WORKOUT #7 (You’re still walking)

21 09 2011

You’re still walking

..said someone to me at the gym today, as they smiled and walked past my sorry, fatigued and limping self.

This, for some reason, stuck with me. Now I’m not going to encourage anyone to work out to the point at which they can’t walk anymore – that would be rather silly. But what I got from this was the idea that  it’s our minds which often limit us, rather than our bodies. This morning I felt particularly demolished, especially after squats. My mind was telling me – you’re tired, this is lame, you’re over it, just leave and go home – but I was still walking.  It was then that I found the strength to nail one more workout before I went home.

This is what I did:

SIT UPS: 20 reps, 3 sets.

SQUATS: 60kg, 6 reps || 115kg 10 reps, 3 sets

BARBELL BICEP CURLS: 40kg, 6 reps, 4 sets

BARBELL MILITARY PRESS: 45kg, 6 rep, 3 sets

DUMBBELL SHOULDER FLIES: 10kg, 10 reps, 4 sets


– Squats were more difficult today. Last night I went to the driving range, and it’s surprising how much energy is expended doing 50 full power swings lol. I hadn’t replaced any of that with carb energy, so maybe that was why I wasn’t quite at 100% this morning.

– Bicep curls were stronger than last time. I managed to do more sets and complete them

– Military press was solid. Next time I’ll be looking to up the weight

– Dumbbell shoulder flies felt better than I expected them to. I previously avoided them because it always felt like I was never doing it properly. This morning however, I really felt the burn in my shoulders, which is a good thing.

– So clearly I wasn’t feeling the cardio all that much today. I was shattered from the weights session, and rowing is one of those exercises I really need to be in the mood for, which I definitely wasn’t.

Dietwise, I was a bit average today. I skipped midmorning because work was quite busy, and I forgot to take the protein powder I made a point of taking to work this time. Breakfast was good though – scrambled eggs, a slab of salmon steak and wholegrain toast. Lunch was a tuna sandwich with light coleslaw and fruit, Late afternoon was porridge, and dinner was chicken, shredded beef and vegetables in blackbean sauce and egg foo yong.

Not too bad today, could have been better.



WORKOUT #6 (Forward movement)

19 09 2011

New week, new weights.

Always improve. Always go harder.

Always move forward

SIT UPS: 20 reps, 3 sets.

SQUATS: 60kg, 6 reps || 115kg 10 reps, 3 sets

45 DEGREE MILITARY DUMBBELL PRESS: 27.5kg, 8 reps || 27.5kg, 7 reps, 2 sets

TRICEP PULLDOWN MACHINE: (drop sets) 60lB, 50lB, 40lB, 6 reps each, 3 sets

45DLP CALF EXTENSIONS: 14 plates, 12 reps, 4 sets

TRICEP PUSHDOWN MACHINE: 150lb, 8 reps, 4 sets

ROWING MACHINE: 20min, 4.07km

– After a week of daily sit ups and squats I decided it was time to step it up. I increased my sit ups sets from 15 reps to 20 reps, and my squats from 110kg to 115kg. Given how well squatting was last week, along with the success from last nights HEAVY LIFTS #1,  I was tempted to jump to 120kg sets. To be honest, it felt like I could have finished at least one set of 120kg for 10, but probably not three. I remembered the importance of being disciplined with taking small increments and nailing them, rather than getting ahead of myself and failing sets, like I tend to do. 10kg is a bigger increase than you would think! Nevertheless the 115kg sets, albeit not terribly easy, were definitely solid, and I felt a satisfying sense of accomplishment after finishing them.

-I’m still spamming the tricep work outs until october, at which time I will revisit bench press and see if my lockout issue  has been somewhat mitigated. Plus, nice looking triceps do wonders for the general aesthetic appeal of your arm 🙂

– I decided to change up the Cross Trainer with the rowing machine for my cardio routine. This was mainly just to try and cull boredom, but also to give my upper body the chance to do some stamina work. It’s also worth mentioning that about a month back, I rowed daily for 2 weeks and experienced a significant reduction in skinfold around the bicep. This is because the motion and resistance is similar to doing a low-weight high repetition work out, and that sorta thing is known to assist with toning muscle.

Dietwise, I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast with a protein shake, and I’ll probably have some porridge and fruit for midmorning, and a tuna sandwich (wholemeal bread) with salad for lunch, a piece of toast, fruit & nuts and some yoghurt for late afternoon, and a vegetable dish for dinner with chicken. I have been forgetting to bring my mini containers home from work so I can take my protein powder – which is poor form – protein shakes are quite important for muscle development, especially if your diet isn’t particularly abundant in protein. I will remember tomorrow! In fact I’m putting it in my bag right now.

Right now.



19 09 2011

So I’ve started going to a friend’s house on Monday Nights to lift some weights. I’m partly using these sessions to focus on setting new PBs for squats and bench press.

And tonight I set a new squatting PB!

Here’s what I did

60kg: 6 reps

110kg: 3 reps

130kg: 1 rep

140kg: 1 rep

150kg: 1 rep

155kg: 1 rep

160kg: 1 rep

162.5kg: two attempts, failure on both.

I beat by previous best of 150kg, so I was feeling pretty amped! A bit gutted that I dropped 162.5kg, especially because the second time I was real close. But happy nonetheless.

So a couple important things to consider when you’re trying to beat a PB (Cheers to Shaun for the tips):

– Don’t over-warm up. Remember that every lift you do depletes energy. Energy is what is converted into the power that is used to push up those heavy weights. Do a couple reps of some lower weights, then stick to doing 1 rep when they get a bit heavier

– Allow a couple minutes for recovery after each lift. Make sure you take deep breaths to bring your heartrate back down before each new lift.

– When you get closer to what you know is your max, take smaller steps. Go from 10kg increments to 5kg, then even lower. Part of the reason is that it will help you discover more accurately your max lift. The other thing is, even small increments feel significant when you get closer to your max.

– Maintain a positive attitude, and get aggressive. It sounds cliche, but it’s important to understand how much influence our minds have over our bodies. Some even go as far as to say that most of our apparent physical limitations are actually mental barriers. I believe this to an extent. Tell yourself that you can do it, psych yourself up. Yell at yourself. Activate that adrenaline!

– Don’t kick yourself too hard if you fail. It sucks, yes, but get over it, it happens. Train hard, and beat it next time.

Go hard, and happy lifting

WORKOUT #5 (Fast game’s a good game)

17 09 2011

With a tight 60min on the clock, I had to get in there and do what I needed to do quick

And quick it was.

SIT UPS: 15 reps, 3 sets.

SQUATS: 60kg, 6 reps || 110kg 10 reps, 3 sets

MILITARY BARBELL PRESS: 45kg, 6 reps, 3 sets

TRICEP DUMBBELL EXTENSIONS: 10kg, 8 reps (cross body) followed by 8 reps (hammer head), each arm, 3 sets

CROSS TRAINER: 10 minutes, resistance level 12/20, Random Hill setting

Still, it was a bit of a blah day. Saturday’s usually are, as I’m often our late on friday night and end up going to the gym on saturday morning at around 10am, rather than my usual 6:30am on weekdays.

I think I’m beginning to realize how much a good night’s sleep is important, as well as not disrupting your body’s normal cycles. It felt like I was working at about 75% capacity: the Squats felt heavier than usual, the barbell press was difficult and the tricep extensions killed me slowly.

Perhaps since my body’s adjusted to being fed well before 10am, by the time I went to the gym (I don’t have breakfast beforehand) I was already pretty frickin hungry, so I knew it was bad news as soon as I hoisted up the bar on my shoulders for squats.

That said, no ripped shorts today! whoot.

For breakfast I had a protein shake and a bowl of cereal, I skipped midmorning and for lunch I had another protein shake (with milk this time) with a tuna sandwich (wholemeal bread of course). I should not have skipped a midmorning, but I was pre-occupied doing saturday-morning type things. To make it worse, I skipped late afternoon as I was glued to my imac recording a new song idea. When I’m recording, I feel like I’m in a parallel universe where necessities like food  and using the bathroom are exist in the annoying “distraction” category. This really isn’t a good excuse. My diet on weekends in general let me down, so it’s something I’ll need to be more diligent about.



16 09 2011

That’s right. Today, I freakin ripped.

My shorts.

Clearly during the careful crafting of my utterly exquisite synthetic fibre gym shorts, the fact that I’d be squatting was not factored into the process.

How ignorant of them

Yes, unfortunately today’s routine was part way interrupted by the failure of my garments. It was then cut short by the realization that I didn’t have my wallet on me, and the panic that inevitably ensued (turns out I had just left it at home).

Today, I didn’t win.

On the upside, my friend James joined me today. It’s finally good to have someone to work out with. It makes a myriad of difference!

Here’s my work out for today:

SIT UPS: 15 reps, 3 sets.

SQUATS: 50kg, 10 reps || 110kg 10 reps, 3 sets

CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS: 40kg, 10 reps || 50kg, 10 reps || 60kg, 10 reps || 65kg, 10 reps

BARBELL SHRUGS: 60kg, 10 reps || 100kg,  10 reps || 140kg, 6 reps || 120kg, 6 reps, 2 sets.

LATERAL PULLDOWNS: 50lb, 10 reps || 85lb, 10 reps || 135lb, 10 reps, 2 sets.

Couple of things:

– Close Grip Bench Press, for those who don’t know, focus predominantly on the triceps. They are a bit awkward on the wrists, so the first time you try it, start with something light (perhaps just the bar) to familiarize yourself with the movement

-I came down from 140kg to 120kg on the barbell shrugs because I noticed that I was unable to execute a full range of movement with the 140kg load

Today I started with poached eggs with two pieces of toast for breakfast. For my mid morning meal I had a bowl of cereal, then for lunch I had a Kebab on rice (carbs for the afternoon!). I forgot to make a protein shake in the morning and I also forgot to take some scoops to work, which isn’t really good.  I picked up a protein RTD from City Star in britomart, on the way to work to compensate. I need to be more diligent with preparing the protein shakes, as they are an essential supplement to my diet.

I took some chopped vegetables and a can of tuna to work today, so I will have that for my late afternoon meal.

Today = OK, could have been better.


WORKOUT #3 (Find your strength)

14 09 2011

I defeated my alarm today. It was set to go off at 6 30. I managed to wake at 6:12am, snooze on my own for exactly 17 minutes, get up and disable it before it could plague my ears with bassless 80’s dance.

Oh yeah. Today was gonna be good.

It was one of those days where you know you’ve won before you even leave bedroom door to the outside world.

Keeping on the theme of compound muscle training, tricep smashing and short breaks, this was my work out for today:

SIT UPS: 15 reps, 3 sets.

SQUATS: 50kg, 8 reps, then 110kg, 10 reps, 3 sets.

TRICEP DIPS: 15 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps

BICEP CURLS (Short Barbell): 15kg, 10 reps, then 35kg, 6 reps, 3 sets, followed by 40kg, 6 reps, two sets, and a rep of 5 (failed on the 6th)

TRICEP PUSHDOWN MACHINE: 150lb, 8 reps, 3 sets

CROSS TRAINER: Random Hill setting, Resistence level 17/20, 20min

Today I really had to dig in to finish that cross trainer workout. I was pretty fatigued at the 15 minute mark, and a steep and sustained hill-climb constituted the next three minutes of the track, before two minutes of down-hill. I didn’t think I would make it. Suddenly – and I say this well aware of how lame it sounds – I found myself whispering under my own breath ‘find your strength’. I was aware that I had the stamina, I just needed to search for it. Find it.

And I found it.

And I won.

Usually if I cop out on my cardio routine I leave the gym feeling pretty stink. Today was not one of those days.

Diet-wise, pretty much the same as workout #2, except with fresh chopped vegetables rather than supermarket packaged salad.

My band’s playing a show tonight (Kings Arms, 7:00pm, $15, come along) so I’ll be in town the whole night. For dinner I’ll look at getting the no-carb Kebab from Kebabs on Queen. This is basically a choice of meat – I’ll have chicken – and fresh salads. Knowing my band, I’ll be conned into going to Denny’s after the show, so if I cave, I’ll aim to buy something carbless, perhaps the chicken satay thing they have on the menu.

Today = win.


Starvation myth (BURN)

13 09 2011

If I eat less, I will lose weight.

But you will put it back on very fast.

This is very, very basic stuff which most of us know

But some don’t.

This is not how our bodies work. Our bodies are intelligent engines. They are able to, based on our eating habits, forecast the amount of energy they will need to go about their business. So when I starve myself,  my body says:

Right, so I’m not getting much input for energy. I must go into a mode where I can store as much as I can and keep it for later.

Yes, my body will stockpile the energy. Stored energy in this instance is fat. So what happens when I go back to my normal eating habits? My body, in this mode, will store what I eat, and I put all the fat back on again.

So what do I do?

Eat more.

If we can convince our bodies that it does not need to hold onto energy and is in fact more benefited by burning it off, we will lose weight, the right way.

But wait, how the heck do I eat more and not put on weight?

If you’re asking this question it probably means you are not eating the right things, the right way.

So how do you do it?

Here are 3 simple things to start you off. Again, these are the sorts of things that you will hear time and time again from gym trainers, nutritionists, fitness bloggers and dietitians. Keep in mind also that the subject of diet and nutrition is extensive and there are entire books written on each of these points. Nevertheless these simple things will assist you on your way.

1. Complex carbohydrates.

These are slow burning sources of high energy. So eating these frequently throughout the day will indicate to your body that it doesn’t need to hold on to energy – it has just enough of it to burn at all times. These, as opposed to fast burning sources of energy (sugars, white bread etc) are what you need to be eating more of. Consult Google for a full list of complex carbs, but generally they can be found in brown/wholemeal breads, brown rice, fruits, oats and nuts, vegetables etc. Non/Less processed crap is a good start.

2. Frequent eating

Remember, we want to tell our bodies that it doesn’t need to hold on to energy. We don’t want to give it an excess amount, or it won’t be able to burn it off and instead it will be forced to store it. But we want to give our bodies a continual moderate supply of energy so it can get into the habit of burning energy rather than storing it. This is what people call increasing your metabolism. Frequent eating in conjunction with physical activity will promote a healthy energy intake and burning cycle, allowing your body to shed useless weight.

3. No carbs late

Your body burns energy when it does stuff. So if you do less stuff, your body will be burning less energy. Generally, you do less stuff at night, so your body doesn’t need the high energy input of carbohydrates. It ain’t gon burn it – so it gon’ store it! This why virtually every highly esteemed diet will discourage you from eating carbs after evening time. Yes, I’ll enjoy some burgerfuel! But for lunch. If it’s after 5, it’s a wrap. That’s my personal general rule.

If it’s after 5, it’s a wrap.

These three things combined with exercise will make a big difference to how you feel very early on. For me, I could feel the effects of (3) almost after a couple of nights. There are many other things that are complementary to good health as well, such as dietary fibre and protein intake. Those are well worth researching too.

Basically, our diets and our lifestyles need to match.

Many of us live low-energy-consumptive lifestyles with high-energy diets. Our bodies say well, what the heck am I gonna do with this? and just stores it as fat. Some people think the solution is to just drastically eat less, but this causes our bodies to say crap, I need to store what I get, cos I’m not sure if I’ll get more later. Both of these mistakes cause our bodies to store. But we needa burn. BURN!

In short, eat more good things, eat them more often, and become more active. Don’t starve!