New Exercises and Kick Review

This week has been great for diet and exercise and not so great for my sanity and life. I am working at a client that is about 40 minutes drive away with no traffic. Except there is always traffic and it usually takes about an hour and 45 mins to do the drive 😦 so to try to avoid that I have been going to a gym by the client. This is usually my plan when clients are far away and it works pretty well. This week I trained Legs (extremely heavy) on Tuesday, Push on Wednesday and Pull on Thursday.

In general, most of the variety in my workouts come from changing up sets or making slight variations to existing exercises, but this week I added a couple totally new exercises! I am sore EVERYWHERE as a result, but that’s good right?

New Exercise #1 – Reverse hamstring curls (solo)

I have seen variations of this done, usually with a partner sitting on your ankles, but recently I was shown how to do this solo! You kneel backwards on the seat of the lat pull down machine and hook your ankles under the knee pads. You then support yourself with a rod of some sort (I used a body bar at hand) and extend your body out flat and raise back up using your hamstrings as the primary mover and using your arms to help as needed. This website does a great job of explaining.

New Exercise #2 – Good mornings on an upside down bosu ball

This is exactly what it sounds like and was a great finisher after hitting a new PR on deadlifts (245# for 2 clean reps… whoop!). Start by getting a light-ish bar on your back (I used 50 pounds) and then step onto the flat side of the bosu ball. Make sure you are well balanced and then perform a set of goodmornings. This is a big challenge to you core and stabilizers!

Erica Willick of http://www.sisinshape.com inspired me with the row/press move in the top right.

New Exercise #3 – bent over row to hang clean to overhead press (new favourite)

This was inspired by Erica Willick’s most recent spread in oxygen where she performed this move with a weight plate and skipped the hang clean. I used a 50 pound bar instead of a plate and performed an overhand grip (pronated) bent over row, then stood with the bar in a hang position and cleaned to my shoulders, then performed an overhead press (near the end there was a mini squat involved to help get the bar up). I absolutely loved this chain. I did 4 sets of 8 reps and my whole upper body was feeling it. Be really careful to watch your form throughout though!

So those were my forays into new exercises this week, but I also promised you all a review of Kick by Revolution Nutrition.

In short – I loved it. But let’s get real, it’s mostly a boat load of caffeine (200 mg or equivalent of 2 cups of coffee) that tastes like watermelon jolly ranchers (assuming you do the smart thing and get watermelon flavour). It’s also got other (very legal) stimulants in it which are L-Tyrosine, L-Taurine and Methylphenylethylamine (of the N variety and not to be confused with alpha or beta which are both methamphetamines). This combination seems to give a nice steady build to your energy and in my experience, did not give me jitters or that hyperactive feeling that too much coffee sometimes has. Now, I only used 1 LEVEL scoop and I drank about 1/3 of it before my workout and the rest throughout, so I don’t know how 2 scoops downed all at once pre-workout might affect someone. But I’ve used it 3 times now and I thoroughly enjoyed the effect. it’s definitely going to be part of any morning workouts I do from now on, but I don’t think I’ll use it regularly for afternoon workouts unless I’m having a real energy slump.

If you are looking to pick some up, this is their website. www.revolution-nutrition.com/our-products/kick/

Disclaimer: None of the companies have asked me to do these reviews or given me any incentive to do so, I am simply sharing my thoughts in the hopes that it helps someone else make some informed choices about the products they buy.

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!

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 😉

Trainers are all sadists!

I think it might be a requirement of the job.

Interviewer: Do you like causing people pain?

Prospective Trainer: Yes!

Interviewer: Great, you’re hired!

This is forefront in my mind because last night I had to most intense, draining, painful workout of my life! Seriously, this is not in the rotation for people looking to get fit or who are not slight masochists. Everything was supersetted, all the exercises were variations of traditional ones so they targeted muscles in ways that they aren’t normally targeted, and everything was HARD! I also made the mistake of doing a 12 minute “warm up” that involved some sprinting (note: it’s full on cardio if you end up sprinting) so my legs had already been drained a bit AND I was at the end of my second day of low carbs so I already had little to no glycogen left in my muscles. For those of you not familiar with it, glycogen is stored sugar in your muscles and is the prefered fuel for anaerobic/intense exercises and you can only store between 300 – 500 grams in your muscles at a time. Since I had a total of about 100 g of carbs over the previous 2 days AND had worked out the day before, I am guessing that I didn’t have a whole lot left for this workout.

I will call this The masochist’s leg workout and it went like this:

Superset 1: A – Stiff leg deadlifts   B – Reverse hack squats on the machine with a wide stance

Set 1 – 15 reps each            Set 2 – increase weight, 12 reps each               Set 3 – Increase weight, 12 reps each AND drop set the hack squats for a total of 45 reps

Superset 2:  A – Sumo deadlifts with narrow grip     B – Single leg hamstring curls

Set 1 – 12 reps each, plus 12 “pulses” on curls           Set 2 – increase weight, repeat set 1            Set 3 – repeat set 2 (do not increase weight)

Superset 3:  A – Backward lunges from a step (i.e. start standing on a small step and step back into a lunge) pushing through to a knee raise and squeeze glutes      B – Lunges on the smith machine with front foot far forward and pressure going through the front leg (targets the hamstrings and glutes)

Only 2 sets, both the same – 12 reps each leg, for each exercise with as little rest between as possible

 Superset 4: A – leg extensions          B – Walking half-up lunges (do a full lunge but keep your leg bent as you take the step for the next lunge to keep tension on the muscle to whole time)

Only 2 sets, both the same – leg extension “21’s” (this is where you do 7 full extensions, 7 from the bottom half way up, 7 from half way up to the top), 20 walking lunges with dumbbells if you can.

And that my friends is a KILLER workout in under 1 hour. I have never felt as drained as I did after this and I push myself pretty hard. Trainers have a way of making you go that much more and giving that last drop. I was dripping with sweat and the only superset I made it through without stopping was the first one. After that I would have to stop for a few seconds in the middle of sets because I literally could not do another one. At one point on the smith machine lunges I just sat down because my leg would not support me, took about 5 seconds rest and then kept going. There were multiple times (like 8-10) where I would stop at the bottom of a rep (i.e. mid-way through) and I actually whimpered at the end of my last set of walking lunges… the trainer laughed and said “I love my job”. Then after all that I thanked him profusely!

Who knew I could push that hard?

I also did 30 minutes on the stairmaster after chugging a protein shake with added glutamine in hopes that I would be able to walk this morning, so far so good :).

Ok so now you have the most brutal leg workout of all time… what might you eat after said workout. Obviously some steak!  Only I don’t have a barbecue, so stir fry steak it is.

Super simplified broccoli beef

Broccoli Beef

Ingredients (for 1 serving):

  • 5 oz sirloin or other lean steak cut (I had some leftover steak so I used that)
  • 1.5 cups broccoli florets cut medium or small
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion sliced into strips
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce

Directions:

  1. In a medium skillet heat oil to high heat
  2. Add onions and sautee until starting to brown (2 mins)
  3. Add broccoli and cover with a lid to stem for 2 -4 mins until bright green mixed every minute or so
  4. Add beef and cook until desired doneness
  5. Add teriyaki sauce and mix to coat evenly
  6. Serve and enjoy

Nutritional Info:   Cals – 400       Carbs – 11 g    Fats – 19 g       Protein – 46 g

This was a pretty large portion but felt just right after that leg workout. If you aren’t on a carb restricted diet, this would go great over some brown rice or quinoa.

Oh and this morning started out as a usual carb up morning does, with a fantastic new combo for oats… Raspberries and cream oats. But I think one recipe is enough for today, so you’ll have to come back tomorrow for that one 😉 If you can’t wait check out this page for recipes.