Archive for June, 2012

Out of commission

Well, the computer blew up.   Not literally.  So the blog is on hold.  Rest assured, the workouts are still going strong, but will have to wait to tell you all about it!


See you soon.

I had to work late, so I headed to the gym for some mid evening magic.  Definitely a different crowd, young bloods, big muscles, big mouths.  The dialogues filtering into my ears were pure jokes:


“Man, I feel like Captain America!  You know, after he comes out of the pod all jacked?  This N.O.-Xplode is crazy!  Let’s go for some beers.”

“What clothes should I wear for this workout?  Should I wear the beater?  I like how I look in this shirt when I work out.  How high do the dumbbells go?  I want to try 120s on the shoulder press.”


Sigh… youth is wasted on the young, that’s all I can say 🙂


It was real busy at the start, but typical rush hour crowd, they run the dumbbells for 10 minutes, then disappear into thin air, leaving a trail of dumbbells all over the place.


Arms & Legs day:

DB curls:  warmup; 55s x8, 60s x7, x7

rolling triceps extensions:  30s x8, x8, x8

bodyweight full squats:  set of 30, rest, then another set of 30

1 leg press:  295 x10, x10, x10

1 leg curl:  warmup; 150 x10, x10, x8

standing bodyweight calf raises:  set of 75, 75, 75, 75

Abs:  bent leg raises x15, x15; frog raises x8, x10, x10

cardio:  arc trainer, 25 min, 75% resistance, incline 9

assisted pullups:  widegrip 7, closegrip 9, hammergrip 4


notes:  biceps still frustrating, waiting for a breakthrough!  for triceps, I tried a variation on skullcrushers:  you lower the dumbbells down like a closegrip press, lower them to your ears, then push them up with your triceps.  I will post a video at the end of this post.  They felt awkward, a lot of pressure on my elbows, it lessened a bit when I pushed them up faster.  Leg press continues to be finding it’s edge, so I am happy.  Calf raises were getting real tough!  Anyone who thinks calf raises can only be done with weights have obviously never tried doing 300 of them 🙂  Then some cardio, then in a fit of whimsy, I ended cardio early to go do some impromptu pullups!  I need to build up my back, and I am at a point in my training right now where the pullups are feeling real good, so I am going to keep doing them.





I had a nice long post about Tuesday, and it got deleted! oh well, I will rewrite it a future night.

This morning I got up for some back work.  I slept in a little, and so I cut out the DB shrugs and the plank work at the end.  I didn’t want to be late for work, and I knew I would be doing yoga at noon anyways, so my core could wait.

pec dec:  warmup; 150 x8, x8, x8

face pull:  60 x10, x10, x10

assisted widegrip pullups:  8, 6, 5

T-bar row:  180 x8, x8, x8

closegrip row:  180 x8, x8, x8

And off to work!  I felt like I could have done a lot more, but time was short.

At noon, I headed down to Canada’s Federal Parliament.  All summer they were allowing free yoga classes on the front lawn Wednesdays at Noon.  I convinced my boss it was a good idea for me to take some staff down for exercise.  Score!

Last week we got 917 people!  That was awesome!  Check out the facebook pic from last week:


Today there was a weather advisory in effect:  34, but will feel like 44, due to humidity.  In Fahrenheit terms, it will feel like 111 degrees!  So a lot of people stayed away, we didn’t hit the numbers from last week.  But we had 517 people this week!  How did we manage 17 again??  Here’s another facebook pic:

Beautiful day, right?  Tracy, owner of 2 Moksha Yoga studios in the city was teaching – a 60 min Moksha-inspired class.  They had 4 or so helpers walking around, not only helping with poses, helping with modifications, but also bringing water to those who ran out!  It was hot!  I brought extra water, and I am used to hot yoga, so no worries.  But the woman next to me asked for some water.  I offered one of my gym bottles, but she declined.  Oh well, no matter, she got brought some eventually.

Did I mention today was the Summer Solstice?  What a perfect day – to go outside, high noon, longest day of the year, hottest day of the year, and do some sun salutations!

What a great way to break up the day!  I would rather do jumping jacks for an hour at 140 Fahrenheit than be chained at my desk all day !  But at 1 pm I walked back to the office, all sweaty and energized, slight burn on my shoulders 🙂   Hmmm, wonder if I can go again next week?

hot yoga in the summer!

It was such a nice sunny day, I decided to do a little hot yoga!


Hot yoga is actually a great idea in the summer!  60 minutes or 90 minutes in the hot room, and the heat and humidity outside doesn’t seem so bad!  I hear that some people only do hot yoga in the winter, but you are missing out!  The hot room is less crowded, and nothing clears your head and your pores like a good hot yoga class!  How could you put that on a shelf for half of the year?  Seems crazy to me.


I headed down to Westboro to take a class at the Pure studio (links below).  The lovely Edith was going to be guiding a 75 min yin/yang class, sort of half flows and half yin stretches.  Which was just what I wanted, I wanted to work my upper body a little bit, and stretch out my hips.

I let Edith know about my shoulder sprain, it is ALWAYS a good idea to let your yoga teacher or your trainer or whomever know about what your physical challenges are!  And I know Edith would be ready to show me modifications if I felt too worn out to keep up with the regular practice.

Surprisingly, the flows didn’t wear me out, my shoulder held together really well.  I got through all my chaturangas and down dogs and sun salutations with the kind of “hunger” you feel in strength postures when it was something your muscles were really CRAVING.  It was like I did them, and I felt like I wanted MORE.

This is an important part of listening to your body that sometimes people overlook.  You learn to listen to your body to avoid putting it through pain, or you learn when to back off from a posture.  But sometimes, you are where you need to be, doing what you need to do – and you feel like you want more… Listening to your body also means knowing when to go for it.  All 3 Warriors, extended side angles, triangles, nothing too rigorous, but strung together really well.  Lots of fun!

I was very pleased at the Yang part of class 🙂


Then came the Yin.


We did a lot of hip openers… those… were not so pleasing, haha!  The worst was near the end, at the part when I am used to doing Pigeon, and then Savasana, aka “thank god it’s pigeon that means it’s almost over”?!?  Instead we did Dragon, then Winged Dragon (I have never called it that before, but makes sense).  My body was in shock!  Halfway through the winged dragon, my breathing was rough and trembling.  I had to really push to steady my breath on each side.  I could have backed off and just relaxed, but part of me really wanted to dig into that sensation of discomfort, the special kind you get during hip openers, especially dragon for me.  So I shudder-breathed through it, it felt like an eternity, I was ready to curse and swear at Edith and tell her to stop talking, let us out of the pose, move on!!  Haha, that’s Dragon for you, it brings up a lot of emotions 🙂

By the end of that 75 min, I was quite done.  So I showered, and headed back out into the street for the rest of my day.  It was only 11:30 am, except now I was loose and rejuvenated and relaxed!  Thanks Edith!

I also saw a workshop for next Sunday for a “shoulder rehab” type class, it must have been a sign!  I signed up for that one right away 🙂


the studio:

Edith’s website!  she blogs and tweets and all that good stuff!

Today, I had two options, spin or yoga.  Gentleman’s choice.

My friend had his birthday dinner last night, and I knew he wanted to go to Spin today.  And the yoga studio, well… the streets were closed due to a festival, so taking the bus would be a pain.  So I went Spin.


Saturday mornings often have chatty peppy guy, but this week he had a sub.  It was young peppy woman.  I had never had a class with her, so I was ready for anything.

It turned out quite well actually.  I thought her routine was really well-balanced, it gave me the leeway I needed to decide if I either wanted low intensity steady state or high intensity intervals.  My legs were quite sore from the leg workout yesterday so I went low intensity, and tried to flush the legs out.

She was a little too chatty, admittedly, and by the end of the hour I just wanted to get away from her and her talking.  But to be fair, most spin teachers are that way, it’s part of their training.  It’s a way to keep the crowd’s energy high.  I am a grumpy old man, so I hate chattiness, but I have reconciled that it comes with the spinning.  No offence intended to any spin teachers out there, I don’t envy your job, you do what you gotta do to get these fat asses and old farts moving 🙂

Aren’t I pleasant today?  ha ha

Anyhoo, I thought it was a good class, 7/10.  If I showed up to a future class and saw her, would not cringe 🙂

I wanted to linger in the gym a little more, maybe do some chinups, but the friend had to go home asap, and I was going to buy him a birthday present from the health food store, so I left as well.

Does a birthday present from the health food store seem lame?  It kinda is, but he has been getting into using supplements lately, and I am mildly familiar with the subject, so I thought it would be fun to get him something that will help him.  He was already stocked on protein powder, and he had a vitamin he was happy with, and a fish oil supp he was happy with, so I pointed out the ones I use and why I like him, and looked for something else.

Turns out he has never had Greens+ before!  For shame.  He seemed open to the idea, so I bought him some.  Sadly, Greens tends to be overpriced, and this store tends to be overpriced (The Nutrition Store, it’s a chain disguised as a sort of Chinese herbalist grocery store), so I told him he can get a better deal on Greens at GNC (or at my yoga studio! but I digress)


Then off home to nap and let my legs recover.

legs, arms

the gym wasn’t full, but the stuff I wanted was busy, so I improvised, so that I wouldn’t be late for work.


curl machine:  warmup; 120 x8, x8, x8

tricep extension machine:  warmup; 120 x8, x8, x8

bodyweight full squat:  30, 30

1 leg press:  275 x10, x10, x10

1 leg curl:  warmup; 150 x4, x5, x3

bodyweight standing calf raise 70, 70, 70, 70

abs:  bent leg raise x15, x15; frog raises x12, x12, x12


notes:  I wanted to do dumbbell curls, but I couldn’t find the 60s, and I didn’t want to waste time.  So I went to the machine.  After, I was right next to the tricep machine, so just kept going.  Leg curls were hard!  Definitely a progress point for me to work on.  Minor but noticeable progress with squats and leg raises, so I am happy.

Back work

Hot day, full gym!


continuing with the advice the trainer gave me


pec deck:  warmup set; 135 x8, x8, x8

cable face pulls:  50 x15, x15, x15

T-bar row:  warmup set; 165 x8, x8, x8

close-grip row:  165 x8, x8, x8

lat pulldowns:  180 x8, x8, x7

DB shrugs:  95s x8, x8, x8

plank, side plank (both sides):  40 sec, 30 sec, 30 sec x3 sets

cardio:  arc trainer – 15 min, 70% resistance, incline 9


notes:  I forgot the stupid resistance tube, so i did face pulls for my rotator cuff instead.  I also couldn’t do the assisted pullups, as a girl was running back and forth between closegrip bench and using the station for dips.  I didn’t really want to chat it up with her, so I just did lat pulldowns instead.  Interesting side note:  she had the assistance so high on the dips that she would push up and FLOAT up to the top and then float back down to touch the bar and dip back down… I don’t think dips are supposed to be done that way.  She is in awesome shape and all, but I suspect she might have been goofing around.  Zero gravity dips probably don’t work the triceps too hard, LOL.

After the planks I also did some stretching, stretched out my shoulder, did some spinal twists and worked my rotator cuff a little more with some light dumbbells.  I kept cardio short, since I intend to be back bright and early tomorrow morning!

June 8 arms, legs

More gym fun!


DB curls:  warmup set of 15; 60s x 4, 7, 6

cable pushdowns (bent bar):  warmup set; 190 x 8, 9, 8

bodyweight full (atg) squat:  30, 21

1 leg press:  255 x 10, 10, 10

1 leg curl:  warmup set, 135 x 10, 10, 10

standing bodyweight calf raise:  65, 65, 65, 65

abdominals:  bent leg raises 15, 15; frog raises 15, 10, 10


Notes:  my biceps were not ready for those curls!  Considering the reps went UP, I think I just should have warmed them up more.

Headed to the gym for some good old shoulder work.  Trying out the trainer’s suggestion to mostly drop chest for now and work on my back.

rest of 1-2 min in between sets

pec dec: warmup set of 15; 120 x8, x8 , x8

archery pulls with resistance tube (heaviest band the store had):  set of 15, set of 10, set of 8

T-bar row:  warmup set of 15; 150 x8, x8, x8

closegrip row:  150 x8, x8, x8

assisted widegrip pullups:  4, 4, 4

DB shrugs:  90s x8, x8, x8

Abs:  extended plank, extended side plank (each side)  30 sec, 30 sec, 30 sec – 3 sets


notes:  I was getting tired quick with that heavy tube on the archery pulls!  haha.  The rows felt good, but by the time I got to pullups, my back was pretty drained.  For the abdominals, it was pretty much core work.  Extended plank means arms extended, so the basic plank looks like a pushup type position, except wrists and arms directly under shoulders.  Extended side plank not only means the bracing arm is straight, but the free arm is pointing straight up, and you can look up at the ceiling as well.  Experiment with the feet, one in front of the other is easiest, stacking them on top of each other is harder.  Keep your hips high, don’t sag!  Lots of fun!


consulting with a trainer

I was offered a free consultation with a trainer at my gym, so I decided to give it a try.


We spent about an hour together, first discussing my shoulder troubles, and going over what my goals are.  I wanted to build strength, I wanted to drop about 50 pounds or so, weigh what I did in high school, do a chinup, lol.  All that good stuff!


Her first comment?  “You’re stronger than I thought.”  HAHAHA, fat man bends the iron to his will!!  Or maybe she was blowing sunshine at me, meh.  I crave the attention 🙂


She showed me a range of shoulder stretches I could do – mostly variations of things I do in yoga.  Then she had me do a couple of planks, and some back strengtheners.  Again, things they have us do in yoga: planks, side planks, extended planks, dolphin something or other.  And instead of supermans, we do baby cobras and half locusts, full locusts.  All this reminded me how much I miss having a regular yoga practice, it covers so much fundamental stuff!  Never doubt it.


Her big advice for me was that she thought I was a little imbalanced, too much push and not enough pull with the weights, which I suspected to some extent.  I put chest on Monday, when I am all revved up for the week (at least the workouts, not so much the office job, lol), and “back”on Friday, when I am most tempted to skip the workout and get the weekend started!  haha, I am such a male cliche, pumping up the chest and biceps and neglecting the rest… tsk tsk.

So her advice was to really pull back (no pun intended) from the chest work for a while, and get in a good back workout twice a week, do this at least a month and rebalance my development.  I don’t know… I love my dumbbell presses!  She suggested instead of chest work, just do more planks, lol.  That’s no fun!  I was crying on the inside, but spraining my anterior delt hurts worse than skipping a chest workout.

I… guess… I could try it… SIGH.  Pushing will be on the backburner for a while I guess, this makes baby Arnold cry… all part of the rehab.  Well, more than rehab, more than recovering from the injury, more like rebuilding up the wall so the injury doesn’t come back.  She is a paid professional, and seemed keen enough, I owe her at least a solid try, at most I lose a month.

So less chest, less shoulder, more back.


While doing rows, she also noticed my traps were really tense, and I was underusing my lower traps.  I believe this is really common, and is consistent with shoulder tension I have had in the past, as my masseuse would agree with.  So we practiced a number of t-bar rows with my upper traps relaxed.  Could this have contributed to my sprain?  Most likely.  So that observation alone is worth its weight in gold!  I love working out alone, but having a professional evaluate you will sometimes uncover these little hidden gems, and every little wrinkle smoothed out adds up!

So remember to relax those traps and pinch the pencil between your shoulderblades!  Reverse flys, 1 hand dumbbell rows, row machine, lots of fun ahead of me with my form adjustment!


She was also worried about my rotator cuff, so she took me to what I suspect was her “go to” exercise for showing a potential client something new – archery pulls with a resistance tube.  You wrap up some tension, and go through the archery motions slowly.  They felt good after about 30 or so!  I can’t complain.


At the end of the hour, it was time for the sale.  I broke it to her, sadly, that I don’t feel like I am ready for a trainer right now, I feel like there is a lot of self-work I still want to do, I want to “fix myself”, at least for a while still.  I have lost a bunch of weight so far, and part of me feels if I rent a crutch now, I will never feel the satisfaction from conquering my bad habits myself.

I mentioned though that I thought she was good, and so if it was possible to just buy a handful of sessions, I would like to do that.  She mentioned, unfortunately, that this gym doesn’t let trainers do that, they can only sell you a package for like a year of visits or something like that (Goodlife), so we shook hands and parted ways.  I told her though that if they ever have a promo for a try and buy type thing, I would take her up on it.

I just feel like I have to do it myself still, the added expense being also an added deterrent, lol.  I would never turn down free training!  I am not stupid!


Not surprisingly, my middle back and core have felt sore and beat up all day!  It felt like fatigue had stabbed me through the chest, it was caving me in on both sides!  She killed me with isolation exercises, lol.


I need some serious sleep if I am going to hit it again tomorrow, the trainer kicked my butt!  Total credit to her for that.