Let’s go to the gym and take pictures of ourselves!

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Nothing drives me more crazy at the gym than people who are NOT there to workout, but to make sure that their friends know that they paid a visit.

I got to the gym on Monday evening, and blocking the entrance to the locker room was a teenage girl. She was dressed in skinny jeans, Timberland boots, a see-through lace tank top and ENORMOUS hoop earrings and was taking pictures of herself in the mirror. She didn’t bother to move out of the way when I entered, so I carefully eased myself by her to avoid a photo-bomb. Wouldn’t want to ruin her new Facebook profile picture.

A few minutes later I am on an elliptical warming up and I notice the same girl on one of the treadmills in front of me. She is walking – in the same outfit, boots and all – with her hands on her hips and making a kissy face over her shoulder. To her right is a girl in similar attire taking her picture. What?

I looked around to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing and realized that I was one of many people watching this ridiculousness. Who goes to the gym simply to take pictures of themselves “working out”..?

This goes on for a few minutes until all of a sudden, as she is popping her booty out and striking a pose, she goes FLYING off of the treadmill.

……….. I DIED. On the inside.

Sorry hunny, you deserved that one!!

New Headphones! Yurbuds Inspire for Women

I finally got new headphones!

Last week I was mid-run when suddenly… my headphones completely died out. Talk about terrible timing. I am one of those people that HAS to have music when I workout, or else I will be utterly miserable and lose motivation. The only exception is when I am working out with someone.

I had been using Skull Candy headphones for a while and at some point last week, one of the ear buds started fading in and out.  I dealt with it because hey, I could still hear the music in one ear and half the time I am removing one bud to talk to all the Chatty Cathys that frequent my gym. This lasted for a few days, until the funky one stopped working completely and the good one started being choppy. Then on Thursday, mid-workout of course, they completely died. I didn’t have them for too long either.

Two of my siblings had the same issues with this brand of headphone so I would advise against purchasing them!

I did a workout and a half with no music and that was enough for me to go crazy! SO, Saturday afternoon (after a kickass 6AM hike – productive!), I set off to Best Buy to buy some new gear. After much deliberation, I walked out with the beauties below:

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I got Yurbuds Inspire for Women earphones. I have only used them once and already love them!

One issue that I seem to find myself having with earphones (including Skull Candy and the ones that come with iPods) are that they are too big and fall out of my ears – particularly when I am running. The Yurbuds that I purchased are designed specifically for use during exercise AND for women with this exact problem! They are smaller, and they “click” into your ears by rotating them in. First workout – no problems! They sound excellent too.

Now, it’s possible that I was just excited about a new product and may run into problems down the road, so if that is the case I will say so! But for now based off of my first impression, I would definitely suggest getting a pair!

I lifted how much?!

CHALLENGE NUMERO UNO:

Squats: 155lbs (3 reps); Deadlifts: 135lbs (4 reps)

Last Thursday I gave the squat challenge a try! Somehow it turned into a squat AND deadlift challenge. It was painful and awesome.

A trainer at my gym asked me if I would be interested in completing a fitness test to see what my 1 rep squat max is. This was to be found by squatting the barbell, and gradually adding weight while doing fewer reps, until we reached my 1 rep max.

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Because this was the preliminary test, we spent a lot of time focusing on my form. He made me do a TON of squats with no weight on my shoulders while watching myself in the mirror from the side. I have a bit of a bad hip so getting the form just right was a little hard for me, but the practice definitely helped. I need to focus on keeping my heels flat on the ground and leaning my hips further backward. I did so many free squats that my thighs and butt were burning before I even started lifting.

We started with just the barbell so he could check out my form, then added weight with each set. I noticed that he was increasing the weight in larger increments than I do on my own. While I usually add an extra 5lbs to each side of the barbell with each set, he was increasing by 10-15lbs! With each set, I did 1-2 fewer repetitions. The more weight added, the longer the rest in between.

Again, because form was the primary concern the first time around, we only made it as far as my 3-rep max squat weight. This ended up being 155lbs (two 45lb plates and two 10lb plates)! Prior to that I had only squatted 135lbs. The trainer is certain that I can do about 175lbs. We’ll see about that.

During my workout, I had about 5 different guys that I don’t know stop and watch us work. I don’t think they are used to females in the weight room. Between my sets – I think I was at 135lbs – one came over and said “how embarrassing, I can’t even squat the 45lb bar and here you are doing 3 times that. Impressive!” Obviously this excited me.

After squatting, I thought I was off the hook. But no, the fitness instructor got me again! He asked me what I had next on my agenda and I told him I was going to do chest presses and bicep curls – my normal Thursday routine. “WRONG!” he said. Instead, we set off to see what my max deadlift weight is.

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What I used to use.

When I deadlift, I usually use weights similar to the one on the right. The most I had ever lifted was 60lbs at 10-12 reps per set. For the challenge, we “warmed-up” with the 50lb one, before he said that I had graduated from that style and was moving on up in the world to the barbell that you manually add weight to. The barbell is MUCH longer than the one I am used to, making balance difficult. Scary!

Set one, like the squats, was just with the barbell to check on my form. The three sets after that were with 10lb increases. By the time I hit 105lbs (three 10lb plates on either side) at 4 reps I was BEAT. I was kneeling on the ground after I completed the set and was sure that I COULD not and WOULD not do any more.

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Then I saw him make a Dr. Evil face while removing the 10lb plates and replacing them with a 45lb plate on each side. I’m sure you can imagine how much my eyes bugged out of my head, but if you can’t, this baby’s face is pretty on point. I asked if he was out of his mind. 135lbs?? Are you joking? I know that deadlifts are performed with your legs, but I was exhausted and it isn’t the same as carrying the weight on your shoulders! Gripping that much in your hands is hard!

I ended up deadlifting the 135lbs four times. This is WAY more than I had ever thought I would be able to do. It was more than twice the amount of weight that I have ever done!

I completed the workout with a 10 minute jog on the treadmill. Killer!

Squat Challenge – Accepted!

20130501-144200.jpgAfter a grueling leg workout yesterday, one of the fitness coaches at my gym asked me if I would be willing to give his squat challenge a try. I was surprised and excited to hear that he thought I was one of the only females at our facility that was physically capable of handling a decent amount of weight if I put my mind to it. Now, there aren’t exactly many females at my gym that lift weights at all, but I am still going to take it as a compliment and let it boost my ego a bit anyways.

As soon as I heard “challenge,” my ears perked up. Maybe I should have waited for him to explain what the challenge was before I enthusiastically agreed. But hey, it’s only going to help me!

He wants to do a pyramid workout, where the end result is to see what my one-repetition maximum squat weight is. If I understood correctly, we would start with a small amount of weight – maybe just the barbell, or the barbell plus 20lbs (10 on both sides) – and do my regular amount of reps (about 12). Every time we add weight, he would have me do one less rep, thus ending at 1 rep with my max weight. Based on what I have been doing, he believes that my minimum weight is probably 145lbs, which is already 20lbs more than what I have done so far.

Yesterday I squatted 6 sets of 12, beginning with 15lbs on both ends of the barbell and ending with 40lbs, making my highest weight 125lbs. I probably could have done more if my legs were not already exhausted from my single leg presses. He advised me to begin my workouts with the squats so that I can give it my all, so I will have to try that next time. The rest of my workout consisted of weighted step-ups with two 15lb dumbbells, and a quick 10 minute run on the treadmill.

The great thing about this challenge is that it will give me an idea of just how much I can lift, so that I am not taking a wild guess and starting with less weight than I could be. I am looking forward to it and nervous just the same! He tells me that he has been wanting to work with a dedicated woman to see just how far they can be pushed, but that most people that he has approached are afraid of extreme muscle gain. They don’t trust that the female body simply can’t gain the muscle mass that men do. So, here’s to hoping that the end result is a nice bikini-ready bottom!

 

Bad Katie! Cheating On Myself and Making Up For It

I was bad this weekend. I cheated BIG TIME on my diet and deserve a big ol’ spanking. I know that it is OK to treat yourself from time to time but I more than treated myself and felt absolutely disgusting by Sunday afternoon. Just goes to show that in-the-moment “wants” may not be worth it at the end of the day.

My recommended daily calorie intake is 1,200. Boy did I surpass that. I went out of town for the weekend and because I was staying in a hotel, I ate out for every meal. In addition to eating out, there was an array of wine and cocktails. And you know I enjoy my wine.

On Friday night before my misbehavior ensued, I squeezed in a quick workout substitute for my regular routine. The gym at the hotel was smaller than my freshman year dorm room and was extremely limited, but I made do with what was available. I did a quick warm up on the elliptical, deadlifts maxing at 60lbs (with dumbbells rather than my regular bar), and weighted lunges. Better than nothing, I guess.

I have learned just how easy it is to think that you’re eating healthy by choosing the green item on the menu, only to find that oftentimes… you’re doing the exact opposite! We went to PF Chang’s on Saturday for lunch and I ordered the Thai Beef and Noodle Salad. I knew that it would likely be a little high in calories, especially due to the toppings and the dressing (I usually get the dressing on the side and use very little of it but forgot to ask this time), but didn’t realize how bad it actually would be.

I had eaten about half of the bowl before I thought to check and see what the calorie count was on the MyFitnessPal app. It was enough to make me full then and there. One of these salads totals to 870 calories… GROSS. More than 2/3 of my daily “allowance” in one meal. I don’t use this app religiously – it’s mostly so that I can have a general idea of what I am consuming. I told myself I wouldn’t be a calorie counter. But, I am very happy that I checked before scarfing that whole bowl down.

Those of you who have been following my blog know that I am a sucker for the bad stuff. The rest of the weekend included nachos, wings and burgers. I had a regular salad and a grilled chicken caesar wrap at other points but those unfortunately did not cancel out the aforementioned high calorie meals and appetizers.

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When I got home on Sunday afternoon I was NOT in the mood to exercise. I felt so full, exhausted and just plain yucky from the weekend that I just wanted to veg out on the couch and watch Netflix. But I figured… what is an hour of my time? If I can find the time to watch TV for an hour then I sure as hell can kick my ass into gear and do SOMETHING that gets me on my feet and moving.

This weekend was the first Saturday I had skipped in two months and I would have felt so terrible if I went two days in a row without exercising. SO, with my future 5k in mind, I set out for a run. Well, it was more of a run/brisk walk but I think I did alright for my first time out for the season.

Using my MapMyRun app, I mapped out a route that is just a little further than a 5k. I think I will use it to train for ColorMeRad because it has a good flat:hilly ratio. I went 3.47 miles in 44:19 at a 12:45 pace, burning 511 calories. I reached 3.1 miles (5k) in 40:26. Now, I know that the time doesn’t sound too impressive, but I am not exactly in the best running shape… yet. I imagine that my running mile is probably between 10-11 minutes. Not too terrible for someone who is just getting back into the swing of things! After my run I did 4 sets of 12 push-ups, alternating between diamond and regular.

All in all, I will definitely be paying for my slip-ups this week! I plan to kick it to the next level at the gym. Wish me luck!

Two Months in & Sore as Hell

As of yesterday, I am 2 months in to my new routine (9 weeks as of this weekend)! My weigh-in this morning shows that I have lost 13.3lbs! Woohoo!

I am definitely seeing some progress here and there. I have lost a decent amount of weight in my chest, my arms are less flabby and my pants are starting to feel loose. The other day I wore a pair of pants to work that used to be tight, and I spent half my time hiking them up!

Below is a side-by-side (or in this case bottom-to-top) comparison of my arm. The top picture was from April 5th and the bottom picture is from just a couple of days ago. I see slight differences but can’t tell if it’s good progress or bad! To me it sort of seems like there is less muscle, but it could just be that it is just less fat surrounding the muscle.

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Thursday’s workout was deliciously difficult. I am definitely feeling it today and my butt and thighs are STILL unhappy with me from Tuesday’s ass-whoopin’. Love it.

Here is my workout from last night:

Warm-up: Elliptical for 5.5 minutes; 4 Sets/12 modified push-ups (2 regular, 2 diamond); Stretch

– Free-weight Chest Press: 12 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells**

– Close-Grip Chest Press: 12 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells**

– Lateral Raise + Front + Press Combo: 10 Reps/5 Sets; Two 5lb dumbbells

Weighted Glute Bridge: 15 Reps/5 Sets; 20lb bar

– Incline Dumbbell Curls: 10 Reps/5 Sets; Two 15lb dumbbells

– Bicep Cable Curls: 12 Reps/5 Sets; 20lbs on both cables

Cool-down – Treadmill – Run, 10 minutes

** I alternated between Chest Press and Close-Grip Chest Press and counted that as one set. Apparently this is called Super Setting. (Learning new things every day!)

Like I said in my last post, I signed up for my first 5k race which is taking place in late July! So, of course I had to switch things up and hit the treadmill last night. I normally end my workouts on the bike — occasionally on the elliptical. I was happy to find that I was comfortable running for the duration of my cool-down, and had I had the time, could probably have gone longer. I think that now that I have something to look forward to… I will need to try and mix in a run a few times a week.

Hooray for progress!

Color Me Rad 5k – Boston

20130425-101509.jpgThe Color Me Rad 5k is in Boston on July 27th and I am officially registered! I have not run a race in 6 years.

Eeek!

Check out the race page here, it looks like a lot of fun! You wear white and spectators throw paint on you as you run. By the time you hit the finish line you are multi-colored. Yay!

I have 3 months to get back into running shape. I’m excited to have something to train for!!

My Quads are on FIREEEEE!!

I am happy to say that everywhere from my neck down feels like it has been annihilated by a 5 million ton train. Normal things like changing my clothes, using the restroom and simply walking are NOT coming easy to me today. I am SORE. Which I like because it means I had a kick-ass weekend!

On my lifting days, I focused on increasing the weight, thus resulting in fewer reps per set. I have been told to do this for quite some time now and it really does make a difference.

Friday

I finally went back to my normal routine. I was off for about two weeks because of a weird pain that I was feeling in my knee and was substituting the heavy leg days with long bike rides.

My workout was the following:

Warm-up on Elliptical for 5.5 minutes; 4 Sets/12 modified push-ups; 3 sets assisted pull-ups; 5 sets assisted dips.

Deadlifts: 2 Sets/15 Reps with 40lbs; 2 Sets/15 Reps with 50lbs; 2 Sets/15 Reps with 60lbs.

– Weighted Walking Lunges: 15lb dumbbells – 4 Sets/14 Steps

Hamstring Curls: 4 Sets/12 Reps, weight distribution – 50lbs/55lbs/60lbs/65lbs

Breaks – Front Plate Raises: 10lb plate, 4 Sets/12 Reps

Quadricep Extension: 4 Sets/12 Reps, weight distribution – 50lns/55lbs/60lbs/65lbs

Breaks – Front Plate Raises: 10lb plate, 4 Sets/12 Reps

– Thigh Abductor: 4 Sets/15 Reps, 2 sets level 6, 2 sets level 7

Cool-down: Bike HIIT – 2.81 miles in 10 minutes (Challenge – 2.50 in 10 minutes)

Basically…

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Saturday

Saturdays started off as being optional for me but I have made a weekend workout a requirement for myself.

Warm-up on Elliptical for 5.5 minutes; 4 Sets/12 modified push-ups (2 Sets regular, 2 Sets diamond)

Assisted Pull-ups: 4 Sets/10 Reps; 1 Set 94lb assistance, 3 Sets 88lb assistance

Assisted Dips: 4 Sets/10 Reps; 1 Set 94lb assistance, 3 Sets 88lb assistance

Front Raises (chest on bench): 4 Sets/10 Reps; 10lb dumbbells

Front Raises (back on bench): 4 Sets/10 Reps; 10lb dumbbells

One-hand Dumbbell Rows (left & right): 4 Sets each/12 Reps; 15lb dumbbell

Dumbbell Chest Flies: 4 Sets/10-12 Reps; 1 Set 12 Reps with 5lb dumbbells, 3 Sets 10 Reps with 10lb dumbbells

Seated Arnolds: 4 Sets/10-12 Reps; 1 Sets 12 Reps, 3 Sets 10 Reps; 15lb dumbbells

Cool-down: Bike HIIT – 2.87 miles in 10 minutes (Challenge – 2.50 in 10 minutes)

Sunday

Yesterday my trainer and I went on a long brisk walk in a park by my house. According to MapMyRun we did a total of 5.89 miles, burning 676 calories! Sunday is typically my off day during the week so this was a bonus. I am so looking forward to spring making an extended appearance so I can enjoy the warm weather like we did yesterday!

Overall I feel like I had a really great weekend of exercise! I’m hoping I can do just as well this week and coming weekend.

Squats should be fun today! Yea right!

Ass. Kicked.

Yesterday I got to spend some time at the gym with my trainer and let me tell you… I. Am. HURTING.

I don’t get to do this very often since we live so far from each other, so it was nice to be able to go together rather than me briefing him on my workout like I do every other day. Gives me a chance to learn some new things and make sure I am doing all of my strength training correctly.

One of the biggest things he emphasized yesterday was to push myself to my limits. When I am on my own, I often think that I can’t do another rep, or that I’m not ready to add an extra 5-10lbs, but he continues to prove me wrong!

Much to my day-after-workout body’s displeasure…

I added 10lbs to my max weight for deadlifts. What I typically do is start with 30lbs and add weight with every set, eventually doing my final set with 50lbs. Yesterday, I started with 50lbs and focused on my form before upping to 60lbs.

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I also added an extra 20lbs to my max squat weight, totaling to 115lbs if you include the weight of the bar. I hadn’t done squats in about a week and a half since we were giving my knee a little bit of a break. I was happy to find that it felt fine, even with more weight than I was used to on my shoulders. We alternated between regular squats and sumo squats. There were a few moments when I seriously thought that I couldn’t get my butt down there again and it was helpful knowing he was there to spot me incase I couldn’t make it. He was also in my ear saying “ONE MORE, ONE MORE!” Not seeming to have much of an option, down I went. This was brutal. BUT, they say squats are key to a great ass, so squat I shall!

He totally tricked me when we did the assisted pull-ups and dips. I usually do a 100lb assist and about 4 sets of 10-12. He told me that I needed to lose about 5-6lbs of assistance every week on my own but I hadn’t started doing that yet. So, since he was being the boss-man, yesterday was the day to drop a little bit. First I tried 90lbs assistance which of course was harder than I was used to, but not terrible. Then he wanted to drop a little more and said he was setting it to 85lbs. So, up and down I go — kind of. I only managed about 6 reps for both the pull-ups and dips. It was a struggle. In my head I was like DAMN, am I really that weak? Why is this so much harder if it’s only 5lbs less?? Turns out that sucker was playing with me and actually set it to 75lbs assistance to make a point that my body is capable of more than I think.

tumblr_lwdnxeVGfQ1qk3lgjo1_500I also tried something completely new… bench pressing! Since it was my first time, I only did the barbell which weighs 45lbs. I clearly didn’t look as good as the chick to the left, but maybe one day I will be benching the barbell and some plates with ease like her. I actually liked it much more than I thought I would. If I am brave enough, I think I will try these on my own at some point this week.

In addition to the tough stuff, we did a handful of free weight lifts such as the Seated Arnold to make sure that I was doing them correctly. Turns out there are a good amount of workouts where I should actually be starting with heavier weights than I have been.

Overall I had an awesome exercise yesterday and I am bound to be feeling it for days. I have been waddling around like a little old lady. Ouuuch.

Need some motivation?

Whenever I am in need of some fitness motivation… Pinterest is always to the rescue. All I have to do is look in the “Health & Fitness” category, see a board full of perfect abs and asses, and suddenly I am a body builder, no fitness challenge fazing me.

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Today was a legs and butt day at the gym, and mine feel like they are burning off as I type. I question whether or not I will be able to walk to my car in the morning. “Hi boss, my ass is on fire, I need to use a sick day.”

Really though… squats and leg presses are my new best friends, and I live for the days that they are on my workout schedule. Today I did 5 sets of single leg presses,  5 sets of “sumo” squats with the free bar, weighted step-ups, 90 degree wall planks with lifts, seated calf raises and a quick 2.7 mile bike ride. I was able to do more  than anticipated, which is always a nice surprise. Especially when shortly after my sets, I watch a big guy struggle with less weight than I did. Hoorah!

PS, one day my ass will look like blondie’s.