Tag Archives: Gym

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:

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!

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:


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:


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

Tuesday – Cardio/agility class.


  • 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


  • 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

Melbourne Bike Share

11 Nov

Last Sunday instead of walking to the gym, James and I decided to try the Melbourne Bike Share bikes. Actually the original plan was to have tried it the week before, but when we went to the 7-11 to pick up helmets they didn’t have any available. The bike station at the Melbourne Uni gym has a helmet vending machine so after we walked to the gym we picked up 2 helmets ($5 each, but returnable to a 7-11 for a $3 refund).

Then the following Sunday we swiped James’ credit card at the Queen Vic Market station and picked up our 2 bikes.

It was $2.50 each for the whole day – it would have been more if we’d kept the bikes for longer, but the ride to the gym was under 30 minutes so it was free. It was a good route because it consisted entirely of riding on bike/pedestrian shared footpaths.

Unfortunately I was too short for the bike, even with the seat all the way down. Embarrassingly enough on the way there I needed James to wheel me along at the start because I couldn’t push off with the giant bike.

I get extremely nervous when I can’t even touch the ground on tippy-toes, and the back wheel made a particular whirring noise that kept tricking me into thinking another bike was tailgating me. I was pretty much in a state of mild panic the whole time, and my death-grip on the bike handles meant that when I arrived at the gym my forearms were killing me.

This was me on the way back. Is that how helmets are supposed to sit? It looks like a blue mushroom on my head.

I regret that we didn’t get any action shots because I think I looked adorable perched on the huge bike. Despite being downhill, the ride back was less stressful than the ride there. Maybe it was because I was more mentally prepared for the giantness of the bike. Maybe it’s because I was braking the whole way home.

Overall I don’t think I’d repeat the experience – I’m not against riding bikes but I wasn’t a fan of these ones. It didn’t save any time  because we had to backtrack a little to get to the bike station, and it took time to get the bikes set up and put them back when we arrived at the gym. Plus $5 is okay to spend as a novelty, but I wouldn’t want to pay that every weekend for no real benefit.

Actually I think in general I don’t have much use for bikes as a means of transport. If somewhere is close I walk, if it’s far I drive, and if it’s in between I take public transport. And I’m too jittery to ride on the road (Cat collided with a car at pretty much the lowest speed possible – she was stationary and the car was just starting to drive off – and she was injured for months. Also her friend’s uncle lost his leg in a bike accident!)

I’m glad I tried out the Melbourne Bike Share though, because I learned that the bikes aren’t really suited for my transport situation. I also learned that the bikes aren’t short-people friendly. Oh yeah, and I learned that Kalo saw me riding the bike and laughed for 10 minutes. At least he didn’t see James wheeling me along at the start like a parent teaching his kid how to ride a tricycle.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share

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.

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

BJJ gi

Kettlebell class

BJJ no gi and gi

Kettlebell class

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. =)


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

Bodyfat Challenge: Week Three

13 Jul

Oh man.

I fell off the wagon last week and actually gained weight. Cat gave us a bunch of cookies and snacks to take home after we helped them move – I knew it was a bad idea to accept them, because I’ve been snacking on them all week. My three main meals haven’t changed much, but the snacking is killing me. This is why I don’t buy processed snacks to keep at home – I don’t miss them if I don’t have them, but if I do have them then I eat them all at once.

Also I haven’t been given the all-clear by the physio like I expected. I’m OK to do BJJ but apparently I’m still a month away from doing upper-body weight training.

I was too ambitious with my exercise this week – I thought I’d be able to squeeze in a couple of extra BJJ sessions, but I’ve done two so far and been absolutely wrecked for days afterwards. I went on Monday night (got smashed by everyone!) – today is Wednesday and I’m shuffling around, putting on my clothes in tiny, painful movements, and just generally useless.

I’m a bit disappointed at how long it’s taking (not to mention how much my BJJ has slipped). It’s not like I was sedentary for the three months that I took off, but I guess it will take awhile before my body gets used to everything again.

So those are my possible reasons for gaining weight this week. It’s going to be super embarrassing at the end of my bodyfat challenge if I’m the only one who has actually gotten fatter!

Bodyfat Challenge: Week Two
Bodyfat Challenge: Week One
Bodyfat Challenge!