Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Ramblings

It's been a while since I've done a rambling post! Have you missed it?

Well, as I mentioned, this week I decided to take some days off from the gym. I knew it was needed when I didn't miss it or have the desire to even go to the gym! I took Sunday-Tuesday off completely. And it really helped-my appetite came back strong and my body just felt better. On those days I just walked and did some very easy mobility stuff and foam rolling.

Wednesday I did a light gym workout between training sessions, and tomorrow I just plan on maybe doing some sled drags at home. As far as my gym workouts went, Wednesday I did light zercher squats, pushups, face pulls, single leg hip thrusts, band walks, and pullaparts. Nothing heavy, nothing intense. Today was just mobility again, and tomorrow I may do a full body workout at home or the gym, depending on what I feel like.

I ate exactly the same--no cutting back on calories or carbs at any meal. And I didn't gain a single pound. So if you're worried about gaining weight or even losing muscle by taking a week off-STOP. You will be okay, I promise. Here are a few articles you can check out about deload/recovery weeks:

So last week I had the most amaaaazing treat. We went out for pizza Saturday, and then since we had to pick up something at the mall afterwards, we stopped at Great American Cookies for dessert. It has been probably 10 years since I've had a cookie from there, and oh hit the spot. I also had a peanut butter cup brownie because I couldn't decide on which one I wanted! They were both freakin' awesome.

The plan for this weekend is doughnuts! I gotta try the peach pie one from Krispy Kreme before it's not out anymore! This weekend we're volunteering with our church to help renovate some houses downtown, so after a long day of work, doughnuts will be waiting for me. ;)

Soo anyway, as far as workouts, I decided to go back to a 4 day upper lower split. It's just what I love! I have enjoyed my training the last few months not really following a set plan, but I really think that now I feel like having something to follow and to work on strength again...I just can't decide what to do. I may just run a variation of Uncaged again since nothing else I've seen really appeals to be. But here is what I plan on doing for the next month:

Upper Body + Glutes
1)Clean and jerk + push presses: 3-5x3-5
2a)Dumbbell chest press: 3-5 x 6-8
2b))Weighted pullups 5x5
3a)Face pulls
3b)Reverse crunch or ball pike

Glute circuit:(may change week to week)
Weighted back extensions x10
Pull-throughs x10
Band hip thrust x10
3-4 rounds minimal rest

Lower Body Heavy Day
1)Box jump 3x5
2) Front Squat 3-4x3-5
3) Deadlift 3x3-5
4a) GHR 4x6
4b)Ab wheel or TRX pikes
5a)Calf raises 4x10-20
5b)Band clams
Finisher-quad finisher or walking lunges

Upper Body
1)Bench press: 3x3-5
2a)Landmine press: 3x8
2b)Chinups 3x amap(not to failure)
3a)Pull-aparts 3x15-20
3b)Bicep curls 2x15
4)Lateral raise 2x15
Lower Hypertrophy day
1)BB hip thrust: 3x8-10
2)Back squats: 3x8-10
3)RDLs: 3x8
4)Front loaded reverse lunge: 3x8-10
5)Cable or seated abductions: 3x12-15
Finisher-Prowler sprints/sled drags

Monday, June 22, 2015

Quote Of The Week

Marginal progress is like drops in the bucket. Initially it may seem like it will take forever, but that bucket fills up over time, so stick with it! 

Health and fitness isn't a 21 day fix, a 3 day cleanse or a radical carb starvation session and then you go back to the way things were. It is a lifelong quest, a refining process over time. 

-James Wilson

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Workouts Of The Week

Monday Quads
Squats didn't feel too hot today...but I still tried to go heavy anyway, of course. I think my depth was questionable on my heaviest set and my hip flexor was still bothering me. Everything else was fine, but I was soooo sore in my glutes and adductors for the next three days! Maybe swapping squat and deadlift day this week wasn't such a good idea after all!

1)Squats: 155x4/175x4/184x4/175x6/165x8
2)Front squats: 105x8/115x8/105x10
3)Barbell walking lunges: 70x3x8
4)Leg press: 4x12
5a)1 leg hip thrust: 3x12
5b)Band clams: 3x20
6)Leg extension: 1x30 (rest pause set)

*Skipped upper body Tuesday because my ql and low back was super tight*

Wednesday Hamstrings
My glutes were so sore for this workout! Deadlifts actually didn't feel too bad though. It was the back extensions that were hardest to do, so I just dropped the weight on those.

1)Deadlifts: 205x3x3/Paused: 155x2x5
2)Glute ham raise: 20x8/7/8
3)Back extensions: 35x3x12
4)Lying leg curls: 3x12
5)Standing calf raise: 2x12 / Seated calf raise: 2x20
6)Stir the pot: 2x30 seconds

Friday Upper
My low back was really sore from deadlifts, so I decided to not go super heavy on anything and skip bench press this week. Did some light snatches  since it's been a while since I've done them. Then just got a good pump from some push/pull pairs and lateral raises, then abs.

1)Hang power snatch: 5x3
2a)DB chest press: 40x3x10
2b)DB chest supported row: 35x4x12
3a)Lat pulldown-underhand grip: 1x12/2x10
3b)DB overhead press: 30x8/25x2x10
4)Lateral raises: giant set to 35 reps
5)Ab wheel negatives: 1x10/2x8
6)L-sits 2x15 seconds

Saturday Glutes
This workout was kind of crappy. Glutes just weren't "on" today. Could be the hip pain/tightness I have going on right now and the tightness in my low back and qls. Sled pushes killed me. I just had nothing left in the tank-legs were giving out, couldn't catch my breath. I don't know what was wrong with me since the workout wasn't even hard!

1)Hip thrusts: 135x12/155x10/185x3x10/155x15
2)Cable pull throughs: 3x15
3)Machine glute kickback: 3x15
4a)Seated abductions: 3x25
4b)Reverse hypers on incline bench: 3x20(bodyweight)
5a)Sled push 180lbs x 3 sets, 140x2 sets (down and back, about 8 seconds each way)
5b)Band lateral walks: 3x12

I'm thinking I'm due for a deload since I'm feeling a bit beat up, but I'll wait and see how I feel come Monday. I haven't taken an actual week off from workouts in a long time, so I'm thinking it's time. I may go back to an upper/lower split and combine squat and deadlift day rather than having a heavy lift every workout. This is the second time I've tried three lower body days per week, and I've realized it is just not for me!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


This picture used to totally describe my mindset.

Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the point. I have seen this picture in the past and thought, 'Yes! So true!' My mindset has always been that you should never be satisfied-there is always something to improve, to tweak, to make bigger, to make smaller, or whatever. In fact, I've spent YEARS doing just that.

But lately my mindset has changed. My prayer now is that I will be satisfied. 

Satisfied= contented; pleased.

Satisfied...even with a little more belly fat.
Satisfied....even with puny little calves.
Satisfied...even if I never have a big booty.
Satisfied....even with a flat chest without "enhancements".

Because you know what? None of those things really even matter, and I don't want to waste my life chasing after something that doesn't matter to God! When I stand before God one day to give an account of what I did with the health He gave me, I don't want to just say, "Well....I deadlifted 250 pounds and I built up some really good biceps."

I know I may sound like a broken record here, but I feel that people need to hear this, especially those of us in the fitness industry. It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I mean, who can blame us? We're constantly being bombarded on social media with photos of perfectly lean, ripped, (and often surgically enhanced) bodies.

It's hard not to look at ourselves and feel that we're not good enough, that we should work harder to look like that way, too. So because we're never satisfied with ourselves, we strive for perfection until it becomes an obsession, until all our lives revolve around are our workouts and our food. We get obsessed with our outside appearance, and we begin to get our satisfaction and fulfillment from the attention and approval of others, rather than from God.

This is not what our lives were meant to be about. When I find myself comparing my body to others, feeling insecure, or getting frustrated about my lack of progress in the gym, I know it's time to take a step back, turn to God,  and ask Him to remind me who I am. He doesn't care if I have abs or not. He created me perfectly. And HIS opinion of me is all that matters.

Maybe to some this seems like giving up. Well, maybe I am.

I'm giving up the focus of my life being my body and on my improving my physique. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to quit lifting weights-I truly love it and hope to be able to do it forever! I love being strong and working hard at the gym, and I'll continue that for as long as I can. I believe that God has given me this love for fitness for a reason. But I want to  use it to honor Him, not just point to myself. If my body continues to improve, great. If not, that's okay, too!  
If you're trying to improve your physique, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are seeking fulfillment and satisfaction in your outer appearance, just know that it will NOT ever satisfy you. Just know that for all of us, our bodies will change over time as we grow older....and not always for the better.

As we age, our bodies will inevitably change. Strength will decrease, muscles will shrink, fat will be harder to keep off. If we rely on our body image for our happiness, then one day we are going to be let down. That is something that none of us can avoid. You also never know when something could happen that would cause us not to be able to workout anymore. Have you ever thought about that? If our fulfillment comes from that alone, then what will we do when that is taken from us?

So, right now, I am satisfied.

Satisfied that I am alive and breathing. Satisfied with the health I've been given. Satisfied that I have a strong, functioning body. Satisfied in who God created me to be.

But most of all...Satisfied in Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s approval.  They will be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6 (GW)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Workouts Of the Week-Trying Out A New Program!

I'm going to try this out for a week and see if I like it:

Monday-deadlift and hamstring/glute day
Tuesday-upper body heavy day
Wednesday-squat and quad/glute day
Friday-upper body light day
Saturday-Hip thrust and glute day

I'm not sure I'll like the 5 days a week thing. I like looking forward to my workouts, and I've found that 4 days is perfect for me. It keeps me excited about going to the gym having those three rest days, and not feeling burnt out. But on Tuesdays I'm already at the gym in the mornings for work anyways, so I figure I'll give it a try for a little while. Next week I may swap the deadlift and squat day. I didn't think through deadlifts being two days before squats...probably not a great idea, even though it was fine this week.

I decided to do block pulls this week since I haven't done them in a while. I worked up to 205, which felt pretty darn heavy. Block pulls have always been hard for me since it's right where my sticking point is. After that it was all  hammies and glutes. I actually liked this workout, although I'm not a huge fan of seated leg curls, so I may replace those with ball leg curls next time. I also added in some calves at the end.

1)Block pull-135x5/155x5/185x5/205x3/3/5
2)Glute ham raise: 10x10/15x3x8
3)Seated leg curl: 1x12/2x10
4a)Back extension: 40x3x12
4b)Lateral band walk: 3x15
5)Standing calf raise: 1x15/1x12/ seated calf raise: 2x20
6)Stir the pot plank: 2x40 seconds

Triceps were sooo sore for days after this workout! See why I don't directly train my triceps anymore? They get hammered enough with all the compound pushing movements I do. I think it was the high rep set of push presses that got me. Push jerks felt easier this week. I took out the clean portion to give my back a break from deads the day before. For bench I used a slightly wider grip, hence the lower reps since it's harder for me. Instead of pullups this week I did feet elevated TRX rows. Just want to be careful with my shoulder, and pullups are the only things that bother it. I finished up with a bunch of pullaparts, V-sit pracitice and some battle ropes and handsands.

1)Push jerks: 95x3/115x3x3/Push press: 95x10
2a)Bench press(wider grip): 105x4/5/5/95x2x8
2b)Feet elevated TRX row : 10/10/9/9/9
3a)Pull-aparts: 4x20
3b)Lsit/vsit holds: 4x10 seconds
Battle ropes 4x 20 seconds + handstand practice

I have a feeling this is the workout I'm going to dread the most if I stick with this plan! Having a quad day is rough when you aren't used to doing that many quad movements in one workout! Squats felt good, but I do have some hip flexor pain on my left side that I have to watch. That's what led to all my hip issues a few years ago, so I don't want that to flare up again. Front squats felt much better after being more warmed up, even though I kept the weight a little lighter. I did go a heavier on walking lunges this week, and yeah...they were no fun. Then I did some leg presses and a little extra glute work at the end.

1)Squats: 165x6/175x6/175x6/165x6
2)Front squats: 95x3x10
3)Walking lunges: 35x3x8
4)Leg press: 180x12/270x12/270x12
5a)Single leg hip thrust: 3x12
5b)Band clams: 2x20

This was a fun upper body workout that I just made up on the fly!
1a)Dumbbell chest press: 35x10/45x10/9/9
1b)Lat pulldown: 10/10/10/8+4(drop set)

10 minute amrap:
2a)1 arm DB row: 55x8/8/7/7/6/6
2b)Handstand pushups: 6/6/5/5/4/4
3)Lateral raise: giant set to 35 reps
4)Seated incline bicep curls: 2x10
5)Face pulls 2x15
6)Hanging leg raise: 10/8/ Ball pike: 2x10

Hip thrusts felt great today! Really felt them in the glutes at the weight that I used. After hip thrusts it was just a bunch of glute isolation stuff, but I did throw in some single leg bench squats. Finished up with light sled pushes, which was probably the hardest thing I did all week, even though I used a super light weight! My endurance is horrible.
1)Hip thrust: 135x12/155x10/185x3x10
2)Reverse hyper pendulum kickback: 3 x 15
3)Reverse hyper: 3 x 20
4a)1 leg bench squat: 3x12
4b)Seated abductions: 3x30
5)Cable standing hip abduction 3 x 10-20
Sled pushes-down and back, 5 sets

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quote of the Week

No food is a 'cheat'. 
Not fruit, not cookies, not ice cream, not anything. Unless you have a medical need not to eat certain things, it's fine to include foods you like. 
Balance, moderation, appropriate calories, adequate protein, move your body - that sounds so much less sensational than a diet that demonizes foods but throws you a bone by allowing occasional 'cheats'. Being controlled by arbitrary rules breeds resentment, and that's not sustainable. 
What is sustainable? Balance, moderation, appropriate calories, adequate protein, move your body.
-Amber Rogers

Monday, June 8, 2015

3 Benefits of Protein Shakes

I often get asked about protein supplements, mostly regarding whether they should be drinking protein shakes, and if so, what kind and when is the best time to have them?

First of all I have to say, you don't HAVE to supplement your diet with protein powder. Protein shakes are just to be used as a supplement to a healthy diet that consists mostly of of real, whole foods. Chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy, and fish should be your main sources of protein.

With that being said, I am a big fan of protein shakes. I usually have 2 (and even sometimes three) shakes a day. Here are just a few reasons why I think it can be beneficial to include protein shakes into your diet:

*Help meet your daily Protein Requirements
Whether your goal is to build muscle or lose fat, protein is key. I try to get my clients to make all of their meals revolve around a protein source. The thing is, some people just have a hard time eating the amount of meat it requires to reach their daily protein goal, and that's where protein shakes come in.
I usually suggest having 2-3 real food meals that include 20-30 grams of protein, and then having 1-2 protein shakes between meals. For me personally, I really enjoy and look forward to having a scoop of protein in my oats in the morning, or as a pudding at night, when meat or eggs just doesn't appeal to me. However, that is in addition to the two to three "real food" meals I have that consist of chicken, turkey, beef, and eggs/egg whites.

When you need a quick meal or snack on the go, protein powder is a great option. All you need is a shaker cup and water, and you're good to go. I often bring a shaker cup with a scoop of protein powder in it with me when I'm travelling, then I just add water and shake when I need a quick snack. They're also a great choice for breakfast when you're in a rush-just blend up a shake and grab a fruit or some nuts, and you have a fast, healthy breakfast.

*Satisfy your sweet tooth
There are some really yummy things you can create with protein powder for when a sweet craving hits. You can bake with it and use it in place of flour to make things like muffins, brownies, and pancakes. You can also make things like mug cakes and protein pudding(my fave!), as well as yummy fruit smoothies and peanut butter milkshakes. ;)

Check out my article here for some of my favorite protein shake recipes:

So, that leaves us with the question of what to look for in a protein powder. Whey protein, either concentrate or isolate, is usually the best option for post people, with the exception of those who are lactose intolerant. In that case, there are protein powders made from other sources, such as egg whites, beef, and rice. Unless you are looking for something as a meal replacement or to aid in gaining weight, most people would benefit from choosing a protein powder that is low in carbs and fat(under 5 grams).

The next question is, when is the best time to drink a protein shake? Really, anytime! As I said above, they are a great choice as a snack between meals(definitely better than grabbing a candy bar or chips!), after a workout to help in replenishing the muscles, or as a bedtime snack. Just remember, if your goal is fat loss, keeping your protein high but staying in a calorie deficit is really the most important thing. As long as you are within your calorie goal for the day, simply have a protein shake whenever it is most convenient for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you ADD in a couple of protein shakes a day in addition to what you're currently eating, you will be increasing calories, which could result in weight gain. If that is not what you're going for, just make sure to make some adjustments somewhere else in your diet to account for the extra calories coming from the protein powder. On the flip side, if your goal is to gain weight(muscle mass), adding in a couple of protein shakes a day in addition to what you're currently eating is an easy, convenient way to add in some calories.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Workouts of the Week

This workout was just two heavy upper body lifts with ring pullups and pull-aparts thrown in to balance out all the pushing. Clean and jerks were fun-I really like working on those!  I kept bench a little lighter this week. It felt okay, but still not super strong. Of course, doing push jerks before-hand and pullups between sets could be part of the reason! After that I did 4 rounds of a glute circuit, which I really liked. 
1)Clean and jerk practice: 115x4x2
2a)Bench press: 95x8/105x6/6/6/5
2b)Ring pullups: 4x8
3)Pullaparts: 20/20/25/25
*Glute finisher:
Single leg foot elevated glute bridge x12
Cable pull-throughs x15
Seated band abductions x20
4 x
I really liked this leg workout for some reason! I kept squats a little lighter for a few sets of 6.That last set of 10 with 155 though...basically cardio!  My breathing sucks! I really felt like deadliftng heavy, so I decided to do those after squats. I worked up to 225 for a double, then a back off set of 5 with 205. They felt pretty good today! I've always liked doing deadlifts better after squats when I'm more warmed up. Then I did barbell walking lunges, another exercise that feels like cardio! After that was band walks and back extensions to hit the glutes, then calves and abs. No leg finisher since I felt like I'd worked my legs enough! And my butt was sore the next day!
1)Squat jumps: 3x5
2)Squats: 155x6/165x6/165x6/155x10
3)Deadlifts: 135x5/155x5/185x2/205x2/225x2/205x5
4)Barbell walking lunges: 60x3x10
5a)Band walks: 3x12
5b)Back extensions: 40x3x10
6a)Calf raise: 15/15/13/12
6b)Ab wheel: toes 2x10/knees 1x20
Pullups have been bothering my shoulder a bit lately, so I'm going to lay off of those for a while and do lat pulldowns instead. This workout was just another "on the fly" workout. I ended up being really sore in my lats and biceps the next day!

1a)Lat pulldown: 100x3x8
1b)1 arm overhead press: 35x8/35x8/30x10
2a)Chest supported DB row: 35x12/40x3x10
2b)Feet elevated dumbbell pushups: 4x10
3a)Seated incline bicep curls: 22.5x8/22.5x8/20x8
3b)Lsits: 3x15 seconds
1 arm overhead carries 45lbs x 3x 30 seconds

I didn't need to deadlift, so I decided to skip the gym and worked out at home. It was just so beautiful out! I need that sometimes to keep things fun and fresh. I can get a good workout with just a couple dumbbells and a tire! 

1)Single leg hip thrust: 3x12
2a)Dumbbell squat: 25s x 3x15
2b)Single leg RDL: 25s x 3x12
3)Sliding leg curl: 3x12
Then I finished up with this circuit:

And then tire sprints:
Forward sprint
Rest 30-45 seconds
Reverse drag
Rest 30-45 seconds
Repeat 5 x

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Three Things Thursday

1)I got to see Celeste this week! :)
I can't believe how fast she is growing. In just the month since I've last seen her, she is talking so much more! I know I always say it, but she is just the cutest thing everrrr! 

2)I LOVE to read! Ever since I can remember, I've had a love for books. I can think back to my childhood and still remember all of my favorite books and how I would read them over and over again. I remember how much I LOVED going to the library to look for books to read...and that hasn't changed! I'm still not a Kindle person-I need to have a real book in my hands! Recently I read The Husband's Secret and Calling Me Home, and I really enjoyed both of them.
Have you read any good books lately?

3)Guess what?  Tomorrow is National Donut Day! 

I usually don't get into these national "whatever" days, but I mean, it's donuts....and I really LOOOOOVE donuts. And yeah, Krispy Kreme is giving out free donuts tomorrow, soooo...yup, I'll be getting one to eat for breakfast, thank you very much.

And before you start freaking out that I'm promoting donuts....because they're so unhealthy and all that, I absolutely love this and completely agree:

So if you reeeeally want a donut, get one! And enjoy it with no guilt. If not-no big deal, they'll always bet there for when the craving hits. ;)

Who else loves donuts as much as I do?

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