Tag Archives: Fitness

The New Pull-Up Bar!

25 Jan

I’ve been meaning to get a pull-up bar pretty much ever since we bought this place. But I don’t really like the look of door pull-up bars and James was worried they wouldn’t be sturdy enough for him, so our options were pretty limited.

Until I came across the ceiling mounted bar from Gronk Fitness. It’s about as nice-looking as you can expect a piece of exercise equipment to look and it’s mounted into the wood so it’s super sturdy. This is the view sitting in bed and looking up:
IMG_20170117_150114

Because we were so sporadic about going to the gym my pull-ups suffered a lot.I’m back down to single pull-ups but as long as I can do one extra pull-up a day I’m slowly improving.

I’m currently up to eight single pull-ups and hopefully next week I’ll be able to get a set of two in and work up from there. Is a set of eight an unrealistic goal for the end of the year? I guess we’ll see!

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Wipeout Run

24 Aug

Last Saturday James and I made the trek down to Santa Clara for the Wipeout Run with a bunch of James’ colleagues. It’s a non-timed run (most people walked) with a bunch of fun obstacles and a little bit of jogging between them. It was supposed to be 5k but it felt like less.

This was the first obstacle. You had to run across a beam and the the red bars at the top would slowly spin around and knock you off.
IMG_20150822_141329The next obstacle was just a wall to climb over – pretty easy and boring. The next one was called Big Balls, so of course I made James stop running to get a photo. IMG_20150822_143329It was fairly difficult – I saw hardly anyone made it all the way and James was the only one in our group who did (I was close though! I fell off on the third ball).

This is his stretch (or as James would probably call it, his “hero move”) for the final platform. IMG_20150822_144723The next one wasn’t so much an obstacle as a bouncy castle. Here is James psyching himself up to tackle it.IMG_20150822_145536And after that was a huge waterslide! IMG_20150822_150948The water was so refreshing after running in the heat (as long as you didn’t look too closely at how dirty it was). Some of us decided to do the waterslide twice – here are James and Josh on their second time around. IMG_20150822_152204Whee! IMG_20150822_152205Right afterwards was another, non-water slide. I think James ended up going on this one three times because the line was super short.IMG_20150822_152727I don’t know what happened between that photo and this next one. IMG_20150822_152726 I wish I’d taken video because those two photos were one right after the other. There is a Missing Link between them that shall forever remain a mystery.

There was also a slip’n’slide with some really gross foam at the end. I accidentally got some in my mouth and spent the next few minutes spitting it out.

This next obstacle had two spinning balls that would knock people off the beams and into the water. A couple of people in our team – I think Kelly and one other person – made it but the rest of us fell and Sean lost his glasses in the pool. =( IMG_20150822_154450James did better than I did. I made it like … two steps but he got about halfway. IMG_20150822_154932Then there was one more waterslide and we were done.

Yay team Rage Skippers!IMG_20150822_160927Here James and I are at one of the photo stations afterwards. IMG_20150822_161739Afterwards we went to Red Robin for food. We all massively overate (bottomless fries!) and James ordered a giant onion ring tower.IMG_20150822_181709So yeah, that was our Saturday. It was really fun and the lines weren’t nearly as long as we had anticipated.

I don’t know about the others but James and I were wrecked the next day. We were supposed to go jet skiing with Eliot and Michelle but ended up cancelling and just flopping around the house. Also in between the Wipeout Run, Lake Tahoe and the waterpark we went to last weekend, James has a very strange three-tier tan going on (James: patent pending).

Boring Fitness Update

2 May

I didn’t realise how much I’d been living with sore quads during winter. At the end of the snow season I spent 2 hours foam rolling my legs, another 1.5 hours later that week and I still felt like I could have done with more. Next season I’m going to be more proactive about foam rolling every week and see if that makes a difference.

With the end of the snow season I’ve had to add some cardio to my fitness routine lest I become tragically lopsided. So now I’m at:

Yoga 1-2x a week
Weights 2x a week
Hill Sprints 2x a week

Gym-wise I’m (very slowly) going up in everything except squats. Due to a combination of bulged disc, inconsistent gym and regular snowboarding I’ve dropped over 10kg from my max. =( Doing reps of 5 I’m at 130% bw for deads, 70% bw for bench and 105% bw for squat. On the plus side I’m starting to do pull-ups and weighted chin-ups (1kg! Woo!) again.

And ooh! This is my new favourite gym top:

ribs-knock-out-top-pre-sale-1369790997_1024x1024

image from Blackmilk Clothing

I get so many compliments on it. The top says to handwash but there’s no way that was going to happen. I just chuck it in the wash on a cold, gentle cycle and hang to dry. It hasn’t exploded yet.

My favourite change this year has been getting regular massages. Because of my shitty back and neck I got a massage prescription, which seems to be how you get insurance to cover most of the cost. Like seriously, I’m paying $5 (plus tip) out of pocket. That’s insane!

I’ve also been doing a lot of green smoothies for breakfast just to make sure I get my daily quota of vegies. My current go-to mix is frozen kale, baby spinach, almonds, ginger, frozen pineapple, frozen banana and chia seeds with enough water to make it blend. Sometimes I get fancy and have some homemade almond or coconut milk ready to use.

It pretty much always looks like this.

photo (6)Now the sun is out later and the weather has gotten warmer (it was 31C yesterday!) maybe James and I will start running after work again. We’ll see. I think I’m feeling energetic because I just drank a green smoothie and now I’m cold and full of vitamins.

Club Zum: Our New Gym!

1 Sep

Having been spoiled by the amazing (and cheap!) Melbourne Uni gym, I’m really picky about gyms. I originally wrote “James and I are really picky” but actually it’s just me and James is much more easily pleased. Though he did agree with me that the gyms that we had looked at in Seattle were pretty bad until we discovered Club Zum.

It’s totally an expensive yuppie gym, but unlike one of the other expensive yuppie gyms (where the guy who gave us the tour spent most of the time talking about how great the changing rooms were) it’s actually really decently equipped. A lot of the time I’ve thought to myself “I wish they had X” only to find out that they do have X! I do wish they had more mirrors though.

And the great part is that, unlike at the Melbourne Uni gym, the strength equipment isn’t that popular. It’s not uncommon for us to be the only two people in the lifting area, so James will pretty much set up 4 stations and cycle through them until he’s done.

This is where we do most of our workouts.

And here’s the other half of the room. I like the height of these benches – they’re lower than the Melbourne Uni ones so I don’t need to stack plates underneath my feet to touch the ground.

I prefer the squat rack in the first photo because I use the window as a mirror. Also because there’s a bar on the rack that I use to do pull-ups and chin-ups in between squats.

Nearby is some sort of dedicated pilates area, including what James and I think is some sort of weird sex bed.

To the left of that is a long desk and chairs, and it’s kind of set up as a study/relaxation area, which I thought was kind of wanky until the time James was on call and he had to work on his laptop at the gym. They also have a bunch of exercise-related reference books, including this gem:

Don’t act like you don’t want this book.

Space-wise in the next photo, the study area is to the right of me and the lifting area to the back diagonal right. To the left there are some stretching mats and there’s some cardio equipment to the back diagonal left.

The blue stripe is a 25m sprint track. Awesome huh? To the left of the track are the weight machines, cable machines, and some more cardio equipment. On the right they have some TRX equipment, 2 (or 3?) sets of Olympic rings, and this huge open area for classes.

You can kind of see the open area in this photo. I only took it because I was trying to figure out if the thingy on the right is a glute-ham raise machine (after internet comparison I don’t think it is because there’s no foot plate and it’s too high up, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway).

But yeah, tucked away in that room they have medicine balls, witches hats, skipping ropes, bands, mats, dumbbells, (light) barbells, and a whole bunch of random equipment.

So that is pretty much the upstairs level of Zum. There’s not much downstairs – a foosball table, waiting area, 2 climbing ropes, mats, monkey bars, an Olympic lifting area, and a sandpit that I’ve never, ever seen anyone use. I do my deadlifts downstairs because the upstairs plates aren’t the right size for deads. Oh yeah and there’s this giant container of chalk which is handy for people more hardcore than me.

Zum was the only gym we found that had an area for Olympic lifts. It has bumper plates, rubber floors and plates in kilograms! There’s another squat rack in the top left corner that didn’t make it into the photo. There are 3 full-size bars down here and one that feels like it weighs around 15kg. Also one of the PTs here was a national strongman and powerlifting champion, so if I want to start doing proper oly lifts I can get training from someone who actually knows what he’s doing.

All the trainers seem pretty switched on. I’ve done a few classes and they’re very good at making sure you’re using correct form. The classes are varied and fun – I keep meaning to get to the Monday bodyweight conditioning class, but it starts at 6:30am!

Oh yeah, there’s also a special yoga/pilates room. I went on Thursday and it was a great! The style is vinyasa yoga, which seems to mean that you move through the positions much quicker. It felt more strength-based than the yoga at Melbourne Uni, and was surprisingly challenging. I need to go regularly because I am ridiculously inflexible at the moment.

I mentioned the towel service in a previous post, but wanted to reiterate how awesome it is. Other cool features include several chilled water dispensers dotted around the gym, with little disposable cups if you don’t have your own water bottle. The changeroom lockers are programmable with a temporary PIN so you don’t need to carry a key around or bring your own combination lock. Oh and the changing rooms are really swish – they have wooden hangers for your coats, automatic flushing toilets, automatic soap dispensers and Aveda toiletries – I remember James washed his hands, came out smiling and was like “the soap here smells really nice”.

So anyway that’s our happy little gym. We’re really pleased with it – not only does it have everything we need, but it’s not too busy, everyone who works/trains there is really friendly, and it’s only a 10 minute walk from home. =)

Current Workout:

Monday

  • Squat
  • Dumbbell Press
  • Chin-ups
  • Hanging Leg Raise
  • Handstand Practice

Tuesday – Cardio/agility class.

Wednesday

  • Turkish Getup
  • Deadlift
  • Seated Row (I think I’m going to swap this out for inverted rows)
  • Straight Leg Deadlift (but going to try the glute-ham raise machine next time)

Thursday – Yoga

Friday

  • Pull-ups
  • Front Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Pistol Squat

My lifts aren’t quite what they were when I stopped working out in March (neither are James’) but now that we’re lifting in pounds we feel quite strong. =P

New Training Schedule

22 Aug

My shoulder is almost completely fixed – the only thing that seems to regularly hurt it is doing pull-up negatives (and only when my arms are almost fully extended).

Tim the physio has told me I need to start gradually strengthening the muscles around my rotator cuff, so I’m starting to do upper body workouts again. It is pretty humbling – I went from a 40kg bench down to 35kg, from doing 3 pull-ups to struggling with negatives, and from a 30kg overhead squat to 15kg.

This is my tentative training schedule. I managed everything except BJJ on Tuesday last week, and hopefully I can keep it up.

Monday
Kettlebell class (considering swapping this for yoga)
BJJ no gi and gi

Tuesday
Gym
BJJ gi

Wednesday
Kettlebell class

Thursday
Gym
BJJ no gi and gi

Friday
Kettlebell class

Saturday/Sunday
Gym (it varies depending on whether James has uni that Saturday)

I need to re-do my gym exercises too. It was easy when all I could do was lower body stuff (even if it did earn me the nickname “Asian girl who squats a lot”) but now I’m going to have to be more strategic. I’m thinking lower body on the weekend, less important lower body and accessory exercises on Tuesday, and chest/back on Thursday. I’m not even sure if there’s a point to that since the kettlebell classes are a jumble of exercises anyway, but we’ll see how it goes.

Also for the past couple of weeks I have been non-stop sore. I need to book in for a massage or something.


Bodyfat Challenge: Completed!

5 Aug

Well it’s not really completed – I’m going to keep going until I’m happy with how I look (and then I might get my bodyfat measured again just out of curiosity). I’ll post a photo then to compare with my before photo.

Bodyfat Start: 20.48%
Bodyfat Finish: 19.6%

So I lost almost 1%, yay!

I actually gained some fat in my stomach (boo!) but I lost fat in my legs and back.

I don’t think I’m going to win our challenge – especially since Kalo said he has lost 5kg! – but I’m just happy I lost anything at all given my injuries and diet slackness.

I’m starting to do chin-ups and bench again, and will also work on conditioning in preparation for the Pan Pacs. =)

Previously:

Bodyfat Challenge: Weeks Four and Five
Bodyfat Challenge: Week Three
Bodyfat Challenge: Week Two
Bodyfat Challenge: Week One
Bodyfat Challenge!

Bodyfat Challenge: Weeks Four and Five

25 Jul

I’ve combined these two weeks because they’ve been pretty similar.

I was supposed to increase my training during the last half of the challenge, but was thwarted by illness and injury. In week four I was stuck in a guillotine that was uncomfortable but not painful, so I didn’t tap, but the next morning my neck was killing me. I kept thinking it would get better until I finally gave up a week later and got a massage. Then it felt heaps better and I felt like an idiot for waiting so long.

Diet-wise it could have been better too. Some new cookbooks arrived last week and I couldn’t resist trying out the recipes. But in general I’m very consistently eating lots of protein, getting lots of leafy greens in my diet, and I’ve reduced my non-vegetable carbs.

I’m not too fussed, since I’m taking a fairly long-term view on this. I’ll be surprised (and quite pleased!) if I’ve lost anything during this challenge, but in hindsight 6 weeks (most of which I was still injured) was probably a bit optimistic anyway.

My macronutrient breakdown is better than it was a month ago (though calorie-wise I’m still eating too much) and once I start training like I used to I’ll be back under 50kg.

Kalo is the only one who hasn’t given up on the Bodyfat Challenge, so he is quietly confident that he will be the winner.

Plans for the Final Week

There is still some pain with chin-ups, but I’ve started benching again. I started with a warm-up set at 20kg, then gradually went up, testing my chest strength and rotator cuff. I did

25kg x 8
30kg x 8
32.5kg x 5
35kg x 5

with no problems, so yay!

I’m going to keep my diet as-is and try to squeeze in a couple of extra workouts this week. I’m still shaking off a light cold so we’ll see how it goes. =)

Previously:
Bodyfat Challenge: Week Three
Bodyfat Challenge: Week Two
Bodyfat Challenge: Week One
Bodyfat Challenge!