12 Jun

Sampling Something New

I mentioned in my last post that I was straying from my normal gym to train at GoodLife. I’m doing it as part of their Blogger Ambassador Program which is using the power of internet voices like mine to get the word out about their facilities and the importance of physical fitness to a healthy life. It’s not an idea I don’t promote already.

My first visit to one of their gyms (the Devonshire Mall location) was this weekend. It was a nice quiet Sunday morning and I was struggling to slide the rubber coated plates onto the barbell when a gentleman swooped in to help me. I am generally averse to white-knighters like this, but the weights were really stuck and I was keenly aware of how ridiculous I looked so I appreciated the help.

He turned out to be an off-duty personal trainer who introduced himself, shook my hand, and told me my deadlift form was “impeccable”. Take note gents, this boy sure knows how to compliment a lady ;)

I was able to finish up my back workout without much other interruption aside from seeing and chatting with two acquaintances.

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Post workout pump!

I’ve already returned to that GoodLife once, this time on a much busier weekday evening. Despite the crowd of weightlifters I was still able to get all my exercises in without having to sharpen my elbows and fight for a weight rack. Of course I saw yet two more people that I knew there… apparently everyone I know enough to say hello to works out at GoodLife. It could be a problem.

I’d like to try a couple more locations, though I’m not sure how I feel about the Women’s Only gyms. Not enough testosterone.

I also plan to try a class or two, especially the Jillian Michaels Body Shred class that my girlfriend Santina keeps raving about. Though I don’t think I can approach that one with an open mind given how much I dislike Jillian Michaels’ approach to anything.

More reviews to come. Stay tuned!

10 Jun

5/3/1 Cycle 18

I pulled back on the volume of weight that I would be lifting for Cycle 18 because I failed to meet my target lifts in Cycle 17.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women and 5/3/1 How To

It was a good move and, overall, cycle 18 went well. I managed to hit every prescribed lift, even on my ‘5 rep’ days (which I actually find harder than my ‘1 rep max’ days).
I did feel weak and tired at times during the cycle, which I blame on low iron, but I managed.

Cycle 18 Main Lifts

Deadlift: 255lb for 2 reps

Push Press: 130lb for 3 rep

Squats: 240lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 150lb for 2 reps (flying solo)

The loads are decent but not PR-worthy and I feel like I should have been able to crank out more reps.

What’s Next

I headed to GoodLife Fitness this week to start Cycle 19.

I added the standard amount of weight to my Cycle 18 loads (see here or here for 5/3/1 how-to’s). Unfortunately it’s been rough so far. But! I’m only 2 workouts in so I’m trying to stay positive and see how the next 2 workouts go.

Set up for a 5 rep deadliftAll set up for a 5 deadlifts

It might just be that I haven’t been eating properly the last few days, it might be that I’m tired from a weekend of landscaping. It might be that I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I’d like (What I’d like, if we’re being honest, is 9 hours). I don’t know why I’m feeling so weak and off point this week.

The Yogic Approach

Warrior 2 Pose - YogaWarrior!

I’m going to use this as a learning opportunity though because what’s really cool is that I can take a completely yogic approach to weightlifting.

Yoga teaches me to tune into the subtleties of my body so that I can really be aware of when I feel that I’m off my peak and when I feel strong and energetic. I want to use this ability to pay attention to what I’m doing (with diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc) when I’m feeling my best so I can use that knowledge to optimize my training.

Don’t worry, I’ll continue to keep you posted as I go. . .

08 Jun

Links for a Sunday Morning

This restored Windsor mansion hosted Al Capone and Paul Martin Jr. – The Globe and Mail

Devonshire Lodge is likely the only house anywhere that can lay claim to having hosted America’s most notorious gangster as well as two sitting Canadian prime ministers.

One Exercise That Just Might Change Your Running Forever – Huffington Post

According to legend, this single drill turned a 16 year old with almost no running experience into the foremost racer of his day.

Is it Really “Scientifically Impossible” to Keep Your Weight Off? – Weighty Matters

So why do people gain [weight] back if it’s so important to them? . . . In short they’ve chosen suffering as their weight management modality.

How Americans Got Red Meat Wrong – The Atlantic

Meat eating went down just before coronary disease took off. Fat intake did rise during those years, from 1909 to 1961, when heart attacks surged, but this 12 percent increase in fat consumption was not due to a rise in animal fat. It was instead owing to an increase in the supply of vegetable oils, which had recently been invented.

The Real Rules of Engagement on the Subways of Europe – CityLab

Push your way onto a subway train in Copenhagen and you blend in. Try the same thing in Glasgow and, well, just try it and see. In London, dumped newspapers on trains are a form of courtesy. In Vienna, they are treated like something dead that the cat’s dragged in.

Are yoga pants ruining the denim business? – Daily Mail

What used to be a premium jeans occasion for women is now socially acceptable to be a yoga pants occasion.

C-section main reason Canadians hospitalized for surgery – CBC News

Giving birth was the main reason for inpatient hospitalization in 2012-13. The birth of babies accounted for 369,454 hospital stays in 2012-13.

04 Jun

Prenatal Yoga Benefits

Prenatal Yoga text

I spent the past weekend in Prenatal Yoga Teacher training.

It was my third of the four required weekends of training that encompasses 85 hours of practice, lecture, practice teaching, reading, and observing all things prenatal yoga.

So far the training has been even more informative than I was anticipating and I’ve been gaining all sorts of new knowledge about the physical, emotional, and psychological changes that go on during pregnancy. It is all very fascinating. There’s so much to know.

I was at the dentist on Monday and when I responded to his question about what I did on the weekend he asked,

“Should pregnant women even do yoga?”

With all the benefits that come out of Prenatal Yoga I’d like to see that question change to

“Shouldn’t most pregnant women be doing yoga?”

Most of the studies are small now, but more and more research is coming out on prenatal yoga benefits. Yoga in pregnancy can:

Decrease depressive symptoms

Improve sleep

Improve birth weight and decrease preterm labor

Reduce lumbar and pelvic pain

Reduces stress

So if you’re having a healthy pregnancy, why aren’t you doing yoga?

01 Jun

Links for a Sunday Morning

Why Do Kettlebell Swings Hurt My Back? – GGS

The most common mistake I see when clients perform the swing is that they don’t have the hip hinge fully integrated into their motor planning. They tend to flex their lumbar spine as they perform the “hike pass” phase of the swing, and then they hyperextend their lumbar spine at the top (lock out) phase of the swing.

The Average American Wedding is Way Crazier Than Kimye’s – Esquire

We spend too much on weddings, and it is ruining marriage as a result.

Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds – The Daily Beast

When our clever ruses and schemes to “get girls” fail, it’s not because the girls are too stupid or too bitchy or too shallow to play by those unwritten rules we’ve absorbed.

Why say no to Northern Gateway? Because there are alternatives The Globe and Mail

Need, timing, politics – a triple play. What’s not to like?

How to refuel after a workout without undermining your hard work – Washington Post

Unless you’re training at a high intensity or doing workouts of an hour or more, your physiological need for refueling or electrolyte replenishment is usually minimal and if you’re exercising to lose weight or to keep the pounds off those after-workout foods could derail your progress.

30 May

Four Things

Be a Voter
I got my voter’s card for the upcoming Ontario provincial elections on Jun 12. If you live in Ontario, please be a voter. I don’t care who you choose to vote for, as long as you choose to vote because it really does matter.
I don’t go all Public Service Announcement on the blog often, but voting is one of those things that’s too important not to mention.

If you’re interested in which way you lean and want to learn more about the platforms, check out the vote compass. I, evidently, lean more economically left and socially liberal than any of the parties. Why am I not surprised?

vote compass results

Speaking of politics, I just finished watching Season 2 of House of Cards. DAYUM! It’s good. I’m not surprised people were binge watching it when it was first released. I’m kind of sad that I’ve finished all the episodes though.
Oh well, back to literature I guess.

House of Cards

Crispy Fried Capers are a game changer. They’re crispy, they’re salty, they’re versatile! What’s not to love? I made some this week as a topper for a fried fish recipe I modified from the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. They also made a good topping for scrambled eggs and for a vegetable pasta.
Oh and they’re easy. Heat about 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a pan on high, add 2 Tbsp capers that have been drained and patted dry, remove with a slotted spoon once they’re crispy (a few minutes). That’s it.

DSCF5629

I posted a couple of vinyasa yoga flows to my YouTube channel and hope to post videos a little more regularly. If there’s something you’d like to see on the channel (longer flows, more instruction, full classes, etc) let me know.

28 May

Pop Tarts

Some dude at the gym told me I look like I lost weight yesterday.

Interestingly enough, I have not. Since my friend/nutritionist Sarah gave me a dietary outline to help put on muscle I have gained exactly one pound and I’m sitting at 166.

Dude told me that my face looks thinner, so maybe I have leaned out a bit but I don’t really think so. Perhaps he was just looking for something to say?

I told him I was trying to put on some weight and he said jokingly (I think?) “You should eat pop-tarts” and now I’ve been craving pop tarts for two days. Thanks very much, meathead.

strawberry pop tartsI’m partial to strawberry.

Eating a pop-tart, for me, is a slippery slope.
Unnatural and processed crap aside, let’s be honest, pop-tarts are delicious.

I really need to try out a recipe for homemade pop-tarts now like these or these or these. I smell a weekend project, folks and it smells a lot like toaster pie.

Readers, have you made pop tarts before? Can you recommend a recipe?

26 May

Feels Like Summer

This weekend, to me, was the first weekend that we’ve had this year that really felt like summer. Part of it is the days getting longer, but mostly it’s the gorgeous—albeit a little hot for my liking—weather.

Matt was out of town for a couple of days so I had Friday night and all day Saturday to myself which, if we’re being honest, was kinda awesome.

I spent Friday night on a walk by the Detroit River with my friend Tina.

Detroit River

The riverfront is one of my favourite things about the city of Windsor.

I spent Saturday morning weightlifting and teaching yoga and the afternoon ripping out ugly bushes and stone from the landscaping. I’ve been wanting to get rid of them for a long time and it was one of those things that I can only pull off when the husband is away—that is, spontaneously doing a major house project, just because.

Here’s a photo of part of that project. I know a before picture would be nice, but I didn’t think too much before going to town on the overgrown shrubbery. Any suggestions of what I should plant here? It’s full shade.

landscaping

I made sure to take some time to just chill on Saturday afternoon by online shopping while sipping my first Greek Frappe coffee of the season.

Greek FrappeCheers to deliciousness!

Also because the husband was out of town I ate cookie dough for dinner on Saturday night. True fact.

And I might have had some cookie dough left over to actually bake cookies too.

Winning Chocolate Chiip CookiesLOVE this recipe

Overall, a pretty sweet weekend and that was only Friday and Saturday!

How was your weekend?

25 May

Links for a Sunday Morning

The Most Dangerous Myth of Modern Day Dieting: Your Weight Should Be "Ideal" – Weighty Matters

Let me say it quite plainly (and forgive me for my language) – as a means to set personal goals BMI is bullshit.

Should Women get Paid Menstrual Leave? – The Atlantic

Do these policies simply further the notion that women are weak, hormonally-addled creatures controlled by their uteri? Or do they encourage more equality by accommodating female workers’ biological demands, much as maternity leave does?

Top 3 Yin Yoga Poses for Runners – The StarPhoenix

To practice yin effectively, you must hold back from your most flexible point. . . yin is a perfect complement to running.

A Yoga High – Yoga Journal

Their effects may seem at odds, but marijuana and yoga can serve a similar purpose.

Why Trying to Be Perfect Won’t Help You Achieve Your Goals (And What Will) – Medium

Whenever you put in consistent work and learn from your mistakes, incredible progress is the result.

23 May

Yoga Centric Day

Surrender to the Moment

Today was a yoga-centric day. I started it off my rolling out of bed early (it’s getting so much easier with the long days!) to get in a 6:30am Moksha Flow yoga practice before work.

Though fully exhausted and sweated out I, apparently, hadn’t had enough because I squeezed in a Vinyasa yoga practice this evening at Breathe studio with Laurel Hicks who happens to be my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training (PYTT) instructor.

Part of my requirements for PYTT is to observe 6 hours of Laurel teaching, and I did part of that tonight as well. Right after participating in her class I observed her teach a group of about 15 women in varying stages of their pregnancy with varying experiences with yoga.

This was my last class that I had to observe. While I feel like I’m picking up on the techniques and soaking in some info, I tend to find observation boring. I’d much rather participate and learn experientially than by watching. But, ya gotta do what ya gotta do (and, let’s be honest, I probably wouldn’t have made it through a 3rd class of the day).

I’m pushing hard to prevent my practice from slipping away as I get busier with teaching classes. It’s pretty common for yoga teachers to do yoga less often because they’re too busy teaching and I’m apparently no different.

I tend to reserve evenings for weightlifting so carving out time in the morning for yoga helps a lot. I’ve been pretty successful at getting in about 2 classes a week for the last couple of months and I’m pretty proud of myself for it.

How do you manage to make time for the things in life that are important to you?