Tag Archive: 30 day challenge


Today it all came crashing into place:  back to work, full workout schedule, packed lunches, pandemonium.  This is the toughest part, the adapting to the grind.

Got up early and slowly dragged myself down to the gym for fasted cardio:  30 min of intervals on the elliptical, 2 min slow 1 min fast

All day at work I was catching up from my vacation.  Had a bunch of packed Tupperware with me, stayed on my diet.

After work headed to the gym

Back & Arms

bent over rows (1 min rest) 2 warmups, 225 x 10, 10, 8, 6

widegrip pulldown (30 sec rest) 210 x 10, 10, 9, 5

closegrip machine row:  120 x 30, rest 70 sec, 25 reps, rest 45 sec, 25 reps, rest 20 sec, 20 reps

closegrip pulldowns:  90 x 35, rest 65 sec, 25 reps, rest 40 sec, 21 reps, rest 19 sec, 13 reps, rest 6 sec, 6 reps

Triceps Giant Set:  A. closegrip Smith machine press, B. skullcrushers or French press, C. rope pushdowns (1-2 min rest b/w giant sets)

(warmup, Smith press 100 x 12)

First Set  100 x 12; 60 x 12; 120 x 12

Second Set  100 x 12; 60 x 12; 100 x 8

Third Set 100 x 12; 60 x 8; 100 x 4 DROP 80 x 5

Biceps Giant Set:  A. Seated Dumbbell Curl, B. Standing Hammer Curl, C. bb reverse curl

First Set 40s x 12; 40s x 5; 60 x 4

Second Set 40s x 10; 40s x 8; 60 x 5

Third Set 40s x 11; 40s x 7; 60 x 7

 

Notes:  this workout destroyed me.  My energy is still low from the diet, I haven’t adapted yet.  But I kept my nose to the grindstone.  The gym was crowded like crazy also, people were tripping over each other all the time.  It was chaos.  My performance really sucked, but I just gotta stick it out, through the learning curve… and until I am ready to excel.

 

Well, I came home and prepped meals now I am late for bed!  Bye!

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New Beginnings

End of March, start of April.  March has been a tough month:  the 6 am cardio sessions, weights 6 times a week, I cut all bread and rice and pasta and potatoes out of my diet!!  It has been grueling, I was very eager to see March say bye-bye.

So April 1st I was scheduled for a weigh-in.  Luckily today was a holiday Monday, so I could schedule in my gym time as desired.  Sadly, due to me being up late watching Game of Thrones and Walking Dead and geeking out… I slept in past 6 am spin, hahaha.  Undeterred, I headed down to hot yoga.

This was my first time doing hot yoga in 4 months!  I wanted to make sure I had built up my shoulder first.  April just seemed like a good time to jump back in.

It was a full class for the middle of the day!  I guess other people had the same idea as me.  75 min “mix” class, the teacher will deviate from the usual set of hot yoga moves, and mix it up however they see fit.

For 4 months away, I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty strong in that class!  I am sure it wasn’t geared to be nightmare difficulty, it seemed like a big group of casual people burning off their Easter chocolates, but I was worried I was going to get my butt kicked, and you know?  It turned out ok.  I wasn’t awesome or anything, my balance was a little wobbly, my hamstrings were tight and I skipped the abs part (I did abs yesterday, and will only do ab work every other day, sorry hot yoga), but I still feel like I moved confidently and gracefully through all the postures.

One thing I did notice lacking though, my patience.  Despite moving through the class with such confidence, my focus waned around the 45 min mark, and I found myself wishing for the class to be over.  Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the slow pace, but my patience was not quite there.  That is my biggest take away from that class – yoga can help me work on my focus and mindframe, to “be in the moment”.

Then I headed home, had some fluids and a little snack and a nap, then headed to the studio for a session with Les!

But first, another acupressure session.  He worked on my shoulders, some tendonitis in my forearm, and a tight Achilles tendon.  And let me tell you, it hurt like a mofo!  I hate those acupressure sessions, but I love them.

And then my weights session!  First things first, Les checked my measurements.

*drum roll*…. I am down 16 pounds!!!  I lost 16 pounds in March, isn’t that great!  I also dropped an inch in my chest, waist, arms and legs.

You know what’s crazy?  When I first heard that news, I wasn’t even happy.  4 pounds a week and I wasn’t happy.  To be honest, I was SO sure I wasn’t going to lose any weight, I had psyched myself out to be ready to handle seeing no progress on the scale, I was so prepping myself to throw a tantrum in the middle of the gym… that when I DID lose weight, I didn’t know how to react.  I was so prepared to do all the work, but I was unprepared for any success.  Isn’t that crazy?  It’s like running a race with blinders on, and missing out on all the good stuff along the way.

As the news sank in, I gradually became more and more happy throughout the workout.  On that note, time for the workout!

Back & Biceps: (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

assisted pullups:  widegrip X 15,12; underhand grip x 15; hammer grip x 12

widegrip rows:  240 x 12, 12; 280 x 12

IMG_2154

narrow pulldowns:  120 x 15, 15, 15, 15

IMG_2159

hyperextensions:  45 x 12, 12, 12

IMG_2163

bicep curls:  EZ curl 70 x 8; cable 100 x 12, 12

IMG_2164

concentrations curls:  (no rest, back and forth arm to arm) 20 x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 15/15

IMG_2168

 

notes:  widegrip rows on that machine feel really good right now, I have not hit my ceiling on that one yet.  But each stack only goes up to 210, so we decided to do the closegrip pulldowns on another machine, and WOW did it suck, lol.  the cable feeds through the pulley system like it’s being dragged through glue, that machine needs some oil like nobody’s business.  As a result, I could only do 120, and VERY slowly at that, no explosiveness possible without the machine clanging like a giant bell.

The bicep curls made the tendonitis flare up right away in my forearm, I think it was sore from all the heavy acupressure I had gone through.  So we switched to the cables, which has a different weight dynamic (the EZ curl bar presses straight down on your forearm at the top of the curl, which is when it hurt, but the cable is always pulling back towards the machine), and so I could do a bit more weight, but it still hurt.  Just to be safe, we lightened the weight on the concentration curls and I pumped them out.

 

And that was my workout!  So what are my plans for April??  I guess I have short and medium term plans already keyed up.  First things first, tomorrow is legs and shoulder day, and I have spin class at 7, gotta get ready for that insanity that is leg day.  I also want to reweigh myself at the end of this week and see if I can drop just a FEW more… maybe work on a major milestone??  Stay tuned on that one.

For April, now that I am more or less comfortable with morning spin and weights 6 days a week, I want to get serious about hot yoga again, see if I can juggle all 3 fulltime this month!  I think it will help me shock my system into dropping more pounds, keep my pores clean and help my focus!  If I can make spin, weights, hot yoga and tight diet a daily thing, I will be full on beastmode!  Cross your fingers.  I am already getting scared, haha.

I guess what’s important is you set a new goal and keep pushing.  It is too easy to stop, take a break and reward myself and lose the tempo.  I don’t feel like I am unable to keep up the pace, I feel strong and dialed in, so why not keep going?  See what my potential is?

 

Full shout out to my trainer, Leslie.  She has been a major source of support and has gotten me completely on track to being in the best shape of my life!  I have never been skinny, I was always the fat kid.  So I admit that I don’t know what being in shape feels like.  With Leslie there giving me little nudges, a pat on the back when I am not ready to pat myself, a kind word here and there, and a helping hand, I have come so much further than I would have on my own.  Thanks Les!

And after our workout, you know how we celebrated?  Les went shopping with me at the supplement store and the grocery store!  Isn’t she awesome?  I have the best trainer!

 

See you tomorrow!  April is here!

Monday I woke up feeling rough.  I decided to sleep in.  Lazed around all morning, had another nap at noon.  Eek, running out of time!  I called the massage place to book an appt for 3:15.  Then I took a shower.  When I got out of the shower I felt REALLY shaky and cold and weak.  So I got under the covers, and fell asleep for ANOTHER 80 min, until 2:45.  Then I had to rush to the massage place.

I got really worried I was coming down with a bug, or fighting something off.  Or my battery might just be really low, or I am detoxing off coffee, or something I ate didn’t agree with me, or a combination of all of those.  I decided to take it one step at a time, take my tasks on one by one and assess each time.  First step, get a massage.

It was an hour long massage, and it felt REALLY good.  I asked her to try and use her massage magic to bring my energy up.  She worked knots out of my shoulders, rolled on my inflamed IT band, rubbed my feet, rubbed my scalp, did it all!  I left the massage place, had a Booster Juice (green tea and echinacea with protein and blueberries and froyo), and tried to self-assess.  I decided I was ready to try working out with Leslie.

Made it to the studio, warned Leslie about feeling shaky.  We decided to give it a go.  Today we were going to run a Pull day:  Back, Biceps, some hammys

warm-up 5 min on elliptical

Deadlift in the Cage:  135×12, 225×6, 225×7, 135×12

the 135

the 135

Assisted Pullups:  8, 8, 8

my assist band, looped under one knee

my assist band, looped under one knee

Lying Hamstring Curls on the exercise ball:  12, 12, 12

Closegrip Pulldowns:  190×12, 200×12, 210×12

yup, full stack! time to find a harder exercise

yup, full stack! time to find a harder exercise

Bicep Curls:  75×12, x10, x12

damn paparazzi!

damn paparazzi!

notes:  we went with a good solid fullbody exercise first, to see how shaky I was.  135 looked way easy, and we just decided to GIVE ‘ER, and jump up to 2 plates, 225.  That might be the heaviest I have gone on deadlifts in recent memory, Leslie said my form looked pretty good, so I am happy.  I could have prob done more reps, but my grip was going.  Then we did a 4th set of lighter weight higher reps.

As well on the pullups, Leslie remarked that my form was looking better, I was activating my back more.  Good stuff!

Unfortunately on the bicep curls, I just psyched myself out or something.  Leslie walked in front of me to spot me on the second set, and I just quit.  I set it down, had to pull it back up and continue.  So for the third set, I just focused hard, tried to get myself worked up, and did them.  Leslie said the third set looked a lot better than that sorry-ass second set.

I must admit, I was actually feeling better after the workout than I did before the workout, so I decided to tempt the fates and go do my daily yoga.  I again decided to try something different, there was an 8 pm class at one of the Goodlifes, not a hot room, just good old fashioned room temp yoga.  When I showed up, there was an I think Irish woman named Deanna there, leading us through the practice.

I gotta admit, that was pretty weird, pretty different, and actually a lot of fun!  She took us through an entire hour of stretching our Achilles’ Tendons and strengthening our wrists.  We would put our hands in reverse prayer behind our backs, stand on our tiptoes, and slowly lower ourselves down into a full squat.  Lots of crunchy knees that class, haha.  We also spent a lot of time spiralling our hands outwards, which served to both pack our shoulders backwards, and also fire up our forearms a little bit, also the effect on the wrists.  We did those squats with 3 or 4 different hand position variations:  reverse prayer, fingers interlaced behind back, etc.  We went into full squat, then did twists.  We went into pigeon, then did some twists in pigeon (like twisted dragon, but in pigeon).  And we did lots of wrist stretches, leaning forward on our wrists, etc.  The wrist stuff reminded me of when I did martial arts when I was younger, we always put our wrists through all sorts of ranges of motion to keep them solid.

It wasn’t exactly the most physically demanding class, I don’t think I even broke a sweat, but I can’t remember the last time I gave those joints a good session, so it was totally worth it!  All kinds of yoga out there!

Deanna and I after class

Deanna and I after class

Day 29 down!  So close I can taste it!!

Sunday, I had all sorts of grandiose thoughts of imitating last weekend.  Spin class?  yoga class?  arms?  shoulders?  all of the above?  Maybe just take it one thing at a time.

I slept nice and late (gotta earn that “night owl” award I had received the night before at yoga class), then went out to a 10 am Spin class with my neighbour.  I signed us both up as early as possible, wasn’t about to take any risks.  Funny thing though, this class was only 3/4 full, I guess the enthusiasm of the last few weeks had worn off and people were slipping back into their bad habits.  This is a micro-preview of January, when gyms all over the world fill up with fitness dilletantes and iron dabblers.  Young men will set up a home amongst the curls and bench presses, women will fill up the group classes, old people will sit on the machines, and it will be gridlock until about March.  It used to peter off in February, but it seems to last to March now.  I guess that’s progress.  Makin all kinds of gains!

I was early for class by about 10 min, so I sat on a massage chair.  They had installed new ones, so I was testing out buttons.  It was all fun and games until the roller starts pushing up from under my butt… Hard to make eye contact with people when the massage chair is pushing a roller sideways up through your buttcheeks.  On the plus side, it hit my hamstrings better than the old chair did, but… when it rolled too high, it was just awkward.

Andrea was teaching the class, good one as always, lots of hard work.  I am still getting used to the new bikes, they look fancy, but they feel lighter and less sturdy than the old ones.  Time will tell.  Played a lot of classic spin songs off the older releases, so I was happily jamming out during the races.  RPM 49 and 51, yeah man, those were my jams!  OK, maybe those releases aren’t that old.  But old enough for me 🙂

When class let out, I realized that I wanted to go to Leslie’s yoga class at 1 and it was now 11, so there wasn’t really enough time to do any weights, and I was starving, AND I normally like to go to yoga on a totally empty stomach.  so I showered quick, grabbed a sandwich from the Italian store across the street (better than Subway!  real meat, real cheese, veggies haven’t been preserved and shipped across the country), went home, switched out my bag, and went bus hunting (determined not to repeat the mistakes of Saturday).

Yeah, it was just as hectic as that paragraph reads.  Plus it was semi-freezing rain all morning turning into regular rain by noon, so I was soggy and cold from running around all morning.  I was sitting on the bus at 5 after 12, confident I would not be late, then realize SHITTTTTTT, I had forgotten my shorts.    I had to walk for another 10 min to make it to the studio, so I was going to feel and smell like wet dog.  I considered cancelling out of class, regrouping, and doing a yin class at Moksha in the evening, in a nice and hot… er, hot room.  But then I thought, I had told Leslie I was coming, and hey!  Wouldn’t doing yoga in wet jeans make for interesting pictures?  Worth it for just the experience alone!  Switching it up!

I was feeling pretty soggy and sad on my walk to the studio… until I saw something even soggier and sadder:  a pair of wet underwear left lying on the grass by the side of the road.  They had been there for days now.

oh poor roadside underwear, what secrets do you hide?

oh poor roadside underwear, what secrets do you hide?

So I showed up a little early, dried off a little bit, laid out my mat, and prepared to get some yoga goin.

yup, this is really happening

yup, this is really happening

Not to cut to the chase and spoil all the dramatic tension or anything, but yoga in jeans, and in wet jeans?  Not good.  I couldn’t lunge as deep, I couldn’t go from down dog into a lunge very well (couldn’t swing my leg forward).  I couldn’t do pigeon, I couldn’t do gecko.  It felt gross.  I couldn’t hold tree comfortably.  Just kinda lame haha.  But I did it!  75 min at room temp with only a handful of people and my own personal photographer 🙂  Let’s just let the pics speak for the practice, shall we?

that's not my gut, that's the cow of cat/cow fame

that’s not my gut, that’s the cow of cat/cow fame

warrior 1 w backbend. my back foot looks wrong, but it felt right at the time

warrior 1 w backbend. my back foot looks wrong, but it felt right at the time

warrior 2 while dreaming of shorts

warrior 2 while dreaming of shorts

exalted warrior w raggedy shirt

exalted warrior w raggedy shirt

instead of pigeon I did double pigeon. harder than it looks!

instead of pigeon I did double pigeon. harder than it looks!

hammy stretch

hammy stretch

Leslie creepin on me in the dark

Leslie creepin on me in the dark

And that was that!  I wouldn’t say the jeans made it physically harder, just more awkward.  So glad it wasn’t a hot room!  Jeans w hot yoga… I would pass out.  And for the record, no, I did consider doing this class in my underwear, but rejected it.  They just weren’t the right underwear to be displaying to the world, too old and tired.  Even worse than roadside underwear.  Even worse.

posing for a pic after class

posing for a pic after class

I was wet and gross, but still considered doing weights at the studio, but we were the only ones there and Leslie was locking up, so I gave up on that.  I could have done the gym later Sunday night, but I just wasn’t feeling it, so I came up with a new plan:  Monday and Tuesday would be push and pull days with Leslie!  See you then!

Day 25 – Moonlight Asana

The structure of today was very similar to yesterday.  Long day of work, late night yoga.  Tonight would be some hot Yin.

Showed up at the studio, Gigi was going to teach tonight’s Yin.

Gigi and Katherine!

That’s Katherine to Gigi’s left, she was working front desk.

60 min stretchy class, not very full, I think the rush has died down.  This class, Gigi was playing a lot of music, a lot of classical piano.  Is it bad I can only guess who composed those pieces?  The tunes are instantly recognizable, but I’m like…”ehhhh, Beethoven?  Mozart?  Handel?  beats the shit out of me”

The music was very calming, most tranquil, classy even.  That’s why I thought it was kind of funny that we were going through all these hip openers, which can be very stressful for people.  So while the piano tinkles softly in the background, two dozen people are going through mild agony in their hips, sweating and cursing to themselves 🙂  It made me think of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, busting out some Moonlight Sonata while he eats your face off, hahaha!  That duality of the beautiful and the horrible.

time for Dragon pose on the other leg, Officer Pembry

On another note, I think my new favorite combo is doing seated Butterfly while Claire de Lune plays in the background.  I mean, I have always liked that piece anyways, so getting to bust out some restorative spine decompression to it is just nothing but icing 🙂

So we did Child’s pose (not the restorative kind), then Dragon, then seated Butterfly, then Pigeon, then some prone spinal twists, then we did wall-assisted Waterfall (legs up against the wall).  And then it was over, just like that.

Overall, I found the class pretty relaxing and pleasant!  I was in the Yin zone… just semi-meditative and stressfree.  A nice end to my day 🙂

Day 25 down!  Gettin closer!

Day 24 – be patient

I have to type this quick because I got home at 11 pm and I have to be up at 5 am, lol.

Some days, life conspires against you.  It wants you to fail, it takes all your plans and squeezes them hard.  That sounds way more dramatic than it is, but thats what it feels like when you are in the middle of it and getting frustrated.  You just have to be patient, and do what you can.  Some days it rains, and you just have to weather it until the sun comes back.

For the next few days at work, my bosses decided it was time for our annual meeting, where we all get together and everyone makes a presentation, every workgroup gets their turn.  This works out to 2 or 3 days of pure talking.  Death by Powerpoint!  They also decided we needed to have this meeting out in the middle of nowhere.  Plus not catered.  Well, not REAL food, just cookies and coffee.  Bleh.  You cant live off cookies and coffee all day, that sucks.

So when you factor in the commuting there and back, today (and tomorrow) turn out to be 12 hour days… I leave around 6:30 am and get home around 6 pm, starving.  (I should have brought lunch, when we got our lunch hour, I walked for 15 min to find somewhere to eat, each way, haha)  So yeah, lesson learned, bring something, ANYTHING with me to eat tomorrow.

So, I got home at 6, ate something.  I need 2 hours to digest so I can go to yoga on an empty stomach (all that twisting, full tummy would be a bad idea).  Add up the need to hit the hay in good time… and it means I literally have no time to lift.  No time for weights.  Once I realized this on the way home, I got really irritated.

I just feel the need to lift, I had done so well next week, and now I am getting shut out.  I took 2 days off from lifting because I needed the rest, and now it looks like shut out for 2 more days.  I have just enough time to either lift or yoga.  And I dont want to quit the 30 day hot yoga challenge, so I need to pick yoga.  Which is a hard lesson for me, because right now all I want to do is push some iron.  Its addicting 🙂

But maybe this is the lesson, be patient – be patient even with less than you want or need.

So I napped, digested, headed out to a 9:30 pm hot vinyasa flow.  Gigi was teaching.  No pic tonight, but there are MANY pixx of Gigi on this blog, just look around 🙂  60 min vinyasa style, room barely half full (so darn late!)  It was hard of course, but it was also very shoulder-heavy, lots of 3 legged dogs and 2 legged dogs!  My shoulder is still building itself up, so I had to sit about half of those out, but I gave them a try a few times 🙂

Gigi was SOOOO enthusiastic this class!  It almost bordered on self-parody.  If I didnt know her better I would think she was mocking us with her enthusiasm, but I know she was just in good spirits.  Just lots of glee in her voice, (one more breath!  hold onnnnn!  hooooold onnnn!! lift your knee highurr!  one more second!  aaaand, downward dog!)

Dont take it as a criticism, Gigi is awesome, and I love her classes.  I was just amused by her unbridled glee.  It almost broke the tension on my crappy day and I chuckled to myself a few times during class.  So you can say that, yeah, yoga was the best part of my day.  Every other part was irritating and stressful, but yoga was my warm little moment of silliness 🙂

 

Day 24 down!  a lesson in patience and laughing at yourself!  bye!

Day 23 – recovery

Finally!  A recovery day!  Not a day off per se, but no resistance training, just a yin class, just some stretching.  I needed a low tempo day.

Slept in, did a day of work, came home, and napped for a good long while.  Woke up, headed to the studio for some late-night stretchy.

festive Katie

Katie was teaching this Yin, and posed by the Xmas tree for a shot or two.  Get it?  Tree pose.  Xmas tree.  Decoration hanging from her hand.  Decorations hang from Xmas trees.  Christmas.  Tree.  Plus her top says Roots.  Trees have roots.

 

Got changed out, stood by the hot room waiting for it to get cleaned.  Dude leaning against the wall, looks like Joss Whedon.  Stares at me.  I stare back at him.  nonverbal dude communication ensues.

me – “No, you don’t know me, what now Chief?”

him – “Just now waiting to see who will look away first”

me – “Underneath my pleasant public demeanor lies a lot of unresolved anger issues.  So don’t push it.”

 

As a guy, I both accept these male dynamics and am amused by them.  Are women aware of how many staredowns the average man goes through as he walks down the street?  It would blow your mind, you get sized up multiple times a day.

But I digress.  Back to Yin.

60 min class, lots of free space, I’m in luck!  We did child’s pose for a while (the deep kind, where you stretch out your hips, not recover), then we did cat/cow, then pigeon then a seated twist then a half shoelace then supported fish then wind relieving pose then a prone spinal twist.  I think that was it, time flies!

I was much happier with my pigeon tonight, much more serene.  This I took as the barometer of my recovery, I am closer to feeling better.  Now, shoelace… shoelace I find quite hard, but half-shoelace?  I felt nothing…  Katie came over and made some suggestions, but I still felt nothing.  Maybe half shoelace isn’t where my edge lies.  Next time I might do some monkey splits instead (not full ones, that is beyond me currently).  Just like how double pigeon is more restorative for me than stressful, I feel pretty much nothing.  Like how now instead of doing “thread the needle”, I do dead pigeon instead.  Your practice is your own, it won’t look like everyone else’s, and it is a sign of your experience that you don’t feel the need to conform.

Day 23 down!  Looks like it’s back to the weight training!  The break is over!

Brrr, it was cold last night!  I was shivering.  Had to throw the longjohns on.    When I woke up this morning, I realized why – a fresh layer of snow had blanketed the ground outside.  I think it might be our first serious snowfall of the year, not flurries that melt a few hours later.

The plan for today was get as much rest as I could, and head out to some Monday night hot yoga.  I knew I was beat up from the weekend madness, so I lay in the cut as long as I could.  I lazed around the morning, watched Dexter, headed into work, work was a mix of rushing around all morning and then sitting in on a 3 hour meeting in the afternoon.  Went to the grocery store after work, picked up some fresh eats, came home, cooked a steak, ate some beets tossed with a little olive oil and balsamic.  then buried myself under the blankets for a power nap 🙂  Slept for 45 min, woke up felt great!  Headed out to hot yoga (I made sure to reserve a spot, haha).

It was going to be a 90 min class, and once again, TOTALLY packed to the brim, waiting list, people stacked like firewood, pure pandemonium!

me, Tracy!

This is Tracy!  She wasn’t teaching the class, but I never see her around the studio any more, so I needed a pic!  So happy!  Tracy co-owns this studio and another one on the other side of town (Stittsville), and she usually holds down the fort there.  Tracy is great.  Another reason I was thrilled to see her for the first time in months, she is expecting again!  She is about 4 months along now, just starting to show, and seemed rather glowy to me 🙂

I caught up for a bit, then rushed into class, found a spot near the front (coincidence, I wasn’t making a statement, haha), and then we were underway.

I admit, this class was VERY tough on me.  I don’t know if it is the low carb diet, the sore shoulders from the workout yesterday, or a combo of both, but this class kicked my butt so hard I wanted to run for the door.  It wasn’t any pose specifically, but the time the heat and pose after pose got to me.

It was a 90 min Moksha sequence, basically the foundation of the whole studio, I knew the whole sequence quite well.  We were packed so close, there wasn’t a lot of room to move.  When we went into seated prayer twist and also into the twist on the crescent lunge, I kept my arms bound around me.  I could have propped them up into a prayer mudra (barely, I have big arms and a big stomach, it ain’t easy), but I quickly realized doing that would be causing sweat to roll off my arms onto my neighbour’s mat, so out of courtesy, I kept the bind around my torso, which makes the pose a little easier.

Yeah, it was probably my tired shoulders making me cranky, that has happened before.  I could barely hold pigeon, and I am usually able to fall asleep in that pose.  I wanted to beat my head against the ground, I was getting so frustrated.  A lot of negative emotions were welling up.

After pigeon we went into more seated twists, and I was getting all huffy, breathing angry and exasperated, frustrated, rolling my eyes.  Just being cranky!  When we went into final savasana, I couldn’t even lay still or close my eyes, I squeezed my face in my hands and started up at the sky for a while.  Just worn out and raw.  I think maybe I needed more rest, maybe even a day off.

This 30 day challenge, hot yoga every single day, 4-6 hours of pure weight training every week, plus another 2-3 hours of extra cardio every week, this has been one of the hardest training months of my life, no joke.  I have been training really hard for a man who is essentially 35% dough, ROFL.  This schedule would be appropriate for a UFC fighter or perhaps Batman, not for little ‘ole me.  I knew I was signing up for hell month, and I can make it, but I admit my feet are dragging every day now, and I look forward to taking a wee break real soon 😛

When I left the hot room, my yoga mat was saturated soaked drowned dead wet game over.  This is rather gross, but by the end of class I could slip & slide on it.  When I rolled it up to leave class, I had to turn it sideways or it would dribble all over the hot room floor.  I’m talkin shamwow levels of perspiration here, people!

My feet dragged hard in the change room, when I walked past the front desk staff, I shambled like a zombie, I shuffled home half dead, am typing this up, then I am going to go sleep for as long as life lets me 😛

 

Day 22 down!  pray for me!

Spin, shoulders, hot yin, that was the plan for Sunday.

Me neighbour was eager to do another Spin class, and who could blame him?  Spin is great 🙂

I was given a sample of a new preworkout recently, Rivalus Powder Burn.

I have tried Rivalus’ Complx5 before, their stim free pwo, and I like it.  I like it before yoga, it keeps my head clear and me alert.  So I popped the powder burn sample.  I had heard it tasted harsh, but I didn’t notice it.  Felt an immediate spring to my step, ran to the gym!  Powered by tiger nuts!

I made it a point to show up early to the gym, and sign my friend and I up as soon as the list was opened up.  I was going to make sure we got spots.

Andrea was teaching, and she continues to prove why she is my fav, just intense spin work, all business.  A really strong Song 7, it went on forever and ever!  I also noticed no awkward jerks on the pedal strokes like yesterday, maybe some of the bikes are better than others.  But I sweat like a demon, worked it out hard.

Andrea & I after class

Bid my neighbour adieu, then headed to the weight room, deja vu!

shoulders:

superset (2 min rest) dumbbell shoulder press & alternating dumbbell front raise w/2-2-2 cadence:  50/20  8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/5

dumbbell lat raise w/drop sets (no rest!):  25×10, 22.5×6, 20×5, 17.5×7, 15×5, 12.5×6

superset upright row & shrugs w/1-4-2 cadence:  65 x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

notes:  this was a pretty quick workout by design.  my rehabbing shoulder can’t handle a lot of volume, and I do a lot of down dogs in yoga, so I wanted a quick blast, not a long haul.  But I wanted the workout to be hard, so I tried to maximize the time under tension, supersets, slow tempo and drop sets.  Trust me, it burns!

The 2-2-2 speed front raises were quite hard on my left shoulder.  I felt the burn especially when I lowered it.  If you weren’t clear, 2-2-2 means I take 2 seconds to raise it, hold it up for 2 seconds, 2 seconds to lower it.  All the while I try to keep my torso squared off, try not to put my back into it and lean forward or start to shrug with my traps.  Traps get their fun later 🙂  Slow proper front raises burn like crazy with little weight, try them out!

It gets harder to bring the dumbbells up for the shoulder presses.  I find it is easiest to clean them up while I stand, and then keep them up as I squat down to the chair.

I think the front raises tested my sprain the hardest.  I was worried the lat raises would hit the sprain, but when I did them, they were just normal hard 🙂  Yeah, drop sets all the way down to hell!  The dumbbells weren’t busy, so I lined up all of them, and just went to town.  When I dropped down to 17.5 DBs, it got suddenly easier, then quickly got hard again.  6 drop sets is no joke!

The traps I supersetted, using the same weight for the rows and the shrugs, just switched up the grip on the bar and kept going without lowering it.  They were actually somewhat easy, but I was testing out the routine, so I can go heavier next time.  1-4-2 cadence means I lift it up, hold it for 4 seconds, lower it slowly, then right back up.  For my purposes, what I found worked best was when I brought it up, I kept my shoulders forward for 2 seconds, then rolled them back (“packed them”) for 2 seconds, then lowered them for 2 seconds.  The shrugs were light, but doing them slow and right after the upright rows made them burn pretty good 🙂  I will go heavier next time and test the sets harder.

Had just enough time after the workout to grab a bite, then headed out to the movies to catch an early afternoon flick with my friend (Looper).

Then I had just enough time to head home and grab my yoga stuff so I could head out to Yin!  Ran to the bus stop, the bus was 5 min late.  This was going to cut it close, I got very worried.  I hadn’t presigned up either, there had just been no time today.  When I got to the studio, my worst nightmare:  the class was full.  5 min before class, they start to give away spots to the wait list, so I asked, but the wait list was already 8 people long!  Crazy!

I guess I deserved that for my trolling of the spin class yesterday 😛  I had been cutting it close and just winging it with the fitness classes for a while.  When November hits, fitness classes get packed to capacity, people want to slim down before xmas.  November is busy, December it gets sort of empty, then January it gets super busy all over again!  It tends to fade Feb and March timeframe, but January is bananas in every gym all over town.  So a word to the wise, always sign up in advance and reserve a spot.  and don’t be late or they will give it away.

So no yoga class for me 😦  Karma bit me!  But I didn’t want to lose the 30 day challenge, so I headed home and loaded up a yoga app on my iPhone, haha.  It offered me a 40 min “Shakti” stretching sequence.  I didn’t like it!  The thing about fitness routines is I like just shutting my brain off and doing what the teacher tells me, all the blood flows to my muscles, not to my brain.  Doing it in my home, and waiting for the robot voice to tell me what to do next is just too distracting, I couldn’t really get into it.  But in theory there was nothing wrong with the yoga app, I just prefer the human touch in a devoted setting 🙂

But oh well!  Day 21 down!  This was a crazy weekend 🙂  I loved it, but I hated it… but I LOVED it.  It was a real test.  I think Monday I will do the bare minimum and try to recover a bit 🙂  Normally Sunday is recovery day, but this Sunday… recovery?  What recovery??!?  Monday better be a sweet recovery day 😉

Spin, back, biceps, hot yoga.  That was the plan for Saturday, and it felt ambitious, by my best guess somewhere between 3 and 4 hours of exercise.

I showed up for some morning Spin.  I saw a guy who has been the instructor in the past sitting on the bench in the changeroom.  I can’t remember his name.  So I pick a name – I walk up to him (headphones in my ears, music playing), and say, “Hey Mike! You teaching this one?”  He looks at me, mutters “yeah” as he looks down.  I heard him, but keep staring at him, widen my eyes, cock my head, smile, as if waiting for something.  He looks back at me, raises his voice, “Yes.” and drops his chin as he says it, to see if I am paying attention.  I smile and wander away.  (Reminder, his actual name is not Mike)

It was awkward, but I was curious to see what fitness class instructors are like out of class, before they turn the dial to “HAPPY” so they can motivate a group of strangers to do something difficult.  That I was kind of trolling him was just a bonus for me 🙂  (evil smile)

My neighbour showed up, and it looked like the class was filling up really early!  We were 10 minutes out and I couldn’t see two empty bikes side by side any more.  My neighbour ran to the signup sheet, and I went to scout out some bikes.  When he showed up, I asked nonverbally if he signed me up, he said no.  I shrugged and decided possession was 9/10 of the law, and stayed on my bike 😛

When the teacher showed up, he announced that the signup sheet was full, so if someone had not signed up, they should get off their bike.  I kept my mouth shut and kept rolling.  A few minutes later the teacher was chatting to the gym front desk staff, and my neighbour and I looked at each other and we smiled and I went back to rolling on the bike.  I was interested to see where this was going…

Teacher came back, and said if they have to, they will do roll call off the list and single the squatter(s) out and make them apologize to the class for the delay.  Spider-sense tingling!!

Front staff came back and said some of the waiters had left but one person was determined to get a bike (they HAD earned it after all).  Teacher had the list in front of him, was JUST about to read it off, when someone pointed out there was an unused bike stuck in the middle of the pack (I bet a squatter had run away).  So everyone who stuck around now had a bike and we could begin.

Yeah, I cut it close on that one!  I think I will sign up from now on 🙂

Class was good, I didn’t want to go all out on the tension, I knew I had a long day ahead of me.  Even still, I was sweating like CRAZY.  My body just wanted to sweat it all out.  I was working hard, maybe 80% the whole 60 min class, but that was enough.  I actually felt bad that the stranger to my right had inherited my puddle of sweat by about 6 songs in, it was now under my bike and under his bike too.  Crazy!  I was wondering if he would try and do stretches after and wipe out on my sweat.  Spoiler:  he did not wipe out in the end.

I also am not happy with the new bikes, there is an awkward transition from the downpedal to the uppedal, it is jerky.  I only notice it when I stand, but it makes standing climbs kinda suck.  I hope there are lots of races and power climbs in my future, so I can avoid that.

On to the weightlifting! I left Spin, bid farewell to the neighbour, and hit the weight room right away.

Back & Biceps:

100 reps close grip rows (machine):  100 lbs X 35 /65s rest/ x30 / 35s rest/ x20 / 15s rest/ x15

superset underhand grip cable rows & neutral grip pulldowns (90s rest):  120/105 X20/20, 20/20, 20/20

superset reverse cable flys & straight arm pulldowns w/rope (90s rest):  55/40 x 14/10, 12/9, 14/11

curl machine (90s rest):  80 x10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

seated alternating DB curls (90s rest):  40 x8, 8, 8, 7, 6, 8

notes:  I was nervous about my energy levels after spin, but the machine rows held up pretty well.  I felt a nice pump already in my back after those.  Then when I went to the supersets of the rows and pulldowns (easily the hardest part), I had a hard time corralling the 2 machines at once.  I set up the bars I wanted, then when I was over with the cable rows, I noticed a girl staring at the pulldowns.  I went over to apologize, saying we could switch in and out, and she said, “no, I just don’t know how to use it”.  I explained that with the neutral-grip bar, you hold the ends with a neutral grip (ie. palms neither down nor up, but to the inside, like holding a hammer) and pull it down to the front of your chest.  She nodded, and we agreed to switch in and out.

With my 90s rest and her apparent 20s rest, she went about 5 times with her weight for 2 of my supersets, then was gone by the 3rd.  Not to judge, but it seemed like she was experimenting rather than picking a challenging weight 🙂  It kind of looked like she was trying stuff out while her boyfriend did stuff about 40 feet away.  BOO, ladies! Hit the weights with intensity!

Anyways, that superset is intense, I was shaking after every superset, my face twisted up in major discomfort.  But I did it!

I saw my friend the trainer working on a Saturday, which is rare (hi Terry!), so I went up and asked him if I could get to the pec deck in the roped off area with the free moving bars, so I could do reverse flys.  He said not needed, and took me to a machine in the corner which I mostly ignore, where I could easily do it with cables.  Since he was there, he also showed me some ways to work the exercises a little better:  for the reverse flys, alternate back and forth from standing up straight to leaning forward about 45 degrees.  Go back and forth, one standing up, one leaning forward, keeping the same angle of the pull.  And for the straight pulldowns, use a rope and bring it just to your hips.

Both of those were hard!  It made the exercises harder, I tried 60 pounds with the rope, and immediately NOPE, so I dropped the weight to 40 and kept going.  As you can see, I could not hit 20 reps with either of those exercises, so it was just difficult enough.  I think I found my new favorite variation, thanks Terry!

Then I came home, and fell into a deep sleep.  For like 90 minutes.  No foolin.  I must have been tired!

I was debating what yoga class to go to, and dreading having to go again really soon, because Saturday night does not have many choices, it was either Sat afternoon or bust.  But then I saw a last minute ad for a Saturday night class being run by my friend Megan!  90 minutes, warm room (not hot), live dj… hmmm…

I admit, I shy away from the live dj yoga classes.  I like tranquility, I don’t crave a party atmosphere.  BUT, it was my friend running it for one.  All the proceeds were going to charity for another.  It was also in the evening!  AND, maybe switching it up for its own sake will be a good shock for my body.  Now, this class had been sold out for a while (it’s very popular).  But 2 tickets had suddenly opened up!  I decided it wasn’t a coincidence.  I messaged Megan and asked if I could buy a ticket.  She said yes, and I was in!

Showed up for the 7 pm class.  It was going to be 90 min long, 40 people, dj with a turntable, 2 teachers taking turns teaching.  Megan was one of the teachers, and Nigel was the other teacher, never had a class with Nigel before.

me, Megan, Nigel!

When I showed up, I was given a glowy tube thing, told to put it around my wrist or ankle or something, sounds like a “club” thing, haha.  I tried, it was too small for my big wrists, which meant no point even looking at my ankle.  Too big for your reindeer games, Megan! (For the record, as the pic clearly shows, I looped the glowy through my belt loops on the yoga shorts.  So I had a glow in the dark groin.)

Based on the glowy tube thing, I was guessing that the dj wouldn’t be spinning AC/DC, haha.

The class would be a “prana flow” class, and Nigel would teach for 45, Megan for the other 45.  A demo mat was set up at the front of the room, and in the middle of the room, to make it easier for people to see.  A warm room meant it was only about 25 degrees, but with all the people, bound to hit at least 30 degrees.  I had no idea what they meant by prana flow, although I had gotten tastes of it from Megan’s classes before.

It was very different!  We moved with our breath quite a bit (which I guessed from the name, prana being breath), and were always moving around on our mat, rotating evenly through facing all 4 sides of our mat.  Lots of moving around, changing directions, lots of side planks.  Did I say lots of side planks?  LOTS of side planks.  Variations on the side plank, including normal side p’s, one where your bottom leg swings out in front of you, and the one where your top leg extends out behind you, in all cases either on the floor or held up in the air, depending on your ability.  This can be very tiring, and most of our energy was devoted towards that.

We did chaturanga here and there for the first 45 min, but for the back half, we were told to merely “wink” at chaturanga, meaning don’t do it, just recognize that is the place where it would go, AKA stay in extended plank for a second before heading back to downward dog.  I think they recognized 90 min of chaturanga and side planks was pretty rigorous, so they trimmed the chaturanga out, to show us mercy 🙂

We also “pulsed” a lot, in various poses, experimenting with using our breath to make our torso and spine move through “waves”, playing with our trunk positioning in extended plank, and in garland pose, and in down dog, and in up dog and cobra.  The pulses were interesting!  I might want to add that on the regular to my deep squats, it felt quite good there.

NOW, in all fairness, on the down side!  The music was quite loud, and I couldn’t hear Nigel when he spoke.  Megan cut through the buzz a little bit with her commands, but you shouldn’t have to fight the music to be heard.  I don’t know if a noisy hot room is my thing.  Also, with all the spinning around, my yoga towel that covered the mat was getting all twisted up into piles all the time, so I yanked it off.  But now with just my trusty rubber yoga mat getting sweaty, I kept losing my grip and slipping.  I am just too heavy and sweaty for all that spinning around while keeping your balance.  I would need some way to keep my towel pinned down to my mat for me to keep traction.

Don’t take it the wrong way, I was really glad I went to that class!  I always appreciate new challenges.  That it all was for charity was just gravy.  I came home, exhausted and happy.  That’s why this blog is so late, I had to go sleep, haha.

What a great Saturday!  Hard work all day long!  Day 20 down!

Megan’s main business web page:  http://www.journeyoftheyogini.com/

Nigel’s web page:  http://www.yogawithnigel.com/

learn more about Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow:  http://shivarea.com/about-prana-flow