M&F W5D5: Leg Workout (Month 2)

I got on the scale out of habit this morning and was pleased to see 146.0 on the display. It looks like the consistency in food and exercise is starting to pay off. I was hanging at 148-149 for a while.

I am still debating the RCR contest. The M&F program seems to agree with my upper body. I am looking a lot less squishy in the arms and midsection after 4 weeks, and I have even built or at least restored some muscle. I still have at least 5 more pounds of subcutaneous padding to burn off before I really start to see definition, but I think that will happen within 4-6 weeks if I stick to my current workout program and keep the diet clean.

So…I don’t know. My main goal at the moment IS fat loss, so the temptation is definitely there to give a circuit-based program a shot. It’s just that I LOVE hardcore lifting so much, LOL.

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
LEGS Squat 5* 10-12 115 lbs x 12 +
Reverse Lunge 3 10-12 25 lbs x 12
Seated Hamstring Curl 3 10-12 105 lbs x 12
Step Up 3 10-12 15 lbs x 12 +

(*) Includes 2 warm up sets at 50% and 75% of final work set weight
(+) Denotes that I need to increase weight in the next workout

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 60 g dried cranberries, raisins, and oatmeal; 3 egg whites
2. 3 oz. cracked pepper turkey breast, 1 slice pepper jack cheese, 1/2 WW pita, 1 c. mixed broccoli and green beans
3. Fiber One bar
4. 1 whole/2 whites boiled eggs, 1 plum
5. 1/4 c. 2% cottage cheese, 1/2 T. cocoa, 1 packet Splenda, 1/2 T. chocolate chips, 1 boiled egg
6. TBD – Most likely 4 oz. salmon or flounder, 1 c. Brussels sprouts, and 1/2 oz. walnuts

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* M&F Legs (45 min)
* 3/4 mile walk (15 min)
* Yoga Conditioning for Athletes (30 min)

Red Carpet Ready Club 6-Week Contest (Free to enter!)

Now for some news…I’m loving my M&F 12-week program, but I’m toying with the idea of doing Valerie Waters’s Red Carpet Ready for the next 6 weeks as part of the contest going on at the RCR Club membership site. I signed up for the 2 week free trial last Tuesday, and I had planned on checking things out then cancelling before the trial was up, but they are running a 6 week challenge starting this Monday and have offered to extend the free trial for the duration of the contest if you decide to participate.

If you are interested, you can still get in on this. You will have access to the RCR Club forums and membership site which includes a downloadable copy of the RCR 1.0 ebook ($77 value) and the video 2.0 edition of the program when it is ready.

The major downside to the program is that it uses light weights.

Like, REALLY light weights–we are talking 5, 8, and 10 lbs here, or–gasp!–none at all.

This could be a bit psychologically challenging for those of us who have been conditioned to train as heavy as we can stand for the past few years. How am I supposed to intimidate the guys at the gym if I’m only squatting with 10 lb dumbbells?

Valerie trains female celebs like Jennifer Garner, Kate Beckinsale, Elizabeth Berkley, Poppy Montgomery, Cindy Crawford, and Jennifer Biel, so her program is geared toward that type of physique versus the more buffed out look of figure and fitness. The sticking point for me, however, is that those clients weren’t exactly in bad shape when they started working with her in the first place–she has successfully turned out a lot of “toned but not bulky” Hollywood physiques, but they were all sort of waifish ectomorphs to start with, you know? NONE of those women were particularly fluffy OR carrying much muscle, so I’m not sure what the effect of her program would be on those of us who are more mesomorphic or endomorphic than her famous clientele.

Needless to say, I am approaching this with a healthy dose of skepticism. I am willing to give almost any training model a try for a mere 6 weeks, but I’m not interested in losing any of the lean mass I already have–just dropping some subcutaneous fat. I’m all right with not putting on more muscle at the moment as long as I can increase definition and decrease my overall jiggle factor.

The RCR strength program is circuit-based with reps in the 10-20 range, with most of the exercises falling into the 10, 12, and 15 rep categories. The workouts are around 60 minutes long according to the book, and are performed three days a week. My initial impression of it is that it would act more as a calisthenics/cardio blend for me than a true strength workout, but hey, that is not necessarily a bad thing when your primary goal is to lean out.

The cardio is interval style, three times a week for 30 minutes.

I’ll leave it up to you gals as to whether this holds any interest, but just be aware that you need to sign up before Monday to get the full 6 weeks for free. The prizes have not yet been announced.

If you do want to give this a try, you can sign up for the Gold level membership at http://www.redcarpetready.com/club/

Once you enter the 6 week challenge on the forums by posting an entry thread and submitting “Before” photos, Ryan, the friendly neighborhood admin, will extend your trial for the full duration of the contest. Participants are expected to post regularly in the 6-Week Challenge forum to keep everyone abreast of their progress. If you do decide that the membership is not for you before the 6-week trial/contest is over, just drop Ryan an email at rcrfeedback@gmail.com to cancel.

M&F W5D4: Back/Biceps/Ab Workout (Month 2)

Here’s the Month 2 Back/Biceps/Ab workout from the Muscle & Fitness Hers March 2005 12-Week makeover plan and the initial weights I’ve chosen to use:

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
BACK Wide-Grip Pulldown 5* 10-12 85 lbs x 8
One-Arm DB Row 3 10-12 30 lbs x 10
Seated Cable Row 3 10-12 85 lbs x 10
BICEPS EZ Bar Curl 5* 10-12 30 lbs x 12 +
DB Hammer Curl 3 10-12 12.5 lbs x 8 +
ABS Plank 3 45 sec. 45 sec. x 3
Reverse Crunch 3 15 BW x 15

(*) Includes 2 warm up sets at 50% and 75% of final work set weight
(+) Denotes that I need to increase weight in the next workout

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TODAY’S EATS
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M1: Everything bagel, turkey sausage patty, scrambled egg
M2: 1/3 Atlanta Bread Co. apple cranberry muffin
M3: 4 oz. sesame-crusted salmon, 1 c. broccoli, 1/2 apple, 1/4 c. dried cranberries
M4: 2 oz. cracked pepper turkey breast, 1/3 c. dried cranberries
M5: Fiber One bar

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* M&F Back/Biceps/Abs (Month 2)
* HIIT Bike Sprints (20 mins; 6 sets of 60 seconds @ Lvl 11 + 90 seconds @ Lvl 8)

M&F W5D3: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps Workout (Month 2)

Chris and I are headed out to Tampa this afternoon to attend a Tampa Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game at Tropicana Field as part of a huge eHarmony couples contingent. There will be 125 couples there tonight who were matched through eHarmony like we were.

😀

I did get in my first workout of Month 2 on the Muscle & Fitness Hers 12-Week Makeover program. Check it out below.

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
CHEST Bench Press  5* 10-12 95 lbs x 12
Incline DB Bench Press 3 10-12 25 lbs x 12
Incline DB Flye 3 10-12 20 lbs x 12
SHOULDERS Arnold Press 5* 10-12 20 lbs x 12
DB Lat Raise 3 10-12 12.5 lbs x 12
Bent-Over Lat Raise 3 10-12 10 lbs x 11
TRICEPS Lying French Press 5* 10-12 15 lbs x 12 +
Seated Overhead Extension 3 10-12 25 lbs x 12 +

M&F W5D2: Going Against Type

Are you going against type when it comes to your physique goals?

We all have certain physical traits determined by genetics–our coloring, frame, height, the length of our limbs, how excess fat is distributed over our bodies, and how easy it is to build muscle or fill up fat cells are all influenced by the genes we received from our parents.

This is not saying that you are stuck with the body that you got from Mom and Dad or that you can’t improve it and make it the very best version it can be, but the fact remains that some things will be a lot easier to change or improve than others, and a few cannot be changed at all without surgery.

If you are 5’2″, for instance, it is highly unlikely that you will ever make it as a runway fashion model no matter how thin or pretty you are. And if you are 6’7″ with a large frame, I doubt that the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team will be knocking on your door anytime soon. Some lucky duckies like Michael Phelps can reportedly eat over 10,000 calories a day and still maintain six pack abs. Other, less active men just look at a doughnut, and it will go right to their waistline.

Them’s the breaks, as Wolverine would say.

I’m of medium height at 5’6″ (this is relatively tall for an Asian female), but I have a somewhat non-standard mesomorph-endomorph body type and medium frame that only about 1/4 of my family members possess. The rest are small-framed with ectomorphic tendencies, meaning that they can stay slim without lifting a finger for most of their lives. I, on the other hand, need to bust my butt consistently at the gym and eat at least 80% clean for the rest of my life unless I want to turn into a squishy dumpling.

I know. It’s not fair! 😉

I also got stuck with the long torso and short, muscular legs of my mother’s family, which is great in terms of health benefits (I don’t put on dangerous abdominal fat very easily) and never being too many weeks away from visible abs no matter how much I’ve slacked off, but not so great for long-distance running, deadlifting, and fitting into American-style jeans which tend to have huge waists and super skinny legs to fit the more common apple or stick body types here in the United States. The muscles in my upper body don’t respond as quickly to training as my legs do, which makes it tough for me to achieve a balanced look. It has literally taken me years to get my back, arms, and shoulders to grow just a tiny bit, and I’m still not sure how much of it is actual lean mass and how much is subcutaneous padding from too many cheat meals this past year!

It has truly been an ongoing project to selectively build up my upper body while keeping leg muscles and body fat in check, but the other options are unacceptable to me:

  1. Stop seeking to be the best that I can be and just deal with having a scrawny upper body and Quadzilla legs (totally anathema to my artistic sense of symmetry)
  2. Attempt to achieve the typical waifish China doll look (nearly impossible based on my frame, love of food, and natural musculature)
  3. Give up entirely and become a Typical American (overweight, sluggish, inactive….)

As you might have guessed, Option 3 is the most unacceptable, which is why I keep chugging along with this exercise and healthy eating stuff even though I will probably never have amazing biceps or lovely capped shoulders thanks to the genetic quirk that has imbued me with very decent strength levels…for very minimal upper body bulk.

What is your goal physique? Are your genetics close to it at all, and do you feel that you have a realistic shot at achieving and maintaining it one day based on your frame? What has been your experience working against your natural type?

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. Fiber One bar; 3 egg whites
2. 1/2 scoop soy protein powder, 1/4 c. light soy milk, 1/4 banana, 1/2 bag Mix & Nuts unsalted trail mix
3. 4 oz. sesame-crusted salmon filet, 1 c. garlic sauteed broccoli, 1/2 baked apple
4. 32g walnuts, raisins, and cranberries
5. TBD (Possible cheat meal at Outback Steakhouse)
6. 2 slices honey roasted turkey breast, 2 egg whites, 4 c. mixed spinach and lettuce salad, 1/2 sliced apple, 2 T. Light Asian sesame ginger dressing, 1/2 bag Mix & Nuts unsalted trail mix

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* HIIT Run (20 min)
* 1-mile walk (17 min)
* Recumbent Bike (30 min)

M&F W5D1: Month 1 Wrap-Up

I had a great workout this morning! I bumped up my weights in squats, reverse lunges, and seated leg curls. I could be wrong, but this might have been the first time I’ve gotten my seated hamstring curls up above 105 lbs to 112.5 lbs. This was also the last workout in month 1 of the March 2005 Muscle & Fitness Hers 12-week program. On Wednesday I start lifting in the 10-12 rep range instead of 8-10 as I move into month 2.

From the workout:

Month 2

Select a slightly lighter weight, one with which you reach muscle failure between 10 and 12 reps. You’ll also make exercise substitutions, swapping out movements to add variety and new stimulus to your workout.

My measurements haven’t changed that much so far. I did drop almost two inches off my waist (down to 26.75 from 28.5), but my abs are always the first thing to come in because I’m so long-waisted. In an odd and totally unprecedented turn of events, my chest is actually larger now (34.75 up to 36.0) than when I started! I don’t know how this could be unless my back got wider from the combination of M&F workouts and the 100 Push Ups program (possible) or I recorded my starting measurement incorrectly (more likely).

Haha…oh well. I will take measurements again tomorrow to confirm. I’m slightly bloated from yesterday’s eats, too, so some of these numbers could be skewed. I want a full day of clean foods with minimal dairy and no wheat plus at least a gallon of water in me before I finalize this set of numbers.

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
LEGS Squat 5* 8-10 155 lbs x 8
Bulgarian Split Squat 3 8-10 25 lbs x 10
Reverse Lunge 3 8-10 30 lbs x 10 +
Seated Hamstring Curl 3 8-10 112.5 lbs x 10

(+) Indicates that I need increase the weight used at my next workout
(*) Includes two warm-up sets at 50% and 75% of work set weight

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TODAY’S EATS
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0. (Pre-workout) 1/2 banana
1. 60g raisins, cranberries, and oats; 3 egg whites
2. 1 Fiber One bar
3. 3 egg whites, 1 whole boiled egg, 4 c. mixed spinach and lettuce salad, 1 T. walnuts, 1 T. dried cranberries, 2 T. Light Asian sesame ginger dressing, 1 plum
4. 1/2 T. cocoa, 1/2 c. 2% cottage cheese, 1 packet Splenda, 1 T. chocolate chips
5. 2 slices honey roasted turkey breast, 1 c. green beans, 1/2 Moon cake
6. 4 oz. salmon, 1 c. broccoli

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* M&F Legs (45 min)
* 100 PU W3D1 Workout (10 min)
* 1-mile walk (17 min)
* PDB Stairs mini-challenge (10 min)

M&F W4D4: Leg Workout (Month 1)

Well, well…It’s leg day again! Here is my Month 1 leg routine from the Muscle and Fitness Hers workout. I’m deliberately going a little light on weights because I don’t want my lower back to flare up again and, quite frankly, I already have quads and calves that most of the chicken-legged bench press boys at the gym could only DREAM of achieving. I don’t even have to work that hard to maintain it.

Muahahahahaha!

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
LEGS Squat 5* 8-10 145 lbs x 10 +
Bulgarian Split Squat 3 8-10 25 lbs x 10
Reverse Lunge 3 8-10 25 lbs x 10 +
Seated Hamstring Curl 3 8-10 105 lbs x 10 +

(+) Indicates that I need increase the weight used at my next workout
(*) Includes two warm-up sets at 50% and 75% of work set weight

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TODAY’S EATS
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0. (Pre-workout) 1 banana
1. 60g raisins, cranberries, and oats, 3 egg whites, 1/2 c. Mexibell pepper
2. 1 Fiber One bar
3. 4 oz. sauteed ginger flounder, 1 c. Brussels sprouts and green beans, 1 plum
4. 1/2 WW pita, 1/2 slice pepper jack cheese, 1 large slice honey roasted turkey breast
5. 2 oz. sirloin steak, 1 c. green beans, 1 apple
6. 1/2 T. cocoa, 1/2 c. 2% cottage cheese, 1 packet Splenda, 1 T. chocolate chips

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

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* M&F Legs (40 min)
* 100 PU W2D2 Workout (10 min)
* 1-mile walk (17 min)
* Rodney Yee’s Yoga Conditioning for Athletes DVD (30 min)

M&F W4D3: Back/Bicep/Ab Workout (Month 1)

As promised (albeit a few days late), here is the Back/Bicep/Ab workout I am currently doing every four days. The weights shown are what I used as of today.

PART EXERCISE SETS REPS WEIGHT
BACK Wide-Grip Pulldown 5* 8-10 100 lbs x 8
One-Arm DB Row 3 8-10 30 lbs x 10
BICEPS EZ Bar Curl 5* 8-10 40 lbs x 9
Assisted Chin Up 3 8-10 -40 lbs x 8
ABS Plank 3 45 sec. 45 sec. x 3
Straight-Leg Crunch 3 15 BW x 15
Reverse Crunch 3 15 BW x 15

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TODAY’S EATS
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1. 60g raisins, cranberries, and oats, 3 egg whites, 1/2 c. French cut green beans
2. 3 oz. chicken thigh, 1 c. green beans, 1 apple
3. 1/2 T. cocoa, 1/2 c. 2% cottage cheese, 1 packet Splenda, 1 T. chocolate chips
4. 1/2 WW pita, 1/2 slice pepper jack cheese, 1 large slice honey roasted turkey breast
5. 1 Fiber One bar
6. BFL Golden Pancakes (PWO), 1 c. broccoli

Water: 16 cups
Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D

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TODAY’S WORKOUT
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* M&F Back/Bicep/Abs (45 min)
* HIIT Run (25 min)
* 1-mile walk (17 min)