Big goal for the year had been to get into better shape.

Grew up as more the video game / nerd type (kids these days and their damn video games). Was a regular tub-o-lard through most of my youth, lost about 100 pounds in my early 20s (mostly through diet), got married. Gained 40 pounds of "sympathy" weight during my wife's first pregnancy, and have been pretty stable at that weight for the past six years--5'11 and 225, plus or minus five pounds depending on the season, despite more than a few failed attempts to drop some weight.

One of the reasons: I've not been particularly serious / focused on adding any kind of PT, weights, etc. to the mix. Inconsistent focus on body weight stuff--push ups, burpees, squats, etc. I work an office job, so that's not doing me any favors, either.

I agree 1000% with the importance of being in shape for survival/self defense or anything of the variety...can't help anyone else if you're gassed out, collapsed on the ground trying to catch your breath. Or you're too weak to haul your fat ass over a wall, blow out your knee trying to drop into a prone position or wreck your back lifting a box. Or you die of a heart attack in your 50s because you didn't take care of your damn self.

Yep, I get it. We want to be strong, fit, and hey, look a lot better, too.

But honestly I have never gone down the rabbit hole of how the hell to get myself in shape. Never learned growing up, and hadn't put in the work to educate myself.

I've had a general goal to drop weight and get stronger for a long while now, but decided to really get serious about it a couple months back.

Said--screw this, screw the excuses, let's block some time out and figure out something that will work for you. I sat down and figured out how I could fit 30 min to an hour of working out into my life, 3x a week. And I wanted to set myself up for success, too, because anything else would be stupid.

Example: dragging myself out of bed an hour early to go workout. Not setting myself up for success. So evenings it was. Had to be after the kiddos went to bed, but not so late that I was ready for my own sleepy time. Thus, it needed to fall during the magical hour or two of "free" time that I usually use for blogging activities and surfing the interwebs. So be it.

Figured out the days of the week I needed to hit. Typical M/W/F wasn't going to fly for my schedule. Tues/Thurs/Saturday would. Cool.

So, I had it set--the times and days that I was setting aside to work out. This was actually the biggest deal. Made a commitment to myself that I was going to hit these days. Wrote it down. Serious business.

I looked at hitting the nearest gym, but it would have added something like 45 minutes to the amount of time to work out. And give me plenty o' excuses to not go. So, setting myself up for success--it needed to be at home.

All right then. I had a pair of 20 pound dumbbells (DBs) lying around, and not much else. Did a bit of reading, came up with a basic routine, which is probably totally crap but at least something to do consistently.

Started lifting those DBs about a six weeks ago now. About a week in, realized I needed some heavier DBs, so I bought some 30s, which were better.

Realized pretty quickly that...hey, I actually kind of like this. Enjoy doing it and enjoy the way that I feel afterwards. That's a big deal for someone like me, with a general history of disdain for the average exercise.

Have been consistent, and have actually started to see some results. Down a few pounds, feeling better, muscles feeling a little bit bigger or tighter. I desperately need some heavier DBs, especially for back stuff, which is kind of a joke with the weights that I have.

Kept reading, too. Damn, there's a lot of info out there on this kind of stuff. Who knew?

Figured out pretty quickly that pretty much nobody recommend training only with DBs. Not really surprising, but hey, it's actually been a decent easy start for me. Proved to myself that I enjoy it, can do it consistently and that I will see some results. Success where many other efforts have failed.

Barbells are what are recommended as the backbone of all of the strength and body building programs I've come across--main focus on squats, bench press, deadlift, and some variety of press, plus ancillary/supporting stuff (where DBs come in).

Have picked up and am in the process of finishing two of the more popular strength training books out there:
I like 5/3/1 more as a book -- shorter, to the point and easier to read. Starting Strength is long and gets into a lot of detail on the individual exercises, which gets mildly confusing/tiresome at points. But, Starting Strength focuses a lot more on proper technique for the exercises, which is important for both success and long term health. As a total newbie, the intricate details and mechanics of the exercises are good.

Barbell training from home means a decent initial investment in equipment (rack, bar, weights) and finding adequate space to do so. I've got a portion of the garage that I can dedicate to the spot, and am shopping around for some of the equipment. I figure it's a long term investment in both equipment and my general health, strength and self esteem...worth spending the money on, right?

Current plan is to run Starting Strength up front, then transition over to 5/3/1--this seems to be pretty common, as SS is intended to teach you the lifts, transition you from novice to intermediate lifter fairly quickly/efficiently, and then hand off to another program. I appreciate the programmatic nature of both...workouts are simple and laid out clearly...you stick to them, you'll make progress. Simple and good.

So--that's where I'm at these days. It's also why posting frequency has dropped off a bit. It's for a good cause, my friends.

Interested to hear from the tribe. Got PT? What are you working on? What has your strength/fitness journey been like? I know there are some probably some seasoned lifters out there, and certainly a few of you who are in the same boat as I am.