Tag Archives: weights training

Number 5 is alive!

29 Jun

This morning’s workout at the gym involved the number 5 – 5 rounds of a metabolic conditioning circuit. And for some strange reason, it brought back memories of the 1986 movie Short Circuit that our boys loved to watch – I’ve lost count how many times we saw it!


Number 5

Each circuit included 20 reps of the following:

  • step ups
  • push ups
  • lunges
  • burpees (because of my injury I did one-leg bridges instead)
  • bent over row with barbell
  • tricep dips
  • barbell shoulder press
  • bicep curls with dumbbells

I started and ended the session with 10 minutes on the xtrainer.

I’m not sure if I could say that I felt  alive by the end of the session or totally knackered – probably a mixture of both! But the 5th round I was finding those barbell shoulder presses particularly challenging but I pushed through mentally by focusing on pushing the barbell up with each rep. And the final 10 minutes on the xtrainer, at a higher resistance, was just plain hard slog. Tired – knackered, stuffed, exhausted, worn out, fatigued.

But hey, that’s what the Saturday Super Session is all about – challenging myself and pushing through barriers. It just pain hurts sometimes but it feels so good once I’ve finished!

Hungry – famished, ravenous, starving, peckish. I need input! Food was looking pretty damn good by now so I was looking forward to the garlic and mushroom haloumi for breakfast. I must admit, this is not what I would normally have for breakfast  but I was willing to give it a go as I love haloumi!  Trust me, this was delicious – tasty, scrumptious, heavenly. 🙂

And to continue with the food theme – I had another tuna and coleslaw pita pocket for lunch and this time it held together. I also added wholegrain mustard to the yoghurt to give it some flavour oomph. And tonight for dinner we had the most amazing Moroccan lamb shanks. Omg, this was so delicious. The meat just fell of the bones and the sauce was delicious too. Even Mr CJ was mightily impressed with this dish. For dessert I had the rice pudding with raspberry jam whereas Mr CJ had apple strudel with cream. Hmm, guess which one was 12WBT-approved! 🙂


It’s what you do next…

27 Jun

It’s the usual story – I wake up and my first thought is, oh crap I really don’t feel like [select option] going to the gym/swimming/going for a jog/walk/doing weights, etc. (confession time: sometimes it resembles the opening scene from Four Weddings & a Funeral movie!)

It would be so easy just to turn over, pull the blanket up over my head to muffle the mumblings and grumblings and grab some more sleep.

After all, who would know? Who would care?

Morning tea comes and wouldn’t you know it, it’s a work colleague’s birthday so there’s food involved. I’d like to say there’s fresh fruit, natural yoghurt, and other healthy items but it’s a ‘special’ occasion so there has to be cakes, cookies, etc.

And of course there are gluten free options because everyone is so conscious of me not missing out on [select option] cake/slice/cookies/chips/dips, etc.

Go on, have one, it won’t hurt. You do so much exercise. You eat well most of the time. Go on!

Then I do start thinking, well, one wouldn’t hurt, or maybe two, or one of each? After all, who’d really care? Just this once? And they do look so delicious sitting there on the plates. Everyone else is having some so why can’t I?

I hit the mid-afternoon slump and have this overwhelming need for something to boost my energy levels.

There’s the charity chocolate box in the work kitchen. I seem to be making lots of trips to the kitchen presumably to get a drink, but that chocolate box has my name all over it. Not only could I have some chocolate that would give me energy but I’d also be donating to charity, surely that must negate the calories?!

Or how about a diet coke from the drinks dispenser downstairs? I really need something to give me a boost to get me through to dinner. Just this once? The walk down and up the stairs (74 steps in total!) would be good for me.

After dinner and all the chores are done. I’m about to sit down and watch TV. Hmm, I need a snack – I might just go and have a look in the pantry.

What was that? Have something healthy? Really?

Come on, it’s night time, I’ve had a long day, I’m tired, I deserve a treat! (cue whiny voice). This diet thing is way too hard – I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. Why don’t I start again tomorrow? Or even better, I’ll start again next Monday. I’ve had [select option] chocolate/cake/cookies/chips, etc today, so I’ve blown my diet today, it would be better to start afresh next week, etc.

Sound familiar?
These are daily dilemmas and it’s what you do next that determines how you feel, how you look, how you function.

Yes, I can eat crap, I can decide not to exercise, I can justify until the cows come home why I’m not doing these things, I can listen to my ‘inner teenager’ or cave in to my ‘inner labrador’ BUT…and it’s a huge BUT, I also have to accept responsibility for the consequences ie weight gain, feeling like crap (eat crap = feel and look like crap), increase my risk of developing diseases as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, suffer from joint pain due to increased weight and lack of exercise, and so forth.

So while I might grizzle, grumble and bitch sometimes about how hard it all is, I really believe the payoff is well worth it in increased wellbeing, fitness and good health.

But it’s not something that comes naturally to me; I have to work at this each and every day. I’m not superhuman, I’m not blessed with super strength willpower. To be quite honest, I’m a sloth by nature! 🙂 And there are times when I not only fall off the wagon, the entire wagon collapses beneath me!

But back to today. This morning I had a weights session that focused on shoulders, back, triceps, hamstrings and calves. I’ve come to realise that I love back, arms and shoulder training because I see results so much sooner than I do with legs training.

It was very quiet at the gym today, maybe it had something to do with some footy game that was on last night? You know, something about state of origin or some such thing?! Anyway I appreciated the quietness because it meant that I had access to free weights and machines without having to wait for someone else to finish.

Breakfast today was berry bruschetta and for lunch I had corn chowder plus a home grown mandarin. For tea tonight we had kangaroo with mashed pumpkin and ginger and mango glaze. I’ve also received next week’s menu plan and I’m looking forward to banana bruschetta, herbed ricotta with roast pumpkin open sandwich, and lamb biryani, among others.

And remember, when faced with choices – it’s what you do next that matters.


And your time starts now…

11 Jun

Wow, this week’s challenge is proving to be very challenging.
300 push-ups in a week?
No worries.
Try a different food or recipe?
Aim to get to bed by 9.30pm?…omg this is really testing me!

Tonight I get home from work. And, as they say in Masterchef world, “your time starts now”…cook dinner – Cajun pork with coleslaw & sweet corn.
Get my gear ready for tomorrow morning.
Was going to go swimming but then changed my mind and instead I will do a 6km walk before work. Throw on a load of washing – that’s the downside of exercising every day, lots of washing.
Eat dinner.
Prepare tomorrow’s lunch – roasted beetroot & zucchini salad with goats cheese & walnuts.
Clean up after cooking – the kitchen looks like a bomb’s gone off.
Stack dishwasher. Wash those pots/pans that can’t go in dishwasher.
All the time trying to watch Masterchef!

And so it goes. The time is ticking away. Tick, tick, tick….will I make it?! I have to admit, it is making me very time efficient. No faffing around tonight!

And to other things: this morning it was legs & chest day at the gym. And the really exciting thing was that I could use the xtrainer (for 5min), and do squats, lunges and leg extensions! It may seem strange to be so excited by this but given that for the past 4 weeks these have been on the banned list, so to speak, this is progress. 🙂


Lift. Sweat. Repeat

6 Jun

It’s Thursday. That means its weights day. Some days operate like clockwork. And some days its a bit more random!

Ever have one of those days when you always seem to be chasing your tail? When you’re always about 10 steps behind? Yep, today was one of those days!

However I had a great weights session this morning. I was on a tight time schedule because I had an 8am breakfast date – with work colleagues at Sugacube cafe. So I was focus personified at the gym this morning. I included lunges today, as well as bridges with my feet on a bench. There were more push ups, lateral raises, assisted chin ups, chest press, biceps curls, dips as well as abs. I increased my weights so it was a hard but challenging workout. Definitely lots of sweat involved!

Despite my best intentions to get to breakfast on time I ended up being 20 mins late. Not that it mattered. Service was really slow and no-one had ordered yet. Because the cafe didn’t have gluten free bread I opted for a mushroom, tomato and shallot omelette which was delicious and very, very filling. In fact, I didn’t need anything further to eat until lunchtime, and even then I only had a small snack.

Next weeks meal plan popped up in my inbox this morning. Highlights include French toast with banana, berries & maple syrup for breakfast (can’t wait to try this), roasted beetroot and zucchini salad with goats cheese for lunch, and beef, pumpkin and prune tagine for tea (even Mr CJ will approve of this. 🙂

And next week’s challenge will be a huge challenge for me: to get to bed early. In bed by 9.30pm and lights out by 10pm. This will be interesting but I’m up for the challenge!


The week that was: review of week 3

2 Jun

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 3 weeks since I started this round of 12WBT. It used to be said that to form a habit takes 21 days. However there seems to be a shift in thinking lately that it takes anywhere between 26 – 66 days depending on the habit you’re either trying to make or break.

However I have noticed that I’m not picking at food between meals, I’m trying to differentiate between head and stomach hunger (ie kicking the emotional eating habit) and most of the time I’m satisfied with less on my plate. It does help that the weekly menus offer up tasty options and for someone who loves variety, this program offers plenty of variety.

Not that I’m anywhere near perfect, no way, not by a long shot. Ask me again in 66 days! 😉

This was how week 3 panned out for me:

Monday – froze on my early morning walk. Note to self: wear more warm clothes! Dealt with a social event with amazing restraint. Diet coke anyone?!

Tuesday – apparently I’m an elite athlete according to a health check I had today! On the serious front, my cholesterol ratio is improving. This has been a long time coming. Had my weekly physio appointment and there has been some teensy improvement – I have been given the go ahead to use a recumbent bike at the gym!

Wednesday – lost 300g! Discovered that lentils and I have an uncomfortable relationship. Underwhelmed with dhal.

Thursday – weights session and 5 mins on the recumbent bike! Amazing how little things like this can make my day! Busy planning next weeks menu and exercise program.

Friday – a hungry day. The grumbling gremlins made their presence felt in the afternoon. Drove me crazy. But I didn’t attack the charity chocolate box (just thought about!)

Saturday – my version of a SSS – swim, pool walking, bike, treadmill and weights. The grumbling gremlins hung around again today. Deployed my secret weapon. I also made and ate an awesome chicken, roasted eggplant and capsicum roll with ricotta & baby spinach for lunch. Did the final 50 push-ups for a total of 300 for the week (two weeks now).

Sunday – rest day. Loved the smoked salmon cases with salad for lunch. Very fancy schmancy!

Week 4 – bring it on!

Those fancy schmancy smoked salmon & tomato cases with salad

Doing it my way

1 Jun

Super Saturday Session (aka SSS) today. So no sleep in but instead I was up early to get ready for swim and gym. I was wondering why on earth I was doing this, as I was drinking my coffee. I’m injured so surely that’s my get out of jail card? Well, no. Lame excuse really, but was worth a try 😉

First up was my swim session: 200m warm up, then 500m with pull buoy, and finally 500m without. Total: 1.2km

Next: 4 x 25m pool walking.

Gym session: I had to modify today’s SSS because I can’t do any of the lower body exercises such as burpees, lunges, etc (there is a god!). So I did things my way!

5 min warm up on the bike
Then 3 circuits of the following:
20 bridges
20 push ups
5 min bike
20 one arm rows (10kg)
20 dips
20 barbell shoulder presses (10kg)
20 barbell bicep curls (10kg)
5 min treadmill walk
Total: 63 min

The grumbling gremlins had started before I even left home this morning so the grumbles from my my stomach were almost deafening by the time I got home again 2 hours later! I was starving.

It’s been a wet, miserable and cold day – appropriate for the first day of winter. I’ve had to employ my secret weapon this afternoon to stop any unnecessary snacking. It doesn’t help that Mr CJ had bought a packet of chocolate coated marshmallows, waves them under my nose and then proceeds to eat them in front of me, one by one.


Is it time yet?! Is it?! Is it?!

30 May

This is what I’m like as I’m waiting for 10am to tick over. Why? Because that’s when I can get access to next weeks exercise and meal plans. I always look forward to these so I can see what meals and exercise are in store for me next week. Actually the exercise not so much as that only changes every fortnight.

So next week I can look forward to meals such as banana quinoa porridge for breakfast, satay egg, cucumber & carrot corn thins for lunch and wholemeal creamy pasta bake for tea, among others. I’m sure Mr CJ will appreciate the nights when beef fillet with roast pumpkin and herb & parmesan veal schnitzel are on the menu.

The weekly challenge for next week is about trying new foods – this is a little easier than 300 push-ups I’d say!!! Each day we should try something different or new ie cook with a new ingredient or try a recipe that I normally wouldn’t go for. Actually that has been my commitment for this round – stick to the program and follow the nutrition to the letter. That has meant no embellishing of recipes 🙂 and it has also meant that I have cooked recipes I would normally skip over. And I must admit I have been pleasantly surprised in the process.

I had another weights session at the gym this morning. And the exciting thing was that…drum roll…I could use a recumbent bike! Ok it was only for 5 minutes but at least it was something different. I barely glanced at the arm crank contraption today. That’s one machine I’m not going to miss. There is boring and there is mind numbingly boring, and the arm crank falls in the latter category. My upper body weights session included super sets of assisted pull ups and incline chest press, bicep curls and dips, lateral raises and push ups, and one arm rows.


I’m an elite athlete!

28 May

This morning I had my work-based health check-up:
Blood pressure – good
Random blood glucose – good
Total cholesterol – it’s coming down, down, down (woot! This is the best it’s ever been)
HDL cholesterol – this is going up, up, up!
Waist circumference – good
BMI – good
Aerobic capacity – ELITE!

There was more to the check-up but you get the general gist of it. I’m actually in good shape. Actually I would’ve fallen off my chair if she’d said otherwise, except when it comes to my cholesterol. This has always been on the high side – can’t fight family genes. But the really good thing is the ratio of HDL:LDL is good ie my HDL is increasing and the LDL decreasing, and this has been the first time I’ve ever seen movement in the right direction.

And according to the results of the aerobic capacity test I am in the elite category. This test measures your aerobic fitness at rest. The result apparently is comparable to maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) which is commonly used to evaluate aerobic fitness.

Though when I read that top athletes typically score values above 70 (men) and 60 (women), my score isn’t that impressive. My score is…ahem…49, so gosh, I’m not quite there yet. Though I could’ve told you that without having done this test! 🙂 Olympic-level endurance athletes can reach values as high as 95. Values tend to be highest in sports that involve large muscle groups, such as running and cross-country skiing.

This ‘elite athlete’ was at the gym at 6 this morning pumping iron, as you do! The session consisted of a warm up on the treadmill, pec deck, shoulder press, lat pull downs, low cable rows, bicep curls, triceps pushdowns and push-ups. It’s getting monotonous just concentrating on upper body weights so I’m hoping that someday soon I can start on the lower half – it badly, or sadly, needs work! Then it was on to an abs circuit, because as you know elite athletes have pretty good abs. Well obviously there is some work to be done here! 🙂

I topped off the morning with berry bruschetta for breakfast ie fresh blueberries and raspberries and ricotta cheese on toast. At dinner last night some of us had this discussion about what we would be willing to pay for fresh raspberries, given that it’s not the really the season for them now. My tipping point is $8. Anything below this and I’m willing to pay for fresh. Lately they’ve been selling for $8 and above in the shops. However a certain supermarket was selling fresh Australian raspberries for $6 recently so I grabbed a punnet or two. Like I said, you can’t beat fresh raspberries!

Lunch was a curried egg and sprouts sandwich. I haven’t had an egg sandwich in years – this took me back to my school days! And it’s dahl for dinner tonight. Judging by the comments on the forums and on the recipe, this dish is very popular. I’ve not made dahl before so this is will be a learning experience. Somehow I don’t think this meal will appeal to Mr CJ so he’s getting homemade mac and cheese instead.

Postscript: the verdict is out on the dahl. It is said that it tastes better the next day. Well I’ve got it for lunch so we’ll see. Mr CJ however enjoyed his mac and cheese. I won’t even write what he said about my bowl of dahl!

Physio update: more improvement, less pain. I can now add some kicking to my swimming though I haven’t quite said farewell to the pull buoy. I can also add in some pool power walking. And in the gym I can try the recumbent cycle. And by the end of the week I can add some single leg bridging to the double leg bridging.

Baby steps but in the right direction. 🙂


There will be no pronking today!

26 May

Meaning: 1. To stot, to leap straight in the air with the back arched, bringing all four legs off the ground. Gazelles and springboks are most widely known for this behavior, but horses, sheep, and goats (especially playful kids) do it, too. 2. To prance, show off, strut. (alphaDictionary.com)

It’s my rest day so there’ll be no prancing, showing off or strutting today! And I can’t leap straight in the air, back arched, bringing all four limbs off the ground. Just saying. 🙂

It was heavenly to sleep in this morning. I may have briefly opened one eye at 6am to glance at the clock and then gratefully closed it again, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Week 2 in review:

Monday – it was back to the pool as part of my cardio, with the proviso that all swimming is done with a pull buoy – till death do us part (or at least until the physio gives me the go ahead to start kicking again). It was also the start of the 300 push-ups challenge. I had opted for doing 50 push-ups a day.

Tuesday – an upper body weights session at the gym and meeting the arm crank cycle for the first time. I’m hoping this won’t be a long relationship. The push-ups challenge is going well. I had my physio appointment this afternoon. Some slight improvement in extension but still restricted to walking and swimming with pull buoy.

Wednesday – another swim but I’m starting to find my groove. More push-ups.

Thursday – apart from selecting the wrong weight on the assisted pull ups machine and thinking I’d lost all strength in my upper body before realising my mistake, the rest of the session went to plan. Did I mention push-ups?! It was also the Biggest Morning Tea which could’ve been a challenge as there were GF Florentines and brownies on offer but I wasn’t tempted! 🙂

Friday – strengthening my core by focusing on the plank and its variations. Not feeling the love for fancy planks. I’m not sure if it was the weather but I was constantly hungry and clock watching between meals today. And all I could see while grocery shopping after work were chocolate bars and biscuits calling my name. But I resisted! And let’s not forget the push-ups!

Saturday – my first SSS (was not allowed to exercise last week due to acute injury). And my regular monthly massage in the afternoon. And my final 50 push-ups making a total of 300 for the week. Mission accomplished!



23 May

This morning was potentially a red flag day.

And what is a red flag day you might ask?

These are days where you know you are going to be challenged nutrition wise. This morning our work area had organised a Biggest Morning Tea event so there were going to be lots of baked goodies. Ok normally this isn’t an issue for me because I can’t eat most baked items but some people had very graciously baked gluten free items and then informed me of this. That’s right, they were putting the guilts on me because they had spent time and effort baking food with ingredients they don’t normally use so that I could eat them.

There were brownies and Florentines on offer – omg, lots of delicious gooey chocolatey goodness. I love Florentines. And brownies aren’t so bad either. And you should’ve seen the range of other baked goodies set out on the table for morning tea – cup cakes, mini cheesecakes, sausage rolls, croissants, cookies, cake, etc. Actually come to think of it, there were no macarons. Obviously either cup cakes are easier to make than macarons, or macarons are not in favour in our branch.

However, I am happy to report that there was no waving the white flag and surrendering to these calorie-laden, artery clogging, oh so chocolatey, delicious looking delights. In fact, I wasn’t even tempted. As I said, if it’s not on my program I aint eating it. I’ll donate money (which I did given it was a fundraising venture) but I didn’t have any brownies or Florentines. Not a crumb. I have to say, letting people know that I’m following the program has made it easier for me to stick to it because I have made the commitment out loud. Everyone knows about it, not just me. I can’t sneak in non-Mish-approved snacks because people know what I’m doing.

Instead I had my natural yoghurt with mixed berries, which is one of my favourite snacks. Chobani natural yoghurt is delicious. I love a thick, dollopy yoghurt and this yoghurt ticks all of the boxes for thickness and dollopiness. However, I don’t like their fruit flavours – these are much too sweet and the yoghurt is not as thick so I prefer to have the no fat natural yoghurt and add my own fruit or flavourings. At least then I know what’s in it and I’m not adding more sugar than I need.

And there was no flagging at the gym this morning either, even though I’m really only doing half a workout.

There was the warm up on the treadmill before doing assisted chin ups. I thought I had selected the correct weight but when I got up and grabbed the handles I damn near killed myself. Waaaay too heavy. Get off, add some more weight (the more weight added, the easier it becomes – the reverse of most machines), get back up and damn, still too heavy. I know it’s been a while since I’ve used this machine but surely I haven’t lost that much strength. And I’m not that heavy. Really. So get off, add more weight…and then I looked more closely at which weight I had selected. No wonder I was struggling – I had gone a lot lighter than I thought which meant I was pulling up more of my own body weight – I really must wear my glasses! Once that was sorted I managed to complete the exercise.

There were more exercises but no dramas. Then another 5 mins on the treadmill followed by 5 min on the arm crank thingo. I’m so not rapt in this cardio machine – it is boring, boring, boring. But I have very few cardio options at the moment so I have to suck it up and use it. BUT only 5mins at a time – I cannot do more than this without screaming from sheer boredom.

The push up challenge continues. 200 down, 100 to go 🙂