Day 13: perfect form


Stage 1/A3

Here’s a surprise fact about lifting gloves: they will not work if you leave them at home. πŸ˜‰

Despite not having gloves to help my grip, today was a great workout! I decided to go with my idea of last week to work on perfecting my form before increasing the weight (as much as I want to). It was a good idea.

Here’s what I did:

Back squats – 2 sets of 12 @ 100lbs (I really kept watch my form the whole way through, and it was good. So next week I’ll try and increase)

Alternating Sets
Pushups – 2 sets of 12 (the last couple of these were a little pathetic)
Seated Row – 1 set of 12 @ 60lbs, 1 set of 10 @ 60lbs

Step-ups – 1 set of 12 @ 25lbs, 1 set of 13 @ 25lbs (each hand) – 5 steps up
Prone Jackknife – 2 sets of 12 (medium ball)

Cardio (only do this once or twice a week)
15 min treadmill intervals, 2.5% incline, intervals of 2:1 (5.5mph/7.5mph)

Then I ended with some foam rolling and stretching as per usual. I find doing this really helps with recovery/DOMS.


Got home and made my regular protein shake, enjoyed in a martini shaker. Yum yum. Today was cold, but it was gorgeous and sunny out, so I sat on the balcony, soaking up sun and freezing my ass off.

OH and I wanted to tell you guys about my new purchase – a workout top that cost me a total of $13 (taxes included). I try and wait for sales to buy stuff, and yesterday it worked in my favour – Matrix gear was 40% off at the local sports store by my place. It has a really cute zebra pattern around the edges, and a super cute back. I tried to take a picture of my back but, for the life of me, could got get a good shot (too much twisting).

Also, um…I have no boobs. With any loss of body fat I may start to look like a man πŸ˜‰


Anywho, I’m off to go edit an abstract and to do some stuff for my research job before we go for dinner at my parents’.

Have a great Sunday!


Day 10: Grip strength

Day 10, Stage 1/B3

I realized today that one thing that may be holding me back just a little bit is my grip strength! I feel I can work with heavy weights, but my hands/lower arms (whats that body part called?) really start to ache when I’m working with a heavy load! For example, during my lunges, I was working with 25lbs in each hand today (so 50lbs total) but my grip was so tired that I had to put them down part way through, readjust, and then continue. I bought some gloves, and they do help a bit. During the deadlift, I tried a technique I saw on Stumptuous – using an alternating grip – which definitely helped for that exercise, but I still feel pretty weak. How quickly does grip strength improve? Soon, I hope!

Also…I’m a bit worried that although I’m lifting heavier every weak I’m slightly sacrificing my form in the end sets – particularly with the deadlift. I think next week I’m going to work on getting the form right for all of my sets before moving up in weight again. I may even go down a bit. Once I get further into the program the reps decrease, at which point I think I’ll be able to go up quite a bit (relatively speaking!)

So here’s my workout for today:

Deadlift – 1 set of 11 @ 90lbs, 1 set of 8 @ 90lbs

Alternating Sets
Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 2 sets of 8 @ 20lbs, 1 set of 6 @ 20 lbs (couldn’t get to 12 for my first two, so added in a third, shorter set)
Wide grip lat pulldown – 1 set of 12 @ 50lbs, 1 set of 12 @ 60lbs

Alternating Lunges – 1 set of 12 @ 20lbs (each arm), 1 set of 12 @ 25lbs (each arm)
Swiss-ball Crunches – 1 set of 12 (bodyweight), 1 set of 12 with 10lb weight (large ball)

After I did a bunch of foam rolling and stretching. It was a good workout.

OH, and I made the most AMAZING protein ice cream last night…it was so light and fluffy! The key is lots of blending, stirring, and ice, ice, ice!


And for the record, I have had absolutely no problem eating my calories these days. My appetite is most definitely matching my body’s needs! πŸ™‚

Have a great day!!

Day 8: Small gains

Day 8, Stage 1/A2

Made some small gains today. Obviously I would have been glad to have bigger ones, but I felt tired and like I really worked hard, so that is good enough for me.

I also realized today that I made the same mistake in determining the weight of my lifts with the squats as I did with the deadlifts – I didn’t include the weight of the olympic bar! So, turns out my first round of squats last week were actually 95lbs, not 50 ;). I went back and edited them since this is my “record”!

Here’s what I did:

Back squats – 1 set of 12 @ 95lbs, 1 set of 12 @ 100lbs

Alternating Sets
Pushups – 2 sets of 15 @ 30 degree incline
Seated Row – 1 set of 15 @ 55lbs, 1 set of 13 @ 55lbs

Step ups – 2 sets of 15 @ 20lbs (each hand), 6-up
Prone jackknife – 2 sets of 12 on the M ball

Cardio: 15 m HIIT, with intervals of 2:1.

Tonight I also have my weekly yoga class at Yoga in Daily Life. (For those who don’t know, I’m a certified yoga teacher, and I did my training in India last spring. So far, this is the one and only system I’ve found in Canada that resembles the yoga I learned there). I’m not teaching currently (too busy), but once the semester is over I’m going to start doing weekly classes for the employees at Pixar’s Vancouver office, which is exciting.

As for progress pics – I decided when I started NROLFW that I was going to use progress pictures to keep myself motivated. Please keep in mind when viewing that I obviously have a ways to go…haha. My main goals are to tighten up my waist and to change my body composition. I have a wide waist (so does my mom – genetics!) and it’s always been my trouble spot. I was hesitant at first to post them, because, well…its very personal! . So I’m going to keep them on my bodybuilding profile – you can check them out here [link has been disabled].

Well that’s all for now. Have a great day ladies! (I assume its mostly ladies reading this, haha)


Day 6: Inter-gym reliability

Day 6, Stage 1/B2

In empirical research, inter-rater reliability is the degree of agreement between “raters” (or researchers, coders, whatever). I had a little chuckle to myself when I discovered today how inter-gym reliability is just as important for measuring results!

I went to the rec centre again today for my second “B” workout. The first exercise was deadlifting. However, unlike the gym at school, this one doesn’t have the nice little fixed barbells – only olympic bars. I wasn’t sure of the weight of the bar, so I just did a few warm-ups with bodyweight, and then added on weight according to how much I could take (40lbs), figuring I’d look up the weight of the bar when I got home. Turns out that Olympic bars weight ~45 lbs…so I was able to deadlift 85lbs this week – WAY up from the 50lbs I did last week.

THEN, I went to do my lat pulldowns. I set the weight to what I had done last week – 5olbs – but was shocked when it was almost too heavy for me to pull down. I readjusted until I found a comfortably heavy weight (27.5). I did the sets using that weight, feeling totally confused. Either I just went down a LOT, or there was something different about the machine. I went and asked the guy at the desk and he explained that I was using a dual-pulley, and the numbered bars indicate weights per arm. So, turns out I was pulling 55lbs.


Yeah, I felt silly. But happy that I kicked up my weight from last week.

Both of these “incidents” made me realize that so much of lifting is in the mind. Not knowing how much I was lifting, and instead just doing what felt heavy, I ended up lifting better. Not bad.

Here’s the workout (I actually did B3 instead of B2. Oops. Oh well):

Deadlift – 1 set of 12 @ 85lbs, 1 set of 10 @ 85lbs

Alternating Sets
Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 1 set of 12 @ 17.5lbs, 1 set of 10 @ 17.5lbs (each arm)
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown –Β  1 set of 12 2 55lbs, 1 set of 10 @55lbs

Lunge – 1 set of 12 @ 20lbs, 1 set of 13 @ 20lbs (each arm)
Swiss Ball Crunch – 1 set of 12, 1 set of 12 @10lbs



Every day is a learning experience.

It was tiring.

And now I am hungry.



Day 4: Tradeoffs

Day 4, Stage 1/A1

I woke up super early this morning to work out before a meeting, but this time I went to the community rec centre near my house. It was so lovely! I usually go there in the evenings and on weekends (ie. when I’m not at school), but it was a completely different experience in the morning…namely because the weight area was almost completely FREE! haha. It seems that the cardio queens (and kings) prefer the mornings, leaving lots of space for lifting πŸ™‚

Anywho, it was an interesting workout. I’m loving that each day is a different experience and brings on new thoughts and feelings.

Today I did my first “A” routine. Honestly, it was weird, because I did every exercise to my max, but I still felt like – maybe at another day, or time – I could have done more. Does that make sense? Like, my body didn’t feel totally wrecked like it did the other day. More than that though, I felt like I was making tradeoffs. For example, with the squats at 60lbs, I felt like I could have done another couple of sets, but that I would have been sacrificing form.Β  With my pushups, I could have pushed out some more regular pushups instead of moving to a 30 degree incline, but again, I would have been sacrificing form. I’m no weight-lifting pro, but it seems to me that it’s always better to do fewer reps with perfect form than more reps with bad form. I prefer to stay injury-free, thank you very much. So, that’s what happened. And here’s what I did:

Back squat – 1 set @105lbs/9 reps, 1 set @95lbs/15 reps (I went down because I wasn’t hitting the goal reps of 15 the first time)

Alternating sets

Pushups – 1 set @BW/12, 1 set @ 30 degrees/15 (now this is just flat out embarrassing!!!! I am so out of pushup shape! The good news is that I have a long way to improve πŸ˜‰
Seated row – 1 set @55lbs/15, 1 set @55lbs/12 (this one felt real good)

Stepup – 1 set @ 17.5lbs(each hand)/15, 1 set @20lbs/15, all at 5 steps up (this was too easy. next week I’m going for 25)
Prone jackknife – 2 sets of 8 reps on the smaller ball (Also felt too easy – next week I’m going for the bigger ball)

I finished with about a little bit of time before I had to shower, so I ended with 10 mins of HIIT on the spin bike, with intervals of 1:00 (easy pace) and :30 (hard). I’ve never done HIIT on the spin bike, but it works great – mainly because there are no buttons to push to increase your speed, you just pedal faster, or adjust the knob for resistance.

Eats today – still can’t get enough calories in…i’m trying… i added in fats every which way today!

B – 2 pieces Chia toast with almond butter, scrambled egg whites
PW – protein shake
L – tempeh veggie stir fry, also cottage cheese + cantaloupe
S – peanut butter flax protein bar (crappy recipe I found online – not worth sharing)
D – chicken, steamed veg, broccoli, almond butter
S – protein shake

aaand today was the first day that I can proudly say I hit my (lower) cal goal of 1900. Probably all due to my adding copious amounts of almond butter to every single meal. thanks for the fat tips! bonus. πŸ™‚

Happy weekend!