Monthly Archives: November 2009

On my own, part deux

So, I’m exhausted, but I did make it to the gym last night.  I’ve had to modify my routine but it’s okay.  This week of the learning tour is tough.  I’m going to try to make it to the gym at least once more, but I’m just so tired and I haven’t gotten off Vancouver time yet (asleep at 3am and up for 8am).

I’m looking forward to my bed on Friday.



On my own, part un…

It’s just never as fun without a trainer or a group.  I never rest long enough, I never have anyone to share funny stories with or just how the week’s been going.  I can’t watch other people the same way as at my gym (purely observational) as some people might get creeped out by me staring.  All in all, it’s just not the same.  However, I have managed to get through some stuff tonight.  I think it takes being out of your routine to push things.

On another note, I had a great day with the learning tour I’m on out in Vancouver.  We are studying leadership in a multi-stakeholder environment and the harm reduction strategies of the safe injections sites on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.  We got the walking tour today.  Fascinating history and things to learn.  We had lunch at a cafe which is a social enterprise endeavour.  They have a catering business and the profits from that go to feed people and keep local people employed.  Really great stuff going on.


Two weeks on my own…

I’m going away for about two weeks for work.  I will be missing Strength class, and I’m a little sad.  It’s lots of work, but it’s also lots of fun.  I’m going to continue working on my own with the last numbers I got from last nights class.  My goal is to make about 10-20% or better improvements by the time I get back to class on November 30th.  I think I can do it.  For example, if I’m lifting 20lbs in something I want to be lifting about 25-30lbs.

My left arm bicep curl is still weaker than my right.  However, the other day when I was doing the dumbbell press, my left arm was stronger and my right arm was giving out.  I’m going to have to look in my book and see what structural differences I’m up against in terms of my muscles.

I’m finishing my Personal Training Certification Exam while I am gone too.  I will be handing that in at the end of the month.  Then, we will see where that goes.

I also did my body fat count last night which I had not done since July.  Although I’ve stayed at 160lbs total since then, my body fat was always hovering around 23-25% in July.  Last night the reading was 22% – the lowest yet!  If my calculations are correct, that’s about 35 lbs body fat and about 125 lbs of lean tissue (including things like brains, organs, muscles, blood, etc.).

Severe weight drop off

I might have mentioned this before.  My ability to lift or press weight drops off very quickly when I pass a very small increase in amount.  I can dumbbell press 25 lbs for 15 reps, but when I move up to 30 lbs, I can only do 3 reps.  Not the typical drop according to Brad.  I should be able to do much more.  But, it appears neurologically that my brain doesn’t know how to handle the extra weight right away.  Like last week, I wasn’t able to deadlift 80lbs at all, but I did 4 sets of 75lbs, 5 reps each.  This week, I worked up to 80lbs and was able to do 2 sets of 80lbs, 5 reps each.

Sing and dance while the music is playing…


Weightlifting for the mind….

Strength class is like weightlifting for the mind.  Thanks Brad for that sage insight!

If strength class isn’t about an underlying philosophy of life, then what is?

Something else I learned tonight – when you stack weight plates on a barbell, the goal is to keep the power inside the bar.  What does this mean and why should you care?  Well, it means that the carved out parts of the weight plates face inward towards you and the smooth part faces out.  You should care because this is the rule of the road, the way serious people stack plates.

I’m trying to find out from a engineering point of view why this is, but I have been unsuccessful in finding anything online.  My argument was – 10 lbs is 10 lbs is 10 lbs.  But, I could see that there is some sense to this.  If you were to look at the distribution of weight over the plate in the vertical position, there would be more weight distributed to the outer (not carved) portion of the plate than to the carved part.  I imagine that when one lifts the weight that it forces the weight to shift “outwards”.  Not sure, this is just my “theory”.

What about a weight plate that has carved out parts on both sides?  Well, that’s the life lesson.  No matter what the rules are, sometimes things just won’t fit the mold.

I did some seated rows tonight.  Funny, I can do them on the pulley machine (or at least I did last year), but they were tough like dirt tonight.  I seem to have a problem pushing my shoulder blades together.  And at a higher weight, I did what is referred to as a “chicken neck” – sticking my neck out.  Brad said no matter how far I stick my neck out, it won’t bring me closer to the bar which I’m pulling in.  It improved at a lower weight.  Everything else – bench press, squats, pulldowns – are moving along.  Working on getting up to higher reps to move to the next level of weight.  I’m having loads of fun.

Metanoia means…

To change one’s mind.  To change your mind is to change the way you view life, the way you engage with life, the way you experience life and how life is experienced through you.

I recounted to a friend the other day how I began the slow and imperceptible decline that lead me to gain the weight I had to lose.  In my early 20s, I worked in retail for a number of years, not behind a desk.  I was always on my feet and kept generally healthy.  When I started back to school, I was sitting most of the time, and due to work schedules and school schedules, I had bad eating habits.  I was eating cafeteria food for one (gross) and high fat content food.

When I started working in IT Security, I was sitting at a desk.  There is a common understanding that when most women start working for the government, they gain 50 lbs.  I remember a friend who was already in the government telling me this and me saying that I wasn’t going to let that happen.  Well, I did.  It happened slowly, like getting grey hair.  I didn’t even notice.  To be honest, I didn’t notice much for a long time.  A few years after I began to work in my field, I broke up with a long time boyfriend too.  That didn’t help matters in the least.

I remember going to buy clothes and every time I would have to go one size up.  I pretended it didn’t bother me, but it did.  I didn’t pay attention and became more and more numb to anything going on around me.

Flash forward a few years – I sat up and payed attention when I had my car accident.  Something had to make me realize what was happening.  For some it’s an illness.  I made a decision in short order to change my mind too when I wasn’t getting where I wanted to in my personal life.  I was hiding and I didn’t like it any longer.  When you are awake, other things that are limiting your growth are suddenly revealed and sometimes, they just have to go.

If you have the courage to change your mind, you can change your life.  Step off the train.  Shit, or get off the pot.  It’s scary sometimes to reveal yourself, your true self, but it is necessary in order to grow.  Who knows?  Your courage may inspire someone else to do the same.  You never really know all the effects of your actions.