Getting used to morning workouts and WIAW

So I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures of the food I eat on Tuesdays. Yesterday was a little odd and I was super (like extra super) hungry and ended up “snacking” aka mowing down on like half  bag of tostitos and delicious salsa. Really not the most horrible of cheats since (1) they are gluten-free and (2) it was probably still only like 500 calories and I had a few calories to play with since I aiming for between 1800 and 2000 cals per day. Nonetheless a sweet potato would probably have been the better option.

So no pictures for What I Ate Wednesday, but this is the breakdown anyways:

Breakfast (pre-workout) – 1/2 c. non fat greek yogurt, 1/2 c. raspberries and 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds all mixed up

PWO snack – Chocolate protein shake mixed with a doppio espresso (seriously love this… like a cold mocha after a workout) plus 2 rice cakes and a tbsp of peanut butter… I followed this up with my 1 oz of pecan that was supposed to be for the afternoon because I was starving for some reason

Protein mocha yumminess

Protein mocha yumminess

Lunch – 6 oz of organic pork chop and 1 cup snap peas sauteed in butter

Afternoon Snack – 1 measly orange because I already ate my pecans 😦

Dinner – A small chicken leg (thigh and drumstick) with skin on and 1 cup broccoli

TV snack – 3-4 servings of tostitos with amount 1/2 c of salsa

And even with the TV snacking terribleness I came to:

Calories – 2117              Carbs – 162                  Fats – 93               Protein – 162

I woke up this morning and my arms looked so puffy from the late night carbs. Apparently I was a little depleted!

Speaking of mornings… I’ve been keeping up with my morning workouts for 2 weeks now and I think my body is finally adjusting. Today was the first morning I had energy, and boy did I need it! I did this workout with my best friend and both of us had shaky knees by the end… and because gym people are smart (not) they put all the leg equipment on the 3rd floor… genius!

Morning Leg Workout

All exercises were done with 3 sets and 8-12 reps

5 minute warm up on the treadmill

– Jumping squats (to get that CNS firing and further warm up)

– Squat and press with an olympic bar braced in a corner and a 45 pound plate (this is actually the first time I’ve done these and I loved them, really gets the whole body, even calves, involved)

Olympic Bar Squat and Press - Strength Exercise - Step 2

– Narrow stance squats – 115 lbs, 135 lbs, and 165 lbs!

– Straight leg deadlifts – 135 lbs, 155lbs and 155lbs (my lower back was not feeling great so I listened to my body and so should you)

– Hamstring curl machine – 90 lbs for all sets

– Hamstring curls with a stability ball

– Hip thrusters – 80 pound dumbbell

– Crunches on a stability balls – 15 reps for each set

Have a great Wednesday!

Leg workouts and DOMS

I have talked about the dreaded DOMS on here before. But it’s been quite a while since I experiences DOMS that were crippling in nature.

Us fitties are always going on about how the gym makes us happy, endorphins are great and the muscle soreness is “good” right? That stuff is all true (really it is, trust me) but it’s true because our bodies have adapted to this lifestyle. Unfortunately, when you take 3 weeks off (involuntarily, I assure you) you’re body quickly unadapts.

Why? Because it hates you.

Well no, that’s not true, it’s just that it takes an awful lot of energy to maintain the ability to recover from intense activity, and your body is designed to conserve energy if it’s not needed (that’s also why we get fat!).

Squats1What happens is you don’t really lose much strength or muscle size, at least not that quickly, because your body expended a heck of a lot of energy to build that muscle, it’s not going to waste it if it can be helped. What is going to suffer is your ability to recover and your cardio.

Seriously, cardio conditioning is something you have to do ALL THE TIME otherwise it’s gone in 2 weeks. Annoying, I know.

But back to the whole recovery thing. So you (I) go into the gym after 3 weeks off and are like, ok, let’s decrease the weight a little, focus on form and get in a good solid leg workout. You get through a higher than normal rep range because of the decreased weight and your form is great. After the workout, you are tired, but feeling fabulous. Then in the afternoon you notice a slight twinge in your leg when you get up, it’s been less than 8 hours since the workout, and feeling pain already does NOT bode well. The next day you can barely move because your legs are so totaled from yesterday’s “lighter” workout and it’s now Tuesday (4 days) after the workout and your hamstring are still feeling it!

That’s what happens. It’s also what happens to a lot of first timers who go into the gym and think they are superstars because they can leg press 200 pounds no problem and then can’t walk for a week. Then they get discouraged because they are in immense amounts of pain from one workout and they are expected to do this 3 times a week?! Well we all know it’s not like that every time, but they don’t know that. So it’s definitely discouraging.

Your body learns that it has to recover quickly from these sessions because you are going to do it again in a few days. Your body gets good at recovering and next thing you know, you’ve forgotten what real DOMS feels like.

Some things that you can do to help ease the pain:

– Take a pre-workout that includes BCAAs in order to spare some of you muscle’s from breaking down during the workout

– Get your post-workout nutrition within 30 mins of exercise which should include a protein shake (not casein) and a simple carb (like fruit) and maybe some glutamine and more BCAAs for good measure (those 2 are optional but I wish I had done that)

– Warm up really well before hand without completely tiring out the muscles you are working

– Stretch well, but not excessively after the workout… stretching a little is good as it lengthens the muscle and helps flush lactic acid; stretching too much will increase the amount of tears in your already torn muscles and actually increase the pain.

– Take an Epsom salt bath, this helps flush lactic acid to and can warm up stiff muscles

Unfortunately once you have DOMS you are kind of stuck, you have to take preventative measures in order to deal with it properly.

Here is the workout that induced such pain:

Getting back into Legs

Cardio – 20 min interval run

  • Back squats – normal stance – 3 sets of 10-12 reps getting as low as possible with 115 lbs (normally 135 – 165 lbs)
  • Straight leg deadlifts – normal stance – 3 sets of 10-12 reps with 135 lbs (normally 155 – 185 lbs)
  • Bulgarian split squats holding 15 lb dumbells – 3 sets – 10 reps each leg
  • Kettlebell swings with 12 kg kb – 3 sets – 20 reps
  • Hamstring curls – 3 sets – 12 reps with 80 lbs
  • Back extension (focusing on pulling with glutes not back) – 3 sets – 15 reps – no weight

Stretch for 15 mins after

 

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 😉