fitness-industryJune has been an eventful month for me to say the least. I turned 39, I was operated on for (hopefully) the last time, ending the nightmare of nearly a dozen surgeries over the past two years, not to mention countless other overnight stays in the hospital as well. There is something calming in the knowledge that you’ve reached the other side of what turned out to be a very tumultuous bridge to cross.

This month I’ve taken steps to align myself along a new career path that will give me far more opportunities to not only help people but to provide a comfortable living for my family.

Taking all of that into consideration and using it as an impetus to get back into the gym and start focusing on my health. Getting back into shape at 39 is no easy task. In the beginning it will consist of a lot stopping and starting. That’s not a sign or weakness, that’s just human nature. A sign of weakness would be never to get back on and try it again. It’s important to start off slow and work yourself into it over the next few weeks. Don’t make the same mistake I did thinking I could just go around slinging barbell plates and generally lifting too much. Go slow, go light, be smart. There’s nothing that will murder your motivation more than an injury.

Here’s the routine I’ve been doing for the past month or so. I switch it up a little but I plan on keeping it generally the same for the next six months. At certain points it’s necessary to switch up your routine to stop your body from getting used to everything you are throwing at it.


  • 20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine followed by 5 or 10 minutes of cool down.
  • Chest
  • Triceps


  • 20 minutes of cardio followed by 5 or 10 minute cooldown
  • Back
  • Biceps


  • 30 minutes of cardio with 10 minute cooldown


  • 20 minutes of cardio/5-10 minute cooldown
  • Legs


  • 20 minutes of cardo/5-10 minutes cooldown
  • Shoulders
  • Forearms (not everyone specifically targets forearms but mine aren’t as big as I would like so I do, however it’s not something everyone needs to do.)

Satuday & Sunday

  • OFF
  • No, seriously, you’re old and just getting back into this. Take the weekend off.
  • If you must cheat then do it with cardio or a yoga class. If you are doing the proper amount of multiple exercises when you are lifting then once a week is plenty for what you are trying to accomplish.

That’s it. I obviously didn’t go into detail about the types of exercises and lifts that I do but I’m sure most people are familiar with them. It’s less important to know what I do and more important to figure out what six chest exercises you feel comfortable hammering out back to back.

I’ll also preemptively say that if you are more comfortable working out chest/biceps rather than chest/triceps feel free to switch the triceps to your back day and the biceps to your chest day. The chest and triceps (and back and biceps) compliment each other. So when you’re working your chest you are also giving your triceps a bit of a workout as well. This is exactly why I keep them on the same day so they can get as much out of each other as possible. People who are against it claim that they after doing their chest exercises they can’t workout their triceps as hard as they would like. It’s really a personal preference. Find out which one works for you and stick with it.

Posted by James Poling

A socialist, tinkerer, thinker, question asker and all around curiosity seeker. If you'd like to reach me you can use the contact link above or email me at jamespoling [at] gmail [dot] com.

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