what’s working right now (lower body training)

I don’t keep a workout journal (though I do write each of my workouts every single day in the “notes” section on my phone and save them) but I don’t ever track my progress. Every workout I do is different… for example I do lower body lifting twice a week and each and every time all 8-10 exercises I do that day are different, differing by rep range and sometimes including drop sets. So my legs just do not want to lean out. Once I am over 100 lbs, they aren’t as lean as I’d like. This post is pretty much just for me to refer back to to see what my diet was like and what exercises and weight ranges I was using because right now I am pretty happy with my legs, which is rare!

So on both leg days, back/chest day, and bis/tris/shoulders day, I have been actually eating carbs for once. I have been having 1.5 pieces of Ezekiel bread in the morning (make “french toast” with it using egg whites and lots of cinnamon) and then sweet potato with dinner. honestly for the past 3 months I’ve had very very very few carbs and was just eating protein and fats pretty much. I was a little scared to put carbs back in but I’m seeing pretty positive results.

As far as lifting and cardio, I’ve been doing cardio 5-6 days a week, doing 2 sprint days and the other days moderate intensity but still intense cardio… doing 30 min and doing the stair stepper for about 15-20 of those  minutes. I’ve been using the freeloading leg press and have been doing 35 lbs on each side (which isn’t much compared to most ppl it seems) and also using the leg press by using a wide stance, getting up on my tippy toes, therefore working the inner thighs. This is a great inner thigh worker. Also I’ve been doing 3-4 drop sets of leg extensions which have completely transformed my legs. I didnt do them for 1-2 years bc of my doctor telling me I shouldn’t, but I started doing them again and am so happy I did!

 

Anyway that’s what has been working for me and I’ve been seeing progress with so I’ll refer back to this whenever I hit a plateau

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Glutes & Quad Workout!

Here is one of the lower body (quad/glute focused) workouts I did last week and looooved it!

 

Superset:

Front squats (with barbell.. I use 40 lbs) 3 x 10-12

Side to side jump squats: 3 x 20

Superset:

Sumo squats (stand with each leg on a separate bench or two platforms so that your legs are spread wide apart) holding 25 lb dumbbell: 3 x 10 (make sure to squeeze your butt at the top of the movement

Side to side lunges (concentrate on using your inner thighs to push yourself to each side) 3 x 20

Superset:

Leg extension: 3 x 10 (I’m not “supposed” to do leg extensions according to my knee doctor bc I have a slight ACL tear among many other issues, so I use light weight- about 40 lbs.) After 10 reps with your highest weight, drop the weight and do 10 single leg extensions

Adductor machine: 3 x 10 at highest weight (not sitting with your back against the pad) then drop the weight and do 10 more sitting back

Superset:

Glute kickbacks on laying hamstring curl machine: 3 x 10 each leg (watch youtube video for this) it is awesome at targeting your booty!

Leg Press: 3 sets; 10 reps at heaviest weight (feet wide) then 10 reps feet together

Single leg leg press: 3 x 12 each leg (do 6 reps with feet pointed out and 6 reps foot in center)

 

 

(almost) 5 Weeks until Cancun (update)

I have decided it may be helpful for me to write everyday on this blog to track my eating and workouts before Cancun so I can keep myself even more accountable.

I took a complete rest day last Wednesday from the gym and on Sunday didn’t do cardio, just did bis/tris/shoulders, so those are my two days of no cardio for the week. Today I will do sprint intervals and maybe a few ab exercises. Wednesday will be cardio and legs. Thursday will be a rest day from cardio but I’ll work back & chest. Friday will be cardio & abs and Saturday will be cardio and legs again. Sunday will most certainly be a cardio rest day because I have feeling I may be a little hungover from weekend festivities. =/ Alcohol definitely packs on pounds like no other. Even though when I do drink, I only drink either fresh squeezed lime mixed with tequila or other very low calorie (or as low as you can get with alcohol) drinks (ginger beer with vodka & lime juice is so good!) I can still tell a (bad) difference in my body the following day and several days after. However, I plan on being VERY diligent this weekend and only eating protein on Saturday to make up for the extra carb-y calories I’ll be consuming later in the evening.

5 weeks out plan is to keep doing 5 days of cardio with a 30 minute minimum. I also have decided to ditch the almond butter. 😦 It is extremely difficult as I am just obsessed with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, but it has to be done. I told Jimmey to hide it from me last night, but I doubt he remembered to, so it’s probably still sitting there waiting for me.

Next week I will really need to get focused and may add in an extra 30 minute cardio session.

Six Week Countdown to Cancun!

Jimmey and I are going to Cancun six weeks from today!!! I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly! This is my birthday & Christmas gift from him and just so happens (though we didn’t plan it this way; our travel agent randomly planned these days for us) we will be at the resort on our 3 Year Anniversary! We are staying at Secrets The Vine. It looks amazing. I did a lot of research on which resort we should stay at and after finding The Vine, I was dead set on spending our vacation here. We haven’t been on a vacation in well over a year- and that was a Valentine’s weekend getaway to Tulsa. He has been working harder than ever with renovating our house, flipping a property in Jefferson Park, and with the landscaping business. I have also been fairly busy with office manager duties (though not extremely demanding at all), helping Jimmey spray properties, and working on getting my real estate license, so this vacation feels much deserved.

When we went to Cancun about 2.5 years ago, I was not in the exact shape I wanted to be in. I know it’s vain, but after working so so incredibly hard to lose weight and get the body I wanted several years ago, I have, in my mind, a level I want to be at to really be content with my body. I didn’t look the way I intended to for our last trip, so this time around I’m really kicking it into gear and making sure that doesn’t happen again! I am going to keep myself accountable by using this blog to detail all of the steps I’m taking to get in tip-top shape in the next six weeks.

Each week I will have one or two new areas to focus on. Here is how it’s going to happen:

  • This week (6 Weeks out) : Cardio 5 Days A Week, 30 minutes Minimum (not much different than what I do now, almost the same really, but this leaves me no room to use the excuse “my legs are too sore from leg day for cardio.”
  • 5 Weeks Out: No more Almond butter 😦 gotta sacrifice
  • 4 Weeks Out: No more flank steak; concentrate on not having any random bites or “tastes” of food)
  • 3 Weeks Out: No more dairy (Greek Yogurt, FF Cottage Cheese); No fruit except 1/2  cup berries for breakfast if having protein pancakes; Ab workouts 3x per week instead of 2 (what I do now); Concentrate on higher reps, lower weights instead of lifting heavy.
  • 2 Weeks Out: Additional 3 cardio sessions per week, 20 minutes each; Lower carbs- sweet potato only after workout
  • 1 Week out: Protein & Veggies only; Start drinking Dandelion Tea

As far as weight training goes, my current schedule is:

Monday- Abs, Tuesday-Hamstrings/Glutes, Wednesday-Off, Thursday-Triceps/Biceps/Shoulders, Friday-Abs, Saturday-Legs/Glutes, Sunday-Back/Chest

I’ll keep it the same until 3 weeks out when I will stop going heavy and using lighter weights for 15 or so reps for each set.

I honestly haven’t been this excited for something since… I can’t even remember! I’ll update once or twice a week on how everything is going.

 

Basil Chicken (in the crock pot)

Here is a new crock pot recipe that I came up with a few weeks ago and absolutely love it!! And it takes 3 minutes tops to put everything together!

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The chicken is in there underneath the millions of other things on my plate!

 

Basil Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

-5 lbs of chicken breasts (not frozen)

-Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

-Basil and Italian Seasonings

-1/2 cup Maple Groves brand Fat Free Balsamic Dressing

-1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

– 2 tbsp dijon (I didn’t have dijon the last time so I used Jalapeno mustard- still tasted great)

*Directions: Turn crock pot on HIGH. Put chicken in the croc kpot and season each chicken breast with all of the above mentioned seasonings (sea salt, pepper, garlic, onion, basil, and italian seasonings). In a small bowl, mix together the Maple Groves Fat Free Balsamic Dressing, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and dijon. Pour the mixture over the chicken and you’re done! 

* I always cook my chicken on the high setting in the crockpot. I usually start the chicken cooking at about 8:00 PM or so and turn the crock pot to the “Low” setting in the morning when I wake up around 7:00 AM. When I get home around 3:00 PM, I turn it off and put the chicken in my tupperwares. So all together, it cooks around 18-19 hours. I’ve never had a problem with the chicken getting burnt, but that could also be because our crock pot is probably older than most. 

Monday workout: Sprints (HIIT training) Hamstrings/Glutes & Abs

Here is my workout every Monday! 

Warm up: 10 minutes at a fairly fast speed on stair stepper- levels 15-20. (try not to hold on at all! And don’t slouch over!)

HIIT: Arc trainer- 30-35 second sprints (all-out-maximum effort)  (put the resistance really high); slower pace for 1 minute- then repeat sprints for 10 minutes.

HIIT: Sprint at 9.5- 10.1 mph for 30-35 seconds; jog for 1 minute. Repeat 5 or 6 times. 

Hamstrings:

Superset:

1) Stiff leg deadlifts- 4 sets of 10-12 reps (use heavy weight!!)

2) Step ups onto bench holding weights at sides or a weight plate overhead: 3 sets of 10 reps per leg (also try step ups to the SIDE onto a bench while holding plate overhead)

Superset:

1) Hamstring roll ins with stability ball: 3 sets of 12

2) Laying leg curls (machine): 3 sets of 10

Superset:

1) Glute cable kickbacks (3 sets of 12 per leg)

2) Glute pushdowns on assited pull up machine- (3 sets of 10 per leg) I LOVE this exercise! I saw it on a fitness models account on Instagram and several women at my gym have asked me a) what I’m doing (because that’s not what the pull up machine is made for lol) and b) how to do it. Here is a picture: 

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This is not me and not my butt (though I sure wish mine looked like that!)

*Make sure you are pushing down through your heel and using a weight that is challenging while engaging your glutes and hamstrings.* 

Abs/Core:

Superset:

1) Hanging leg raises in sleeves (3 sets of 12) – I put on 10 lb ankle weights and do these; I wasn’t seeing any progress in my lower abs because I’ve been doing this exercise for years, so I decided to try adding resistance aka the ankle weights and it works amazingly. 

2) Hanging leg raises (holding bar overhead, arms straight, no sleeves, with ankle weights) (2 sets of 10 reps) this exercise is more challenging this way without using the sleeves. 

3) Oblique V-ups; hanging in roman chair; using 10 lb ankle weights (3 sets of 10 for each side)

4) Side bends in chair holding 7-8 lb weight overhead (3 sets of 10 on each side)

Superset:

1) Crunches in decline bench holding 10 lb weight plate; sitting up to the sides (3 sets of 10 reps per side) works obliques

2) Russian twists in decline bench; holding 20 lb kettlebell (3 sets of 12 per side)

3) V-ups on the floor (3 sets of 12)

4) Plank; feet elevated ~1 or 2 ft off the ground; Hold for 1 minute; repeat 3 times.

I really am glad I decided to get the ankle weights because they definitely had a challenge to traditional ab exercises! Got them at Ross for about $7! I do probably look like a weirdo walking around the gym with them on but oh well! 

 

 

New Recipe: Tequila Lime Chili Chicken [in the crockpot]

I have a very strong addiction to the Whole Foods hot bar. I have to limit myself to going just once a week because I go crazy and stuff my box to the brim and end up with a total of usually upwards of $15. One of the main reasons I love their hot bar & salad bar so much is because I eat the same proteins every day, every week, all year long. Crock pot chicken breast, 99% lean ground turkey, egg whites, plain 0% fat Greek yogurt, and fat free Cottage Cheese. So whenever I go to Whole Foods, they have at least four different types of chicken breast at all times (Cajun, BBQ, Lemon Herb, Tequila Lime) so this keeps things exciting for my taste buds! My favorite is definitely the Tequila Lime Chicken. I tried to get one of the Whole Foods chefs/cooks to tell me how they make it but he was very discreet and wasn’t really “allowed” to disclose the secret recipe to me. So, I decided to make my own and I’m very pleased with it! Here is the recipe:

                                                            Tequila Lime Chili Chicken

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{not what my recipe will actually look like!]

Ingredients:

– 5-7 large chicken breasts

-2 limes

-1 orange

-1 can Bud Light Lime beer

-Tequila Lime Seasoning (from Whole Foods)

-Chopped jalapenos (maybe about 1/4 cup)

-1 green bell pepper (sliced)

-1 small can diced green chilis

Directions: Place chicken in the crockpot and turn it on HIGH. Season with Tequila Lime Seasoning. Put green bell pepper, jalapenos, and green chilies ontop of chicken. Cut the lime and orange and squeeze all the juice out into the crockpot. Pour beer over chicken, cover, and cook on high for ~8-10 hours. 

**You could add 1/4 cup of tequila if you wish to the crock pot! **

Weekly Workout Schedule & Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Swirl Protein Bars with Peanut Butter!

I haven’t blogged in foreevvverrrr! I haven’t really had any urge to lately, but I realized I should probably write this (or type this) down somewhere that way I’d have it to refer back to whenever I want to change up my workouts or I plateau. This post is pretty much for myself to refer back to but maybe it could give someone some ideas on how to break up their workouts! I’ve finally found a workout split that works perfectly with my time (with going to school & working) and doesn’t make me hate the gym, though I do typically spend 1.5- 2 hours there most days of the week. Here is what has been working really well for me lately:

Sunday: 20-30 minutes moderate intensity steady state cardio; chest, back, & rear delts

Monday: 20 minutes HIIT sprints on elliptical, 5 minutes HIIT sprints on treadmill; Abs, lower back, & hamstrings

Tuesday: No cardio (unless feeling like it); Biceps, triceps, & shoulders

Wednesday: 40-45 minutes moderate intensity steady state cardio

Thursday: 20 minutes HIIT on elliptical & treadmill; 10 minute steady state run on treadmill; 10 minutes elliptical; Quads & booty

Friday: No cardio (unless I feel like it); Abs & lower back (might take Stihly or Rogue on a long walk)

Saturday: 40-45 minutes steady state cardio

I started doing abs twice a week a few months ago and that extra session really has made a big difference… and the fact that I no longer buy PB2 because I have NO willpower with it. I’ve also started doing the ab roller for just 10 reps most nights of the week before I shower which surprisingly firms up my lower abs so much.

Also, I do all of my weight lifting in super sets. Pick 3 exercises and do them back to back and rest for a very short time then repeat twice. For example: On hamstring day, I will do 10-12 straight leg deadlifts, then immediately do 10-12 sumo dead lifts (legs in wide stance, toes pointed out), then right into 10-12 hamstring curls on a stability ball. I’ll rest for 30-45 seconds, then repeat the circuit 2 more times. It makes workout go by much quicker. Usually I do 3 supersets (9 exercises) for each day I lift.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Swirl Protein Bread/Bars with a Lil Peanut Butter!

IMG_1209

Ingredients:

(dry ingredients)
-3 scoops vanilla whey protein (I use ELITE Gourmet Whey+Casein in French Vanilla)
-1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of rolled oats (grind oats into oat flour using a blender)
-1 tbsp whole wheat flour
– 5 Truvia packets to taste (I usually use 4 or 5)
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon (don’t add to dry ingredients yet)

-1 more packet Truvia (don’t add to dry ingredients yet)

-Crushed up almonds

-Natural Peanut Butter (I have Naturally More brand)

(wet ingredients)
-1/2 cup egg whites
-1 egg
-1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
-4 tbsp plain 0% Greek yogurt
-splash of unsweetened almond milk
– 1 tsp olive oil (coconut oil is great too)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 (or less) tsp almond extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend oats into oat flour using the blender or magic bullet. Then mix oat flour, whole wheat flour, protein powder, 5 truvia packets, baking soda & baking powder in a bowl. Then, blend egg, egg whites, applesauce, yogurt, almond milk, olive oil, vanilla & almond extracts in the blender. Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir really well and pour into baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Then, mix cinnamon and packet of Truvia in a tiny bowl to make “cinnamon sugar.” Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the batter. Use a knife and draw little waves in the batter…then sprinkler crushed up almonds on top. Last, I take liiiiitle tiny bits of peanut butter and put them in random places in the batter (weird i know). I probably use about 1 tbsp worth, if that. Bake until fork comes up clean!

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got! Have a lovely snow day!

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old picture; when Stihl and I were starting (finally) to bond with eachother 🙂

Chicken Tikka Masala!

So I have been frequently the Whole Foods hot bar about once a week to grab lunch or dinner and one of my favorite finds has been their Chicken Tikka Masala. I wanted to make my own right away and lighten it up a bit. Most recipes call for chicken thighs & lots of oil and some half & half, but I used chicken breasts, a tad bit of oil and no cream. I pretty much adapted several recipes I found and created my own. Also, this recipe is done in the crock pot, so it’s fix it and forget it! Here’s how to make it:

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

(not my own picture)

Ingredients:

– 4 lbs of chicken breast ( I always buy the unfrozen chicken breasts in long sheets from Wal-Mart that are $1.99 per lb) 

– 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatos

– 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)

– 2 tbsp minced onion

– 1 tbsp garlic powder

– 1 tsp powdered ginger

– 1 tsp sea salt

– 1 packet of Garam Masala spice (bought from Sprout’s)

– 1 (6 oz) tub of 0% Plain Greek Yogurt

Add all ingredients in the crockpot EXCEPT the yogurt, putting the chicken in last. Cover and cook on high for about 10 hours. This may seem like a long time, but I always cook my chicken in the crockpot for this amount of time because there is SO much chicken to be cooked and I like my chicken to be shredded/falling apart. Sitr in the yogurt right before it’s done cooking. Obviously this is not as “creamy” as most Tikka Masalas are, but it’s a healthier version and I’m really liking it! 

 

Happy early Thanksgiving!