Tag Archives: Gym

Bodyfat Challenge: Week Two

6 Jul

Unfortunately, the second week did not live up to my high hopes.


I did manage to improve my breakfasts – I had to resort to yoghurt a couple of days when I was in a rush, but largely managed to have vegetable and protein-packed breakfasts. My current favourite is cavolo nero (I think it’s also known as Tuscan cabbage or black kale) chopped finely and fried in some oil with garlic and/or onion, with two poached eggs on top and a dollop of sriracha. It works out well when James is home – we split a bunch of cavolo nero between us.

Lunch and Dinner

Breakfast was the only high point, and otherwise I got really slack. I would pat myself on the back for having such an awesome breakfast, then eat something carby for lunch, and then worry about what I had for lunch, which made me eat less than normal for dinner, which gave me awful headaches, which in turn made me skip my exercise sessions.

In hindsight I can’t believe I was so dumb. Even if I eat badly at lunch I should just carry on as normal – trying to “compensate” for my poor eating just leads to more poor eating and less energy to train.


I was freaking out a bit that my foolish eating and skipped gym sessions would stuff up my strength gains, but I managed a 70kg single back squat (138% bodyweight) on Sunday so all is good. Everything was a bit shakier than normal, so I will have to make sure I’m eating enough in the following weeks. Lesson learned.

My weight was pretty similar to last week, hovering around 50.8kg.

Diet/Exercise Improvements

I’m seeing the physio today so hopefully I’ll be able to ramp up my training. I’ll start by adding a couple of BJJ sessions back to my weekly schedule and hopefully I’ll be able to start incorporating some upper body exercises into my workouts too.

Bodyfat Challenge: Week One
Bodyfat Challenge!

Bodyfat Challenge!

21 Jun

Some BJJ buddies and I are embarking on a 6 week challenge to cut some body fat. I don’t remember the specifics, but the person who cuts the most of their remaining bodyfat gets $25 from all of the losers. You can tell by my haphazard recollection of the challenge parameters that I’m not really expecting to win, but $25 is a small price to pay for 6 weeks of motivation. =)

We all got Lili from Absolute Mixed Martial Arts to test us with calipers, and I had a “before” photo taken. Ugh, moment of truth. This is what 3 months of slacking off will do:

Weight: 51.7kg
Bodyfat: 20.48%

I look really happy because Kalo said something that made me laugh (I can’t remember what though – I think he ordered me to stop sucking in my gut so the “after” photos would be more dramatic). He also took one where I was trying to look sad, but I looked weird, so I went with overly happy instead.

My diet these past few months has been relatively good, but I was less stringent than normal since I was only exercising 3x a week and I didn’t need to make weight for comps. It was a double whammy because I didn’t have those extra workouts to help soak up those extra calories. When I’m uninjured I sit around 50kg without much effort – as soon as I dropped back to just gym I shot up to 52kg and have hovered there ever since.

For about half of the Bodyfat Challenge I won’t be able to train upper body/BJJ so I’ll be doubly careful with what I eat, and I’ll add an extra session of yoga, and some HIIT sprints to help my cardio and give that fat-burning a kickstart.

I’ll post weekly updates on my exercise and diet progress, though I won’t know my body fat percentage until the end.

I’m sad to say goodbye to my frequent cheat meals, but I’m looking forward to getting back in shape!

My Search for a Gym Bag

15 Jun

A few days ago I decided to get a new bag to stuff my gi in and take to BJJ. I was originally going to go with the mini kitbag by Superdry, and I quite liked the black on black colourway. It was $81 USD at Cult (originally $90 but I had a 10% off coupon) plus $18 shipping.

image from Cult

I was on the verge of buying it – I created an account at Cult and everything. But then Sensible Kaye started whispering in my ear. “That bag isn’t very ergonomic” she said. “You need a backpack to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders.”

The horror. I’m already Asian and petite – I don’t need to give people another reason to mistake me for younger than I am. And I’m sorry, but backpacks are daggy. The only bags lower on the totem pole are those stupid wheelie bags.

But then Tightarse Kaye started in. “You’ll have to buy daypack anyway when you and James go trekking in Peru” she said. (It’s 2-3 years away. Tightarse Kaye is really tight)

I briefly considered, then rejected the Superdry backpacks. I figured I might as well do it right and get a proper one. I did some research, and the Borealis daypack by The North Face is very popular – there were some other backpacks that were more popular, but they were too bulky, though I guess everything looks bulky when you stuff it full. The Borealis comes in some nondescript colours like dark blue and black, and also a fairly monstrous grass green.

image from The North Face

Backpack: You won’t like me when I’m angry.

(At least you would never lose your bag at the airport. Though, as Cat pointed out, you might lose it on a lawn)

I decided I would just get the Borealis in black, but I did a quick eBay search to see if there were any cool colours I was missing out on. And then finally I-Don’t-Want-To-Look-Shit Kaye came on board. “Holy crap” she said. “Special Edition Borealis backpacks!”

There’s one that has sushi zippers. A colour called Professor Plaid (which I loved, but no one was selling). One with pinstripes. Anyway, I ended up getting a colour called Shiny Black Houndstooth. There were some US stores that had it for much cheaper, but they wouldn’t ship to Australia. I could have used a forwarding service, but they didn’t take Australian credit cards either, and it would have gotten pretty expensive to use a buying and forwarding service. In the end I ended up buying it from a store called Vargo Outdoors, for $90.32 USD (originally $99 but Tightarse Kaye found an online coupon) plus $25 shipping.

I love the houndstooth with that gorgeous pop of orangey red. It’s boring enough that people won’t stare *cough*brightgreenbackpack*cough* but distinct enough that I won’t see anyone else with it.

image from Yahoo Taiwan auctions

When I was researching the backpack, I found reviews of different bags to be very helpful, so I’m going to pay it forward. I’ll post more detailed pictures and a quick review when the bag arrives (I’ve been tracking its progress online – it’s still bouncing around the US! Boo).

Lulu Loot!

11 Jun

So my Lululemon order arrived on Friday. I was impressed with the shipping – $30 isn’t even that expensive (especially if you buy a lot), and it arrived from the US within a week, so the shipping was well worth it.

The things I thought I would order that I did:

  • Cool Racerback ( in heathered coal wee stripe, which is kind of a light grey with subtle horizontal stripes)
  • Scuba hoodie

Waiting actually worked out quite well  because nothing I wanted sold out, and in the meantime Lululemon came out with a non-special edition (read: cheaper) Scuba that was in the colour I wanted without the stupid ruffles.

image from Lululemon

Unfortunately the sleeves are way too long – like 10 inches past my fingers long. Everything else fits perfectly, but the sleeves look ridiculous all bunched up. Thankfully my regular alterations lady can shorten the sleeves, but that is $28 I’m annoyed that I have to spend. When I pick it up next Friday it will be perfect! I love having a warm jacket that is fitted instead of bulky.

I didn’t end up getting the Energy bra because I don’t have any tops that will go with it. I got the Flow Y bra in Violicious instead. I would have bought this colour even at full price, but it was only $29 USD (down from $42 USD). I ordered the morning they came out, and by that evening they were down to only 2 sizes. I have the Flow Y in a size 4 and the 2 is a much better fit.

image from Lululemon

For my nogi pants I got some Groove Shorts. I have short legs so it fits slightly longer on me than it does the model. There were short shorts, 3/4 length crops and full length leggings, but I think a few inches above the knees is the best compromise between modesty and maximizing nogi slipperiness.

image from Lululemon

Also I grabbed some Run: Response shorts for James, since he needs an extra pair of shorts. He wore them to the gym last night and has no complaints.

image from Lululemon

I’ll probably make another order in a few months. James is not entirely uninterested in the Pacific Beach Hoodie, which seems to be the male version of the Scuba. He always has to size up in shirts and jackets (due to his long arms), so they’re always too large around the chest. He needs a warm, relatively fitted hoodie with long arms.

I kind of wish I’d bought some more full-length pants, since I’m heavily reliant on my Nike pants. Maybe some of the Wunder Unders, so I can slip trackies over them to wear to training. Also I forgot to order socks. Dammit. =(

Squat, Squat, Squat

6 Jun

Squats are pretty much my main exercise right now. I can’t do any upper body stuff. I can do deadlifts, though I suck at them, but squats are my compound lift of choice.

A couple of weeks ago I got a lovely unintentional compliment from James. After he had his form corrected by Nic (he was hunching over a bit at the bottom), James was watching me squat, and he said “the way you squat is how I always imagined I looked when I squatted”.


I do a high bar squat, which I found out from Squat Guy at the gym (his name is Wei, but he will always be Squat Guy to me – when we finally got around to exchanging names, I found out that he’s always thought of me as Squat Girl).

Some casual research online indicates that you can move more weight with a low bar squat, though the photos of it look extremely uncomfortable to me.

There are some tweaks I want to make – I’m pretty sure that I lose my neutral spine slightly at the bottom of the squat. And when I fail a squat, instead of failing it normally, I come off my heels and actually pitch forward a bit. Actually, come to think of it, when I find the weight challenging I pitch forward a bit for front squats too. This is something I definitely want to fix.

I still hate front squats, though they have been strongly recommended since I eventually want to do cleans. Front squats hurt, and the bar leaves giant red welts where it rests on me. =( I think to an extent it’s inexperience with positioning the bar, since there are times when the bar hurts less (though it’s always uncomfortable). Daniel had a theory that guys have more muscle at the front of their chest to cushion the weight.

  • Front squats – 1x a week (max set: 55kg – any heavier than that and I have trouble keeping my forearms in the correct position)
  • Pistol squats – 2x a week (one doing 3×6 at 10kg, and one trying to increase the weight, currently 3×3 at 12kg)
  • Back squats – 1-2x a week (I got 70kg once with a tiny boost, but stuffed it up the following week. I’ve done 65kg as a 1RM for a couple of sessions now, so I might see if I can push it to 67.6kg without assistance)

I miss doing overhead squats. I was at a 30kg overhead squat when I stopped, and my goal was to get to 40kg. Apparently it’s a good exercise to do if you want to do snatches, but really I just loved overhead squats for themselves.

Before my rotator cuff is fixed, I’d like to get to a 72.5kg back squat, a 20kg pistol squat, and I’d like to be more confident with the bar positioning for front squats. Hooray for goals!

The Jekyll and Hyde of James

4 Jun

Mean James

Yesterday when we were walking home from the gym, James and I were chatting. I thought we were in love, so we could chat about anything.

Me: You know how sometimes you’re resting between sets and no one is around, so you fart, and then you think “oh no, what if someone walks by” and then you sit there, petrified?
James: You don’t have normal people problems.


Nice James

He said this ages ago, but it’s one of my favourite compliments ever, and it always makes me grin when I think of it.

James: You make me as happy as barrel full of clams.
Me: …?
James: That’s very happy. Because clams are pretty much one big smile.

ETA: The waving clam was surprisingly difficult to draw. I had to re-do it lots because it kept looking like he was giving people the finger.

More Lululove

27 May

Retail therapy!

The weather is getting colder and none of my hoodies and jackets are warm enough for walking to the gym during some of the super chilly evenings we’ve been getting. I tried on the Scuba hoodie at Lululemon, and it was so warm. I like that it’s thick yet fitted, and I love the slits in the sleeve cuffs which create built-in fingerless gloves! And it zips up extra high to shield your neck, plus the hood stays on really well. That is the problem with my existing hoodies – they blow off if I’m walking too fast, let alone if it’s a windy day.

I didn’t like any of the colours at the Bourke St store, so I looked at some of the ones on the US site. As a bonus, they’re cheaper! $148 for the limited edition hoodie in Australia, and $108 USD (plus $30 USD flat rate shipping).

image from Lululemon

I prefer a grey hoodie I’ve seen where the Lululemon logo on the hood is in bright lime green (you can’t see it in the photos, but it’s just a dark grey on this hoodie), and I’m not crazy about the ruffles on the body, but I like the colour. Unless an awesome colour comes out in the next week or so I’ll probably buy this one to see me through the Winter. Then when I find one I like better I’ll buy that jacket and sell the old one (I can just picture James reading that part and frowning. Don’t worry James, Lululemon holds its value well on eBay!).

But anyway, since the shipping is flat rate, I decided that I may as well stock up.

I also want to pick up some more of the Cool Racerbacks, because the one that I currently own is my go-to workout top, and I’m always disappointed when it’s in the wash. They are $58 in the Australian stores and $38 USD online.

image from Lululemon

I also want to pick up one or two pairs of the crops to do nogi grappling in when I get better, but I haven’t decided which one(s).

I’m also lusting after the Energy bra ($48 USD, and I couldn’t find it at the Bourke St store). I love the straps at the back, but I think they may look a bit busy with the straps of most tops.

image from Lululemon

I’d actually prefer a coloured bra, since a lot of my workout clothes are black or grey, but I didn’t like any of the options, so I guess I’m going with black again.

Maybe I will have to satisfy my colour cravings with bright socks!

image from Lululemon

Nah, just kidding. I’m getting them in boring black and white. Easier to wash. The socks are actually pretty pricey – $14 USD, and I didn’t look for them in store so I don’t know how much they are in Australia.

New workout clothes always help me get pumped for training. Nothing has tweaked my shoulder recently (except when I swung my arms a bit too hard during box jumps) so I am optimistic about recovery. It should be another month or so before I am good as new.