Working out at home

Well today was great. I started it out with a leg workout at home. Now some of you may be skeptical… I know I am of at home leg workouts, but this was pretty good. Nothing like what I would have achieved in the gym, but I definitely accomplished a good burn in the glute zone. Mission accomplished!

The pretty-darn-great at-home leg workout

The aim of these exercises is to get that butt a little higher!

The aim of these exercises is to get that butt a little higher!

I used 2 25lb dumbbells, a yoga mat and the side of a bench (feel free to use a couch or kitchen chair or whatever is handy) for equipment. I did a quick warmup of dynamic stretches and some bodyweight full squats. FYI full squats mean yous but should be almost touching the floor. AKA Grok squat , then perform 3 sets of each of the following trisets (trisets are the same as supersets but do 3 exercises back-to-back before taking rest).

Triset #1
– Squats holding dumbbells x10
– Walking lunges to the end of my hall and back which is 16 total
– Bulgarian split squats x12 each leg

Triset #2
– Single leg glute bridges x12 each leg
– Alternating “supermans” (lie on your stomach arms extended above your head and lift your opposite leg and arm as high as possible focusing on squeezing your glute) x10 each side
– Glute bridges with a 25 lb dumbbell over hips x12
Stretch and get ready for the day 🙂
On another note, I got my stage photos from my competitions and looks how awesome these are… there are a lot more which I’m putting up on my facebook page… which you should go and like!
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In the group shots that I got I could really tell what the judges were looking at… my glutes need to be higher when I’m posing and I need to push my upper body forwards more especially in the side pose. Also, it confirmed that I was more muscular than most of the girls in the group. It has reaffirmed for me that my next show should be in the figure category. I am looking at doing a show May 25th 2013 and if I qualify, doing the next level up on June 1st at the Toronto Pro Supershow… good plan? Yes I think it is!
So that is my ultimate goal right now and gives me a good timeline. I must not get fat over christmas, but I can definitely relax a little until; the new year.
Any thoughts on the plan? Anyone else doing a show in that time frame?
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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?

Girls: Lift Heavy Things!

My friend KC sent me a text today of this pic… thank you for inspiring this blog!

Before I get into the fact that girls need not be afraid of the heavy, or even light weights in the gym, let’s clear up this picture… The woman on the left is posing specifically to show off the most muscle she can, has carb loaded to bulk up her muscles, has dehydrated herself for vascularity and has just done a bunch of exercises to help swell the muscles by bringing blood to them or getting a “pump”. The girl on the right is obviously not posing to show her muscle, has more water in her and has probably just dieted down for 3 weeks (at least) to look smaller for the photo shoot. Ok, so obviously neither of these pictures represent what these women look like in their day-to-day lives.

But let’s get to the point of the picture which is that you will NOT become a she-hulk the minute you touch a 25 pound dumbbell or actually grab a plate of some sort. Not only is this ridiculous, but it’s somewhat insulting to the women who are trying to build muscle. Do you have any idea how hard it is to build muscle as a woman??? We do not have the testosterone required to build muscle. The average man has approximately 20 times the testosterone than the average woman. Testosterone is required to bulk up and some women who bodybuild will actually supplement the hormone to increase their ability to put on muscle. The woman on the right probably (not definitely) has used steroids and she is likely in the gym lifting more than the guys so don’t worry about looking like her by aiming to do one pull up!

But what about the other woman? Some girls might think that even she is too muscular (I personally think y’all are crazy but I’m sure you’re out there). She probably has about the same level of muscle as me, maybe even a tad more and I know that there are girls who don’t want to be as muscular as I am. She also has very low body fat, likely unsustainably low in the rang of 10 – 14 % which makes her muscles look harder and more defined. Addlback some fat and she will look softer and more feminine, and all that muscle underneath adds some dangerous curves! But she is also probably in the gym 4-6 days per week, she probably doesn’t do steroids, but I would bet my right arm that she uses various supplements including protein powder, BCAAs, and maybe a thermogenic. She also probably squats more than you weigh and can pump out 15 pull-ups.

So why am I blithering on about this? Because it is a lot of work to look like that and the most frustrating thing I hear women say is “I don’t want to get bulky!” You won’t! At least not by accident. You aren’t accidentally going to put on 10 pounds of muscles, trust me. You will get more toned and defined which I think most people like. But just TRY lifting heavier, do some weights, get off the treadmill, put down the 3 pound pink dumbbell and haul yourself over to the squat rack. If by some miracle you put start putting on more muscle then you want, then stop doing what you are doing, but you will have plenty of lead up to that to modify you approach.

Ok, if you are still reading you are awesome. Hopefully I have enticed you to try lifting heavier… how do you go about doing that though? Well you start with the basic movements and build a foundation. These are what I consider the basic movements:

1. The squat

2. The lunge

3. The deadlift (this is more advanced so master the first two before you attempt)

4. The push up (which you can progress to bench press or any form of press)

5. The dip (this can be done on the floor, a bench, with legs supported, bent, straight etc.)

6. The chin-up

7. The row

That’s it, now I do lots of different variations on these movements, but these will work pretty much every muscle in your body and at least every muscle group. Just in case you are curious; when I am not depleted my maximum weight for 6 repititions (or 6RM) or the maximum number of the movement I can do without rest is as follows:

  • Squat – 175 lbs
  • Lunges – 125 lbs
  • Deadlifts – 205 lbs
  • Push-up – 48 reps (as discovered while drinking in a competition at a work event)
  • Dips – 23 (based on years ago, I typically don’t do this to failure anymore)
  • Chin-ups – 12
  • Rows (Single arm bent over, AKA lawnmowers) – 40 lbs (I haven’t actually gone to failure on this either, so I’m guessing)

To choose a weight, you should be lifting something challenging that will be very hard to do your desired number of reps with… the last rep should be hard to keep proper form, but not impossible. What’s a rep? A rep is a repetition, or one complete movement of the prescribed exercise. Reps make sets, a set is completed by doing a certain number of reps continuously without rest. You can combine these is oh so many ways but here is a SUPER basic way of looking at reps and sets.

Building strength (not size) – Low reps (1-5), high sets (4-8)

Building muscle mass and size – Medium reps (8- 12), medium sets (2-5, I like to stay in the 3-4 range)

Building endurance – High reps (more than 15), low sets (1-3)

The endurance range is what most girls think they need to do using super light weights in order to “tone” and “lengthen” the muscles, well if you don’t have muscle to begin with, you aren’t going to tone very much and lengthening happens when you stretch, period. Endurance ranges are great when trying to lean down because they can become aerobic if the set is long enough and work well in circuits and to fully exhaust the muscle… if that sounds like babble to you, do the muscle building!

As another plus, I always feel wicked when I hop over to the squat rack and leave the same plates on that the guy before me was using, or put more on. It’s always gratifying to get the looks of “can she really lift that?”.

Ok rant over. Moral – lift heavy!

Drunken pirate stew

On a completely unrelated note I made the most awesome clean stew yesterday night and will share the recipe with you tomorrow. I’m calling it drunken pirate stew because I added some spiced rum to it which was delectable, if not exactly part of the diet, but shhhhh. I love cooking when the seasons change. Especially as it gets cooler and I get inspired to make comfort foods like roasts, stews and soups. Yum.

  • Getting “Toned” (paleoplan.com) – this person obviously gets asked how to “tone” a lot!

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.