Friday, February 19, 2016

Facebook Page!

Fired up a new page on Facebook for personal training. Business is looking up all around, please come and lend your support for Chin-Up Fitness!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A New Venture into the Unknown

Late last month, I decided that I wanted to branch out and expand on personal training as a business... my own personal business! I'd been in touch with Mike Salazar of Evolution Strength and Conditioning for some time now, but it wasn't until recently that I gave my current situation some serious thought. The saying that, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different" applied to many different areas of my life, and I needed things to change.

Weighted Dips - Photo courtesy of Mike Salazar
Sure, I'd made some very minute changes with smaller or more general goals in mind... Eat better, be more productive, spend less. Make a spreadsheet here, track progress there. I'm all for the small steps - that's how I got started with fitness. But like then, I needed to learn how to be more consistent to progress; not just in the gym but also in life. I apply my philosophies from training to better understand life, and how I can work with the tools I have.

Personal training continues to be a learning experience no matter where I work, and I'm excited to announce that I am now training at Evolution Strength and Conditioning! 

Interested in training towards a better you? 
Start NOW and I can assist in guiding you.

Contact me -

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Brief Update.

Hey everyone! Just letting you know this site is still up... I've been progressing with my lifting workouts, but it's been overwhelming to update! Hoping to get back to this and write a bit so that people can get a look at what's going on inside these walls.

Currently trying to track with Fitocracy, a fitness website that allows people to track their activity online and others can view and comment on progress... but I really love the community interaction the feeds create. It's kind of like a Facebook with people that work out!

Anyway, time to get going. Have to fuel the engine!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Mentally, on the rise

Since I have a few minutes to digest my last meal, I can note some good things on the lifting front this past week. Consistency in my workouts lends to keeping my mood even as well as seeing some progress in my lifts, most notably my squat and deadlift. I also began experimenting with some orange bands in my bench press to see the impact on the lift... makes my lockout a bit more difficult. Also (somewhat) new to the party are Pendlay rows at a lower weight to help me concentrate on different muscle contractions in my back, and Anderson Good Mornings - a barbell loaded on the bails in the power rack meant to be good morning'd (?) up from a dead stop.

Saturday workout (April 2) - Mishmash. Jump rope, chest, shoulders.
Shoulder press (Arnold style) with DB have been agitating my tight right shoulder and right lat. 
Superset with Anterior raise on left side only. Left side muscles seem rather lagged compared to right.
10x10, 5x10
Hanging leg raises
10x10x3, 15x1
Hang clean... just to do hang clean.
45x5, 85x5, 95x5
Flat Bench BB, not including warmup sets... bands used.
125x2, 125x1

Sunday workout (April 3)   - Jump rope, shoulder press DB, Pendlay row
Only thing to really note in this workout was starting Pendlay rows. Close to horizontal back in form.

Tuesday workout - Jump rope, Legs
Remember that twang in my knee from the other week? It's not always there, but I'm trying to keep it from creeping into my mind. That said, I didn't feel lethargic or anything... Squat time.

Squat (back).
45x5, 95x5, 135x5, 175x3, 185x5 spot on elbows, 195x2
Pull Throughs (cables)
130x15, 150x12x3
Squat (Zercher) - Not too thrilled with the bar I was using. Was it a squat bar? Possibly.
45x5, 95x8, 115x8.
Romanian DL
115x8, 135x6, 145x5, 95x8?
Hamstring Curl, single leg slow negatives
20x6 superset 15x6, times 2
Jackknife V-Up crunch on bench
Jackknife V-Up on ball

Wednesday workout - Back
So while I got excited because my squat seemed to stay on track, I was in for a surprise on Wednesday.

Hang clean - felt crappy on the wrists today. 5 sets up to
Deadlift (sumo)
135x8, 185x5, 235x5 mixed grip, 255x5 mixed grip & belt, 185x5 double OH grip, 205x2 double OH grip
I couldn't believe how AWESOME I felt when deciding the next weight to pull. Very proud of the poundage jumps, they were comfortable to pull and I felt like I could've done 275#(!), my PR... I loaded it on the bar but I didn't set up properly because I thought, "if I use straps, this will be no problem, I got this!" ...but I fudged up and the moment passed me by. Should have just gone strapless! Haha... Decided not to get too greedy and dropped the weight to pull a couple more times with a double overhand grip. Still comfortable. Unfortunately I didn't care what happened to the rest of my workout after this.
8 reps x 4 sets after a crappy weighted set 25#x4
Anderson Good Morning - Testing weights, 4 sets up to
Pendlay Row, Pronated/Supinated - 3 sets leading up to
Hanging Leg Raises - Back was feeling really good!
Hammer and concentrated curls to finish.

I think I've used enough time to digest and get this out. Next time I hope I remember to discuss some thoughts on the documentaries I watched on Netflix last weekend. I love Netflix! :)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Week recap and slowly making my way back up...

Settling down to blog, finally. I'm ready with a cup of green tea and... leftover rice krispy treats? Odd combo? Me and the boyfriend (Chester) made some homemade bananas foster fondue since we were craving dessert, complete with strawberries, bananas, marshmallows and homemade rice krispy treats. Well, one thing's for sure... I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I eat all perfect and count everything. In a perfect world, yes. If I was a bit more disciplined, yes. That's not to say that I eat what I want when I want - I do try to make better choices, especially when I'm out. Chicken breast, hold the mayo, sauce on the side, reduce some of the bread. It can be difficult to go out to eat with friends at a restaurant when I know I'm in the minority when it comes to getting my food like that. When Chester is along, I'm thankful that we can just split some of our food if we crave something really bad. I've learned how to eat "just a taste" of something that way. However, if it's something rare or very "once in awhile," you better believe I'm going all out. :) It's nice to enjoy full fat things once in awhile!


Phew, this week flew by. I'll admit to having a pretty rough week to start, training-wise. I took to benching with dumbbells on Monday and it sucked, bad. I managed to work up to 70x3 for one set, but I felt no confidence in it... I dropped back down to a set of 65s, but that workout was rather short, even including my jump rope. I saw my chiropractor that day but I was more focused on getting ART on other parts of my body (back, arm, hands). My deltoid didn't bother me as much earlier! Note to get that and my left tricep looked at next week.

Tuesday Night Workout: Legs
Tuesday showed much more promise though, even though my knee started spazzing out before and after jumping rope; straighten the knee, the ligaments and the muscles would seize up, like a cramp or worse. You'd think I would've forgone Leg day, yes? I have before, but I felt good about it that day... I slipped on the knee sleeves and felt a bit better... uh, hope I don't forget to ask Dr. Cris about the knee as well. :)

-Squats maxed out at 200x1, was really feeling the groove. The downside was that the power rack is right next to the heavy bag... and it was Tuesday, so everyone and their mother was at the gym, using the heavy bag, deadlifting behind me, walking near the barbell... just felt so stuffy, it was hard to concentrate.
-A little short on the pounds for OHSQ (85x6) due to reoccurring knee shakiness, so I let it go.

-Pull throughs 150x12, and that's the cable stack... should I do them slower, or for more reps?
-Hanging leg raises 15,10,10
-Zercher Squats due to my own curiosity of its "practical" application. I mean, I could carry people on my back, but they're likely to slip off, right? What if I could carry them in my arms, for real? Either way, it was this or front squats to try... made it up to 115x8, not bad.

Thursday Night Workout: - Focus on back.
-Started off deadlifting conventional, 135x8, 175x5.
Got a surge of energy and resumed DL sumo, 175x5, 205x5 switched from overhand to mixed grip halfway through, then mixed 225x3.
I thought to myself - I'm pissed off that I've been squatting more than I've been DLing! That isn't right! Even though my back pain seemed to affect my DL more, it really leaves me unsettled! I did 205x5. 225 is more than I'd been able to lift in the last two months due to recuperating, so I'm just hoping I can maintain this level of strength and not slip so much.
-Weighted pull-ups (neutral) 25x6, 25x5, 25x6
-Back extension, 25x15x3
-Good Mornings, 60x8x3
-OHSQ 65x8, 90x8. I tend to do a bunch of these because I can feel the focus on my mid-back (rhomboids, lower trap fibers) get sore... and it's pretty weak and undeveloped there. Pseudo-rehab, for now I guess. The thing is that if I lack concentration and strength, these are too dangerous to do! Hence, why there are only two sets here.
-Some concentrated curls... misc.

On the way back home from the gym today, I was contemplating about future goals for my lifts. What is realistic, around how much should I be able to gain up to while at this weight? How do I not get discouraged when the weights feel like they're going up and down due to being periodically injured or imbalanced (shoulder, back, knee)? I harp on my form since I know that more injuries will depress me and set me back, but who doesn't like to SEE the progress in numbers on their lifts? For example, my squat and deadlift numbers were on the higher end this week. Will they be like that next week? Depends... but if they aren't even close, it's difficult to not get discouraged. I try not to get down, but how do you overcome those mental humps, especially if you've handled more weight before?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hit the gym after work? Not really feeling it today...

I forgot my musing thought for today. :( I think it had to do with women and working out, but what exactly? Next time...

Thursday night workout: Primarily back/(biceps)
Ah. I forgot to mention most of my past workouts since October have incorporated jump rope. Helps warm me up and help in maintaining a lower body weight. More on this another time.

Knocked out 12 overhand pull-ups to start and deemed that too easy, so today I did weighted overhand grip pull-ups to kick off things... grabbed my dip belt and a 25# plate. Much more difficult, as I had been more accustomed to neutral grip weighted pull-ups. Training all grips sounds important, though I'm trying to be better about working more of them in my routine.

-Weighted pull-ups - 3 sets, 5 reps/25#
-Back extensions! 3 sets 15/25#
-Hang clean - 4 sets, up to 115x3
-Deadlift (conventional) with mini bands -because I didn't feel like busting out the big weight today, 3 sets... 165x3 for two sets
-Good mornings?! This is a new one for me, but I got some really good hamstring activation with these. Still learning, so lighter weight. 4 sets, up to 50x8
-Incline curl - 3 sets, up to 25x5
-Face pulls - also a new one, but I would like more lower trapezius fibers, rhomboids and rear deltoid... I'll devote more time to these next time so it's not at the end of the workout. 2 sets, 30x10 35x10 testing.

Tried various concentrated curls and bar curls in an attempt to feel a stronger contraction in my inner bicep head. Failed miserably, but we'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

People watching at the gym; greatest leg day in awhile... some technicalities.

I'd like to say that I focus solely on my workout and nothing else... but really, not true at all. There are days at the gym where I find myself wandering around and questioning things I see. For example, there were three young guys at the T-Bar row, taking turns. I swear, ever since I started having back pain, I keep thinking back to the glorious time when I didn't have it... and then I see the craptastic form of these people crazily rounding their low backs just trying to get a couple plates up. Maybe they don't know any better, maybe they don't care, it could be a lot of things. I really just had to look away before something happened... I think about that while I'm working at the gym as well.

The other wonderful pair of people I stalked between sets would be the buff guy with lifting straps and his lady... with lifting straps (at the Smith Machine, no less.) Really? I want to walk up to the girl and say, "Don't use those... You want to get stronger? Ditch them 'till you need them and just grip your weight in your hands. If you can't hold it, it's obviously too heavy for you." Way for that guy to instill bad habits early on. I DO have straps, but I can honestly say that they are seldom used. Maybe just for very maximal sets on deadlifts or for training myself to get used to holding 100lb. dumbbells, but that's about it. They have their place, as I now believe with most additional equipment, but I feel like it's important to have established grip strength in the first place.

Yesterday's (as in Wednesday's) workout: Legs
Squats... learning from my videos from last week, I tried to make my whole movement fluid instead of with an obvious "sticking point." Tried to place the bar slightly lower than I'm used to on my back - it's just below what I feel is my natural groove. However on one of the videos, the bar really looks too high! =/ Definitely trial and error here, but I need to not mess around with my maximal weights if I'm just adjusting form. The big Korean guy I saw squatting 455 all the way down last week was impressed at my squat, yay, haha! He offered a tip of his to widen my grip on the barbell. "More power," he says with a heavy accent. I tried that (ring finger at the edge of the knurling), but despite feeling somewhat more stable overall, it's very different from what I'm used to... combined with the fact that I'm also not used to keeping the bar as low as I did, I think I need to give it another go. Next time - try combo of normal resting place on the bar, "wide" grip.

-Squat (back squat) - 6 sets, up to 185x5 last two sets. Knee sleeves used.
-OHSQ Squat (barbell overhead) - 3 sets, up to 100x5. These are awesome for my middle back, woo hoo!
-Pull through with cable - 4 sets, up to 150x10. I think I need to add weight to the stack? Hmmm...
-Romanian DL (Deadlift) - 5 sets, up to 145x5 and 145x4.
-Hanging Leg Raises - 4 sets x10 reps
-Random pullups 3 sets x5 reps
-Jackknife V-Ups on the bench 1 set x30 reps

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally got the blog up and running!

Hello there, and welcome to my blog!

I intend to use this as a personal outlet to track things about myself, my training and adventures in the fitness world... plus anything else I can think of. I've been meaning to use an online journal (again) for the longest time, but only recently have I decided to put my thoughts out on the web. It doesn't matter if anyone else reads this, but I was inspired to put down some thoughts since I read numerous sites and forums, and so that I don't keep running the same, tired topics with my boyfriend. Online forums are fun to browse through, but it's not a sufficient outlet for me when I want to rant on my own. I'm not used to writing like this, but I thought it would be fun for myself.

Last night, I decided to look for a possible powerlifting meet to compete in the future, and I found one - the Quad City Power-Palooza meet in Moline, IL on August 27, 2011. Five months prep to heal up and try to break some personal bests? Do-able. Am I going to compete? Not completely sure yet, but I'd been slacking lately. Sometimes I have a bad day keeping my energy levels up, or I had a late night and hardly any sleep... Sure, that's attributed to some poor sleep planning, but other days I'm just missing that inspiration. Watching random videos and talking about working out might get me wanting to hit the gym and do my body good.

Today though, I had to draw on some other kind of focus. Life isn't terrible for me, but certain things can bring me down pretty quick. I've wanted to become physically strong- really strong- for as long as I could remember. Why? I grew up playing with my brothers, and can be described as "tomboyish," though more of my feminine qualities shine from time to time. It probably stems from my competitive nature, but I believe that the strong survive; strong of body, mind, and heart. At the very least, I want to be physically strong enough to help others, especially those I keep close. I feel passionate about my lifting because it really, really feels like something  I am good at, and that feeling is currently lacking in other parts of my life.

I look to draw my inspiration from wanting to perform well at that meet, as well as increase my overall strength. I hope that even if I don't go through with competing in August, I can maintain a productive routine for myself.


4:55AM. On a different day, I would be on my way south to workout with Abigail, but here I am, starting my new blog... I have to write something about my workout last night at least! I track my stats with GymBuddy on my iPod while I'm at the gym, but I don't put down much feedback besides my sets/reps, exercises, and minor comments in the app. At least I've disciplined myself to tracking my work and backing up the database! It's pretty cool to see my logs from months ago compared to now... plus, you have to figure out if you're progressing or not, right?

A personal goal for myself - Get better at organizing workouts! I have a bad habit of thinking about a general group of muscles for the day (typical chest/triceps/shoulders, back/biceps, legs breakdown) and using it as an outline... a very, very rough outline. BAD! In the words of Alton Brown, "Organization will set you free!!" At least the exercises are grouped into the general muscle groups...

It's a bit late so I'm going to make this brief.

Workout for tonight included:
-Barbell bench pressing in the power cage (inspired by wanting to train for the meet), wrist wraps for last sets up to 130#(pounds)
-Overhead barbell squat (OHSQ) up to 95x5x2 (weight/reps/sets) ...or 5x2/95 (sets/reps/weight)-"T" Pushups
-Flat dumbbell benching x3 sets, up to 65# with wraps (felt like I could use the stability today)
-Dips with 50# weight, last set supersetted unweighted
-Shoulder press DB one arm Arnold-style
-Anterior DB raise, left arm only. Seems like after the dips, I noticed that my left arm wasn't getting nearly as pumped in the front, and the tricep doesn't seem to activate quite as well as the right...
-Hanging leg raises, legs slightly bent
-Twist with DB on stability ball, two sets only, mentally burned out.