RCR W1D1: Demonstrating Restraint

It was strange waking up and not going to the gym to lift this morning after all these weeks of strength training six days out of seven.

It was also strange setting up my makeshift Red Carpet Ready gym in the home office (DH and one of his buddies were having a guys’ night in to watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Heroes in the living room): one stability ball, a light resistance tube tied into a loop in lieu of a Valband, a heavy fireproof file box to take the place of a 12″ step, two copies of that crazy Obsession DVD that everyone in the nation was mailed last week for use as my Valslides, and just the inner handles and four 2.5 lb adder weights of my trusty Powerblock dumbbells instead of the full 50 lb per hand set.

And you all thought I was joking yesterday when I said I’d be doing this program ghetto style.


So let’s talk about the first workout from the Red Carpet Ready Program. I did not modify the workout in any way today because I wanted an accurate Polar log of the calories burned as well as a true impression of the workout’s difficulty level. I performed Workout A-1 today plus the movement prep warmup. The entire set of 4 circuits took me 67 minutes to complete, but this included a few quick pauses to review the ebook on my computer screen for exercise form and order. After a session or two more to familiarize myself with the exercise sequences, I expect that the workout will be completed in 50-60 minutes.

The Good:
– I burned 503 calories during the 67 minute workout and definitely broke a sweat. Das ist sehr gut!
– The lunge kicks and Valslide planks with alternating knees pulled in were pretty challenging.
– The single leg reaching lunges were all right, too.
– I didn’t get bored.

The So-So:
– Single leg step ups to balance didn’t do much for me. I have been doing 30 lb total weight step ups to full bench height as recently as last week, though, so an unweighted, lower step version can’t compare.
– DB press on stability ball with 10 lb dumbbells….Er. Yes. Um. I’m sorry, but I may have to substitute push ups for these from now on. I got NOTHING from this exercise at all between the low weight and limited range of motion caused by the width of the stability ball. (Last week’s bench press numbers for me were 12 reps x 95 lbs and 8 reps at 110 lbs. My front-lean-and-rest weight with my hands on a scale and my body in plank position is 100 lbs–and I currently do nearly 70 push ups on my max test. I cannot downgrade to just 20 lbs.)
– Shoulder press with 5 lb dumbbells — same problem as the DB press above. I didn’t feel any real muscle engagement from this after 5 weeks of doing Arnold presses with 20-25 lbs. I will try a minor increase to 7.5 lbs next workout and see if that works better for me.

Overall, it was a decent workout though not in my usual heavy lifting style nor in the old boot camp style of my Army days. I don’t think I will experience any DOMS from it, but who knows? I’ve been surprised many times before.

I’m looking forward to my HIIT session tomorrow at the gym. I just hope I can resist the temptation to sneak over to the squat rack and bench press station.

1. 60 g dried cranberries, raisins, and oatmeal; 3 egg whites
2. 1/6 chicken pot pie, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 microwaved apple
3. 10 almonds, 20 g raisins, 1/2 apple
4. 1 boiled egg, 1 pear
5. 4 oz. lean sirloin steak, 1.5 c. Brussels sprouts
6. 1/2 c. light soy milk, 1/2 c. Diet V8 Splash Berry Blend, 3/4 scoop citrus limeade gemma protein

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, 6 fish oil capsules

* 100 Push Ups W3D3 (15 min; 30/22/22/20/40 reps)
* 3/4 mile walk (15 min)
* RCR A-1 (67 min including breaks to check the exercise descriptions to make sure I was doing everything right; 503 calories burned)

On the over-muscled leg phenomenon among women

It’s one of the most common questions on any female fitness or fat loss forum:

“I bulk really easily in my legs. What kind of exercises should I do to reduce the size of my thighs? HELP!”

I’m going to be the devil’s advocate here and observe that in most cases, when a woman is complaining about thigh circumference, it isn’t because her legs are 99% muscle with just a paper thin layer of skin over them. Most of us who profess to have muscular legs also have an obvious medium to thick layer of squishy padding over them. I know I do unless I am very clean with my food and consistent with my cardio–I swear that there is a symbiotic relationship between strong legs and a convenient supply of nearby fat cells to provide nourishment.

When we are lean and our legs are defined, we don’t mind the muscle so much because random strangers will come up and tell us they look amazing, but when we have been naughty with our eats and sloppy with our workouts, we cry, “Wah! Bulky! Woe is me! Where did these heinous Quadzillas come from?! O Magic Thigh Fairy, save me from my monstrous legs!”

Unless you *are* at the stage where your thighs literally don’t jiggle when you land from a jump knee tuck, I think that diet needs to be of higher priority than the nitpicky details of what kind of cardio to perform or which leg exercises to avoid.

But consistently performed cardio certainly can’t hurt either.