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Fitness Test Day

Happy weekend!! I hope it’s been happy anyways :)

Once again, thank you for all the recommendations for my skin. I’ll keep you updated on the hydrocortisone. It has worked on my eczema numerous times in the past, but the strange spots on my leg I don’t know…

Anyways, moving on from that embarrassing (for me) topic! I managed to not embarrass myself doing a fitness test at personal training class today. Yay!

I first have to admit that I totally cheated on the sleep challenge last night. I was up late going through the bones and muscles of the human body that I wanted to know for today. I squeaked by with about 6.5 hours. Fail. Especially for a weekend, when I like to catch up on sleep. No worries, I am already in my peejays and ready for Sunday’s 6am alarm!

Today was my first day both eating breakfast and showering at my own apartment since last WednesdaySt. Patrick’s Day! I was at my grandparent’s last weekend, then at the gym every other morning. I’m losing my breakfast skillz, this was all I could come up with…

IMG_5161 IMG_5163

Homemade marshmallow protein bar and two boiled eggs. I’m thinking I may venture out and actually make something hot tomorrow ;)

I had another marshmallow protein bar for my mid-morning snack.

One great thing about making my own protein bars is that I don’t stress about eating them all the time. I’m not scared about what crazy chemicals I’m putting in my body if I eat more than one a day :)

Lunch was a peanut butter protein sandwich.

Plus an orange. For the “protein,” I just dissolve some chocolate protein powder with water and use it as a spread. With the PB, it tastes like nutella!

Afternoon snack attack:

I love how healthy my fellow personal-trainers-to-be eat! Usually I feel like a weirdo opening up my mini cans of tuna in public, but one guy bust out a full-sized one today with a can opener. I am with “my people” ;)

Highlight of today was definitely the fitness test. We did it firstly to learn how to conduct one, but also put ourselves through it to experience it from the client’s point of view. It’s nothing hard or overly strenuous, but intimidating no matter what shape you’re in!

We started with the Rockport Walking Test for VO2 max. VO2 max, put simply, is how much oxygen you can take in during exercise. It’s a pretty good indicator of how fit you are. Athletes for example, will have a high VO2 max, as the ability to take in more oxygen fuels activity better.

For the test, we just walked on a treadmill for a quarter mile as fast as we could. It’s supposed to be one mile, but for time’s sake, we multiplied our time by four. So I did my “mile” in 13:08 (walking at 4.8mph!). The second you stop the treadmill, take your pulse for 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by four, and it will give you your heart rate or beats per minute (bpm). Mine was 128 bpm. Then you plug those numbers into a hugely complicated formula, or you can just fill out this form. I ended up with a VO2 max of 51. So that’s 51 millilitres of oxygen that I take in per kilogram of weight, per minute. According to all the “charts,” it’s above normal for my age, so that’s nice :) Men are always higher, I think there were a few dudes who had theirs in the 60s.

After that we also did a push up test, curl up test and sit and reach test. I only did the first and last ones, both of which I sucked at. Okay, I still did 25 push ups on my knees, which again, is “above normal,” but I really wish I could do that amount on my toes by now!

For the sit and reach test, you sit on the floor with your legs in front of you, then reach for your toes, measuring how far your fingers go past them (or, how far they are from your toes). I managed to get my fingers a half-inch past my toes, which is better than I was expecting. I didn’t think I could even touch my toes!

None of these tests are hugely important. They help a little in program design, but they’re really meant to benchmark your current fitness. Six weeks from now, I will hopefully be able to crank out more push ups, and it will be nice to have quantitative results of fitness improvement rather than just “I guess I feel kinda better…”

We stayed a little late to practice more training sessions. If anything, it’s been a lesson on machines for me, as I’m a dumbbell/barbell girl. Machines just always feel awkward, however they are ideal for the “new exerciser” who hyperventilate at the thought of a squat rack. Gosh! I used to be that person!

Anyways, after the hour+ drive back home, I could feel my tummy eating itself from the inside out. It’s a careless beast sometimes.

Polished off the last of my veggies with my fave salad of all time – maple balsamic spinach salad. With some roasted sweet potato for good measure.


Nothing fancy here. I just wrapped the salmon and sweet potato in tinfoil, doused it in balsamic vinegar, maple extract and sugar-free syrup, and baked till it was done! I can’t believe after a week of going through a package of maple smoked salmon, I came home and made more maple salmon for supper tonight. It’s that good!

I got an excellent question in my last post about buying equipment for strength training at home. I wanted to get to it tonight, but my 8 hours of sleep are more important, so I’ll get into it tomorrow!


Question of the Day: How do you measure your fitness level? I’m a number nerd, and a slave to my heart rate monitor. When I do cardio, I love seeing how quickly it peaks and recovers. I also love hitting those high numbers and sustaining them for longer periods than before. Of course, discovering I could actually complete toe push ups was pretty awesome too ;)


Workout Skeds

So how is everyone sleeping?? Happy to hear so many of you are up for a sleep challenge! So here’s how it’s going to work: make a concerted effort to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night (or, really, whatever works for you, this is a general number), keep track of your hours, then I’ll ask for the hours on Monday. I’ll then take all the comments from those who participated and draw a random winner and some them something fun! So you’re not reeeeally winning based on total hours of sleep, I just want to know you tried!

I also want to add how thoroughly impressed I am that so many of my readers already get close to 8 hours of sleep a night. I used to be one of those people who could sleep 10 hours a night no problem (actually, I did for a month the semester my professors went on strike…) Somewhere along the way it became a lot more difficult to sleep in, especially past that 7am mark. Ugh.

I unplugged by 9:30 last night and had my lights out by 9:50. I then woke up naturally at 5:25am – five minutes before my alarm! This morning I did some upper-body weight lifting and cardio intervals at the gym. Usually, my upper-body day is a heavy weight day, but today I went down in weights to focus on my form.

Started with elliptical sprint intervals for my warm-up. I’ve been playing around with recovery time, and have a routine now that’s a booty-kicker.


Minutes Level Effort
3 10 Easy
2 14 Easy
1 18 Sprint
2 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
1.5 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
1 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
0.5 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
1 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
1.5 14 Recovery
1 18 Sprint
2 14 Recovery


Exercise Reps Weight
Wide-grip lat pulldown  12 45 lbs
Seated cable row  12 40 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  8 55 lbs
Seated cable row  8 50 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  6 65 lbs
Seated cable row  6 60 lbs
Wide-grip lat pulldown  10 45 lbs
Seated cable row  10 40 lbs


Exercise Reps Weight
Dumbbell bench press  12 17.5 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 12 10 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  8 20 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 8 12.5 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  6 22.5 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 6 15 lbs each hand
Dumbbell bench press  10 17.5 lb dumbbells
Standing cable fly 10 10 lbs each hand


Exercise Reps Weight
Arnold press  12 12.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  12 20 lb barbell
Arnold press  8 15 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  8 20 lb barbell
Arnold press  6 17.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  6 30 lb barbell
Arnold press  10 12.5 lb dumbbells
Barbell upright row  10 20 lb barbell

Biceps – Alternating Sets

Exercise Reps Weight Sets
Barbell bicep curl 12 20 lbs 3
Incline curl  12 10 lb dumbbells 3

Triceps – Alternating Sets

Exercise Reps Weight Sets
Skull crusher  12 20 lbs 3
Forward tricep extension  12 20 lbs 3

Finished off with 10 minutes on the stepmill and a 90 second plank. My personal training coach is an anti-crunch person much like myself. I’ve always been of the belief that you stabilize yourself with your abs in all your weight lifting moves, so hurting your back by doing a gazillion crunches isn’t really helping the cause. But I do think it’s important to have a strong core, and a little plank work never hurts ;)

Also, I have to add that I was analyzing the form of those around me in the weight area (no one at my gym is safe now!). Surprisingly, the people in the free-weight area were near-perfect, but there were some serious offenders on the cable machines! Oh gosh. It’s actually scary to see how people move with the cable pulleys and have no control over the movement. One guy was definitely hurting his shoulder doing tricep pushdowns, which shouldn’t be the case at all.

Okay, okay, rambling over. Photos!

I remembered my iced coffee this morning. Bonus.


Cottage cheese, yogurt, protein powder, maple extract, cinnamon, frozen berries, cashew butter, Grape Nuts. Got that?

It’s my favourite breakfast these days :)

Cherry dark chocolate protein bars are on the outs.

I have a fun new batch setting in the fridge as I type. Think marshmallow squares ;)

Gigantor salad for lunch.

Same mix as last night! Except with my fave new dressing – watered down hummus.

And I maaay have picked up a little treat so I can have lunch desserts at the office.

I ate two, gotta get the most out of that bag!

They’re no Mini Eggs, but still okay. What is it about Mini Eggs that makes them so magical??

Afternoon snack was something different:

Mini bagels! Two of them are only 160 calories, and I stuffed a little Yves veggie ham in there for a protein boost.

For some reason I was super excited to make this for dinner tonight:

Smoked salmon omelette. Maple smoked salmon to be exact. Ohman, I can’t make any of the local sugar bush events this year :( I lovelovelove anything maple!

Speaking of my insatiable sweet tooth, more chocolate followed dinner.

President’s Choice European Dark. It’s okay. I’m a Lindt girl.

Oh! And before I forget, Janetha asked me if I have a workout schedule. The answer to that is no, but I do tend to do the same things. This is what it generally looks like:

Monday: 60 minute spin class
Tuesday: Heavy upper-body weight lifting with HIIT
Wednesday: 50-60 minutes running
Thursday: Rest day or cardio machines (not treadmill)
Friday: Full-body lifting, medium weights
Saturday: Cardio class (like step) or cardio machines (if I miss a class)
Sunday: rest day

Really, the only things that typically stay the same are Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and sometimes I’ll swap out a DVD on Fridays if I’m out late the night before. I try to balance it out so my arms and legs get to rest a little in-between workouts. While I only have two lifting workouts, my cardio machine and cardio class days always involve a little resistance training. However, it seems what with travel and life, I can’t seem to stick to just one schedule! I’m notorious for changing up proper training schedules. Actually, I don’t think I even followed one for my triathlon :\ Meh, I like to fly by the seat of my pants ;)


Question of the Day: Do you follow a workout schedule or take it day by day? My schedule gets a little more complicated in the summer when I try to coincide my outdoor runs and biking with the unreliable weather. Maybe I’ll try running in the rain this summer. Maybe. :P

Waffle Wednesday – An Ode to Waffles

Happy Waffle Wednesday!! As I was sitting at my desk today, trying not to doze off as I do everyday at 3pm, a thought struck me. Waffles are the best thing about Wednesday! No longer a “hump day,” but one I look forward to every week. On top of that, I’ve eaten and taken pictures of a lot waffles. So I present you with a special Waffle Wednesday post – An Ode to Waffles.

My obsession with waffles began on February 17, 2009. My roommate and I were were having one of our frequent discussions about food. She let it slip that she actually had a small waffle maker in the apartment. The next morning, I dug it out, made a ginormous batch, and fell in love.

I used my usual protein pancake recipe for the waffles, and always have since:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • sweetener of choice (optional)
  • tbsp ground flax (optional)

Making six small waffles in my roommie’s press was time consuming though. So I started to venture out and buy frozen waffles. Namely – Nature’s Path maple cinnamon waffles.

I found that while freezer waffles are flimsy on their own, they could be quite filling when paired with fat and protein. So nut butter, syrup and egg whites often accompanied them.

Of course, they made for a pretty good snack too ;)

With the summer months, came an abundance of fresh berries. For a time my favourite toppings were almond butter + yogurt + strawberries.

Okay, so I went a little nuts with the berries…

Sometimes the combo changed a little. Mixing the berries with the yogurt…

Drizzling the nut butter on top with syrup…

Or even putting the egg whites on top with syrup.

I did sometimes expand outside the realm of berries to other summer produce. Peach season made for some tasty breakfasts!

The end of summer came with a new apartment – and new kitchen appliances. The roommie’s dinky waffle maker was replaced by a beastly belgian waffle iron.


This bad boy brought my waffles to a whole new level. Of course, my first venture with it included my coveted berries.

And yogurt (in the shape of Mickey Mouse).

Sometime the blueberries went in the waffles.

And sometimes I had them plain, dipped in a nut butter syrup.

But sometimes a girl still lusts after a good freezer waffle. As the price of berries went up, and the taste quality went down, I had to find new ways to fancy up my waffles. There was an obsession with all things PB&J for a while…

The discovery that blending cashew butter + ricotta + maple syrup + cinnamon made a delicious topping that got in both my fat and protein.

Same goes with almond butter + blended cottage cheese.

Sometimes I ventured away from the sweet combinations and tried things like turkey, eggs and cheese.

But my best creation yet has been french toast waffles.

Made by dredging thawed freezer waffles in egg whites.

And lets not forget, plenty of flat waffles were had ;)

So what was today’s waffle? Protein belgian waffle with almond butter and jam!


I didn’t need a big breakfast today, and it had to be quick. So I cut the usual protein waffle recipe down to 1/3 cup for everything. I had to eat it on the run but it was SO good!!!


I also had another awesome living room workout this morning thanks to my bike trainer and Levels 1 & 3 of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I’d love to stick around and chat – but I’ve got a bowling date with the gals from work!! Hope you had a great Waffle Wednesday too!


Question of the Day: What’s your favourite way to eat waffles?