Weekend Workouts

This weekend I did 2 great workouts with what I would call a posse. On Saturday my boyfriend and best friend joined me for a killer leg workout, then on Sunday my best friends boyfriend joined in too for a rocking chest and shoulders sesh. Since this weekend had uncommonly nice and mild weather for this time of year, my boyfriend and I walked back and forth to the gym at a pretty quick clip instead of doing cardio. It’s about 2 kms each way so it’s not cheating! I am well and truly sore today, but it was awesome! Want the deets? Ya you do…

Legs for 3

Warm up (or walk 2 km to the gym)

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Kettlebell swings 3 20/20/20 16 kg (moderate)
Barbell back squats 3 10/8/8 135/155/155 (moderate)
Bosu ball squats* 3 10/10/10 10 lb bar (light)
Deadlifts 3 10/8/6 155/155/185 (heavy)
Seated hamstring curls (superset) 3 12/12/10+pulse 105 lbs
Leg extensions (superset) 3 12/12/10+pulse 105 lbs
Back extensions 3 15/12/12 10 lb plate held far in front of body
You can kind of see the scrunched up face I'm making... this was HARD

You can kind of see the scrunched up face I’m making… this was HARD

* I did one-one legged squats on the bosu ball and used the bar for a couter-balance, but this is a very challenging move for balance. My friend and boyfriend did the more stable two-legged bosu ball squat (which is still very challenging for stability) and used a 25 – 45 lb weight plate held at chest height. Either one will be a great workout and will earn you some curious glances from onlookers.

Stretch for at least 10 minutes and cool down

Push for 4

Warm up (or walk 2 km to the gym)

1 set of tabata sprints (just because)

Exercise Sets Reps Weight
Spiderman push ups* 3 12/12/12 bodyweight
Bench press 2 10/8 95/115
Military press 3 12/12/12 25 lbs
Lateral delt raises 3 12/12/12 10 lbs
Front delt raises 3 12/12/12 10 lbs
Tricep bench dips** 3 12/12/12 45 lbs (on thighs)

* These are push ups where on the down motion you bring one leg out to the side and bring your knee to your elbow. See more description here.

** I did these with my arms on one bench and my feet on another with a weigh plate on my legs for added resitance. To make these easier, remove the weight plate, put you feet on the ground or bring you feet closer to your body.

Stretch for at least 10 minutes and cool down

Having 4 people go through a workout can be tough, so we basically worked in pairs for everything except the bench press (which is why we only did 2 sets). Most of the time 2 people would be doing the exercise while the other 2 spotted and then switch. Thankfully, it wasn’t a busy day at the gym so we managed this without too much trouble. Working in a group could definitely have it’s down sides

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Compound Moves

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time to eat healthy and workout?

So does everyone else… including me.

As the saying goes; If it’s important, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.

Squats 2Being short on time is not an excuse anymore. The steady state cardio myth has been debunked and HIITs are shown to be just as effective. Crossfitters’ WODs take about 20 minutes in total and build muscle like crazy. Circuits can be just as effective if not more than a regular weight session and take half the time. All of these things give you great bang for your buck, but for me… compound moves are king.

What do I mean compound moves?

A compound move is defined differently by different people, but what I am talking about are you “standard” movements that involve multiple muscle groups. Some of my favourites are (in order of my love for them):

  1. Deadlifts (Stiff leg, regular, sumo, you name it, I love it!)

    Regular deadlift (bending the knees)

    Regular deadlift (bending the knees)

  2. Back squats (with variations on stances)
  3. Lunges
  4. Pull Ups
  5. Kettlebell swings (these are not standard moves, but I love them and they work your whole posterior chain)
  6. Thrusters
  7. Push Ups

There are others, but my points is that all of these work multiple muscle groups in ONE exercise. If you only have 20 minutes to workout do you think you should do the hamstring curl machine or deadlifts?

Instead of working on individual muscle groups and having to do 14 different exercises to get a full workout in, just do a couple of these and you are done. Look how many muscles the following workout will target and I guarantee you can do 3 sets of 10 reps of these in less than 30 minutes. The bolded muscle group is the main muscle being worked.

Stiff leg deadliftsHamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back

Wide Stance SquatsQuadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Adductors

Stiff Leg deadlift

 

LungesQuadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves

Kettlebell Swings – HamstringsGlutes, Quadriceps, Lower Back, Upper back, Deltoids

Now that is one efficient workout! Be forwarned though, the tradeoff for less time is higher intensity. Doing squats and deadlifts is harder, more tiring and requires more effort that doing leg extensions until the cows come home. But there is nothing more rewarding (for me… maybe I’m crazy) than lifting some insanely heavy weight in a real life movement… because I guarantee you will have to pick something up off the ground, but when do you ever have a weight strapped to your ankle and you are only allowed to use you  quad in a kicking motion?

 

 

 

Bulking workouts

Here are 2 of the workouts I have done with the intention of bulking. I’m putting the weights I use here for reference only. The intention is to show you what “heavy” is for me. My goal is always to get to a point in 3 sets where I cannot complete more than 6 reps with proper form. When I can do 8 or even 10 clean reps on the last set, I increase my load and that’s how you should judge what weights to use too. PLEASE DO NOT JUST USE THE WEIGHTS I HAVE LISTED!

Leg Day

Warm up – 5 minutes on the treadmill working from 3.0 mph up to 7.0 mph plus some dynamic movements like body weight full squats and leg swings to loosen my hips.

This is the hamstring machine I use... it looks intimidating, but it's actually awesome!

This is the hamstring machine I use… it looks intimidating, but it’s actually awesome!

Workout – all exercises are done 3 sets, 6-10 reps (which is an all out effort) because I hm trying to build mass in my lower body. This exercise really emphasized glutes and hamstrings because I need to bring up my posterior chain. My quads are already pretty large and defined, so I don’t focus on them as much. If you want to improve you quads, swap the hamstring curls for leg extensions and do a front squat instead of a back squat (bar on chest and shoulders instead of back).

Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Stiff leg deadlifts 155 lbs/10 reps 165 lbs/8 reps 185 lbs/6 reps
Deadlifts * 185 lbs/8 reps 185 lbs/8 reps 205 lbs/6 reps (PR)
Normal stance (slightly wider than shoulder width) back squats ** 135 lbs/8 reps 135 lbs/6 reps 135 lbs/7 reps
Leg press – narrow stance (feet almost touching) 165 lbs/10 reps 180 lbs/10 reps 195 lbs/10 reps
Single leg hamstring curl machine 55 lbs/10 reps each leg 55 lbs/10 reps each leg 55 lbs/10 reps each leg + pulse until failure
Back extensions no weight/15 reps no weight/15 reps no weight/15 reps with twist at the top
Narrow stance

This is a narrow foot stance

* Please go here and look at the form, deadlifts are an extremely common cause of back injury. Start light and when you get the form down, increase the weight

** After deadlifts, squats are really hard so decrease you normal weight and remember to keep the form tight because our lower back will already be tired and more susceptible to injury

Stretch – make sure you hamstrings, glutes and quads are fully stretched out after this workout, because I guarantee you will feel it the next day… and the one after that!

Push Day (Chest, triceps, and shoulders)

Warm up – 5 mins on the elliptical, focus on using your arms to push the handles forwards to warm up the push muscles

Workout – because my triceps are already very well-developed thanks to genetics and my chest has a reasonable amount of size, push days are usually higher rep and lower weight for me. If you feel that you triceps and chest need more size, modify the rep range to 6-10 and keep the weight as heavy as possible. Always start with the muscle that you want to develop the most, so you hit it when you have the most strength to give. For me that is my shoulders.

Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Lateral Deltoid Raises 12.5 lbs/12 reps 15 lbs/10 reps 15 lbs/10 reps
Shoulder width push ups body weight/15 reps body weight/15 reps body weight/15 reps
Parallel bar dips * body weight/10 reps body weight/8 reps body weight/8 reps
Arnold press (bicep curl into military press with dumbbells) 15 lbs/10 reps 15 lbs/10 reps 20 lbs/8 reps
Pec flye machine 80 lbs/10 reps 80 lbs/10 reps 80 lbs/10 reps
Front deltoid raises 12.5 lbs/12 reps 15 lbs/10 reps 15 lbs/8 reps
Roman Chair leg raises body weight/10 reps body weight/10 reps body weight/10 reps
Crunches on a swiss ball body weight/15 reps body weight/15 reps body weight/15 reps
Fudge

Awesome fudge that I made last weekend. I’ll share the recipe eventually. FYI this is not in any way healthified. I apologize.

* Go here for the form. This is an advanced move and can be modified into bench dips like this

Cardio – 30 minutes on elliptical machine at moderate intensity

Stretch – full body stretch with a focus on stretching chest, triceps, abs, neck and shoulders.

Oh and then go make fudge, because, you know, bulking and stuff!

If anyone gives these a go let me know how it went… and don’t hate me if you can’t walk after the leg workout!

Workouts, Brownies and Wild Caught Fish

Yesterday I got back in the gym! Yay! I did a super simple workout as follows:

High Glutes and Running

My standard interval run which is:

2 minute warm up

Then 4 rounds of: 1 minutes walk (4.0 mph), 1 min jog (5.0 – 5.5 mph), 1 min run (6.0-70 mph) and 1 min sprint (7.0 – 9.0 mph)

2 minute cool down

Then 5 x 5 squats (that’s 5 sets of 5 reps) with 155 lbs and a slightly wider than shoulders stance. I also put some weight plates under my heels to help my form. Ladies, we have different anatomy than men, if you aren’t getting low enough in your squats without arching your back… do these things:

1 – put something small under you heels to elevate them (about ½ – 1 inch)

2 – widen your stance a bit

3 – angle your toes SLIGHTLY outwards

Then 3 sets of 24 walking lunges holding a 10 pound plate in one hand and switching after 12 steps (so half the lunges per set are done with the plate on one side, then half are done on the other side)

Then 2 sets of 20 glute bridges alternating the leg in the air and ending with some pulses to really burn the glutes out at the end.

Stretch those legs for a good 15 minutes!

Moving on, as I mentioned yesterday, I made Chocolate Covered Katie’s Black Bean Brownies last night because they looked delicious and they are gluten-free 🙂 I had also bought some ice cream, and brownies and ice cream is a winning combo.

So here is the recipe as I made it:

Ingredients:

Everything in my new food procesor!

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder ( like mine very intense)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp splenda brown sugar blend for a little extra sweetness
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Optional toppings that I used:
    • 2 squares 85% lindt dark chocolate broken up on top
    • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
    • 1 tbsp white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F

    In the oven with half coconut sprinkles

  • Put everything except the toppings in a food processor and blend until smooth (ish)
  • Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 9 pan or a cake pan and put toppings on
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Let cool (otherwise they crumble a little as I found out in my impatience) and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream.

Nutritional Info (for 1 slice if cut into 8 pieces without the toppings): Cals – 137     Carbs – 19 g     Fats – 6 g    Protein – 3 g

These were deliciously fudgey (which is SO a word wordpress) and this was verified by non-dieting people at work who tried them, including a very straight forward woman who has no qualms about being slightly offensive. She was very skeptical about them, tried it and announced that she liked it and that the other lady there should try it. Win!

Finished product alongside Haagen Dazs brownie and cookie dough ice cream

I also did a HUGE grocery shop last night and restocked my kitchen with things I haven’t had in ages, like the makings of guacamole, Tostito chips, curry sauces and coconut milk, fatty cuts of meat, brie and goat cheeses and the aforementioned ice cream! I have since regretted this because I have sooooo many things tempting me and I have gone a little lot overboard on the treating myself front. On which note I am really going to try to eat fewer things in the coming days.

I also have found an awesome person as the fish counter. He really seems to care about the quality of what he is selling you. He recommends wild caught fish and tries to point out the best deals. Particular favourites of his (and mine) are red snapper and monkfish which are far cheaper than wild caught salmon. I love wild caught salmon, and won’t buy the farmed stuff, but it is crazy expensive. The fish monger (how often do you get to use that word?) also told me that if I HAVE to buy farmed fish (for unknown reasons) that the tail portion is the best portion to get because 1 – it is the newest flesh as it is constantly growing and 2 – it is the muscle doing the work and will therefore have the most blood flow and lowest levels of toxicity. Good to know!

I bought a portion of both monkfish and red snapper and decided on the monkfish for dinner. If you haven’t heard of it, monkfish is sometimes referred to as “poor man’s lobster” because it has a similar texture and that almost sweet taste. Now do not go into this expecting lobster, because it is NOT lobster, but it is sort of half way there and half way to tilapia or other white fish. I personally love the flavor of monkfish and so I don’t dress it up too much. I would hesitate to even call it a recipe.

All I did was heat about 1-2 tbsp of butter in a skillet and sautee some garlic, when the garlic was nice and golden and the pan was hot I placed the fish in the pan and pan fried it on all sides for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, I just go by texture and warm fuzzy feelings about when things are done. It comes from being in a kitchen at a very young age… thanks mom and dad!

I also sautéed up some asparagus and zucchini because apparently I didn’t get my fill of asparagus during peak weak. Lol.

What kinds of fish do you like? Do you pay attention to farmed vs. wild?

Friday Workout Recap

I have 1 week to show day!!!! (I don’t count the day of the show). OMG! I thought some of you might want to know what my workouts have been like leading up to this final phase and what workouts I have planned for the last week of prep.

Firstly, I’ll give you a status update on how I am doing. I’m tired. Like bone weary exhaustion. I actually slept for 9 hours last night and woke up just wanting more sleep. I’m pretty sure this is because I am working my body super hard and not giving it enough food to rebuild itself. Your body works much more effectively at rebuilding when you are asleep so if I’m not giving it food, it wants more sleep. Fair trade, but I don’t have time to sleep more!!!

Sleep is oh so important to losing weight because…

  • as I mentioned above, your body is much better at rebuilding when you sleep.
  • It also reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and too much cortisol causes your body to hold on to fat deposits because in times of stress you might need that fat! Evolution hasn’t caught up to the fact that my stress is from sitting at a desk all day, not because winter is coming (which I can’t say without feeling like a Stark!).
  • Not getting enough sleep decreases you insulin sensitivity too which means your body will release more insulin and insulin causes fat storage.
  • Not sleeping enough also decreases your overall feelings of energy and when you are in a slump you crave sugary things that will give you a quick boost to your energy… and then crash again… wash, rinse, repeat, gain weight!

This is not a comprehensive list and really only covers the weight side-effects of not getting enough sleep, but clearly sleep is a much overlooked factor in weight-loss and health.

Secondly, my legs are sore… all the time. I am not training my legs specifically any more than I normally would which is 1-2 times per week. What I am doing is a lot of tight squeezes on the stair master (which works legs), a lot of total body conditioning like burpees, squat jumps, cross-body cable pulls, and kettlebell swings (which work the legs), a lot of HIIT involving rowing, hills and biking on high resistance (which work the legs) and not taking rest days!

So when I do a leg day specifically, I am in pain, I then do all these other things and never give my legs a chance to fully recover and then do it all again. This makes even doing the elliptical (which let’s face it, is the easiest cardio ever) really hard. I am not so sore that I can’t walk, it’s more the kind of soreness where you are “aware” of your legs. I am walking and I know that each step requires my quads, hamstrings and butt. No normal. I would normally say ok, my body needs a break, but noooo I’m a crazy person and entered a vanity contest so I am dragging my tired legs through workouts every day this week!

Lastly, I’m foggy. My brain is not running quite at full capacity. I notice words don’t come quite as easily as they normally do. This is incredibly upsetting to me because I have a great affection for using exactly the right word in the right situation. Words like doppelganger, sesquipedalian, and assuage have been known to grace my sentences with responding eye rolls of “what are you talking about?”. Instead I find myself halting in the middle of a sentence searching for a simple word, hoping the other person knows what I am trying to say. I even full on forgot a movie I had watched the night before. I clean forgot and could not remember until I went home that night and scanned through the movies until I remembered (it was men in black 3). I dislike this side effect of dieting!

So I’m tired, I’m sore, and my brain is foggy. BUT I am still enjoying my food, I am keeping on track with my workouts, I am looking leaner (but haven’t lost scale weight… go figure) and am extremely excited to step on stage.

So keeping that in mind, here are some workouts that I have done in the past couple of days and my plan for next week. All the workouts here are doable at any level. Just change the intensity, weight, or reps to what you can do.

Wednesday – Legs

WO Name: My legs are sore but I don’t care!

Warm up – 5 minutes of running

Leg workout

  • Superset: Goodmornings and wide stance squat with 80 lb barbell across shoulders – 12 reps each exercise, rest one minute, 4 sets.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats with no weight – 15 reps each leg, rest 1 minute, 4 sets
  • Superset: Narrow stance leg press and calf raises on leg press machine with 180 lbs – 12 reps each exercise, one minute rest, 4 sets
  • Lying down hamstring curl machine with 80 lbs – 12 reps, 1 minute rest, 4 sets

Cardio: 30 minutes elliptical machine

Abs:

  • Crunches on the swiss ball – 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Roman Chair leg lifts – 12 reps, 3 sets
  • Oblique v-ups – 12 reps each side, 3 sets

Stretch: 15 minutes full body

Thursday Morning: Full body/HIIT with Max

WO Name: The BAMF bike WO plus mirror muscles

HIIT: Set a bike at an easy level (I was at level 10) and pedal for 2-3 minutes to warm up or do whatever warm up you like. Then do 20 minutes of: 1 minute at low level (10), and 1 minute at high intensity (level 20 for me). During the high intensity minutes “saddle-up” which means stand and transfer your body back and forth across the seat to push the peddles.

*** I had 2 times where I took 2 minute low level breaks because as I have mentioned, my legs are super sore. Max had originally set this at level 11 and level 22 but after the first round we reduced it because I was way too sore for that level. With enough food and normal rest in me I would have been able to do the workout as designed, but you can only do your best!

Mirror Muscles: (Chest and abs) Load a bench press bar with a weight you can do for 15 reps without breaking form but is challenging. I used 75 lbs. Place a mat to do abs on beside the bench.

Performs the Bench Press and Jackknife sit-ups as a superset for 6 sets with countdown reps as follows: 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. Rest for 1 minute in between sets and remember to keep good form throughout the whole thing.

Thursday night – Biceps and Cardio

WO Name: The gun show

Cardio: 45 minute incline walk alternating randomly between a 5% incline and 10% incline at 3.8-4.0 mph. (I would normally stay at a high inline and at 4.0 mph, but my hamstrings and butt could not take it)

Biceps (to finish off the stereotypical mirror muscles):

  • Suppinated DB bicep curls – 15 lbs dumbbells, 15 reps, 1 minute rest, 3 sets
  • Alternating hammer curls with hand near the body (to do this, hold the DB perpendicular to the ground and your arm at a 90 degree angle with your forearm near your stomach instead of at your side, them lift the weight close to your body up to your shoulder and follow the same path down) – 15 lbs dumbbells, 15 reps each arm, 1 minute rest, 3 sets
  • Weight plate pronated curls (hold a weight plate at 11 and 1 o’clock like a steering wheel and go through a full curl range of motion without discomfort) – 25 lbs weight plate, 12 reps, 1 minute rest, 3 sets

Stretch – 10 minutes

Now you are all caught up on what I have been doing and I will give you my plan for the next week:

Today/Friday:  60 minutes on the Stairmaster + Shoulders and abs

Saturday: Posing practice + 30 minute interval run + Back workout + lots of walking around (with the BF)

Sunday: 45 minute elliptical + Heavy leg workout (last leg workout before competition) (with the BF)

Monday: 60 minutes on the Stairmaster + Chest, triceps, shoulders and abs

Tuesday: Morning – Full body workout with Max, Evening – 45 minute elliptical + Back and Biceps

Wednesday: Depletion workout (full body high reps with 1 -2 sets for each muscle group) + 60 minutes on the Stairmaster

Thursday: (maybe) 45 minute of incline walking + hot yoga to sweat out some water

Friday: REST

Saturday: UFE Halloween Mayhem!

Since today’s post is all about the workouts, my next post will be all about the food in the upcoming week since, you know, 80% of how you look is diet 😉