Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Strength, Tabata and more pushups

I am glad I got to the gym on Monday and Tuesday because Wednesday was a snow day and mostly a rest day for me.
I did not make any  progress this week on the press but at least maintained my strength gains:

Military press
55 lbs 5 reps
65 lbs 5 reps
75 lbs 4 reps! Again then 3 reps

Back squats were hard today
95 lbs 4 reps
110 lbs 3 reps
120 lbs 5 reps rested 2 min and did 4 more reps
I am not doing so well on the higher weights so I think I need to incorporate some accessory work like front squats and split squats. Or more protein? I'm not sure what's going on.
After I did my squats, Jason had me do 10 squat jumps and my legs were screaming after that!

I also did toes to bar: 12 then 5 more
And push-ups: 10-12-7-7-12, total 48 today.

Overhead squats 2 sets of 10 at 35 lbs, then 3 sets of 10 at 55 lbs
The overhead squats are always hard but I was glad I was able to do 30 reps @55 lb3s.
Then we did a Tabata WOD (work hard for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat for 8 times):
Row for calories - I did 4 calories for each round! 
Rest 1 minute
Abmat Situps - I did 10 situps for each round - total 80 situps and my abs are sore now.

I then did my toes to bar: 13-6-5 = 28 total, the goal was to do 14 without breaking but I didn't make it so I did extra reps for practice.

Wednesday: Mega rest day but I decided late in the day to at least get my pushups in:
10-12-8-8-15 for a total of 53 pushups.  This is "Week 1" of the one hundred pushup challenge, I tried this last week and couldn't even finish the Week 1 reps so I am repeating it again this week with some success (as in finishing all the reps!).  I'll do it again on Friday.  Bonus- doing pushups really warms you up!

I used Saturday as my rest day and then Sunday I got back  on the bike and did a ride at New Light. It was slow and hard.  And I missed having a dropper seat post.  I am definitely braver with a dropper seat post and now I want one that works. 

New Light was good albeit a little slick and muddy in some spots.  I was in such a rush to start riding that I forgot my Camelbak!  I was about a 1/2 mile into the trail when I got thirsty and realized I had left it in the car so I got in an extra mile just by forgetting it.  I am glad I went back because I would not have finished the ride without water and a snack. 

I started eating well on January 14 and I have stayed strong! Surprisingly I have not succumbed to any urges to eat chocolate or sweets, this is an amazing thing.  I have not had much success resisting chocolate in the past but I can at least say that for the last 12 days, there was no need to even resist since I had not desire to eat it.  I am wondering how long I can keep this no sugar in my life up, but my will is strong, there were cookies and Hershey Kisses at work and I abstained!  As for not having any bread, that's been good also but I did have some on my sandwich at LaFarm because I thought I was going to get cornbread and ended up with regular bread.  I don't feel guilty about the slip though because everything else has been great in my diet.  I am really trying to eat mostly whole foods and I eat every 3 hours or so to keep myself energetic.  This has definitely been better than trying to fast or restrict calories or carbs severely  I am targeting 1840 calories a day and a little more if I exercise.  So far it seems to be working.  I have also been diligent about recording what I eat in MyFitnessPal and weighing myself weekly.  At the same time, I'm looking forward to warmer days and more biking (more eating also!).  In the meantime, on the foid front, I made my own plain yogurt since I've been eating it almost daily. It made sense to economize by making homemade yogurt. It turned out awesome! I now have organic thick homemade yogurt to enjoy that is 30% cheaper than store bought and tastier.

Friday, January 24, 2014

More WODs

It's gotten really cold here and it has decreased my motivation to workout after I come home in the evening so I've tried to work hard in the morning:

Military press
55 lbs 5 sets of 5
Then a mini WOD 
90 singles jump rope
30 wall balls 12 lbs
3 rounds
I then did 9 toes to bars.

Push-up work:
17, 15, 14, 14, 10, the last set was supposed to be your max and I only had 10 in me.
Row 1000M
Rest 90 seconds
4 rounds
Each row took me about 4:34-4:40,  it is very hard for me to keep a constant pace rowing, I start off doing a 2:07/500M pace and it drifts up to 2:20 and then 2:30 as I get worn out and then I recover and get it back to 2:15 for the last 200M. Afterwards, I did 10 toes to bar then 3 more.  Good way to start the weekend and my legs are no longer sore!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Legs are sore!

I had a good weekend of biking but it reminded me that I need to bike more! San Lee on Saturday with a bunch of new trail was wonderful and I got to test out my new dropper seat post (you push a button and the seat goes down which is very helpful in the rock gardens and going down steep stuff without feeling like I was going to go over the handlebars).  And Sunday was a ride at Beaverdam and I felt like I had never climbed before, it was tough. Still I was glad I got out there on two cold mornings and realized that it was better to be out biking in 30 degree weather than staying at home and watching more episodes of The Good Wife. 

On Monday, I got back into my lifting:
55 lbs 5 reps
65 lbs 5 reps
75 lbs 4 reps and then 3 reps
Back Squats
90 lbs 5 reps
100 lbs 5 reps
115 lbs 8 reps

I started feeling sore late the day and Tuesday's WOD didn't help any:

Cindy XXX
10 pullups
20 pushups
30 air squats
15 pullups
30 pushups
45 air squats
20 pullups
40 pushups
60 air squats
25 pullups
50 pushups
75 air squats
That's 70 pullups (with a band!), 140 pushups,and 210 air squats!  And I paid for it with the DOMs and I'm still feeling the DOMs on Wednesday night. 

Wednesday: little did I realize how much I was hurting from Tuesday, my legs were killing me.
Row 2000M
5 rounds of
7 power cleans 65 lbs
7 front squats 65 lbs
14 kettlebell swings 35 lbs
Time 23:34 
I tried the first round with 75 lbs and the power cleans were "easy" but the first front squat was awful and I knew I couldn't do it so I downgraded to 65 lbs which was still hard but doable.  The whole WOD was pretty bad though- I had to take a break every single round to catch my breath.  I'm not sure if I'm running out of energy on the "clean" diet or just need to keep plugging away.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday WOD and pushup work

Well, today's WOD was hard because I suck at power snatches and snatches in general and was overthinking how to do the movement.

Power Snatches 55 lbs
Toes to bar
Wall balls 12 lb
Time: 29:18

Before the WOD, Alan had us do max effort pushups to see where we were, I did 20 serious pushups before I fell apart. This puts me at Level 3 out of 7 on his pushup scale so next week I'll work on the # of reps and time for pushups prescribed for Level 3 and work my way up to Level 7 which is apparently 100 pushups (no pauses, no breaks).  I like the idea of doing this with the other people in the gym instead of breaking up 90 pushups throughout the day on my own.  We shall see if this experiment works! 

I did notice I was extra hungry this morning- stomach was actually growling so I had a protein shake before breakfast. I think that's going to be key to healthy fat loss- getting enough protein and the right amount of carbs/fat.  I did get confirmation that it will be 25% loss of your % body fat.  So for example if I have 25% body fat (35.8 lbs @142 lbs total), I need to get down to 18.75% body fat which means losing 11.2 lbs! And assuming I don't gain or lose any lean body mass. Now I have to see what my actual numbers are and work from there but I expect it is in the 10-15 lb range which seems like a goal I can accomplish. 

I don't feel like I've done all that much this week because it's been a de-load week for strength and I have had bike issues that prevented me from getting in my trainer time.  Over the weekend, I did do one bike trainer workout but that was it!  Sunday was a rest day and then Monday rolled around and I just did some light back squats and presses.  Since I skipped deadlifts the previous week, I did my hard set on Monday:
150 lbs 5 reps
170 lbs 3 reps
190 lbs 7 reps
I like doing deadlifts but it seems like the first rep is always the hardest (for every weight I tried) but then it becomes easier, maybe because I don't believe I will actually be able to lift the weight off the ground.  Once I get one rep done, I know I'm primed for more and this is how I felt on Monday when I did the 190 lb set.  I thought for sure I would only be able to belt out 5 reps and I did 7 with a little gas still left in the tank. 

And then I took Tuesday as a Rest day!  I could not get up for the gym.

On Wednesday, we did a painful WOD (painful because pullups even with a band are so hard):
AMRAP 20 minutes
8 deadhang pullups (purple and green bands)
8 box jumps (I did step ups on a 20" box)
12 kettlebell swings 35 lbs
I did 8 rounds and 2 pullups.  For the first round I used the purple (1") band to assist and then I had to switch over to the green band (1.5" width) but I did attempt 2 pullups for every round with the skinnier band.  I have a REALLY long way to go with pullups. 

On Thursday, it was a little better:
5 sets of 10 reps Cleans @75% max, I did this with 75 lbs and worked on my technique, we took about 20 minutes to finish this.
Then a mini-wod:
Row for calories
Ring dips (with a band)
Time: 5:46

The annual body fat challenge began this week at my gym and the goal is to lose 25% of your bodyfat, I'm still confused whether that's 25% of your % body fat or 25% of your body fat weight in lbs.  I'll figure it out before the 90 days are over. So I'm forking over $75 and will get my $75 back if I lose the fat, if I don't lose it, the money goes to the person who loses the most body fat in the gym.  Secretly I hope it's me this year!

As part of the body fat challenge this year, Jason added two physical challenges:
1. in the 90 days, do toes to bar with increasing reps until you get to 90 toes-to-bar, so on Thursday I did 2 reps! Toes to bar is hanging from a bar and pivoting up to get your toes to touch the bar! It is easy for 3-5 reps and gets progressively harder.
2. Do 90 pushups per day, I did 20 on Wednesday, 30 on Thursday and am working up to 90 pushups (serious pushups, not girlie pushups).  I did break them up in 10 reps at a time because serious pushups are quite difficult!  I hope in 9 days to get up to 90 pushups and stick to 90 pushups for the remainder 90 days. 

I haven't actually gotten my body fat measured (come Monday) but I started the healthy eating plan which means I have banned sugar, bread, pasta, cereal and white potatoes from my diet. I hid my chocolate chip bag and gave away all the Halloween candy so there is no more temptation at home.  It's only been 2 days so far and no problems yet!  I found that if I plan my meals and snacks, I am much much less likely to stray and eat badly.  I am making an effort to also eat at least 100 gram (target is 120 grams) of protein every day and keep my carbs > 120 grams but less than 200 grams. Fat works out to even things out.  For bike rides, I'll still eat half of a whole wheat tortilla with almond butter (much better than Sport Jelly Beans and Cliff Shot Bloks!), that will be the only time I eat something flour based. 

Today's healthy eating was a black bean/kale/chicken sausage thick soup, it was really nice coming home to that cooking in the crockpot. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday WOD and more bike trainer time

It's raining! I need to take off of work during the weekdays so I can get some decent bike rides in because it seems like every weekend is rain, rain, rain. Luckily it was not raining at 6AM and so the run portion of the WOD was bearable (and not too cold after 3 minutes into the WOD):
Run 200M
Chest to Bar pullups (using a fat green band!)
Cleans 85 lbs
Time: 26:56

It was a challenge to do the cleans (fully squatting, no power cleans) and I had to mentally prepare for each and every one of the 45 reps but I got it done and really, 85 lbs was not that bad.  This last year, with all the the squats and cleans I have been doing has paid off.  I used to absolutely hate receiving the bar and fully squatting in the clean because I never felt confident in my squats and in catching the weight but today showed me that with a lot of hard work, I am capable of doing this.  And in good time since I want to start lifting a little bit heavier during the WODs and work on my endurance and then my speed.  12 hours later and no DOMs either!  I do have the DOMs from the bench pressing and dips yesterday (triceps are sore!) which was a little surprising but I guess when you take a few weeks off, that's to be expected.

Now I'm off for another bike trainer workout to build up my mountain biking legs.  I might as well get some bike time in despite the rain!

Looking forward to my afternoon snack: pineapple chunks mixed with nonfat plain yogurt! No need for added sugar and weird ingredients.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Split jerks and more general strength work

I started off Thursday morning with the goal of going up in weight, it was challenging.
The WOD:
Split jerks 80 lbs
Sumo deadlift high pulls 55 lb kettlebell
Double unders (I did singles x 3)
Time: 18:17
The split jerks were the hardest part of this WOD, it wasn't so bad throwing the weight up, the hard part was bring it back down onto my shoulders and feeling like 80 lbs was heavy after the first 10 reps!  I did finish it though and did have to take some mini-breaks.  Surprisingly, the sumo deadlift high pulls were not that difficult, I think 55 lbs is finally becoming "light" for me!  I might even have to consider moving up on the weight! 

After work, I worked on my bench press (75 lbs x 5 reps x 5 sets), dips (3/2 reps x 4 sets), and did a variety of assisted pullups and negative pullups.  I also worked on my front squats with the full squat/then two half squats (getting up halfway, pausing and going back down) at 75 lbs.  And finally did some bar work to practice the movement for cleans and snatches.  Drills, drills, drills!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tuesday WOD and more trainer workouts

I had a good time on Tuesday because I got to do more deadlifts!
Deadlifts 10-10-10-10-10, the last 3 sets go for 75% of 1 rep max
I did 135 lbs for the first two sets and then 155 lbs for the last 3 sets. My lower back was not at 100% so I didn't try to go heavier- I think 75% of 1RM is somewhere around 160-165 lbs.  At 155 lbs though, I felt like I did pretty good for 30 reps! 
And then a mini-WOD:
25 double unders (I did 75 singles)
25 air squats
I did 7 rounds and one last round of singles.  I thought for sure that doing 175 air squats would leave me with the DOMS but nope!  No soreness later at all, could it be that my muscles are finally used to this kind of work capacity?!  That made me feel better.  Now I have to see how much weight I can squat for high reps and not get the DOMS! 

I did another bike trainer workout in the evening and worked on my endurance pace.  Luckily it is so cold here that it felt good to bike indoors!

Wednesday, I took a break from the gym and did another bike trainer workout in the evening, again working on my standing pedaling.  Eating has gotten significantly better since no one is bringing in free cookies, donuts, or cake at work.  My appetite has also decreased somewhat in response to all the eating in December.  I am grateful that my body has a fairly good PID loop control when it comes to eating/overeating, however, the true assessment of this will be when I do a body fat measurement next week.  I'm thinking of doing the 90 day Body Transformation challenge at the gym and this time, really sticking to it mainly to see if I have the motivation and control to both exercise and eat healthy ALL THE TIME.  Unfortunately, being naturally on the slimmer side, I tend to take advantage (excess) of how much I can eat post-bike ride or post-strength training and that's not the best way to stay healthy.  Some of the things I'll be doing to be "good" during the 90 days:
Prepare all my meals except for 1-2 per week (those 1-2 will be for eating out with friends but still eating either healthy or small portions)
Making sure I always have some snack (approved snacks like my almost paleo egg muffins, yogurt with frozen fruit, Lim's rice cakes  , mixed nuts, canned tuna, and whole wheat tortillas with almond butter) and water.  I still need to think of more good snacks though.  I definitely notice I eat worse when I don't drink enough water and don't have food ready.
The rice cakes and tortilla are only for pre and post bike rides and long runs. 
Other than the rice cakes and tortillas, there will be no bread, no sugar, no pasta, no rice for the next 90 days.  I still need some carbs though, so I will still have sweet potatoes and once in a while bananas in my protein shakes. 
Working out won't change that much but I will be adding in some runs (as long as my lower back stays healthy) and will attempt heavier weights in the WOD to increase work capacity.  I did try the Challenge last year but I did a few things wrong:
1. I reduced my calories to 1400-1500 and it sucked big time, I was waking up at 2-3 AM and just too hungry without knowing I was hungry.  This time around, I will be sticking with 1800-1900 calories with an extra 100-200 if I do a long bike ride or run.
2. Reducing my carbs too much (< 100 grams) - this caused me to feel spacey and irritable during the day.  I will never try this again, I need some carbs and will not deny myself. 
3. Spacing out my meals too far apart, I have heard of the Warrior diet, intermittent fasting, etc. and this kind of eating schedule does not work for me.  I don't know if it's because I'm a woman (men tend to have more success) or because my blood glucose levels are not regulated well enough to allow it but I know that it just makes me miserable, so I will not be doing any kind of fasts.  I do know that if I eat 3 meals a day and one or two snacks, I feel better and that's what I will aim for.  I also know that the busier I am, the more stringent I am with my eating so I plan to work hard not being a bum! 
All of this may be ambitious but I am feeling like this might be the year I'm successful at both the planning and execution! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bike training and strength training

Although I resolved to start running, I haven't yet.  So I spent the weekend biking indoors (too cold on Saturday) and then biking outside on Sunday and doing trail work.
On Saturday, I did another stand up pedal workout on the bike trainer and this time, did all 8 rounds standing up!  Then I worked a bit on my pullups, rested five minutes and got to work on my deadlifts:
135 lbs 5 reps
140 lbs 3 reps
160 lbs 3 reps
180 lbs 7 reps
That was my Saturday exertion.  I was a bit tired after I was done.
On Sunday, I did a little over two of hours of trail work at Briar Chapel.  We were building up a berm so I shoveled a lot of dirt.  After we finished up the berm we went for a bike ride at Briar Chapel.  This time I brought my singlespeed because I still had my Blur on the bike trainer and didn't have the time or motivation to take it off the trainer and reinstall the rear wheel.  I use every minute in the morning to dawdle and this would have caused me to be late (and I was already 5 minutes late getting there).  The singlespeed was not too bad but my legs were tired on the climbs and I couldn't make it up Bennet Mtn without walking a bit.  Still it was a good 8 mile bike ride and Sunday turned out to be quite warm (60 deg).  I wish I had had the energy to do two laps but it just was not there.  So January 5th was my first mtn bike ride of the year!

On Monday, I was back at the gym and worked on my snatch movements with just the bar, I think I finally got how to move myself from standing to the bottom position and then bar overhead.  It's a running theme, but the more drills I do, the better I get.  I have to do my mtb drills to get better at mountain biking and my bar drills in order to get better at cleans and snatches. I then worked on my presses:
63 lbs 5 reps
68 lbs 3 reps
73 lbs 4 reps + three assisted reps with Jason's help!
Back Squats:
73 lbs 5 reps
90 lbs 3 reps
100 lbs 5 reps
110 lbs 3 reps
125 lbs 5 reps, I tried a 6th rep but I couldn't even get below parallel!  I was done for the day.  I have to keep reminding myself that at least I'm moving forward with the weights but it's a little disheartening when it feels like I'm struggling.  I definitely don't feel like I'm as fit as I want to be, but I know I need to work on every aspect to get there: diet, mobility, drills, and consistency in working out!
It went back to being freezing cold again so probably no bike night ride this week, just more happy time on the bike trainer!  I have finished one week on the James Wilson XC Endurance training program, now I'm entering Week 2.  I'm making an effort to keep track of my heartrate during the workouts and an estimate of how I feel on the trainer and on the bike.  I don't think I'll know if this is working for at least another 8 weeks though. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 goal: do a damn pullup

New Year's day was a "rest" day for me.  It was still a little cold and muddy outside so I didn't do a bike ride, I didn't run even though I kind of wanted to get up the motivation to do a run and I didn't lift any weights. 

I haven't completely formulated my goals for 2014, they are fairly undefined right now but one goal is to do a real pullup with no bands and no help.  I feel like I'm very far away from this but since Jan. 2nd, I've done pullup exercises. So for two days straight now, I've done assisted pullups, first with Jason and then with a band and I've done negative pullups where I get my chin up to the bar and then try to slowly lower myself down.  The goal is to do some sort of pullup exercise every day!  Even if it's only 5 banded pullups and 5 negative pullups. We'll see how long it takes me to get to a real pullup with this level of effort and commitment. 

Yesterday's WOD (Thursday):
Tabatas! Start with the first exercise, do as many reps in 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, repeat for total of 8 times, then rest 1 minute and move on to the next exercise. The only round that "counts" is the your round with your lowest reps. 
Row for calories  = 4, a total of 33
Air squats = 13, a total of 104
Push press 55 lbs = 8, a total of 64!
Lateral hops (Left+Right = 1 rep) = 7, total of 56
sit ups = 10, total of 81
Row for calories = 4, total of 32

I was pretty consistent in these tabatas- for the row for calories, I did 5 the first round but after that it was not possible.  Everything else was within 1 rep.

Friday's WOD: feeling like I got my ass kicked
Besides being alone on Friday, I had a hard time with the power cleans, my legs just didn't feel strong.
AMRAP in 20 minutes
Row for 300M
5 power cleans 85 lbs
10 box jumps (I did step ups)
15 wall balls 12 lbs
I did 4 rounds plus 1 power clean!
I struggled with the power cleans today, I am definitely someone who falls into the "if you don't use it, you lose it" category. I haven't been doing my cleans and it showed today!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy new year!

On Monday, I did my strength work:

60 lbs 3 reps
65 lbs 3 reps
75 lbs 3 reps then rest then 3 more reps
Hard, very hard.
Back squats
90 lbs 3 reps
105 lbs 3 reps
120 lbs 8 reps
This was also hard!  The weights are getting heavier and I'm feeling like I'm reaching a tipping point on effort.
Monday night, I finally got the motivation to start my bike trainer workouts.  This was another James Wilson MTB program- this time his cross-country energy systems development system (XC ESD) which I got over a year ago and never looked at until now!  The first workout was standing pedaling for 3 minute intervals for 8 rounds, it was painful.  And I could not stand the whole time.  Definitely need to work on this.
On Tuesday (new year's eve), we did a killer WOD:
Hang Cleans 55 lbs
Air Squats
Parallete hops (L+R = 1 rep)
Pull ups (with a band)
Yeah Burpees
Neder Press 15 lb plate (hold the plate to your chest and press it out forward)
Elevated push ups
Weighted step ups (~15" box, 55 lbs held in back squat position)
Yeah Kettlebell swings 35 lbs
Extensions (supermans)
Air Squats
Row for calories
First round: 20 reps, second round 14 reps -> 2014!
Time: 29:03
This was pretty awful though, after the first round, I had to sit down and take a little break.  I was pretty beat after this WOD.

I rested till around 5 pm and then decided to do my second bike trainer workout, this time longer intervals but I sat down and pedaled.  What sucked- I couldn't do all 6 prescribed intervals! I managed to get 4 done before I conked out.  I just didn't have any more leg power.  I have much work ahead of me.

Got a special wheel for the bike trainer program. I hope it's worth it.