Wow, it’s been a LONG time!!

Wow, it’s been a LONG time since I posted here!!! The main reason? I found a way of eating that worked for me, every day, with success, that didn’t require me to put so much thought into it that I needed to blog about it. LCHF – Low Carb, Healthy Fat – is how I’ve been eating since August 4th of last year (2016) and it’s WORKING. I’ll write more detail about it at another time, but in the mean time here’s the thing. I’m getting married in 25 days, and I’ve fallen off the bandwagon a little bit recently with my eating. I’m certainly not ‘shredding for the wedding’, and my dress has been made to fit me like a glove so I’m not panicked, but I’d also like to give it my best shot at looking good on the day. So I’m going to use this blog as a food diary to keep myself accountable, and to stick to ‘green list’ foods only for the next three and a half weeks. It’s not hard, I’ve done it before – I just need to make sure I’m a bit more mindful about my eating. I’m not fussed with quantities, but more the types and qualities of the foods I’m consuming.

Here’s yesterday (Monday 17th April)

  • Sesame and Almond crackers (no psyllium husk or xylitol, and with parmesan added)
  • Brie cheese
  • Beef brisket; brussel sprouts and broccoli with bacon, onion, slivered almonds and butter; roast pumpkin and fetta salad (kent pumpkin)
  • Champagne
  • Orange and Almond cake with icing made of cream cheese, rind and xylitol – with cream
  • Pork belly with cauliflower, green beans and peas, pumpkin
  • Quirky Cooking’s chocolate bark
  • Lots of fresh ginger tea and some english breakfast tea (black)

Yep, it was a big eating day yesterday. It was Easter, after all.

Workout 16/05/2016

Arm day! Feeling quite strong with my arm work recently – It’s really encouraging. Feeling positive.

4 sets:

  • 10 x bent over barbell rows (25 kg, 35 kg x 3)
  • 10 x dumbbell bench press (10 kg each hand x 3, 12 kg each hand x 1)

4 sets:

  • 10 x TRX angled rows/pull-ups

Workout 16/05/2016 – my first ever hour long PT session!

So, on Saturday I did my first every hour-long personal training session (they’re normally half an hour). I also learned an important lesson. While coffee is the perfect fuel/stomach liner for a half hour session, I need more than that for an hour. Perhaps some food. At the 40 minute mark I was feeling good, and if we’d called it a day at 45 minutes or even 50 I might have walked away feeling like I had a top session. Those last 10 minutes though? They got hard. At one point I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to vomit or faint, and the frustrating thing was that I knew that it was likely just a result of not eating anything before I came to the gym. Grr!!! Anyway, it was a good one:

4 sets:

  • 10 x safety squats (45 kg, 55 kg x 3) – NB: still not sure what the weight of this bar is. I know I had 20 kg added for the first set, and 30 kg added for the rest.
  • 10 x clean and press (20 kg, 25 kg x 3) – super happy with these. I managed to do 7 reps in each set without bouncing to get the press up – I did strict presses
  • 20 x walking lunges, with wall ball carried above head (no weight, 2 kg x 3)
  • 10 x raised push-ups

3 sets:

  • 20 x raised heel (hack) squats, 2 second lower and 2 second raise (final set was normal lower and raise)
  • 10 x lat pulldowns (30 kg, 35 kg x 2)

Workout 2/05/2016

I think this was possibly the latest in the evening I’ve worked out before (6:30 pm) and that combined with having moved house across the weekend made for interesting energy levels. Still, a good workout!

3 sets:

  • 10 x Kettlebell clean and press each arm (8 kg, 10 kg, 10 kg)
  • 20 x wall ball slams (20 pound ball, so that’s… 9.07 kg)

3 sets:

  • 8 x barbell cleans (20 kg)
  • 8 x barbell presses (20 kg)
  • 8 x barbell bicep curl (20 kg)
  • 8 x dumbbell hammer curl (6 kg per hand)

Workout 27/04/2016 – a mentally challenging arm day

This arm day was challenging, both physically and mentally. Mostly mentally. My PT got me doing some new arm-based exercises that, while I’ve done similar moves before, really pushed my comfort zone in terms of seeing what my dodgy shoulders are capable of. The only reason I completed the movements and allocated sets and reps is because I completely trust my PT in terms of what he knows my body is capable of and when it’s ready to have its limits pushed, and because I completely trust his spotting.

He got me doing bench pressing today, which I’ve definitely done before, but today we really worked on technique. Turns out I’ve been starting with my arms angled back (towards my face) and bringing the weights down on an angle (towards my face), so moving the weight towards my hips more was a big adjustment. He also reduced the weight I used for my second set of reps on the dumbbell bench press, so that I could work on the technique.

The horizontal flies were a super new thing for me, and very scary from a mental perspective. PT originally handed me 4 kg weights but we dropped them back to 3 kg – if I’d been doing less reps 4 kg might have been a go-er, but not doing 24 in a row! Ultimately I needed the 3 kg to push through my sticking point at the bottom of the movement, but could have gone up a few kg for the rest of the movement.

3 sets:

  • 6 x barbell overhead presses (20 kg)
  • 12 x dumbbell side raises (4 kg each hand)
  • 24 x dumbbell overhead presses (4 kg each hand)

2 sets:

  • 6 x barbell bench press (25 kg)
  • 10 x dumbbell bench press (8 kg , 7 kg each hand)
  • 24 x horizontal flies (3 kg each hand)

Workout 22/04/2016 – leg day and a new exercise. Safety squats!

On a day that I’m still very stiff and very sore from my last arm/back/shoulder day (damn those pull-up negatives!), I hit leg day with limited enthusiasm. Luckily I really enjoyed the session, with thanks to a new barbell – the safety squat barbell. As I’ve said before, I have issues with back squats. I can’t get my weight in the right spot, I lean way too far forward, and my depth is shocking. Experimenting with front squats has helped – with those I can squat deeper and with better technique, but I have to drop the weight. Fine for technique, not so great for my legs.

The safety squat bar sits on your back, but has handles across your shoulders that you hold at the front of the body. I knew straight away we were going to be friends. With this bar I could squat deeper, with better technique, and still maintain a decent weight. In fact, I ended the session feeling that if I did a few more sessions at that weight, I’d probably be able to increase the weight pretty soon. I even feel like I might be able to squat unsupervised with this bar.

safety squat bar

I know it’s not the solution to just stop back squats all together, but it’s nice to know that I can improve my depth, technique and weight in my squat.

3 sets:

  • 10 x safety squats (30-35 kg, 40 – 45 kg x 2 sets) – we weren’t sure how much the bar weighed!
  • 20 x walking 2 pulses lunges (no weight, 10 kg each hand x 2 sets)

1 set:

  • 25 x leg extensions (25 kg)
  • 25 x hack squats (raised heel squats)

Workout 20/04/2016

Arm day! My arms are pretty much jelly right now – I’d planned on washing my hair post-workout this morning, but the jelly arms meant that definitely didn’t happen. It was one of those workouts that was ok – nothing earth shattering, didn’t feel amazing, but also didn’t feel shocking or completely break me.

4 sets:

  • 10 x cleans from hanging position (20 kg, 30 kg, 25 kg x 2)
  • 10, 10, 8, 8 x jumping negative pull-ups (final two sets being held by my trainer at the top for an increased negative)

2 sets:

  • 10 x inclined barbell press on smith machine (smith machine bar plus 15 kg)
  • 10 x standing Arnold dumbbell press (10 kg each hand)

Workout 14/04/2016 (and a new PB!!)

Leg day, and a new personal best for me on the 45 degree free-weight leg press 🙂 Neither my trainer nor I could remember whether my former PB was 190 kg or 200 kg (although we both suspected it was 190 kg), so he loaded an extra 1.25 kg on just to make sure I definitely hit a new PB. In any case, I know that previously when I hit my former PB I’d only done 6 reps at that weight – this time I did 18 across two sets. So I definitely smashed it.

45 degree free weight leg press

  • 10 x 80 kg
  • 10 x 140 kg
  • 10 x 180 kg
  • 201.25 x 8
  • 201.25 x 10

2 sets:

  • 28 x walking lunges
  • Hurt terminal push (front and back handles) (55 kg, 80 kg)

Workout 13/04/2016 – a poorly recorded arm day

Today was a bit of a fail in terms of recording what I did. I was doing (some) unfamiliar exercises, and some that I just plain struggle with with my dodgy shoulders. I was also having a ‘blurry eyes’ morning without my glasses, so I couldn’t even see which weight I was using in the first place!!! Anyway, it was a good workout – the battleropes really challenged me, and I felt them in my lower back. Which probably means they were good for me 😛

3 sets?:

  • 10 x pull-ups on pull-up machine (unsure of the weight)
  • 12 x ‘face pull’ (on a cable machine with a split rope handle at a high point, pulling down towards face. What’s that called?! Weight unknown) (I just googled it!! It’s called a face pull!!!!)
  • 10 x upright rows on cable machine (15 kg maybe?)

10 sets:

  • 20 seconds of battleropes, 40 seconds break

AMRAP:

  • Overhead tricep extensions on second lowest weight (got to 17 reps)
  • Straight into overhead tricep extensions on lowest weight (got to 12 reps)

Workout 07/04/2016 – and some musings about squats and leg press

La-la-la-la-leg day. Boy, am I copping body karma for not going to the gym for a week. Despite doing no lower body exercises on Wednesday, when I hit the gym yesterday my glutes were sore from doing the dumbbell snatches. Yesterday’s workout included what I can the ‘jelly maker’ – the 45 degree free weight leg press. I enjoy this machine so much more than the standard 45 degree leg press machine – I feel like I can get greater depth, hit better weight targets, and push myself further on this one. I’m pretty sure my PB on this machine is 190 kg at the  moment – here’s hoping I’ll break the magic 200 kg mark soon 🙂

This workout also contained barbell box squats. I was reflecting on these last night – at 45 kg, I felt like some reps were super easy and some were super hard. My form is just too inconsistent to go up in weight right now, and I find that really really frustrating. If I could get some consistency in my squats I could increase the weight, but right now I just wouldn’t trust myself to get back up from the bottom of each squat!!!

3 sets:

  • 10 x barbell box squats (40 kg, 45 kg x 2)
  • 20 x weighted alternating step ups with top leg staying on bench (10 kg each hand, 12 kg each hand x 2)

3 sets:

  • 8 x 45 degrees free weight leg press (110 kg, 140 kg, 160 kg)
  • 20 x jump squats