Tag Archive: physical trainer


A Sense of Renewal

Thursday was my offday.  At work though, the grind of the 9 to 5 got to me and I ate some junk food to give me a boost for the afternoon 7th inning stretch.  It wasn’t much, it gave me a pick me up for 5 min then I felt worn out again.  I felt guilty about it, so I decided to head to the gym Thursday night to do some work.  I asked Leslie what would be best for the focus so I wouldn’t step on the toes of whatever she had planned for Friday, and she suggested I do arms.  Hooray!  I luv arm day.  (Side note, Leslie hates her own arm day!  She says it agitates her to work her biceps.  Crazy right??  Arm day rules.)  After work, I napped, ate, psyched myself up, then to the gym for some late night training.

Group photo! Leslie’s arms, and my pecs. the excellence of execution right here.

Thursday night solo:

5 min warmup

(90 sec rest between sets)

dumbbell skullcrushers:  30 lb DBs x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x8

2hand dumbbell extension:  55lb DB x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

bicep curl machine:  60 x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x10

seated curls:  35 lb DBs x10, x10, x10, x10, x10, x9

30 min on the elliptical

notes:  Good old arm volume training.  You don’t NEED 24 working sets a week on your arms to see progress, but it is nice every once in a while, and my arms need to work on their endurance.  My shoulder felt sore, so I was glad for arms vice chest or back.  Still, my shoulder got in the way of the skullcrushers, so my form was shaky by set 4.  I couldn’t keep it going in set 6, so had to clip it short.  Extensions felt good by the end, good strain on my triceps, so I knew tricep DOMS were in my future.

I wanted to do preacher curls, but the dudes in the gym had set up camp on the preacher rest, and they didn’t seem friendly, so w/e.  I went to the bicep curl machine.  I put on 60 lbs, which felt light on the machine, so I tried to make up for it by focussing mentally on SQUEEZING at the top of the movement, really tiring out my bicep and working on “the peak”.  It worked wonders.  By sets 5 and 6, my 90 second rest was devoted to stretching out my biceps, which felt really good.  Finished up with DB curls, and my biceps were tired enough that I couldn’t keep good form by the last few sets, so I will stick at that weight for a while.

Friday I woke up TIRED.  Late night sessions at the gym mean you are so buzzed when you get home, it is hard to transition to sleep.  Plus my shoulder stayed sore through the night.  So I slept in a bit, then took some strong anti-inflammatories for my shoulder and headed to work.  I was conscious not to eat junk, but I had to pop another anti-inflammatory, which leaves me feeling sluggish and bloated.  So lack of sleep and pilled to the gills, that meant I was not in prime form for my Friday session with Leslie.  It is unavoidable though, the shoulders need to rehab, can’t let them gather dust.

We talked for a bit, did a weigh-in (I lost 0 weight, which I will take as a concession considering the imperfect week).  We also talked about my future.  I definitely still need the help, with my form, with my focus, with my diet.  So I signed up for more sessions, renewed the commitment!  I am looking forward to working more with Les, I think she can help me a lot 🙂

short session, but weigh-in, renewal and pep talk was needed

10 minutes on the elliptical

triset:  squats with the ropes THEN stationary lunges THEN Australian pullups

20/12/12,     15/12(touch ball to floor)/10,     13(jump squats)/12(ball twist)/10

last set

last set

first set!

triset:  barbell curls THEN incline closegrip pushups THEN walking side planks

45×10/10/10,     55×12/12/10,     55×12/12/10

the transition

finished product

yoga stretch after:  cobblers pose for 3 min, pigeon for 90 sec or so each side

notes:  did all that make sense?  to some extent the exercises progressed to tougher versions as they went on.  As I got used to the version, we did a little more.  So the first stationary lunges were just that, then the second set I had a medicine ball I touched to the ground, then the last set, I twisted with the ball to the side.

The straps for the squats were just to keep my chest up, I didn’t pull or use my back.  That pic of me doing plyo is a rare pic!  Savour it, my feet don’t leave the ground very often any more 😀

Yeah… lunges… I am not very coordinated with lunges, haha.

Those wussy pullups… I can definitely go harder next time, they were easy (move my feet farther out).

The barbell curls were light, so I focused on the squeeze, and my biceps were tired anyways from the night before.

The incline closegrip was basically me racking the barbell after the curls then doing pushups against them.  On a sidenote:  there are no pictures of the curls or the pushups, because doing curls in the squat rack is a n00b move, and Leslie would lose her PT license if someone saw it 😀

Walking side planks are basically you transition back and forth from side to side.  They felt good, even slightly easy, so Leslie had me hold the side plank for a few seconds before the transition on later sets.

Then the yoga after felt GREAT.  It made me realize how much I miss yoga, it boosts my mood so much.  Thanks for that Leslie!  Good call.

October ends with a sense of renewed purpose.  I have a long ways to go, but I am working on it.  See you later!

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Tale of the Tape

Today I was supposed to get measured and weighed.  I was very nervous about this.  For 2 days all I could think about is all the things I could have, should have done differently.  How big was that cheat meal?  How big was that portion?  Is cotton candy gluten free??  All day I was cutting my meals extra small, not drinking as much water, hoping to not feel full, be less full, weigh less at the end of the day.  I know it’s immature, and Leslie wanted to smack me, but I just felt this strong urge to squeeze blood from a stone.

Showed up for my workout with Leslie, I got there early and hopped on the elliptical and tried to sweat some.  Kept the speed high for 10 min, sweat dripping off my face by the end.  Leslie wanted to weigh me before the workout?!?  wtf, I was hoping to sweat my guts out before the scales.  But we measured and weighed.  I am down half an inch to an inch almost everywhere, chest, arms, legs, and down 8 pounds.  It’s a start, but I don’t feel a lot of joy, all I can think of is I want more.  I know I should savour the little victories, but I am trying to get my mind and body right, so satisfaction is not coming for a while, while I nail down my motivation, which has been lagging this week overall.  I don’t FEEL it yet, believe it in my heart, so I need to work on that.

We spent some time going over the measurements and discussing my diet, my motivation, and ways to work on it in the future.  It ate into the workout, but I need the help with my focus just as much as the help with my form.

function, form, focus – it’s a full process.

Workout time!  Endorphins will wash away the doubt, lift the pain away, to paraphrase that Peaches song 🙂

3 min warmup on the battle ropes

no, I didn’t use another stock photo… that’s me! gettin it!

superset step up to shoulder press then step up to upright rows:  15×10/10, 25×10/10, 25×10/10

Triset – Bosu ball squat with hold at the bottom over to the straps to do a squat into an upperbody pull back up then over to the bench for some mountain climbers off the bench (30ish sec rest in between sets):  10/12/20, 10/12/20, 10/12/20

camera doesn’t really capture all the wobbly going on

Superset bench dips to rope pushdowns:  15(straight leg)/70×12(standing), 12(straight)/70×12(on knees), 15(bent leg)/70×12(knees)

Then goofed around:  overhead 2 hand tricep extension:  50 x 6 or so, hammer curls across body 65s x 5 or so, 35s x 5 or so (just asking Leslie to check my form on those exercises, she confirmed my pinwheels suck ass)

notes:  After the weird looks on my face from Wednesday, the ropes were a chance for me to display the most neutral face I could manage 🙂

The stepup weights were light, but I don’t know, you mix a bunch of moves together and they get harder 🙂  More calories burnt that way (I hope!)

With the triceps, it was supersetting triceps, so that tired me out fast 🙂  Started doing bench dips with straight legs, and extensions on my feet/  The machine wasn’t tall enough for me to get a good extension, so Leslie had me go on my knees, which made it a lot harder!  Weird that way, maybe I was drawing some stability and strength from my legs, and making me use my core more to keep stable made the weight harder a bit.  Then the second set of dips it felt bad on my left shoulder, so Leslie had me do them with 90 degree bends in my knees, which made them almost trivial, however the extensions stayed hard!  Just like my biceps, my tricep muscles lack endurance big time.  Something to work on.

The workout was short due to the convo at the start and I had some energy so I did a little extra with my arms and had Leslie give me pointers.  Have to profit from the expertise when I can!

Back home now, my shoulder actually still feels a little sore from those dips 😦  Oh well, will rest on it.

Rocktober Roundup

Haven’t posted in a bit!  Not for lack of activity, just so tired I pass out when I come home 🙂

Tuesday I showed up for another session with Leslie:

2 min warmup with the battle ropes.  I have always seen people use the big ropes, but never got to play myself, so a first for me!

not me, but I was THIS cool too

Then we got on the straps.  It’s kind of like TRX, but I think that is a brand name, so let’s just call it straps 🙂  I did some pushups off them, my feet against the wall, probably deeper than 45 degree angle pushups?  Still technically easier than a regular pushup, but again a first time for me!  Fun.

3 sets of 12 pushups

Then we headed to the vertical leg press machine.  Again, a first time for me!  I have been on various leg press machines, sleds, hack squats, etc, but this version is a lot more compact.

I did a set of 12 with 270 pounds, but we realized that was too light, so I did 2 more sets with 360 pounds.  My legs were still sore from Monday, so I wasn’t entirely happy with my range of motion on these, I felt I went a little shallow and could have worked harder.  Food for thought.

Then we went for some lat pulldowns.  They had 2 cables but no seat, so I did them on the floor with my feet braced against the machine.  It felt quite comfortable, actually.  First set was like 160 x 12, but that was way light so we did 2 more sets 220 x 12

Then we went to go do some hamstring curls off a stability ball.  Sort of like a short bridge, but harder 🙂  3 sets of 12

such a flattering shot of my gut, haha

I debated using this shot since it highlights the belly so much, but I decided to keep it real for you guys!  See the sweat on my arms?  Working hard!

Keeping up the upper body/lower body pattern, then we went for some lateral raises.  I asked to go light on this one so Leslie could check out my form.  Lateral raises are one of those exercises where light and correct is much better than heavy and full of swing.  Leslie made some adjustments to my form, did some shoulder packing and kept the weights to the side of my thighs instead of in front of me.

So the weight was weak, but next time I will go heavier.  10 lb dumbbells, 3 sets of 15

Then some tricep pushdowns with the rope, which is nice because then I can pull it past my legs and hit the triceps a little more.  Felt super light, but I kept it controlled and slow.  Hopefully more next time, my triceps laugh at these weights.

60 x 12, 70 x 12, 80 x 12

Then we went for some Supermans for my back.  I did 12 with my hands under my shoulders (like a Locust in Yoga), 12 with my arms straight out in front (like Superman would do), then 12 with my fingers laced behind my head (like if Superman went to jail).

prisoner supermans

See the sweat on my back?  See the sweat on the floor where my arms have been?  What, you think this is a game?!  Shit is real, son!  I am here to workout.

Then we did some planks.  3 of them, about a minute each.  Leslie kept telling me to go on my knees and then off my knees, which on some level does make it easier, but I think she wanted to correct my form for how I was flexing my back.

And that was Tuesday!

Wednesday I was supposed to do cardio but I was so sore and tired from Monday and Tuesday that I slept in in the morning, came home after work, took a nap, woke up, ate food, then went to bed early, lol.  Wednesday was a day off I guess, I was wiped!

Thursday I had an appt with Leslie, but I had an appt conflict, caused by the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.  Leslie couldn’t reschedule for Friday, as she was headed out of town for the long weekend.  So Thursday night, when I was free, I went to the gym for some late-night cardio.  One hour on the elliptical, resistance 75%, incline 9.  At around the 40 min mark, my hands and feet were going numb, lol.  It was weird.

Friday (today) I was still sore in my quads and abs to some extent, so right after work I went for a deep tissue massage.  She spent 40 min on my legs, 20 min on my upper body, and her feedback was that she could easily have spent the whole hour on my legs, lol.  Lots of deep knots in my calves, and my hamstrings were pretty tight.

After the massage, I went to the gym for another late night session.  With Leslie away, I could pick my own routine, hooray!  I didn’t feel like I had worked my arms much, and I felt bad about my form from Monday, so I decided tonight I would do both a volume arm workout, and keep form strict.  I figured I wouldn’t exhaust them like I would with heavy weights, but I would get a solid pump.

So light weights, slow with good form, full and deep range of motion (all the way down, squeeze at the top), lots of working sets.  4 exercises, 2 for tricep, 2 for bicep, 6 sets each, 24 working sets.  About 90 sec between each set and each exercise, it would take an hour if I stayed focused and didn’t screw around.

Volume Arm Workout

Dumbbell Skullcrushers:  25s x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

2 hand dumbbell extension:  50 x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

Preacher curls:  50 lbs x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

Seated Alternating Twisting Curls:  30s x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10, x 10

I was feeling good, so I then did some assisted chinups but my biceps were tired and my grip was tired, so I only did a set of 6, a set of 4, then a set of 5

then I did another hour of cardio on the elliptical, cranked up the tunes on the ipod, the hour flew by!

So that was the last 4 days.  What a long entry!!

Day 19 – Workout with Leslie

I was asked by work to show up an hour early for a presentation across town.  So I woke up an hour early.  It SUCKED.  The day wore on me hard.  And after work I rushed home, chilled out for maybe 15 min, then had to head back out for my first session with Leslie, my physical trainer!  Leslie is also doing the 30 day challenge with me, and I decided it was time for me to try having a physical trainer again, at least for a while.

I have come to the point where I feel like I am at a plateau in my weight loss, meaning more than 6 months.  At this point, my enthusiasm for charting my own course is waning.  There are other areas over 2012 that I am proud of, strength gains, flexibility gains, but weight loss?  Not so much.  Maybe with a trainer, I can shake things up a bit.

I showed up 30 min early, and caught Leslie totally by surprise!  check this entirely spontaneous and not-manufactured picture of me surprising her at the computer!

That’s just how I roll – stealth.  Ask people who have worked with me, I move like the wind.  Also how I roll – greedy.  I demanded we start early and still go until 7 pm!  Oh yes, there will be sweat.

This session Leslie wanted to run me through a few different exercises, just to see my range of motion, my general form, my fortitudes and faiblesses.  I didn’t bother taking notes since there weren’t any PR’s on the line, but maybe next time!  For you, my loyal readers 🙂

I noticed she wanted to abuse my legs a lot this session.  I am fine with that, but on the down side I am used to splits now, so I walked away from a fullbody session of sorts with maybe a 3/4 weighting to legs feeling like my upperbody, arms especially weren’t abused nearly enough!  My quads though felt tired on the walk back home, more on that later.

Warmup 5 min.  We did some squats, some bodyweight full range squats (ATG).  soon after, some squats with dumbbells, touch bench and back up type.  Then we grabbed a 35 pound plate, that made it like a goblet squat.  I like to keep my hands in front of me normally for squats, to help keep me balanced so I don’t rock backwards, so goblet squats feel SUPER comfortable actually, much more so than the dumbbells.

but with a plate

Then some dumbbell presses, then some pushups from my knees, then some regular pushups, (they were more like half pushups, truth be told).

Man, should have written this down!  Can’t remember any more… ugh, old age…

We did some rows with the cable machine, we did some horizontal rows (for fatties who can’t do pullups, natch), some kettlebell swings, forward folds to test my flexibility.  Did I mention that when I don’t get much sleep, my poor lower back gets cranky on me?  It was at this point that my lower back started giving me grief, so I had to sit down between exercises.

also known as an Australian pull up. Doesn’t sound like a compliment to the Australians!

me doing swings. wth is wrong with my eyes? I think I saw aliens on the horizon…

MOAR legs.  Lunges, walking lunges.  My form was getting a little spotty during the walking lunges, BAH, give me a leg press machine or quad extensions any day of the week, to hell with such practical and natural exercises as lunges, LOL.

We did some twists with a stretchy rope, did some leg raises, some upper ab stuff, did a plank.  I know most people hate planks, but they get rubbed in our faces every hot yoga class, so they don’t scare me any more.  Planks, extended planks, side planks, walking planks, dolphin dives, whatever.  Do your worst planks!  I am not scared to hang out there and tremble, focus matters a lot for planks.  If you keep your focus tight, you can tough it out.  Or fall out of it, that happens too 🙂

if this is meant to show muscle tension, why give her boobs? ROFL, ridiculous

Unfortunately, at this point the aliens attacked, and I had to run for my life! Sadly, my legs were weakened by all the exercise, and they caught me.

me running from the aliens

me getting sucked up by the aliens into their spaceship

Luckily, all the aliens needed was help getting home.  Once they drained my sweaty shirt to power their engines, they let me go.

After, I posed for a pic with Leslie!

I stumbled home, tired legs but lots of upperbody juice left.  I enjoyed the session quite a bit.  I haven’t had a trainer in years, and was curious to know how it would be.  My last trainer, I lost focus and became too social, I became too chatty, I lost my focus off the exercise, where it belongs.  That is the strength of working out alone to me, I am free to be all about the next set, no down time, I am either pushing weight or watching the second hand tick down on the clock between sets.  Also a beautiful thing about hot yoga, just a dark hot silent room, left to marinate in your own thoughts.

Even with Leslie, I started to catch myself getting too chatty.  Definitely not her fault, I just was being chatty.  Of course, if she reads this, she can just as easily become a hardass if I think I can’t function any other way (hi leslie!), but I feel there HAS to be a happy medium, where I can stay focused, keep the intensity there, and yet have someone nearby to encourage me on, to keep my form, and yes also to keep me upbeat and not dragging my feet.  Even with my chattiness, it really HELPED having her talk to me during walking lunges, one of my more HATED exercises, lol.

I don’t know, no easy answer, I long to find the best of both worlds, the social-bility (word?) and the laser beam focus.

I am sleepy, long day it was!  Good night!