Archive for February, 2013


I Paid My Dues

I had all sorts of big plans for Wednesday, to see what kind of trouble I could get into at the gym.  I was going to wake up early, get my Wednesday started super early, and make a day full of activity.

But my Wednesday started even earlier, it started Tuesday night.  In the middle of the night the building’s fire alarm went off.  So we all trundled down the stairs, outside into the snow and the dark and the February, and waited for the fireman.  By the time they declared it a false alarm and I made it back into my apartment, my good night’s sleep was shattered.  It was an ominous start to my Wednesday.

So Wednesday morning, I trudged down to the gym, got there before the gym was even open, and waited for them to open the doors so I could grab one of the Spin bikes for the 6 am class.  But Leslie was coming to spin too!  She brought a few friends.  I was psyched just to spin with a friend.

Teacher of the morning class was Mike.  I think he’s a retired high school history teacher, and you hear it in his voice.  Bueller… Bueller?  It was an ok class.  We all worked hard.  Sometimes Mike would break out in screams at the end of a track for no reason.  It was jarring.  “GO…. GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”  Holy shit, relax man, I’m going.

After Spin, I still had time before work, so I decided to do some Chest work.

Barbell Bench Press (2 min rest):  115×5, 155×5, 185×5, 5, 7

DB Bench Press (60 sec rest):  140 x 8, 8, 8, 5, 4;  110 x 8, 8, 5

incline DB fly (4-2-4 tempo, 90 sec rest):  40 x 6, 12, 12

 

notes:  I don’t do barbell bench press very often.  I am out of practice, and I much prefer dumbbells.  But it is nice to get back into it.

Dumbbells were going good until set 4, then when I tried set 5, my reps were just TOO low, so I dropped the weight by 20% and kept going.  by set 8 I was fried.  It was my left side that wore out first, which is no surprise at all.  It felt weird grabbing the 55 lb dumbbells though, I could feel my right side just muscle through it hard but my left side would struggle.  The difference was quite pronounced at the end.

For the flyes, I failed out of the first set because someone interrupted me.  Oh well.  20 lb dumbbells isn’t much for flyes, but when you slow the tempo down like I did (4 seconds down, stay at the bottom for 2 seconds, raise up for 4 seconds)… what starts out easy at rep 1 feels like hell by rep 12.  Trust me.

 

Then I went to work.  I had not done a good weekday morning workout in a while, and I was feeling pretty drained by mid-morning.

Then Leslie sent me an email that made the pain go away.  “Jeremy, you can start carb-loading for the spinathon today or tomorrow.”

At lunch I went down and bought some fresh pasta.  It was like an episode of Popeye.

I coasted through the rest of the day, and thought, “hmmm, I could go for a little more punishment… I’m going to the gym after work…”  Then I tooted my corncob pipe and flexed a bicep.

But today was also the day Ottawa decided to have a big sloppy blizzard all day.  By the time I got out of work, the walk to the gym was NO fun.  It was all slush and puddles of gunk and ankle high wet snowdrifts.  It just wore you down to be outside.  People were leaving work early, scared of the roads.  Not I.  I was not going to give up on the gym.

Next spin class would not start until 6, signup at 5:45.    So I should in theory have time to do a back workout.  But my arrival was delayed by weather.  so after some barbell rows, I had to get to spin class.

bent over rows (2 min rest):  135 x 5; 185 x 5; 225 x 3, 3, 3

Evening spin was being taught by Courtney.  I like Courtney’s classes.  She has good music and makes her classes challenging but exciting.

this class had a lot of pyramids and tabata.  Pyramids in the sense of 15 sec power climb, 15 sec rest, 30 sec climb, 30 sec rest, 45 sec… etc etc Once you hit the high point, you go back down in increments of 15.  We did that for standing climbs and we did it later for races.  We also had songs with 2 minute heavy standing climbs, 90 sec heavy seated climbs.  We had a tabata song, 8 intervals of 20 sec race 10 sec rest.  If you know tabata that means you go at 100% of your max effort, then rest briefly, then max effort again, etc.

I came to the class with visions of doing the rest of my back workout after, but it was apparent 20 min in that this spin class was going to empty my tank.  I was sweating, working as hard as I possibly could, and slowly getting my butt more and more kicked.  I almost didn’t make it through the last song.  I had nothing left.  so I hit the showers, exhausted.

Changing back into my clothes, in the lockerroom, a young man leans over to start talking about the cracks in the soles of my feet and how I need to use teatree oil.  Weird people, man.  It creeped me out.

After gym I went to the health food store to pick up snacks for race day.  I wanted some sort of easy digesting snack, maybe I could try one of those cool gels I see runners eat.  Bonus to sucking down gel all day, I can pretend I’m an astronaut!  But I had to start snacking on it now, to let my tummy get used to it.  Take no chances.

And since it was carb loading day, I had visions of rice for dinner!  Hooray!  But still the trip home was totally miserable.  I walked in the door, flung off my coat, and collapsed.

A hard day, rivers of sweat and miles of frustration.  But I paid my dues today.

 

How about you?  Any good workouts?

A Pilates Primer

A Pilates Primer.

Legs & Core w/ sore back

My lower back has felt sore all Sunday night and all Monday at work.  Just worn down, tired, needing rest.  I had a dilemma, because Leslie and I had legs planned Monday night.  My take on it is that I can still work out, just that my core is extra weak and recovering today.  My core is lagging behind my legs.  Les agreed with me, and we decided to isolate the legs first, then do some core-specific work.  Much as I love squats, I would have to decline this time.

 

Legs & Core:

 

Leg Press:  450 x 15, 15, 15

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Sissy Squats:  12, 12, 12

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Quad Extensions:  100×15, 120×15, 130×15, 150×15

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Lying Hamstring Curls: 50 x 12, 12, 60 x 12

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TRX Hamstring Curls:  10, 10, 10

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Core circuit:  Sit-ups/Side Plank/TRX Mountain Climbers

12 sit-ups, 30 sec side plank (each side), 20 Climbers; x 3

creepy!

creepy!

mountain climbers with feet in the TRX cradles

mountain climbers with feet in the TRX cradles

 

notes:  you can see by some of those pics that Leslie was trying to get my whole body in the shot, but my butt is just too big!  haha

Only 8 plates on the leg press?  Pfft, pitiful.  I feel in my heart I am ready for 10 wheels.

Sissy squats look dumb in pictures.  but they work!

With the quad extensions, we were experimenting with the weight.  Again, I think I have not hit my current ceiling yet on that machine.  Every quad xt machine is different, this one is harder than my normal gym, but still, more room for work.  It is kind of dumb it has no handlebars by my sides to grip onto… I end up balling my hands into fists.

The lying ham curls felt good until I felt my left ham about to cramp on me.  I think bringing my ham right up to the calf causes weird twinges, not sure if I want to explore that.  (I should mention that twinge does not happen during full squats)

You know what’s weird?  I think I find side planks easier than normal planks!  Is that weird?  I think most of my belly fat is up front, my side fat seems to go away very quickly when I hit the gym.  My obliques respond better to regular training than my abs.  how sad 😦

 

It was not a perfect day.  I felt battered and worn out most of the day.  But you have to do what you can with what you have.  It was easy for me to get discouraged when my lower back is groaning at me.  Some days I just feel like my time is so limited, I can’t waste even my weak days on quitting.

 

How about you?  Any good workouts today?

post-illness workout

My apologies for not posting sooner.  I have been feeling sick all week.  Some sort of flu.  On top of that, sometimes when I am fighting off a bug, my digestive system just shuts down,  Food doesn’t move through me, I get all backed up.  Over time this forces me too eat less and less, so I start to get weaker, and have less energy to fight off the bug.  It is a vicious circle.

I have been making extensive use of fibre and digestive enzymes all week to help me get right on the inside, and lots of rest to fight off the flu.  Unfortunately, all that fibre and the enzymes, they really wear on my stomach a lot, it turns the gut into a battleground.  By the end of the week, my stomach was sore, it hurt.  Like it was in shock and needed a lot of rest.

Anyways, not a lot of spin this week, which is unfortunate, as I have the spinathon next week!  I did a chest and back workout on Wednesday, but I was pretty wobbly at that point, so it was a pretty lacklustre workout.

By Saturday, I was ready to test the wheels out again.

Spin class was crowded!  They only put up the signup sheet 15 min before the class, and there was a lineup of about 30 people!  Zoinks!  I stood in line and got a spot (my friend was not so lucky, and was denied, looks like I am on my own this time).

By the time I made it to the bikes, there weren’t a lot of choices left.  The one I grabbed had no straps, you needed the hard shoes you click onto the mounts, so I had to trade with a neighbour for foot straps (he had the hard shoes).

The class was being led by Mandy.  I have mixed feelings about Mandy (sorry to call you out Mandy! I am sure you wont see this).  She has been teaching for a while, and her curriculum is solid.  But Mandy “demands” a certain level of enthusiasm in her class.  By that I mean if you don’t start hooting and hollering on command, she nags you.  She starts to whip out the sarcasm, “REALLY feeling the enthusiasm in here today!”  she singles people out and tries to talk right to them.

My objection to that is that if the teacher chatter isn’t related to the spinning, then to me it’s just noise, and I try to tune it out.  You may as well be speaking to me in Chinese, I just don’t respond.  I don’t hoot and holler when it’s asked for, I don’t respond to queries about whether we want it easier or harder.  I am not a “participater”,  just tell me how to run the course and I will do it.

Unfortunately, Mandy eventually zeroed in on me.  She asked some question to the class, I don’t remember what it was, something meaningless, and then she turns to look at me, and she waits for a response.  I just stare back at her.  She starts to make little motions with her head, little micro-nods and rhetorical “yeah?”s waiting for me to talk back.  I just stare at her, I think at one point I shrugged.  Mandy tried to engage the class in my silence, “does he want us to RANDOMQUESTION?  Nope?  He’s more like, NO, stop looking at me.”  A few people in class chuckle at my expense, and we keep going.

After that fairly irritating class, I decided not to do 2 in a row.  You’re a fine RPM instructor Mandy, but being an enthusiasm nag is NOT my style.  Your class seems popular though, so more power to you.  Just not for me.

I went to the other side of the gym to try out a new shoulder and arm routine.  Let the brutality commence!

shoulders & arms:

barbell military press (2 min rest):  65 x 5, 95 x 5, 115 x 5, 5, 7

seated DB press (60s rest):  100 x 8; 90 x 8, 6; 80 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 7

cable reverse flyes (4-2-4 cadence, 90s rest):  55 x 8; 33 x 12, 12

face pulls w/rope:  (10s rest!):  28 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

DB skullcrushers (60s rest):  60 x 6; 40 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

seated 2-handed DB extension (4-2-4 cadence, 90s rest):  50 x 7; 40 x 7; 30 x 7

incline DB curls (60s rest):  30 x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

concentration curls (4-2-4 cadence, 60-90s rest):  25 x 5/6; 20 x 10/10, 8/8

notes:  time really got away from me while doing this workout.  It felt like allout war!  I was totally mentally absorbed in it.  Even though I looked at the clock to take note of rest times, I didn’t check the overall time.  When I finally did, I realized this was like a 90 minute workout!  Zoinks!  60 min Spin followed by 90 min weights, no wonder this workout was kicking my ass.

And it WAS kicking my ass.  I took a shower, crawled out of the gym, came home, and took a long nap on the couch.  This one was nasty!

I made it rhough the shoulder presses, but the ultra-slow cable flyes were murder on my rear delts.  Then I powered through some marathon face pulls, but the damage was done, I had little to no gad left in the tank for my arms workout.  This shoulder workout would have been perfect for me by itself, but with arms added in, it was BRUTAL.  I had to keep dropping the weightson the arm exercises because I couldn’t make it happen any more.

I tried the “twisting” during the incline curls, like I did last week, but I wasn’t feeling it this time.  I think my biceps were more warmed up by that point last week, so the twisting worked, but my biceps were still warming up during this workout, so there was no “pump” to twist off of.  Oh well, still learning.  I stopped the twisting for Set 3 onwards.

This one had it all, some good 5×5 compounds, lots of volume, slow rep isolation finishers.  Scary workout!  But worth it.

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?

Leg Day

When I showed up for my session with Leslie, we quickly decided we had not had a leg day in a while.  Bring it on!

warmup on the elliptical for 10 minutes

Squats:  135 x 15, 155 x 12, 185 x 10

had some good depth when we upped the weight

had some good depth when we upped the weight

Single Leg Press: (each leg)  180+sled x 15. 270+sled x 15, 15

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Stiff-Legged Deadlifts:  95 x 12, 135 x 10, 10

stretching out the lower back

stretching out the lower back

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Bulgarian Split Squats:  (each leg) bodyweight x 12, 12, 12

My name is Jeremy. You killed my father. Lunges, prepare to die.

My name is Jeremy. You killed my father. Lunges, prepare to die.

Hyperextensions:  bodyweight x 12, 12, 12

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notes:  Leslie’s leg workouts are always deadly with a capital Deadlift, but what can I say?  I volunteered for this one.  I was in the right state of mind.

I haven’t done squats in a while, they felt pretty good.  Looking forward to 225!  Leslie said I am getting better depth and am rounding my back less, so my form is improving.  Woohoo!

Leg presses went pretty well, I think I managed to go slightly heavier than I usually go, so also good.

My form has much improved on the stiff legged deadlifts, aka Romanian deadlifts!  This makes me happy.  I had struggled with them a few months back, practicing with the dumbbells has helped me get comfortable with my form.

They may be called Bulgarian split squats, but I know a lunge when I see one!  I hate you lunges, one day you will die and I will do split squats on your grave.  My back foot wasn’t raised too high, but we put in a lot of work to make sure I was getting enough depth on the bend, front ham must touch Leslie’s hand or back knee must touch ground, one of the two.

The hyperextensions were nice to throw in at the end because my lower back felt tired from the other stuff, and this helped finish it off.

 

And that was my day!  How was yours?  Any good workouts?

Spinning and Pushing

Sunday I wanted to catch up on the stuff that had been lagging.  I wanted to get in some solid cardio, I wanted some work on my triceps and shoulders.  So it shall be done!

I showed up for a double Spin class.  We were in the last few rotations of Release 57, so the music was known in advance, but Andrea (the instructor) decided to switch in some of the bonus tracks for some of the midpoint songs.  If I think I am tired of those tracks after spinning to them 7 or 8 times, imagine her teaching them 20 or 30 times!

The first class was pretty hard, I poured everything I could into it.  My right calf got a little tight, but I dropped my heel more and it went away.  Overall, I am pretty happy with it, my focus was there and the work felt smooth, I had some hard climbs and raced hard on the straightaways.  During the last working track I think the magnet slipped a bit because all of a sudden the tension became HARD out of nowhere, and I had to to turn it back down, but when I turned it up a second later I didn’t notice it again and it never came back.

In between classes, my friend dropped by to do the second class with me.  When I went to fill up on water, Andrea told me it looked like I was doing really well with the double classes, I looked good on the bike.  I take that as a big compliment!

I rocked out the second class as well, no major issues.  The second hour went by so fast, I almost kind of wanted a third!  But two were all that were on the schedule, so I went to do some weightlifting instead.

I decided to do a mid-light and quick Push session.  After 2 hours of RPM I didn’t really feel like doing legs so I just worked the calves a bit; and I had a really good chest session on Thursday, so I decided on some triceps, some shoulders, and only a little chest.  No need to overtrain.

Sunday Push:

standing bodyweight calf raises:  85, 85, 85 (rest of about a minute between sets)

closegrip dumbbell floor press:  110 x 6, 6, 6, 6  (45 sec rest)

incline dumbbell flyes:  80 x 6, 6, 6, 6 (45 sec rest)

one hand seated tricep dumbbell extension:  30 x 6/6, 6/6, 6/6, 6/6 (45 sec)

lateral raises:  50 x 6, 6, 6, 6 (45 sec)

overhead shrugs:  110 x 12, 12, 12, 12 (45 sec)

 

notes:  I don’t do floor press very often.  I used the 55 lb dumbbells, I wanted to use the 60s, but this other guy was using one set, and I couldn’t find the other set.  I have never done closegrip floor press, it didn’t feel too bad, would do again.

The inclines flyes felt REALLY good.  I think I waited the right amount of time to do more chest.  My last session was Thursday, and I had some mild DOMS going on there, so these flyes helped stretch it out a bit.

I had never done overhead shrugs before either.  It was a different feeling to try and engage my traps in that way.  Didn’t feel too bad though, could go heavier next time for sure.

 

And that was my Sunday!  How was yours?  Any good workouts?

 

Friday night Arms

Leslie is clearly an avid reader of my blog!  I showed up to the studio Friday night and she wanted a good old-fashioned biceps/triceps workout!  Epic!

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge how awesome it was that there were lots of people in the studio.  Many a Friday night Leslie and I have been the only ones there puttin in work.  It’s really good to see.  Maybe people binged on chocolate and felt guilty, haha!

EZ Bar Curls:  25s for 15, 12, 10

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Superset – Incline DB Curls to Standing Curls:  50 x 12/12, 12/10, 12/10

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Superset – Preacher Curls to Hammer Curls w/ Rope:  Bar+30/70  10/12, 10/12, 10/12

go low!

go low!

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Incline Tricep Pushups (kneehigh incline):  12, 12, 12

2-Hand Overhead Tricep Extensions:  70 x 12, 12, 12

notes:  We got carried away having fun with biceps and didn’t have a lot of time left for triceps.  Oh well, sorry triceps!  Next time.

I don’t know really how much the EZ curl bar weighs.  I should probably make a point next time to check.  I think the old school heavy ones weighed 25 and these new thin ones weigh maybe 15?  Let’s pretend this one was 25 and I lifted more than I did and we won’t tell anyone 🙂

During the incline and standing superset, I would stop a few reps short, twist the weight around by rotating my forearm, and then pump out the last few reps.  This worked really well on the inclines, it made the last few reps quite hard!  It didn’t have the same affect on the standing curls, I think it only works to recruit more bicep fibers if the bicep is bearing the strain of holding it up at full hang.  That happens with inclines, it doesn’t so much with standing curls.  Oh well, lesson learned.  It was a nice experiment.

Supersetting bicep exercises back to back is fun!  Scary but fun.  Scary for me because the biggest issue with my biceps is they run out of gas quite quick.  I find pump sets pretty draining, and supersetting has the same effect:  biceps send message to brain, please stop! We are lazy, and need to catch our breath.  So I don’t need to go heavy on bicep supersets or pump sets, I get some nice aching and groaning by just keeping it going for longer.  TUT kills my biceps.

I don’t remember how many reps I did on the last 2 sets of the standing curls, I just know I didn’t get all 12.  I was close though, so let’s say 10.

The preachers were relatively easy, I could def go heavier, but again we were supersetting, and this being an isolation, I wanted to let my arms drop all the way (not all the way down as in locking my elbows, just enough to keep a small bend in the elbow and stretch those muscles out).  Not that I didn’t need some help on the last set, haha!  Whatevs.

Hammer curls with a rope was interesting!  That’s a new one for me.  The cables always change the way the exercise hits the muscle.  With dumbbells, you have momentum at the top as the side weight swings up and over.  With the cables, you have to keep working, so those last few inches are much harder than you are used to.  Also, you have a tendency to want to collapse your arms inwards with the rope, you gotta fight that shit and keep spreading the rope up and out as it gets to your shoulders!

And that was my Friday night workout!  How was your Friday night?  Any good workouts?

Valentine’s Day Workout

After work I headed to my trainer’s studio for a special V-Day workout.  I don’t normally have a session with Leslie on Thursdays.  But I had missed a few sessions recently, plus I figured what better way to put the non-holiday behind me than to work out and to work out with a friend?

I had a date with a plate tonight.

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Leslie was feeling extra-nice, so she surprised me with a Valentine’s Day gift!  Upper-body day, chest & back, no core work!

 

YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS……………..

 

The only thing that could have made it better would have been some bicep curls.  Fuck yeah.

 

Why core-free?  Leslie follows my blog, she knows I did a monster core workout last night, haha.  Rewarded for my hard work!

 

Upper Body Day:

warm-up on elliptical – 5 min

Machine Chest Press:  90 x 15, x 12, 100 x 10, x 10

breaking in the new machine!

breaking in the new machine! and the new shorts!

Cable Flyes:  40 x 12, 50 x 12, x 12

Flat Bench Dumbbell Press: 140 x 10, x 10, x 10

Pushups from knees:  19, 18

Widegrip Pulldowns:  90 x 15, 100 x 12, x 10, x 10

I look tired!

I look tired!

Closegrip Seated Row:  210 x 12, x 15, x 15

full stack

full stack

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Straight Arm Pulldowns w Rope:  60 x 10, 70 x 10, x 10

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And just like that, a full hour had passed!

Some of the weights were light, but I hadn’t done them in a while, so I tried to go slow and work on my form and squeeze the muscles in my mind and squeeze with the grip.  A lot of it was inside my head.

You would be surprised how much goes on in your head when you lift weight.  I think weightlifting gets a bad rep as a pasttime for dummies, but noone in my life has ever called me a dummy, and I can tell you now that when you lift hard and you focus hard and you keep your form tight, it is just as much an exercise for your mind.  The mind is easily more important than the body if you want to attain your physical peak.  When you lift, you have to visualize the mind-muscle connection and feel the contraction, and you have to visualize what the end product is going to look like.

So it was sort of a mental refocusing day with the weights.  Especially with Leslie there, I wanted to work on my form so I could get her feedback.

Not that it didn’t get hard with chest near the end.  I needed Leslie’s help to finish the end of the second flat press set, and the majority of the third set, hahaha.  But a spot can do that, help you squeeze out more reps when you are close to failing.

As for the pushups, yeah they were from my knees… screw you!  hahaha.  I had already squeezed out 10 working sets, and this was just to finish me off.  Of course, right when I am failing out of pushups FROM MY KNEES, that’s when women of the gym walk by… sigh.  Not that Leslie doesn’t count, but Leslie has been underwhelmed by my pushups a LONG time ago, that ship has already sailed.

 

So yeah, I spent my valentines day working out.  What about you?

TRX Legs & Core

So tonight I wondered:  what if I took my 2 least favorite workouts out of my home TRX kit and did them back to back?  Legs & Core

 

So… definitely challenging.  I might not have been in top form heading in either.  I had been struggling with headaches all day, and on the walk home from work I had prickly pains in my forehead, and lost my headphones while I was on the bus.  So I wasn’t feeling awesome.  Oh, and I also had about a pound of steak about 30 min before the workout, HAHAHA.  It sat heavy in my tummy.  But it was too late to turn back now!  Sweat it out betch.

 

TRX Legs & Core

A. Hip Press x 10, rest 15 sec

B. Hamstring Curl x 10, rest 15 sec

REPEAT A and B 2 more times

C.  Lunge x 15, switch legs, rest 15 sec, REPEAT 2 more times

REST 15 sec

D.  Single Leg Squat:  right leg x 10, left leg x 4*, rest 30 sec*, left leg x 10, right leg x 5*

E.  NO TRX – bodyweight full squat x 18, rest 15 sec, x 20

REST 30 sec

F.  Resisted Torso Rotation x 10 (each side), rest 15 sec, x 8* (each side)

G.  TRX Crunch x 10, rest 15 sec

H.  NO TRX Extended Side Plank x 30 sec (each side)

REST 15 sec*, REPEAT Crunch x 10, Side Plank x 15 sec/30 sec*

I.  TRX Pike x 10, rest 15 sec

J.  TRX Mountain Climber x 10 (each side), rest 15 sec

REPEAT Pike x 8*, Mountain Climber x 8 (each side)*

K. NO TRX Prone Straight Leg Raises x 20, rest 15 sec, x 20

 

notes:  I didn’t use TRX when I didn’t feel it necessary, ie. regular squats, side planks, leg raises

For the hips and ham curls, I kept my butt off the ground the whole time (it’s a bit harder)

For the lunges, I opted to keep my backwards lunge extended and just lowered up and down.  I wanted to work the muscles not the full coordination, and I was worried it would use up my energy before I got to core.  And… the less I moved around the less I felt like puking up a giant steak hahaha!

Wherever there is an asterisk, I deviated from the plan, haha.  Most of the time I was getting super tired so those were the number of reps I did before my form got bad and I had to stop counting.

With the one leg squats for example, I could muscle through the first leg but when I went to the second leg, I kept popping up on the balls of my foot, so I stopped.  To test out if it was mechanics or fatigue, I reversed leg order the second time through, and same thing, first leg can do it, second leg can’t.  So, it was fatigue.

A few rests were also slightly longer than I wanted but I needed to catch my breath.

With the side planks, I was supposed to rest a minute, but I could feel myself fading, so I kept the rest down to 15 seconds.  After I couldn’t hit 30 seconds on one side, I got mad and made it happen on the other side, haha.  So maybe that was a lack of focus.

I also started getting more headaches during the squats.  Prickly forehead too.  It hurt!

I was hurting by the end, sweating like crazy, my yoga mat was slick with sweat, I needed a shower.  But it felt good!

Sometimes you just gotta take your most hated exercises, roll them up in a tight little ball, and force them down your own throat.  Has to be done.

 

See you soon!

Sunday was the Chinese New Year.  A big time to go out and party and feast.  I was invited out to a nice Sunday brunch, actually.  But I had to decline, I am trying to clamp down on my diet.

 

Although astrology is not of any real importance to my fitness goals, it gives me cause to reflect and to think about things.

This year, as you might know, will be “the Year of the Snake”.  Chinese astrology has a cycle of 12 animals.  So every 12 years, your birth year comes around again.  I am a Snake, so I guess this is my year.

Does this mean it will be a lucky year for me?  I am told that is not the case.  When 2 snakes meet each other in the wilderness, they do not necessarily get along.  It is advised by the astrology dudes for me to keep a low profile this year and just do my thing.

So what does a Snake birth sign mean?  It means you are a thinker, a calculator, a planner.  The wheels are always turning.  And above all, you regenerate yourself.  On a regular basis, the snake sheds its skin, it sloughs off the things that no longer serve, so that it may grow.

This is the point I find myself at now, my weight has become a massive burden to me, it keeps me from doing the things I want, it keeps me from growing.  I have outgrown this fat.  I keep struggling to lose this weight because I keep struggling against it, I keep trying to fight it.  I need to take a lesson from the snake and just LET IT GO.  These habits no longer serve me, the junk food and the laziness chains me down.  If I do not learn to let this old way of living go, I will not grow.

I struggle with eating healthy because I do not embrace the new ways, I still hold on to the old ways.  I have not moved and adapted to my new, adult body, my slower metabolism, my stiffer joints and deeper focus.  I could eat what I want and do what I want when I was a child, a young man, but childish things must be put behind me.

This is the challenge I lay before myself in the Year of the Snake, MY Year.  Shed this old skin so I can grow.  Let go of the old ways that I know so well, and move confidently and purposefully into new territory, with a soft pink skin, easily hurt but getting stronger.  If I can just commit to living healthy, my body will grow into it.

 

Wish me luck!  What are your new year goals?