Since planbworkouts.com has existed, I’ve gotten TONS of amazing feedback from readers who have found this website helpful.
Some just want to thank me for the information I’ve provided or tell me how useful it has been for them. Others go a step further and give me the full details of the progress they’ve made or are currently making. I love that stuff, so keep it coming!
One such example was a few months ago, when reader/frequent commenter “Rayca” mentioned she was making some good progress. I thought “awesome!” A few comments later, she mentioned she was female. I again thought “awesome!” And a few comments after that, she mentioned she wanted to send me some pictures. Once again, I thought “awesome!”
When she finally did, I was pretty impressed. But when she reminded me how old she was, I became extra impressed. So much so that I asked if she’d let me post her pictures on the site and maybe do a short interview with her.
She was nice enough to agree to both, so without further ado…
Plan B Workouts: Who are you, and what are your current stats in these most recent pictures?
I am a 59 year old female. I weigh anywhere from 114 -120 lbs. I stand 5’1 1/2″ tall. I don’t normally take measurements but when I started strength training this past year, I took a few general measurements.
Waist = 27.5″
Hips = 35.5″
Neck = 14.5″
Arms = 12″
Calves = 13.75″
The strength numbers include the weight on the bar (45 lbs.) I’ll take all the help I can get. 🙂 When I entered a bench press contest in 1992, they included that weight and so am I. The reps are anywhere from 2 to 8, depending on my program. The numbers are all listed below:
Squats = 95 lbs.
Seated Shoulder Press = 75 lbs.
Incline Chest Press = 85 lbs.
Romanian Deadlifts = 85 lbs.
Bent Over Rows = 85 lbs.
Cable Bicep Curls = 90 lbs.
Cable Tricep Pushdowns = 110 lbs.
Plan B Workouts: How long have you been training, and what made you want to start in the first place?
The first time around I trained for 10 years. Fast forward 10 more years. This is my second time training and it has been for 1 year now.
I started working out because like so many who have dieted off some weight, I wanted to “tone” for a better shape. I bought a book that had rubber bands attached to the back of the book. This is circa 1990 and back then you could only get bands through mail order. There was no tubing yet.
I had a goal of looking like the woman who wrote the book. We have similar body types, so I knew it was a reasonable goal. One year later, I had her body, but I also noticed I was muscular and not just “shapely” or “fit.” The book clearly said I wouldn’t gain muscle. I called the company where I ordered the bands and they said I shouldn’t see any muscle. I told them they were wrong and that I had them. So, I decided to join a gym to see where it would lead. I got very muscular, much larger and defined within a few short months.
Plan B Workouts: What are your current goals?
My goal right now is just to shed the fat and see what I look like when I’m lean. I’ve never really dieted for that purpose. I used to mostly maintain weight. So I’m currently lifting just to maintain strength and have reduced the volume by 2/3s. More cardio, of course. I won’t really know how to proceed from there until I see what I look like.
Plan B Workouts: As a woman who rows and squats and deadlifts and bench presses and just generally trains correctly overall, what advice would you give to the majority of women out there who think the key to getting the body they want (“fit and toned”) involves hours and hours of aerobics classes and doing 20 rep sets of little isolation exercises using nothing but 3lb pink dumbbells?
The key for women getting “toned” is to lift weights pretty much like the guys do. When you pick up a weight, you gain muscle. Period. It doesn’t have to be massive or extreme or freaky looking. If you want the Hollywood look or a “toned” effect, maintain the weights you’re using, once you like your look.
We aren’t men, so we won’t look like them. We have no testosterone (well, not much to speak of), so you won’t lift as heavy as they do. You need to do something besides lifting small weights in the standard 15 reps format, to achieve anything.
If you stay stuck in women’s weight rooms and the same old weight forever, you will accomplish nothing. I can build muscle on as little as 2 workouts per muscle group (per week), 2 exercises per body part and as little as 2 repetitions. That’s a pretty easy routine and takes about 35 minutes on average.
Aerobics is subjective and should be performed according to what works for you, as a fat burner. Everyone should do a little, for cardiovascular reasons. Even with a great aerobics program, you will either be skinny fat or you will become skinny fat as you age, if you’re not increasing the weights you use, progressively.
In other words, you need to increase the weight you’re using to get a better shape. This is what strength training is. It’s not a matter of joining a gym and just lifting weights. One must get stronger. It’s vital, in order to be efficient in life and old age.
So, the next time you’re in the gym, follow the boys to the weight room and watch them. The internet has a wealth of information and you should ask those guys for a little advice. They love to be helpful.
Having said all that, the absolute best piece of advice I can offer anyone (including men) on how to look better (immediately) doesn’t require weights or a gym, is really easy to do and is absolutely free…Stand up straight when you walk—head up, shoulders back, chest out. This will naturally tuck in your stomach and you will feel (and look) slimmer and have tons of self-confidence because it makes you feel good. Like anything else, it takes practice because you should be walking tall, at all times. Take a look in the mirror when you’re slouched and then when you stand straight. It’s an amazing difference. Give it a try.
Plan B Workouts: If a 30 year old woman sent me your pics, I’d be impressed. Hell, if I saw a 30 year old woman in my gym even attempting to deadlift, bench, squat, etc. or pick up anything remotely heavy, I’d be pretty impressed.
But the fact that you’re nearly twice that age just kinda blows me away. So at 59 years old, what advice would you give to women (and men) who start using their age as an excuse or crutch when they hit anything over 40?
I think it’s easy to use age as an excuse not to do lots of stuff. It fits right in there with procrastination and other excuses we use not to do things that help us.
I think people envision what they are supposed to look like, what they can and can’t do, based on a certain age. They use experiences of people they knew in their lives that were older when they were young, and learn through those memories and visions what they “should” be like when they reach that age.
I can tell you from my personal experience that in the last year, I’m stronger than I ever have been. My bench press in 1992 was 95 lbs. for a 1RM. I had been working out for over 1 year. After a 10-year layoff, I joined a gym last year and started working out again. After 9 months, I now bench 85 lbs. for 6 to 8 reps. That certainly tells me I’m stronger. I’m not going to say that I have the same stamina or endurance that I used to, but I’m pretty darn close to what I was in my 30s and 40s.
I think people just need to give it a go. Do your research first on types of routines best suited for you (especially if you have a medical condition or nagging or chronic joint pain) and take it slow.
Weightlifting is progressive, in every sense of the word. Also strength training doesn’t have to be that taxing. Unlike bodybuilding, the movements are slow and controlled with plenty of time in between sets to recover. It really doesn’t get too much easier than that (unless I want to do some bicep curls using soup cans, while stretched out on my LazyBoy watching a football game. That might be a bit easier.)
So, people (no matter what age) should start slow and progress slow. Buy some rubber band tubing and work out at home, buy a video of exercises that look enjoyable to you. Join a class. See how you can take it a bit further and improve. I just bought a pull-up bar that I use at home because I’ve always wanted to know how to do them. Have fun with it.
Plan B Workouts: Great final answer, and great answers all around! Thanks for being willing to share your story and experience with us.
But Wait, There’s More!
In addition to everything you just saw, Rayca will be checking back in again in the future to update us on her progress as she works to get leaner.
It should be pretty fun and interesting to see, so stay tuned. Thanks again for doing it, Rayca!
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