Saturday, January 31, 2009

Back Day Silliness

Today at the Grotto (No joke, the name of the school gym is the Gritty Grotto), it was back day as per the usual Saturday routine. 

However, I was not loaded up with my usual Friday night pizza, fortunately I was feeling my oats again so I thought I would get a little reckless with my chin-ups today.

Warmed up with 6 long full reps of wide grip chins, followed by a working set of 55 lbs for 7 reps.  Feeling somewhat invincible I attempted one rep with a 100 lbs dumbbell! Unfortunately,  I wouldn't call it a full rep, but it was quite close...maybe next time. 

After that silliness, it was time for 3 more real sets {55 lbs x 4; 30 lbs x 12 and 12 reps with my body weight}

Next was Deadlifts for 3 sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x12}

Underhand grip  barbell Rows {135 lbs x 12; 185 lbs x 10l 185 lbs x 11}

Dumbbell Rows for 2 sets {85 lbs x 12; 85 lbs x 15}

Finished up with some machine rows and cable rows and a little stretching.

The rest of the day shall be spent eating, hooray!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If I am too lazy to write a post...

Tweet Tweet Tweet!

I like the idea of throwing out random comments, so...

Maybe I will give this twitter thing a try

follow me on Twitter

Squats, you make me weak in the knees

So leg day rolled around again today, as it seems to every Tuesday. Things started off slowly, as it was the end of a long day.

The squats weren't as good as would have liked them to have been.

Nonetheless, I pressed on and found myself pouring buckets of sweat with a great leg pump that I'm sure will be the cause of much soreness on the morrow.

Exercise order of the day:

Warmed-up with a 400m run

Back Squats: Sets {135 lbs x 15; 225 lbs x 12; 265 lbs x 6; 225 lbs x 8}

Wide Stance Squats: 1 Set of 135 lbs for 12

Front Squats: 135 lbs for 12 reps, also only one set

Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 4 sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 275 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 6}

Barbell Lunges: 2 Sets {135 lbs x 8}

Leg Press: 3 Sets {320 lbs x 30; 410 lbs x 25; 500 lbs x 25}

Lying Leg Curls: 3 Sets of 12 reps with 90 lbs or so (Not really sure with those machines)

Some standing calf raises and then some light stretching.


Quite a bit of volume, but I am eating a tonne right now so hopefully I'll be able to recover well enough.

Perhaps I'll get a massage from Mrs. Oddbody (hopefully she is reading this)

Off to bed!

Random Sushi Night in Winnipeg

This Sunday, Mrs. Wife decided she wanted to make an ultra cute bento box lunch that involved a bunch of sticky rice.

Being true Vancouverites, you know what that means...

Time for some home-made sushi!


Unfortunately, I was a little too gung-ho and when I decided to start the sushi construction I realized I had very little fixings for filling up the rolls!

So I looked through the pantry and grabbed a tin of pink salmon and loaded up the first roll.


Amazingly, I actually rolled these up properly


And I didn't even destroy them when I sliced them up!


I ate these tasty little pieces for a snack and then made another salmon roll along with a very basic carrot roll

Like I said...very low supplies

Although I did have seaweed handy.


The last two rolls shall be my lunch tomorrow, hopefully they taste just as good tomorrow.


Bonito Appetito!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Watch out for the obesity bug!

Researchers have identified a virus (AD-36), that when caught by humans can turn stem cells into fat cells! 

Apparently it can also potentially turn someone who was once thin to become overweight.

The symptoms someone exhibits when they catch this virus are also quite similar to those of the common cold.

So this begs the question...

Do you feed a fever or starve a cold?

watch out for this fat cell found here

The Friday Pizza Tradition Continues

Because I love making some za' every week.

Here are a few tasty pictures of last weeks endeavours.

The preparation of the onions and mushrooms.


The Spreading of the dough


The addition of the tomato sauce and some oregano


The pre-cheese toppings


A little too much broiling..but still good.


Another successful Friday feast.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Back Day

These Saturday morning workouts are becoming some of my best of the week! 

Maybe it's because I don't usually have anything else to do besides picking up a few groceries

Perhaps it is the massive amounts of home-made pizza I ate the night before that fuels my workouts.

Or, it's because it's the only day of the week that I have a training partner.

Either way they have been something to look forward to and the workouts never disappoint (myself at least)

This week I started out with a few minutes of stretching while I waited for my training partner to arrive.

First exercise was some wide-grip chin ups as per the usual.  Warmed-up with one set of a few long explosive feel reps

Now it was time for the tough stuff: 3 weighted sets {50 lbs x 8; 50 lbs x 7; 50 lbs x 4} and then one all out set of 14 reps with just my body weight.

Did deadlifts second today. 4 sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 10; 365 lbs x 5}

Good and warmed-up now. Rolled right into some underhand grip barbells rows for three more sets {135 lbs x 12; 185 lbs x 12; 185 lbs x 10}

I'm really trying to work on back thickness right now so I finished up with 2 sets of dumbbell rows {105 lbs x 12; 105 lbs x 10} and then three sets of T-bar Rows {90 lbs x 12-15}

That's all she wrote!

Anything in particular that makes your workouts out of the ordinary?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Squattin' Some More

Oh goodie, it's another leg-day...


And at the end of a long day of work, who doesn't look forward to a workout that requires more effort than pushing a marshmallow through a key-hole.  I'm not really sure where that came from...

Luckily, the joints were feeling good, I had eaten well and plentifully (2 chicken breasts, 2 cups of rice and 2 cups of steamed veggies over the last 4 hours go a long way!) so my energy levels were quite high going into the gym.

Started off with the usual, deep back squats: 5 Sets (135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 265 lbs x 7; 285 lbs x 4; 225 lbs x 12). Got a good pump with these, very little rest between sets almost turned it into a cardio workout!

With no break went right into some stiff-legged deadlifts for three sets (135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12 and 295 lbs x 10 or 12 not quite sure, was kind of light headed at this point...but in a good way)

Did a couple sets of barbells lunges (135 lbs x 8) while I waited for the leg press machine to be open where I did three sets of 30+ reps with 320 lbs.

I actually got a cramp at this point so I did some deep breathing and it seemed to go away (probably a little too much food in the tummy)

A few sets of lying leg curls including a final set drop set got my hamstrings sufficiently fried.

Last was seated calf raises and 15 minutes of stretching/lying on the floor followed by yet another wobbly walk up those darn stairs.

Going to try to do some yoga tonight for some more stretching which will hopefully ease the oncoming sore legs.

Eating on the Go: Protein Bar Recipe

Since I have been working at night a couple of times a week with limited access to food I decided to make some protein bars that I can eat on the road and that won't cost me an arm and leg.

This is my first time trying this at home so I basically just followed the first result that Google gave me.  I picked the bar with the least ingredients/had all the ingredients that I have at home.

Here is the easy to follow recipe:

3 Cups of Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (Where the ingredients are only peanuts)

1 Cup Skim Milk

4 Scoops of Chocolate Whey Protein Isolate

Dash of Cinnamon (I didn't use this)


Start off by dumping the oats and 4 scoops of protein powder into a bowl


Then blend the peanut butter into the milk (I used the good old Magic Bullet)


Then just fold the peanut-milk into the oats until it is nice and evenly mixed.  This will be an intense arm workout, so blast through the pain!

When it starts to look edible you can scoop out a piece with you hands and mould it into bar form (or any form you like)


Wrap it up and store it in the freezer until you want to eat it.

I got 8 bars out of this recipe, should last me a couple of weeks as long as I don't eat them every day.

Extras that I may add next time:

-Chocolate Chips

-Flax Seeds

-Shredded Coconut

Anyone Else have any tasty ideas for quick meals or other foods that could be put into bar form?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Ol' Sunday Eats

On any given Sunday I decide to throw together a massive feast for my wife and I and probably Harvey too.

This time we had some eggplant lying around so I decided to do something useful with it: Stuff it! (I have no prior experience with eggplant).

I found this yummy little recipe for eggplant in my online quest to find something to do with said eggplant.

It looked easy enough so let's give it a shot!

Started off by frying up the stuffing for the eggplant (1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 onion, 2 tomatoes and the inside of the halved eggplant)


Also heated up the two eggplant halves before commencement of the stuffing


After I filled them up with all of the goodies I sprinkled a little feta cheese inside them and placed them in a dish, filled it halfway with water and threw it in the oven for 50 minutes or so.

Next up was the yam fries with the enormous yam that was bigger than Harvey!  It's like a Zeppelin flying over top of him.


Here's how I cut them: Quartered then sliced into delicious fry-sized morsels.


And finally the coup de gras, le chicken! Some of the left-over eggplant stuffing on top of the chicken which is sitting on a bed of spinach.  Let's not forget the mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top!

Here it is on the way in:


And on the way out:


And when it is was all put together...(Stuffed eggplant at the top)


I know someone who was pretty interested in this meal...


Have a good week everybody.

Chin-ups Galore

Workout: January 17th 2009 @ the Gritty Grotto from 12 PM- 1 PM

Today's workout was pretty crazy, I decided to see how much weight I could hold between my legs while doing a chin-ups. This is because I had drank more coffee than I would care to admit and was feeling especially energetic.

Warmed up with a "feel set" of 6 reps of wide grip chins (no-straps) followed by several working sets with added weight. Started off with 45 lbs, this felt especially easy today so I stopped at 6 reps to conserve energy.

I grabbed a 75 lbs dumbbell, figuring that this would be my max but I ended up doing 3 reps! So I tried the 85-pounder and blasted through 2 reps (the second of which was very slow!).

I finished off the wide-grip chins with another set of 7 reps with the 45 lbs dumbbell followed by 15 reps with just my body weight (186 lbs today).

Not bad for the first exercise :)

Next up, Barbell Rows: 3 Sets {135 lbs x 12; 185 lbs x 12; 185 lbs x 11}

Deadlifts (No Straps): 4 Sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 12; 365 lbs x 3 (Ended this set early, wasn't feeling the groove anymore so I didn't want to risk injury)}

Reverse Grip Pull-downs: 3 sets of around 200 lbs for 8-12 reps

Last exercise of the day was several sets of barbell biceps curls. My arms were already quite tired and this finished them off nicely.

As I write this Sunday morning, I am quite sore and can assure you that this will truly be a day of rest!

sleeping kitty found here

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ways to Cut Down on Bad Snacking

Surround yourself with good food! 

You've heard it before, but that's all you need to do. And it is just that simple.

First place place to tackle is, obviously, your home.

  • Keep the bad snacks/ice cream/doughnuts and all that other good stuff to a minimum and fill up your pantry with mixed nuts, rice cakes or whatever else will help you get through to your next super healthy meal that you will cook yourself, right?  Right.
  • Chop up as many veggies as you can, throw it into some containers, make it easily accessible or take them anywhere!

Next up: Work

This is the worst place for bad snacking for most people.  When birthday parties roll around or  during the holidays {luckily those days are behind us for a little while} the office is ripe with tasty temptations.

  • The best thing I did was bring all the cutlery I need, a plate and a bowl {if they don't already provide them}. 
  • If they have any cupboard or refrigerator storage and you can trust your co-workers, bring any sort of snacks that you can think of {don't forget to label it!}.  I like to workout right after work so as a pre-workout meal I will throw a a bowl of quick oats in the microwave and I'm good to go.

In the Car

  • Put those bars {the ones without high-fructose corn syrup}, rice cakes or anything else healthy that won't melt or spoil when stored for too long
  • Bonus, it will help take the edge off when you are half-way through that treacherous commute and help you make it to dinner.

There you have it, just a few simple tips to help keep you from going overboard during the day and digging back in to that Ben-Jerry's at the end of the day.

Anyone else have any other snacking tricks that they would care to share with the rest of the class?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Road to 405: Leg Day # 7

Location: Gritty Grotto

Time: 1:00 PM- 2:00 PM

Good leg workout today.  My body seems to do well when when my workouts are just after-noon. Warmed up today with a 400m run at a good pace.  Not a very long warm-up, but it seemed to do the trick. 

It was very busy at the gym today {new year's resolutions still being followed I guess}.  Therefore, I ended up skipping the leg curls and extensions to warm-up my thighs because one of the squat racks was open, so I jumped on it!

Back squats were first on the menu today.  5 Sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12;  255 lbs x 8; 275 lbs x 4; 225 lbs x 10} plus one set of front squats with 135 lbs x 15 to really feel the burn.

Still at the rack.  Time for some stiff-legged deadlifts: 4 sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 275 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 6}

To finish of my quads I did 3 sets of 20 reps with 400 lbs.  Great Burn with this.

Next up, a few sets of hamstring curls with a drop set at the end.

Finished off with some seated calf raises and leg press calf raises.

Did a good 10 minutes of stretching at the end to help prevent the inevitable soreness that is sure to follow.

Although it didn't prevent me from barely being able to make it up the stairs at the end of it all.

Until next time!

New Jay Cutler DVD

Just thought that I would give a quick link to the trailer for the two-time {former} Mr. Olympia's new DVD entitled All Access.

This might be somewhat interesting for a bodybuilding video (if you are looking for something other than just training footage)

The plot focuses on Jay after his loss at the 2008 Mr. Olympia to Dexter Jackson and his renewed focus on training for the 2009 Mr. Olympia. Luckily for Jay, throughout his career he has been able to turn all of his defeats in to something positive and has been able to come back stronger time and time again.

Knock this guy however you want but his story is quite impressive and shows how hard work and dedication can get you anywhere.

My favourite quote from the trailer is from his wife saying how on their second date [at age 18] he said he wanted to be a professional bodybuilder, even though he had never worked out a day in his life!

Talk about clarity of vision!

Jay Cutler All Access DVD Trailer #2

Monday, January 12, 2009

3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Workout Intensity

1) Add a little weight.

Still using the same old ten pound dumbbells for every exercise?  Time to up the ante and get a little more bang for each rep. Just make sure to keep your form tight and don't start using momentum which may increase your chance of  injury. Your muscles will love the extra challenge!

2) Put your mind into the muscle

Don't have any weights lying around?  Luckily your muscles don't know the difference between 70 and 50 lbs.  Proper form combined with 100 percent focus on every rep can make any weight feel tough.  Feeling your muscles contracting and extending through a full range of motion is one of the best ways to stimulate muscle growth and take some of the blah out of mindlessly floating through a workout.

3) Train less Frequently {aka. Quality vs. Quantity}

Getting tired of crawling out of bed everyday to get to the gym and pound the weights?  Well, start taking a few extra days off!  Don't fall off of the wagon completely, but having an extra day off will not only help you recover a little bit more but you might actually start craving the gym again!  When you get back to it you'll attack the weights with more intensity and start having more quality workouts.


don't work this hard

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Road to 405: Another Back Day

Location: Gritty Grotto

Date: January 11th 2009

Time: 10:20 AM to 11:20 AM

I don't usually make it to the gym on Sunday's as it is more of a recovery type day that involves a lot of sleeping.

But I was feeling my rolled-oats today, so I decided to get it done.

Today's back workout was a little slower and more heavy-duty than the last one, although I did set a couple of personal bests with chin-ups.

This is what I started off with: some chin-ups while holding a dumbbell between my legs {25 lbs x 8 reps; 45 lbs x 8; 60 lbs x 4; body weight x 20}

Next up was barbell rows, nothing crazy just 3 sets {135 lbs x15; 185 lbs x 12; 205 lbs x 8}

Good ol' deadlifts were next, three straight sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x12}

Finished the middle back off with some T-Bar Rows 3 sets with 100 lbs for as many reps as possible with very little rest to get a good pump.

Last exercise was some back extensions {35 lbs x 12} to finish off the lower back

Now it is time for sleeping and eating...I love Sundays

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Super Speed Back Workout

Since time has become somewhat of a luxury as of late, the workouts have been tough to get in, but luckily I have been able to squeeze them in without too much trouble.

Worked out from 3-3:30 PM on JAN 7th 2009 at the Hospital Gym

Warmed up with a few long explosive reps of wide grip chin-ups followed by a few reps with 65 lbs dumbbell rows.

The nitty-gritty of the workout consisted of supersets of wide grip chins (25 lbs x 12; 35 lbs x 6; 45 lbs x 4) and bend over dumbbell rows (65 lbs x 12; 85 lbs x 12; 85 lbs x 12)

This got me off to a good start so I finished things off with some seated cable rows with stack for 3 sets of twelve reps super set with close grip chin-ups for three sets of twelve.

I'm quite glad I got through this workout, didn't take much time at all since I ended up working a double shift that day.

Needless to say, I was quite pooped when bedtime rolled around.

I also ended up with biceps that were more sore than my back muscles the next day! Perhaps the form just wasn't quite right.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bean Dish-Just the Way Mamma Used to Make it!

Every family has their fall back meal, when there doesn't seem to be that much in the pantry or you don't feel like putting in all the effort for a show-stopper of a meal.

I introduce you to the bean dish.  Nothing special but boy was it tasty! And as I learned later in life, it packs one heck of a nutritious punch.

In order to make bean dish all you need is:

1-medium sized onion

1-medium green pepper and red pepper if you feel like it

15 oz. of Red Kidney Beans

15 oz. of black beans

1 cup of frozen corn

1 cup of frozen peas

I cup of spinach (Not in mamma's recipe, but I throw it in almost everything)

1/2 cup of cubed cheddar cheese (add more if you like it extra cheesy)

Some salt and pepper to taste and perhaps some oregano near the end

A few splashes of hot sauce and some garlic

Start things off by chopping up the onion and get them frying in a non-stick pan


When all of the onions are starting to caramelize and starting to smell delicious,

toss in the 'fiberlicious' kidney beans


and then the antioxidant packed black beans


After this I added about 10 splashes of hot sauce (the bottle says that one is enough)


Follow that up by tossing in some peas, corn, and peppers. When the peas and corn are defrosted throw in the cheese cubes with spinach and let it all melt into the beany-mushy mess.

When the cheese is nice and gooey toss in some oregano and salt and pepper to taste.


Serve on a bed of rice and voila! You have enough fibre and protein to last you until next Christmas!

All you need now is some company .

"Why isn't there any in my bowl?"


All photos provided by my wife

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Road to 405: Leg Day # 6 {Back at the Grind}

Unfortunately it has been two weeks since my last leg workout, other than playing hockey of course.

I though that I would start thing off with gently with 10 or so minutes on the stationary bike as a warm-up.

Followed that up with some leg extensions and hamstring curls with minimal weight in order to get some more blood into the thighs. Legs felt good at this point, although my lower back was a little tight; I attribute this to a lack of thorough stretching after workouts over the last several months.

"I promise I'll do it next time!"

First exercise on the menu today was Back Squats, nothing special, 4 sets {135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 245 lbs x 8; 245 lbs x 7}

Next up, the newly refurbished leg-press machine.  Trying to be a little more efficient with my sets and putting more intensity into less sets rather than dragging through several sets half-heartedly {2 sets: 400 lbs x 20; 560 lbs x  15 reps} Good Burn on these.  Led to some wobbly knees going up the stairs at the end.

Finished up with some stiff-legged deadlifts {3 sets: 135 lbs x 12; 135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12} and some  more hamstring curls to finish up my thighs.  Of course, I had to do some calf raises {3 sets: 120 lbs x ~20 reps} to complete the daily task.

Did a little bit of stretching afterwards and will probably do some more when I get home.

Time for class!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eat Real Food {Lot's of it!}

I stumbled upon this article on WebMD this morning that reviewed a recent study showing that if 40 year old women didn't watch what they ate they were at risk for serious weight gain in the future. The researchers found that the women who consciously "ate less" were able to prevent this mid-life weight-gain.

The so-called "emotional eating" was the usual cause of the weight gain over-time, and the researchers urged that women try to deal with emotionally stressful times in ways other than "binge-eating".

Although the researchers acknowledged that binge eating is more likely to occur in people who restrict their food intake, they did not see any evidence of this in this study.

Unfortunately, the article did not mention any important biomarkers or signs of impaired health that occur when women knowingly restrict their food.

Unfortunately it did not mention the nutrient intake of the various groups in the study, just weight gain.

A study done at the University of British Columbia found that women who practiced dietary restraint, excreted significantly higher levels of urinary cortisol.

Cortisol, which is a marker for stress may be related to the constant stress of always monitoring your food intake, not a very fun way to live.

If you want some better advice on eating nutrient rich food and enjoying every bite of it, go here.

Just don't drool on your computer too much.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It Snow Good

Having lived in Winnipeg for the last year, I should be getting used to this snow business.  But I tell you, it's getting tough trying to get out and exercise even at the best of times throughout the Winter {which is practically 8 months long!}

I have been trying to practice what I preach by going out and playing hockey at the local rink daily because the University gym is closed throughout the holidays {Grrrr!}

But skating is being made near impossible because the snow just keeps dumping down on us! I even went as far as to shovel the entire ice rink {in skates} because no one else had done it recently.  Unfortunately, as soon as I was finished and was about to enjoy some nice stick and puck, Mr. Zamboni came out and started cleaning the ice! 

I didn't even get a chance to enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Needless to say I left.  Although it might have also been due to the minus twenty degree {Celcius} temperature.

Nonetheless! I fear that someone is trying to thwart my attempts to stay fit as this holiday season draws to a close. {Fitness Grinch?}

Luckily, I have been walking the dog, and that snow in the yard doesn't shovel itself!

Has anyone else found it difficult to get out and about this holiday season or are you just as good at making excuses as I am?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

After a thoroughly unproductive New Year's Day, filled with movie watching and swearing to stay away from tequila forever; it's time to start off the real new year.

So I figured it was time to throw some more words back into the blogosphere!

Here is a short list of things that I am looking forward to doing this year in no particular order,:

  • Donating blood regularly-not just to find out what my blood type is either, although that would be extremely useful.
  • Move closer to some mountains and an ocean (BC will do nicely)
  • Breathe and stretch (perhaps give yoga classes a try)
  • Travel to Canadian East Coast (or at least go further east than Winnipeg)
  • Walk the dog everyday
  • Get outside more - no matter how many degrees below zero it is!
  • Graduate on-time and begin "working for the weekend"
  • No real fitness goals, except to train like I am Rocky getting ready to fight Ivan Drago ("I must break you")

Before I get over ambitious I will end this list here. What are you getting up to this year?

Happy New Year Picture found here