Sunday, February 28, 2010


My last workout on Thursday pretty much kicked my butt. It left me very sore and a little immobile. I had planned on doing arms the next day, didn't happen. I was still just sore and kind of miffed about it. It didn't bother me so much because I was scheduled for a 2 day rest anyway, and that's what I took.

But I was back at it again this morning. I did legs again and arms too. I didn't like it. I mean, I like the new routine OK but I don't like doing arms and legs the same day, it's just too much. I didn't' time myself but I'm guessing it probably took me an hour. I was just wiped by the end. My last arm exercises probably suffered because of it. Doing 3 sets of each exercise is SO time consuming and draining. I really prefer my old way of one heavy set to failure and your done!

BUT, the whole point of this was that I needed a change due to the plateau. The question I am faced with now is, am I going to continue going every other day with arms and legs or am I going to figure something else out.

The bad thing (for me) about doing the every other day is that I really like my rest days in between workouts. It really works well into my life. So if I can just get over that, if I can live with only 1 rest day a week, then it will work. I don't know, I tend to over analyze everything.

So, I pretty much did the same legs workout as last time, with the 3 sets of 10, dropping the weight each time, but I added arms too.

side lat raise 12lbs, 10lbs, 8lbs
chest press 50lbs, 40lbs, 30lbs
bicep curls 17lbs, 15lbs, 12lbs (each arm)
row 50lbs, 40lbs, 30lbs

I am wondering, is this enough to add muscle mass? I know that I have read adding sets and using lighter weight does NOT add muscle. If that is the case...HELP! I need advice. I wish I had someone to ask these questions!

Well, wonder how I will feel tomorrow?

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Workout

I came up with a sort of split routine to try and bust out of my plateau (see last post). So, yesterday was LEGS day. I punished them. I knew I would be feeling it today and WHOO BABY, I'm feeling it alright! I think I know what it feels like to be hit by a bus. Well, from the butt down anyway.

I decided to try drop sets - 3 set of 10 reps each
I started with Lunges, 60lbs, 50lbs, 40lbs.
On to Squats, 60lbs, 50lbs, 40lbs.
Lying Leg Curls (slow negatives), 50lbs, 40lbs.
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts, 60lbs, 50lbs, 40lbs.
Bridge on ball, on stool, on floor.

My legs were a bit like Jell-o...not the worst ever, but I knew it would shock my muscles a bit. I asked for it. It's always disappointing to me when I can't feel a workout so this was satisfying.

The plan is to do arms and shoulders today. Actually, I still would like to get 3 workouts in per week of each muscle group, which means I will group together arms, shoulders, chest and back. I've got 5 exercises planned for that group today. The ones I think are important.

I'm still not sure if I want to incorporate a "heavy lift" day in every once in a while. I probably will just to make sure I'm not losing any ground. Maybe I'm completely crazy, maybe I have no idea what I'm really doing. But gosh darn it, I'm trying! I'm trying SO HARD!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Well, I knew it was inevitable, I have officially hit a plateau. What that means (if you don't already know) is that I am not really progressing anymore in my strength gains and in some cases I find myself even going backwards. To give an example, I seemed to have been stuck on 35lb bicep curls for a long time but FINALLY powered thru on a really good day, got all ten reps and moved on up to 40lbs....where I am perpetually stuck. Usually getting 3-5 reps, or more if I use the rest-pause method (which is how I was able to get past 35lbs). Anyway, I used the rest-pause to get up to seven reps but without doing that, I could only get 4. Then the next workout, I could only get 3. Are you kidding me? I'm actually going backwards here??? SO NOT FAIR!!

But you know what? I'm not going to get frustrated. I am NOT going to get all pouty and whiny about it and sit on the floor in my workout clothes and just cry. (not anymore) I'm going to use the fact that I've plateaued in a positive way. Here's how:

Our bodies are efficient machines. They adapt to stress very quickly. Once you have adapted to a workout, you stop making progress with it as your body becomes used to the same old moves. A plateau is just an alarm, so to speak, a mechanism your body has to let you know "hey, I'm bored here! Let's move on to something else, change it up a bit!". So I'm going to look at hitting a plateau as a good thing, at least my body is telling me it's time to change. It's giving me the opportunity to break the monotony and implement something new, to prevent bordem, and to take my gains to new heights.

So that's what I'm going to do, starting with my next workout. I can change it up many ways: I can either change exercise moves, I can change number of reps and/or sets, I can incorporate super sets or drops's all about getting creative. And having fun!

And here is my workout from last night:

Squats - 100lbs (wasn't feeling very strong, could barely get started but once in a groove I was able to get 8, although I'm pretty sure I didn't go as low as I should have.
Leg curl - 40lbs
Stiff-Legged Deadlift - 75lbs
BB Incline Press 50lbs
BB Row 50lbs
BB Shoulder Press 45lbs
BB Bicep Curl 40lbs
Skull Crushers
Abs - crunches, hip lifts, bicycle

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I met a goal!

Here is my last workout (Sunday Feb. 21, 2010)

First of all let me say that I have met a personal goal - deadlifting 100lbs 10 times! I will have to set a new goal for myself (and probably buy another set of weight plates soon)!

Squats - 95lbs
Lunges - should have done 70lbs but only did 1 set at 30lbs
Romanian Deadlifts - 100lbs
BB Bench Press - 60lbs
BB Row - 60lbs
BB Shoulder Press - 45lbs
BB Bicep Curl - 40lbs
BB Lying Tricep Extension - 30lbs

What if I didn't lift weights??

I was thinking about this last night before drifting off to sleep. It's a logical question to be asking myself. A lot of the time I find myself wondering WHY I do this, why is lifting become SO important to me? Why is it so important to me to eat healthy food. What is the REAL honest to God answer? And could I be happy if I didn't do it?

What if I were to give it up and not be fanatical fitness? I could eat cake whenever I wanted, drink more wine, eat more pizza. But I don't think it would make me happy. I've tried it. I feel immensely guilty when I indulge too much, when I act like I don't give a crap.

Because I do care. I care about taking care of my body. I care about setting a good example for my kids. I care about enjoying myself as I age instead of dealing with health issues (that can be avoided).

I love cake, and french fries, and greasy cheeseburgers and pizza. But is it worth eating it ALL the time without regard to my health? Is the 15 minutes of pleasure I get from eating these things worth it, if the rest of the day I feel guilty and sluggish and horrible? The answer is NO! I can still enjoy wonderful tasting food, healthy food doesn't have to mean tasteless! And I can have a cheat meal now and then. We all could benefit from moderation.

The truth is, it has become so ingrained into my life, it's become habit to eat healthfully and to exercise my body. Not only do I know that it is good for me, but I ENJOY it! I enjoy seeing my strength increase, I enjoy watching my body change, I enjoy knowing that the food I put into my mouth will decrease my chances of getting certain disease and illness.

I am healthy and proud!

I try to spread the passion and excitement I feel for taking care of myself and my family. Most of the time, I probably just annoy people with it. But if I can inspire just one person, make a difference to someone, it's worth it. Yeah, I've heard the phrase "Eat right, exercise, die anyway" but that's just the wrong attitude to have, in my opinion. That's the lazy pessimist view. You only get one body, one chance at life. It's a gift. We should all do the best with what we've been given. Plus, we have a responsibility to our children, to make sure they know what's going to make their body (and by extension, their lives) thrive.

I'm no better than the next person. If you choose to live your life without the joy of exercise, that's your journey, your choice. But if you feel like your life is missing something, if you aren't completely happy, if you want to feel great, look great, and boost your mood naturally (and by extension, make everyone around you happy too)....pick up a dumbbell! Give it a try! It might just be the best thing you ever did!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sometimes I don't feel strong...

In the last post, I felt strong. I banged out 10 squats EASILY with 90lbs resting on my shoulder blades. I am close to my goal, very close! At the next workout, I barely (and by barely I mean, my legs almost didn't straighten me up to standing) made 8 reps with only 5 more pounds (95lbs). What up wit dat?

Was I just not feeling it that day? Did I not eat enough to power me thru the workout? Did I not sleep enough? I am constantly trying to troubleshoot EVERYTHING. Well, whatever. Here's the rest of my workout that was on Thursday the 18th of February:

Squats 95lbs 8 reps
Leg Curl 40 lbs 8 reps - this is pretty easy but I am really moving the weight slow and concentrating on absolute PERFECT form so that I'm ONLY using my hamstrings to lift this weight.
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 75lbs 8 reps - could have done 10 but don't want to push the stiffs too fast
BB Incline Press 50lbs - needed to be 7, got 8
BB Row 60lbs - needed to beat 8, got 9...but DANG, gettin hard
BB Shoulder Press 45lbs - went up from 40lbs last week, got 4...yikes
BB Bicep Curl 40lbs - needed to beat 7, could only get 4....????? Depressing when that happens
BB Lying Tricep Extension 30lbs - needed to beat 6, got 7. Now this in my opinion, is one odd exercise. You lay on the floor holding the barbell straight up. Then, you slowly bend at the elbows while keeping the rest of your arm straight up, bringing the bar to your forehead. Then push back up again. It is a fun exercise, I like it. But it feels so odd and unnatural. Plus I have this stupid elbow injury, a fracture many years ago that leaves me favoring it still today. I hate injuries.
Calf Raises - Oops! I forgot these puppies.
Abs - boring old crunches with a 25lb weight plate, hip lifts and bicycle.

On a side note, I have noticed the muscle in my arms getting bigger! Not by leaps and bounds, but by tiny woman standards. It's an improvement, one that I am immensely proud of, even though my husband is less than impressed. I don't let that bother me though, just as long as he keeps spotting me until I get a squat rack ;)

Seriously though, the muscle growth in my arms is super exciting to me because do you know what that means??? It means that if the muscles in my arms are getting visibly bigger, it must mean that the same thing is happening to my legs!! And THAT, my friends, is the WHOLE REASON for my incredibly powerful addiction to weight lifting!!

And, on a side side note, talking about my husband being less than impressed with this whole thing involving me weight lifting; besides the fact that he is constantly afraid that I will put a crack in the foundation of our basement (if I should ever drop 100lbs while failing to bring my squat back up)...thaaaaat's right, he's more afraid of that than me hurting MYSELF, I don't think he's into muscular woman. (pretty sure that was a big run on sentence but I care not)

And the funny thing about that is he is one of the biggest reasons I am doing this. Aside from my fascination with being as fit as possible and building up my leg muscles to make the appearance of less jiggle and flab, I want HIM to be impressed by the way I look. I want him to be proud to have me as a wife. I want him to be happy too. And I know he already is. He constantly tells me. He wouldn't care if I gave up weightlifting and used lifting chocolate to my mouth as a workout (with him) most nights a week.

I showed him a picture of a woman (a friend of mine on who battled with anorexia most of her life but started weightlifting and is now one of the best bodies (I think) on the whole site. She is tiny yet muscular and beautiful. I showed him this because he thinks woman can't build muscle. I've tried to explain that sure, they can't build muscle like a man but it IS possible to add muscle mass. So, I showed him her pictures and all he said was "That's a bit too muscular for my taste". But she is one of my motivators because if she can look the way she does (and believe me, it's amazing), if she can go from skin and bones to muscle, I can build muscle too. Getting back to my hubs, I know, I know, he likes the soft feminine contours of the female body. I don't plan on losing that, just firming up. And the only way (THE ONLY WAY) I will ever do that is to build muscle. Period.

But then again, I might find it so empowering, so exhilarating, I won't want to stop there! It is SUCH a powerful trip to see and feel yourself improving. I feel powerful, I feel successful, I feel extraordinary. And THAT is what I want to be....

EXTRA ordinary. Because anyone can be ordinary.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Getting close to a goal!

I haven't posted my last two workouts so here they are:

squats 85lbs
leg curl 37.5lbs
stiff-legged deadlifts 70lbs
bb incline press 50lbs
bb row 60lbs
bb shoulder press 40lbs
bb bicep curl 40lbs
bb lying tricep ext. 25lbs
calf raises
abs - crunches 25lbs, hip lifts, bicycle

squats 90lbs (10 pounds away from my goal of 10 reps @ 100lbs! Happened a lot sooner than I anticipated)
lunges 65lbs
romanian deadlifts 100lbs (got to my goal weight of 100lbs, now to get all 10 reps - made 6 so far)
bb bench press 55lbs
bb shoulder press 40lbs (these are so dang hard for me - my right shoulder gives me problems...but I managed to get all 10. I did 7, rested about 10 seconds, then did 2 more, rested about 10 seconds and then did the last one - barely!) Wonder if I should stay at 40lbs until I can crank out all 10 at once????
bb bicep curl 40lbs (had to beat my last rep count of 6, but I could only get 5 out at once, then had to rest like on shoulders, before I could get the last two - barely!) Wondering what's up...plateau?? Not eating enough calories to make my muscles grow?? The hubs thinks it's not possible for my muscles to grow since I'm a woman. I say, of course it's possible! Just not to the same extent that a man can!
bb lying tricep ext. 30lbs
donkey calf raises (hanna)
ab side bends 30lbs

I'm getting more and more nervous as I am increasing in weight. I feel like I am at a point where, my gains are going to be VERY slow. That's OK with me, even if it's just ONE rep more at each workout. But when I can't get that one more rep without a rest, it gets me to wonder, what should I do?? Especially when it comes to my arms. I need to research a little more about that I guess.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

love of weight training

Workout A - Tuesday, February 9Th 2010

My workouts got a little screwed up somehow the past week. I left out an exercise on my last workout I think. Anyway, no big deal. Let's get to the moves.

Squats 80lbs - did 8, I'm on my way to my goal! (which, incidentally, is 8 reps at 100lbs. That will be one sweet day!
Leg Curl 55lbs - did 9 but was guilty the whole time. I noticed that my hips move up off the bench as I'm curling up (which, you probably know, is not correct form). So, I took the hit and lowered the weight. I figured 35lbs was a good place to start. I pounded out 10 reps, with nice slow controlled movement while concentrating on keeping my hips planted firmly on the bench. If I felt my butt raising a little, I slowed it down and concentrated EVEN MORE, to ensure I was only using my hamstrings to lift this weight.
Stiff-legged Deadlift 65lbs - My hams are tight so I did a warm up set with 15lb dumbbells first. The 65lbs was easy of course, but I'm really careful, I don't need an injury!
BB Incline Press 45lbs - this is one I was supposed to do last week. Did all 10.
BB Row 55lbs - got 8, finally I'm at a weight that is getting difficult!
BB Shoulder Press 40lbs - these are still so hard for me. But I continue to inch along every time I workout, getting that one or two more reps. I'm up to 7 now.
BB Bicep Curl 35lb - another hard one for me. Been at 35lbs for a long time. Going at it slow, pushing one more rep every time WITH CORRECT FORM! Got 9 (I remember it wasn't long ago I was pushing to get at 9-10reps using momentum and arching my back - BAD! Now I am doing it the RIGHT way and getting up there in reps!)
BB Lying Tricep Extension 20lbs - these were hurting my elbow a bit, but I widened my grip a bit and THEN I could do them better, really felt it in the triceps this time! Got all 10.
BB Calf Raises 65lbs - calf exercises are easy. Got 20
Abs - 25lb weighted crunches, hip lifts & bicycle

Actually, this was supposed to be a rest day. I was scheduled to do this workout Monday but I had a killer headache so I postponed it. I noticed I was yawning a bit in the beginning of the workout. But I powered thru it anyway.

Monday, February 8, 2010

missed workout

Tonight was supposed to be a weight training workout but because I've been battling a monster headache all day, I've decided to just call it a rest and recovery day. Of course I'm disappointed since it's the first workout I've had to postpone in over 3 weeks BUT, you have to expect the unexpected. That's life after all :) I will make it up tomorrow night. Just hoping I don't still have this headache tomorrow.

Take care and good night.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday 2/6/10


Squats 75lbs - got all 10 here, will move up to 80lbs
Lunges 60lbs - got 5 each leg
Romanian Deadlifts 95lbs - got 8 YESSSSSS!!!!
BB Bench Press 50lbs - got 10, moving up to 55lbs
BB Row 50lbs - got 10, moving up to 55lbs
BB Shoulder Press 40lbs - beat my last rep count by 2!!
BB Bicep Curl 35lbs - beat my last rep count by 3!!
Lying Tricep Extensions 20lbs - despite shaking like crazy, I beat my last rep count by 3!!
BB Calf Raises 60lbs - got an easy twenty, moving up to 70lbs
Abs - side bends at 25lbs - got an easy 10 each side

I really kicked butt tonight. I get so worried sometimes at how hard a workout is and wonder if it's possible that I will be able to get even one more rep next time. But I surpassed just one extra rep on every exercise. I ended up pounding out 2-3 MORE on each one! I think it was because I was really into a mental zone, concentrating hard and telling my body before each lift that it WILL lift this weight to such and such a rep and BAM!

I have been practicing "mind exercises" as well and it's really paying off!

I haven't been listing my food log at all these days. Probably due to the fact that since I'm not "dieting" or trying to cut back on any one particular thing, eating right just comes a lot easier. I have been trying to stick to the same foods every day though, just to make it easier. The only thing I need to improve on is getting my veggies in. I'm basically eating carbs and protein but omitting the veggies. That needs improvement. I found a formula that really keeps me energized and satisfied all day long so I'll keep on it until I get sick of it. Here it is:

Breakfast: Egg white, turkey sausage, cheese, english muffin sandwich (Jimmy Dean LIGHT - 260 calories)

Snack: plain oatmeal with cinnamon and stevia to taste and ground flax seed and wheat germ added for health

Lunch: 2 slices 100% whole wheat natural bread, with natural peanut butter and jelly

Snack: FiberOne cereal, skim milk

Dinner: This is what changes every day. Obviously I can't feed the family the same thing day after day! But it's always healthy, fajitas, low fat chili with lots of legumes, salmon, chicken, etc. I find some of the best recipes from the following books:

The Abs Diet
Eat Up, Slim Down
YOU on a Diet
Flip the Switch

And because of the way I've kept myself full of fiber and protein during the day, I am only hungry enough at night for one small serving of dinner! Big servings and seconds were always my weakness before. But now, I even can keep spaghetti to a 1 cup serving! And then if it's a non-workout day I'll have a slow digesting protein before bed (like cottage cheese) and if it's a workout day, (I do weights in the evening so Andreas can be my spotter with squats) I have a protein shake or a protein bar.

I haven't even felt the URGE to cheat the past couple weeks. It's weird! Even if the whole family is porking down chocolate and donuts, I don't bat an eye! I have an 80% cocao chocolate bar in the cupboard if I need something with my after dinner coffee (and it's full of antioxidants so bonus bonus!)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday 2/4/10

Workout A - (modified a bit)

Squats 75lbs
(skipped extensions today - I read yesterday that this is an exercise that can cause injury? And since I'm so paranoid of injuring myself, especially my knees, I decided that I could build my quads just fine with squats)
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts - decided to give these a whirl. I usually do Romanian Deadlifts, where the knees are bent, simply because I have tight hams. But, I did a good warm up set with light weight and them attempted them. I used 60lbs for my "actual" set and it was doable. I do really need to work on stretching EVERY day so that I'm not so tight. Anyway, the reason for the change was that I read (again with the reading LOL) stiff deads build the hamstrings better. Plus, I'm getting up to some pretty heavy weight on Romanians and I was starting to get worried (again with the worrying LOL) about sacrificing form. Slow and steady wins the race!
BB Bench Press 50lbs (seriously, I canNOT believe I'm benching 50 pounds! Remember...I'm fairly little)
No chest flyes either, sticking with bread and butter moves.
BB Row 50lbs
BB Shoulder Press 40lbs - this is where I'm a wuss, could only do 4
BB Bicep Curl - didn't move the weight up to 40 even though I got 10 reps out of 35lbs last time. See, the thing is, to get all ten reps, I had to go fast and furious, arching my back to get those last few reps up. And in those cases, where form was sacrificed, it doesn't count. I read that it is easy to over train biceps so you should build up the weight slowly and gradually, or you will see very limited gains in size and strength. The frustrating thing is that it seems as though I've been hovering around 30-35lbs FOREVER! Seriously, before I got a weight bench I was using 15 pound dumbbells for my curls. Granted, I was easily getting all 10 reps, it seems like pushing it higher isn't producing gains in strength. Maybe my biceps have plateaued. In that case, I better come up with a plan for those little buggers!!
Lying Tricep Extensions 20lbs - this is different from my original workout also. I read that these are great for building triceps (which are the biggest muscle in the arm). It reminds me of skull crushers except with the bar instead of dumbbells. Same principal of keeping elbows up straight and bringing the weight to the forehead. These are TOUGH! Could only get 5 (with shaking arms). I attempted a 6th but had to drop the weight behind my head.
Donkey calf raises - with Eden on my back, she's a bit light though. Maybe I'll try with Hanna next time. She almost weighs as much as me now, I'm only 15 pounds heavier! And she's 12! Told you I was little! Hence, the weight lifting. Hoping it will help. I want to gain muscle though, NOT FAT!
Abs - crunch 25lb plate, lower ab leg lift, bicycle

And that is the "new" workout. I'm sticking to what should be the "bread and butter" of a workout. Compound movements (and yes, I know I have some isolation in there too).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday & Wednesday

Rest days from weights. But I did do some interval training (HIIT) - which is 20 minutes on the treadmill, alternating between high and low intensity. And, in addition to the HIIT, I did a butt blaster (Wednesday). It's a series of 4 moves which are supposed to build a nice round butt ;) just twice a week. Not sure the point at which you are supposed to notice a difference tho...3 months maybe?? Anyway, I did 3 sets of each exercise and 8 reps of each.

I just felt the need to get some cardio in. It really felt wonderful, to tell you the truth. I couldn't help but smile the whole time I was doing it. I LOVE the way exercising can just lift your mood from good to GREAT!

So far I have successfully completed 2 solid weeks of training. I haven't noticed any gains in muscle size necessarily, but that will come eventually. I just hope I'm eating enough! I always worry that I'm not eating enough to fuel my muscles but when I do eat more (clean food, mind you) I'm worried I'm eating too much and will gain fat!!! It's such a double edged sword, this eating thing!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monday 2/1/10

Workout B

Lunges 60lbs
Extensions 95lbs
Deadlifts 90lbs
Leg Curl 55lbs
BB Incline Press 45lbs
BB Row 45lbs
DB Pullover 2-12lb dbs
BB Shoulder Press 35lbs
BB Bicep Curl 35lbs
Skull Crushers 2-12lb dbs
Abs-Side Bends 20lbs

OK, two full workout weeks done already! Wow, that went fast! Now I get to look forward to 2 days of rest before I hit it hard again on Thursday.