]

Squats, 115: 3 sets of 10 [tried out 65 and 85, but 115 felt reasonable and I settled with 10 reps instead of 15]

Bench Press, 85: 3 sets of 4 [tried out 65 before 85. Arms were shaking like mad by the end, I tried my best to keep the focus on the chest area though]

Stability ball planks: skipped this, arms were too shaky

----10 minute break----

Some cardio to warm up again

Plyometric lunges: 2 sets of 20 [was going for 3 sets, but my friend showed up and we left the gym]

Plyometric jumps: 4 sets of 10 [there are these ledges that look like enlarged stairs, and each ledge is 50-60cm high (~2 feet?). Did some variations, but overall it was really comfortable. Would've done 5, but she had to leave]

Jogged it off.


I ate a peach and a banana 1 1/2 hour before the workout, drank a cup of milk after the strength session and right after the plyos. I had a chicken wrap half an hour after the workout ended. This amounts to 31 grams of protein and 631 calories over 4 hours (protein obviously post-workout). I like the way my macros look today, and I'll be eating as much as planned by tonight.

In the ballpark of how many calories would this workout have burned? It lasted 1 1/2 hours, and hopefully I've given enough details to judge its intensity. Would ~300 be a reasonable number? I weigh 150 lbs.

Edit: Would my shakiness have to do with glycogen depletion? I'm also feeling strangely cold right now, going to have a banana. Also somewhat tired. Perhaps ~300 is too low an estimate.

Comments, criticism, advice, and alternatives all welcome.
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  1. Old Comment
    Dark Azelf's Avatar
    Good stuff.

    Well in the future id definitely look to incorporate some power lifts, these increase speed greatly (i.e better muscle fiber recruitment and faster) which will be of obvious benefit to fencing. In addition to hitting the core alot too.

    Deadlifts, High/Power Pulls, Jump Shrugs, Hang Cleans, Power Cleans, Push Presses, Split Jerk and the full Clean and Jerk. Snatches, press unders and Hang Snatches would be good too. These also hit your shoulders and traps which are the prime muscle used in fencing.

    Go for 2-4 explosive reps on the above (fast as possible on lifting phase and then lower slowly and controlled similar to plyometric jumps) on those and on big compound exercises too (i.e Bench and squats) You can also do this with pull ups/rows/lat pulldowns. Otherwise do what you are doing with other exercises and reps, i.e about 15 as it hits slow twitch fibers which are for endurance which will also apply as you know to fencing.

    Also id definitely incorporate some wrist and grip exercises into your workout, i.e wrist rollers etc. Also id look to put in some rear deltoid and rotator cuff work, alot of people forget about those but they are really important the latter to prevent injury such as impingement.

    As for cardio id split this up too, one day interval, one day fartlek and one day standard continous. Once again hits everything which is relevant to your goals.

    The shaking could be several things, dehydration, lack of food, lacking in certain minerals. Eat well, take a multivit tablet and keep hydrated and you should be fine.

    Lastly, id also incorporate some agility work. Its extremely helpful, especially to your sport too.

    Anyway keep it up as you seem to know what you are doing and good to see someone using a balance ball, those are underated for core work.

    One last thing, your macros, how much do you eat usually in a day ?
    Posted September 6th, 2013 at 9:11 PM by Dark Azelf Dark Azelf is offline
    Updated September 6th, 2013 at 10:46 PM by Dark Azelf
  2. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    Oh right macros! I'm aiming for 20/30/50 but it usually turns into 23/27/50 (protein/fat/carbs). I've been eating this before hitting the weights and it hadn't occurred to me to change it to reflect my new workouts. I use myfitnesspal to record everything I eat. I gave it 150 lbs and a sedentary lifestyle and the goal of maintaining my weight, and it gave me 2090 cal per day - I add exercise manually and I eat to compensate for that.

    You're right about the wrist and grip exercises, I've always had a terrible grip, even from birth XD especially with chinups and even dumbbell exercises now I think about it, my hands feel like they're slipping off.

    Is a good resource for fitness? I'm only really familiar with basic calisthenics and weight exercises. I was introduced on how to do power lifts (just squats, deadlifts, and bench presses) on Tuesday, and Friday was my first time getting a feel for the exercise. You've listed a lot, but that doesn't mean I should do all of them right? XD Maybe mix them up often to prevent overtraining? And to make things clear, power lifts = low reps & aim for explosive power, calisthenics & dumbbells = high reps & aim endurance?

    On the topic of overtraining, I felt Friday was a bit bloated. My gym schedule as it looks is MWF, and I have 2 hours to get stuff done (barring things like showering/changing, moving between weight room to indoor track). Would it be unwise to do calisthenics and power lifts on the same day? If I'm looking for explosive reps, I'm thinking that pushups, lunges and all would drain my ability to get maximum explosion. My regular plyometric workout doesn't seem to be affected by any of this, since they're bodyweight I guess

    DOMS is setting in everywhere, and I'm icing the sore areas. This should stop happening after my body is used to exercising at this intensity eh?

    Agility exercises look like <3, especially the ones for the upper body. I'll definitely look into that.
    Posted September 7th, 2013 at 8:58 AM by Kanzler Kanzler is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Dark Azelf's Avatar
    Hmm, id probably increase protein a bit on that. I.e something like 40/45 carbs, 30 protein, 25/30 fats. You need protein even more with the weight training, helps with recovery.

    Farmers walks or just holding a really heavy bar till failure is amazing for grip. Even reverse curls and hanging from a pull up bar till failure.

    And to make things clear, power lifts = low reps & aim for explosive power, calisthenics & dumbbells = high reps & aim endurance?
    That is correct. is one of the best resources ive found yes. But no, you dont need to do them all. Start with simple ones first and then work up towards the full movement for example, High/Power Pulls, Jump Shrugs, Push Presses, Split Jerk and then build up to Power Cleans, Hang Cleans and full Clean and Jerk later on as you advance.

    Id split up your training. Like do your powerlifting on one day, calisthenics on another day and do what you didnt cover on the last day. I find doing cardio on my off days helps me workout during my sessions more intensely too. Agility could be done on a rest day too as its not really too intense.

    Yeah doms stops when you plateau and you will then need to increase the weight or volume then.


    Rotatorcuff stuff for you. Can be done on a pulley or with dumbells. Use a lightish weight though.
    Posted September 7th, 2013 at 12:23 PM by Dark Azelf Dark Azelf is offline
    Updated September 7th, 2013 at 12:32 PM by Dark Azelf

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