30 Jun

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cake

On the weekend I was a house guest at my friend’s place in Etobicoke and I was looking for a recipe to bring to her as a thanks. Normally, I bring bread but I didn’t have time to bake a loaf last week so instead I opted for sweets. Since my girlfriend lives alone I thought it best to not bring something too decadent.

I hate when people bring me sweets. I think they’re secret diet saboteurs. They know I have no self control when it comes to decadent desserts. In February when I missed a friend’s wedding shower she brought me about 3 pounds of leftover homemade cookies from the event that Matt and I ate in less than 24 hours. No lie. In my defense they were all different and I wanted to sample every one. (That’s a valid argument in my world.)

Anyway, I had a bunch of bananas that were rotting perfect for baking but I wanted to do something other than banana bread. I came across a recipe on Form V Artisan blog for a Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Banana Cake.

With a little tweaking I knew I had a winner. I cut out some sugar from the cake and I made a streusel topping instead of the caramelized bananas because I wanted something more breakfast-y (and I did end up eating it for breakfast before a morning yoga session in my friend’s living room while everyone was asleep.)

This cake is moist and not too sweet. It tastes more like a muffin than a cake. A really good muffin.

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cake

Adapted from Form V Artisan.

Streusel:

2 T cold butter
½ c dark brown sugar
½ c whole wheat flour

Cake:

1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. sea salt
1 large banana, mashed
¼ c. dark brown sugar
¼ c. all natural peanut butter
1 egg
¼ c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. soy milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8”x8” square baking dish with aluminum foil and oil it in preparation for the cake.

In a small bowl stir together the flour and brown sugar for the streusel. Cut in the butter and mix with a fork until you get pea sized pieces of streusel.

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate large bowl whisk together the banana and brown sugar. Then whisk in the remaining wet ingredients one at a time until everything is fully incorporated.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread the streusel evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350°F or until the cake is golden brown and passes the toothpick test. Let cool on a rack before cutting into it.

28 Jun

Playground Circuit Workout

Exercising at home rarely gives me the same satisfaction that I get from the gym. The meatheads grunting ferociously with each rep, the smell of sweat and whey protein, and just the energy of the place, I find them all irresistible.
But sometimes when the weather is gorgeous and I’m in the mood to get outdoors, the thought of being trapped in the gym just doesn’t have the same appeal. Usually I’ll just head out for a walk or run, but another option is strength training.

A really great place to do this is at a playground which is loaded with equipment that you can use for some fun body weight exercises.

The Playground Workout

Perform this workout as a circuit:
Go through all the exercises back-to-back then rest for 2 minutes. Repeat 2x.

Summary:
Walking Plank – 40 reps
Chin-Ups – 5 reps
Swing Knee Tucks – 15 reps
Swing Bulgarian Split Squats – 15 reps per leg
Park Bench Toe Taps – 25 reps per foot
Park Bench Tricep Dips – 15 reps
Hanging Crunches – 8 reps
Scorpion Push-Ups – 6 reps per side

Walking Plank

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This is basically a shuffle in plank position.
Begin in upper push-up position on hands and toes with your hands under your shoulders and your back flat.
Staying in this position as best as possible, "walk" your left hand and left leg about a foot to the right and then follow with the right hand and foot.
Shuffle to the left for 20 paces then move back to the right for another 20 paces.

Chin-Ups

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Grip on to the monkey bars with an underhand grip.
Inhale and keep your chest up and shoulders back as you pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
Repeat for as many reps as you can do.
I can only do about 2 chin-ups so I give myself a little kick off and do 3 more.

Swing Knee Tucks

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Get in plank position with the tops of your feet on the seat of a swing. Your back should be flat. Pull your knees toward your arms until they are in the ‘tuck’ position.
Then push your legs back in until fully extended.
Repeat for 15 reps.

 

Swing Bulgarian Split Squats

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Start by standing upright with a swing close behind you.
Place one leg back with the top of your foot on the swing.
Bend your front knee and lower down.
Return to start position.
Repeat for 15 repetitions per leg.

Park Bench Toe Taps

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Lift one foot off the ground, and touch your toe to the top of a bench.
Set this foot back down on the ground, while lifting the opposite foot to the top of the bench. Try to go as fast as possible.
Repeat for 25 taps on each foot.

 

Park Bench Tricep Dips

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Place your hands shoulder width apart on the bench. Move your feet out as far out in front of you as possible.
Slowly lower your upper body down towards the floor, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and your back as close to the bench as possible. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands and push yourself back up to the starting position with your triceps.
Repeat for 15 reps.

Hanging Crunches

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Hang upside down from the monkey bars by your knees and crunch your body up as far as you can go.
Repeat for 8 reps.

 

Scorpion Push-Ups

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Get into a downward dog position. Lift left leg straight into the air behind you.
Pull the left knee toward the left elbow as you bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground. Push up to original position.
Repeat for 6 reps on each leg.
27 Jun

A Gorgeous Wardrobe

I went to Toronto to see all my best friends from high school this weekend. Tina and I drove up from Windsor and stayed in with our girlfriend in her gorgeous Etobicoke townhouse. She’s still sorta getting settled in the house but the rooms that she finished decorating look like something out of House and Home magazine and it’s obvious she considers every aspect of the space. It’s a gift, I think, to be so stylish.

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Her finesse extends to the piece de resistence 3rd bedroom that she converted into a dressing room/make-up room. Women are thoroughly impressed when they see this room. Jealous, usually. There are mirrors and warm fabrics and beads delicately strewn. There’s enough make-up to make a department store make-up cosmetics counter jealous. She has a brush for absolutely every application—and she actually cleans them. A jewellery ‘box’ that’s more like a jewellery hutch. There’s a place for everything and everything in it’s place. It feels like a room that should belong to a wealthy housewife in the roaring 20s. It’s that cool.

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This woman needs a side business developing wardrobe rooms for Toronto’s nouveau riche. She’d make a mint.

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When I see the room I feel like a chump. My daily routine, which takes about 30 seconds and only occasionally involves me actually looking in the mirror, seems so juvenile in contrast. I never quite learned the delicate art of looking polished and fabulous and it makes me feel like I’ve missed some rite of passage or coming of age. Like she knows how to be a real woman who looks great and radiates beauty and I’m still stuck in adolescent awkwardness and crossing my fingers that womanliness will just kick in some day.

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*I used pictures of our excursion to the Toronto Zoo in the post because my friend would likely decapitate me if I posted pictures of her domain of femininity (or at the very least, call me a jackass). It was my idea to go to the zoo this weekend—further evidence that I’m still not a woman yet.

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23 Jun

30 minute Cardio Skipping Circuit

skipper (source)

Today’s cardio was pretty sweet. I had intended to do the Tabata Spinning today but for some reason I felt like skipping rope instead. My skipping skills aren’t stellar (I trip on my rope at least once a minute) so I tried alternating 5 minutes of skipping with other forms of cardio and came up with this workout.

Skipping rope reminds me of grade school. I loved skipping as a kid but was never really good at it back then either. My mom didn’t let me join my grade school’s skipping team that I so desperately wanted to join, so I never learned the cool tricks. (Yeah, we had a skipping team and they were pretty damn good too). I’m still pretty scarred by that.

I want to incorporate more skipping rope into my cardio so that I can work up my skills and be able to skip for 5 minutes without tripping on the rope.

Skipping is great for your calf muscles and your shoulders plus its a pretty tiring cardiovascular workout.

30 Minute Skipping Cardio Circuit

*5 minutes Skipping

1 minute single bounce – keep feet together and jump; 1 jump per rotation
1 minute slalom – keep feet together and jump side to side like a slalom skier; 1 jump per rotation
2 minutes alternating feet – alternate jumping on the right and left foot; 1 jump per rotation
1 minute single bounce – keep feet together and jump; 1 jump per rotation

5 minutes Spinning

Alternate 30 seconds seated sprints on the spinning bike with 30 seconds recovery.

*5 minutes Skipping

Repeat the Skipping Exercise above

5 minutes Stairclimber

Stairclimber workout on Fat Burner setting at level 12

*5 minutes Skipping

Repeat the Skipping Exercise above

5 minutes Treadmill

Jog at 5.5 to 6.0 mph.

22 Jun

Packing in the Protein

All this protein is killing me. I’m stuffed. I know it’s said that it is best to get about 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight but I find it to be almost too much. Yesterday I managed to eat 124g of protein between oat bran for breakfast, beef kabobs for lunch, protein powder after a workout, and chicken for dinner. I was so full and I ate less than 1800 calories whereas I normally eat around 2000.

I’ve been able to eat a lot of meat and fish these last few days because of all the leftovers from my dad’s birthday party on the weekend. There’s not much left so I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep up with the protein intake after that… I hardly cook meat at home. I know there are lots of vegetarian sources of protein but they don’t have nearly as much as animal sources.

I had a protein shake after my workout today and then I could barely eat dinner tonight. That was disappointing because it was so delicious. I made a twist on the British classic: fish and chips with mushy peas.

I breaded basa filets in flour, then milk, then bread crumbs and pan fried them in a bit of oil for about 10 minutes.

I parboiled sweet potato and then baked them with rosemary, thyme, and a bit of oil as the chips.

The peas were just 2 cans of peas with a tablespoon of butter, a splash of cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper.

It all sounds really simple, but it was delicious.

I had a really small portion of everything but I was, and am, so stuffed.

I’m so stuffed. Did I mention that? Like, Christmas dinner stuffed. + The maple keys in my gutters have yet to be cleaned out and the daily thunderstorms are making them give off an awful stench that is unbearable. + Now I’m watching Walking Dead with the husband and it is so gory. I’m this close to vomiting.

Breakfast

– homemade granola with homemade marmalade and coconut cream

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Lunch

– leftover beef kebabs and grilled calamari
– a ruby red grapefruit

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Post Workout

– protein powder with a banana, peanut butter, and water

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Dinner

– fried basa filet with mushy peas and baked sweet potato ‘chips’

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Total: 1482 cals 33% fat/45% carbs/22% protein

Workout

Yesterday was Chest and Triceps day in my superset routine. I skipped out on cardio because I left my hair tie at home.

Today I did Shoulders and Abs. I followed it up with a 20 minute interval workout on the treadmill. In and out of the gym in an hour. Per-fect

HIIT Treadmill Workout

The workout involves a 2 minute warm-up a 2 minute cool-down and 4 minute “waves” of increasing speed every minute.

Minutes Speed (mph)
1 – 2 5.5
3 6.0
4 7.0
5 8.0
6 9.0
7 5.5
8 7.0
9 8.0
10 9.0
11 5.5
12 6.5
13 7.5
14 8.5
15 5.5
16 7.0
17 8.0
18 9.0
19 4.0
20 6.0
21 Jun

flour girl: Powerhouse Sprouted Grain Bread

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You probably saw this bread on the blog last week and I promised a recipe for it, so here it is. I took the recipe for Power Bread from the book Whole Grain Breads and adapted it to be even more nutritious.

This bread is a total powerhouse. It is high in protein which makes it a good pre-workout snack. It’s also full of nutrition with the benefits of the enzymes from sprouted wheat kernels, the omega-3s from the walnut flour and flax seeds, and just one slice has 30% of your daily recommended intake of fibre. It’s pretty hardcore.

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Make it. It’s good for you.

Nutrition per slice : 126 calories
Fat : 3.6g / 32.4 cals (24.4%), Carbs : 20.9g / 83.8 cals (63%), Protein : 4.2g / 16.9 cals (12.7%)

Powerhouse Sprouted Grain Bread

Soaker

1/3 c. raisins
5 t. flax seeds
3/4 c. water

6 oz sprouted wheatberries food-processed into a paste (how to sprout wheat)
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. oat bran
1/2 t. sea salt

Day 1:
Combine the raisins, flax, and water in a bowl and leave at room temperature overnight.

Day 2:

Puree the raisin mixture in a food processor.
In a bowl stir together the puree and the remaining soaker ingredients to get a wet batter. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

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Starter

1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 t. quick rise yeast
1/2 c. soy milk

Day 2:
Combine all the starter ingredients together in a bowl. Knead the starter dough by hand for a few minutes. Place the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

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Dough

starter
soaker
2/3 c. walnut flour
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. sesame seeds
1/2 t. salt
2 1/4 t. (one packet) instant yeast
3 1/2 t. honey
1 T. date molasses

Day 3:
Chop the starter up into 8-10 pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add all the remaining dough ingredients to the bowl.

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Stir the ingredients together with a spoon until the mixture begins to form a ball.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead with wet hands for 5-10 minutes. Add extra flour as needed so the dough is firm and a bit tacky. The dough should pass the windowpane test so you know the gluten is developed.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

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When the dough has doubled in size, form the dough into a loaf pan shape and place into an oiled 8×4” loaf pan. Cover again with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature again until 1.5x it’s original size (~45minutes).

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Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes until it sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom and/or has an internal temperature of 195 degrees fahrenheit.

Cool on a rack before serving.

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Submitted to Yeastspotting

20 Jun

Body After Marathon

Body Image Issues

I headed to the gym after work today like almost every other day. I changed into my yoga capris and a tight sweat wicking top. On my way out of the locker room I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I was not impressed.

The first thought that crossed my mind was: FAT. I’ve been doing pretty well with not fat talking but today wasn’t one of those days. My thoughts rushed back to the contents of my gym bag and whether I would be able to find a more forgiving shirt inside, but I knew I had nothing. I almost forced myself to believe that I needed to go home to change.

But I didn’t. Fuck it.

I went out and had a fantastic lower body workout. I was too busy thinking “oh god, my legs!” to bother with fat thoughts once I got into my weight routine and luckily the thought didn’t cross my mind again. The thought didn’t consume me like I know it would have in the past– that’s what I call progress in bikini confidence. It’s a work in progress.

Truth of the matter is that post marathon, I am not happy with how I look. I already mentioned that I’m starting to change that by focussing more on my strength training workouts again (right now I’m doing the Superset routine). For cardio, I’m also adding in more interval training instead of distance running. And, of course, I’m always incorporating yoga into my life. But the biggest thing that I have to change is my food.

So you’ll probably be seeing a lot more healthy food on the blog—and less delicious cookies, and sticky buns. More protein. More snacks or smaller meals. And I’ll update you on my Body After Marathon progress.

Sunday Night

Matt and I went to dinner for Father’s Day with my in-laws at Caldwell’s Grant in Amherstburg. I was so full from the weekend of eating so I just had a salad with sauteed mushrooms and I only ate half.

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Afterward, we went for a walk in the park and at Fort Malden (a beautiful old fort that played a major part in the Battle of 1812)

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Fitness

Today’s workout was Leg Day from my Superset Routine. I was tempted to leave the gym afterward but since I had nowhere to be and no dinner to cook (because there are so many leftovers from my dad’s party this weekend) I decided to stay and do cardio.

I love doing this routine on the spinning bike. It’s a quick half hour HIIT:

Spinning Tabata Intervals

Perform the following on the spinning bike:

5 Minute Warm-Up – at an easy pace and resistance

4 Minute Set – complete the following 8x
20 seconds sprint
10 seconds recovery
1 Minute Recovery

– Repeat the 4 Minute Set + 1 Minute Recovery 3x for a total of 20 minutes

5 Minute Cool-Down

I will incorporate this workout into my cardio at least once a week.

19 Jun

Carrousel and Dad’s Birthday Weekend

It was one of those weekends when I had a million and a half things going on, I got nothing done around the house, and wished I had 2 more days off to just unwind.

Friday – Carrousel of Nations

One of my favourite times of year here in Windsor is the Carrousel of Nations which is a festival that different cultural groups in the city participate in over 2 weekends in June. Each cultural group showcases their cuisine, music, and dancing at different locations or “villages” all across the city.

Windsor is a really diverse city so there are lots of different ethnicities showcased at the Carrousel from Italian to Serbian to Chinese to Scottish but my favourite is, by far, the Greeks.

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I wait every year to have my annual gyro (seriously, I only have a gyro once a year) at the Greek village because it is AMAZING.

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They also sell saganaki, spanikopita, souvlaki, honey balls, Greek salad, and baklava. All of which I’ve tried and loved, but the my heart lies with the gyro.

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Afterward we hit up the Caribbean Village which always has the best entertainment. They had a great Caribbean band playing on Friday night. Usually there are dancers and drummers at the Caribbean Village as well, but maybe they were scheduled on a different night.

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Matt ordered a Chicken Roti which was delicious (and enormous, so he only ate half) and his brother got the Jerk Chicken. I nibbled on some fried plantains which I have to recreate at home. I love all the West Indian flavours.

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I could have gone to a few more carrousels, but we decided to call it a night after the Caribbean Village.

Saturday – My Dad’s Birthday

Saturday I went to an early spin class that my sister Vicki was teaching. I haven’t been to spinning in a while but whenever Vicki comes home from Illinois and teaches a class then I try my best to attend. It was a great class and reminded me that I should go to spinning a bit more often. It’s so much more fun than other forms of gym cardio *cough* elliptical *cough*.

In the afternoon, my dad had a huge birthday party with about 60 friends and family at Spago on Erie Street. It was a big party to celebrate life. My dad was recently very sick and hospitalized for 2 months he has almost completely recovered. After all the stress of that ordeal it was a well deserved party for all of us.

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Me and my Dad

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The food there was phenomenal. We had calamari, beef, chicken, arancini, caprese salad, pizza, and desserts. And of course, vino.

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The Fam – Me, Dad, Vicki, and Nonna

Afterward a group of us headed to The Keg downtown on Riverside Drive for more drinks and appetizers on the patio. The Keg has the greatest patio in Windsor by far with a beautiful view of the waterfront and the Detroit skyline.

Sunday – Early Morning: Coppens’ Birthday

After everyone left The Keg, Matt and I hung around downtown for a while waiting to meet my friend Coppens for her 26th birthday at the nightclub The Room.

We strolled along the waterfront and checked out SummerFest which is going on Downtown for the next few weeks and then wandered around the casino (because neither of us are big gamblers).

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Then I got a text: “We’re at the club” and even though I was exhausted from the long day, Matt and I headed to The Room to meet Coppens and her friends and to get our groove on. It’s been a while since I’ve been out dancing – it was a great time! Happy Birthday girl 🙂

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Me and Coppens

Sunday – Father’s Day

I got a wake up call from my sister Vicki at 9 this morning. I was exhausted so I slept in late in spite of the fact that all the blinds were drawn and the house was beaming with light. We planned to bake my dad a birthday cake in the morning and bring it to his place for lunch.

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Vicki is a pretty expert cake baker. You may remember her amazing coconut cake and red velvet cake. She also made her sister-in-law’s wedding cake and phenomenal cupcakes for my own wedding. Anyway, she said we wouldn’t have enough time to make a cake for the afternoon between prepping it, baking it, letting it cool, and then frosting it. So we went with a chocolate espresso torte instead. My dad likes chocolate (who doesn’t?) and espresso, so it was a win-win.

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Vicki looks innocent even when wielding a knife

The cake was flourless and neither of us has baked a flourless cake before so we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out. We had a bit of trouble folding the whipped egg whites into the chocolate batter because the batter was SO thick, but it ended up turning out okay.

I’m not exactly the greatest when it comes to decorating things which is why I stick with baking cookies and bread instead of cakes and cupcakes. Vicki almost pissed her pants laughing at my glaze-drizzling “skills” because the cake was clearly looking hideous. …nothing a little powdered sugar can’t fix, I guess.

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Now I’m off to Amherstburg to have dinner with Matt’s parents for Father’s day. Yeesh! A girl can’t get 5 minutes of down time this weekend. I know I didn’t really post my food journal for the weekend but you can imagine that I ate A LOT. Especially desserts : / I could definitely go for something very green tonight!

17 Jun

food journal 17/06/11

I went to bed early last night so I didn’t get a chance to post my eats. Today was a leftover day because I didn’t have a minute to spare to cook dinner last night.

Breakfast

– 1/4 c egg whites with 2 pieces of high protein sprouted grain bread and mustard

Lunch

– leftover barley risotto

Post Workout

– small banana + vegan protein powder + water

Dinner

– leftover thai coconut stirfry with rice noodles

Dessert

– 1/2 cinnamon bun
– 1 cookie

Fitness

It was shoulders and abs day from my Superset Routine. I’m loving the supersets. I can tell that my muscles are working differently because I’m so sore a couple of days after my workouts! And I’m pretty much in and out of the gym in 30 minutes.

I came home after the gym and went for a 3 mile run at a steady 10 min/mile pace.

Later my friend Tina and I went for a 3 mile walk and got to hear all about her recent vacation to Barbados! I saw all her gorgeous pictures from the island and it made me want to go on a Caribbean vacation. For beach vacations I’ve only ever been to Mexico once and Florida twice. I usually prefer to go to a mountain than a beach (like New Hampshire), a place with lots of culture (like Montreal and Boston) or a place I can be really active (like Norway).

What’s your ideal vacation?

15 Jun

Weightlifting PDFs

Breakfast

High protein Oat bran pancake. I got the idea for this from reader and regular commenter Samantha. It had:

1/4c egg whites
1/3c oat bran
1 T coconut flour
pinch of baking powder

Combined and pan fried until golden. I topped it with 1 T all natural PB and 1 T unsweetened coconut.
The texture was denser than a normal pancake but I still liked it. I would make it again for sure!

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I also had a side of pineapple.

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Lunch

– Royal Gala apple
Potato Leek Soup

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Post Workout

– vegan protein powder, 1 c. water, 1 small banana

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Dinner

– Thai stirfry with rice noodles. In the stirfry was onions, lemon grass, peppers, firm tofu, coconut milk, fresh basil, coconut milk, and lime juice.

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Dessert

I was baking again tonight. More Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies. And now I`m sick to my stomach from eating too much cookie dough. I probably ate enough for 4 cookies, at least. Ugh.

Fitness

It was back and biceps day from my superset routine.

I decided to leave out cardio today because my legs are still killing me from Monday and I wanted to give them a break. I can barely walk. I’m currently walking like a retarded child or, as Matt put it, “You look like a speed walker in slow motion”. Nice.

In other fun news, I updated my Weightlifting Page to include printable PDF workouts you can bring to the gym with you 🙂

Here’s my current routine:

4 day supersets