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The Age Old Weight & Rep Debate

Did everyone survive their Tuesday? Mine was looong. Well, the work part was long, the time after work always flies by!

Was up and at ‘em for a lifting workout this a.m. My goal was to do upper-body weights and to lift heavy. High weights, low reps, an extra set, and longer rests in-between. Sometimes it’s nice to change it up and challenge my muscles in a different way!

Warm-up: Sprint Intervals on Elliptical

Minutes Level
0-3 10
3-5 14
5-6 17 (sprint)
6-8 15
8-9 18 (sprint)
9-11 16
11-12 19 (sprint)
12-14 16
14-15 18 (sprint)
15-17 15
17-18 17 (sprint)
18-20 14

Straight Sets:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
One arm dumbbell snatch  25 lbs 5 4
Romanian deadlift to row  60 lbs 5 4
Wide-grip lat pulldown  60 lbs 5 4
Incline dumbbell shoulder press  25 lbs ea 5 4
Incline dumbbell curl 10 lbs ea 12 3
Tricep pulldown 40 lbs 12 3
Swiss ball crunch  14 lbs 20 1
Russian twist  14 lbs 40 1
Prone jackknife  bodyweight 15 1
Plank up  bodyweight 16 1

Cool-down was stretching! It was neat to do all straight sets as well, as I normally alternate many of my moves. The plan is to do one upper-body workout a week at high weights/low reps like today’s. Then I’ll do a low weight/high rep workout (ie a DVD), and then a full-body workout that falls in between. That’s the thought process behind it all anyways :)

My desk-breakfast was less than stellar today. Boo.

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  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 2 tbsp homemade granola
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • handful frozen whole strawberries (defrosted overnight)

I dunno, I was just not into this. I think it was the flax. Too much. It wasn’t hearty enough for a breakfast either. And maybe missing nut butter. I’ll stop complaining :P

I forgot to pack an extra snack today, luckily there were some Mini Egg cookies left.

These were still the talk of the office today. A lot of people asked for the recipe. It’s pretty easy to make a delicious cookie though, all you need is butter and sugar. Ohheckyes.

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And big hunks of Mini Eggs ;) Please ignore my chipping nail polish, but do bring your attention to my talon-sized fingernails. Fatty February baby!!

For 130 calories, my mid-morning snack, while delicious, was not very filling. So I had a cuppa tea to help things along.

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Yogi Chai Rooibos. Think it’s my favourite flavour from my Bloggie Valentine stash.

My boss walked in while I was eating lunch and told me I eat the largest salads he’s ever seen.

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Leftover breaded chicken breast on spinach and other various veggies. Homemade salad dressing of 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and dash of pepper and parmesan cheese. I’m finally starting to get the hang of making my own salad dressings. This one was quite tasty!

Rushed home for supper again. Tonight’s meal comes courtesy Leah at Leftovers for Lunch. Quinoa and Salmon Stew.

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Quinoa & Salmon w/ Tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided cooking spray
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
small bulb of fennel grocery store didn’t have it!
2 cups water oops, totally missed this
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted, undrained
1 pound salmon fillets, skin removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 small lemon

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy, 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes (with liquid). Return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and boil gently over medium heat until quinoa is translucent and tender, 6-8 minutes.
  3. Stir in salmon. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until salmon turns opaque and is cooked through, about 1 minute. (Check and cook an additional minute if needed.) Turn off heat. Stir in dill, lemon juice, and zest, plus remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add salt to taste, if needed.

I served it with a whack of frozen veggies. Was trying to use up the remnants of three different bags!

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Lovelovelove this stew!! For some reason, when I cook salmon I always want to pair it with maple, but dill is such a wonderful flavour with it! I also veggie-fied it a tad by adding carrots and green beans. And yes Leah, I am most definitely having stew leftovers for lunch tomorrow ;)

Dessert!

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Few pieces of the chocolate I also got in my Bloggie Valentine package! Very dark and rich, splendid.

And check out what I got in the mail!!

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A $10 gift certificate to the Running Room. Apparently they track your purchases and give you “points” based on how much you spend. I’ve spent enough for ten bucks! It was a verrrry pleasant surprise seeing as I had no idea they do this. But also unsettling to see how much I’ve spent at that store since last summer :\

 

So as I was coming off my heavy-duty weight workout today (for me anyways!) I saw Fit Bottomed Girls tweet about Tracy Anderson’s new reality show. For those of you who’ve never heard of her, Tracy Anderson is a personal trainer known for working with stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna. Her “claim to fame” is telling women they should never lift anything over 3lbs and doing 40-60 reps. She also loves to isolate small muscles. Bah!

Now, I can understand doing low-weight training for endurance. But I’ve never been able to understand how doing ballet and pilates inspired moves can make a person physically longer andtoned.” Whenever people tell me they don’t want to “bulk up,” I respond by saying by say “muscle only grows one way.” What I mean is that, you’re either building muscle or you’re not. If you want your muscles to show (or look toned), you have to do what it takes to build that muscle. You need to strain it enough to tear the fibres, and then let it recover enough so those tears can repair and grow.

There’s nothing technically wrong with 60 leg lifts in a row, it can make you stronger. My point is, you need to put more strain on your muscles to see results. I just feel this Anderson chick is only perpetuating the “bulk up” myth that so many women are afraid of. I guess it depends on your ideal body composition anyways. I would rather look like this:

…than this:

 

Question of the Day: Thoughts?? Does Tracy Anderson make your blood boil too, or do you think she’s on to something?

Fatty February

As I mentioned yesterday, it is one of my goals for this month to get more fat in my diet. You would think that the amount of nut butter I eat would be enough. But it’s not. In fact, some days, I get around only 20g, which in my opinion is too low.

Part of this is because I buy a lot of low-calorie foods, which in turn are low-fat. Dairy and lean meats are good examples of this. Another reason is that I just gravitate towards foods that aren’t fatty. Lunch everyday for me is typically a tuna or turkey pita with a side of raw veggies or fruit. It’s what I usually crave, and the thought of a high-fat meals don’t really appeal to me.

Most importantly though, the number one reason why I don’t eat a lot of fat is because I have a digestive intolerance to it. Foods like avocadoes, olive oil and butter make my stomach literally churn. Guacamole will have me keeled over for hours in pain. The idea of an oil fondue is like pure torture to me.

As a result of this, my skin, fingernails and hair are in awful shape. My nails are brittle, grow slowly, and often chip and peel apart. My skin is actually cause for concern. It is not only dry and flaky, but my shins and forearms now have rashes and scabs from scratching it unconsciously. It’s gotten to the point where I’m embarrassed to wear shorts to the gym, and will probably have to see a dermatologist.

As we all know by now, fat is actually good for you. Studies are now showing that even the uproar over saturated fat may have been a bit premature. Trans fat is really the only thing I do not eat. Ever. There’s also monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and the coveted omega 3’s, with the frowned upon omega 6’s. At this point, I don’t really care what monopolyomega fat it is, I just need any fat I can get!

When I started increasing my protein intake waybackwhen, I did it by making sure I got a protein in every single meal and snack. If I missed one, then I would make sure I made up for it the next time I ate. This frame of thinking got me from eating 70g of protein a day to 130g of protein a day, and now I don’t even have to think about it, it’s second nature. It’s this line of thinking that I’m going to apply to fats as well. With each meal and snack I’m going to ask myself “where is the fat in this meal?”

So, what will I be using as fats?

Salmon.

Oh, sorry, this is a food blog, right.

Better? :P I love salmon, why I don’t eat more of it, I don’t know.

In the same vein, I’ll also be eating more sardines.


Bonus: the bones have lots of calcium!

Butter.


I’ll admit, I grease my pans with Pam. While butter does give me tummy pains, a light coating when I cook up protein pancakes should be fine. And um, make them more delicious!

Cooking Oils.

 
This is the one that scares me the most as my tummy pains are often directly linked to olive oil. But like butter, I’m going to experiment with using just small amounts of olive oil, as well as sesame oil, canola oil, safflower oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, etc. Well, okay, maybe just one or two of those. Cooking oils are expensive!!

Flax seeds.

I can pretty much throw a tablespoon of flax in anything and not even know it’s there! Helloooo omega 3.

Nuts.

 
I’m a volume eater, so a small handful of nuts never sounds as good as a big bag of fresh veggies to me. But, while dense, nuts are also incredibly filling and an easy grab-and-go snack for work. I’d also like to include more nuts in my dishes, like adding some roasted pecans to my veggies, or topping salads with sliced almonds.

Nut butter.

This is the most obvious, and my current main source of fat. It’s that big dollop of nut butter on my oatmeal that keeps me going all morning!

Whole eggs.

Yolks are your friend :) Also, Vitamin D is very important this time of year!

Tofu.

Did you know tofu is high in fat? It’s a new discovery for me – and a good one! Bonus: this is high in calcium too ;)

Cheese.

   

Not that low-fat crap. But the real, full-flavoured good stuff. I’m licking my lips at the thought of the above brie.

Olives.

Another ingredient that I can add to things to enhance flavour. I’m already sticking them in all my salads!

Avocado.

Maybe. This is another food that is directly linked to digestive issues for me. But I can eat the small amounts in sushi, so maybe a slice here and there won’t hurt.

 

So how did I do with my fat intake today??

Well first I had to work up the appetite! :P

Hit up the gym for a treadmill and weight lifting sesh.

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 0.0
5-6 5.5 0.0
6-7 6.0 0.0
7-8 6.5 0.0
8-9 7.0 0.0
9-10 5.5 0.5
10-11 6.0 0.5
11-12 6.5 0.5
12-13 7.0 0.5
13-14 5.5 1.0
14-15 6.0 1.0
15-16 6.5 1.0
16-17 7.0 1.0
17-18 5.5 1.5
18-19 6.0 1.5
19-20 6.5 1.5
20-21 7.0 1.5
21-22 5.5 2.0
22-23 6.0 2.0
23-24 6.5 2.0
24-25 7.0 2.0

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Romanian deadlift to row 50 lbs 8-12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Reverse lunge with forward reach 15 lbs ea 8-12 2
Dumbbell shoulder press  15 lbs ea 8-12 2

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Incline pushup bw 8-12 3
Wide-grip lat pulldown  55 lbs 8-12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Bulgarian split squat 15 lbs 8-12 2
YTWL  7.5 lbs ea 5 ea letter 2

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell 21’s 20 lbs 21 3
Cable Pushdown 30 lbs 8-12 3

 

Another awesome weight workout! I kinda made this one up as I went along too. I gotta thank Janetha for the Barbell 21’s. It reminded me a lot of what we do in Body Pump. Curls kill my forearms and wrist though.

Then it was off to work where I enjoyed a fatty breakfast ;)

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A big piece of April’s low carb sweet bread with some peanut butter and Crofter’s superfruit spread sandwiched in between. Mega tasty!  

My fatty lunch featured a smoked salmon sandwich.

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With laughing cow, mustard, capers, sprouts and romaine. Baby carrots and sugar snap peas for extra munchables on the side.

Dinner came in two courses, because I was starving! While I waited for the main course to bake, I threw together a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

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Those are pickles on top btw ;) Normally I come home starving and that’s when a lot of the major munching damage is done. But having a small salad while dinner cooks curbs that immediate hunger and gets some veggies in me :)

Oooh, and the main course was worth waiting for!

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Mollie Katzen’s Spinach Ricotta Pie from the Moosewood Cookbook. Except I skipped the crust and de-vegetarianized it by adding ham.

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Yum! This will make for some excellent leftovers.

After dinner I did something I haven’t in a while – I went to yoga! Specifically, Body Flow at my gym. The times they offer it aren’t always the best for my sometimes wacky work schedule. But it was well worth the trip tonight. This release has some good tunes, and the twisting song is full of my favourite mix of warriors :)

After yoga, I decided to continue the relaxation with Deb’s hot chocolate smoothie.

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This time I added 1/4 tsp each guar and xanthan gum as well a 1 1/2 cups hot water, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp splenda. The extra gums made it so much thicker! Check out this consistency!

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It was amazing.

Total fat for the day: 67g! Heck yes!

 

Now that we have the appetizing food out of the way, I’m going to share some “before” pics of my awful, awful skin. If anyone out there can diagnose it for me, please feel free! I’m prone to stress-induced eczema, so I’m hoping this is related to it and can easily be fixed. Here’s the worst part, my legs:

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My forearms:

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And my hands:

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You can see my lifting calluses under my fingers! I forgot to take a picture of my nails, but they’re really embarrassing too. Being a guitar and piano player, I’ve always kept them short and ignored.

Hopefully increasing my fat intake will help some of my skin issues among many other things. Fat is also quite satiating for me, so I’m interested to see how it affects my hunger levels!

 

Question of the Day: Will you be participating in Fatty February with Emily and I? What are some of your favourite ways to incorporate fat into your diet?

TGIFF – Thank Goodness It’s Flashback Friday

TGIF!!!!! This is how I party on a Friday night…

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I’ve been looking forward to this aaallll week. I actually woke up sick this morning. No doubt from my 6-hour nights and 10-hour work days this week. I feel like junk, I can’t believe I photographed this for you guys to see!! :P

Had I known my head was going to be invaded by mucus last night, I wouldn’t have set my alarm for a morning workout. Alas, when it went off at 6am, there was no falling back asleep for an extra glorious hour. How do you snoozers do it??

I thought today I could attempt to do all three levels of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred video. Umm, did you know those levels are technically 25 minutes each? Well I didn’t. At 50 minutes, I finished the second level and had taken up most of the hour I allotted for exercise. This is my excuse anyways. Truth be told, I was done at the squat thrusts. I tend to get cocky with exercise videos, but it kinda kicked my butt!

I had breakfast waiting in the fridge for me. The only way to have oats cold ;)

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The childhood nostalgia breakfast cookie.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
  • splash almond milk
  • 1 tbsp marshmallow fluff
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • mini chocolate chips
  • sprinkles!!!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had one in a while, but this b-fast cookie was beyond awesome. Or maybe it was the sprinkles ;)

Work was busybusy. My mucus/headache/sore throat/cough/chills/aches only got worse as the day progressed. Oh, did I mention? We apparently got a snow storm last night that I unexpectedly had to shovel out of this morning. I spent the day in wet clothes. The only thing worse than getting snow in between the cuff of your jacket and mittens, is when it sneaks under your pants and on your ankles!! Brr!!

Thankfully, my boss sent me home a half hour early when he noticed I’d been clinging onto kleenex all day just in case I get another bloody nose.

One of those days where I was craving absolutely nothing for dinner, but a girl’s gotta eat!
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Baked salmon filet topped with feta and Kirkland no-salt seasoning. On a garden salad. I drizzled watered down tzatziki for my dressing.

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Looooooved everything about this salad. The saltiness of the feta went wonderfully with the richness of the salmon. And tzatziki makes for a really nice cool and refreshing dressing :)

 

A January Flashback

That’s right! ‘Tis that time of the week – Flashback Friday!! I’m feeling a little uninspired tonight (blame the mucus brain) so I thought I’d flashback to photos from past Januaries. I actually think it’s kinda fun to see what I was doing at this time last year, and years before. Unfortunately, my earliest January photo only goes back to 2006.

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This is me getting a scooby-doo chia pet as a b-day gift in 2006. Little did I know, four years later, those seeds would be an addition to my favourite granola

(P.S. I killed Scooby just like every other plant that has ever entered my house. Including cactuses)

In 2007, I was mastering my mad pool hall skillz.

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With my BFF Matty. He’s off gallivanting in England now, I miss him! By the way, let the record show we both suck at pool. I honestly don’t know why we thought this was a good idea. One game took a solid hour.

In 2008, I was apparently not doing a good job of dyeing my hair.

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This was my first ever fondue experience. I learned that it takes forever to cook and just tastes greasy. I believe I’m seen here bobbing for a lost mushroom.

Aahhh. 2009. Whatta year. Here I am with my J-Class (that’s J-speak for “journalism”) trying to help a classmate dig out his car.

n115400581_30824848_6379Or, at least standing by watching as he spins his tires. This was an awesome night when I got to meet the editor-in-chief of Macleans, Canada’s weekly news magazine. It was a big deal. I’m a dork.

Also worth mentioning, I got my university grad photos done in January ‘09!!

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I can’t believe I’m here now one year later, working at the same university! I’m all kind of mushy these days about being back there. I love that freakin’ school.

 

So back to current day – January ‘10. I’m in my fuzzy slippers as promised.

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Watching MTV, as promised.

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It’s 9:12 and I’m about to hit the hay. I worked hard this week, and in some serious need for down time. Two words for the weekend ahead: low key. Can’t wait!!

 

Question of the Day: What were you doing exactly one year ago? Exactly five years ago?? In January 2005, I’d just started going to university part-time and thought I wanted to be a high school English teacher. I also went to Cuba for the first time with an ex-boyfriend!! Ooohhh how things have changed :)

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