Tag Archives: Weight Training

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!

At Least I’ll Always Have Squats

24 Feb


Injuries suck. I was doing my rotator cuff rehab wrong and (I think) that messed up my lower back. I don’t have much range of motion through my back now, and certain movements really hurt it.

Tonight at BJJ there was a near-scare. I was rolling with a big white belt, and not really attacking, letting him take the initiative, but he was putting his weight on me and doing that thing that white belts do where they just grab your wrists and won’t let go. So I escaped, re-guarded and started choking him. He was making that cool sound where you know the choke is on, but then he stacked me to escape and my back was like aaaarrrgh!

Normally I’m flexible enough that stacking isn’t a big deal, but since I can’t move my back properly at the moment it was painful and I ended up yelling out. And then Rob didn’t let me roll with him anymore. I hope the guy doesn’t feel like he injured me – it was my fault for trying to roll like I was at 100%. My neck is feeling pretty stiff now too – the way it does before it seizes up for a couple of days (dear neck jelly, please don’t be injured! I’m supposed to go crabbing this weekend!).

This is bad – this should be my prep time for the Vics, but I’m not spending it grappling like I should be.


In some good news though, I’m finally back up to a 62.5kg x 3 squat. After my final set (50kg x 8), Gregor, one of the gym instructors was like “great squats!” Then I heard him and Tom (enormous gym regular) arguing, and Tom was like “I can squat more than my bodyweight too!”  Gregor sort of gestured at me and was like “yeah, but with that depth?”

So, so pleased.

Yesterday I followed back squats with pistol squats where I jump out of the bottom. Well at the moment it’s a teeny tiny bunny hop, but eventually I’ll be leaping out of it.

I miss doing upper body work, but Tim the physio has promised me that with my new improved shoulder I’ll be able to lift more.


Diet is getting better. This is what I’m having for breakfast and lunch:

Mountain bread with smoked salmon, baby spinach, cucumber, carrot, and greek yoghurt. Omnomnom.

That looks less vegetably than it is – the smoked salmon is actually sitting on a big pile of spinach. Also you can see my oven mitt in the background. Hello oven mitt!


Injured (the sequel)

18 Feb

The neck is largely healed, though the physio doesn’t like that I injure it so much.

I finally had my shoulder looked at, and I can’t remember exactly what’s wrong with it – but basically some ligaments related to the rotator cuff aren’t strong enough. So when my right arm is above my head and there is any strain on it, it feels like it’s about to pop out of my shoulder. The physio said I actually have the same underlying problem as Meagan, but he said mine has presented itself in the form of massive shoulder instability.

My myotherapist said a similar thing – that on my right side my rhomboids aren’t pulling my scapula in properly. Nic, the physio-in-training at the gym has also commented on how my scapula will wing out during pull-ups.

I was chatting to Tom about it last night at BJJ, and he has the same problem as me, and was given the same exercises to do, but didn’t do them. Tsk!

It does seem like a fairly common injury – Ormi’s rotator cuff is busted too. James has hurt his rotator cuff in the past, but he actually tore it climbing, I don’t think he actually has any usual problems with it. His back is actually really strong relative to his chest (he weighs 78kg and benches 85kg for 5×5, which is an above average though not outstanding bench, but he does 5×5 pull-ups with an additional 27.5kg, which I’ve never seen anyone at our gym do. I’ve seen some people add 20kg, but they’re cheating pretty badly with their form.)

But anyway, doing (relatively) heavy weights is bad for the rotator cuff injury because it’s been putting the shoulder under more and more strain. My muscles are getting stronger so I can lift heavier weights, but my ligaments are still puny and weak, and can’t handle it. Just avoiding lifting will heal the injury, but if I don’t fix the underlying cause I’ll just keep re-injuring myself.

Things I Can’t Do

  • any overhead weightlifting (pull-ups, chin-ups, overhead squat, dumbbell snatch, etc)
  • be submitted in BJJ in any position with my arm above my head – so if someone gets my arm above my head that’s an automatic sub on me
  • any moves in BJJ where I pull people towards me

and he said he would prefer if I didn’t do push-ups, bench, and upright rows – though apparently they aren’t as terrible for me as the above list. I totally cheated and did some push-ups last night at BJJ. I should probably avoid them though, just in case.

I don’t know how I’m going to train properly in the run-up to the Vics if my neck and rotator cuff keep giving out on me. =( I get a good rhythm going and then bam! Injury. It sucks, I hate not being at 100%.


A bunch of rotator cuff exercises with the theraband. It takes forever because I have to activate my rhomboids, do the exercise slowly, then relax. 10x each arm, with 4 different exercises! The physio said that if after I relax it doesn’t feel much different, that means my rhomboids are too tired to hold everything in place, and I should stop.

Apparently if I do my exercises and get stronger, next week I graduate to rolling a ball on the wall.

I woke up this morning after doing my theraband stuff, and my right shoulder was aching so much – but the good kind of ache, like where you haven’t gone to the gym in awhile. So those exercises were hitting a muscle that I don’t normally work, which is awesome. It made ironing this morning a total bitch though.

Also, note to self: eating dinner before BJJ is a terrible idea. It gives me stomach cramps and makes me sadface on the walk home. Then I get inwardly ragey at the guy who takes the lift to level one, because really? Really?

Fitness Update

7 Feb

New Gym Program

I have kind of decided on my new gym program. It’s very similar to the old one, I’ve just moved some exercises around and added some extra squats. I was originally skipping out on front squats, but Nic told me that they’re important if I want to do cleans. He said that all the squats I’m doing are good exercises, but if I have to drop any of them it should be overhead squat. And there’s no way I’m getting rid of overhead squats because I love them.


  • Back squat
  • Pistol (one-legged) squat (I have to jump out of it to make it harder)
  • Overhead squat
  • Explosive push-ups
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Glute-ham raise
  • L-sits


  • Deadlift
  • Bench
  • Front squat
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Inverted Row


  • Cleans
  • Pull-ups
  • Dumbbell snatch
  • Glute-ham raise

My cleans are coming along, but I need to pull myself under the bar more. It’s not a very intuitive motion for me and I feel completely unco doing it.

I’m so jealous of James, who is strong enough to do some awesome bodyweight exercises at the gym, like body levers, and L-sit pull-ups. He does L-sit pull-ups on Sundays, and I always try to look supportive, but inside I am seething with envy. Seething.


Kalo has been helping me heaps this past couple of weeks, and I finally have some semblance of a game plan! It’s not a plan I can enact most of the time, but it gives me something to strive for, and even just going for it opens up different options.

Jess said that my side control is actually really good. She said that she never felt threatened by me on top, but she couldn’t escape either. So now I need to be more aggressive about hunting submissions. She also called me tough! =D

I have to make myself pass more, so I can get to side control. The next couple of weeks I’m going to grab some small newbie guys and just practice sweeping them and smashing through their guards. To an extent I’m wary about pairing up with small newbies – they always have 10-15kg on me, and their control isn’t as good as the more experienced guys. Sometimes if the guy is particularly spazzy I spend the whole time trying to keep myself uninjured. So my defense is quite good, but defense doesn’t win competitions.

I don’t even really have a desire to win the Vics or Pan Pacs, but I want to do it for all the people who’ve helped me. I have something like 5 weeks to get in competition shape! Jess was saying that she feels that people have a regular game and also a competition game. And a regular game can be technical and fun, and playing off your back, but at a white belt level your competition game needs to be more aggressive, more focused on submissions and racking up points.

To an extent I don’t fight as hard as I can in scrambles, because I’m more comfortable escaping than I am attacking. That’s something I totally need to fix. This week my brain is going to be all Up! Up! Up! and Pass! Pass! Pass! Physically it’s a lot more exhausting trying to pass and get on top than it is being underneath and escaping – maybe that’s why I’ve avoided it until now. Once I’m on top though, it’s lovely. I could nap there.



Whenever I train hard I have to eat really well. It’s a feedback loop, because if I’m eating crap I don’t have the energy to exercise, and if I’m not exercising I don’t have the motivation to eat well. When my diet is perfect (or near-perfect) I’m like the energizer bunny.

I have some cheat meals planned for this Saturday (breakfast out with James, and yum cha with dad and Cat) so I’m being extra careful this week. At this stage I have to force myself to eat enough because lean protein + vegetables is filling and surprisingly low in calories.

I’ll have to make some super healthy meals on the weekend, because James will be eating nothing but takeout this week in Sydney. I am fretting.

First Week Back

12 Jan

Injury Update

I’ve been taking it easy at BJJ, first because of my neck, and now because of my knee. It’s been sore since my two runs over the Christmas break, and the physio says there’s no exercises I can do to speed up recovery, it’s just a matter of resting. I can’t remember exactly what’s wrong with it, but I remember him using the words “cartilage” and “meniscus”.

Believe me, I am cursing those two runs – I don’t normally run, I find it very tedious, but everything was closed over Christmas so I guilted myself into going. I could actually feel my knee aching, especially during my second run, but because I am an idiot who doesn’t listen to her body I kept going.

The physio said that because of my foot type, I’m one of the few people he would not recommend barefoot running to. I have “soft” feet – my arches are collapsed and he said that I need the support to stop my whole leg twisting, and the twisting is what caused my knee to stuff up. So it’s either no running (yay!) or if I do want to run I need supportive shoes (boo!)

My knee still aches a bit after BJJ, but I’m pretty sure it’s getting better – as of this morning it has stopped hurting when I wake up in the morning. Which is good news, because the physio said that if it didn’t improve I might have to temporarily cut out deep squats. Which would be annoying since I have three types of squat as part of my weight training (back, overhead and pistol).

Training Update

This is my first week back at BJJ. I feel a lot more sluggish and have forgotten a lot of stuff. Hopefully it will come back with some more training!

Gym this week was better than last week – I did 3 60kg squats, but needed a little bit of assistance for number 4, and 5 was awful – I was good-morning-ing the weight on the way up.

I stole a milk crate from mum and dad to put upstairs so I can use the hangboard that Andrew and James installed. Hopefully I will use it more now, since previously I needed James to lift me up. The milk crate isn’t very attractive – I put a picnic rug on top to stop it digging into the soles of my feet, and that has prettied it up somewhat. Every time I walk into the bedroom I’m going to do a pull-up.

Diet Update

I’m slowly moving out of holiday mode and improving my diet. I’m probably at about 5 serves of vegetables a day, not quite the 7 that I wanted – it’s hard at the moment since the current offering at the Vic Market is very blah (and I think pricier than normal because of the floods).

For lunch today I had a small chicken breast with this enormous heap of green beans and salad – I feel crammed with protein and vitamins.

I’ve added a hardboiled egg every day for the protein. I don’t really care for hardboiled eggs, so eating it is a thoroughly disgusting display where I cram it into my mouth as fast as possible.

If I’m not 49kg in a month I’ll probably start tracking my calories again. I’m hovering around 50kg so I’m not particularly worried.


Back to the Gym

8 Jan

The physio finally gave me the OK to start doing some light weight training. Which of course meant that I went back to the gym and tried to lift my old maxes, which was a pretty bad idea given that:

  • I haven’t trained for 3 weeks
  • It was a 34 degree day and the air con at the gym was busted (Bikram weight training! Woo!)
  • I’m supposed to be recovering from injury

I’ve definitely lost some strength, but it wasn’t as terrible as it could have been.

Squat – my top set went from 62.5 x 3 to 60kg x 1

Deadlift – top set went from a solid 62.5 x 8 to struggling with 60kg x 5

Parallel Grip Chin-ups – went from sets of 5 to struggling with 3 and 4

Dumbbell Bench – was at 17.5kg for 5×5 and dropped to 17.5kg for 3×5 (and I stopped because my arm collapsed on the 4th set and James had to rescue me)

I’m thinking of tweaking my program and splitting squats and deads. This is the preliminary outline:


  • Deadlift
  • Explosive push-ups
  • Pullovers
  • Pistol squats
  • Inverted Row


  • Squat
  • Parallel grip pull-ups
  • Hanging leg raise
  • Dumbbell bench
  • Overhead squat


  • Cleans
  • Pull-ups
  • Dumbbell snatches
  • Glute ham raises

Tomorrow I’m doing some power work, then it’s back to the physio on Monday for him to give me the all-clear to do BJJ again on Monday.