Tag Archive: abs

18 Nov 2016

Finally have enough spare time to hit the gym! Did the office gym right before lunch. Decided to celebrate my freedom with a “fun” workout.

warmup: slow neg side raises, Cuban presses, shrugs

Superset: Flat DB Presses & Band Pullaparts (2-3 min rests, hammergrip presses, heavy resistance band)

60s x 16 / 20 pullaparts
70s x 12 / 20 pullaparts
80s x 9 / 20 pullaparts
90s x 7 / 20 pullaparts
100s x 5 / 20 pullaparts
90s x 5 / 20 pullaparts
80s x 7 / 20 pullaparts
70s x 10 / 20 pullaparts
60s x 15 / 20 pullaparts

notes: I wondered if my chest would be burning, but NOPE! My rear delts were so pumped and on fire!!! I was in pain between sets. The pump hurt so bad, I needed to stretch out my rear delts between sets. If I just sat there normally, my rear delts burned… I had to extend my arms forward and stretch them out to feel better.

Superset: 6-way DB Raise and Band Over and Backs (60 sec rests, heavy band)

10s x 10 / 10 over and backs
10s x 10 / 10 over and backs

notes: I went for a third set… but my shoulders just rebelled, I couldn’t even pick up the 10 lb DBs any more LOL. By this point, the rear delts burned so bad that the only time they STOPPED burning was when I was doing the 6 way raise… but the over and backs burned like hell.

Superset: DB Hammer Curls & Cable V-Bar Pushdowns & Leg Raises (30 sec rests)

40s x 15 / 7 plates x 40 / 15 raises
40s x 13 / 7 plates x 40 / 15 raises
40s x 13 / 7 plates x 40 / 15 raises

notes: this was a random mix just to speed things up, I supersetted arm work with abs. I went light on triceps and just pumped out the reps until my arms wanted to pop.

25 March 2016

It is Good Friday today, and a snowstorm hit my city while I was away (!!!) Serious, DC was sunny and warm, cherry blossoms and shit… and Ottawa is buried in snow and freezing rain. So… stat holiday… miserable weather… the will was strong to not go to the gym today. But I did.

still team #nobeltnosleeves

Low Bar Squats (shoes, 2-3 min rests)

135 x 3
185 x 3
225 x 3
*took a 5 min break to do some warmup: dorsiflexions, TKEs*
295 x 3
295 x 3
295 x 3
295 x 3
295 x 3

High Bar Squats (2-3 min rests)

305 x 3
305 x 3

LowBar Lo-Pause Squats (pause in the hole for a second, 2-3 min rests)

275 x 4
275 x 4
275 x 4

notes: squats feeling heavy as shit today. I was originally planning on taking a hi-pause, but I noticed I was relying a lot on the “bounce” out of the hole on the earlier sets, so I decided to slow it down and enjoy that pause at the bottom. It worked, the lo-paused squats felt heavvvvyyyyy.

post: abs, 15 min LISS

Got up, went to the gym first thing for my chest and tricep workout.

AM Chest & Tris (60 sec rest)

flat DB press:  70 x 10; 110 x 10; 170 x 8, 8

DB pullovers:  40 x 10; 60 x 12, 12

incline fly:  120 x 12, 12, 11 DROP 80 x 8

overhead tricep extensions:  rope 40 x 15; 50 x 15; bar 50 x 15; 70 x 12 DROP 50 x 12 DROP 30 x 12 DROP 20 x 12

assisted dips (115) 13; 9; 8

superset incline DB skullcrushers & diamond pushups (dropset to your knees to do more pushups):  60 x 8 & 8 DROP 6; 45 x 11 & 4 DROP 6; 45 x 10 & 4 DROP 5

bench dips, feet elevated 10, 9, 10

cardio 20 min, abdominal twists x 150

notes:  chest work was light but tricep work  was tough!  For the overhead extensions, I was stuck with this particular cable machine at the gym that is very stiff, I have lower weights on it than anywhere else.  So I experimented with attachments:  rope or straight bar; and I put my butt against the pillar, bent over 90 degrees, and did my tricep reps as best as I could – the triple drop set at the end was nasty!

I had not done dips on the dip machine in a long time, they usually are too rough on my shoulder.  But these felt good!  Supersetting the skullcrushers and pushups was intense, the back of my arms were spent!  I could barely get any pushups done, even when I dropped to my knees it didn’t help much.  And then with the bench dips, my arms were like spaghetti.

I am going to start throwing in some “twists” after my cardio, just rotating my trunk side to side with no bodyweight, see if maybe I can keep the blood flowing there, keep my obliques healthy and not bulky, maybe tighten up the loose skin a bit.  We will see.

After work I headed down to the studio for workout #2 with Les!

PM fullbody (60 sec rest)

seated good mornings w barbell:  45 x 12; 135 x 12; 155 x 12, 12

smith machine chest press 160 + bar x 8, 8, 8, 8

band assisted pullups (grip varies) 8, 8, 8, 8

standing military press 75 x 8, 8, 8, 8

ab roller x 12, 12, 12

cardio 20 min, twists x 150

notes:  I had done all those hack squats just the day before, so we thought instead today I could do some squat assist work:  strengthen my spine with some good mornings.  My first time doing them.  Felt good!

Smith bench is coming along well too, steady gains!  Military press and ab roller both felt more smooth and natural today too, so that’s comforting.

And that was my day!  another double whammy!  How about you? Did you make it out to the gym?

Work up headed to the gym for some shoulders and cardio before work.

AM workout:

lat raises (30 sec rest) 80 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8

rope face pulls (10 sec rest) 70 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

cable rear delt fly (10 sec rest) 33 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

db shrugs (30 sec rest) 200 x 10, 10, 10, 10

cardio:  lateral elliptical 25 min, variable resistance, angle 8

notes:  the cables were crowded, so I couldn’t grab both cables for reverse flys, so I grabbed just one of them for face pulls, and sure enough the other guy got grumpy and left quick.  It goes to reinforce my theory that some people hang out at that cable station in the back corner just to be isolated.  Whenever I enter their bubble they lose interest.  I don’t ask to sub in with them, just by being colocated they are all of a sudden done.  guess they were never that serious.

Funny, the face pulls felt easier than usual, and then when I shifted to flys I realized it was because I did them in the reverse order of normal.  So the flys felt EXTRA hard.  Even light weight was no joke with that volume.


Then I went to work, grabbed a 6 min lie down in the tan bed at lunch.

After work headed to the studio for a special Thursday session with the trainer (she is out of town for the long weekend).  Weighed me… down only 1 pound, dammit!  Not spectacular, compared to previous weeks.  I guess my body is adapting to the new routine and I am gonna have to shock it into new loss.  Still, have lost a lot so far, lost inches all over too!

tan still working itself out

tan still working itself out

for once you can see my shoulder, hooray!

for once you can see my shoulder, hooray!

still plenty of back fat, injured shoulder hangs low

still plenty of back fat, injured shoulder hangs low


Then it was on to legs and abs!

PM workout:

bench bb squats 225 x 10, 7; 205 x 10, 10


kettlebell step ups (30 sec rest) 80 x 10/10, 10/10, 10/10

instead of lunges

instead of lunges

lying leg curls (30 sec rest) 95 x 15, 15, 15, 15


static extended plank (30 sec rest) 45 sec, 45, 45


stability ball crunches (30 sec rest) 25, 25, 25, 25

bicycle crunches (30 sec rest) 30, 30, 30


notes:  ugh, this workout, will go down in infamy.  During the first set of back squats on the last rep, I “stapled” myself.  I got pinned at the bottom by the bar.  I just gave out.  Thankfully I was going to a bench, so all it did was pin me to the bench.  But my trainer was starting to freak out because the bar was too heavy for her to lift off me.  so I was stuck there.  No way out.

OK, 2 ways out.  Shrug it off me and lunge forward.  Or push it back up, from a dead stop on the bench with a back hunch.  I chose to push up, and complete the last rep.

That rattled me a lot, kinda the trainer too.  We ended up messing around with the cage set up a lot, and I went cold a bit.  BUT.  Big but.  I still did 3 more sets.  Set 2 felt tough and I was starting to go by rep 7.  So we dropped the weight by 20 pounds, and I kept going.

I chalk that up as mental toughness.  You get your butt kicked, you just fail hard,  you get up and dust yourself off and keep going.  So I didn’t give up.  But I won’t lie, the intensity was totally gone, I was shaken, but undeterred.

My foot was sore from a chronic health issue I had, so we exchanged lunges for stepups.  Which I hate quite a bit also, so it was a fair trade.  I got through the rest of the workout, but that crapfest at the start plus the weigh in ate up a lot of time, so we had to cut leg exercises out AND I still had to do ab work on my own.

On one hand, I am proud of losing weight, losing inches.  I am proud I was tough enough to salvage my workout and not give up.  But on some level, I am pissed about that fail.  I am pissed I had to drop weight on an exercise I ALREADY do with a pitifully low weight.  I am mad my core is so weak it failed me on squats.  And you know what?  Being mad is ok too.  Being competitive will keep you going during the tough times.

And tomorrow it starts all over again.

ok! diet dialed in! routine dialed in! lunches made for the week! let’s do it!

and then the gym kinda sucked.

I showed up for the 7 am spin class, was pedalling along, clearing my mind, doing what the teacher said but otherwise meditating away, and a friend leans over to me and whispers “you should pedal faster”.  I am like… uhhh, you are pedalling slower than me, and all I get in return is a tomahawk chop pantomime straight ahead to the teacher, sort of a nonverbal “shoosh” move.  So, pedal faster and stop talking?  I thought I was completely silent and pedalling as hard as I could against the resistance I had it set on… who knew??

So after a quick blast of criticism out of nowhere, my zen moment was gone, now I was self-conscious.  I don’t know, cardio for me is sometimes a go crazy, pant as hard as I can and grunt and groan, and sometimes it is a chance to clean out my head space.  I would seriously doubt that even in the latter case, I am burning less than 700 calories, prob even 800, so… I will just scratch my head.  Sometimes being in a weight loss competition means it is open season to criticize you, I have to accept that as constructive regardless.

Went to work, slipped out at lunch for a leg and abs workout.  Was just getting started then my boss shows up!  mmmmmm, now I am self-conscious again.  He just showed up to work out, but that sort of made me self-conscious again, so the intensity didn’t really show up.

Legs & Abs:

dumbbell squats (45 sec rest):  180 x 8, 10, 10, 10

dumbbell lunges (30 sec rest):  90 x 12, 12, 12

dumbbell stifflegged deadlifts (30 sec rest):  180 x 6, 80 x 12, 120 x 12

dumbbell calf raises (30 sec rest): 140 x 25, 25, 25, 25

lying leg curls (30 sec rest):  105 x 15, 15, 15; 135 x 12

stability ball crunches (30 sec rest): 25, 25, 14, 16

static plank (30 sec rest):  45 seconds, 45 sec, 45 sec

bicycle crunches (30 sec rest):  30, 30, 30

notes:  The work gym has no squat rack, so I used DBs for the squats and the SLDL.  I will be honest, they were really awkward, ripped up my calluses a bit too, but that is unavoidable.  The squats, they kept scraping against my legs, but I pushed them out despite the scraping around throwing the weight off and making it slightly unstable.  The db SLDL I felt right away in my low back instead of my hamstrings, so I dropped the weight a lot so I could feel the stretch, and then worked up a bit.

For the ball crunches, my low back got sore again, so I cut those short.


Overall a sort of meh day in the gym.  Oh well, not gonna stop! Tomorrow is rest day! Hooray!

Rough Start

Monday before the challenge starts, Day 2 of the new Diet, Day 1 of the new workout regimen.

Diet is going ok.  I am trying lots of new things for this challenge – coconut oil, a food scale, prepping all my meals in advance.  Gotta give it my all!

The workout was trash.  My low back gave out early on and screwed up pretty much every exercise.  But at least I bought new shoes!


Legs & Abs (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

Squat to a Bench (45 sec rest here):  warmup, 225 x 8, 8, 8, 8

warm up

warm up

stationary db lunges:  45s x 12; 35s x 12, 12

stiff-legged deadlift:  185 x 12, 10; 135 x 12


prone leg curls: 95 x 12, 12; 85 x 15; 75 x 15


exercise ball crunches:  25, 25, 25, 25

plank:  45 sec, 45, 45

bicycle crunches:  30, 30, 30

prone leg raises:  15, 15, 15

weighted standing calf raises:  120 x 25, 25, 25, 25



For those who crap on squatting to a bench, form is king so if my trainer says my core is too weak in the pocket and I need to use a bench, then I will.  No ego, just work.  As opposed to a box squat, when you squat to a bench, you just tap your butt for a second, you don’t sit down and relax your hips.

Early on in the squats (Set 2), my trainer could see my lower back giving out, so she had me not go down as low as the bench.  I guess that makes them half squats or whatever, which puts more of the emphasis on the quads.  Again, it was a blow to the ego, but you can’t live inside your own head, you have to trust the process.

Slowing down the descent and keeping it in the quads made my inflamed IT band act up, and each time by rep 8 it was burning pretty good so I didn’t make it to rep 10.  I need some massage work on that I think.  IT band stayed quiet for the rest of the workout.

With wobbly burning legs and a weak core, the lunges were brutal.  They pretty much destroyed my energy for the rest of the session, I was doubled over and sucking wind in between sets, other people were asking me if I was okay, but I needed to keep pushing and get through it.  Not all workouts get to be awesome, some of them are just disasters, and you have to harvest what gains you can.

My form deteriorated on the SLDL, so I had to drop weight just to get the work into my hams.  prone leg curls were weaker than usual as well.

To try and make it up, I threw an extra movement into the ab work (leg raises).  Planks had to be downgraded from extended planks to standard planks to planks from knees as well, since my lower back was too worn out.

A rough day for sure!

Not going to stop!  This challenge might well turn out to be the hardest thing I have ever done, but I won’t stop – just stop thinking about it and push forward.

See you soon!


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


Sissy Squats:  12, 12, 12


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


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


TRX Hamstring Curls:  10, 10, 10


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

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



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?

I slept in this morning, it was pretty glorious.  Ate some oatmeal, watched some recorded tv, had another nap.

Was refreshed and recharged and ready to head to the yoga studio for noon.

pre-class w Paula

This is Paula, she co-owns the Moksha studio I go to, and is just a well-rounded, kickass person.  The studio was crowded for a Saturday on a long weekend!  I think it was the class:  a core-focused hour of hot yoga, for all the skinny masochists out there.  I was nervous, I wondered what the curriculum entailed, could my shoulder handle an hour of planks and 3 legged down dogs?  But you have to meet these fears head on.  Meet them thoughtfully, but meet them.

I found a spot near the back (noone wants to see me give up on crunches, that shit is demotivating), got comfy.  Room fills up.  A girl taps me on the shoulder, “can you move please?”  uh, ok.  I slide my mat to the right.  The green tape demarcations are on the floor for a reason, people!  They show you where the mats go.  This girl seemed to want more space, and so now our whole corner of the room was coloring outside the lines.  Madness!  Oh well.

We did boat poses, we worked spider climb legs into our down dogs, we worked the antagonizers with some reverse tabletops.  We did “compass pose” (I think of it as a hunting dog pointing at something), more spider climbing, some sun salutes, more spider climbing, we did some standing poses where we changed the tilt of our torsos, more spider climbing, side planks, 3 leg down dogs, eagle arm crunches, it just went on and on.

Let me tell you, an hour goes by PRETTY SLOW when you are doing all that core work.  We had a generous set of twists and stretches and savasana at the end, and it STILL felt like a 90 min class.  That must have been only about 40 min of core work, felt like a marathon.  I didn’t do it all, I took a few breaks during some of the spider climbing, but I still did pretty awesome, better than some of the others (I looked around the room, I shouldn’t, but I did, haha).  The verdict?  I thought it was a really well-balanced core work class, not just an hour of crunches, but a really good ebb and flow of work and recovery, and work again from a different angle.  I would love to do it again.

I walked out of the studio really upbeat and thrilled I took on such a daunting class.  Then by the time I got home, I realized how short-tempered I was, I was raging I bought the wrong sandwich at the Italian grocery store, etc.  I was like what is this?  I slept a ton, I just ate a sandwich, I worked out, I should be on top of the world!  I remembered then that this was how it was when I first sprained my shoulder, I was cranky and tired and just kept pushing it.

So I decided to take the rest of the day off and just observe my shoulder.  No gym today, oh well.  I went to the movies instead, caught a flick.  I figured if I felt fine then I could hit the gym up after the movie.  Ate my cheat meal, settled in for the movie, about halfway through my shoulder started to ache, and I thought YUP, it’s my shoulder.  So after the movie, I came home, put some ice on it, took some glucosamine, and am now just chilling out.  Tomorrow I will take in a spin class, if I feel up to it do some back or some chest, yin class in the afternoon.  Even if the shoulder feels like junk, I will still spin and yin.  Not giving up on this hot yoga challenge just yet!!


See you tomorrow!