Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hitting reset

This last week has been a bit rough. Motivation can be difficult to find sometimes. It's when you start to think that gets you into trouble.

Pauline (Fighter Diet) Nordin said it well in a tweet not long ago when asked what to do when you have trouble with motivation in that you "don't think. Go on autopilot" - basically, get going, get the workout done. Think later.

I would go find the tweet to get the quote completely right, but she tweets/retweets so much that it'll take ages to track down.

So, today I hit the reset button. Packed a fairly clean breakfast / lunch, I think. Salad w/ a roasted chicken breast (separate); apple, two cutie oranges, protein drink powder, greek yogurt, and a thin bagel w/ laughing cow spreadable cheese. Coffee and water to drink for the day. - sugar content is still too high, will need to adjust shopping and lunch packing to include more carrots / celery / radishes, etc. over fruit to keep the sugar/carb levels much lower.

Hit the gym this morning with a repeat of last Wednesday's workout - tried pushing it:

Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row: 2 x 12 (15 lbs); 1 x 30 (failure - also at 15 lbs)

Lat pulls: 1 x 10; 1 x 7 (100 lbs); 1 x 5 (90 lbs); 1 x 10 (80 lbs) - next time I think I'll stick with 90, so I'm not dropping down so quick.

Standing Barbell Curl: 2 x 12 (45 lbs); 1 x 11

Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl: 2 x 10 (15 lbs); 1 x 9 - this felt much better than the 12.5 I did last time. Really had to fight at the end. I got 10 with my left arm but couldn't quite get a full curl out of my right, so I didn't count it as 10 this time.

So, I felt the work in my arms for sure, especially when I had to go back to change. :)

Now, I haven't worked on legs for over a week now. According to my schedule on the 12 week program, that's going to fall on Saturday, when I'm off of work. I will need to suck it up and head into the work gym (wonder if Saturdays are as abandoned as Sundays... or does the custodial crew clean it out on Saturdays too? guess we'll find the answer to that this weekend). But, looking at it, it should be a challenging workout. Squats, I want to be your friend, but you keep me off balance.

Anyway, that's the recap for today. Back to work.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Push it better...

Changing my shirt was probably the hardest thing I've had to do today, post-workout. Hitting arms, but different parts, a second day in a row really put the burn into them.

First up was the Bench Press: 3 x 10 @ 105 pounds. Now, the way it's supposed to work is to do 10 -12 reps in the first two sets and then lift until muscle failure on the third. I struggled so much with the 10th rep on the third set that I knew the next one would fail and probably pin me to the bench. Since I'm the only one there at 4:12 AM, I knew better than to hope the cleaning lady in the women's locker room could help me. So 10 was it. Maybe next time I can get 11 out of my bench press on the last set. :)

The rest as follows:

Incline flyes: 1 x 10 @ 12.5 lbs dumbbells; 1 x 10 @ 15 lbs; 1 x 16 @ 15 lbs

Seated dumbbell press: 3 x 10 @ 15 lbs.

Dumbbell side laterals: 2 x 10 @ 10 lbs; 1 x 7 @ 10 lbs (seriously. weak. shoulders.)

Triceps extension (laying on my back on the bench with dumbbells, not a machine): 1 x 10 @ 12.5 lbs; 1 x 10 @ 15 lbs; 1 x 9 @15 lbs. So close to getting that full 10 on the last set, but couldn't get my arms quite back to starting position, so I didn't count it.

Last night I asked my wife to indulge me and feel my arms when flexed just to see what she thought. I was pleased at her surprised reaction to how solid they're starting to feel after about a month. Now that I'm on a tougher routine for the next 12 weeks, I'm looking forward to the progress again around this time next month.

One last exercise I was supposed to do was Bench Dips. One, I didn't really have a proper place to put my feet other than the floor (no prop up spot around, and I didn't see any aerobic steps) and two, after what I had just done above, trying to make my triceps and shoulders lower and push up my 294 pound frame was honestly asking too much. I'd just end up sitting on the floor and possibly having to pick up an overturned bench behind me for my trouble. I know my limits. Usually.

Tomorrow is an active rest day. So, I'll either spend some time on our little used stationary bike at home, or hit some Kinect cardio exercises on Your Shape, or maybe even break out my Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure game. We recently added a new (used) couch to our living room, so workout space in there may be a little tricky.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shaking things up...

Getting back into the swing of things after another long weekend. Over the last 5 days I only worked one of those (Sunday) because of the holiday. And, I actually skipped the gym that day. Bad me!

Last night, I decided that I needed to change things up to work specific muscle groups and build smarter while looking for a way to lose weight. I'm hoping this has been a good find:

So, today was Day 1 (Back/Biceps Workout) and here's the breakdown on the exercises and what I did:

Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row: 2 x 12 (15 lbs); 1 x 16 (failure - also at 15 lbs)

Underhand Pullups (yeah, I can't do these, so I did Lat pulls instead): 2 x 10 (80 lbs); 1 x 14

Standing Barbell Curl: 2 x 10 (45 lbs); 1 x 11

Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl: 2 x 10 (12.5 lbs); 1 x 19

Cardio comes later in the form of my 30 minute walk .... hoping the weather is okay, but forecasts are not looking good.

This workout was good, it left my chest alone, and didn't do a lot with my triceps (I looked ahead, that's tomorrow, but no cardio). My biceps felt like they were swollen to double their size when I was done lifting though, it was kind of a weird feeling. I guess that's what muscle concentration is all about.

Thanks to my friend Elaine for pointing me to the site; I'm hoping it really helps with getting my training in the right direction.

Now, I just need to work on that kitchen stuff. That site has a lot of good suggestion for nutrition, so I sent it to my wife, too. Hopefully help with shopping / meal planning / weight loss.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

One month, part two...

Today's comparison is today's leg workout vs. one month ago when I started for the first time.


Leg Press:
1 set; 10 x 260 lbs
2 sets; 10 x 300 lbs

Leg Curls:
1 set; 10 x 50 lbs
2 sets; 10 x 70 lbs

Leg Extension:
1 set; 10 x 50 lbs
2 sets; 10 x 70 lbs

You can see that I was feeling things out, and trying low weights and then heavier weights that I felt more comfortable with, but still made me work.


Leg Press:
2 sets; 15 x 360 lbs

Leg Curls:
2 sets; 15 x 110 lbs

Leg Extension:
2 sets; 15 x 100 lbs

Still doing 30 reps, but condensed into two sets instead of three. Reps 11-15 really kick in the burn. I do them in the same order as listed above, when I got done with the second set on the press this morning, I almost failed to stand up from the machine. My quads locked up and almost didn't respond when I tried to walk. By the time I got done with my leg extensions, I was all jell-o.

After a month, I feel stronger. Not like super strong or anything, but I feel that my legs are handling moving my weight around better, I can pick up my son easier (he's three, so it's not like he's super light or anything). Things are moving in the right direction I think. Now it's time to start stacking more on top of what I've been doing, and just keep working toward amazing advancement.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One month...

A little comparison today:


Bench press - 10 x 95 lbs x 3 sets

Arm curl - 10 x 65 lbs; 10 x 55 lbs; 10 x 45 lbs

Lat pulls  - 10 x 80 lbs x 3 sets

Shoulder press - 10 x 50 lbs; 8 x 40 lbs, 10 x 30 lbs

Now, fast forward to one month later...


Bench press - 10 x 105 lbs x 3 sets

Arm curl - 10 x 50 lbs x 3 sets

Lat pulls  - 10 x 90 lbs x 3 sets

Shoulder press - 10 x 30 lbs x 3 sets

Arm Extensions - 10 x 90 lbs x 3 sets (these weren't part of the first day, but I started at three sets of 10 at 70 lbs.)

So, a little improvement, and you don't see any shifting down anymore like I did for the first couple of weeks. Now it's just to continue to work and improve.

That's it for today. Month two has begun.

Monday, February 10, 2014

So, THIS is pain...

(4:47 AM) Right now, I'm at my desk at work, at the start of this post, I'm about 15 minutes removed from finishing my leg workout, and they are still screaming, not burning, but screaming at me (okay, they're just burning). I hit some personal bests today. Maybe I could have done more, but walking was still a priority after being finished.

Here you go:


Leg curl: 15 x 110 lbs x 2; 10 x 130* lbs 
Leg press: 15 x 360 lbs x 2; 10 x 400* lbs 
Leg extension: 15 x 100 lbs x 2; 10 x 120* lbs

* New max weight

Oh. My. God. My legs are barely functional at this moment. - Need coffee and to catch up with work people.

(5: 41 AM) So, I did the 2 sets of 15 (to get my 30 reps total in) and then upped the weights by 2 plates on each machine. 40 pounds for the press and 20 each for the curls and extension machines. I was going to aim for 5 of each, and just. kept. going.

My legs are ways ahead of my arms. I have to remember I'm not going to see big improvements like this with my arms as fast. It does give me encouragement, though. I'm tapping into potential I've never seen before now and I'm excited where it'll take me.

This is just the beginning.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Keep moving forward...

Having kids affords you the opportunity sometimes to sit and watch movies that you might not get around to as an adult. For example, I'd never seen "The Incredibles" until I put it on for my kids to watch. Same with the movie today's subject is quoted from. "Meet the Robinsons" is one I'd seen previews from, and laughed myself silly at the T-Rex shown during the clip. Having seen the movie a few times now with the little ones, I caught the quote at the end of it, that I really think can be applied to a lot of things in life. And with working out, I think it can be important:

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” 
–Walt Disney 
Don't look at your past failures as a reason for giving up, or not trying. Learn from the mistakes, and keep going. Try new things. There's not any one thing that works for everybody, and what works for a lot of other people might not work for you. Your search could be a long one to find that niche that suddenly breaks down the barriers for you.

For my wife, it was getting into roller derby. Sure, she could be doing more skating, cardio during the week like she wants to do, but there's at least one, often two, days a week where she's out there killing herself on the track to get better, stronger, tougher.

You have to admire that.

There aren't a lot of people that would go out there and just get wrecked, bruised, and smacked around on purpose for the sake of a workout. Sure, they're all a little crazy, but better to be crazy than lazy.

Weigh-in: 294.2 (+0.6)

Bench press - 10 x 105 lbs x 2 (up 5 pounds)
Arm curl - 10 x 50 lbs x 2  (up 5 pounds)
Lat pulls  - 10 x 90 lbs x 2
Shoulder press - 10 x 30 lbs x 2
Arm extension -  10 x 70 lbs x 2

Another rough Sunday (seriously, I should keep my drinking to Friday nights, I don't do anything on Saturday mornings); but again, I was here, I worked, and I even increased the weight in a couple of lifts. I also did a quick set with the dumbbells. I don't know what the exercise is called, but I took the 10 lbs and lifted them straight out to the sides to kill my shoulders just a little more.

So, we'll see tomorrow if I have a workout partner. A guy I know at work was heading out at the same time as I was on Thursday and we walked through the gym to get to the same section of the parking lot where we were both parked. And the conversation turned to working out there. I mentioned that I'd started lifting last month and he said that he should be getting in there more; so we kind of agreed to work out together in the mornings we work the same day. We'll see if he shows. :) Doesn't matter to me. I'll be there around 4 AM like I am every Monday. Leg day!!!

Let's go!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snooze is not your friend...

Getting out of bed this morning was tough. I guess I was just a little extra tired this morning. Still, I got up and started my day at the gym working on my legs. Today felt harder that's for sure. But no shortcuts, or putting the brakes on after two sets of each.

In fact, check this out:

Leg curl: 10 x 100 lbs x 2; 10 x 110 lbs
Leg press: 10 x 360 lbs x 3
Leg extension: 10 x 100 lbs x 3

On the leg curls, I decided after my second set at 100 pounds it wasn't working me hard enough. Funny what adding just ten pounds will do to make your hamstrings burn a bit more.

Even after I was at my desk this morning, my quads kept burning for about 20 minutes longer. The leg press machine has a limit of 500 pounds; I want to hit that some day. I can manage 360 pounds right now, but at 20 pound incremental increases, I don't think it's going to be any time soon. But I'm working on it.

Next Wednesday (arms!) I'll hit one month since I starting hitting the weights here at work. It's been great so far, and my arms feel actually solid. It's going to be a while before they show definition because of the layer(s) of fat over them, but I'm pretty pleased with the progress I'm feeling there.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When life hands you lemons...

It's been a seriously rough week. A lot of things going on in life that has made doing the normal things a release instead of being routine. Trying to keep a grip on the sense of normalcy, I guess.

On that note, getting into the gym is important, as it can be at least a good stress release. Nothing like hitting the weights to banish the invisible weight on one's shoulders sometimes.

Today's rundown:


Bench press - 10 x 100 lbs x 2
Arm curl - 10 x 45 lbs x 2
Lat pulls  - 10 x 90 lbs x 2
Shoulder press - 10 x 30 lbs x 2
Arm extension -  10 x 70 lbs x 2

While I did say getting into the gym helps, I was still just having difficulty keeping up with my normal sets. I was so wiped after getting through two sets of each, I decided that I should stop there before I hurt myself. It still felt good though. Even if it wasn't my best this time, I was still there working.

Monday, February 3, 2014

My legs!

I am so wiped right now courtesy of your friendly neighborhood leg day.

Here's the damage right up front:


Leg curl: 10 x 100 lbs x 3
Leg press: 10 x 360 lbs x 3
Leg extension: 10 x 100 lbs x 3

If you've followed along, you'll see that I've gone up from a previous high of 90 pounds on the leg extension to 100 pounds, and I did manage to hit all three sets in full. I couldn't walk for a few minutes afterwards, but I. Got. It. Done. I also increased the max weight on the leg press from 340 pounds to 360 and hit all of those sets in full, as well.

I just made coffee in the break room about ten minutes ago, and now I'm afraid to stand up to go get some after sitting here long enough to log into my computer, log in and start updating. :) I'm sure I'll manage somehow.

My wife and I are working together to start eating better. We haven't been horrible, but we definitely have our struggles, and there are certain weaknesses we share when it comes to food. We're trying to reduce carbs quite a bit and only get our sugars from raw fruit, and want to start doing something a little more like shopping the "outer circle" at the store and avoid pre-packaged and processed foods as much as possible.

My friend Elaine clued me in to yesterday, so I'm going to be checking into all of the information there and hopefully find some good workout tips, and eating / meal planning tips to go along with that.

I'm pretty happy with where my lifting is and is going, and it's time to start incorporating a lot more sense into my eating habits and be able to excel there, as that will aid in my weight loss. Let's face it, the lifting and walking hasn't done a lot to start bringing down the weight, so it's up to what I do in the kitchen to start making some progress. I'm not going to be able to lumber around the spartan course if I'm still this heavy. June 2015 sounds pretty far away, but it'll sure get here before we know it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Keep. Digging...

As usual, Sunday mornings are my greatest enemy (this would be called "Monday" by most of you). Just coming off of a two day weekend. Some drinks may have been consumed with friends. Along with a frightening amount of poutine, and yet, I got up this morning, got ready for work, assembled my lunch and headed on out.

Got to work, and I swear my brain was trying to find every excuse known to man to skip out, "Look, the gym is dark. Maybe it's closed for cleaning." (It wasn't closed, the shades were down, which is not normal at 4 AM); "You're running late, you can't get a full workout in." (I did).

Today was arms. And in the workout summary below, you might notice something a little different than normal:

Weigh-in: 293.6 ( -0.8 )

Bench press - 10 x 100 lbs x 3
Arm curl - 10 x 45 lbs x 3
Lat pulls  - 10 x 80 lbs x 3
Shoulder press - 10 x 30 lbs x 3
Arm extension - 10 x 80 lbs x 2; 10 x 70 lbs

With the exception of the arm extensions (newer workout compared to the others), there were no weight changes on the other lifts. When I hit that 10th rep on the third set on the bench press, I couldn't help but give a fist pump. On Wednesday I made it to eight on the third set, so getting all 30 reps across the three sets was a big deal to me.

If I can get the arm extension to three sets at 80 pounds, and do it again the following time, I think it'll finally be time to start increasing. I started lifting on January 12, and have finally hit a groove I think. I don't even really think, "Ugh, I have to go to the gym" in the mornings. I get up and just go, I don't even make a conscious thought like, "Time to go to the gym," it's just part of my work day now.

And that feels pretty damn good.