Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Workout N #5: A bit discombobulated but good!

I did things a bit out of order because of people at the gym,
but it was still a good workout. :D 

Monday's workout was a little bit of a mess -- we were running late for a variety of reasons (errands, Patrick got out of work late, etc.) and Patrick didn't feel up to working out with the stitches in his back (and a bandaging fail which had them being unprotected and rubbed by his jeans for a while in the morning). So I dropped him off and changed at home and didn't get to the gym until about 7pm (which is often about when we're leaving). That's why I didn't do any Insanities -- I was already running so late.

I definitely had it brought home to me how nice it is to work out with a trainer on Monday -- it was a little bit crowded at the gym and the cable machine station I need for Coordination Rows was in use so I had to work around that and I had a little trouble finding space to warm up in. I missed having Travis thinking about those details so I could just do what I wanted to do.

One thing I've been wanting to do and am still trying to figure out how to do on my own is keeping my breaks between sets shorter -- like 30 seconds. I read recently that longer set breaks lets one improve lifting performance (I think the study ran for a couple of months and the people who rested for 3 minutes rather than 1 between sets could lift significantly heavier weights at the end of the study) but I'm far less concerned about how much weight I'm lifting than I am about keeping myself working and moving and going the whole time. Shorter set breaks seems like it would really work for my goals.

On the other hand, wrangling the equipment and the timer on the phone and the notebook I keep records in is just a bit *much*. Maybe when I move into my next phase (I've got two more workouts in Phase 7, plus one with Travis this weekend (\o/!!)), I can try and take that idea into account in the planning. I'm going to see if I can go kind of equipment-light next time. Which would be the opposite of one of my "heavy" phases, but I'm really not liking the idea of one right now anyway -- they kind of beat me up and don't feel like they're doing a lot of good.

Monday's workout was:

  • Push Aways - 3 x 12 - Still hard, though I didn't feel like my back was as prone to collapsing, so something must be getting stronger, right. I think I'm going to give these a rest in Phase 8 and move onto something else for my core. Maybe Inchworms or the Plank-Jacks things that Travis had me doing (though those were *hell*). 
  • Dumbbell Push Press - 3 x 12 - The pair of 20lb dumbbells was still the right weight for these this time -- it wasn't quite the singing heavenly choir that happens when it's perfect, but it was close and I think I'll hit that next time. Which is something to look forward to. :D 
  • Alternating sets of: (Yes, this is out of order, the cable station I needed was in use.) 
    • Dumbbell Front Squats - 3 x 15 - I really don't love these just in general and I especially didn't love doing them right after the Push Presses  because there's some similarity in the move. In both cases the dumbbells (a pair of 20lb weights) are held at the shoulders and I bend my hips and lower my body. For the squats, I lower a lot and for the Push Presses I lower just a little bit then snap back up as I fire my arms up, but it still winds out putting a lot of work on my arms and my upper back (keeping my shoulders square)  and so on. By the end of the squats, I'm afraid my form had broken down some because I was just pooped. 
    • Pullovers - 3 x 15 - I was back at the fixed high cable station for these and it was more of a challenge than on the high adjustable pulley. Harder for sure (but why??) but I'm pretty sure I could raise the weight next time. I didn't make a note of it in my book, so I only hope I remember. 
  • Coordination Rows - 3 x 15 - By the time I'd finished the Squats and the Pullovers, the cable station for these was free again, so it all worked out. (For the record, the guy who was using the cable station was doing alternating sets and indicated he was happy to share with me, but he had a different handle on and the pulley at a different height and it was easier to just rearrange my workout a tiny bit.) I was a little wobbly, possibly because of the pooped-ness from the front squats, which wear me out. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Offset Loaded Step-Ups - 3 x 15 - I thought I was going to have to be on the stairs again, but wound out having room and a step box available, though a lower one than would have been my preference. Whenever I'm on a lower step than I'd like, I make these Sprinter Step Ups and raise my non-working knee as high as possible on each step up. Still, the 20lb weight was not enough work and I have a note to raise it. 
    • Press and Twist - 3 x 15 - I did the first two sets of these with a pair of 10lb weights and the third with a pair of 8 lbs weights. I'm really hoping that next time I can do all three with 10lbs, that would be a tasty bit of improvement (from 5lbs to 10lbs) over the course of the month. 
As mentioned above, there were no cardio intervals because of already being late and not wanting to be later.

So it was a very good workout though I didn't get quite as energized by it as I usually do -- I'm a little flat right now and my energy level is a little bit low. I'm hoping that a good workout tonight and a good workout with Travis on Saturday will get me back to rights. :D 

Next workout is scheduled for this evening. I'm not sure if Patrick is going to be working out as well -- as always, I hope so, but I don't want him to hurt his back. I think he's feeling pretty confident about Saturday. Goal for the workout is to really push hard on Workout M and do my last go with that workout really strong. :D 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Working Out With Travis!! :D

I didn't get a picture or make a log today, but
this is Travis's card. :D 
I had an amazingly awesome workout with Travis this morning. I sent him a lengthy email talking about what I've been doing and what I want to learn and he really took that ball and ran with it. 

The things I said I wanted to learn were:
  1. More combination exercises that use multiple parts of my body and/or move my whole body around (including exercises that work on explosive power like Jump Squats) 
  2. A new structure for workouts that would use those combination exercises OR a way to work those into the structure I've been using without feeling like I'm doubling up on any one body part too much in any one workout (for example, Step Up and Press as a whole body exercise with a shoulder press for my shoulders is a bit too much for any one workout)
  3. More things to do for the Intervals of Insanity that will add variety -- I'd love to get some cardio moves to do on the BOSU or with sliders (which I have a pair of) because anything that improves my stability is a Good Thing.
  4. It would be nice to be able to shave my routine down from 7 exercises (three sets of each) down to 6. Then I'd come closer to finishing about the same time Patrick does. 
  5. Maybe my takeaway could be a structure (and some exercises) for workouts with All Combination Exercises and Lots of Movement. I could then alternate a month of that with a month of the structure I've been following. 
I don't have the full list of things we did (though Travis said he can get me one) but I know we did:

  • Jumping Jacks with the Battle Ropes - 3 x 30 seconds with 30 second breaks -- Damn, those are intense! That is something like hard work! 
  • Reverse lunges doing small sine waves with the battle ropes - 2 x 30 seconds with 30 second breaks - Those were a lot easier than the Jumping Jacks. But still really good stuff and a good combination exercise when I can play with the ropes. 
  • Inchworms - 2 or 3 x 5 - Stand tall, bend over and put hands on ground, walk hands forward into push-up position, walk hands back to v-position, repeat until trainer says stop. Travis wanted me to do a push-up when I was in push-up position, but I can't do those off the ground (I tried and wound out flat on my face), so he made the sets longer. 
  • This is a BOSU -- you can use it flat side
    or flat side down. Not my picture.
  • BOSU Burpees - 3 x 10 (if I remember right) - I kind of love these. I have to admit that they're modified burpees. Instead of jumping up and then dropping down and doing a push up (see above about landing on my nose), I raised the BOSU over my head, then bent down, jumped my feet back (with my hands on the flat side of the BOSU), then jumped my feet forward again, and stood up, raising the BOSU over my head. 
  • BOSU Squats - 3 x 5 (I think) - I stood on the flat side of the BOSU and did regular old bodyweight squats. Another super-intense exercise but kind of awesome!! I'll *definitely* be doing those again. I think intensifying those will be flipping the BOSU over and doing them on the round side. 
  • Plank-Jacks (I think I've seen them called this) using Sliders - I went until Travis said stop and they were really hard, I have no idea how many I did - Basically these start in push-up position with the toes on the sliders then you move your legs out to the sides and back in. I actually didn't quite go until Travis said stop because the last set I started doing Mountain Climbers because I was dying doing the Plank-Jacks.
  • Slider Reverse Inchworms (that's not what Travis called them but it is a description) - I don't know how many I did of these either - Like the inchworms above, but with feet on sliders -- so bend down with hands on floor and toes on sliders then slide the feet back and forward again. I think these and the plank-jacks were the ones that had me completely winded.
  • Russian Twists (two sets with an additional thing) - 3 x 10 (I think) - I was using a light kettlebell and twisting so that it tapped on the ground on each side. One of the sets I raised it up in the air (skytouches, Travis called that) after touching one side then the other. 
  • Kettlebell swings - 2 or 3 x 20 seconds with a 10 second break between sets - Very light weight but still lots of fun. :D 
  • Windshield Wipers (that's what Travis called them) - I have no idea, so hard and I stopped when Travis said stop - Lean back and extend legs into the air (v-shape), then move the legs from one side to the other. 
  • Jackknifes -- Lean back and have the legs up a bit, then bring the knees to the chest and extend the legs out again, tapping the heels on the ground. So hard. 
  • Plank with a weight on my back - 2 x 10 seconds - I'm pretty sure the weight he put on me was a 5lb kettlebell because it wasn't brutal but it did intensify the plank! 
  • Deadlift Snatches and Squat Snatches - 1 set of 10 (I think) of each - We went into the weight room and I used an empty Olympic weight bar (so 44 lbs). Those were fun and a great combination exercise. I'll definitely be doing those again as well. 
I don't actually think that's everything we did and we did all of that in 45 minutes or so -- so the breaks between sets were short and the work was intense. 

I loved it!! 

I loved working with a trainer in general because I didn't really have to think about anything or plan anything. All I had to do was go until Travis said stop (or until I just couldn't go any more, which did happen with the Plank-Jacks and he said I could do mountain climbers instead) and then do the next exercise he had lined up for me. It let me just focus on what I was doing and get into a really nice zone with it. 

We hadn't really planned on keeping on with Travis on a monthly plan, but I'm really tempted to see if we can do one session a week with Travis and maybe trade off who's going to be working with him because that was So Much Fun!! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Workout M#5: Missed Patrick but a good workout! (Also: Caught up again!)

I got to the gym early and was there by myself, so Insanities
were a go and the whole workout was great!
Monday evening, yesterday, I wound out at the gym by myself. Patrick had a lump removed at the dermatologist and they told him not to go to the gym for a couple of days (at least). He was also home from work afterwards, so I didn't have to pick him up on the way home and was able to go straight to the gym. Which meant that I got there rather earlier than I normally do (a very cool thing) and got out a bit earlier than normal. I worked hard, but not as fast as sometimes -- I had to walk around a bit a couple of times to find space to work in or things I needed. But, since Patrick wasn't there waiting for me and I'd gotten an early start, that was okay. :D 

It was a very good workout and I did a full 10 minutes of Insanities at the end (though not in the Playground, which was a bummer). I bumped into Travis (the trainer) briefly, but didn't really get to talk to him. Which was fine -- I still haven't sent him the email (in process) about what I've been working on and what I'm hoping to get out of my sessions with him. I'm hoping to send that off later today. 

Monday's workout was: 
  • Bridge Slides - 3 x 30 seconds - I think I need to raise the time on these to 40 seconds per round. Or maybe reduce the rest time, I'll probably do a bit of both -- maybe 35 seconds of work and 25 of rest. That would work out pretty well. My foot slipped off the slider at one point in the last set, so I probably got cheaped out of a little bit. But not much, so I'm not pressed. 
  • Kettlebell Swing - 3 x 30 seconds - The 25lb kettlebell wasn't on the rack, so I used the 20lb, which was a little light. I should have thrown in a fourth set maybe. Anyway, it was a great lot of fun and I was really trying to work my legs more than anything else. 
  • Step Up & Single Arm Press - 3 x 15 - This is like the Offset Loaded Step Up I do in Workout N PLUS a Shoulder Press, so it's really quite a tough exercise. Especially with a 20lb weight. (Which is the same weight I'm doing for the Offset Loaded Step-Ups as well.) I'm glad I'm not doing other presses this workout or my shoulder would be unhappy. I used the step box for these rather than the actual stairs and that worked out well -- it's a little higher and a little more work. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hip Raise - 3 x 15 - I'm thinking I need to ramp these up a little bit. I know last time I posted about Workout M (#4), 15 seemed about right (because they are hard) but they were easier yesterday. I don't know if this is something where the size of the ball makes a difference -- I typically just use the largest, firmest one available. Anyway, I don't know that ramping them up by doing more of them is the right answer. I might just need to (for these) move slower so I'm holding my legs up with my hamstrings and glutes longer. 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 15 - I'm still with the pair of 15lb dumbbells for these, which is at least in part a convenience thing (one set of weights for a lot of the workout). I might try seeing how I do with 20 lbs (maybe put down 20lbs for the first set and then back to 15 after that) because these are getting a lot easier. I do need to be careful not to drop my upper arms too low -- that puts some weird angles on my shoulders. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Lunge and Rotation - 3 x 15 - I used one 15lb weight for these. Once again, I found that doing them alternating sides (rather than 15 on one side and 15 on the other) was way more exhausting than one side at a time. The first set I did one side at a time then the last two I alternated. That was tough. But very good. 
    • Neutral-Grip Row - 3 x 15 - This uses the pair of 15lb weights. It really is super convenient to only take up one pair of weights for so much of this workout. And it makes me feel like I'm not uselessly sitting on equipment someone else might be able to use. These are still good at this weight -- I need to remember to keep my upper arms flat with my back and to squeeze my shoulder blades together to make the lift happen. Otherwise it's more of an arm exercise. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity doing Step Ups onto the box. For Insanities, I do these for speed and don't use any extra weights. I also step both feet all the way up onto the box, which I don't when I'm doing them for strength training. By the end of this I was a) soaked and b) pooped and ready to head home after a great workout. I also wanted to see how Patrick was doing. 
Next workout is scheduled for Thursday. Normally it would be Wednesday, but the logistics of getting there just weren't going to work out, so it's Thursday this week and that's fine too. It'll be N#5 and I'm looking forward to it. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to use the Playground Room again. :D Goal for the workout: 10 minutes of Insanities and a good, hard workout. 

Workout N#4: Got to play in the Playground Room!!

I had a great workout on Saturday, including Insanities
in the Playground Room
On Saturday we got up early to go to the gym before breakfast -- we had a lot of errands to run the rest of the day and wanted to get the gym in and done before everything went all crazy. 

Unfortunately, working out before breakfast is a tricky balance, especially for Patrick who often needs something of a java-slap to get going in the morning. So he pooped out early, but encouraged me to keep going for as long as I needed. So I did. :D

At that time of morning, there was no class in the room at the gym that I call the Playground. This is the room with the TRX hanging strap system, the battle ropes, the tires for flipping, a couple of heavy bags, and all kinds of fun stuff. Because the room was free, I was able to do my Intervals of Insanity in there, which was absolutely *awesome*!! I had so much fun! After 10 minutes, I'm usually about dead, and I'd certainly worked hard and was wringing with sweat, but I could have gone longer because I was enjoying myself so much!

Saturday's workout was:

  • Push Aways - 3 x 12 - This continues to still be the right number of these because they continue to be surprisingly hard. The key to them seems to be keeping my core firm (appropriate as they're a core exercise) so I don't collapse my lower back. (I'm pretty sure I posted pictures about this last time I wrote about this exercise.) 
  • Dumbbell Push Press - 3 x 12 - This was my third time using a pair of 20lb dumbbells for these and the first time I made my reps with them. That was pretty cool!! 
  • Coordination Rows - 3 x 15 - I did much better this time than the previous workout. I was perfect or nearly so for all three sets. (Perfect as far as standing on one foot the whole time.) I'm really pleased about that. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Dumbbell Front Squat - 3 x 15 - I used a pair of 20 lb dumbbells for these. They are really really hard. One of the things that I'm finding most difficult about squats as I get better at them and can squat deeper is that I'm inhaling as I'm squatting down and my torso is getting kind of compressed. On the flip side, I'm exhaling as I exert to move the weights back up as my chest is getting more extended. It winds out making me feel a little short of breath. Or like my body and my breathing are out of sync. I've been consciously trying to breathe out on the downs and in on the ups, but it's hard to force that. Anyway, made my reps but not ready to move up, at all. 
    • Pullovers - 3 x 15 - I used an adjustable pulley station (at the highest point) on the cable machine rather than the fixed high arm for these. Like I did with the pulldowns, I noticed a *huge* difference in difficulty, though I still don't know why. Both the pulldowns and the pullovers are *tons* easier with the adjustable pulley than the fixed one. Maybe the height is enough different to change the leverage, I don't know. I wound out raising the weight from 30 to 35 lbs after the first set because it was just too easy. I don't remember being close to raising the weight. 
  • Alternating sets of : 
    • Offset Loaded Step Ups - 3 x 15 - I used a 20lb weight for these and did them on the step box again, which is nice because I think it's a little higher than the step on the stairs. I might be ready to go up to 25 lbs with this, though I didn't make a note of it this time, so I'll see what happens after the next time. 
    • Alternating Press and Twist - I used a pair of 8lb dumbbells again and am now feeling like I might be ready to go up to 10lbs next time. I made a note to anyway, which is super cool!! Last time I tried 10 it was too much. It'd be cool if it was right this time. :D 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity in the Playground Room -- I did a couple of rounds making sine waves with the battle ropes, a few doing "slams" with the ropes (rise up on tip-toes then slam the ropes down into the floor), a few flipping a tire up and down the room. It was *awesome*!! I was so blown at the end but could still have kept going just because I was having such a good time. :D (Usually by round six of the Insanities, I'm thinking I can maybe justify stopping at eight, though I don't. In the Playground Room it didn't even cross my mind. 

It really was an excellent workout. Afterwards, Patrick and I went out and got ourselves some camping gear, so we're ready to do some car camping this summer. I'm super excited, though the crappy cold weather last weekend definitely harshed my squee about it a little bit. Fortunately, warmer weather is on the way and I'm really excited to go camping. :D

The next workout after this one was yesterday (Monday) evening and I'm going to post about it in just a little bit so I can be caught up again. :D 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Workout M#4: Got behind again. But had a wonderful workout!

M#4 was as much fun as I've come to expect from this workout,
though I didn't have time, or attention, or something for Insanities.
Workout M #4 was last Wednesday, which was a bit of a cluster-mess of a day -- Patrick couldn't go to work because of the Washington Metro shutdown and that just threw everything into a hat and it hasn't quite recovered. But we did make it to the gym and we did both have a good workout. Patrick finished at almost exactly the same time as I was finishing my main strength workout, and I wasn't sure what I could find space to do (and wanted to do) for the Intervals of Insanity. And I just kind of didn't have the will. 

The workout itself was great though, as Workout M is. 

(And then the rest of the week was a bit of a mess as well, so I didn't have time to post about it and now I'm behind on posting again. Poop!)

Anyway, last Wednesday's workout was: 
  • Bridge Slides - 3 x 30 seconds - I decided to go for a time on these rather than a number because the number was kind of too easy. I can do way more than 15 in 30 seconds and it feels a lot harder. It was made even harder for the first set by the fact that I missed the signal from the timer on my phone when 30 second was up and went for 50 seconds before I checked the time. My hamstrings and glutes were WAY tired after that. I'm just saying. :D The second and third sets I was more attentive to the timer and stuck with 30 seconds. 
  • Kettlebell Swings - 3 x 30 seconds - For both these and the Bridge Slides, I'm doing them like I do the Intervals of Insanity (30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest). So it gets pretty intense. The 25 lb kettlebell was available, so I was able to use the weight I wanted and really work it hard. Of course, that's sort of a hams/glutes exercise as well so it was a lot of a lot by the time I was done with those and the Bridge Slides. 
  • Step Up and One Arm Press - 3 x 15 - I did them on the stairs again because the step boxes were in use and I didn't feel like wrangling the wooden plyo box (I think that's what they're called) from the Serious Weight Room. (Also it's higher and higher is supposed to be rougher on the knees. I don't want to press my gravelly knees too hard too fast, so I want to work up to that, I think.) I used a 20 lb dumbbell for the first set, which was awfully hard in the pressing part. So I went for a 15 for the second 2 sets. I think I  may do that again next time. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hip Raise - 3 x 15 - These don't seem that *hard* but boy do they get me exhausted and sweaty. Maybe it's something in the movement itself. Or having to balance myself on the ball. I don't know but this exercise rocks as far as making me work hard, get sweaty and breathe hard. I'm still not ready to move on from 15 rep sets. This is one where faster isn't really going to ramp it up, exactly, when I'm ready to make it harder. Slower might -- because controlling the slow descent and not just letting gravity do the work would have my legs working more. 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 15 - I used a pair of 15lb dumbbells for this, just like I did the time before. They are still the right amount of weight for me on this exercise, which is cool, because it really is terribly convenient to have the same weight for everything. (Or most of it). These are also really sweaty and quite a lot like work. I love them. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Lunge & Rotation - 3 x 15 - I went up from a 10lb dumbbell to a 15lb dumbbell held up under my chin for these and that felt about right. The second and third sets I did alternating sides (rather than doing all the reps on one side then switching to the other). It's a lot more exhausting that way, though I can't say I understand why. (Except that part of the reason, I'm sure is that I seems to fairly often lose count and when that happens I go back to the last number I'm certain of and start counting again. So it's not unusual for sets to have way more than the required reps. 
    • Neutral Grip Row - 3 x 5 - Once again, I stuck with the pair of  15 lb dumbbells here -- that may be a little light, but the convenience of using only one weight all the way through is kind of awesome. And the Lunges are so much work that something a little light for a change doesn't totally hurt my feelings. 

I was going to post about Workout N #4 in this post as well, but apparently didn't take a picture of the page from my workout log. So that will have to wait. I'll give you a little hint though -- it was a great workout and I had So Much Fun doing Insanities.

Now, for what can best be described as Reasons, I need to work on an email to Travis the trainer about what I want to work on with him. Patrick still needs one more session (on legs) with him, but because of the aforementioned Reasons, he's not going to be able to do it for a little bit. So I'm getting my session(s) next. Which is totally cool. I'm hoping to learn a new *structure* for a month's worth of workouts (though I really don't want to have a "chest" day and an "arms" day and a "legs" day, because that just makes for more muscle soreness, it seems). I'm also hoping to learn some new things I can do for Insanities so I can mix that up more. And I want to figure out how to better incorporate some whole-body and power exercises -- maybe in a way that I can still work everything out just as much but shave one or two exercises off my routine so I'm not going so much longer than Patrick most times. (This workout, I was very pleased because I was finishing my strength workout at the same time he was wrapping up his elliptical workout -- but if I'd been going to do Insanities, I would still have had 10 more minutes of Insanities, plus some cool-down stretches to go.) I may share the email here if it winds out okay.

Next post is going to be about Saturday's Workout N#4. I hope to do that tomorrow! Next workout is M#5 tonight. Goal for the workout -- work hard and do a lot of Insanities!! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Workout N#3: Long day. Good workout!

No time for Intervals of Insanity after N#3, but the workout was good and I
finished at the same time Patrick did! :D 
Monday was a somewhat jumbled and disheartening day, so by the time evening came around I was both ready for a good workout and ready to just curl up and hide at home. As it is, I had a good workout, but because of some errands we had to run after the workout and before getting home (and because we got to the gym a bit late), I didn't do any Intervals of Insanity. 

Sort of a compromise position, I guess. 

The workout itself was very good -- I have gotten past feeling awkward with any of the exercises I'm doing this phase, so it was all smooth and confident, which is a good feeling. The gym was a little bit crowded, but not so much that I couldn't get to the equipment I needed (except one pair of dumbbells, but more on that below). 

The best part is that I did my entire workout and was getting ready to do some Insanities (but wasn't very committed or enthusiastic about it) when Patrick came downstairs from the cardio room. So the timing of my workout and his was close to perfect. That makes me happy!! 

Monday's workout was: 
    An image from the web that shows the tilt/compression of the
    lower back I'm talking about. 
  • Push Aways - 3 x 12 - I keep thinking that I'd like to increase the number of these per set, but then I actually DO them and realize that I'm really doing as many as possible. If my form starts to break down at all I get too much curve in my spine and I don't want that kind of pressure on my spine. (Apparently the curve I'm talking about is called an "anterior pelvic tilt" - the pelvis tilts forward making a compressed curve in the lower back.) It's uncomfortable and doesn't feel like it can possibly be good for my back. Even 12 rep sets is a lot of work on my core to keep my butt down and my pelvis straight so I don't get that compression. More than that really isn't feasible. 
  • Dumbbell Push Press- 3 x 12, 12, 10 -- I used a pair of 20lb weights again, for the second time. I did great on the first set, well on the second, but by the third I was not going to be able to do my final two reps in good form, so I stopped at 10. Still better than I did the first time at 20lbs.
  • Coordination Rows - 3 x 15 - Oddly the first set of these I was really wobbly on both legs. I was steadier the second set and perfect on both legs the third set. I'm not sure what was up with that to be honest. I'm still doing 30 pounds with these -- the weight is only sort of tangentially the point, the balance and coordination is the main thing I'm training. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Front Squats - 3 x 15 - I used a pair of 20lb dumbbells for these. This is another of the exercises where I raised the weight for N#2. This time I did make all my reps with good form. These are super challenging and there's no doubt about that -- keeping my core firm and my torso upright is tough. 
    • Pulldowns - 3 x 15 - I'm still at 30 lbs on these. I'll stick there for next time but may go up to 35 after that. I need to remember the right amount of lean forward to keep the work on my mid-back and not on my triceps (where I don't want it). I've done these every time on the cable machine, but (after the walkthrough) came up with a backup plan in case it was in use. I haven't needed the backup plan yet, but I always have it in mind.
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Offset Loaded Step-Ups - 3 x 15 -- Embarrassingly, after having done step ups in various forms in many phases, I did the first set of these wrong. I'm supposed to hold the weight on the side *opposite* the working leg and I had it on the same side as the working leg for the first side (working my right leg). Then when I switched the weight to my left side, I was still doing the right leg for a bit. Oops. Anyway, I made it up and did it right after that. The weight is still at 20 lbs on these and that's a fine weight I'm happy with. I was on the stairs again just because it's convenient and I didn't feel up to getting the Heavy Duty Weight Lifter Box from the Heavy Duty Weight Lifter Room, though I could have. Physically wouldn't have been a problem, it was just a bit much socially/psychologically. Or something. 
    • Alternating Press and Twist - 3 x 15 - I found the perfect weight on these, which was nice. On Monday, I'd tried to go from a pair of 5lb dumbbells (too light) to 10lbs (TOO heavy). I was going to do 10lbs again, because 5lbs really didn't feel like it was doing much of anything. However, both pairs of 10lb dumbbells in the main weight rack were in use. The secondary weight rack had a pair of 8lb dumbbells and those were Just Right! I'll be looking for them again next time.
As I mentioned above, I didn't do any cardio intervals because of time and just feeling kind of flat, though the workout definitely did help my mood. I'm hoping it does the same again today. I'm mostly tired today and could use an exercise energy-boost! 

Next workout is scheduled for this evening (I'm still caught up on posts!!). It'll be M#4, which means it will be made of awesomeness!! Also, unless things go quite thoroughly pear-shaped, we should get to the gym a little earlier than usual so I should have time for Insanities, which always kick a workout into awesome territory. Goal for the workout: Finish with the strength stuff before Patrick so I can do 10 minutes of Insanities. :D

Monday, March 14, 2016

Workout M#3: Whee! That is all.

I had a fantastic workout on Saturday!! And I finished about the same
time Patrick and Travis did! :D
Patrick was working out with Travis on Saturday (doing chest and back stuff) while I was doing my workout. I am very pleased because we finished at about the same time -- even with me doing 10 minutes of Insanities at the end of the workout. I loved that! I also love seeing him around in the weights part of the gym (rather than not seeing him when he's upstairs in the cardio room). That makes me happy.

Patrick's appointment with Travis was at 10 am, so we went a couple of hours after an early breakfast. The timing worked out pretty well --we weren't even particularly hungry when we finished, so we went home to shower before lunch. (A lot of times we're absolutely *ravenous* when we're walking out of the gym.)

Workout M continues to be great, great fun, but also pretty exhausting. Which is part of the fun. :D

Saturday's workout was:

  • Bridge Slides - 3 x 15 - Fifteen is still the correct number of these, though I'm thinking I'll eventually want to raise the number. They're definitely work on my hamstrings and glutes (keeping my hips up) and also my core (because keeping my core firm keeps strain off my lower back). 
  • Kettlebell Swing - 3 x 30 seconds - I was going to use a 25lb kettlebell this time (like I did last time) but it had gone walkies, so I went with 20 and tried to swing faster. Though it's a pretty big movement so there's a limit to how fast it can possibly go. Still tons of fun with these and that's no joke! 
  • Step Up and Press - 3 x 15 - Once again there wasn't a step box available -- or at least not the one I'm used to. There is a wooden box in the heavy duty weight room and I could totally use that (and need to remember to do so). Anyway, I just used the actual stairs and that worked fine. I did get confused about what I was doing and have to check my instructions -- I started pressing with *both* arms while stepping with one leg. Which would have resulted in 30 shoulder presses on each shoulder (with a pair of 15lb dumbbells). Reviewing my instructions showed me that it's a one-hand gig  -- the hand opposite the one I'm stepping with does the pressing. That's a lot more reasonable -- 30 presses on each shoulder per set would likely have been impossible. Or at least put a severe hurtin' on my shoulders.
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hip Raise - 3 x 15 - For no weights being involved, these are a surprising lot of work. They also have to be done kind of carefully so they don't strain my lower back (by arching it too much). But I can definitely tell they're working the part of the body I want worked, so no complaints. 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 15 - These continue to be fun. And for 15 reps, a pair of 15lb dumbbells continues to be the right weight. By the end of the set they're getting hard, but my form doesn't fall apart or anything. Which is pretty close to perfect. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Dumbbell Lunge and Rotation - 3 x 15 - I might try raising the weight on these next time. I used a 10lb dumbbell held up close to my chin, which isn't very much. I think it's supposed to add some resistance to the rotation portion of the program, because the lunge portion of the program gets plenty of resistance from my body weight. I might experiment with a 15lb weight next time and see how it goes. It might pull me off balance, now I think about it. 
    • Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row - 3 x 15 - A pair of 15lb dumbbells was pretty much the right weight for these again on Saturday, though it'd be nice to go up to 17.5lbs. Unfortunately, this gym doesn't have those and I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to do 20lbs in good form. Also it's mighty convenient to use the same 15lb dumbbells for basically everything this workout. :D 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity (Kettlebell Swings) - I wasn't really planning to do kettlebell swings for my Insanities, as I'd already done them as part of my workout, however, as mentioned above, the step box was missing, so I couldn't do step ups and the kettlebells were right there. (Yes, I know I'd already done Step Ups as part of my workout as well, but I do them so differently for Insanities that they seem totally different.) I used a 15lb kettlebell and really focused on going for speed. Which worked. By the end I was completely blown, which was cool. 
It was a great workout and great fun. And, as I said, I loved having Patrick around -- in and out of the area where I was working. That made me happy. 

Patrick's getting another session with Travis the trainer -- maybe on Wednesday evening (as Travis is taking this weekend off) -- to work on leg exercises. Then he'll be able to put together a couple of good workouts from things he learned. After that -- maybe Thursday or Friday -- I'll get together my thoughts for Travis about what I want to learn. I'll probably post them here before I email them to him, just to get my thoughts together. I've already warned him that I can (and have) write 5 pages on my grocery list, so it might be a long email. But I'll try to stay focused. 

Our next workout is scheduled for tonight (Monday). My goal for the workout is to try and finish about when Patrick does at least the main workout if not the Insanities. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Workout N#2: This phase is AWESOME! (Also, still caught up!)

I raised weights on 3 things between N#1 and N#2 -- too much,
too soon maybe! 
After my first go with Workout N, I had three exercises noted to raise the weights -- the Dumbbell Push Press, the Dumbbell Front Squats and the Alternating Press & Twists. Unfortunately, all of them were starting with such low weights that even the smallest available increase was a huge jump. (From 15lbs to 20lbs is a rather large increase. It's a lot worse for the one that went from 5lbs to 10lbs.) So I wasn't able to make all of my reps in any of the exercises I raised the weights on, though I worked really hard.

I expect that I'll make my reps when I do Workout N again on Monday, so I'm not  *terribly* worried about it.

Despite not making my reps on several sets, it was a great workout and I enjoyed it immensely. I like these phases where I do more reps with lighter weights best because I feel like I'm getting more of a sweaty aerobic workout and maybe doing less of a disservice to my joints (which can get a little strained feeling by the end of a heavy phase). On the other hand, these workouts take longer, by rather a lot -- over the course of 21 sets (3 sets each of 7 exercises), three additional reps per set adds up to kind of a lot. I think of 12 rep sets as my "norm", so doing 15 rep sets is like adding an exercise an a half to my workout.

This may contribute to why these are so awesomely ass-kicky.

I told Travis (the trainer) on Wednesday that he needs to give Patrick longer workouts so he doesn't finish so much before me. :D

Wednesday's workout N#2 was:

  • Push Away - 3 x 12 - These are substantially harder than the bridge slides which is why I only do 12 of these and think I'm going to DIE while doing them. 
  • Dumbbell Push Press - 3 x 12, 10, 11 - Doing these with a pair of 15lb dumbbells was great -- I really felt like I was getting a bit of a snap from bending my hips a little but not doing a front  squat. With the heavier weight, they were a lot more challenging to my core, it was harder to keep the whole movement under control and I just didn't like them much. I'm hoping that another time or two with 20lb weights will get them back to good. Otherwise, I may go back to 15lbs. 
  • Coordination Rows - 3 x 15 - These continue awesome and I'm doing pretty well with them, though doing 15 rep sets is just that much longer standing on one foot, so they're definitely providing a bit of a challenge. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Front Squat - 3 x 15, 12, 15 - I'm using two 20lb dumbbells for these as well. They are a real and genuine challenge, mostly to my core. Though I didn't make my reps on the middle set, I didn't feel like I'd made a mistake raising the weights on these. They were just *hard*. But hard is good right -- if it was easy it wouldn't be doing me any good. 
    • Pullovers (Cable Machine) - 3 x 15 - I'm glad I got Travis to give me some pointers on how to do these. When I did them during my walk-through they were way too much of a quad exercise for my taste (and I didn't feel them as much in my back, which is where I want them). He told me to bend at the hips a little more and that makes a huge difference in where I feel the work happening. I did 30 lbs and that still feels like a good amount. I'm not in any hurry to raise these. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Offset Loaded Step-Up - 3 x 15 - I used a 20lb dumbbell for these. The step boxes usually in the workout area were in use by someone else somewhere else, so I stepped up onto the actual *steps* -- there's a flight of stairs that goes up to the cardio area and I used that. It worked out fine, except that I could stabilize myself a little with tiny touches of my elbow on the railing and I don't want to do that. I want to stabilize myself with, you know, myself. I could move more to the middle, but that would put me in the way of people going up and down the stairs. So no. Hopefully the step box will be back (or I can slip into the aerobics room and grab some) next time. 
    • Alternating Press and Twist - 3 x 15, 12, 12 - The first set I used a pair of 5lb dumbbells, despite having noted last time to go up from that weight, because the 10lb dumbbells were in use. They were WAY too easy. So I switched to 10lb dumbbells after the first set. Then they were too hard to make all of my reps with good form, so I did what I could and that was fine. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity Kettlebell Swings - I wasn't really planning to do all 10 minutes of Insanities, Patrick finished when I was just getting to the last set of Alternating Press and Twist and I was breathing hard and all sweaty like when he finished. Also, the last I'd seen, the workout room I wanted to be in had been packed -- there was a class doing stuff on the floor and some people using the benches and machines and the rest of the floor space. By the time I got in there to do a bit of stretching (which I always do for recovery), though, it was empty. The step box was still gone (and I really didn't want to do more step ups anyway) so I grabbed a 15lb kettlebell and went to town with that. Fun fun fun!! The first few rounds are a little easy, but by the end of it I was definitely nearly dead. I'm thinking of re-programming my round timer so that the first five rounds I'm doing 30:20 (30 seconds of work, 20 seconds of recovery) intervals and finishing with 30:30s  when I'm starting to get pooped. 

I think part of what makes these lighter weight, higher rep workouts so incredibly intense is that I take short set breaks and work fast, so I get an aerobic workout at the same time as the strength workout. So it just turns into a sweaty puddle of greatness! (Which is possibly the weirdest phrase I've come up with in a long time.)

As a special bonus, I feel like I'm losing weight (or at least inches) faster in this phase. Already and it's just been a week.

That's definitely a Thing To Talk With Travis about when my sessions with him come around -- is this "light weight more reps work fast" things doing me as much good as it feels like it is? If so, can I stick with this and maybe pass on the heavy phases which are not so much fun and don't feel like they're helping as much?

Next workout is scheduled for Saturday. Patrick is going to be working on chest and back with Travis while I do Workout M#3. Wheee!! :D :D Maybe if the two of them are in the playground room when I get to Insanities, I can join them in there and play with the battle ropes and tires. Goal for the workout: Keep it intense and keep it fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Workout M#2: Caught up! Also GREAT workout!

What an amazing workout this was! Fun, hard, sweaty! Great stuff!
Workout M really is pretty much a ball! Literally, as I do a pair of exercises (alternating sets) on a Swiss Ball. Also figuratively -- there's some kettlebell swinging and stuff with the sliders and so on.

I'm trying to take shorter breaks between sets to sort of compensate time-wise for more reps per set, so I don't take hugely longer than Patrick does. One of the effects of this is that I'm getting more of an aerobic workout while also getting the strength workout. I love it! Especially when I then end with Intervals of Insanity, so I completely push the aerobic thing over the top. :D

Workout M#2 was on Monday. Patrick was upstairs on the elliptical -- all he has from the trainer right now is some arm and upper body exercises so it's not really enough for him to do strength training. He'll work with Travis on chest and back (I think) on Saturday and legs the Saturday after that.

Then I'll get my session or two with him. That gives me lots of time to finish Phase 7 and to email Travis so he knows what I'm hoping to get out of working with him. Of course, emailing him means I need to figure out what I want.

Anyway, that's for the future! Exciting!

For now...Monday's workout was:

  • Bridge Slides -- 3 x 15 -- These are definitely both a glute/hamstring and a core thing, though I'm not sure I really love them. They don't seem to be as *strenuous* as other core things I do and have done. I don't mind the idea of taking a month where I'm hitting my core a little less hard. I just need to remember that next month I want to do more. 
  • Kettlebell Swings -- 3 x 30 seconds -- I'm doing these like Intervals of Insanity, 30 seconds of work with a 30 second rest between. I did raise the weight from 20 to 25 lbs after the first set. 20lbs was just not enough to really make me feel like I was working hard. Still love these! :D
  • Single Arm Step Up and Press -- 3 x 15 -- I used a 15lb weight for these. The step boxes that were available were shorter than my preference (two steps rather than three), so I did a sprinter-type knee raise as well, to keep them tough. I'll try to remember to bring down an extra level for  the step box before I get started tonight as I'll be doing Step Ups again. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hip Raises -- 3 x 15 -- Because these involve stabilizing myself with my hands on the ground while I'm raising my legs, they actually do a bit of work on my chest and shoulders (which is not a bad thing) as well as my core (to stay stable on the ball) and my glutes/hamstrings. It's all pretty cool, actually. :D I'm still not sure how I'm going to ramp these up when the time comes. 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press -- 3 x 15 -- The pair of 15lb dumbbells really is a great weight for these at this number of reps. Particularly after the step up and press works my shoulders and the Reverse Hip Raises activate my chest while I'm staying steady. This exercise is pretty much a blast. I need to remember to switch to something else at some point. I can't keep doing these forever.  
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Lunge and Rotation -- 3 x 15 -- I used a 15lb weight, held up high under my chin, for these this time. I'm pretty sure that was me going up from M#1. The weight really isn't a huge part of these at this juncture -- 15 lbs is a pretty trivial contribution to my entire body weight which I'm moving around. For some reason, unlike other lunges, these really throw my balance off and I wind out all wobbly and stuff. Which can only get better as I do them, so no complaints. 
    • Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row -- 3 x 15 -- I used a pair of 15lb weights for these, which had that sort of heavenly choir singing feeling that goes with using the right weight. I love that feeling. I think that's part of what contributed to this being such an exhilarating and awesome workout. 
  • Cardio Intervals -- 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity -- As has been my way lately, I did step ups for these. As noted above, the step was lower than usual, which probably pulled the teeth of the exercises done for strength building. I don't think it's so bad for the Insanities though, because with the step lower means I can go faster with the stepping, Which is good. And with the lower box, I was able to  add a lateral stepping component to it (so I did an interval leading with my right leg, one leading with the left, two going side to side (which doesn't have the lead leg effect), repeat that grouping once, then finish with another right and left lead to make 10. It worked out great! 
So that was my awesome workout on Monday. A big blast of fun and a hugely awesome workout. Loved it!! 

I'm really looking forward to N#2 this evening -- I get to do Coordination Rows again. I'm looking at some other options for Insanities as well -- including maybe swinging a lighter kettlebell (like 15 lbs) for 30:30 intervals, doing something on the sliders that would be more of a whole-body move, and maybe getting a jump rope. I also keep hoping that the playground room will be free so I can do my Insanities alternating between the battle ropes and flipping a tire, but there's usually a class in there on the evenings. (Thinking of it, that's something to have on the list to get from Travis -- more Insanity options so I can mix that up!) Goal for the workout is to keep moving -- short set breaks and no sitting -- so I keep up the aerobic work throughout. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Workout N #1: Another good workout, even without the Kettlebells

Workout N is a good workout. And look, I got to do Insanities! 
I did my first time with Workout N on Saturday, March 5. We were at the gym *way* early so Patrick could work with Travis the trainer (8am appointment). I kind of liked working out before breakfast, though I'm not sure how Patrick felt about it. (He did drink a big coffee-beverage thing, so he wasn't entirely without anything to perk him up some.)

I had a great time at the gym, though I took longer than Patrick and Travis did. I was so hoping I'd be speedy quick and finish before them. Unfortunately, whenever I get a couple of workouts together so that I'm finishing around the same time Patrick does, I add something or change them up and we're back to him having to wait for me for several minutes. In this case, when I moved into the new workout notebook, I changed around my warmup routine (took out a couple of things that didn't feel like they were doing anything and added a couple of things to replace them, but those take longer) and my recovery stretches (added a few). And I'm doing 15 rep sets instead of 12 rep sets.


Maybe I need to take Travis aside and put the idea to him that he should help Patrick figure out longer workouts, so he doesn't always finish first. :D

(Just kidding, babe!)

Saturday's workout (N#1) was:

  • Push Away - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, though bear in mind that I'm doing the ones at the end of the video, in a full push-up position with both hands on slides.) This is definitely a dynamic core stabilization exercise -- they're also called Plank Push Aways. You start out in a push-up position and each hand, alternately forward as far as you can reach. The book (New Rules of Lifting For Life) says that if your back is getting strained to limit the range of motion, which I'm definitely having to do. Still these are good. I was doing them in the last phase, once I bought myself some slides (cheap from the Sports Authority).
  • Dumbbell Push Press- 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of this here.) I was doing these in Phase 4 and Phase 5 with heavier weights and fewer reps, by rather a lot (I started with 2 x 5 in Phase 5). That makes me want to raise the weight -- I don't want to strain my shoulders, but I also don't want to accomplish a whole lotta nothing. A pair of 15lb dumbbells felt like not much. I noted for these to go up while I was working out on Saturday, so I think I have them down for a pair of 20lb dumbbells next time. Which should work out better. 
  • Coordination Rows (Single-Leg, Single-Arm Cable Rows) - 3 x 15 - I took a month and a bit off of these and was a little worried how they'd work coming back to them. As it turns out they went great -- I wasn't completely perfect at them as far as having to put my foot down to catch my balance, but I was nearly perfect at more reps. And I was able to raise the weight. On the whole, these were really good and I'm happy to be doing them again. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Dumbbell Front Squats - 3 x 15 - (You can see someone doing these here, only instead of kettlebells, I'm using a pair of dumbbells.) This is another one where I used a pair of 15lb dumbbells for the first time in the workout and made a note for them to go up. Though I don't want to go up too fast. When I did these last, I was doing sets of 8, so this is rightly a lower weight than then. I didn't like these all that much last time, but I think I'll like them better now. They're still a lot of core work for what I'm doing as a quad exercise, but with the lighter weight and more reps, I'm getting good quad work out of them (working fast) and getting the core work. So they're working a lot better for me than when I abandoned them in Workout J. 
    • Pullovers - 3 x 15 - I have two possibilities for these, one with the cable machine and one with dumbbells on a Swiss Ball. Sometimes the cable machines are full, so having a backup plan seemed like a good idea. (You can see the dumbbell version here, only I'll be doing them on a Swiss ball instead of a bench. You can see the cable machine version here, only I'm using a rope handle and adding a bit of a separation and twist with the hands at the bottom. In both cases, I recommend clicking on the "Female" tab above the video window -- the lighting is better and what she's doing is more like what I'll be doing.) I've never done these before and I think I'm going to like them. They're definitely working my back differently from the Lat Pulldowns and the ChinUps I've been doing and I like that tons. I'm starting with a total of 30 lbs -- either in the form of the cable machine setting or two dumbbells.
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Offset Loaded Step Ups - 3 x 15 - I don't have time to scour the Internet for a good video, so have a really not very close one instead. That's here. However, instead of stepping up onto a bench, which my knees won't tolerate, I'm using a step-aerobics type step thingy, and instead of two dumbbells held at hip height, I'm holding one at shoulder height. I used one 20 lb weight for these and that was not enough -- though the step was lower than would be my first choice as well, so that may have been the problem, to be honest. I may try to raise both the weight and the step next time. 
    • Alternating Press and Twist - 3 x 15 - (You can see pictures of what I'm doing here.) I really think I like this one -- the straight up shoulder presses kind of hurt my shoulders a bit (and I'm doing some with the combination/total body move Step Up and Press in Workout M) and these are much less of a strain in that regard. And the rotation is good for activating muscles in different ways. I'm really light on the weights (my upper body strength is getting better but is still Not Good). I used a pair of 5lb weights on Saturday and will go up to 10lb weights next time. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 10 x 30:30 Intervals of Insanity with Step Ups -- When I'm doing Step Ups for Insanities, I do them a bit differently -- I step up with one foot, then the other, then down with the first and down with the second and repeat that as fast as possible for 30 seconds. I alternate which foot I lead with because it's the same throughout the interval. Pretty soon, I'm going to reduce the rest period to 25 seconds soon and I now have an interval timer app on my phone which will make that Super Simple. Yay!  I do love doing the Insanities, even as I hate making Patrick wait for me. 
That was Saturday's workout. I'm finishing this post on Tuesday morning. There will be another post later about Workout M#2 which I did last night (because it was just that awesome). 

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday and it will be N#2. I'm looking forward to it and I hope it will be as awesome as Monday's was. Good stuff here! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Workout M #1: Phase 7 begins

New Phase, new workout log book! It's a little larger and
a little better made. I'm pleased! 
I started Phase 7 on Monday with my walkthrough -- one set of each exercise in both workouts so I know my starting weights and work through some of the "What am I DOING?" issues. I'm going for a lower-weight-higher-reps phase this time -- doing 15 reps per set as opposed to the 12 I was doing in Phase 6. .

(This was perhaps a bit of a bad decision, because I'd been very excited that I was finishing about the same time Patrick was and getting to do Intervals of Insanity (cardio intervals). If I take longer (which more reps inevitably will), it'll be harder for me to do Insanities without making him wait. 

Phase 7 may wind out getting shortened (though I doubt it) -- Patrick and I signed up for 5 sessions with Travis (one of the trainers at our gym). Patrick is getting the first two sessions so he can work with Travis on a program with weights that he can do. Patrick has been All Cardio All The Time for a couple of months and I'm glad he's going to be getting some resistance exercise.

The third and fourth sessions with Travis, I'll get so he and I can figure out a new structure for my workouts -- I've been changing workouts approximately monthly for approximately six months but the structure has been the same. Both of the workouts start with: Core (either stable or dynamic), Power (one workout works upper body power the other lower body power), Combination (something that moves multiple muscle groups). After that one does:  Hamstrings/Glutes (both legs at once), Chest, Quads (one leg at a time), and Upper Back. The other workout does: Quads (both legs at once), Lats, Hams/Glutes (one leg at a time), Shoulders. I've been mixing up what slots into those slots, but not changing the basic structure.

I want to get a new structure from Travis. Or a new basic *theory*. Even if I alternated -- one phase following this structure and one phase doing something completely different that seems like it would be good, right? I'm going to send Travis an email about a week before he and I start working together.

Anyway, since the next month is going to be spent working with him, and will start with Patrick working with him, I decided to go ahead and do Phase 7, even if I cut it short.

(For completeness: The fifth session will either be for Patrick and I to have a workout together with Travis OR if one of us needs more time with him it can go to that person.)

Anyway, Wednesday was Workout M #1 and it was a heap of fun! Workout M has some of the elements that made Workout K so much fun (Kettlebell Swings and Swiss Ball Chest Presses), so I think I'm going to really enjoy it.

Workout M #1 was:
  • Bridge Slide - 3 x 15 - (You can see a photo and a description of this here.) Hip Bridges (also known as Hip Raises) are an exercise I've done as a glutes/hamstrings exercise. With the addition of putting my feet on sliders and extending my legs, alternately, I'm doing them now as a dynamic stability thing for working my core by staying still in the face of moving parts. They're pretty effective for that. Also a good glutes and hams exercise, though I do more of that later in the workout as well. 
  • Kettlebell Swing - 3 x 30 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, except I'm not doing them one-handed.) I'm using a 20lb kettlebell and I do them with both hands, facing a blank wall with an emergency exit door (rather than the mirrors that are on most of the walls) -- that way I've got extra grip on the kettlebell and if it does fly out of my grip it won't hurt anyone or anything. I was doing 2 sets of 10 last Phase, now I'm doing 3 sets of 30 seconds with a 30 second rest in between. These are an absolute blast -- it's all "Wheeee!!" as the weight is flying around. On days when I'm not doing them as part of my workout, I might do them as part of my Intervals of Insanity because they're That Much Fun! 
  • Single Arm Step Up and Press - 3 x 15 - (You can't really see a video of someone doing this here, though you can see a video of someone doing the single-arm shoulder press part. Just imagine that he's stepping up onto a step with the leg opposite the arm with the weight.) I'm doing these as a combination or whole-body exercise and they're pretty effective for that. Not especially fun, but I've been neglecting my shoulders a bit and it's good to get back to them. I'm using a 15lb dumbbell for them right now. I'm not sure when that will go up -- I don't have strong shoulders and I don't want to hurt them. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hyperextension (Reverse Hip Raise) - 3 x 15 - (You can see a video of something along the lines here only I'm doing them on a Swiss/Stability Ball instead of a weight machine.) These were awkward like *crazy* at first -- I couldn't figure out how to get my belly on the Swiss ball so that I was doing anything at all with the reverse hyperextensions. Once I figured out that the ball needed to be under my hips, and I was stabilizing myself with my arms, they worked fine. No weight (and I can't quite see how adding weight will be possible, though maybe I can hold a dumbbell between my feet or something. My guess is that ramping these up is going to be a matter of increasing reps. 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 15 - Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) Basically, these are like dumbbell bench presses only instead of a bench the upper body is on a Swiss (stability) ball. They're actually kind of great -- though they're pretty tricky. I like these a lot and it seems like it's going to be fun doing two Swiss Ball exercises alternating. I used a pair of 15lb dumbbells for them and that's a good weight at this number of reps. In the previous phase, doing 12 reps, I'd gotten up to 20lb dumbbells, and I'll probably be back there soon. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Dumbbell Lunge and Rotation - 3 x 15 - (You can see how to do this here. It's not really a video, but you can move the slider along under the picture and he'll move.) I'm working on some extra rotational movements this phase  and this is one of the ones I'm dong for this. I'm hoping to get my obliques and sort of twisty muscles in on the getting healthier party. Also they're kind of more fun than regular lunges. :D I used a 10 lb weight for this, because I'm not sure how I'm going to do with the front/high weight with the lunges. I'll probably be going up almost immediately though. 
    • Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row - 3 x 15 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) I'm using a pair of 15lb dumbbells for these, which seems about right for 15 rep sets at this juncture. We'll see how quickly I go up with these. I haven't done rows in a while and when I was I wasn't using a neutral grip palms in toward each other like the dude in the video). I actually like these better than the palms back rows I was doing. 
  • Cardio Intervals --- Alas, though I have been getting right back in the habit of doing Intervals of Insanity, I couldn't do any last Wednesday, as we didn't get to the gym until nigh on 7pm and didn't want to be there until forever. So I skipped the Insanities. 
Finishing the post several days later: Coming up soon -- a post on Workout N #1, which I did on Saturday while Patrick was working with Travis. Workout N is going to be good too, but it doesn't have Kettlebell Swings or anything on the Swiss Ball, so it's not nearly as much fun. :D 
Tonight's workout will be Workout M #2 and I'm quite looking forward to it.