I’ve been feeling a bit bloated lately in a way that always makes me totally uncomfortable with how I look and how I feel.
It makes me start to second guess myself and all my healthy living progress and think things like
I’ve probably been eating too many cookies
I must be slacking in my workouts
I shouldn’t have cleared my plate at that restaurant
So before I start on a downward spiral toward fat talk and bad self-esteem I need to regroup, refocus, and reflect on all my healthy lifestyle habits as a reminder that, hey, I’m doing ok!
I eat breakfast every day.
I load my cart with vegetables at the grocery store.
I cook dinners from scratch at least 4 days per week and I eat leftovers for lunch every day.
I eat out once and maybe twice per week.
I prioritize exercise and do it regularly and consistently.
I keep variety in my workouts with heavy weightlifting, interval training, yoga, and steady state cardio.
I life-hacked a standing workstation at my office to reduce my sedentary time.
Given all that, I think I’m doing a pretty good job at maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, no one is perfect and some bad habits have been starting to creep up that might need to be nipped in the bud:
I have been drinking a lot more caloric beverages lately– lattes, sweetened coffee, hot chocolate, or beer (umm… ’tis the season?)
I haven’t been taking the dog for as many long walks.
My fat consumption lately has been more bad fats (mmm. . . butter) than good ones (still mmm, but not quite so much. . . avocado)
Slowly I’ve been incorporating more processed grains into my diet whereas I was trying to focus on solely unrefined ones.
It makes me feel better to pause and say, this is what you’re doing right and this is what you’re doing wrong, rather than just flying off the handle and telling myself I’m a failure at being healthy just because I feel a little bloated. I’m not a failure. I’m doing a lot of the right things.5 Comments
In keeping with the theme of crazy conditioning drills last night I decided to bust out Terrible 20s.
Terrible Twenties – a sprinting drill sandwiched between a shit tonne of push-ups and sit-ups.
You need a space of at least 50 metres to do this drill, so I jogged over to a portion of the trail near my house that’s a bit quieter so people wouldn’t see the crazy girl running back & forth a million times.
I guesstimated and marked off a distance of 50m which, due to my poor distance perception, I later discovered was actually 150 metres. Blast! I worked harder than I had to (no wonder the sprints were so tough!).
Here’s how the drill goes:
It took me about 50 minutes or so to finish the whole thing for a total of:
2000m of sprints (6000m in my case)
*Math Nerd Alert: It is exciting that my knowledge of the ‘sum of consecutive integers’ formula finally could be put to use in the real world.1 Comment
Friday was a cardio day for me but I wasn’t in the mood for a run or a spinning class or a forgettable elliptical experience, so I tried busting out some crazy conditioning moves instead.
In addition to jumps and hops and swings and some other heart-pumping moves that have escaped my memory I did these two amazing exercises: Plate Pushes and Treadmill Sled Push which are both good sled push substitutes if you don’t have a sled or prowler.
They were both exhausting and they brutalized my quadriceps. So, naturally I can’t wait to do them again.
Treadmill Sled Push
I did this exercise in Tabata intervals– 20 sec work + 10 sec recovery –for 16 intervals and resting for a full minute after 8 intervals (so a total of 9 minutes: 4 minutes Tabata, 1 minute rest, 4 minutes Tabata)
I was exhausted and thought my quads were going to fall off. If you drive more with your heels you can work you hamstrings, but I found this to be really awkward.
How to do it:
- With the treadmill OFF, hold the dashboard or front handles and keep your spine neutral
- Use your legs to drive the belt of the treadmill and work up the speed as fast as you can manage.
- Push for 20 seconds then rest 10 seconds. Repeat 7-15 times.
I got a lot of “‘the fuck she doing?” looks for being on all fours and pushing a weight across the gym floor.
I used a 45lber and pushed about 20metres. On every set I was forcing myself not to fall to my knees in exhaustion for the last few metres.
How to do ‘em:
- Lay a towel or frictionless mat on the ground and place a weight plate flat on top. Use anything from 25lb to 45lbs. (I tried stacking a couple of plates, but I found that they moved around too much when I pushed so I just used one.)
- Position yourself behind the plate in a low sprinter’s start position
- Place your hands on the plate and push, driving the motion with your legs and trying to keep your butt from sticking up in the air. You want to keep it as parallel to the ground as you can.
- Push as fast as you can for about 20-30 metres then rest 15-30 seconds and repeat 4 or 5 times.
Don’t be fooled– a 16kg kettlebell is heavy. I was just barely able to squeak out a solitary Turkish get-up in poor form. I definitely can’t bicep curl it. I can, however, swing it with relative ease.
The kettlebell had been in the back seat of my car, but the thumping it made when it rolled around made me think I hit a pedestrian, so I moved it in the house and got it as far as the front door where it’s been for the last few days.
The other day when I came in the house I did 12 kettlebell swings and decided to make it a thing for Lent– do 12 kettlebell swings whenever I get home.
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width, each foot pointed outward.
Keep your shoulders pulled back and down to avoid rounding your back.
Squat down and swing the kettlebell back between your legs.
Thrust your hips forward, straighten your legs, and swing the kettlebell up overhead, keeping your arms straight. (I couldn’t get a picture right at the very top of the swing, so this is my progression up to the top)
I just finished 4 weeks of the High Repetition/Low Weight routine that I set out for myself in September.
My plan was to switch up more normal heavy lifting/low weight routines with something a bit different. I liked the routine because even though I lowered my weights to I could hit 10 to 12 reps I was still pushing myself hard. Plus, doing 3 sets instead of 4 and doing some supersets makes the workout go by so much faster.
I made sure to track my progress for the last 4 weeks (I was a little lax about doing this in the summer) and found that I improved on most things. Sadly though my squats stayed pretty much the same.
High Rep Weight Training Routine
Click the image for full size:
You can get a printable pdf version of this workout here
Medicine Ball Launch
In today’s kickboxing class, after being exhausted from ten 3 minute rounds on the punching bag we grabbed a partner and did this awesome exercise.
Grab a 15lb medicine ball and stand about 8 feet from your partner.
Stand with your left foot slightly forward and you right foot back.
Hold the ball to shoulder height with your left hand
Using the palm of your right hand, thrust the ball the forward at your partner twisting your right hip forward as you do so, as if you were throwing a punch. Try to keep the ball travelling in a straight horizontal line as much as possible, not a parabolic trajectory.
You partner will catch the ball and thrust it back to you.
Repeat for 2 minutes before swtiching to the left hand.No Comments
I’ve started on a new weight training routine that is mostly based on lower resistance and higher repetitions (~10-12).
My goal here is just to change things up a bit since I’m addicted to my heavy lift routines. But I want to make sure that I’m lifting as heavy as possible for all 10 to 12 repetitions. No cheating.
I’m going to give it a go for at least 4 weeks (I already started the upper and full body exercises last week) and I’m going to track my progress. I’m usually pretty good about writing down my lifts, but these last 3 weeks or so I have just been winging it in the weight room.
I think this workout, which is a little more endurance-based, is a good complement to my kickboxing and “marathon training” (you know, for that Disney marathon that I still have yet to sign up for).
Weight Training Routine
- 3 Day Split: Lower Body, Upper Body, Full Body
- Method: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, unless otherwise indicated
Day 1 – Lower Body
Squat Jumps – 2 sets of 15
Back Squats – 5 sets of 5 (okay, I’m sticking with building my squat strength here)
Lying Leg Curl
Standing Calf Raises
Day 2 – Upper Body
Push Ups – 2 sets of 16
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Cable Low Rows
Back Extensions on the ball
Day 3 – Full Body
One Legged Bridge - 2 sets of 15
Bent-Over Barbell Rows
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
Dumbbell Rear Lunges
In running news, I killed an 8.2 miler on Sunday afternoon.
The first mile started off slow and crampy but after that I ended up with a lot of energy throughout the whole run. I had a solid pace going, I maintained it, and I took very few walking breaks.
I think one thing that helped was swinging back around to my house at mile 5 to get a drink of water before heading out for the last 3 miles. I often forget how much being hydrated helps to get me through a run.
I also attribute it to the sugar cookies I ate pre-run.
Just over a 9:30 pace. Which, for me, is pretty decent.
Bagigis helped me fold laundry today:
Good dog.3 Comments
Sometimes muscle soreness after a hard workout keeps me awake at night.
Such was the case last night when I was tossing and turning for a few hours. Every single muscle I had felt tight and my forearm pain from my tennis elbow was flaring up. I was a hot mess and I couldn’t get comfortable.
It really doesn’t feel like I worked out all that much this week, but everything I did was new and my body was taking a beating. I did kickboxing twice, I weightlifted twice (one upper body day, one lower body day), I ran 5K with vibrams, and I did a yoga class.
-The kickboxing and upper body weight training made my lats and shoulders sore.
-My legs were numb from yesterday’s leg workout.
-My calves were still sore from Sunday’s barefoot run.
-And in spite of a slow flow yoga practice last night to try to bring some relief, I felt stiff all over.
I had every intention of running 5K this morning before work even though I hardly workout in the morning these days. I woke up just before 7am this morning ready to push myself out the door.
But instead, I went back to sleep and didn’t feel remotely guilty about it. I was in dire need of a rest day today, and I took it.
Here’s the leg workout that made me so sore:
Heavy Weight Lower Body Workout
Box Squats* (part of my Squat Improvement Strategy): 140lb; 4 sets x 5 reps
One-Legged Deadlifts: 75lbs; 4 sets x 8 reps per leg
Walking Dumbbell Lunges: 30lbs; 3 sets x 8 steps per leg
One-Legged Hack Squat: no weight; 4 sets x 6 reps per leg – this exercise is WAY harder than it sounds
Donkey Calf Raises: 200lbs; 3 sets x 8 reps
Rotating Plank to Side Plank: 2 minutes
Oblique Twists: 3 sets x 25 reps
*I decreased my load by 5lbs on the barbell this time because I felt that my form was suffering at 145lbs.
I was surprised that I was able to increase by 2 whole reps with such a little drop in weight. Since I got up to 5 reps, I’m going to go back to 145lb box squats next week.1 Comment
So I decided to sign up for the kickboxing classes for 3 months. After trying out two classes and getting some positive feedback from the instructors and other students I figure this is something that I will really enjoy and maybe even be good at.
The classes are pretty demanding and I do like a good challenge. Plus it’s something that will keep me occupied during football season while Matt is busy coaching.
I’ll try to recap most of the classes so that you can get an idea of what goes down in a kickboxing gym.
Move of the Day:
Sprawl: When the instructor calls sprawl, you get down to the ground then jump up again. It’s a bit like doing a burpee without the push-ups
… funny story about the sprawl. When we were working with the punching bags I jabbed the bag twice, hard and then the instructor called “SPRAWL!”. When I got down to the ground, the punching bag swung back and hit me square in the head, knocking me down. Talk about embarrassing moments!
- 10 High Knee Jumps + Sprint to other end of the mats (x9)
- 8 frog jumps across the mats (x5)
- punching bag: 1 min intervals of performing the punches/kicks called out by the instructor
- alternating roundhouse kicks: 2 min intervals of roundhouse kicks- kick pads held by your partner
- high and low roundhouse kicks: 2 min intervals of high roundhouse kicks and low roundhouse kicks – kick pads held by your partner
- knee/kick combo: 2 min intervals of knee and roundhouse kick (with the same leg) – kick pads held by your partner
- Chin-Ups- pyramid reps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
- Pull-Ups- pyramid reps: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
In other fitness updates with my squat improvement strategy I am up to 145lbs for 5 sets of 3 reps.
I’m going to need to stay at this weight for a while until I can get up to 5 reps with good form. By the 3rd rep I find myself looking sloppy and my core isn’t engaged enough to keep myself in safe squatting form.3 Comments
I had planned to go for a run outside today seeing as the weather was gorgeous all afternoon (not the infernal sweat lodge it’s been like around these parts lately). But almost as soon as I got home from work I heard the loud clapping of thunder and new that a run wasn’t in the cards.
I could have gone to the gym but I find it tough to leave the house so soon after coming home so I stayed in instead and decided to do some at-home strength training.
I’ve been focussing on major muscle groups doing 5 sets of 5 reps with heavy weight and gradually increasing my weight load each week to build up my strength. I’ve also been interspersing this with some circuit training. Since I was working out at home today, I went with a circuit routine for upper body that uses only body weight.
This workout was one I guest posted on Trading Up Downtown and it is unbelievably intense. I had to modify almost all of the exercises to make them easier as I got closer to the 30 second mark.
My tip: Modify the exercises if you need to (and you probably will!) but don’t stop. Keep going. You can do anything for 30 seconds!
Upper Body Burn Workout
Workout breakdown: 35 min, 5-exercise circuit, 5 rounds
Method: Perform as many reps of each exercise as possible for 30 seconds then rest 30 seconds. Rest 2 minutes after the circuit is complete. Repeat the entire circuit 4 more times for a total of 5 rounds.
A. Start in a deep squat. Place your hands on the floor in front of you.
B. Jump both feet back at the same time so you are in an upper push-up position
C. Immediately jump back into the squat position
D. From the squat, jump vertically as high as possible then return to position A.
Repeat for 30 seconds.
Modification: Walk your feet rather than jumping them from one position to the next
2) Hindu Pushups
A. Begin in downward dog position.
B. Flare your elbows outward and lower your nose toward the ground, arching your back slightly as if you are trying to slide under an imaginary bar.
C. Keep your hips close to the ground and push your elbows straight so your upper body is in an upward dog position.
D. Press your hips back into position A.
Repeat for 30 seconds
Modification: From position A. place your knees on the ground and complete the move on your knees instead of toes.
3) Plyometric Push Ups
A. Begin in upper push up position (on knees or toes).
B. Bend your elbows and lower your body to the ground as in a standard push up.
C. Push up using enough explosive force so that your hands leave the ground. (Warning: This force will be so explosive it will be impossible to capture it in a photograph)
D. When your hands touch down again, repeat.
Repeat for 30 seconds
Modification: Complete the push-ups while on your knees.
Even Simpler Modification: Complete the push-ups while on your knees in table position (the closer your knees are to your chest the easier it is. Think torque!)
4) Push Ups with Tuck
A. Begin in upper push up position on your toes.
B. Perform a standard push up, return to position A.
C. With both feet together, jump both feet toward your hands
D. Jump your feet back into position A.
Repeat for 30 seconds
Modification: Complete the push-ups on your knees and get into plank position before jumping your feet toward your hands.
5) Tricep Dips
A. Place your hands shoulder width apart on a chair with your feet out as far out in front of you as possible.
B. Slowly lower your upper body down towards the floor, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and your back as close to the chair as possible.
C. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly push yourself back up to position A.
Repeat for 30 seconds.
Modification: Bend your knees and move your feet closer to you. The closer your feet are to your body the easier this is to do.7 Comments
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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- Lose 6cm from my waistline
Start (Aug 15): 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Aug 31: 82cm /89cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Sep 20: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 1: 83cm/ 88cm/ 165.6lb
Oct 10: 82cm/ 89cm/ 166.6lb
Oct 31: 81cm/ 88cm/ 166.6lb
Nov 15: 81cm/ 87cm/ 169.4lb
Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb