January 22, 2012

The New Training Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 12:54 am
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As I mentioned a few weeks back, I’ve decided to change my training program and eating habits to facilitate weightloss. My diet is hardcore paleo, a surprisingly pleasant ordeal so far. The training program is a bit more complex, so I thought I’d jot it down for you.

Martine’s fatloss training program:

Morning program:
This program is done Monday through Friday. Alternating days you do either 50 kettlebell swings or sun salutations. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells at home, I suggest switching the exercise for burpees (though you might want to decrease the amount of reps at first). The good thing about this is it wakes you up, gets your body going, without tiring you out before work.

Afternoon program:
Here, the real work begins. My program is designed to give maximum fatloss, meaning weightloss without decreasing muscle mass. (I know morning workouts would be better for fatloss, however, that doesn’t mesh with my current work situation. But if you want to try this program, every workout can be done in the morning.)

Monday: Powerlifting
Squats: warm-up sets then 5×3 work sets. Each time you successfully do three sets of five reps, you increase the weight with 5lbs for next session. Right now, I’m lifting 165lbs. Next week, I’ll be lifting 170.

Press: warm-up sets, then 5×3 work sets. Same deal for progression.

Power-cleans: Same deal.

Tuesday: Interval running
I do 4×4 intervals. That is, four minutes of sprinting (currently 9.5K/hr) followed by three minutes of rest pace (currently 5.5K/hr) four times. Remember to warm up before your work sets and increase the pace every time you successfully complete all four sets.

Wednesday: Metcon
For my metcon day I do a variation of the famous crossfit exercise Fran. 10×3 reps of thrusters and inverted rows for time (my thrusters are currently at 65lbs). To add progression in this exercise, I’ve added the rule that if I can complete the exercise within less than ten minutes, I add another set next time. So if I finish in five minutes, I’ll have to do four rounds of work sets next week. Once I hit five rounds, I increase the weight and start over. Short, and sweet.

Thursday: Rest Day

Friday: Powerlifting
Squats: Same deal as Monday. 5×3
Bench: Same concept, only with bench press. 5×3
Deadlift: Again, same concept, except instead of adding 5lbs if you complete your work set, you add 10lbs, and instead of three sets of five reps, you only need to do one.

Saturday: Interval running
To mix up my intervals, I do 2×8 intervals on Saturday. That is 2 minutes of sprinting (currently 9.5K/hr), followed by 1 minute of rest pace (currently 7K/hr) eight times. Again, remember to warm up before your work sets.

Sunday: Yoga
I’m fortunate enough to have a friend who’s a yoga instructor, so we practice together each Sunday. If you don’t have the opportunity to following someone else’s lead here, I strongly suggest you go to youtube and get some free classes there. It’s amazing what a difference it can be to have someone guide you through the movements.

So there you have it. Pretty straight forward, no? I’m enjoying it so far, but I’d love to hear your opinions. Does it sound doable? Fun? Challenging? Do you want to join me? I’d love to know how it works for you!


January 7, 2012

Bulk and Cut

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 8:08 pm
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Over the last two years, I’ve completed three rounds of bulking and cutting, a system where you eat an excess of calories while lifting weights for a few months (I’ve done the Starting Strength program), and then cutting calories while training metcon/crossfit for the same amount of time. This method is supposed to max out your strength gains while ridding you off excess fat after your gain period is over. My results after three rounds of bulking and cutting: squats from 90lbs to 215lbs, bench from 65lbs to 120lbs, deadlift from 45lbs to 235lbs, weight from 160lbs to 180lbs. That’s right: I’ve had no problems doing the bulking part, but the cutting part has left me 20lbs heavier.

Each time I’ve thought it was just me. I’ve not gone the distance, pushed hard enough, been meticulous enough. So I try again, and add another few pounds to my butt. Two things happened during Christmas that put this view in perspective. First, my man and I both did our four month weigh-in and measurements after doing the same training program and diet plan. He’d lost 7lbs and 3inches around his stomach in the four months of cutting without restricting calories. All he did differently was change his training program. I had lost nothing. Four months of metcon, running and semi-low carb eating had left me without results.

Cue self-pity, right? No. Cue research mode. I talked to a Norwegian friend of mine who competes in powerlifting. I asked her about diet and her methods for gaining muscle without gaining weight (important since she wishes to stay within her weight class). She said that she’s given up on bulking and cutting. Why? Because, in her experience, women struggle more with losing weight than men. Even if we have a high metabolism due to being active and muscular, women have a harder time shedding excess fat. This fit well with what I’ve experienced. For the first time, I heard another active woman say what I’d thought was just me being
unmotivated: it is hard to cut.

It felt good to know that maybe my lack of results aren’t because I’m lazy, but because of actual physical differences between men and women. The system of bulking and cutting is designed by men, for men, and even though I love the starting strength program, I might have to skip the gallon of milk next time. Instead, I’ll follow the advice of my friend: eat healthy all the time, and focus on gaining strength without gaining fat.

What does this mean for me? Well, in the next four months, I’ll be trying to cut without losing muscle, but this time I’m doing it woman style. So stay tuned for my training program and diet plan.

November 26, 2011

The fitness and nutrition article you should read right now

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 1:03 am
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I could spend a bunch of time concocting my own rant about fitness and priorities, but why do that when Jason Seib has already written it for me? Let me quote you a nugget of wisdom:

“Some of you aren’t lifting weights because you won’t go to the gym because you are intimidated by the people there. This one makes me want to scream! I understand that you feel like you stick out and everyone is staring at you. What I don’t understand is how you can place enough value in the opinions of complete strangers that you are willing to sacrifice your health and well being just to avoid them.”

Now go read the rest of the article.

September 4, 2011

Paleo Challenge

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 4:57 pm
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With a new job comes a new diet and a new training program. I’m not saying it’s required, just that my new schedule (up at 7:30, writing from 8-10, work from 10:30-7PM) leaves little time or energy for 2hour weightlifting sessions, and that the cafeteria in my new office contains nothing but cookies, chocolate and a surprisingly large selection of chips. And then there’s the Tim Horton’s on the corner. Long story short, the first three days of work started with good intentions and ended with donuts.

Something needed to happen, so I jumped on the 30 day Paleo Challenge. Cutting all dairy (except butter, I need my butter) is hard. Ignoring my pavlovian reaction to the sound of a timbits box being opened is harder, but after a week of this, it’s getting better. I don’t even want to murder the girl next to me in order to eat her granola bars anymore. Result!

The training is the part that’s really good though. I’ve started doing crossfit again, getting my workouts of the day (WODs) from I’ve talked about pushing yourself before, and I firmly believe that crossfit is the busy person’s perfect challenge. The WODs hardly ever take more than 30 minutes, and even for us overworked, minimum wage people with overtime and writing schedules (not to mention dwindling social lives and the slim hope of actually talking to our significant others), it’s much easier to add in a 10-30min workout every morning or evening, than it is to do the normal 1-2hours three times a week.

In addition, there’s the fun of it. Crossfit taps into my inner child, the one that could always be tricked into doing stuff she didn’t want by one short phrase: “I’ll time you!” As soon as the words were out of my father’s mouth, I’d be on my feet, sprinting in the direction of the chore, ready to show them how fast I could clean that kitchen; brush my teeth; take that trash out. My brain realizes that this was nothing more than a clever ploy, but my heart still believes it, which is why timed workouts are ideal. Even if I’m the only one who’ll ever know my time, I still go all out as soon as the clock is ticking. That’s gotta work on other people too, right?

My body already feels better from the change in diet, and my mind feels better from the short-and-fast training, so I’ve decided to extend a challenge to you guys: try the paleo challenge. It’s just thirty days of your life. (Unless you love it, as I do, in which case it might be for life. But in a good way!)

Bonus points if you try crossfit as well, just remember to read up on the techniques and get help to scale the workouts to your individual level (This page does that very well). It takes very little time to do them, and it’ll work that stress right out of your body. That’s a guarantee.

Tell me what you think: will you try the paleo challenge? Have you tried crossfit? Am I crazy?

May 31, 2011

Challenge yourself!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 4:02 pm
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Writing is a stationary profession. I spend every day in front of a screen or with a pen in my hand, trying to carve down my characters’ lives. Experiencing love, loss and adventure through my characters’ eyes might be my favorite thing about writing, but if the only adventures I experienced were happening to my protagonists, then I’d soon lose my will to do much of anything. You see, I find that in order to improve my creative side, I have to challenge physical side. Go out into the world and experience the awesomeness that is all around me. That’s why I signed up for the Spartan Race (well, that, and this video. Seriously, could you resist that?)

The Spartan Race is a 5K mud run with obstacles. During my hour long trek I pushed through heavy bags, swam through a river, crawled through ice cubes, ran through an impressive amount of mud, climbed a wall, and another wall, and another wall, tried and failed to climb a rope (so did burpees instead), dragged and carried a stone across a field, threw a spear at a target (missed it so more burpees), jumped over a fire, crawled under barbed wire (and got my hair stuck), and made it over a slippery wall in the end. And through it all I had my team mates there with me, supporting me as I supported them. For a person who’s used to playing to win, it was surprisingly nice to go as a team.

After the race, we competed in a tire flipping competition. The goal was to make as many rounds as possible in five minutes of flipping the tractor tire, jumping through it and then doing three burpees where you had to jump on top of the tire for it to count. I’m proud to say that I won in the women’s category by completing 8 1/2 rounds. I’m less proud to say that I was the only woman stupid brave enough to try. My price? A three month membership at a crossfit gym that’s too far away from where I live Honor and glory.

Doing these kinds of things makes me feel alive. It’s a goal to train towards, and it’s definitely a fun experience. And did it boost my creativity? Heck yeah!

How do you wake up your muse?

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