Archive for January, 2013

Wednesday Workout

After work I headed down to the gym, thinking of doing circuits, but waiting to see how busy it was first.  While it WAS busy, most people were either on the cardio machines or playing with the dumbbells, which left some solid open pockets of machine time.  I personally prefer free weights, but I made do with what was free so I would not have to wait for weight.


30 min cardio machine

Circuit 1:  1 leg Leg Press machine (do each leg), then 1 leg Leg Curl; 4 times through, no rest if possible

press/curl:  235×8,8/120×8,8/235×8,8/120×8,8/235×8,8/120×8,8/30 sec REST/255×8,8/135×8,8

notes:  this was a good warmup after the cardio machine.  I took a rest before the 4th time through because I HAD to, the machines were occupied.  It was only 30 sec and since it was the last runthrough, I also upped the weight a little bit for those sets.


Circuit 2:  shoulder press machine, then hyperextensions, then quad extensions, 3 times through no rest

shoulders/back/legs:  100×8/35×8/255×8/100×8/35×8/255×8/100×8/35×8/255×8

notes:  my lower back was a little sore, so I thought hyperextensions might be nice, and noone was on it!  Well when I was doing leg curls, I saw a guy doing bicep curls on them for like 1 set, then he wandered away – guess he lost interest.  This one was the riskiest circuit, since I had to walk all over the gym, but it worked out, no real delays except when I ran into a friend and his trainer doing chinups and I chatted him up for 20 sec or so, right around the 3rd time through the circuit.  Otherwise no rest except travel time to the station.

Actually before doing the circuit, I hung out on the hyperextension station for a second and just did a static hold for around a minute or so.  This was risky, since it put me in the path of everyone racking the dumbbells 30 lbs or lower, but just holding the flex in my lower back felt nice.  I should probably do that more often as a warmup or something.  Fat guys have sore lower backs 🙂  So when it was time for the circuit, I grabbed a 35 lb plate that was lying nearby.

The quad extensions felt fine, but the machine doesnt go any heavier, so I have to use 1 leg at a time next time I do it.


Circuit 3:  short bridge x 40, then calf raise x 40, then reverse flys x 20, then bicycle crunches x 30; twice through, no rest

a/b/c/d:  40/40/60×20/30/40/40/60×20/30

notes:  the gym was getting busier, so I found a corner by the pec dec that had a yoga mat, so I set up camp on the pec dec, and did 3 bodyweight exercises and sat on the pec dec in reverse.  I don’t find that machine comfortable in reverse, so I set the weight light and tried to focus on the squeeze.  I went through it twice with no issues, I think it might have been too easy a circuit, to be honest.  I know I picked it for its convenience, but if I went with those same exercises again I would add weight.


And that was that!  How was your day?

I have had problems sleeping for days.  I toss and turn all night, and the tossing and turning aggravates the sore muscle in my side.  It has made me a little irritable, and I wake up so ragged in the morning that I am often forced to go straight back to bed and move morning cardio to the evening.  Oh well, so much for the morning cardio.  At least for now.

I had to work late today, now that everyone is back, and everyone is eager to give me stuff to do.  So I couldn’t make the workout with Leslie, and went to the gym on my own in the late evening,  In honour of Leslie’s focus on circuit training, I tried some circuit training of my own:  keep going until I couldn’t.  3 circuits of upperbody resistance training.

warmup: 30 min of cardio

Circuit 1:  machine bench press 5 reps and widegrip lat pulldown 8 reps; back and forth 4 times nonstop

bench/lats:  150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8/150 x 5/150 x 8

notes:  this felt good as a warmup, could go heavier next time.  I took a couple of minutes before the next circuit

Circuit 2:  dumbbells – incline press 8 reps, then one arm row 8 reps then overhead press 8 reps; 3 times through

incline/row/overhead:  50s x 8/70s x 8/50s x 8/50s x 8/70s x 8/50s x 4/REST/50s x 6/70s x 8/50s x 5

notes:  Out of respect for my shoulder, I used a hammer grip on the incline press.  This helps me because it encourages me to keep my shoulderblades rolled back, and keeps my shoulders more stable.  Towards the end of the second runthrough I just ran out of gas! I looked in the mirror, I was sweating a lot.  I failed out of the overhead, so I rested for 1 minute, then went to do the 3rd set.  I couldn’t do all the reps on that one either.  By this point, I could feel my energy diving.  I hadn’t taken a preworkout either, so that might also be me getting used to not having that as backup.   I waited 2 min before the last circuit.

Circuit 3:  arms and shoulders – 2 hand overhead tricep extension 20 reps, then hammer curls 20 reps, then lat raises 20 reps; 2 times through

tri/bi/shoulders:  50 x 20/40s x 11/25s x 12/REST/50 x 15/30s x 20/17.5s x 6

notes:  I was going to add in bicycle crunches after the lat raises, but the gym was SO crowded, I didn’t want to lose my spot at the dumbbell rack, so I cut it out.  The first time through, the weights were too heavy for me to do high reps with the wornout state I was in, so I took a minute rest then dropped the weights on the second run through.  Even then the lat raises were just BLAH, so I put them down and walked away and said screw it, haha.

I had also considered throwing in some pushups at the end as a “finisher” but I felt so finished already I said to hell with that too and hit the showers, haha!

Considering I couldn’t make the appt with the PT, bad sleep, no PWO caffeine boost, I think I salvaged it ok, what do you think?

see you later!

Burn Victim

Today was a special day, one of my least favorite times of the year.  The Xmas/New Years feasts are over, you are settling into your diet, the weather is bad, etc.  For me, this means that I start to keenly feel the lack of starchy carbs a few days in, the weakness hits, the grumpiness sets in, the lethargy and moroseness.  All the cold nights and the slippery, snowy sidewalks also aggravate the arthritis in my feet.  So right when the diet is hitting me with tasty treat withdrawals is ALSO when my body is saying “please rest, this is a lot of stress on us poor toe joints”.  It’s a time to gain weight, traditionally.

I knew it was coming though, the need to keep moving and keep grinding that diet is why this monthly challenge is a special one for me.  January is a cold bleak Canadian month to be fixing everything that’s wrong with your life, but that is part of the charm I guess.

But I have been keeping up the cardio, and Leslie the trainer is back on track and ready to kick my butt!  Yeah!  I slipped out of work, made it to the studio in record time… only to find it locked up because noone else in their right mind would be working out today, hahaha.  All the sane people are still on vacation!

I'm here! Where's my trainer?

I’m here! Where’s my trainer?

The owner of the studio was there and he let me in, but he warned me that I can’t workout without a trainer there.  I understand that, I know how insurance works, no biggie.  I was going to do cardio, but I chilled out and waited for Les.

I was hungry, low on energy, my feet ached, hadn’t had a high octane workout in quite some time, my motivation levels were about a 3.  Tough shit!

circuit training:

circuit 1 (all the way through, catch your breath, go through it again)

squat thrust pushup on a BOSU ball w/ overhead press x 10

renegade rows x 16

floor press w/ leg raise x 10

side to side on a BOSU ball x 20

forward lunge w/ bicep curl x 12

extended plank for 45 sec


circuit 2 (all the way through, catch breath, do it again)

step-ups with lateral raises (alternating side and front raises) x 12

sumo squat to upright row x 12

side to side high steps x 20

bicycle crunches x 30

side lunge w high knee x 12/leg

bench dips x 15


tabata:  20 sec work, 10 sec rest, repeat for 4 min

battle ropes & kettlebell swings (back and forth)

cooldown cardio:  30 min elliptical, gradually increasing incline to 30 degrees

squat thrust push up w overhead press

squat thrust push up w overhead press

Notes:  I kind of sucked tonight.  My motivation had tanked, and I was just wasting time left and right.  We spent a lot of time talking and catching up, going over how many reps feel right and what weight is appropriate.  I think next time we do this, I will feel comfortable to up the weight and/or reps as necessary.  We still tweaked the reps and the weight a few times though tonight.  I didn’t bother listing the weights we used, since exploring the movements and the number of reps was what mattered.



I like that name:  renegade rows.  Why can’t all exercises have such cool names?  Would you rather do a “renegade row” or a “sissy squat”?  Think about it.

floor press w/ leg raise

floor press w/ leg raise

We tried to do Russian Twists including tossing the medicine ball around (a Russian Toss?), but my tailbone was not enjoying the boat pose, so we switched those to bicycle crunches.

lunges & curls

lunges & curls

battle ropes

battle ropes

It was kind of a rough workout, but I knew the first day back would be rugged and raw.  Settle in for a long, hard January!!

Burn Notice


I haven’t posted much recently.  Not from lack of working out, just that I have been doing a lot of cardio this past week.  Just cardio.  And I doubt it’s interesting to read a post about me on the elliptical for an hour with no pics, haha.

I hadn’t done any resistance training in what feels like forEVER because I was about to start a new workout routine with my trainer, and I wanted to come to it fresh as a daisy, learn what she had on slate for me, then reformulate my personal workouts to fill in whatever we didn’t hit.  And… then… Leslie fell sick.  We had to cancel three workouts in a row!  On a day to day basis, just more bad news after bad news.  So the resistance training kept getting pushed to the backburner.  I should have just done it on my own, but it kept getting bumped the day of and one day back, so I kept saying ok, will save it for tomorrow since I don’t know what the routine looks like, and then nada.

So there really wasn’t much to write about.

OK!  New Years resolutions!  I am already committed to losing weight, so I didn’t plan anything symbolic and earth-shattering for January.  But since everyone else is writing a list, I thought I would set some challenges for myself for January.  Here they are:

– cardio every day

– go to sleep early every day

– tighter diet, less bread (and carbs in general), one slice a day max, after my workout

Those are all things I noticed have been slipping this past Fall.  Diet, sleep, cardio.  I find cardio generally boring alone, so a spin class everyday will be my weapon of choice.  I figure with the January madness in the gym, the best time to get in a spin class will be as early in the day as possible.  So I have been gearing up to go for a 6 or 7 am spin class every day.  And this is why going to sleep early is so necessary! (not to mention for various chemical and hormonal benefits)

The other common factor in these 3 is the focus on losing weight.  I would really like to burn off some serious pounds in January!  If I have to choose between gaining muscle, gaining strength or cutting pounds this month, I will choose the third.  (Not that they are mutually exclusive.)  January is my kickoff month to start a new chapter of my weight loss, feel the burn!  Maybe some clever name… Burnuary?  2000-burn-teen?  I will keep working on that one… but consider this my “burn notice” for January.


Today I went to a spin class in the morning, it wasn’t bad.  More of a free form road bike type class, not a Les Mills RPM structure, per se.  My stomach is still wobbly exercising this early (it has been a while), so I didn’t push it like crazy.  We did a bunch of shorter songs, some solid climbs, a couple of short races strung together, no intervals or mixed terrain.

The gym hasn’t been that busy, actually!  I expected a lot more people.  Maybe having the holidays in the middle of the week has thrown the Resolution crowd off their game – all still on vacation and/or resolving “I will start my new and better life on MONDAY…”  Whatever, more gym for me!  While haters be pledging to start on Monday, I already been to the gym 3 more times!  Bow down suckas!!


See you later!


How was everyone’s Christmas and New Years?  Despite working, I rather enjoyed myself.  Ate too much junk, it’s true, but I also did a bit of reflecting.


2012 was a tough year for me, physically.  I started the year at one of my lowest weights in a long time, and I had rededicated myself to a lot of vigorous yoga practice, with some weight training here and there.  But a lot of that weight loss was through heavy “cleanses”, mixed with nonstop physical activity.  It was not sustainable.  Soon into the year I sprained my shoulder through overuse, which has defined my year ever since.  I fell out of yoga somewhat, I put weight back on, and I started to define myself by what I could not do.  I would try to pick up the pieces, but I was timid about what my shoulder was capable of doing.  My train had been badly derailed.

But that was just the physical practice.  I also met a number of great people, really inspiring and active people.  In 2012 I got involved with a number of charity activities.  I did a marathon spin class for children’s fitness.  I worked a street festival raising money for women’s issues overseas.  I donated to a number of causes.  Whatever holes were left by my physical practice I tried to fill with my deeds.

But still the physical practice was bleeding and hurting.  I started a new job in 2012, one much closer to a gym, and I began to teach myself more about what was possible with my muscles.  I learned how more does not always equal better.  I experimented with volume and rest and tempo and time under tension.  I started to work around what I could not do, and adapted into what I could do.

By the Fall, I was eager to get back into yoga, and I signed up for a 30 day hot yoga challenge.  I failed out a few weeks in, it was too much for my shoulder.  But again I had met so many great people, and one of them was a physical trainer, so I finally decided to ask for help.  By October I had a trainer helping me with my form, helping me build a regimen, and most of all nursing my motivation back to health while I built myself back up.  I worked on my diet (still working!) and gradually I cleaned myself up, started losing weight instead of gaining weight again.

In November I signed up for another 30 day hot yoga challenge, and I am proud to say I passed that one with flying colours and a perfect record, won a medal or two.  My confidence has been rekindled, and I look forward to the possibilities in the new year.


And throughout it all, I shared it all on this blog.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

2012 was a “rough” year for me, and here is to hoping 2013 turns things around.  Best wishes to you all as well.