Happy Monday Eve, FLF Girls!
I'm winding down an epic and perfect Sunday as I write this.
Today, I got to do ALL my favorite Sunday things: a great morning workout (BODYPUMP® 100 practice) and brunch at Printworks Bistro with my husband, a long afternoon nap, and plenty of playing in the kitchen.
Honestly, I'd still be happy if none of those things happened because I'm just glad to be HOME after too many weekends in a row spent working.
This week included some great meals and some great workouts, too. Let's get to it!
Monday: taught BODYCOMBAT®
Tuesday: taught BODYCOMBAT® Express (30 mins.) + CXWorx® (30 mins.)
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps, & Calves Workout
I'm starting a new 8-week strength training program from the book "Thinner, Leaner, Stronger" by Michael Matthews. It's heavy on science, but if you really want to know the science and the why behind how to build a lean, athletic-looking female body, this is a great book. As an Certified Personal Trainer, I read books like this for fun and to make me a better trainer, but I'm not sure I'd read it if I wasn't a junkie for this stuff. It's very detailed!
I've been lifting moderately-heavy weight consistently for a year now. Last January, I hired a trainer and nutrition coach, partly to "outsource" my training/nutrition because I was focused on career-stuff, and partly for the accountability. I stayed with my coach through August and have been going on my own ever since.
Now that I have a good base of strength, I'm ready to build a little more muscle. At some point, you can only lose so much fat and get so much lean (known as "cutting") before...well, you have to start building. Typically, I've been doing 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps and made some noticeable gains in muscle and strength slowly over time. Biggest, coolest success? Being able to do strict body weight tricep dips on bars. They feel so bad ass!
So for the next 8 weeks, it's time to build - and this was workout #1:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 warm-up sets w/ progressively heavier weights (started with 10 pound dumbbells) and then 3 working sets of 10 reps.
Incline Barbell Bench Press - 3x8
Flat Barbell Bench Press - 3x8
Close-grip Bench Press - 3x8
Standing Calf Raise - 20/20/20 - first set toes forward, second set turn toes out, third set turn toes in.
Seated Calf Raise - 3x6
Tricep Dips - 3x5
Thursday - taught BODYCOMBAT® Express (30 mins.) + CXWorx® (30 mins.) in the morning, BODYPUMP® at 5:30 p.m.
Friday - rest
Saturday - Back & Butt workout
Barbell Deadlift - 3 warm-up sets with progressively heavy weight (started w/ 30 pounds) then 3 working sets of 8
Hack Squat - 3x10
Barbell Deadrow - 3x10
Dumbbell Deadrow - 3x8 (did 30 pound dumbbells here. TOUGH. Ugh.)
Alternating Bicep Curls - 3x10
I would have added an ab circuit to the end here, but I had to leave the gym at a set time. I was feeling really good and so wanted to keep going! Sometimes you just have to let good enough be good enough and get over it. Not a bad workout for 30-ish minutes though.
Sunday - BODYPUMP® 100 practice
Didn't go full weight on squats, chest, or back. We were just running through the workout to get a feel for it. Did full weight for triceps, biceps, and lunges though and wow. Died. In a good way. It was humbling, as new BODYPUMP® workouts always are.
And because I'm all about some transparency and accountability, here's my "before" photo (below). Excited to see if anything changes in 8 weeks. No wait. Let me rephrase that. I'm excited to see the changes in 8 weeks.
Iron does that. If you just keep showing up, so do the results.
WHAT WE'RE EATING
Let me preface this by saying: I was exhausted most of this week because I started in a major sleep deficit from work travel last weekend. My flight to Albany was inexplicably canceled on Friday afternoon, and I spent most of the day in the Charlotte airport trying to get to New York. I finally got to Kingston, NY, for my training and checked into my hotel around 2 a.m.
Despite a snow storm coming in on Sunday evening, the flight home was uneventful. I got home from New York state around midnight on Sunday/Monday morning, and was just trying to get through the week. By Thursday, I was burnt toast. (Ask my BODYPUMP® class. I don't even know what that was. Sleep deprivation does crazy things to the brain; that's all I'm going to say.)
Considering the lack of sleep, it's really shocking that this week wasn't marked with out-of-control cravings for carbs and sugar. Yes, the two are related. For clients battling carb cravings, I almost always start with their sleep quantity and quality.
I credit the food prep I begrudgingly beasted out on Monday as the ONLY thing standing between me and - I don't know - cookies and muffins from Starbucks. It was a really good week of nutrition because I had homemade meals in the fridge ready to reheat and eat, even when I was tired and couldn't think straight. Had those meals not been there, I probably would have been standing in my pantry eating plantain chips out of the bag, dipping them in a jar of Muscle Butter (protein cashew butter).
Breakfast every day this week was savory oat bowls. My husband is obsessed with these and it's kind of adorable when he loves something so much. I look forward to waking up and making our breakfast!
Savory Oat Bowls
- a base of Trader Joe's gluten-free oats cooked on the stovetop with water. Takes 10 minutes.
- While the oats are cooking, I fry 2 eggs + 2 egg whites (per person) in a nonstick skillet with a little butter or coconut oil.
- Put the oats on the bottom, sprinkle with 1 oz. of crumbled goat cheese, and top with eggs.
Carbs, protein, fat, all in one delish bowl. Done in 10 minutes. Keeps us both full for several hours. Can't freakin' beat that, you guys.
So for dinner, I had two favorite recipes this week:
Celery Root Puree from Primal Palate - The humble celery root. Awww, bless its heart. It's so ugly. Like, it's easily the ugliest vegetable you've ever seen. But the taste? Amazing. It's a root vegetable and similar to a turnip or parsnip, but with a much sweeter, more mellow flavor. It has a hint of celery flavor, too. So, so good! How have I never had this before?! I just boiled it in chicken stock with a chopped onion (not carrots like the recipe says) and pureed it in the food processor. I served it with pan-seared scallops and roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Killer dinner that you'd easily pay close to $30 for in a restaurant.
Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast from Ina Garten - I made this Sunday night and served it with spiced cranberry sauce on top, leftover celery root puree, and simple roasted asparagus. Perfect end to the weekend! I love this turkey recipe because it feels like a shortcut to Thanksgiving dinner. Just cooking the breast is faster and way more manageable, and this herb rub? I want to roll around in it. Thyme, rosemary, sage, dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic - AH. I just die. You shmear it under the skin and rub the rest on top and it makes the best damn roasted turkey you've ever had in a little over an hour.
That wraps up a pretty busy-but-solid week for me! I need to get 1-2 more lifts in this week, and I'm kind of loving the extra carbs I've added with this new 8-week program! I'm hitting 200 grams a day right now. You guys. It's a LOT. And protein is almost as high. ((Gulp)). I don't know if I'll keep my carbs this high, but I'll evaluate how things are going along the way and adjust as needed. When muscle building is the goal, it's normal to gain about a pound of fat with each pound of muscle. I'm not really worried about it because I know how to lose fat and lean back out in a matter of weeks just by going back to a maintenance diet. You aren't going to hulk out and gain POUNDS of muscle and fat overnight, so if you're scared of change like I am, just take a deep breath, trust yourself, and trust the process. You can change your course any time if you don't like the way a certain way of eating and/or training makes you look or feel.
Monday is a few hours away and I have one thing on my mind:
"Bring on the gains, baby."
- Leslie Ann