Category Archives: strength training

Things I’m loving and Salvage Dawgs

I think my blog fixed itself. I did nothing to it over the weekend and the pictures showed up in my RSS feed on Sunday’s post. Something tells me my host made changes. Whatever it was, let’s hope it stays that way.

Anyway, today was a rainy and cold day, barely poking into the 40s. That meant indoor exercise for the most part (except we are walking downtown tonight for coffee for some strange reason). Treadmill walking and a strength training workout with a combination of the Bowflex and free weights. For the life of me, I cannot get myself to not type Blowflex. Every time and then I have to correct it.


This was the workout:

  • Squats 3 sets of 10
  • Chest press 3 sets of 10
  • 1-arm dumbbell row 3 sets of 10
  • Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 sets of 10
  • Lower back extension 3 sets of 10
  • Crunches 3 sets of 15
  • Dumbbell pull over 3 sets of 10
  • Shoulder press 3 sets of 10
  • Triceps extension 3 sets of 10

I miss the heavier weights, but unless I get a gym membership again, I have to make do with the home gym.

A cool thing happened on FB to me. I follow Salvage Dawgs — anyone watch their show? Good stuff and I would love to go to Black Dog Salvage some day, even though I could never afford the prices they put on their stuff LOL. I’m in the wrong market up here. They posted asking to see repurposing projects and so I showed our bathroom sink:


They responded! How cool!  Normally I don’t bother too much commenting or tagging ‘celebrities’ because it always seems creeperish to me since they don’t know me, but this was fun.

Here are some things I have been loving lately:


I know I have posted about these before, but I forgot they are pretty tasty. The nutritional stats are actually decent for a cereal.


I like to mix them with some plain Fage and strawberries:


I have been all about the cashew butter with fruit lately. In the evening,  I either have it with a cut up apple or I saute a banana with some cooking spray and cinnamon and top it with the cashew butter.


I think cashew butter is the most perfect nut butter. It has a milder flavor and the butter is super smooth (unlike almond butter). It just goes with everything — especially my tummy!

Another gratuitous Pixie shot. She was sleeping so cute on the radiator. I tried to sneak up and take a picture, but she noticed and rolled over.


She revels in her decadence, I think.

On that note, we are headed out!

A little jogging

Gym time!  It was hard to get up today because I stayed up too late reading 😳  Don’t you hate when that happens? I kept saying “5 more minutes, then I will turn off the light” One hour later and I knew I would be really tired today 😀

It hadn’t started precipitating when I left for the gym, but it was coming. 

Today’s lower body workout:


Exercise Set/rep
Lying leg press 3 sets of 10
Seated leg extension 3 sets of 10
Seated hamstring curl 3 sets of 10
Barbell deadlifts 3 sets of 10
Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 sets of 10
Standing calf raises 3 sets of 10

Before doing this, I got on the treadmill and did 2.25 miles.  I actually jogged for 1.5 miles of that with 3 intervals of jogging for 1/2 a mile with a walking break in between each one.  The past few weeks I have been slowly building up the time I spend jogging versus walking. I have to say that I am encouraged by being able to do this. Granted, my pace is barely above a very brisk walk, but its a start.

 I think I just have to forever forget that I ran much faster in the past before my back injuy and just accept that it won’t ever be the same.  I think the last time I tried to get back into running I was pushing too hard, too fast and it felt so awful on my leg that I gave up.  My leg seems to be okay the day following the jogging currently. It feels a little funny, but nothing uncomfortable. So I will continue and see where this leads.

Why I seem to want to keep trying running is something I don’t get – although part of it probably has to do with the fact that it was easier to maintain my weight when I was running along with lifting and biking. I also don’t like not doing something that I used to be able to do. It’s funny, though, because I don’t have any desire to want to do chin ups again 😀

It started to sleet when I left the gym. It seemed like it was going to be a horrible weather day, but then after a couple hours it turned to all rain instead of all the snow we were supposed to get. As long as this doesn’t freeze overnight, we should be okay tomorrow.

My breakfast today: Protein waffles, but instead of being topped with blueberries – I sauteed a banana and added a bit of coconut butter.



Looks like scallops, right? 🙂

On the house front, we got our new living room light and it actually installed really easily. It arrived and next thing I knew – John had it up and working!  I like it when things happen and I didn’t have to do anything.



It’s very pretty and makes me happy.  I will say that out loud. Material things do make me happy… or happier, because I was happy before the light came.  Now we need a couple floor lamps as our current ones are kind of broken. Each paycheck I get one more thing for the house. Guess it’s lamps next 😀

Lower body workout and fireplace dilemma

Back at the gym this morning for my leg workout.  The sweet spot for my gym is 6:30 to 7:30 am.  There were less than 10 people there and nobody in the cross training room:


 I was in here for a couple exercises and then in the machine room.

Exercise Set/rep/
Barbell squats 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell side lunges 3 sets of 10
Seated leg extension 3 sets of 10
Seated hamstrings curl 3 sets of 10
Standing abductor raise 3 sets of 10
Standing calf raise 3 sets of 10
Stiff-legged deadlift 3 sets of 10

I can already tell I will have some trouble on the stairs tomorrow 😀

So, on to the fireplace.  The living room is in the beginnings of its transformation. Here is the fireplace:


Yeah, ignore our big screen TV in front of it. It went kablooey over the weekend and is just sitting there.  It started smoking out the back. And of course, it was about 10 days out of warranty.  Gah!  Not an expense we really wanted.  We have a smaller TV from our bedroom for now, but John misses his big TV.

Anyway… I am not sure if this fireplace facing is original or not. It was converted to gas about 15 years ago. The person who built this house in 1919 owned a brick company.  The brick on this fireplace looks way different than the brick in the rest of the house, or like what is used for the basement fireplace:



That leads me to think the brick in the living room was added later.  Not to mention the hearth is some cement piece that is cracked in half. Obviously that will need to be replaced at some point and we will probably reface the fireplace in the future, but it isn’t in the budget now.

I don’t like the pinkish hue that this brick has. At all. I don’t know if it comes through in the picture or not. That won’t look right with anything that we are going to do to the room as far as color goes on the wall. Whether that is gray or purple…grayish purple??..remains to be seen. So, I am thinking about committing the cardinal sin of painting the fireplace.  That is the one time with paint where you can’t go back to the original surface. Brick will soak up the paint, so if I do it, it’s permanent. I suppose if we are thinking of redoing the front anyway, it doesn’t matter, but I was just thinking on the off chance it if was original that I wouldn’t want to do it.  So there is that.  If I do paint it, the color will be the creamy white of the rest of the trim in the house.

On to some food! John won the picks, so we headed out for dinner at Recovery Grill.  We always enjoy our food there.

Chicken sammie:


I had to take a picture of John’s Mahi Mahi tacos


Aren’t they pretty?  Now it’s my turn to win picks because it has been a couple weeks.

Lifting and the end of tutoring.

Back to lifting today!   I did not lift as much when I was shooting for the 400 biking miles this month.  Doing challenges like this teaches you about balancing exercise.

Here was my upper body workout today:

  • 2-point row:  3 sets of 10 with 20# kettlebell
  • Chest press:  3 sets of 10 with 15# dumbbells
  • Reverse crunches:  3 sets of 12
  • Side Bends:  3 sets of 10 with 10# dumbbells
  • Lying chest flies:  3 sets of 10 with 10# dumbbells
  • Arnold Press:  3 sets of 10 with 10# dumbbells
  • Bent Reverse Fly:  3 sets of 10 with 8# dumbbells
  • Front Raise:  3 sets of 10 with 5# dumbbells

Then I got on the treadmill and did some walk/jog intervals.  Sort of thinking of testing the running again.  I know, I know

I am done with literacy tutoring now.  I had mentioned before that I was going to be stopping. We were waiting to get a new tutor set up for my learner.  I had let him know a few weeks ago that there would be a transition and he seemed okay with it then, but yesterday he was not okay after meeting with his new tutor.  I had a meeting with him after that to see how it went. He ended up angry and yelling very loudly at me and stormed out of the McDonalds (where we do our meetings).   It was a pretty horrible experience. Then as I left, he came back around the building and told me to tell John not to bother showing up on Thursday for math tutoring and continued yelling as he rode away.  That was really not how I wanted things to end and after 1-1/2 years of tutoring, I certainly did not deserve being treated like that.   Ugh.  Unfortunately for him, he will have no more tutors because the literacy coordinator told me she cannot assign a tutor to someone with outbursts like that, which is too bad for him.  Thank goodness that stress for me is done, although I wish it had a better ending.

I also got some lab results back.  Blood work looks good, although my cholesterol was a little high.   I also had a thyroid ultrasound done last week:


That was really interesting. I have never had an ultrasound done to me.   Turns out I have small thyroid nodules, which would explain why I was feeling something in my throat.  As with most thyroid nodules, these are benign and I just need to have an ultrasound yearly to make sure they aren’t getting bigger.   So, lab work is pretty clean, but no real answer to my fatigue (other than stress).   I am hoping once we get done with the move and work stress eases up that I will feel better.  If not, there are some other tests I can have done, but for now I will just keep on keepin’ on!

On a fun note – We were at the mall on Saturday night and I found the perfect mug for me, even though I didn’t buy it LOL!




From spring back to winter, it seems like! We were almost 80 degrees yesterday with some pretty fierce winds. Today is rainy and colder with 1 to 2 inches of snow expected tonight. Really Mother Nature?

I had a warmer breakfast today. The banana bread pudding with chocolate PB2 on top. First time trying that and it is pretty good.



I worked for a while and then hit the gym. Normally on Tuesdays I like to work until it about runs out and then go to the gym in the afternoon so that I make sure I get enough work in. However, it has been so busy that I knew there was no way it would run out, so I went in the morning (which is my preferred time to exercise).

The lifting:

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Reverse Cable Wood Chop (low to high) 3 sets of 8 each side at 30#
Jackknife on stability ball 3 sets of 8
Step Ups 3 sets of 8 each leg with 30# KBs
T Push-ups 3 sets of 4 each side
Pliet Squats 3 sets of 8 with 30# DB
Alternating lateral raise 3 sets of 8 each arm with 10# DBs
Reverse Row 3 sets of 8
Supine Hip Extension to Leg Curl (SHELC) 3 sets of 8

 I wasn’t sure if I ever explained the reverse row, but here is my setup for it. You can use a smith machine or any barbell cage to set it up.


That’s the stability ball I use for the SHELC as well. All ready to go for that superset. Here is what the exercise looks like as I do it.



Very challenging. You can progress from putting the legs out straight to having them on a stability ball or bench.

I have found using the kettle bells for the step ups is much easier than dumbbells as far as grip strength goes. I think maybe the grip is wider? I am using two 30# kettle bells for this exercise. That is 60# total and each time I step up with that, I think about how I used to carry even more than that weight on my whole body going up and down stairs.  😯




It’s funny, I am making great strength gains, but really struggling with body image these last couple months. In navel gazing, I think that it probably stems from a higher level of anxiety between the house closing and job stress (and a bit from the weather).  This has left me feeling fairly unsettled and restless, which in turn makes it easier for my brain to beat on my self esteem a bit.  You know how they say if you can’t change your situation, you need to change your attitude, so that is what I need to do. Only I am having a hard time figuring out how to do that. 

Maybe looking at my roses will help.


Still looking good since Friday – they do make me happy! 😀

A short taste of spring

Boy, today was a gorgeous day!  The sun was out and it was in the low 50s.  I finally see my birdbath again – yay! 


Work with me here, this has melted a lot. My birdbath was totally covered. Too bad it is going to get covered with more snow to the tune of 7 inches and hoping it isn’t more than that. The bobsled chute is melting, although still pretty high.


It felt so good when I went to the gym in the afternoon.  I am still trying to figure out a schedule.  I have the days down, but not the time.  It has more to do with how much work there is when I check in the morning.  Maybe I just won’t ever have a set time I go.  Anyway, my gym built on a new area to take part in the Crossfit craze. They don’t call it Crossfit, though, just cross training. It’s the same stuff, though.  The nice thing is that when there aren’t cross training classes, this is an open gym.


I like being in here during open gym because it isn’t crowded and I can spread out doing my mat, ball and step work. This was taken at 7 am Saturday morning when I was in there by my little lonesome:


It’s also very cold in there, which I don’t like now, although I am sure I will be loving it in the summer.

Today’s lifting:

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Plank 3 sets of holds for 55 seconds (increased)

Prone Cobra 3 sets of holds for 50 seconds
Lateral raise with external rotation 3 sets of 10 with 8# DBs
Overhead Squat 3 sets of 10 with 20# bar
Single Leg/Single arm Romanian deadlift 3 sets of 10 with 20# DB (increased)
Single arm cable lat pulldown 3 sets of 10 at 30# (increased)
Bulgarian Split Squat (video) 3 sets of 10 with body weight
High Cable Row 3 sets of 10 at 50#

It was all I could do to go home and go back to work with the nice weather!  We did some work on the backsplash cutting the last few tiles and now grouting will be done tomorrow and the wood trim and we will be done! Woo Hoo!

Then we went out for a treat:


This is a new yogurt shop and one even closer will be opening up at the end of the month.  And yes, there is cinnamon toast crunch cereal on my yogurt! 😀

Now to get ready for snow…

Happy Mardi Gras and another chili recipe!


Happy Mardi Gras! We usually have a party, but did not this year. At first it was because we thought we would be in the middle of moving.  Then it was close after vacation and I ripped up the kitchen counters, so no party. Oh well!  Here is a shot from one of the museums we went to about Mardi Gras to get you in the spirit. This is an actual costume worn by a queen of one of the crewes:

costume 2

I think this weighs something like 90 pounds? I didn’t look this nice 100 pounds heavier, I’ll tell you that.

Anyhoo – This was today’s workout at the gym.

Exercise Set/rep/weight
Bird Dog

Forward Ball Roll
3 set of 10 with 5# weight

3 set of 12 (increased reps)

3-point dumbbell row
3 sets of 12 with 15# DBs (increased reps)

3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs
Partial Co-contraction Lunge (video)

3 sets of 12 (increased reps)

3 sets of 10 on 6 inch incline
Single-leg bridge

Bent Over Reverse Fly
3 sets of 10

3 sets of 10 with 10# DBs

Not sure if I mentioned or not, but when the exercises are grouped in a box, those are done as supersets. I made some good progress today, especially proud of the co-contraction lunge increase. Those burn.  Go me!

I made the best chili the other day and thought I would share the recipe because it was so easy and tasty! This could be done on the stove or in the crockpot – I did mine in the CP. Based on this recipe with changes



  • 1 lbs lean ground meat of choice (I used ground pork)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (15) oz can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (2 oz) can of diced green chilies (or just buy a can of rotel for these 2 ingredients)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can beans drained and rinsed – I like the little white beans, personally


In a skillet, spray with cooking spray and add the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Then brown the meat, breaking it up into small pieces. Once it is browned, add it to the crockpot along with all the other ingredients.  Set to low and cook for 4-1/2 to 5 hours.  Or, you could simmer it on the stovetop just as easily for 30 minutes or so. I think the crockpot just intensifies the flavors.

Crock Pot Chili

Yummy!  This is definitely a keeper. I had some on a baked potato as leftovers and I think it was even better the next day! I didn’t figure out stats for this because I am not counting calories right now, just portions and the results will really depend on the type of meat you use.


Happy Mardi Gras to all!


Lifting and changing focus.

Now that the house closing is delayed for what feels like forever, I need to rearrange things I kind of had mapped out.  One of those was to join the gym after we moved and settled in.  I think I will just do that after we get back from vacation next month and not wait.  I need to decide what program to do:  New Rules of Lifting for Women, NROL for Life or Female Body Breakthrough.  I am leaning towards FBB because I liked that program a lot.

On that note, here was today’s workout.

Exercise Set/reps
Lunges 3 sets of 10 each leg
Bent Over Row 3 sets of 10
Pushups 3 sets of 10
Stiff-legged Deadlift 3 sets of 10
Front Raise 3 sets of 10
Lying French Press 3 sets of 10
Trunk Twist 3 sets of 10 each side
Low Back Extension 3 sets of 10

 I always feel really badass after doing a lifting workout. :mrgreen:

I haven’t shown a breakfast in a while. This was oat bran with almond butter and maple cream.


I have been working on a new piece for guitar.


I love this little work by Fernando Sor. It’s sounding really good except the last 6 bars, which are kicking my ass. They are awkward.  I hope to record this one late in the year on video.  I have a couple other to do first, but I am entranced with this one.  The nice thing about not being a music student or professional musician anymore is that I can decide what pieces to learn. If I don’t like one – I don’t have to practice it!

I just realized I use the word ass twice in this post (3 times now), oopsie!  Normally I keep my potty mouth off the blog.

My latte and snack today with model Pixie!


She’s kind of grumpy because I put her on the foot stool when she tried to lay in my lap, but she spent the day there anyway.

I do have to say that now I am feeling restless. RESTLESS! All that energy I was gearing towards the move and rehabbing has no focus right now. Look out whatever project I decide to land on LOL!

John and I are going stir crazy and are braving the cold to spend some time out of the house with coffee tonight.  I guess that means I can’t get in my jammies yet.


Lifting and work changes

We had a good time at the play last night. It was a good production, although sometimes a bit hard to hear the dialogue.  The Christmas carol singing was very good and I loved the staging!  Good stuff.   This was at Proctor’s Theater down in Schenectady.  We had never been there before.  Tons of stuff happens at Proctor’s, but we are an hour away, so it’s a lot to get down there and back, especially on a weeknight.  This show was at 7 pm, so not too late of night after we got home.  Thanks to my BIL for the tickets!  Here is a shot of how beautiful Proctor’s is:

It’s decorated for Christmas, too, and very pretty.

And hooray for a stranger’s head in my photo!  😀  My little camera actually did really well.  No flash used for these pictures. I just set the ISO to 1600 and tried to hold really still.

It’s funny, I have been in so many Christmas performance that it is still weird to sit on the audience side.  I can’t tell you how many performance and reheasals of the Nutcracker I was in (the pit orchestra) – to the point where it made me want to stab my eye out when I would hear the music.  It’s a little better now.

On to today!

I had oat bran for breakfast.  Funny, oat bran is less calories than regular oats, and pretty much the same stat wise, but it keeps me fuller.  Not sure why.

Normally I have a banana mashed into this with the egg whites, but the bananas were still too green.  So just the egg whites cooked in today and topped with PB and jam.   Dark and dreary this morning, too.

It was warm enough today to take a walk, though.  In the 50s! Crazy.  Wish I could have gotten my bike out, but I had to work.

I also did my strength workout. My lifting routine was as follows today:

Exercise Set/rep/
Overhead Shoulder Press 3 sets of 10
Pliet squats 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell Pullover 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell Chest Fly 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell Good Morning 3 sets of 10
Russian Twist 3 sets of 10 (each side)
Triceps Kickback 3 sets 10

I kind of miss the gym when I do the strength stuff at home.  It’s just not quite the same.

Protein lunch today, and a quick one.  This was unflavored whey protein, cinnamon, applesauce and almond milk.

These berries were good, too.  Just like they look!

Work was busy today, although I am no longer working one of my accounts.  My company renegotiated a contract with this particular clinic and in order to keep the account, they had to offer less.  That meant that they couldn’t afford to keep me on that account and now I have to train on a new one.  It was my favorite, too.  Booo!  This happened to 3 of us working that account.  Do good work, get a raise and it comes back to bite you in the butt.   👿  Sigh.  I will have to work my secondary accounts while they set me up with a new one – and hope there is enough work.  This is why my industry always feels very tenuous. You just never know what  will happen.

John made up lattes today.  It’s all festive.

It’s now that time of year when John’s business starts to slow down after being super busy.  Today was one of those days and he was Mr. Productive at home.  Cleaning and cooking!  He made up dinner in the crockpot today.  Chicken and barley soup.  All I did was cook some broccoli.

Relaxing tonight for sure.  I have some room for chocolate tonight in my calories, which is well deserved.

Today’s ornament:

We have very few tubas on the tree. John played tuba and trombone in college.  I played horn – and of course there are billions of horn ornaments out there (and we have a bunch).  Poor John complains that there is no tuba love, so we try to find him tuba ornaments so he doesn’t feel left out  :mrgreen:

Lifting and the letter C

I was loving the AC at the gym this morning. Plus, there was a fan on near where I was lifting and I enjoyed the cool breeze as well. Gotta appreciate the little things in this heat!

Exercise Set/rep/weight
1. Plank with alternate arm/leg reach 2 sets of 10 each side
2. Complex: Deadlift, High Pull, Push Press, Reverse Lunge 4 sets of 8 each exercise with 20# bar
3A. Bulgarian Split Deadlift 3 sets of 10 with 15# DBs
3B. Single Arm Chest Press on ball 3 sets of 10 with 20# DB
3C. Back Squat 3 sets of 10 with 65# bar
3D. Chinups 3 sets of 10 with assistance

One more workout to be finished with FBB.  So glad to get the sweaty workout done early on what is the hottest/humidest (new word?) day thus far.  Today was one of those times when I felt like a hulk at the gym.

I kinda like this classic Nike ad lately:

If the image is too small, this is the text

My butt is big and round like the letter C and 10,000  lunges (squats for me) have made it rounder but not smaller. And that’s just fine. It’s a space heater for my side of the bed. It’s my ambassador. To those who walk behind me, it’s a border collie that herds skinny women away from the best deals at clothing sales. My butt is big and that’s just fine. And those who might scorn it are invited to kiss it.


Not quite a C, but good enough.

My mental practice has been to really try accepting the now as wonderful, even as I work to continue to make it better.

Came home to some cold-brewed coffee and I really had a hankering for oats,  just not the heat.  So I made up some banana custard oats and let them sit to room temp.   :mrgreen:

It’s been a bit frustrating at work this week.  Of course, the heat makes dealing with that stuff harder because of the cranky factor.  Is it only Tuesday?

I was ready for lunch.  I was not super hot as of this time, so I had more of a dinner style lunch with a turkey burger.

I crave hot sauce in the summer and I think it must be the salt I am craving from sweating.

I came up for air while working for an iced latte and limited myself to just one pineapple piece.

This is how the latte looks before I stir in the espresso.  Fun!

I knew with the heat that I wouldn’t be too hungry this evening, so I had made up some apple topping ahead of time to have with some nice cold Fage for dinner.

We decided it would be a good night to walk up the street for a little ice cream after dinner.  It was still 94 degrees out!  Eeek!

I mentioned this on Facebook, but I will say it here.  Remember the kitty that has been sleeping in garden? The other day I said if she came back I was going to name her Lily because she was sleeping in the lily patch.

John said “Don’t name the cat.”  Strong emphasis.  Okay, fine…  🙄

Tonight as we came outside, John said “There’s Lily” –   :mrgreen:

My cone this evening:

Raspberry/vanilla twist.

The heat should be breaking tonight!  Yay!!!!!!