Thursday, September 30, 2010


If, like me, you wish there was any decent coverage of real fashion on TV besides the Rachel Zoe show, may I point out a website with all the fashion any woman could want. has video of many of the shows, pictures of all of them, reviews and lots more. I can spend hours here- and the best news is long is back! Mini and shrunken everything has been everywhere for so long now I am truly sick of it, bring on the long skirts and blazers! Also, having your fashion streamed to you online is cleaner then piles of fashion magazines around the house. I have been guilty of this since being 13 years old and looking through Vogue with Brooke Shields on the cover (she was on every cover for two years it seemed in the 80s). Some cute jackets are on my Fall shopping list, fitted and shapely not shrunken, as well as another pencil skirt, perfect black pants and some sexy high heeled boots.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ahh Wednesday

Amazing how long the day can seem when you are keeping track of everything that into your mouth. I did get a lot done yesterday though. My upper back felt the effects of those overhead presses Monday, and last night was just weird, tossing and turning somehow hot and cold at the same time, but not sick. Maybe it's a central nervous system thing? Trying to find information or experiences of women my age who start training with relatively heavy weights and barbells is difficult. The women my age who do this all seem to have been training for years which is completely different. I want to learn about recovery times and rates of progression. Maybe this blog will help the next woman in my shoes, a former cardio addict finally getting around to training with weights and wanting to do it the most efficient way. After the discomfort of last night I am going to take this week off from lifting more seriously as suggested in The New Rules of Lifting, but with the calorie counting I am still doing cardio. Took the 6am Spin class this morning and may hit the gym again tonight. Hiking through the mountains in less then a month- I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cutting the fat.

Well, one could say I've got the exercise part of this down. Spinning and interval running are my cardio and I have documented a ton about lifting. Three months ago I started using this blog to share my experiences with various popular and not so popular forms of training and I have found methods that work and built in physically demanding vacations to stave off boredom; including a soon to come week of hiking in the mountains and two weeks of skiing (SKIING!!) early next year. So, great, I'm 20% of the way there. Here comes the challenging part: diet. I want the best of both worlds, lots of lean body mass burning away calories and a lot less fluff which means I just want to lose fat. This complicates things. Being a good little reader and researcher I checked to see how to do this and approximately how long it will take.

Are you ready? A woman who is close to her optimal BMI can burn one to one-half pound of fat a week, as long as she consumes enough protein and continues lifting challenging weights. (Don't feel like looking for the citation at the moment) So, here we go, I plan to lose 20 pounds of fat in 20 weeks. If it turns out I don't need to lose that much I will reassess at the time. Good thing I don't have a beauty contest coming up in the next month or so!

First, I had to figure out how much I was eating, so Sunday I wrote down everything and put it in the Fitday chart. It was a basic day, fairly healthy foods with a couple of treats thrown in. The treats were 3/4 a cup of ice cream- yes I eat it out of the measuring cup, and half of a large-ish chocolate chip cookie. 2600 calories! Yikes, and that was a no wine, no crazy filet mignon type of day. Okee-dokee. So for the next two weeks I'm dropping that down to 2000 or less (keep in mind I work-out a lot and am 5'7") and at least 100 grams or protein a day. This worked out ok yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, this was supposed to be the start of my deload or no lifting week but after lounging around all weekend and the shock of my eating habits, towards 5pm I started getting antsy. I decided to take a Spin class, easy, cardio and Pam teaches it, she is always entertaining. However, like I said, it was just after 5 and her class doesn't start until 7:15 and I was already climbing the walls bored. There is a 6pm class but it is ridiculous (the instructor does a lot of hopping up and down on the bike, weird tricep/ pushup thingys- yes while riding the bike, and some bizarre butt off the seat- thrust into the handlebars then move the butt back again while hovering over the seat move I wish I could videotape for this. No one on The Tour behaves that way!) Which meant I arrived at the gym with just enough time to train with barbells before taking Pam's class. I'm an addict.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Top Chef Reunion

Good thing the DVR remembered to record this. I was so unenthused with Kevin winning that the whole season was erased from my mind, but this brought it all back. Have to say, Kevin didn't seem that bad during the reunion episode. Probably because he wasn't allowed to speak! Seriously, he had a quick bit wherein he 'remembered' all of the past Top Chef winners, including duds Elian and Hosea, and that was pretty much it. We were also treated to one shot of Kev losing his cool and behaving like a loudmouthed jerk yelling at someone (there must have been at least twenty from which to choose), which was his primary skill through the show and the reason I suspect he was virtually cut out of participating in the reunion verbally at all.

Bald guy (Alex: thank-you Internet) apparently did not steal the pea puree! Amanda said he made it right next to her. Bald guy is very good at making guilty faces and pretty funny; he'd be a great character actor. It wasn't revealed if Amanda had recently been released from prison after serving alcohol to minors like she did in the Cook for Elementary Schoolkids Challenge, but she was so bloated and puffy-faced she very well could have been eating cheap baloney and white bread sandwiches all this time. (Don't ask how I know what they serve in prison). Amanda also completely blew her chance to own the ridiculous serving food cooked with alcohol to minors incident, saying only that the sherry was cheap. Hello clueless dumb dumb girl.

Angelo still makes me laugh, I wish he would have won but he and Tiffany are going to compete in Top Chef Masters, so that is just as good or better. If you watched the finale you may recall the other two finalists were Ed and Kevin, or as I like to think of them, The Douchebag Twins. Ed was shut out of Top Chef masters which: Ha-ha! He looked bummed about it but he egged Angelo on in the worst way when Angelo was trying to compete while still ill that Ed wiped out any good feelings I had for him previously. After Tiffany was eliminated Ed was just mean all the time. To fill up the rest of the show Bravo made little 'funny' clips, pimped the Dessert Show, the cross-eyed host guy asked some questions and that was about it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Letting it fly!

Being a bit of a geek, I spend a lot of time on various Internet forums. This means interacting with people and keeping in mind that there is a real person behind posts and behaving accordingly. So, when a well-meaning but fashionably clueless person posted a request for links to purchase a pair of workout-capris with big cut-out holes running down the sides of the legs, I only momentarily bugged out before suggesting they change their focus. This however is my blog and i can say what I want. Stay away from all clothing with cutouts!! Just say no! It's tacky and sleazy and your friend will be talked about if she goes there!

Whew, ok I feel better. The person's response to me in defense of the terrible pants was that they were sexy and why not feel sexy at the gym? Because it is terribly distracting actually, but let's say a girl does want to feel sexy at the gym. Let's talk about sex.

First of all, men are hard-wired to view women who look like they can bear a healthy baby as sexy. So, any woman in the child-bearing age range who appears healthy and well-taken care of is going to attract attention. Secondly, you are at the gym which is an additional step in the healthy and fit direction. Also, if a woman is considering pants like that she is probably already wearing form-fitting clothing. Want to feel sexy at the gym? Smile more at the guys. As long as you are within the healthy weight range and have all your teeth I guarantee you all the attention you could want.

So much for sex, let's talk style. I am not advocating that everyone look the same at the gym or dress in baggy shrouds. My friend Pam works out in a sports bra and little running shorts, admittedly a skimpy outfit. Skimpy, but appropriate; the bra is for sports as are the shorts, she looks great in them and here in Florida less can be more. Now me. I can usually be found in black stretchy yoga pants and a form-fitting but relaxed t-shirt turned backwards to avoid too much cleavage exposure, a covered up but body conscious silhouette. Completely different from Pam's look, but equally appropriate. It isn't hard to figure out what to wear while working out that is comfortable and makes you feel attractive without veering into slutwear.

There is the sad fact that fitness models are often photographed in such slutwear that a woman who sees enough of these images may start to see the outfits as desirable. Here is a good example of a hideously tacky outfit.

Ladies, use the body of the model as your inspiration, but never ever the clothes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time to shake things up

Summer marches on and faced with yet another week of 90 degree weather I need to get out of the doldrums and enjoy this. They are sunny hot days, lots of people yearn for weather like this. I'm looking back to the beginning of Summer, what do people get excited about? What can you do in the Summer that you can't otherwise? I need to revisit these activities. So, I am going to the beach this week- for a sunset, not going to get all crazy and actually get sun. The truck will be washed- that is definitely not fun to do when it's snowing.
What else? Swimming I guess, honestly tho swimming in pools is usually more trouble then its worth with the inevitable ear infection and sunburn that follow. Okay, no swimming unless it feels irresistible at the time. One thing to look forward to is deload week- yay! As gratifying as lifting big iron bars is, the rest weeks are necessary too. The changes I'm making in training include giving the 6am Spin classes a rest for a while. I miss the after-work crowd at the gym and sleeping until 7:30 or 8 like a civilized person. So, lifting my ass off this week, focusing on heavy deadlifts tomorrow and heavy squats Friday to get ready for rest week. Then, during rest week take the Ultimate Challenge classes and a Spin class or two. I'm also considering making it a no wine or chocolate week as a sort of soft detoxing/ clean eating/ whatever one would call it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beat but feeling good

No cardio today, trained squats, presses and power cleans. I added two sets of front squats with just the bar, focusing on form and getting way down there past parallel. Haven't added weight to the bar for the standing presses yet- looks good for next session though. Practicing cleans from the pull position with the bar, I added ten lbs for a set but it was sloppy as hell and as I'm still working on form I took the ten pounds off and did the next two sets of five with bar only. That is one sweat-inducing exercise! It is also an attention-getting one, so the people who don't like being chatted with at the gym may want to avoid it. I don't mind as long as the person isn't obnoxious (Lady from last week, that was you). My traps are feeling the most worn at the moment but not too bad. Had my fat-free chocolate milk, strawberries and can of tuna post workout meal, and am considering brewing a pot of coffee. Yum!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

high heels + deadlifts= a stiff one

Back, that is. I attended this benefit yesterday, and when one has been working out and the legs and backside really show it, it's hard not to show off the improvements with some high sexy heels. I did, and it was fun sashaying around smiling coyly. Today my back is kind of stiff as a result- but it was worth it! Woman cannot live in gym clothes and sneakers alone even though that has been my wardrobe throughout most of the summer and probably still will be until the end of October unless we get an unusual cool snap. A wise person suggested I take some time to allow muscle recovery, so today is a day off from lifting. I am going to hit it hard this week as it's the week before a rest week and if I need to lighten up the bench presses and increase reps that is the plan.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Squat, bench, deadlift

Took two days off from lifting ready to hit it hard today. My squat form has improved a lot, really making it down low and only getting difficult towards the end with heavy weight on the bar, 85 lbs. I threw a couple of sets of forward squats with just the bar at the beginning and end the sets with the goal to prepare for power cleans. So, squatting was all good. Then, bench press. This is the second session in a row I haven't been able to press 75 lbs for a full set, when I was able to previously. I don't get it, all my other weights have increased and this is getting worse. I even had to find a spot to avoid getting stuck under the bar. He was amazingly cute, but my disappointment at backsliding on this lift made me unable to even enjoy that. Also, it is distracting to have a good-looking guy whose name is unknown with his hands so close to my breasts. Being unable to lift a weight I previously could really sucked. There's no crying in lifting!
So, I couldn't get off that bench fast enough and set up for deadlifts, where I lifted a personal best of 115 lbs, but form was compromised so I'm going lighter next dead session and really watching form, maybe doing 115 pulls instead.

After lifting and the usual fight with the extra sports bra, I headed upstairs to the Interval Treadmill class. Damn, that was hard, and towards the end my sweat went cold- not good. Instead of pushing it I took it easy for the last two songs and after showering hit Arby's for food. Normally, fast food is unappealing, but after two hours of working hard my body needed something to stabilize it, and I gradually felt better.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally got around to watching the VMAs

To put it in Tim Gunn's words, "I was underwhelmed." Lady Gaga looked and was generally great all around, she is someone I would love to spend time with as long as there was no annoying entourage, and Taylor Swift was talented and gorgeous. So much for the good parts. Chelsea Handler, whom I usually find amusing, was just boorish and lame. Her jokes made me uncomfortable in a not funny way, just coming off as rude. Lindsay Lohan looked awful in her little skit at the beginning, with that mullet/ bangs hair that is going around and some odd mushroom-shaped dress. The performances all seemed to take a back seat to the annoying stage lighting, and the Mickey Mouse head DJ- WTF? So that is what the kids call cool (or is it 'sick') nowadays. That was the dorkiest thing I ever saw, and an embarrassment to rock, techno, rap, ANY type of music. It's good that Lady Gaga and Eminem took the big awards, but baffling that a relatively interesting year for pop music should culminate in such a disappointing award show. MTV, you blew it this time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Holy moly I have quads!

Sitting down after breakfast reading a book about lifting, as one does, I stretched out my leg and to my surprise and delight saw a quad muscle. Years ago it was completely normal to see those thickish rounded curves going down the front and side of my legs, but time and lots of cardio had changed them into skinny blade-like muscles that were insignificant. Apparently lifting really creates changes and it only took two months (note some sarcasm there). I didn't realize how gratifying it would be to see lean tissue built up- it is a rush, no wonder people get excited and take pictures when a change for the better is noticed. Today is a designated rest day, the kitten is taking this very seriously, curled up on the sheepskin and snoring cutely. I'll be here, working, blogging and admiring my Wonder Woman legs :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Up all night= poofy tummy

So there is something to this whole 'taking care of yourself' thing. Yesterday was highly unusual, I wasn't hungry! Ok, there was a breakfast steak involved that probably had a lot to do with it, but for the rest of the day I just didn't feel like eating. That could wait until later. However, I was visiting my sister and sick niece and about 7:30 the little one took a turn for the worse. Her breathing was so heavy, fast and labored. It was the way one breathes after a particularly hard sprint interval- but did not get better. My sister and I agreed she needed to go to the hospital. Ahh the hospital. It is a good one and they saw us right away, but even with attentive care we were there until 12:30am. The important thing is we left with a little girl who was breathing clearly.

The unimportant thing was that I did not eat or drink anything after the big breakfast for the rest of the day, which ironically resulted in a huge bloated belly. Sometimes I think winning the body game is impossible- Hello! No food and my belly is BIGGER!?!? Anyway, after a couple of bottles of water and 4 oz of ham- half pita I felt more normal and after a while went to bed.

Now, today I am scheduled to train, squat, bench, dead. I hope this won't be a wasted workout. Edited to addGood workout, Squatted 80 lbs on my last set and held form. Deadlifted 100 lbs for a full set. After that my right shoulder blade was feeling a little wonky so I pulled back on bench press weight to 65 lbs, can't have everything and I read (or skimmed) Rippetoe's in-depth analysis on deadlifts. According to him, one's lats esp near the shoulderblades are used hardcore on the deadlift so it makes sense I would feel it there after working the deads harder then usual. Also, today they were real deads, not pulls.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering Sept. 11

I had recently returned to school after being laid off and was getting ready for World Religions class at SPJC. The news was on and going nuts showing the plane flying into one of the Twin Towers. Shaken and not sure what to think, I went to class. Everyone was talking about it, we were confused at first. In the time it took to get to school, the second plane had hit. Our professor came in and explained what had happened as well as he could according to the available information (the media was totally freaked out and confused too). After class I went home to the apartment I shared with my boyfriend and was glued to the TV and phone, trying to find out if my loved ones were okay. Two days before this my sister and I had taken a flight from New York that changed in Washington.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Warning: Women's stuff discussed

God this has been a long week. I am still waiting for my freaking period that should have started on Weds. At least the food cravings have settled down and my waist measurement is back to normal; should have tried on the 'fit' shorts but didn't think of it in time and when I get back from the gym I'll be swollen from training so that isn't a good time either. Got a bill from T-mobile showing that somehow last months was unpaid, so took care of that and now making a chart of monthly bills and posting them, the amounts and the due dates on each new month of the calendar. That planner/ calendar is the best thing ever.

Workout for today is squat, press, row. I'm aiming for all three sets of squats at 75lbs, to be increased next session if my form is spot on. Overhead presses will stay at the 45 Oly barbell unless it feels too easy, and I may go for 80 lbs on the rows. Then is the interval treadmill class, can't wait for that, I need something different from Spinning all the time.

Edited to add: Success with the squats at 75, stayed at 45 for overhead presses and 75 on the barbell rows.

That nutball preacher from Florida (of course!) was on the Today Show. Why does my state have to claim so many right-wing crazies? And people are supporting him too- who cares about the violence he incites, right. Religion seems to breed intolerance more then anything else. He did bring out the journalist in Meredith Veira I was happy (and surprised) to see; she went right into asking the tough questions and didn't stop until they ran out of time. I have new respect for her now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lots of makeup goodies

The gift with purchase Estee Lauder is running at Macys that I referenced in an earlier blog is happening now, and my Macy's Estee lady was kind enough to call and remind me. I use the Advanced Night Repair Serum, and swear it makes my neck look softer and smoother but it is pricy stuff. The smallish size bottle is just under $50. That price does, however, easily clear the $28 minimum one needs to spend in order to receive the gift with purchase and having been out of the serum for months now and too cheap to replenish; this was a good time to do so. Also, I almost forgot, this time the serum came with two good sized samples along with it and since lotion is the over 40 y/o's friend, why say no?

The warm color palette was softer and more neutral and thus was the one I picked, which made my gift include a neutral day lipstick, soft shimmery lipgloss, small eyeshadow palette, travel mirror which stands up and is a good size, larger then expected. Then, to my surprise my counter lady also threw in the gift which was intended for customers spending $55 or over, which included a mascara and primer, black pencil eyeliner, and- makeup remover! Yes, so I can again put off buying the stuff. Everything happens for a reason.

I happily packed a small after shower at the gym makeup bag with eyebrow powder, the neutral lipstick and gloss, pore spackle (see below) and lotion. Ahhh. Speaking of the gym, today was a no-lifting day, so I went to 6am Spin and really got into it. On the way there I had half of a chocolate chip cookie and drank a Gatorade during class to keep an even glucose level as I was basically working out fasted and I have low blood pressure. Well, it didn't work. After class in my truck preparing to depart the gym parking lot I became totally light-headed and faint, and sweat beaded off me. It was bizarre and shouldn't have happened. Of course I didn't have my phone, so I just sat there for a little while with the air conditioner blowing on me and decided to take a quieter route home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Okay Google adsense, what's the deal?

So, for some reason Google suspended my payments. I go to the page and it tells me to verify my phone number by clicking a link and submitting the code. Ok, the phone rings and the automated voice gives me a code which I type in- and says it again which I check the second time. Google denies the code. Huh?? Then tells me I've exceeded the amount of tries. This, my friends, is highly annoying when they should have sent me a check well before now.

Onto something else; training. Today I went to the 6am Spin class, and to be honest when I'm using Spin as a warm-up I really don't give it my all but doing both cardio and lifting in the same gym visit is so much more convienient then splitting it into two visits. Hopefully by next month it will be cool enough in the evenings to run outside, or speed-walk. Today was squat, bench, dead day. I squatted 75lbs- very low and good form, and was proud of myself but when it came to bench press I stalled out on 75 and couldn't even get one full set of 5 reps in. Disappointing! However- I pulled 100lbs on the deadlift substitute. 100 lbs whoo-hoo!

After showering and driving home tho I was starving, feeding frenzy bigtime! Charles made spaghetti the other day so I plowed into those leftovers and sauteed the remains of a bag of spinach in some canola oil and finished off w 3/4 of a cup of Breyers Rocky Road. Here's to all those carbs, fats and proteins making me stronger!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rest day, DOMs gone

Checking out Facebook it is striking how different my friends up North react to Labor Day compared to down here. They really party it up! Looks cold too, they are already in hoodies and jeans whereas down here it's like, okay a holiday, banks are closed. Maybe not that bad, the beach hotels are usually booked but not anything I get too excited about. Its going to stay summertime warm here for at least another month. Which leads me to Fashion Week! Hopefully there will be a couple of interesting trends for Spring/Summer next year. I can't recall a single trend I was excited about at the beginning of the season this year- those ugly maxi-dresses (which are really a two years ago thing). Hated those all the way back when Uli was being praised all over the place for hers on Project Runway. The boho look is nice but when one is busty, loose flowy tops tend to look more maternity then sexy.

Rest day, second one in a row. My upper back was really feeling those military presses yesterday but today all is well. Tomorrow aiming for 6am Spin to warm up and squats, bench, deads.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day lobsters; yum!

Enjoyed a totally decadent dinner of big steamed lobsters last night, slept in as late as I wanted to this morning (afternoon?) and have just returned from training. That is a good weekend so far. Today, squatted 75lbs, form did suffer at the end, military press with the real bar- yay! That is 45 lbs up over my head, and barbell rows did make one set at 75. Increases all around, so going to stay here for a week or so until I can handle all of them with perfect form at the weight. Cat insisting on sitting on my lap, so will add more later.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Insomnia has been stalking me lately- but I laugh in it's face and just rearrange my schedule- Ha Ha! Being up before the alarm has its advantages, making it to three 6am Spin classes is one (three?) of them. Since Spinning had become relatively easy for me, I decided to treat it as the warm-up before lifting. This time, I brought an extra T-shirt for modesty. The early cardio shook the cobwebs out of my sleep-deprived mind and got the blood flowing enough for a solid finish to my first week of lifting on the Starting Strength program.

Today was squats, bench, dead. Squats are solid at 65 lbs, all the reps on the program are 5 rep sets after a warm-up set or two. Bench was also 65, and deads/ pulls are 95- going for 100 or more next week. I can't wait to have all three at 135- that's the big girl plates. However, I will wait, or take my time at least as being smart with progression will avoid injuries caused by pushing too fast. The exercise high afterward is a great surprise when it comes too.

Fashion! Remember me scoffing at the six item only clothing diet? Well Jean Chatsky the money gal from the Today show did it for the past 60 days, and guess what? She did tons of laundry. I get wanting to slow one's consumption down, as a person who regularly goes thru her closet to purge, I see exactly what I wasted money on on a regular basis. That said, doing that much laundry wastes resources too, especially when one already has a closet stocked with more then six items. A buying freeze for a year or at least a season makes a lot more sense to me. Shopping is therapy though, so here are six items on my fantasy Amazon shopping trip. What are yours?