Squat Day is the Best Day

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Seriously though. I LOVE squats.

You might think I am a lunatic, but they are easily my favorite heavy lifting workout. I even love them when it’s drop-set day. I might feel like I am going to fall over after I finish all of my sets, but I get over that quickly and fall back in love with them the moment I catch my breath.

The more I squat, the more I love them. Most likely because I am seeing more of a lift and an unfamiliar toning in my butt, and also because it is my strongest lift. I feel much more confident squatting than I do doing ANY other workout.

I am getting really good at them too! I go much lower than I used to be able to. I find myself busting my butt to get it as low to the floor as possible, with a nice big squeeze when I reach the top.

I wish every day was squat day.

Mexico Mode!

I am officially in Mexico vacation mode! I will be jetting off to Tulum in less than 4 weeks, and am heading full throttle into training hard and eating clean. I feel way more bikini-comfortable than I did a few months ago, but I definitely have a ways to go before I get to where I want to be!

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This morning I started off this new-found beast mode with my first attempt at drop-setting my lifts on my own. For those of you who don’t know what a drop-set is, it’s basically a pyramid style workout . You can begin as if you are doing your regular workout (ie. 4 sets of squats at specified reps, beginning small and adding weight as you go). However, when you reach the top of your workout (the heaviest), you are far from finished!

The drop-set starts at your heaviest weight. You do as many squats as possible until your muscles have reached failure. You then rack the barbell, reduce the weight quickly (20-30lb increments if squatting), and immediately begin your next set without resting. Again, you don’t stop squatting at this level until you literally cannot squeeze in another rep. You do this until you have reached the lightest weight (barbell, 45lbs). Essentially, the goal is to prolong your exercise by ending at a lower weight once you have pushed yourself to failure with the heavier weight. Ideally, each set includes many more reps than what you typically do.

The first time I gave this concept a shot was with the trainer/boyfriend. We did this with chest presses and side laterals, but he handed me the weights as I went, making the system much faster. If I had done today’s workout with someone there to help me switch out my weight, it probably would have been even harder than it was. But I am too much of a chicken to ask for help.

I went to LA Fitness at 5am, and my workout was as follows:

Warm up on cross ramp

Push ups (real ones, yay!) 4 sets/10 reps
Squats, 5 sets beginning at 75lbs and ending at 145lbs/ super-setted with 15lb dumbbell curls
Drop-set Squats, 135lbs to 45lbs
Military press, 30-50lbs, 5 sets
Drop-set military press
Hamstring Curls, 65lbs, 4 sets/12 reps

Cool down, quick 5 minute bike ride

By the time I finished, all I wanted to do was chop my legs off and lay right there on the floor for the rest of the day. People can work around me, I thought. My legs were wobbly, I was walking into things, and I probably looked like a lunatic.

20130826-125721.jpgIn addition to confusing my body and challenging myself at the gym, I am eating even cleaner than I had been in the past! Way more fruits and veggies, structured meals, “calorie counting” – but not neurotically (just to have an idea of just how much I am consuming), and even more water and green tea (if that’s even possible.

Mexico, here I come!

Ay dios mio, what a tough weekend!

I had a brutal weekend of exercise. I worked out with my trainer on Friday and Sunday and my entire body is burning. Shoulders and legs are COMPLETELY out of the question for today’s gym trip.

Friday

On Friday evening we did drop sets of a few different arm workouts. This consisted of doing three sets of the same lift at various weights, one right after the other, and counting it as one set.

For example:

Incline Chest Press

One set: 12 reps with 17.5lb dumbbells, 10 reps with 15lb dumbbells, 10 reps with 10lbs dumbbells.

Repeat x4 or 5 (I was exhausted enough after 3 that I don’t remember how many sets we did!)

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Sunday

Yesterday was a leg day. We didn’t have time to complete the entire workout and I still feel like I just ran a marathon without stretching (but I did stretch!). Deadlifts, squats and a couple other quickies.

After doing a quick warm up run on the treadmill (about 0.32 mile in 3 minutes), we stretched and did our push ups. I have always done mine on my knees, but finally gave real ones a shot this weekend and was able to do 13 yesterday! That was surprising and exciting!

We then began our strength training with stiff leg deadlifts. My last set ended up being my heaviest lift so far!

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My trainer did the entire workout alongside me, which was nice. His deadlift warm up? 225lbs. Mine? …85lbs.

Usually I warm up with 75lbs total, 15 on each end of the barbell. Mr. Trainer, of course, made me start with more, 85lbs total, 20 on each end.

I added on 10-15lbs with each set, eventually ending with 145lbs at 5 or 6 lifts. The heaviest I had lifted prior to yesterday was 135. Progress! Let me tell you, my hamstrings, back and ass were (and still are) SO sore. I am hobbling around everywhere I go and am day dreaming about a nice hot bath.

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After deadlifts we did squats. I have struggled a little bit with my form so we spent a good amount of time concentrating on getting my booty as low as I could and keeping my chest out. My hip limits me a little as I add weight, but when we practiced with just the barbell I did it perfectly. I am always afraid to go too low in fear of my hip popping out. Yuck, I know.

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We did 4 sets of squats, ending at 135, 8 reps. I have squatted a little more than that before, but we decided not to go overboard yesterday.

In addition to the primary workouts, we did a few standing leg presses, and some leg lifts on the mats using a tension band. The exercises with the bands are meant to strengthen my hip in the long-run. They are DEFINITELY feeling tight today.

Today was supposed to be a shoulder day at the gym… side laterals, front raises, military presses, etc.

HA! No thanks. I think I will do mostly cardio with some push ups, pull ups, dips, and ab work. Yeehawwww.