Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Workout P #2: Kicked it up...and down

No time for Insanities on Monday, but every other thing about
 the workout was amazing! 

We didn't get to the gym until fairly late on Monday and needed to stop on the way home from it, so I had to skip the Insanities at the end. On the other hand, I did a lot of crazy awesome stuff during it so I really don't feel like I missed out on anything, really. :D 

There weren't many people working out there, so I didn't have to think too hard about equipment or places to work out. There wren't any of the plastic step boxes like the one pictured on the right in the workout rooms (I think there's a step class on Mondays) so I was decided to use the plywood box I've seen in the weight room. (I think the big lifter type people use them for things like Bulgarian squats.) It was higher than the actual stairs by rather a lot and lower than I usually use for push-ups. Which means it worked out to be entirely awesome for both.

But that's getting ahead of things. :D

Monday's workout was:

  • Slider Pikes - 3 x 12, 10, 10 - I'd like to work my way up to twelve of these in each set, but they're really kind of strenuous and hard. I think next time I'l write myself down for 11 -- maybe that will encourage me to make that extra push every set. Though I am pushing really hard. 
  • Kettlebell Swings - 3 x 30 seconds (30 second rests between sets) - I'd been doing these with a 30 lb kettlebell, but it was in use elsewhere, so I used a 35lb kettlebell instead. That extra 5 lbs made some kind of difference. These were a great workout and I could pretty much feel it *everywhere*. I'm sticking with the 35 for now. :D 
  • Reverse Lunge and Cable Row - 3 x 12 - I used 35lbs for these and it was good. I'm sticking with rowing as I'm standing back up, not while I'm in the lunge. It just seems like a more fluid and graceful (to the extent "graceful" is in my range) movement that way. I did remember to row on the same side as the leg I'm stepping back with so I didn't screw them up. Last time I said that 35 lbs was the right weight and likely to be for a while. But after yesterday, I feel like maybe I'm ready to move up. Maybe I'll give it one more time at 35 and then move up after that. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • BOSU Squats - 3 x 10, 12, 12 - It is possible that I did 12 the first set as well, but I couldn't remember for sure and didn't want to give myself credit for something I didn't do, so I wrote down 10. I was noticeably steadier this time than the first time doing them. Though still not anyone's idea of solid. On the whole I also got more steady as I went through the sets, except that I got distracted watching Travis (the trainer) walking around with another client and almost fell off the BOSU in the third set. I come off of these feeling all kinds of wobbly in the legs -- which is probably a good sign that I'm working them hard even though I'm not adding any weight to them. 
    • Swiss Ball Dumbbell Pullovers - 3 x 12 - I'm not sure that these are quite hitting the *pullover* muscles -- certainly they feel very different from the cable-machine pullovers I was doing last phase. I think if I focus on which muscles I want to be working, I can keep the effort where it belongs (in my back) rather than where I don't really want it (in my triceps). I used a pair of 10lb dumbbells for this, which is a nice step up from the pair of 8lb dumbbells I used the first time. So yay for that. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Crossover Step - Ups - 3 x 12 - I used a pair of 10lb dumbbells for this as well, which is not a lot of weight for me when doing Step Ups, but I wanted to get used to the move before I started going up -- because coordination is not a strength for me and the movement requires some. I'll go up next time, because 10lbs was pretty light and, while I got a good workout from them, I can definitely do more. 
    • Push Ups - 3 x 8, 9, 9 - I'm wildly pleased with myself about the push ups. My plan for workout P was always to do the push-ups off the same step I was stepping up on to. I wasn't able to make that work with P#1 because I was on the actual stairs. So I used a weight bench, which is the lowest thing I've done push ups off of. If you remember, workout P#1 I was really pleased because I'd never done 10 push ups off of a weight bench before. On Monday I did one set of 8 and two sets of 9 off the plywood box which was 5 inches lower than a weight bench. (I made a marks on my leg at each height and measured the distance between them when we got home, so I'm pretty confident about that distance. :D Since July 2015 I've gone from waist high to low calf. I'll be able to do push ups off the floor in another few months probably. Then I can start doing Burpees if I want to. 
Even without Insanities, I was completely soaked and completely winded by the end of the workout. It was amazing. I told Travis about my triumph with the push ups and showed him the marks I'd drawn on my leg. Once I explained, he was super pleased for me and gave me a high five. :D ::bounce bounce::

It was an excellent workout and I rocked my goal to be more steady on the BOSU. (I'm trying to make my goals more concrete because "Be awesome" isn't very objective or measurable.)

Next workout is scheduled for tonight. It's going to be O#3, which means Lunge Pulses and Leg Curls on the machine and Squat and Cleans. Goal for the workout -- go hands free on all sets of Lunge Pulses. Also, hopefully do Insanities again -- I want to do BOSU Burpees and kettlebell swings again. :D 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Workout #3 with Travis!

More awesomeness working out with Travis! 

On Saturday, I was able to work out with Travis again -- this is the last of the sessions we've paid for with him (alas) so I won't be able to do it again for a while, but I've hugely enjoyed the sessions I've had with him. And have gotten some great exercises to work into my own workouts. 

Saturday's workout was no exception -- we were focusing on back and shoulders (I was hoping for a bit of chest as well, but we didn't have enough time).

Once again, I can't remember all that we did (and don't know the names of everything anyway). 

I know we did these (in order of how much I loved them, not at all in the order in which we did them): 
  • Arnold Press - 2 or 3 x 12, I think -- I think I had a pair of 10lb dumbbells. I don't know what made these so much fun but they were pretty much pure awesome. (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) Maybe I liked the twist because it took some of the pressure off the pure shoulder action of a shoulder press. I don't know. I just know I loved them. These are going to show up next phase without a doubt. 
  • Gorilla Raises - 2 or 3 x 12 - I was using 5lb dumbbells for these. Travis called them Gorilla raises. I can't find them on under that name. The closest thing I can find there is a front raise (you can see a video here), but instead of holding the hands with the palms toward the ground at the top of the raise the palms are facing in (thumbs up at the top of the raise). These are also a lot of fun. I think they'll be in the same slot in my workouts (shoulders) as the Arnold Press, so they won't be in the next phase, but maybe the one after that. :D Travis thought I could probably do 10 lbs but because it was late in the workout he'd let it slide. I told him I thought I could do 8, but the 8lb dumbbells were in another room and not worth going to get.
  • Iso-Presses - 2 x 12 - I think that's what Travis called them. Basically you hold your arms with your upper arms parallel to the floor, hands raised with weights. Keeping your upper arms parallel to the floor do three presses on one side, then three on the other. The non-working arm always has the upper arm parallel to the floor. This is definitely on where having a mirror to watch your form is a good thing. 
  • Isolateral Rows on some sort of big lever-action, plate loaded row machine - 3 x 12 (I think) -Those were pretty good. I started with a pretty light weight then he added a bit once I'd done a set and had the feel of what I was doing. This is a back exercise and all about squeezing the shoulder blades together. Also about keeping control lowering the weights. 
  • Lat Pulldowns (seated) - 3 x 12 - We did these on the cable machine, but at the seated pulldown station. He had me using a D-handle (rather than a long bar handle) which was kind of neat actually and for the second and third sets added a twisting action that was really cool. For the second and third sets he also added 15 lbs. Ooff! I'd been going to ask for five more. 
  • Seated Cable Rows  - 3 x 12 - Again on the cable machine and again with the D-handles. I think we did some twisting action but honestly can't remember for sure. This time when I asked for more weight, I convinced him that I really could only do 5 more lbs, not 15. :D 
  • Pulldowns - 3 x 12 - On the cable machine with a rope handle though we didn't add the twisting motion that makes possible with them. I was doing pulldowns in Phase 7 so these were pretty familiar and I liked them. 
  • Some sort of diagonal raise thing which was really weird and difficult on the cable machine but just fine and kind of awesome with dumbbells. The weight was basically the same, I just had a devil of a time with the cable machine on these. Weirdly, it was straining my *wrist*. Huh. 
  • Back Extensions with a Row - 2 x 15, 10 - I'm not sure about the count. These are basically back extensions/hyperextensions with a bar held in the hands (about 20 lbs) at arms length. When in the up position I was doing a basic row with the bar for the first set (those were just fine and nice). For the second set he had me doing a sort of twist component -- down, up, right, down, up left, that's one rep. That was *tough* but good. I'll probably be doing something along these lines in a future workout. I liked them and they moved a Whole Lot Of Me. 
I'm pretty sure that's all I can remember. Pretty sure. 

Well we also did five minutes warming up on the elliptical machine and five minutes (I think) on the Jacob's Ladder, which is a ladder climbing machine. Sort of. The Jacob's ladder was a lot of fun -- one of those things that as long as I wasn't thinking about doing it I was fine, but as soon as I started to notice where my feet and hands were gong, I'd get all un-coordinated like crazy. 

Once again, I've got some new things to take forward with me, which I totally love! Arnold Presses! Gorilla Raises! The rowing back extensions! All of those were awesome. 

Next workout is scheduled for tonight -- Workout P #2. That'll be squats on the BOSU and the devilish slider pikes and crossover step ups (so I need to make sure I have a step). Should be great! :D Goal for the workout -- be more steady on the BOSU! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Workout O#2: Kicked up the Insanities again! :D

I made some changes from what I wrote in as I was going, but
only to make it better, not to wimp out on anything. 
Workout O is definitely a lot of fun -- I seem to enjoy it more when I'm working hard. If I'm doing something that's too easy, I kind of mentally check out and the time drags a bit. If I'm working hard and sweating a lot, I wind out more excited and happier at the end. I'm not sure I have a good explanation for that.

Anyway, by that measure this is a great workout -- there are really hard, sweaty, get me moving type exercises, but also some that are a little quieter so I can get a breathing spell from time to time. And be ready for some kicking Intervals of Insanity at the end. 

That's pretty much exactly how it was yesterday!

Yesterday's workout was: 
  • Russian Twists - 3 x 12 - I used a 12lb medicine ball for these, which was both a good weight and a good size to be holding out at arms length. I liked that. I'd like to learn more things to do with the medicine ball. These are the Russian Twist variation that I learned from Travis (the trainer) that involve a "skytouch" (a/k/a raising the ball to the sky) as one step in moving it back and forth. I think I'm going to be ready to raise the number of twists (so I work my core harder) before I'm ready to raise the weight (because 12lbs is about right for the skytouches at this juncture). 
  • Explosive Push-Ups - 3 x 8 - I did these off a weight bench and was really able to do 8 of them in each set. I'm trying to keep my core tight so my butt stays down at least during the down part of the push-up. I also need to be careful to keep my arms straight down from my shoulders, which can be a little bit challenging with my hands on a bench, but it makes a huge difference in which muscles I'm working. 
  • Squat & Clean - 3 x 12 - The first time I did workout O I did these as Deadlift & Cleans, but since I'm doing another exercise in this workout that works both hamstrings and glutes together, that seemed a bit much of a muchness so I changed it to squats this time. That worked really well. I raised the weight some for these -- first time I used an empty Olympic bar (44lbs) for the first set, then added 2.5lbs at each end of the bar (5 total, obviously) for the second and third sets. Last night, I added 5lbs at each end of the bar for a total of 54 lbs. I think I'll be staying there for a while. I was able to make my reps, but those are a definite challenge. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Leg Curls (Machine) - 3 x 12 - I did the first set at the same weight I used for O#1 -- 45 lbs. Then I raised it to 50lbs for the second and third sets because I wanted a bit more of a challenge. Going up by five pounds definitely gave me more of a challenge, so I've got no complaints there. These really do seem to work a totally different part of my hamstrings than the Deadlifts, Hip Raises, and Hyperextensions I've been doing in this exercise category. I'm pleased about that. I'm a little less jazzed about the fact that I've got these great big, whole-me moving muscles working but I'm lying on my belly and they're just moving the little stack of weights. But that's okay. I do work hard.
    • Front Raises - 3 x 12 - I used a pair of 8lb dumbbells. I might talk to Travis about these because I feel as though my shoulders and upper back should be getting stronger than they are. Or getting stronger faster. I'm not sure I've gotten much in the way of progress as far as the weights go on any of the raise-type moves. Vexing. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Lunge Pulses - 3 x 12, 15, 15 - These are hard, but I'm clearly getting better at them. I don't think I'm really good for holding weights while doing them at this juncture, so I went up to 15 for the second and third sets, because 12 wasn't quite hard enough. For the third set, in accordance with my goal for the workout (to do one set without holding onto something to help keep my balance), I let go of the "horns" of the hyperextension station and put my hands on my hips. That worked just fine and I think I can do that for every set going forward. :D 
    • Rear Lateral Raises - 3 x 12 - I used the 8lb dumbbells for these raises as well. These work a different part of the back from the front raises, which is why both are useful. Just like the Front Raises, though, I feel like these muscles should be getting stronger faster than they are. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 5 x 40:20 Kettlebell Swings alternated with 5 x 30:30 BOSU Burpees Intervals of Insanity - OMG!! This was the most awesome Insanities! I've mentioned before that when I'm doing Kettlebell Swings as a cardio exercise, I go for speed and use a lighter weight. So I was using a 15lb kettlebell. I might raise that up to 20lbs next time, just to keep the intensity up. The cool part was that I added BOSU Burpees (rather than the step box, which is plenty fun, but it's nice to mix things up). You can see a video of someone doing BOSU Burpees here. She's even doing them almost exactly the way Travis taught me (without the push up at the bottom) except I wasn't doing the jump at the end. I think I need to start that next time, though because that would make it even more awesome. Those were the best and most insane Insanities!! :D :D 
So I ended the workout on a high note and felt so incredibly fierce at the end of it was like I could take on the world. As it was I took on dinner and dishes and doing a bit of drawing for a coworker. Which is something. :D 

Next workout is scheduled for Saturday -- I get to work out with Travis on Saturday! I asked him to focus on upper body (specifically chest, shoulders, and back) so I can learn some new moves to incorporate into future workouts. I can also ask him what I'm doing wrong that I'm not getting noticeably stronger with the raises and such. Goal for that workout -- have fun, work hard, and let Travis do the thinking. :D :D

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Workout P#1: This'll be a fun one too!

No Insanities because time was short, but the workout was
intense enough anyway!:D

Monday evening was my first time with Workout P. I rearranged some of the pieces in my structure when I made these Phase 8 workouts -- I think I wanted not to have the Explosive Push Ups on the same day as regular Push Ups. Maybe.

I'm honestly (and sadly) not sure. I don't remember (and it was just a week ago).

Anyway, I did something and it's got both workouts feeling really good to me right now. At least after one go at each of them. Certainly Workout P was a lot of fun -- and a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Some of these moves are *hard* and it's really satisfying to be able to do them.

This is the fun post about Workout P -- with the links to videos (or at least pictures) if I can find them.

Monday's workout was:

  • Slider Pikes - 3 x 10 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, though I have a pair of sliders rather than using a towel. Of course the floors at the gym aren't so slippery that a towel would work.) I'm not nearly as smooth as the lady in the video and I don't have anything resembling *speed* at these. These are in here as a core exercise, and they're good for that, though I also feel them in my quads. This is one of the moves I learned from Travis. This is one of those exercises that I don't exactly *enjoy* in the moment, but I feel really fierce after I've done them because dammit they're hard!! I'm ultimately hoping to get to sets of 12, or even more, but 10 was as much as I could do on Monday. I also want to work on speed and fluidity -- so I might be doing these for more than one Phase. 
  • Kettlebell Swing - 3 x 30 seconds (with 30 second rests) - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, only I'm doing them with both hands on the kettlebell rather than one.) These are in here for a lower-body power exercise, and they're awesome for that. They'are also awesomely fun which makes them a winning addition to any workout. I used a 30 lb kettlebell for these on Monday and that will probably be right for at least another couple of workouts. With that weight, these really are both a cardio and a leg workout. (When I do these for Insanities, I use a much lighter weight (15lbs instead of 30) so I can go faster. I might need to move that up to 20 lbs though. 
  • Reverse Lunge and Cable Row - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, though I do them a little bit differently. And maybe also screw them up a tad.) If you watch the video (it's 14 seconds long, so go ahead), you'll see that a) she's rowing while she's going down into the lunge and b) she's rowing on the same side that her leg is stepping back into the reverse lunge. My instructions (from The New Rules of Lifting for Life have me rowing while I'm coming back up out of the lunge -- that's how I do it differently. Instructions are clear that I'm *supposed* to be rowing with one the same side as the leg I'm stepping back with, but I'm not entirely positive I've been doing that right. I'm a little slow about left and right (I'd love to find exercises that would help me with that) and which side of my body should be doing things. (I very likely failed the Hokey Pokey as a child.) Anyway, this is in here (as it has been before) as a combination exercise that uses my legs, core and shoulders. It's kind of a break after the Pikes and the Kettlebell Swings, but not too much of one. I did 35lbs which is about as much as my shoulders and back can do. I might try to ramp it up by speeding up until I can move more weight. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • BOSU Squats - 3 x 10 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) The woman in the video is much less wobbly than I am, but she might be making it easier on herself by sticking her arms out in front like that. That might make the balance easier. I do these fairly close to a wall -- partly to make use of Travis's trick to keep my torso from collapsing forward while squatting and partly so I can catch my balance if I start to pitch totally over. Which I didn't do on Monday. The amazing thing is that I noticed *definite* improvement in my stability just between the first and last sets. The first set took forever because I was totally having to reset my balance between each squat. By the third I was getting maybe a little bit of continuous movement going on. Maybe. This is a move I learned from Travis and I love it with a passion, even though it's hard and I wobble like a baby giraffe on a teeter-totter on it. 
    • Stability Ball Pullovers - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) For once, the video shows pretty much exactly what I'm doing. Only I'm doing it with less weight. On Monday, I used a pair of 8lb dumbbells. I'll probably go up to a 20lb dumbbell next time, because that wasn't too hard. These are in the "chin-ups, pulldowns, pullovers" lat exercise slot in my workouts. The 16lbs I lifted on Monday wasn't enough for me to feel like I was doing much though. That's why I want to go up. I was lifting 30lbs with the standing cable-machine pullovers I was doing last phase, so I'll probably go up pretty quickly once I get used to the move on the stability ball. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Crossover Step Ups (with Dumbbells) - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) This is my "single leg at a time hams and glutes" exercise, though it also puts some work on the inner thighs. And the whole balance apparatus is pretty well worked as well. When I did the walkthrough, there was a step box (I included a picture a couple of posts ago) and I was able to make it a little higher than I had been (4 layers rather than 3) and that was a good challenge for these (but not as high as stepping up onto a weight bench, which I think would strain my knees too much). I deliberately have the weights pretty light while I'm getting my balance together and getting my body used to the move; Monday I used a pair of 10lb dumbbells, which is pretty trivial given that I'm moving my whole body weight as well. On Monday, the step-box stuff wasn't there, so I was on the actual stairs -- which are a lot lower, which was unsatisfactory. It's also a little more confined (because I stay to the edge of the stairs so folks can go up and down) so I can't balance as well. I'll make sure I bring down the bits for a 4 level step box for this next time. 
    • Push Ups - 3 x 10, 10, 8 - I'm not going to find a video of these. You know what push ups are. Since July, when the best I could do with push ups was off a bar at about waist high, my plan based on the walkthrough was to do these on the same 4-level step box I did the step ups on. Since the box wasn't available on Monday, I did them on a weight bench.  As noted above, that's a little higher and therefore a little easier. Dang it. On the other hand, I've never been able to do 10 on a bench before, so yay! These are obviously the chest exercise in my workout format -- I was doing the Swiss Ball Chest Presses for the last couple of phases but it seemed like time to get back to Push Ups, though I don't exactly enjoy them. I do find satisfying that I"m getting better at them. 
  • Cardio Intervals -- Nope. I was kind of pooped, there wasn't any obvious place where I was going to be able to swing a kettlebell and the step wasn't available and we'd been running late already. I got plenty winded throughout the workout though.
I may have achieved something like perfection with this phase -- both of these workouts are a lot of fun and very challenging. :D Woot! 

In related news: Patrick has decided he's going to stay with cardio work on the elliptical for the foreseeable future, which means that I get our last session with Travis on Saturday! :D I've asked him for something that's chest, back, shoulders focused so I can get some new moves to do in future workouts. I'm enjoying immensely all the stuff I've learned from him so far! 

Next workout, however, is scheduled for this evening. It'll be O#2 and I expect it to be fantastic -- Lunge Pulses and Squat Cleans and Russian Twists and all manner of fun things. :D Goal for the workout -- see if I can do one set of the lunge pulses without holding on to anything. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Workout O#1: Kicking off Phase 8

The workouts this phase are going to be quicker than the
previous ones -- 12 reps instead of 15 makes more of a
difference than I would have thought possible. 
This phase's workouts are going to be a little tough to introduce, because some of the exercises are ones I learned from Travis and I don't know that I'll be able to find good video clips of people doing them. We'll see. 

On the other hand, I think I like that the workouts themselves are a little shorter because of 12 reps per set (and the same number of sets) instead of 15. That surprised me with how much of a difference it made, though I liked the longer sets with lighter weights, so I'll be doing it again. 

Saturday was a kind of crazy day -- we had tickets for the baseball game in the afternoon (despite the ultra-cruddy weather) and had to do our Saturday errands (grocery shopping, mostly) and work out before we had to leave for the game at 1. (As it turned out the game was postponed until May on account of the cruddy weather and we went to a museum instead, but that's a whole different story). 

Anyway, I was glad that the workout went pretty quickly because, among other things, it meant I had a quick five minutes available for Insanities at the end. I'd thought I was going to have to skip those entirely. 

Anyway, since this is the Good Post with all the details about the exercises, I'm just going to jump right in. 

Saturday's workout was: 
  • Russian Twists with "Skytouches" - 3 x 12 - (You can see pictures and a description of Russian Twists without the Skytouches here.) I think the Skytouches are either Travis's addition, or his term for something that I don't know how to look up. Basically between taking the weight (a 12 lb dumbbell or medicine ball seems to be the right weight for now) from the left side to the right, I raise it up over my head. So the order goes Right-Left-Up-Right-Left-Up. I'm not sure the up adds much to the core work, but it sure does add a lot of *difficulty* to it. There appear to be a lot of ways to do Russian Twists, but I'm dong them just like at that link -- sitting on the floor with the feet on the floor, leaning back. has some variations that add a sit-up element to them and I may do those later. For now, this is a good amount of work. I'll probably be going up to 15 lbs before too long. 
  • Explosive Push-Up - 3 x 8 - They're baaaack!! (You can see a video of someone doing these here under the name "Plyometric Push Ups".) These tend to go in and out of my workouts -- I'm usually on the lookout for something that would be an "explosive power" upper body exercise and this is one of the ones I'm aware of. As I mentioned in my post about Workout N#6, I can't do Shoulder Presses indefinitely (Push Presses are another one I have in this category) because my shoulders start resenting it. So these keep coming back around. I actually kind of like them. I still can't do them off the floor, like in the video, but I've gone from a waist high bar to a knee high weight bench over time. So I'm super pleased about that. I'm also pleased, on watching the video, to see that her butt goes up some during the explosive part too. I was thinking I was doing something horribly wrong there. 
  • Deadlift & Clean - 3 x 12 - I *think* that's what these are. (You can sort of see a video here, except that I'm not lifting so much weight that it's quite that...strenuous.) This is another exercise I learned from Travis, though I think he calls them Deadlift Jerks -- but Jerks as a weightlifting move take the weight up over the head rather than just to the collar bones. So I think Deadlift & Clean is right. The other modification, in addition to them just not being quite so explosive, is that I'm doing straight-leg (Romanian) deadlifts, or hang Power Cleans, or something. The weight goes down a little bit below my legs but not all the way to the ground each time. I started out using an empty Olympic barbell for these -- that's 44 lbs -- but that was clearly going to be too light, so I added 5 lbs (total, 2.5 to each end) to make it 49lbs and that was good. I probably should be doing the "Deadlift and Clean" exercise as a Squat and Clean instead, it occurs to me, because both deadlifts and leg curls (coming up next) are hamstrings exercises. Hmmm. I believe I'll make that change. I can't find anything like a picture or video of that, but it's pretty similar only with a deeper squat at the start. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Leg Curls (Machine) - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) This is about as simple as it looks -- climb on the machine and go. Though I do have to make sure the pad is hitting my calves in the right place and my knees line up with the pivot on the machine. During the walkthrough these put a bit of an uncomfortable strain on my knees. I did just fine on Saturday, no problems, and made note of where the two settings on the machine were so I could replicate that. I did 45 lbs and think I could probably go up to 50, though I don't think I made a note of that for next time. I'll try to remember when I'm in my notebook again, thought. Just because I'm not doing a Heavy Phase, doesn't mean I can slack off. 
    • Front Raise - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, only I do both arms at the same time.) This is another regular in my workout circuits as they're a good exercise that doesn't make my shoulder joints feel gravelly but makes them do good work. They're especially good if I keep an eye on myself and take pains not to lift the weights higher than straight out to the front from my shoulders. Because the precision actually makes me work harder and I can't take advantage of any sort of momentum. I used a pair of 8lb dumbbells (those are really Not Strong muscles) and I'm hoping to move up soon. I should probably try 10lbs next time, but again, I don't think I made a note of it so I may not remember. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Lunge Pulses - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here, but ignore what she's dong with her arms for the nonce and just pay attention to her legs.) This is another move I learned from Travis. Man these are hard and they kind of suck, though they're way *less* sucky if one isn't doing them toward the end of a leg workout. I like them, tons. I'm going to be moving up the number of them pretty quickly as 12 was tough but won't be forever. I don't hold my hands over my head (though I'll keep that in mind as a way to intensify them and work on my core and balance too) -- Travis suggested that I hold on to something like the back extension machine so I don't have to think about not falling over, I can concentrate on my quads. Which get a heck of a workout!! (Still sore two days later!)
    • Standing Rear Lateral Raise - 3 x 12 - (You can see a video of someone doing these here.) This is another one where attention to not raising my arms *too* much actually makes the exercise harder and better. So does paying attention to my arms being straight out from my sides rather than at any angle other than 90 degrees to my torso. This is where the mirrors come in handy, because I don't have a very good sense of this just from feel. I don't know if I have an abnormally *bad* sense of it, but I know mine isn't good. I can't tell if my neck is straight or if my arms are higher than straight out to the sides just by the feel of it. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 5 x 40:20 Kettle Bell Swings Intervals of Insanity -- I really did push these insanely hard too, I worked myself like crazy for the 40 seconds on. They were great. I only had time for five minutes of Insanities and I wanted to make the most of them. And I did. 
It was a great great workout. I think I'm going to enjoy this one. Of course the one with No Squats is usually a workout I really enjoy. :D Honestly, that's a little weird, because I do Squats and Lunges on different days and I like Squats better than I like Lunges, so you'd think I'd be more likely to dislike the one with lunges. Ah well. 

Next workout is scheduled for this evening, Monday, April 11, and it'll be the first time with Workout P. I can't remember what all I'm going to be dong -- Squats on the BOSU and Kettlebell Swings and those super tricksy slider Inchworm-y things and some sort of step up and push ups. Those I remember. Not sure otherwise. It's gonna be great! :D Goal for the workout: Get Workout P's new moves down as quickly as possible so I can start rocking the weights. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Workout N#6 and the Phase 8 Walkthrough

I finished Phase 7 on Monday and did the walkthrough for
Phase 8 on Wednesday. I am ready to go forth and rock. 
Monday evening, Patrick and I went to the gym and I had a great workout. It was only Patrick's second time back and he still had stitches, so he didn't push so hard. But really, he probably shouldn't have, so no worries.

This was my last workout in Phase 7, which has been a phase I've immensely enjoyed. Workout M was a blast every single time and N was good, though not quite as good.

Monday's workout was:

  • Push Aways - 3 x 12 - These may have been one of the things that has kept me from enjoying Workout N quite so much. They're *really* rough -- strenuous and I have to concentrate a lot to keep my back from collapsing. So they're strenuous and tough (which normally I like) but not much fun. 
  • Dumbbell Push Press - 3 x 12 - I used a pair of 20 lb dumbbells for these, which is (I believe) the same weight I've been using for a couple of times. Even so, I just barely made my reps the last set. Shoulder presses where the weight goes straight up from my shoulders are tough for me. It's tough. 
  • Coordination Rows - 3 x 15 - These were really good. I love how much I've improved at these since I started doing them last fall. I'm so much more stable than I was -- not just when I'm doing these. I'm looking forward to doing something that involves being on one foot and adding a twisting component because that's going to be my next challenge. That won't be in Phase 8 though. I lifted 30lbs again. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Dumbbell Front Squat - 3 x 15 - Still at two 20lb dumbbells for these. When I was working out with Travis the first time he showed me a trick for keeping my back straight (rather than sort of crumpling forward) when doing squats -- do them right in front of a wall, so you have to keep your torso up even while squatting down. That helps so much with these front squats, because it's so easy to let the weight pull my shoulders and chest forward, which isn't good. It probably looks a little weird that I'm doing squats with my toes just a few inches from the wall. 
    • This is the type of step-boxes at
      the gym. More layers can
      be added to make them higher. My
      preference is 3 layers.
    • Pullovers - 3 x 15 - I'm going to be doing these in a different way in Phase 8 because I definitely like the move and I can feel that I'm working the muscles in my back that I want to be working. Which is always a good thing. :D I'm pretty sure I ended where I started weight-wise, at 30 lbs. It was always hard and I never felt like I was ready to move up. 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Offset-Loaded Step Ups -  3 x 15 - I went up to a 25 lb weight and that made for a good workout the last time. I also was able to use the step at the height I preferred, which makes for a better workout as well. 
    • Alternating Press and Twist - 3 x 15 -  I've enjoyed these immensely as a shoulder exercise. The way these presses work, there's no straight up kind of movement which, as mentioned above, kind of stresses my shoulders. They're not in my Phase 8 workouts, but I'll be coming back to these again. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 5 x 40:20 Kettlebell Swings Intervals of Insanity alternated with 5 x 30:30 Step Ups Intervals of Insanity - I love doing Intervals of Insanity. The kettlebell swings were with a 15lb bell -- since I'm doing them for speed rather than muscle development the lighter weight works better. 
On Wednesday (yes, I had gotten almost a whole week behind on posting. Sigh!), I did the Phase 8 walkthrough. I'll save the detailed information about Workouts O and P for when I do the first workout in each of them. That wound out being a weird workout -- the walkthrough always is -- it goes slowly because I'm figuring out what I'm doing but I don't get that sweaty because I'm having to figure out what I'm doing. I didn't really have time for insanities afterwards, either, which was a bit disappointing. 

After the walkthrough, I changed a couple of exercises, to make things flow more smoothly. I have hope that I'll like both of these. :D 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Workout #2 with Travis! :D

Travis' card again because I don't have a log. 
I worked out with Travis again on Saturday, though Patrick was at the gym or the first time after his back thing. (Calling it back surgery makes it sound so *structural* -- this was dermatological surgery on the small of his back.) It was super nice having him at the gym, though he finished a bit before Travis and I did.

Travis and I were working on legs mostly, so it was an almost entirely different selection of exercises than last time. Almost entirely. Once again I don't think I remember all of them, but I'll list what I do remember. 

  • Battle Rope Jumping Jacks - 3 rounds of 20 seconds with 10 second rests -- SO HARD. Those are intense. I don't think I could possibly do 30:30 Intervals with those because I can barely do 20 seconds. I can tell when I'm getting tired with the battle ropes because the waves get irregular and ugly. :D 
  • Battle Rope Sine Waves and Double Sine Waves - 3 rounds of 30 seconds not sure how long the breaks were but not long - I think Travis calls them Quick Waves. The double quick waves just have the hands moving in sync with one another rather than opposite. Once again -- ugly waves are a sign of tiredness. 
  • Medicine Ball Wall Bounces -- 3 x not sure - I'm sure there's a real name for these. Basically it was a 12lb medicine ball and I'd squat down then stand and push it forward and up, bouncing it off the wall a couple of feet above my head, catching it on the way back down into the next squat. I think he had me going to a specific number rather than a time. Those were fun and would be a good combination or upper body power exercise, if I was sure I could find a medicine ball. 
  • Squats with an Olympic Bar on my back (Squat Rack) - 2 x either 10 or 15 - Travis helped me stabilize the bar a bit which was a huge help (when he didn't there was a big wobble component) but also sometimes felt like I was having to pull against him to squat down. Which may have been part of the point. I like them while I was doing them, but that knob of bone at the top of my back/base of my neck has been sore (like bruised) ever since. Travis says he has a pad for the bar for the next time we do those. The Olympic Bar is 44 lbs, but held really up high (though more stably than with the Front Squats with two 20lb dumbbells I've been doing). 
  • Squats with an Olympic Bar on my back (Smith Machine) - 2 x either 10 or 15 - Once again it was an empty Olympic Bar, so 44lbs. He didn't help stabilize this time, because the Smith Machine was doing that. It was a *lot* easier to do them in the Smith Machine than with the bar free. A lot. Though I still don't like the bruised feeling (though it doesn't have an actual visible bruise, I've had Patrick check like a million times). 
  • Squat Pulses - 2 x 5 - We did these at the end of the sets of squats in the Smith machine. These are sort of partial squats -- squat down (with the weight) and bounce up just part way. He called those a "finisher" something to do a few of at the end of each set or a set of after a couple of regular sets of squats. They definitely about killed me. 
  • Leg Curls on the Leg Curl Machine - 3 x 15 (I think) - This was on a cam machine with a stack of weight plates. Not free weights at all. This is not my favorite way to work out, because I feel like I'm doing more work overall if I have to stabilize the weights my own self, but I kind of liked these. These work the hamstrings, which I've been doing with Deadlifts and Hyperextensions and the Reverse Hip Raises, but they seem to work a different part of them -- lower down the back of my legs rather than my glutes and upper hamstrings. That's probably a good thing and I think I'll work these into my next phase workouts. 
  • Hip A(b)(d)duction -- 2  x 15 - I can't remember whether it's abduction or adduction that moves the leg out rather than in, but that's the one we did. We did it on the cable machine with a webbing handle on the low pulley that I stuck my foot through. I can't remember the weight either, but it wasn't excessive. These were pretty good -- certainly I liked doing them standing rather than sitting in the cam machine. At some point, I'll probably work these into a phase, but not next time. 
  • Leg Extensions on the Leg Extension Machine - 3 x 15 - We set the weight challengingly high for these -- though I had to lower it when I found out how many reps I was going to be doing. The rests were *really* short so my quads were still burning from the previous set when we started the next one. Ooof! So hard. 
  • Lunge Pulses - 3 x OMG lots (maybe 5 or 10)! - These are so hard. They're like the Squat Pulses mentioned above only with lunges, so all the work is being done by one leg. I think these are the thing that still has my quads sore days later!! I'm adding them to my next phase, though I'm predicting now that I'm not going to love whichever workout they land up in. Just sayin'. Just body weight but that's totally bad enough. 
  • Calf Raises (on a not-cam machine) - Sets of 10, one each with toes straight ahead, toes pointed out and toes pointed in and a second set of 15 with toes straight ahead - I don't know how to describe what kind of machine this is -- it's got a weight stack and is all lever arms rather than cams and cables like the leg extension machine. Anyway, it was not a lot of fun and I am *so* prone to massively blocky calves, I'm not sure that working my calf muscles to make them bigger is really in my interest. Though maybe it is. These are not going to go in the next phase, but may go in to a later one.
I think that was it (I might be missing one or two things) and once again we did all of that, plus some stretching at the end, in 45 minutes. Travis doesn't kid around. :D 

Once again it was an absolutely great time. I want to talk to him about how much it would cost for us to have one workout a week with him which we could either alternate or go together or whatever. I really do love the whole trainer experience. :D 

That was Saturday's workout. I still have Monday's to post about (behind again, consarn it)! And by Wednesday evening, I have to have something together for Workouts O and P as Phase 8 will begin with the walkthrough Wednesday evening. Or Thursday -- Patrick's stitches come out on Wednesday so it's going to depend a bit on how he's feeling and how late that runs.

Exciting stuff! 

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday and the goal for the workout is to have one to do and to do a good walkthrough of Phase 8. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Workout M #6: Kicking up the Insanities a bit. :D

I really did end Workout M strong -- I kicked up the Insanities
some and I raised a few weights. 
I was feeling sort of low-energy on Wednesday evening, but I never even thought about skipping my workout. Well, maybe I thought about it a little but mostly to think that I wasn't going to do that. I kind of figured (I guess based on several months of experience now) that I'd feel more energetic after working out. Which totally worked, because I did. That was nice. 

As mentioned in the post title, I kicked up the Insanities -- I did half of the intervals as 40:20 (40 seconds on, 20 seconds of rest) Kettlebell Swings (with a 15 lb weight) and the other half as 30:30 Step Ups on the normal (higher) step. And all of that after the already more energetic and go-go-go Workout M. 

I really felt great (and soaked with sweat) at the end. 

It was a bummer that Patrick couldn't be there -- he was just not feeling it with the stitches in his back. I think his plan is to get back on the elliptical on Saturday though. 

Wednesday's workout was:

  • Bridge Slides - 3 x 30 seconds - I'd been doing these as 30 second sets with 30 seconds of rest. I'm not sure why I didn't feel like raising the time on the sets, but I didn't. I did, however, cut the rest breaks down to 15 seconds. So I kept the pressure on myself. Which was good. I don't think I'll be continuing these in Phase 8 -- they're not working me hard enough. 
  • Kettlebell Swings - 3 x 30 seconds - I went up to a 30 lb kettlebell this time (in part because the 25lb was not in the rack and I knew 20 was going to be too light) and that was great. I did do a 30 second rest between sets, though, because with the heavier weight those can wear you out. They can also put a bit of strain on the back with a heavier weight, so I wanted the breaks to recover. 
  • Step Up and Single-Arm Press - 3 x 12, 11, 10 - I used a 20lb weight for all three sets, which is a first. And I was stepping up onto the higher step (though it's what I think of as normal). I don't think the step part made the difference in me not making 15 reps on even the first set. (I've done one set with a 20lb weight in M#4 and #5, so I should be used to that). I'm not sure what did, to be honest. I have this vague recollection that I thought I was only doing 12 reps so I stopped, though I'm not sure I could have done much more. Maybe that first set I could have. Still -- weight increase overall and I think the volume of lifting overall was higher. I'll take it. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Lunge & Rotation - 3 x 15 - I did the alternating sets out of order because one of the trainers had her client working on the Swiss ball when I got to that point. So I moved on and figured (correctly) that the Swiss ball would be free by the time I got back to it. It all worked out just fine. I was able to locate a 15lb weight for these, though I could probably have done okay with 20lbs. Once again, I did the first set doing all on one side then all on the other and the second and third sets alternating. Alternating is much more exhausting. Even when I don't lose count and do (almost certainly) more than 15. Which happened. I always go back to the last number I'm sure of so I know I wind out doing more than I give myself credit for. But that's okay. These are super sweaty hard work. 
    • Neutral Grip Row - 3 x 15, 15, 12 - I used a pair of 20lb weights for these and almost made my reps. I could maybe have eked out one more of them in the third set, but my form was breaking down and I didn't see a real advantage in doing a very bad one. I did increase the weight from a pair 15lb dumbbells to a pair of 20lbs, so it's not like I was slacking.
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Swiss Ball Reverse Hip Raise - 3 x 18 - After a few weeks of feeling like I was doing Just The Right Amount of this exercise, it was time to go up on Wednesday. There are no weights and there's no obvious way to increase the intensity aside from doing more, so I went up to sets of 18 for these. That was exhausting in a satisfying way. :D 
    • Swiss Ball Chest Press - 3 x 15 - If I continue with these next phase, I want to raise the weight. Or at least raise the total weight lifted (if I'm doing more or fewer reps, I'll have to adjust how much I want to raise it by). I used a pair of 15lb dumbbells, which is what I've been using the whole phase. Which makes me feel like I haven't been pushing myself enough, maybe. I'm not sure. Anyway, I like those a lot (and a lot better than push ups, which may be a sign I need to do push ups again)(bleh) so they may show up again next phase. 
  • Cardio Intervals - 5 x 40:20 Intervals of Kettlebell Swings alternated with 5 x 30:30 Intervals of Step Ups - I've been wanting to ramp up the Insanities for a bit but having problems getting that working. Wednesday, I just did it -- I did 40 seconds on:20 seconds of rest intervals swinging a 15lb kettlebell (so quite a bit lighter than the one I did for my sets earlier, but going for speed and intensity) and 30:30 intervals of Step Ups (again on the higher (normal) step). That was really excellent!! Both of those work my legs pretty hard so I wasn't able to go as fast on the Step Ups as I have been when I'm just doing them, but I was really flinging the kettlebell around and that was great. 
I really wish I knew what's been so awesome about Workout M -- I think a lot of it is that it's just very intense without having anything that either feels easy (ish) or slows me down too much. I mean, Workout N has Front Squats, both which are really hard for me and slow me right down. It also has Coordination Rows which are still a good exercise for me (balance and coordination are important) but don't get me *winded*. They feel kind of like a break. Workout M feels intense (but not like a grind) the whole way through. 

That is something I definitely want to try and replicate when I come up with my Phase 8 workouts. :D 

Next workout is going to be Saturday morning with Travis again! \o/!! I'm super excited!! I don't know if we're going to be doing other stuff or the same stuff again (probably different stuff), so I should have a great big bunch of awesome options to choose from for Phase 8. I already know I'm going to be doing the Squats on the BOSU, the BOSU Burpees, and either Inchworms or the slider V-Ups. And the Snatch Deadlifts. At least.