Tag Archive: sprain

Thursday Chest & Tri

Woke up Thursday morning, took my time heading to the gym, got there about 6:30 am.  Decided no spin class for me today:  weights then elliptical.  I just wanted to get some good iron time in.

Chest & Tri (30 sec rest b/w sets)

incline db fly:  80 x 12, 9, 9

pec deck:  120 x 12, 12, 12

incline db press:  120 x 15, 9, 6

flat db press:  120 x 12, 10, 10, 10

rope pushdowns:  120 x 12, 11; DROP SETS 120 x 11, 100 x 8, 80 x 10; 120 x 8, 100 x 6, 80 x 7

seated two hand db extension:  70 x 12, 9, 6

low cable triceps extension:  45 x 15, 15, 12

db skullcrusher:  40 x 19, 10, 11

elliptical:  30 min, resistance 65%, incline 9


notes:  my energy did not feel great this workout.  The flys felt real heavy right off.  Cables were busy, so I used the pec deck instead, which was a bummer.  I am not sure my chest got a sufficient pre-exhaust.  Like last time, I kept the incline of the bench shallow to keep tension off my shoulders, but still my shoulder started giving out during the incline presses and the flat presses.  It was frustrating.

Rope pulldowns felt good when I remembered to keep my shoulders packed.  Doing drop sets with only 30 seconds rest smoked the muscles pretty good!  I had nothing left for the db extensions, haha.  It was my first time doing a low cable extension – basically I laid down backwards on the cable row bench.  It went ok, but in reviewing it in my mind, I did not keep my arms stable enough, my upper arms kept drifting forward (only the forearms should move).  I will also use a rope next time as well, not the straight bar.  The db skullcrushers kicked my butt because I had been hitting the triceps over and over, so low weight high reps finished me off quite completely.  It was my first time with this new triceps routine, and I would rate it quite challenging!  Then it was off to the elliptical.


And how about you?  Any good workouts today?


Whoops! Forgot to post yesterday!  I went out to see Evil Dead, and lost track of time.


I showed up to the gym at 6 am, to do some back and biceps, then spin.  In the end, I did back, then spin, then biceps.

Back, Spin, Biceps:  (30 sec rest b/w sets)

assisted pull-ups:  widegrip x 10, 10; underhand grip x 10; hammergrip x 10

widegrip machine rows:  195 x 12, 12, 12

narrowgrip pulldowns:  165 x 15, 15, 12, 10

machine hyperextensions:  270 x 12, 12, 12

Spin 1 hour

cable curls:  100 x 12, 12, 12

concentration curls:  25 x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 12/13 (back and forth arm to arm, no rest)

notes:  pullups felt pretty good for a warmup!  Losing weight definitely helps me do more reps.  I was worn out by the time I got to pulldowns, but finished pretty strong.

Spin class was good, Courtney teaches Tuesdays now.  My back was tired, so I was sad to find out that this ride had a lot of standing climbs, like 2 min long standing climbs.  Oh well.  We also had some fast flat races, I was dripping sweat by the third track.

I headed back to the weight pit to do biceps.  Kind of funny, when I went to do concentration curls, I grabbed the 25 pound dumbbells, and this young guy looks at me and sort of smirks.  Then I went back and forth, kept going, dozens of reps.  Meanwhile he had done about 4 reps, rested 2 minutes, then did 4 more reps.  That’s fine for strength, but not everyone trains that way every time.  He had also stopped smirking and was now minding his own business, so I guessed he realized this was a pump set for me.  Kiss my ass hater, take my 25s and do 60 reps with each arm, then tell me if I’m working hard.

Weight doesn’t matter.  The weight you use is only a tool for pointing towards the truth, it isn’t the truth, you savvy?  I can use my finger to point at the moon, but you don’t need my finger to see the moon, and my finger is NOT the moon.  Weight is just a tool, you also have reps, rest, time under tension, cadence, pre-exhaust, forced reps, drop sets, supersets, it just goes on and on.  Back to school with you, fool.

Oh, by the way, they finally started carrying P28 peanut butter spreads in Canada!  YAY!


P28 is known for making protein-enriched bread (whey protein, in case you are vegan), and they recently expanded into making protein-enriched peanut butter.  All the flavours are in the picture:  PB, almond, banana raisin, white chocolate, and “signature” (peanuts, cranberries, flax, sunflower seeds).  They ONLY JUST started shipping into Canada, and I ordered a bunch for me and a bunch for Leslie.  100% natural, not full of sugar and hydrogenated oils, plus a bunch of protein per serving.  For a low carb, high fat high protein dieter like myself, this stuff is a major guiltfree treat!  A lot of calories, I can only have a teaspoon or two at a time, but the flavour is AWESOME.  You don’t need giant scoops of peanut butter when it tastes this good.

Seriously, it tastes good!  I am honest, I am only so-so on the taste of their bread, it tastes a little weird, too spongy.  But this stuff is honest-to-goodness DESSERT.  The white chocolate doesn’t even have sugar in it, just cocoa and milk powder and stuff, and it tastes crazy good!  Look it up!  It ain’t cheap, but it’s not made for binging.


Wednesday I was in an odd mood.  I can’t explain it, I just felt… contrarian.  I put on a black shirt with blue and pink unicorns on it, and headed down to the gym first thing in the morning to do 6 am spin then some shoulders.  Yup, that was my shirt choice.  Here I am wearing a goofy shirt, and feeling totally antisocial, not wanting people to crowd me, wanting space.  Just being odd.

Spin was bleh.  I won’t name the teacher, but it isn’t really my style.  Although technically competent, this teacher was as dull as paint drying.  This teacher is always that way, this is just their style, and it is a big motivation drain on me.  It’s easier when I have friends there, but I was alone in that class.  And lots of awesome mainstream music was playing, but I wasn’t digging it.  I kind of phoned it in that class, I didn’t try too hard, really just a light ride.  And then they played GnR Paradise City.  And I got sad, because that is my jam to ride like crazy to.  And then the teacher screwed up the end!  wtf.  When there is the extended guitar solo at the end, you are supposed to race hard forever and ever until you collapse.  This teacher made us stretch out our shoulders for the first 1/3.  what the hell dude!  Don’t spoil the song.

Just a sad fat man wearing a unicorn shirt and pedalling like a wussy.

And then shoulder time!  I had a new exercise I wanted to try.

Shoulders:  (30 sec rest b/w sets)

half-kneeling landmine shoulder presses:  25 lb plate x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 15/15 (back and forth, no rest)

cable lat raise:  30 x 12/12, 10/12, 12/12 (back and forth, no rest)

reverse pec deck:  90 x 12; 75 x 12, 12

DB shrugs:  160 x 15, 15, 15, 15

notes:  those landmine presses work awesome!  The ROM feels good on my shoulder, it isn’t awkward to get the weight up.  I did it half-kneeling so I could get some stabilizer work in.  When I was doing them, there was this dude staring at me.  I figured he was enjoying my AWESOME unicorn shirt, so I walked over to him and asked if he needed my Olympic bar for something.  He said he was intrigued by my exercise.  I explained I had sprained my shoulder in the past, and he got excited, since he was rehabbing his shoulder too!  I gave him some pointers, and he went his merry way.  Yay!  I helped someone!!

So yeah, a big heavyset dude grunting out the weights, wearing a shirt with pink unicorns on it.  To test out my coolness, I spoke to 2 women in the gym, both of whom I already know by name, they know my name, etc.  One rolled her eyes at my shirt, the other got defensive and didn’t want to talk to me.  So… I will judge my coolness factor AT ABOUT A 9.

haha!  I just find that stuff funny, I am weird sometimes.

I don’t like the reverse pec deck, but the cables were busy, so oh well.

I was going to do legs at lunch, but work was CRAZY.  Then I am at home now typing this monster post, then cooking chili!  I guess I will do legs tomorrow.  And that is my week so far!  How about you?  Any good workouts?

Apr 4 Chest & Tri

Woke up pretty tired Thursday morning.  I took some pre-workout, had some caffeine and had some NO3.  In retrospect, I pushed it a little too far.

Made it to the gym at 6 am, ready to do some chest and triceps as time permitted, then 7 am spin.

Chest & Triceps:  (30 sec rest b/w sets)

warm-ups w/ cable crossovers

flat db fly:  80 x 12, 12, 12

cable crossover 120 x 12, 12, 12

incline bb press (1/2 ROM):  115 x 15, 15, 15

flat bb press:  135 x 12, 12, 12, 7

reverse grip pushdowns: (no rest, back and forth arm to arm)  50 x 15/15, 11/15, 12/13, 10/13

closegrip db press:  100 x 12, 12, 10

seated two hand db extension:  65 x 12, 12, 8

cardio:  30 min elliptical 55% resistance, incline 9, light pace


notes:  The flys went ok, but felt a little awkward, I might not have fully warmed up yet.  This was my first time trying out 1/2 ROM inclines.  I guess it was ok, certainly easier on my shoulder, but not sure if was worth it in the end.  With the flat presses, I was SO close to failing on the third set, I actually failed on the last rep and had to force it for what seemed like forever to get it back up and rack it.  I could see I was wearing down, so I stopped and pulled a little short on the 4th set before it felt like I was on the edge of failing.  No sense risking it when I didn’t have a spot.

It was about then that my stomach became kind of upset.  I think I took too much stuff this morning, and now it was turmoil in my gut.  It kind of distracted me during the tricep work.

For the pushdowns, I tried standing sideways and holding onto the machine with the freehand, even leaning away a little.  I think that worked MUCH better, felt better formwise.  It still feels hard on my left shoulder, but not crazy bad.

I was SO close to getting through that third set of the closegrip presses, it was very frustrating.

In the end, I decided my stomach was feeling pretty rough, so I did not go to Spin, instead I just did cardio on my own, and kept a light pace.


And that was my workout!  How about you?  Any good workouts today?

Saturday was my day off.  So what do I do on my day off?  Cardio!!

I had signed up for an experiment in extended Spin class-ing (my new word).  Normally Spin classes are about an hour, maybe 75 min.  But this time?  2 hours straight!  I have done 2 classes back-to-back many times, but there was a lull in between classes.  This time it would be 2 hours no stopping.  There were also 3 teachers, splitting the time up into 3×40 min blocks:  a warm-up, the main work, and a cooldown.  Those teachers, in order, would be:  Courtney, Norman and Sarah.  I have never had Norman as an instructor before, but I otherwise had a good idea of what to expect.  Just MORE of it, haha.

Norman, Sarah, Courtney!

Norman, Sarah, Courtney!

The class itself was mostly full, maybe 4 or 5 bikes empty.  Sometimes people rsvp but don’t show up.  Oh well.  I didn’t get any pictures really, because I was… um… spinning, duh!


setting up

this is what it looks like when I take a pic of myself while spinning...

this is what it looks like when I take a pic of myself while spinning…

this is what it looks like when I take a pic of other while spinning...

this is what it looks like when I take a pic of other while spinning…


So how was it?  It did not get off to a good start.  I pre-loaded with water like I do before ANY activity; weights, spin, yoga, I always drink a few cups of water first.  It keeps me hydrated, and it also makes me sweat more.  My body sees I have a surplus, it sees I am overheating, so it lets me sweat without hesitation, which also carries the benefit of cleaning out my pores.

For some reason, today my body did NOT want to hold on to water.  I pre-loaded like always, and almost instantly peed it out.  I drank 2 cups of water 15 min before class, and peed THREE times before class!  Isn’t that odd?  And the final kicker:  30 seconds into the first song on the bike, I felt pressure in my bladder again… I had grabbed a bike embedded in the far corner of the room, behind a forest of people, no chance for me to worm my way out without a big scene.  So I held it in.  For 2 hours, I needed to go to the bathroom.  This made me not want to drink much more water, which dehydrated me a bit, and slowed me down some.

So I worked hard, but it wasn’t awesome, it wasn’t optimal.  I like to race hard and sweat hard, but this time I had to not go 100%.

My legs were also sore from the Friday workout, so this 2 hours was a chance to get some burn in, and a chance to flush my legs out.  No regrets, I showed up and put in the work.


Otherwise, I enjoyed my Saturday, came home from the spin and passed out for an hour, woke up totally fried (guess that 2 hour ride took more out of me than I thought), cooked up a big pot of chili, and got lots more sleep.


Sunday I slept in, even more than usual since the gym opens late on Easter Sunday.  No spin classes today either, boo hiss!

Today was upper body push day, and I would do my own cardio after.


Chest & Tri:  (30 seconds rest b/w all sets)

incline fly:  60 x 12, 12; 70 x 12

cable crossovers:  77 x 12; 143 x 12, 12

incline db press:  110 x 15, 15, 9

flat db press:  110 x 12, 12, 12, 12

skullcrushers:  60 x 15, 15, 15, 15

one hand seated db extension:  25 x 12/12, 25×4/0; 20 x 10/12, 8/12

rope pushdown:  127 x 12, 10; 83 x 8, 61 x 12

abs:  hanging knee raise x 13,9; roman chair knee raise x 10, 7; prone leg raise x 15, 15

cardio:  elliptical – 55% bodyweight, incline 9, 60 min


notes:  As I said a few days back, I pre-exhausted my chest with the isolations so that my chest would feel it more on the presses before my shoulder got tired.  Turns out it also had the side benefit of warming my shoulder up!  Hooray!  Total success!

As always, someone was using the 35 lb dumbbells, so I dropped in weight as I waited for the other guy to finish.  No sense sitting there waiting doing nothing.

With the incline dumbbell press, I was doing ok, but then a young woman 6 feet to my right cried out to her boyfriend:  the 40 lb [dumbbells] are TOO HARD!!!  And the panic and scrambling as he pulled them off her caused me to lose focus and fail out early on my 3rd set.  I could have gone again, but screw it.  Why tempt fate while my shoulder felt good?  The flat presses went quite well, thankfully, easy actually.

Conversely, the skullcrushers were quite hard, but I grunted and pushed it out!  Hooray!  success!  I felt nice and sore and pumped after those, but it left me too weak to get much done on the extensions, like last week.  I might try doing the pushdowns next time before the extensions, see if that works better.  I think the skullcrushers and the extensions might be too similar a movement, but I don’t feel the same exhaustion on the pushdowns, so let’s shuffle it up a bit.

As for the pushdowns, the rope at that weight was quite hard so I had to explode down to get it down, and smooth on the way back up.  I was feeling really good and strong, so I did closegrip pushups against the wall in between sets to keep my triceps pumped.  For the last set I dropped the weight, did a bunch then drop setted down one more to get another set in.  It worked well as a tricep finisher!  I had been feeling for a week or two like my triceps and biceps can handle a good finisher at the end, put a button on the whole thing.

For the abs, my grip was giving out after 2 sets, but my abs wanted more, so I moved to the roman chair and did 2 more sets.  After 2 sets I felt myself sliding around in the arm rests, and my shoulders were sagging, but my abs wanted more, so I went to the mat and laid down and did leg raises from there.  Think of it like an abdominal drop set!  haha.

I was feeling really good and engaged and focused, so I wanted the cardio to be good and hard.  I set the incline high, I set the resistance nice and heavy, I put in the headphones, and went at it, going slow on the slow songs and fast on the fast songs.  After an hour I was dripping sweat!  I checked the display, and it said for my weight and my resistance and my speed… that hour I had burned 1495 calories!!!  Can you believe that??!?  I am not sure I can, but either way, it was a darn good cardio session.


I came back home happy and tired.  Ate some chili, and got ready for some Walking Dead and Game of Thrones!  No regrets today!  What about you?  Any good workouts this Easter weekend?

Learning From Weider

Woke up and headed out for some 6 am Spin.  Mike was teaching.  I am still dealing with some sore right knee and some tight right Achilles tendon, and now a slightly sore right hip.  I think my alignment is a little out of whack.

Then it was time for some 7 am chest & triceps!


Chest & Triceps (30 sec rest b/w all sets)

incline barbell press:  115 x 15, 15, 11

machine chest press:  180 x 12, 12, 12, 12

flat dumbbell fly:  80 x 12, 12, 8

pec deck:  120 x 12, 12, 12

reverse grip one-arm pushdown:  50 x 15/15, 8/11, 10/7; 40 x 14/13

closegrip dumbbell press:  100 x 12, 11, 7

two-hand seated dumbbell extension:  60 x 12, 12, 12


notes:  my left shoulder was holding me up a lot on this.  The incline presses made my shoulder sore quick.  The soreness made me quite irritable and frustrated.  I wanted to do flat barbell press, but one barbell was missing (someone jammed it tipfirst into the corner to do a variation of squats), and the other one had all this stuff set up on it but no one was there.  (Turns out, it was this super intense little guy who does only 2 or 3 reps with heavy weight, screaming like a war criminal the whole time.  It was unsettling.  Buddy needs to get a grip on his brain.)

So I did presses on the machine instead, which felt easier on my shoulder, actually.

While I was doing flat flys, I just got annoyed and stopped because of lack of patience.  I was still irritated about my shoulder.  When I went to do cable crossovers, people were hogging all the cable stations at 7:25 am, so I just ranted and cursed out loud as I walked over to the pec deck… AGAIN.  Get off the cables, a-holes.  I just wasn’t feeling very social, I wanted to be left alone, do my stuff and leave.  I get grumpy like that when my shoulder hurts.

Reverse grip pushdowns with one arm also felt surprisingly sore on my left shoulder as well, so I didn’t do well on that.  The seated extensions went fine, but the closegrip presses my shoulder gave out AGAIN.  That workout just needs my shoulder a lot and it wasn’t 100%.


I started to think about Joe Weider.

Hello Joe!

Regarded by most as the father of modern bodybuilding (and a Canadian!), Joe was finding out ideas through trial and error that modern science is still catching up to today.  I read a great article on bodybuilding.com by Jim Stoppani, I recommend you check it out:


I used it as a chance to pull back and examine ways I can better tailor my workout to me, using the trial and error I had gathered in the morning workout.

So what were my conclusions?

1.  my shoulders lag behind my chest due to the past sprain.  I need to train for that, not despite that.

2.  my shoulders wear out on the presses before my chest does.  I should do the flys and the cable crossovers and the pec deck and the isolation exercises FIRST, pre-exhaust my chest so that I feel the presses more in my chest and hopefully see more stimulation and overload.  this can lead to more growth.  doing barbell presses and having my shoulders wear out isn’t stimulating my chest much.

3.  Joe would say there is nothing wrong with partial reps.  And since my shoulder feels it most on the bottom half of the incline presses with the barbell, I can try partial reps in the top half of the ROM with the incline barbell presses, and thereby get more work done on my chest.  15 partial reps or 7 full ones, what is more work?  Now, I do full reps when I can on every exercise, but I need to train with my weak points in mind.  If partial reps means I don’t SNAP MY SHIT UP, then it’s the way to go.

4.  (this sparked ideas on my other workouts) My legs and shoulders sessions with Leslie are taking too long.  I only have an hour with her.  I can save time by “staggering” my sets – instead of taking a rest in between sets, I do a set of the other body part.  So, instead of 4 sets of squats and 30 min later start with 4 sets of shoulder press, instead I do a set of squats and then right to a set of presses, and back and forth, twinning the legs exercises to shoulder exercises.  It will be grueling, but it will ALL get done in the hour 🙂  Including ab work, 35 working sets is too much to fit into 60 min with even only 30 secs rest.  I have tried.  So if I stagger them, I might have a chance.  Maybe…


So we can learn from our bad workouts.  This one was frustrating, but I went back to the drawing-board and came up with some new strategies.  It ain’t all high fives and flexing… working out is HARD WORK.  It’s grueling.


How about you?  Any good workouts today?

Monday Massage!

Monday morning the alarm slapped me hard in the face.  5 am??  ugh

I headed to the gym and spin spin spin.  My right knee felt sore at the start of the ride, so I tested it out by gradually ramping up the resistance at my own pace.  The first song or two I wasn’t going as hard as everyone else, but by Song 4 or 5 I was going slightly harder than everyone else.  I was lagging behind the beat, but I didn’t care, I needed to observe my knee.  It paid off, as the resistance got heavier and heavier, my knee warmed up and felt fine.  It made for a damn hard class though!

Then I went to work.  I think I might have stacked too many calories early in the day – as I sit here typing this I am hungry… but out of daily calories, haha.  I keep tweaking the meals, more here less here, seeing what works best for me in order to keep the gym activity going.  It’s also been officially two weeks without ANY starch, and I feel great!  My mood is up, I feel light on my feet, and my energy stays solid throughout even a 2 hour gym session.

After work, I tried out a new masseur.  I like to get a good deep tissue massage once a month, I need the therapy to help me recuperate from the activity I subject myself to.  The young man I visited today has only been in Canada a few years (from Hong Kong), and he practices acupressure.

It hurt!  He worked on my calves for 30 min, and my left shoulder (the sprained one) for 15 min.  This left me enough time to make my training session.  He found a lot of crunchiness in my left upper back, which I already am well familiar with – I can’t roll my shoulders back without a little crunchy feeling.  So clearly those tendons need work.  He also thought there was a lot of blockage and swelling in my calves, so he said the acupressure should bring them down in size a bit.

Then it was time for Chest & Triceps with Leslie!

C & T: (30 sec rest between all sets)

But first, check out Leslie’s fresh new kicks!



incline smith machine press:  70 + bar x 15; 90 + bar x 15, 15


flat smith machine press:  90 + bar x 12, 12, 12, 12


flat DB fly:  70 x 12, 12, 12


cable crossover:  80 x 12; 100 x 12; 120 x 12


reverse grip pushdowns:  80 x 15, 15; 90 x 15, 15


close grip DB press:  100 x 12, 6; 80 x 12, 10

seated 2 hand db extension:  55 x 12, 12, 12


straight bar pushdowns:  120 x 10; 100 x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10


hanging knee raise:  10, 6, 4, 6, 4

notes:  the workout ran short, so we threw in the extra pushdowns in before the ab work to make the time go by 🙂

I don’t know how much the bar on the Smith Machine weighs.  Damn sure not 45 pounds, so who knows.  Flyes went well, I am happy with how those feel, ditto with crossovers.

As for the reverse grip pushdowns, those were awkward with the loose handles, I couldn’t keep my palms up.  Next time with that setup I will just use one hand and focus on keeping my palms to the ceiling.

When it was time for the close grip press, I was just exhausted, my shoulder was done.  I did less work than last week, don’t know what to tell you, oh well.

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?



Legs and Shoulders day is the biggest day.  It takes the longest, super grueling.  Usually legs can fill a workout just fine all on their own, but I like quarantining shoulders off from the other days so I can keep them under observation.  But when it’s legs and shoulders day, it’s like a meal and a half.

I rested up on Saturday and headed out Sunday morning to get some iron action.  I did 18 working sets of legs (7 single leg type presses, 7 sets of pulls, 4 sets of calves), and THEN headed off to do a Spin class to finish my legs off, THEN went to go do shoulders (10 sets, minus the rear delt flys I did Friday), THEN some abs to finish me off.  Killer! 2 hours and 15 min of work!

Legs & Shoulders: (30 sec rest b/w sets, unless otherwise noted)

single leg presses: (back and forth leg to leg, no rest)  270 x 15/15, 15/15, 15/15, 15/15

lunges w dumbbells:  90 lbs x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

stiff leg DL:  125 x 12, 12, 12

seated leg curls:  210 x 15, 15, 15, 13

standing bodyweight calf raises:  85, 85, 85, 85

SPIN – 60 min

machine shoulder press:  100 x 15, 15, 10, 9

machine lat raise:  60 x 12, 12, 12

cable upright row:  90 x 12, 100 x 12, 110 x 12

hanging knee raises:  8, 7, 5

notes:  ahhh I hate lunges.  seated leg curls felt hard!  possibly because single leg presses, lunges and the SLDL already hit my hams, hahaha.

Finishing the legs off with Spin seemed like a good idea at the time.  It was a tough class!  I wanted to stop, vomit and run away about 15 min in to the class, lol.  Even more dire:  I wasn’t sure which of those 3 I wanted to do first… But after about 40 min the pain went away and it felt REALLY GOOD.  It turned out to be an awesome class.

Shoulders were good.  My front delts didn’t feel any pain, but were sort of tired.  I didn’t crush that weight.  I think the reason is I am gunshy about getting aggressive during shoulder work, I don’t get intense because I am always observing how it feels.  The sprain still has me a little timid, one year later.  My form last week on the lat raises with db’s was crap, so this week I used a machine to help with my form.  It worked well!

Traps were strong though.  Ab work was good, I could have done more but my grip was burning on those hangs!  I had to blow on my palms in between sets, friction burns from the rubber grips.  I need to either get gloves, or develop some sweet calluses!  Protect my palms!

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?

Forward Momentum

My mind has felt strong lately.  It makes it a good time to push forward.

I woke up again Tuesday morning at 5 am, and started the process of psyching myself up for a trip to the gym.  Do a leg workout at 6, then a spin class at 7.  It is never easy.  I was scheduled to do squats this morning.  Standing at the bus stop at 5:30 am, I started to make excuses.  OK, so when I get there, I will do leg press instead, and then I can do squats on Saturday.  Just do leg press and quad extensions, do stuff you like, then do spin.  You’ve done enough then, don’t worry about it.

Then when you get on the bus and your tunes kick in on the ipod and you start to get excited.  Your body starts to remember the activity, and it wakes up.  I get to the mall, and walk to the gym.  Normally my mind supports my body, but on the quick walk to the gym, my body supports my mind.  I get excited to workout, and this momentum carries me forward, until by the time I get into the changeroom, all I can think about is doing what I had written down as the plan, and I can’t devote the effort to excuses any more.

Not that my squats are heavy, I am not fooling myself.  They aren’t even heavy for me.  But I still don’t have a lot of experience under my belt doing squats, much less doing them without a spot, much less doing 4 sets back to back with only 30 sec rest.  My experience with this routine so far is that with only 30 sec rest, what starts out easy on set 1 becomes REALLY hard by set 4.  so I don’t go heavy, and try and get low and bang them out quick, then go do extensions quick, then go bang out stiff-leg deadlifts quick and tight then go do leg curls then calf raises.  Don’t give my legs a restbreak to slow down and get tired before spin.

Before I know it it’s spin time.  Les shows up to do her morning fasted cardio.  I am glad for the company because the teacher this morning is my least favorite, I have had some bad experiences with her.  The spin is kind of a grim affair, I don’t think the teacher is connecting with the class, and I know I am not feeling it, 50 min or so of just climbs, seated climbs and standing climbs.  But I push through it and flush my tired legs out.  When I look to my left, I can see Leslie is struggling hard as well.  The fasted cardio seems to be hitting her hard this morning.  It’s funny, I feel more upbeat all the time even on the low carb diet, but in the middle of a grueling cardio session, I don’t have the fuel reserves to feel happy, I just feel grim and miserable.  But it’s still worth it.

Then I went to work, and had a full day of work.  Coworkers tell me I look tired.  After work I go look for P28 peanut butter, I am curious about it.  I have tried the bread, and enjoyed it.



Turns out P28 nut butter isn’t available in Canada yet!  Oh well.

I haven’t done shoulders yet, but my left shoulder has been sore all day.  So I skip shoulders today, the risk of overtraining is still high with that recovering joint.  I was thinking of doing cardio, but when I got home the last 3 days of weights and cardio got to me, and I fell into a deep sleep.  So no evening cardio for me.

But I still have cardio tomorrow first thing in the morning!  And I keep moving forward.



(30 sec rest between all sets)

Squats:  135 x 15, 12, 12, 10

Leg Extensions:  180 x 12, 12, 12, 12

SLDL:  115 x 12, 12, 12

Seated Leg Curls:  180 x 15, 15, 15, 15

Standing Bodyweight Calf Raises:  85, 85, 85, 85

Rest is Over!

I had a great Saturday!  I slept a LOT.  I meant to go to spin class, but I just slept instead.  Oops!  I needed a rest day.  I probably napped about 4 or 5 seperate times that day, and also slept in and ALSO went to bed early.

Sat afternoon, I also got to train the trainer!  Leslie agreed to let me lead her through a workout.  We had a great time, but I was so focused on it that I forgot to take pictures!  Sorry!  I was seriously absorbed in supporting Les through the workout, the time flew by!  (For the record, it was a strength-focused bodyweight circuit, and we attacked it without breaks for about 90 minutes.  Leslie only got stronger as the workout went on!  Her reps kept going up, I was impressed.)

Sunday, I got up, only to quickly realize the clocks had slipped forward, haha.  So while I intended to take in the 9 am  class, my sleeping in caused me to miss that.  So I split my weights workout in half:  I did chest work, THEN went to spin, then did a triceps workout.  It worked out quite well.

Chest, Spin, Triceps: (30 sec rest between all weight sets)

incline barbell press:  95 x 15, 15, 14

flat barbell press:  135 x 12, 12, 6, 6

flat dumbbell flyes:  60 x 12, 12, 12

cable crossovers:  60 x 12, 12, 12


reverse grip pushdown:  90 x 15, 15, 15, 15

close grip dumbbell press:  100 x 12, 12, 8

seated two handed DB extension:  50 x 12, 12, 12

Ab work:  prone leg raises:  20, 20, 20

notes:  my shoulder didn’t feel 100%, so weight was light on the barbell presses.  It was a good idea, my left shoulder gave out first, and I didn’t try to push through the pain.  Not worth it.

The chest routine is a pretty solid mix as you see:  incline press then a flat press, then you stretch it out with the flyes, then squeeze it together with the cables.  I went too light with the cables, I will up the weight next time.  Flyes were about right for that tempo and volume.  But the flyes and cables felt REALLY good.

Spin was good.  I didn’t push it too hard, my calves were pretty sore and tight from the Friday workout (still!), so I just went lighter than usual and flushed them out.  Andrea was supposed to lead this class, but she wasn’t there, it was Mike instead – the older guy with all the tattoos.

Triceps also went well.  I am sad I didn’t complete all the presses, but again my lagging shoulder holds up the work on the other muscles.  It just goes that way, no shortcut around it unless you want to risk another sprain.

I was feeling good so I did some abs to finish it up!

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?

I have spoken before about HIIT cardio vs steady-state (LISS).  I think sometimes people get itchy feet and they jump from routine to routine without giving it a chance to show its benefits.  On the other hand, people sometimes get too complacent.  The human body thrives on consistency complemented by variety.

For people new to lifting iron, like I am, I feel totally comfortable spending the first few years trying out different theories, different diets, different supplements, playing with the tempo, the volume, the rest periods, the rotations, the splits, the style.  Try dirty abandoned warehouse gyms, try big colorful plastic coated chains.  Go swimming, try a ballet class, do a hot yoga 30 day challenge, do a spinathon, lead your office team to victory in the company tug-of-war.  Try balanced meals, try low carb, try intermittent fasting.  GVT, FST-7, Barbell Complexes, Circuit Training, TRX straps, bodyweight training.  Glutamine, Test Boosters, pre-workouts, fat burners.  Experience the full buffet of exercises and approaches.  Don’t be afraid to look like a fool.  Figure out what you like, do it for a while try new stuff and come back to it often.  But above all, pay attention to how you respond to it.  Learn your own body.

I visited a naturopath recently, and she provided me with actual proof that I don’t handle starchy carbs well.  This surprises me, as I have always loved them.  Pizza, potato chips.  I digest protein fine, but starch?  I have proof I don’t.  This makes me feel bad, because I could not recognize what my body was telling me.  I already knew I felt better when I gave up artificial foods, junk food.  I know I feel better when I cycle off caffeine.  And somewhere inside, I knew I enjoyed low carb diets.  I have tried them, and once I got past the energy dip, I felt better.  But always when I got a cheat meal, I would eat a bunch of bread or potatoes or something.  And feel bad the next day.  But I could not put 2 and 2 together.  Now that I had someone throw the truth in my face, I need to rethink what a “cheat meal” is for me.

I heard someone say once that cats think antifreeze tastes delicious, until they go blind, all their hair falls out and they die.  This week I felt a bit like the housecat who finally learned to read the label.


On the weight training front, I thankfully have had a bit more luck listening to my body.  Wednesday morning, still getting over my cold bug, I went to the gym for some early morning spin!  Luckily, Leslie was there too to spin!  Unluckily, she sat with the cool kids instead of me 😦  fine!  I needed to sit alone next to the paper towel dispenser anyways, so I could blow my nose.


After spin, I had time before work to do some chest & triceps work.


Chest & Triceps (30 sec rest between all sets)

incline dumbbell press:  80 x 15, 15, 15

flat dumbbell press:  140 x 12; 100 x 12, 12, 8

incline dumbbell flyes:  60 x 12, 12, 8

pec deck:  90 x 12, 12, 12

dumbbell skullcrushers:  60 x 15, 8, 7 DROPSET 40 x 12

one hand seated DB extensions:  20 x 12/12, 9/12, 7/12

straight bar pushdown:  120 x 12, 12, 7

prone leg raises:  20, 20, 20

notes:  Because I know what my body responds to, I picked the exercises I did and the volume and the order for a reason.    I prefer chest presses with the dumbbells.  It lets me feel out how my left shoulder is doing, it helps me highlight the difference in strength from my left and right side (right side is stronger).  Sure enough, my left shoulder wore out first.

With only a 30 second rest, my gas was getting used up fast.  After the first set of flat presses, I decided to drop.  The first set in this routine is the easiest and should feel easy… because the second one is only 30 seconds away and will feel much harder.  So I grabbed the 50 lb DBs instead.  This worked out much better in the end, and I couldn’t really finish the flat presses even with the 50s.

For the flyes, I was actually doing just fine, slow and steady, but I had a coughing fit in the third set, and couldn’t finish.  So I didn’t count it as a win 🙂  I also prefer incline flyes over flat flyes, and I prefer dumbbells over a machine or cables, but I did the pec deck after anyways just to finish me off with an easy exercise.

With the skullcrushers and the extensions, my triceps were super tired, so I had no shame in dropping the weight.  With the last set of the skulls, I did a dropset and just kept going.  The actual weight does not matter… all that matters is properly recruiting and then taxing your muscle fibres.  Heavy weight is good for powerlifters, but I want to hit all my muscles with more precision than that, so I can learn how I respond on an isolated level.

For triceps, I knew a good set of incline and flat presses would warm the triceps up, then the flyes would give them a bit of a break.  I also know I find the skullcrushers and one arm extensions hard, and the pushdowns easier, so I chose to do the hard ones first and also feel out if the left shoulder had recovered, before I bang out as many pushdowns as I could with whatever I had left.  You can use whatever science you want to support my exercises of choice, but this is what felt right for me, for my shoulder, for my triceps.  This has been learned over the past few years by trying stuff out, taking notes, and thinking about how I felt.

Abs also went fairly well at the end, I was happy I could manage all 3 sets of 20, which is good for me.

I walked away from the workout feeling like that was just about perfect for me that day.  Like I got the mix just right.


And how about you?  Any good workouts today?