Have you seen my squat?

Because I seriously have no idea where it went.

Since getting back under the bar in NROL my squat has just been sad.  I don’t know if the problem is ankle or hip mobility, or maybe both, but there’s a problem.  I can’t even squat at the weight I was doing when I first started NROL4W.  Mind you, right now NROL calls for 2 set of 15 reps, and I’m aiming for ass-to-grass, but really, I should be able to put up more than 60 lbs at this point.

Monday’s workout I could tell as I was going that something was really off with my form.  I was definitely transferring the load to my lower back and that’s just not good at all.  I didn’t have any pinchy/bad/injury pain, but it wasn’t comfortable.  I mean, heavy squats shouldn’t be comfortable, but definitely not painful.

So, in attempts to save my back and fix my form I’m going to check my ego at the door (well, stairwell) and drop the weight down (again) to work on depth and mobility.

I’m also going to make an effort to work on my hip and ankle  mobility.  How exactly I’m going to do that, I haven’t quite figured out yet, but I need to do something.  I’m guessing that this is a side effect of sitting on my arse in front of a computer all day, and since I can’t change my job, I will work on what I can.

On my must-read list for fixing this issue are a whole host of Stumptuous articles:

For any women with any interest in weight lifting/training, nutrition or just generally being a badass, Stumptuous’s site is a must read.  Bonus points because she’s in Toronto!

I will say, however, that my deadlifts are going pretty well.  As much as I really loathe doing 15 reps for sets, I think these sets at 105 lbs (well, 108 I guess, stupid bar weighs 18 lbs) will really help translate into good numbers when we finally work down to 6 or 8 rep sets.

Also, I really wish we had an Oly bar.  It made sense to get a standard 1″ thick bar because we got 260 lbs worth of standard plates for free, and a $1/lb that’s not exactly cheap to replace, but gripping the smaller bar is harder, and it bends under such small weights!  I think we’ll have to upgrade eventually, but until then I might have to invest in a pair of lifting gloves.  I love my lifting calluses, but I’d really like to be able to keep a grip on the bar.  We’ll see.


The Home Gym

Well, I’m officially a home gym user.  The commercial gym that I had been a member of is notoriously hard to cancel, but, I managed.

Here’s a look at what we’ve got set up in the basement right now.

Heavy bag!  Derek used to box, so we set this up.  Next time we go back to his parent’s house we’ll pick up the speed bag too.

The squat rack and bench w/ lat pull down attachment.  Getting the lat pull down guy on there is a bit of a production that definitely requires two people.

The pull-up part of the rack.  No pull ups to be done here.

Right now the two of us are working our way through the Break In phase of the original New Rules of Lifting.

The only thing I do not like about the break-in phase is that it’s written to help improve your muscle endurance, so it’s 2 sets of 15 reps.  15 reps makes me want to jab my eyes out.  I’d so much rather do 3 sets of 10, but hey, that’s not the program.  So, 2 sets of 15 it is.

As of last night we’re halfway through break-in, and will probably continue that until we leave for our vacation to the Dominican in 3 weeks.  The trip to DR will stand as a rest week, and then we’ll start up with Fat Loss I.

I did a “cleanse”

Though it was not on purpose!

Not this last weekend but the weekend before Derek and I went into Toronto to visit with his BFF and family at Sick Kids Hospital.

You see, BFF’s little boy, Ryley, has AML, a form of Leukemia.  Ryley is 1/3 of 2.5 year old triplets who might just be the cutest kids ever.  Derek is one of the girls godfathers!

Ryley was diagnosed back in July and has been undergoing chemo treatments since then.  The week he was scheduled to start his last round of chemo they found more abnormal cells in his spinal fluid.  He had relapsed.    The new plan of attack was stronger chemo to get the leukemia under control and to begin the search for a bone marrow donor.

So, when we were visiting 2 Sunday’s ago, the poor guy was sick, but everyone just chalked it up to the stronger chemo.  Until his mom, dad, sister, the girls nanny and Derek also got sick.  Turns out everyone got a nice dose of C Diff.

I thought I’d gotten away scot free, that is, until this Sunday rolled around.   I spent all day Sunday either in bed, on the couch or in the bathroom, and Monday wasn’t much better.  Today I’m finally starting to feel the urge to eat again, but I’ve not put much in my system of the last 72 hours.

Needless to say, I don’t think the 4 or so pounds I’ve lost in as many days will stay gone.

However, as I’m starting to get my appetite back, I find that the foods I’m craving are healthy ones.  All I wanted to have for dinner tonight was kale and sweet potatoes!  Who am I??

So, kale it is.  I think I’ll save the sweet potato for tomorrow.  On the menu tonight is Pasta with Kale, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Bacon (because who doesn’t want bacon when the wind is howling and they’re threatening 8 million feet of snow?) courtesy of my good friend Alyson’s blog.

On the lifting/working out front, nothing has happened since I finished FBB.  We’re very close to getting the basement gym set up, every thing has been cleaned out and organized, now we’re just working on lighting and setting up the rack.  I’m really looking forward to starting to lift with Derek!

ETA:  I totally forgot to add this earlier, but if you’re not already on your national bone marrow/stem cell registry, please consider being added.  It takes very little time and effort to do so, but you could save someone’s life.

Only 30% of patients find a donor withing their immediate families, so a vast network of potential donors is crucial.

If you’re in Canada visit One Match for more information.

If you’re in the US visit Be the Match for more information.

Consider me “Dialed In”

Tonight I (finally) finished up the Dial It In phase of the Female Body Breakthrough.

I liked this stage at the beginning, but started to get a big bored there towards the end.  It was nice to get back under the bar for squats and super fun to be deadlifting again.

I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on with the last phase or not.  My membership at the gym is up in (hopefully) another week, so I’m going to have to start getting creative with some things.  I can do overhead presses if I’m using dumbbells, but not a bar, and certainly not push-presses, since they’d be a lot harder to control and lift between the joists.

My copy of The New Rules of Lifting for Abs arrived today, so once I finish reading the original NROL I’ll bust into that one.

I have a feeling we’ll work through one of the Strength programs from NROL, just because I think that’d make the most sense for the husband and I to do together.  But we’ll keep NROL4A in mind.

In other news, I’ve recently made the switch from once a week weigh-ins to daily weigh-ins.  I’m taking my weight each morning and using a moving average to keep track of where I am and how I’m doing.

Being the giant nerd that I am, I found, and enjoy, the site PhysicsDiet.com.  It presents that data in 3 ways on the same chart: 1) your weight as a moving average, 2) a line of best fit that shows the trend, and 3) your actual weight.  They fill in the chart between each successive daily weight depending on what it is relative to the moving average; green if it’s below, pink if it’s above.

Daily weighing cancels out the noise in the data, like being up 1.5 lbs the day after a workout due to water retention, or a salt laden day, and makes it a lot easier to see the trend.  It’s a pretty neat tool.

That’s it for now.  I think I’ll be off the gym for a few days, as I’ve got plans to meet up with different sets of girlfriends Friday and Saturday, and then my brother-in-law and his girlfriend will be visiting for the duration of the weekend.  Hopefully next week we can get in a dumpster and clean out the basement so we can get our gym set up!

Selling Myself Short?

Have I been selling myself short on deadlifts? I decided to just go for it today and ended up dominating 120lbs for 6 reps as a 3rd set and I could have kept going.

I did a warmup set w/ 45 lbs, and then did the following for my working sets:


My third set felt hard, and I don’t think I’d want to go much higher without someone to watch my form to make sure it isn’t deteriorating too badly, but I definitely think that using the big girl plates is in the near future.

I think I’ve even got the grip strength to get there too. I’m still using a straight overhand grip, and while my hands were a touch sore after the 120 set, going to 135 should be very possible with a mixed grip.

I guess we’ll see!

A few things

Oh hai, what’s up? Seriously, I’m really bad at this thing. I need to learn to write short, sweet, takes-no-time posts more often.

The new year has been going pretty well. I’m making an effort to actually lose some weight for the first time in a while. I’m tracking on Livestrong again. I tried SparkPeople, but I found it too difficult for someone eating, real, whole, clean food, so, back to my friend MyPlate.

This go around I’m really trying to hit my macros. This past week has sort if been about hoping I get there (and doing pretty well) but I think I will sit down on Sunday and pre-plan things more than normal so I know I’ll be at the right ranges. Oh, and I’m also making an effort to keep things clean, which has actually been going really well. I’m starting to notice that processed food just really doesn’t taste that good.

As for workouts, I’ve officially mailed in my membership cancelation letter to the gym, so that should all be effective by the end of the month.

We haven’t picked up the squat rack yet, so I’ve only done 1 full workout in the basement “gym” and there is it still a long way to go before it’s even close to up to par.

That’s sort of what I’m working with rift now. Needs a bit of work, eh?

And yes, that is a compound mitre saw on the left, and yes, that is a pile of construction garbage on the right.

Holy crap I suck.

I’m rather ashamed to admit that I haven’t been to the gym in over 2 weeks.  Wtf?  Bad Andrea.

The week of Christmas was spent running around doing errands each night, the week after Christmas we were driving all around southern Ontario visiting family, and since then I’ve just been in “holiday” mode, sleeping in and spending time with my husband.  This is not a good way to be.  Yes, it’s relaxing, but it’s not conducive to my physical health.

On one hand, though, I have been quite active at the house.  We’ve been busting butt to get a lot of work done, so I haven’t been spending all my time just sitting on my arse.  But still, this is the longest I’ve been without going to the gym since I joined last January.

One the topic of the gym, my 1 year gym-aversay is just about here, and a Boxing Week purchase (plus some things acquired from my mom and step dad)  mean that I won’t be renewing my membership.

You see, this lovely thing is coming to live at my house this week:

Yup, we bought a squat rack.

I was browsing the flyers for the Boxing Day sales (Boxing Day, Dec 26th, is sort of like the Canadian equivalent of Black Friday) and saw an ad for a bench with a lat pull down attachment for pretty cheap.  I mentioned this to my step-dad, who then said “You can have the one in the garage!”  So the husband and I went to the fitness supply store nearby to see how much it would be for some of the other things I’d consider “essential” (like a barbell, a Swiss ball, a mat, that sort of thing) and lo and behold, the rack was on for $400 (down from $600).

As we could get the bench, lat pulldown attachment and a whole whack of plates for free, we could pretty well get ourselves set up with a pretty decent home gym for the same as it would cost for 1 year of gym membership just for me.  And as iron and steel don’t expire after a year, it seemed like a good investment.

Now, we just have to get set up.  I’m fairly certain that I have to give 2 months written notice to cancel my membership at the gym, so we have some time.  The question for us now becomes where to set ourselves up.  The rack will fit in the basement, but just, and working out in the basement makes overhead things that require standing (like a push press) next to impossible (unless you go, well, outside).  The other alternative is to convert the second bedroom (we have 3) on the 2nd floor into a “gym”.

So the next little bit will have us in flux.  My husband got me the original NROL for Christmas, so once we’re set up we’ll start one of the programs from that book together, but until then I guess that I’ll keep up with FBB.  The more time goes by the less impressed I am with this program.  Some of it’s fun and rewarding while I’m doing it, but I find it hard to keep myself motivated to stay on the program.  As much as I hate to admit defeat, I doubt I’ll finish.

So, that’s me.  I suck, but I still intend on doing this.  I’ve even got good, clean meals planned for next week!!