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Paleo recipes: sardine pate, mackerel pate!

May 4th, 2014 · Diet, Recipes

Chris was after more calories in his day but wanted them to be good quality calories.  In particular he wanted to also increase his omega 3 intake, but he didn’t want to increase his salmon and tuna intake, which we already eat at lunchtime, alternating between them on consecutive days.  Fish can be problematic because of the different minerals and potential toxins in our water supplies – most widely written about is the risk of consuming too much mercury if you eat a lot of tuna.

It was time to investigate a way to make mackerel and sardines palatable to Chris.  Despite the fact that I’d tried feeding them both to him in the past with no success.  Fortunately I’ve found that the pate recipe below is pretty foolproof and it only takes me a couple of minutes to make thanks to my hand-blender.  Chris will happily eat the entire bowl of pate (made from a tin of fish) with a pile of raw spinach.  It seems to go down particularly well just after his workouts.

Photo to follow when I manage to take one with the spinach included, but I wanted to get this up in the meantime so that Chris has the recipe on the days that I’m away from home on business during the next month!

Ingredients (serves 2-4):
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried parsley
Generous squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 ½ tsp)
1 tsp horseradish (the condiment, not the raw root)
1 tin sardines (120g)/mackerel (125g)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl (or blender, if you don’t have a hand blender).  I recommend, based on trial and error, using the order shown above.  I’ve found that if I put the wet ingredients over the parsley then the parsley doesn’t spray out as badly when I start to blend it, but if the parsley is at the very bottom then it is harder to get it to blend in properly.
  2. Use a hand blender to blend the ingredients thoroughly until there are no onion lumps.
  3. Best served with raw spinach leaves or celery sticks.
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Paleo recipes: slow cooker meatballs

May 4th, 2014 · Diet, Recipes

I was in the mood to make something different with our mince one day this winter.  It struck me that meatballs in a thick tomato sauce can be really satisfying but I don’t normally both because they can be so tedious to put together.   The recipe below worked well although, as I anticipated, it took more preparation work than I’d have liked so it’s not going to be made very often.

Paleo slow cooker meatballs

Paleo slow cooker meatballs

Ingredients (makes 4-5 portions):
1200g beef mince
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 ½ tbsp tomato puree
1 egg

For the sauce:
500g passata
200g tomato puree (less the amount put into to the meatballs)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Place the ingredients for the meatballs into a large bowl.  With clean hands thoroughly blend the ingredients together, making sure the egg is well mixed and the herbs and spices are spread throughout.
  2. Carefully form the meat mix into balls a little smaller than a golf ball and set aside on a plate.
  3. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the meatballs in batches until browned all over.
  4. Place the browned meatballs into the slow cooker pot.
  5. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a clean bowl and then pour over the meatballs.  Turn the meatballs in the sauce to ensure they are coated.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
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Paleo recipes: minted lamb stew (slow cooker)

May 4th, 2014 · Diet, Recipes

Our regular supermarket started doing an economy pack of lamb pieces for stewing.  Since I was on a slow cooker push this winter but we wanted a change to always eating beef mince I decided to try making some lamb recipes.  The one below was probably the best but you will probably need to make your mint sauce yourself (dried or a lot of finely chopped fresh mint mixed with a little vinegar and water) to ensure it is sugar free.

Paleo slow cooker lamb stew

Paleo slow cooker minted lamb stew

Ingredients (serves 2-4):
2 onions, roughly chopped
750g lamb chunks (with or without bone, but those with bones are best slow cooked on the bone as they’ll fall off the bone really easily after cooking)
5 tbsp mint sauce
1 courgette, chopped
2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
3 cups lamb stock

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker pot and mix together thoroughly.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
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Physique progress 2013: week eleven

January 13th, 2014 · Training

Generally this has been a quiet week with some steady work going on and very little in the diary.  In reality, it has been an emotional rollercoaster of a week, which has affected both my HRV and my workout recovery.

I had been hitting my diet a bit harder post-Christmas and reached a low early in the week.  I hadn’t realised how glycogen-depleted I was until I had a pub-lunch on Tuesday.  Liver, onions, bacon, peas and chips.  I didn’t pause as I wolfed it all down.  I’m sure it wasn’t just because I’d walked for 2 hours to reach the pub and I felt distinctly more stable mentally and physically immediately afterwards.

Measurements

Heart rate variability (‘HRV’) has been all over the place, finishing the week at 65 but dropping down to the mid-50s for 3 days before that.  I’d had a bad week the week before though so the overall average change over the week was an increase of 1 point.

I also weighed myself at the end of the week, since I stopped weighing myself daily a couple of months ago.  I weighed in at 51.8kg, which is within my usual weight.  Either I have gone nowhere in the last few months or I have lost fat while gaining some new muscle.  Given how loose my clothes are in some places I think it has been a recomposition and I have lost some fat.

Diet

This was a good week.  We’ve been trying to improve Chris’s diet some more, which has a knock-on effect on me.  We’re now having some spinach and a starter with our dinner every day: mackerel pate, sardine pate or poached egg on spinach.

Other than that, we had lamb stew, beef mince curry and chilli for most of the week.  Since it was Chris’s birthday week we also had the pub lunch mentioned in my introduction (when I had liver, bacon and onion with chips and peas) and went out for lunch on Friday to a much-loved Brazilian BBQ – lots of grilled meat and some salad.

Training

Cardio included:

  • 2-3 walks to the village each day
  • 4 x 2 hour local walks each week

I’ve completely stopped doing daily morning exercises on workout days but have continued doing them at all other times.

Workout 1: (Sunday)

  • Glute ham raises: pink band and half black sling – 5×8
  • Hip Thrusts: 115kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 28 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 27 reps, Left: 27 reps
  • Suspended single leg glute bridges: Right: 9 reps, Left: 9 reps

Workout 2: (Wednesday)

  • Back squat: 83kg – 8×2
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 25kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 30 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 28 reps, Left: 28 reps
  • Suspended single leg glute bridges: Right: 10 reps, Left: 10 reps

Workout 3: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 65kg – 8×3
  • Glute bridge: 120kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Black band – 31 reps – I switched to the black band and discovered that it is actually easier than using two green bands.  I’ll be adding more bands next time.
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny and red physio band – Right: 12 reps, Left: 12 reps
  • Suspended single leg glute bridges: Right: 13 reps, Left: 13 reps
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Physique progress 2013: weeks nine and ten

January 6th, 2014 · Training

Merry Christmas and I hope everyone is having a Happy New Year.

Indeed it was a very merry Christmas with far too much eaten and drunk.  I’ve been normalising my diet ever since, except for the bit when I was clearing any remaining junk out of the house for the New Year.

For personal reasons I am far too ashamed to admit here on the blog what I’ve eaten and drunk over the last two weeks.  Sorry.  Confessions recommence next week.  Although I will say that thanks to being home-based for Christmas, the Christmas dinner was a clean Paleo meal.  The problem was the various bits of rubbish I ate the rest of the time.

Measurements

Heart rate variability (‘HRV’) over this fortnight first improved – up 3 points during week nine – and then dropped dramatically in the second week by five points.

I am starting to notice a pattern through, in addition to the observations in week eight that an evening off improves my HRV.  It currently takes me 2 days to recover from a workout and eating bad food (sugar, alcohol etc) in an evening generally has a dreadful effect on my HRV the next morning and also gives me an elevated heart rate.

Diet

Ahem.  Just quietly tiptoe past this section for the festive period…

Training

Cardio included:

  • 2-3 walks to the village each day
  • 1-2 2 hour local walks each week
  • 4 hour local walk on Christmas Day.

Daily morning exercises have continued except I’m avoiding them if I’m doing my workout during a morning, since I’ve learned that my workout is affected by all the morning exercise.

I had awful PMT over Christmas week.  The heaviest I’ve had in months.  Strangely it gave me a massive sensation of hip joint laxity while squatting.  It made me wonder if the hormones related to that stage of the menstrual cycle are similar to those released just before giving birth, creating general joint laxity.

Week nine

Workout 1: (Sunday)

  • Glute ham raises: pink band – 4×12
  • Hip Thrusts: 105kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 22 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 21 reps, Left: 21 reps

Workout 2: (Tuesday)

  • Back squat: 82kg – 8×2 – I kept this a bit light because I had very loose hip joints.  Possibly PMT-related.
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 20kg – 6×7 – I didn’t get good extension this week.  Was this also a result of heavy PMT?
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 23 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 22 reps, Left: 22 reps

Workout 3: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 64kg – 8×3
  • Glute bridge: 115kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 24 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 23 reps, Left: 23 reps

Week ten

Workout 1: (Monday)

  • Glute ham raises: pink band & black mini sling – 4×8
  • Hip Thrusts: 110kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 25 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 24 reps, Left: 24 reps

Workout 2: (Wednesday)

  • Back squat: 82kg – 8×3
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 20kg – 4×8, 2×7
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 26 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 25 reps, Left: 25 reps
  • Suspended double leg glute bridges: 25 reps

Workout 3: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 65kg – 4×2, 4×3
  • Glute bridge: 120kg – 6×6 – Not sure if I got full extension on this
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 27 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 26 reps, Left: 26 reps
  • Suspended single leg glute bridges: Right: 5 reps, Left: 8 reps

 

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Physique progress 2013: week eight

December 23rd, 2013 · Diet, Psychology, Training

A more settled week for my general wellbeing, reflected in a steadier set of HRV readings.  Also a week of slight over-eating (well, over-eating on one day anyway when we celebrated Christmas with my parents) which has really picked up my metabolism for the whole week.  I feel warm again.

I’ve also done some brain-storming with Chris on my workouts and have a few fixes for the ongoing problems with my heavy pulls, back squat and seated band abductions.

Measurements

Heart rate variability (‘HRV’) this week was a little more controlled and, over the week, showed an average increase of 1.  It notably improves if I have a quiet evening without working and, even more improvement happens if I combine that with a long 2-hour local walk with my headtorch just before bed.

Diet

This wasn’t quite such a good week for healthy eating.  It was my Mum’s 70th birthday, so we travelled down to see them and celebrated her birthday and then Christmas on consecutive days.  By going out for dinner on the birthday I was able to keep myself reasonably under control.  I had 1 glass of white wine, small portions of calamari (shame about the breading, but it was the best thing on offer), steamed cod in a white wine cream sauce with spinach and no starch item (miracle) and then a tiny little chocolate pot which, while probably not all that good for me was both tiny and delicious.  A taster portion really.

Of course going home to a couple of small glasses of madeira, a little cheese and some chocolates wasn’t such a good plan, but we all felt suitably celebratory by the end of it all.

The next day should have been ok but I totally lost control under the influence of alcohol.  Seconds of roast ham and then going crazy by trying Mum’s homemade gluten-free Christmas pudding, then the leftovers of her gluten free chocolate torte that had been made for her birthday party at the weekend (delicious but having since seen the recipe there was definitely a lot of sugar in it) and some leftover lemon torte too.  And the remains of the brie.  By this point I was fully in the Christmas spirit and had also drunk 1.5 glasses of Prosecco, 1 glass white wine, 1.5 glasses red wine and 2 small glasses of madeira.

Ah well.  I always knew that Christmas would challenge me and next week’s Christmas is far more under my control since I’m cooking it and there just isn’t going to be that much pudding in the house to start with.

To compensate for all the over-indulging I was glad to find that my hormones appear to be back in check so that I just didn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry.  I missed breakfast after the birthday dinner and missed lunch after Christmas dinner (replacing it with my workout).

Lunch each day while we were away was a small bowl of root vegetable soup followed by a piece of rump steak with some mushrooms and quarter of a tomato.  That was a delicious treat!

The rest of the week was very much normal food with dinners mostly sourced out of freezer leftovers.  With the exception of Christmas Day our dinners are going to be focussed on British Indian Restaurant curries for the next week and a half.  I can’t wait!

Training

Cardio included:

  • 2-3 walks to the village when home
  • 3-4 30-minute walks in/across town while away
  • 2 hour local walk: Thursday
  • 1.5 hour local walk from parent’s house: Monday

Daily morning exercises continued but following discussion with Chris about problems and weaknesses I’ve had both in my main workout and with persistent knots during massage, I have increased the exercises I do.

I’m also now using a green physio band for all of them, since the blue one perished until it ripped midweek.

The list of exercises (on which I still do 20 reps of each exercise and on each side if they are unilateral) is as follows:

  • Side-lying leg raises
  • Clams
  • Seated band abductions
  • Quadruped hip extensors
  • Unilateral dorsiflexion
  • Unilateral plantar flexion
  • Facepulls – to low chest for lower traps/rhomboids
  • Facepulls – to chin for upper and mid traps

It takes a while to get through.  Especially when I then do thoracic spine extensions and follow it up with rolling my pecs, lats, traps, rhomboids, glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads.  The whole routine now takes me about 45-50 minutes each morning.

After suffering in my lower back again this week, this time with the rack pulls I took some time to think about why.  I realised that my hamstrings have been tight both during that and during my back squat (although not as much in the latter).  The linking factor seems to be my glute bridges, which flare up my hamstrings.  By the time I get to my back squat day I am much further removed from glute bridges so my hamstrings have had time to stretch out again.

To establish if this is the case, Chris has tasked me with replacing rack pulls with glute-ham raises for the next couple of weeks.  If the tight hamstrings are the cause then this should stretch out and also build some additional strength in them.  If it works I should hopefully find my back squat improving again and may even be able to rack pull or RDL again too.

Workout 1: (Sunday)

  • Rack pulls: 102kg – 8×3
  • Hip Thrusts: 100kg – 6×6 – 85kg felt so easy as a warm up weight that I jumped up 15kg on this and it still felt achievable
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 27 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and green physio band – 20 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 22 reps, Left: 22 reps

Workout 3: (Wednesday)

  • Back squat: 81kg – 8×3 – I think I may just have been suffering from doing this too early in the morning last time
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 20kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 20 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 23 reps, Left: 23 reps

Workout 4: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 63kg – 8×3 – Finally this is starting to feel really hard while I do it.
  • Glute bridge: 110kg – 6×6 – I still wept after this, but not for as long as last week and I was more able to do other things afterwards too
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 21 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 20 reps, Left: 20 reps – I think stepping up my morning clam resistance, putting in full range of motion seated band abductions then too and also the heavy glute bridges all impacted on my performance in this.
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Physique progress 2013: week seven

December 16th, 2013 · Diet, Psychology, Training

A great week, both for physique and for strength.

I finally hit the wall on my back squats and had to start doing a Hepburn cycle and I suspect I will be on a Hepburn cycle on my Glute Bridges from next week.  It was the first time in a very long while that I have been weeping with (good) pain, satisfaction and exhaustion at the end of an exercise…

I did have a moment of satisfaction with my progress so far on Monday.  I was shopping in town and spotted an evening dress that I liked the look of.  I had, unusually, put a little make up on that morning and had some small heels in my bag (I was heading out for a salsa dance lesson).  Trying on the dress with my heels on I was really pleased to find that I’m starting to get a small, but acceptable, glute shelf now.  Proof to myself that I am getting somewhere.

Measurements

Just a slight drop in heart rate variability (‘HRV’) this week.  It fluctuated widely between 60 and 67, but overall only lost an average of -1 points.  In general I think I am in good shape, although I definitely do better when I make sure to shut down my computer and relax for an hour before bed.

Diet

Another good week for food this week.

I ate carefully with sensible portion sizes and only Paleo-friendly food except for Monday lunchtime and the very end of the week.  Over the last couple of days I tried out some small helpings of gluten-free fruit cake and mince pies in an effort to find something appropriate to serve up on Christmas Day, because we felt like keeping it easy in terms of my actual cooking/preparation effort this year (last time I catered a fully-Paleo Christmas dinner I was preparing food for several days ahead of the event).

Breakfasts were the routine 3 eggs scrambled with onion and tarragon.

Lunch continued to rotate between tuna or salmon mayonnaise with pepper, pickled onions, beetroot and celery mixed into them or two grilled pork loins with the same selection of salad items.  The exception to this was the shopping trip on Monday when I had a steak with a small portion of skinny fries for lunch and a creamy sundae to finish.  I won’t be having the sundae again.  It seems my tastebuds have changed dramatically and I found it cloyingly sweet.

For dinners we gradually worked our way through the following dishes during the week:

Training

I continued doing 2-3 walks to the village on most days and also squeezed in three 2-hour walks locally during the week.  We’ve rediscovered night-walking with head torches, although the moon was so bright that we didn’t need them on most of the time this week.

My daily morning exercise routine continues too and is starting to get easier.  However, I have noticed that it seems to impact on my ability to do the band exercises at the end of my workout if I then do my workout early in the day (having already done the resistance-added morning exercises when I wake up).

On my main exercises, Chris watched me doing my RDLs on Monday and concluded after a few warm up sets that something in my mobility has changed so that I am no longer able to support my lower back properly.  However, I did have better luck with some rack pulls, so he’s put me back onto those instead.

Workout 1: (Saturday)

  • Front squat: 60kg – 8×3
  • Glute bridge: 100kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and pink bands – I didn’t do this at this workout as I was short of time so couldn’t get the glute bridge bar cleared away in order to put out the Hip Thruster
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and green physio band – 15 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 23 reps, Left: 24 reps

Workout 2: (Monday)

  • Rack pulls: 100kg – 8×3
  • Hip Thrusts: 85kg – 6×6 – this felt much easier suddenly.  I think I might be used to the Hip Thruster at last!
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 25 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and green physio band – 16 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 25 reps, Left: 26 reps

Workout 3: (Wednesday)

  • Back squat: 81kg – 8×2 (the start of Hepburn cycles at last)
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 15kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue band – 26 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny and green physio band– 17 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 20 reps, Left: 20 reps

Workout 4: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 62kg – 8×3 – Really chuffed with this.  It’s possibly the heaviest I’ve ever front squatted.
  • Glute bridge: 105kg – 6×6 – I wept after this, I was so sore and exhausted!
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 27 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny and green physio band – 18 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 21 reps, Left: 21 reps
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Physique progress 2013: week five and six

December 9th, 2013 · Diet, Training

After two weeks of very little sleep I found that I was quite broken.  While I continued doing workouts and a few walks, there was almost nothing left in my reserves and I found getting out of bed increasingly difficult.  I tried to battle through a first week like that and actually ended up doing 4 workouts in the week because of a concert at the weekend, which pushed me to front-load my workouts.

By the second week (week six) I finally tweaked my back while doing RDLs and found myself unable to do any workout for a couple of days.  It was probably a good thing really.

With a few days off training I felt a little better and the rest of the week went without incident.  Week six also saw me getting outdoors a little more and my HRV finally started to move upwards again.

Measurements

My heart rate variability (‘HRV’) dropped dramatically towards the end of week five, losing an average of 3 points over the week.  I put this down to a delayed reaction to the previous fortnight and also the change to using the Hip Thruster which does have a slightly different feel.  I had also included band-resisted hip thrusts into each workout once the Hip Thruster unit arrived so my workouts were starting to get longer.

After the couple of days off my HRV finally started to pick up again during week six and had gained a huge 5 points by the end of the week.  A recovery from any possible overtraining that had gone before.

I stopped measuring my reaction time as it didn’t seem to be adding to anything or giving me any real data about the state of my body or mind.

Diet

I had a super fortnight for my diet.  That is, with exception of a dinner out on Thursday night of week five, which I remained very clean and had sensible portions at, and then another dinner out on the Monday of week six (which involved similarly good food but much larger portions and a thoroughly non-approved dessert).  There were also a few mince pies consumed at the post-concert party on Saturday night.

Other than that, everything was on diet and there was very little (certainly nothing memorable) that went outside this.  It was partly out of a desire to give myself the best opportunity to fix myself again.

Breakfasts were routinely the usual 3 eggs scrambled with onion and tarragon.

For lunch I rotated between tuna or salmon mayonnaise with pepper and pickled onions mixed in with them, now with the addition of a spoonful of beetroot and a stick of celery as well, or two grilled pork loins with the same selection of salad items.

For dinners we gradually worked our way through the following dishes, served up with broccoli each evening, during the fortnight:

Training

By the end of week six I was back to doing 3 walks to the village on most days, plus getting in two 2hour walks locally each week and, on Monday of week six, we even got in an hour long bike ride.  It’s the first time I’ve got out on the bike for ages and it was lovely to feel the wind rushing past me again.

Halfway through week six I also increased the difficulty of my daily morning exercises.  For a couple of months I’ve been doing 20 reps on each leg of side lying leg raises, clams and quadruped hip extensions every morning as soon as I get out of bed (and before I measure my HRV).  Partway through last week I added the resistance of a small loop from a blue physio band.  I instantly felt the increase in difficulty and will be working with that for a while until the reps are coming easily again.

My resistance training has been going well, with the exception of the dodgy back moment at the start of week six.  The bad back was caused by a very long orchestra concert on Saturday night, between weeks five and six and then trying to do RDLs the next day but allowing my lumbar spine to flex because my thoracic spine was so knotted and tight.

I also finally admitted defeat with the new set up using the Hip Thruster unit and significantly dropped the weight on my hip thrusts.  It will need me to take some time to build this up again as the form on the unit is so different to the form I used on my old setup with the lower boxes behind my back.

Week five

Workout 1: (Saturday)

  • Front squat: 58kg – 8×3
  • Glute bridge: 90kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and pink bands – 28 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band – 34 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Green physio band – Right: 28 reps, Left: 35 reps

Workout 2: (Monday)

  • Romanian Deadlifts: 95kg – 8×3
  • Hip Thrusts: 112kg – 6×6 – On the Hip Thruster unit I was still finding this really hard.
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 20 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and green physio band – 18 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 14 reps, Left: 16 reps – I finally moved myself up to the skinny band and was overjoyed to find I could get full range of movement out of the exercise.

Workout 3: (Wednesday)

  • Back squat: 78kg – 8×3
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 15kg – 6×6 – This was ok but not quite to full extension.
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue band – 21 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny and green physio band– 19 reps – I decided this had been too hard and would need dropping down in difficulty at the next workout.
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 15 reps, Left: 17 reps

Workout 4: (Friday)

  • Front squat: 59kg – 8×3
  • Glute bridge: 95kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 22 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny and red physio band – 40 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 20 reps, Left: 21 reps

Week six

Workout 1: (Sunday)

  • Romanian Deadlifts: 97kg – 8×3 – very sore and tough
  • Hip Thrusts: 80kg – 6×6
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 23 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and red physio band – 42 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 21 reps, Left: 22 reps

Workout 3: (Thursday)

  • Back squat: 80kg – 8×3
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 15kg – 6×6 – Much better form this week.
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue band – 24 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny and green physio band– 14 reps
  • Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 22 reps, Left: 23 reps
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Physique progress 2013: week four

November 25th, 2013 · Diet, Training

This was my second week getting up at 5am and working solidly through until 10-11pm.  By the end of the week it was really starting to take its toll.  While my training numbers and my HRV were surprisingly good I realised the genuine problem when I took a couple of nights away in York with Chris and a friend on Thursday and Friday nights.

By Friday morning I felt rancid and my HRV dropped dramatically – potentially not helped by the 3 glasses of wine I had during the evening.  By Saturday I was in a better state with my HRV reading (far less alcohol was consumed on the second evening) but I slept for a long time and woke still feeling tired.  Looking in the mirror I was faced with a grey and exhausted-looking person.

Gratefully the worst of the work-blip is over and I should be able to go back to more normal working hours.

In far more exciting news, we had a brand new Hip Thruster arrive in our garage gym last weekend – the prototype model for the UK and Europe.  It’s identical to the final design in every way except for a lack of brand label and it is absolutely fabulous! I’ve only used it twice and already love it!

Having the Hip Thruster has enabled me to add another exercise to my metabolic work at the end of workouts – band resisted Hip Thrusts.  It’s so nice not to have the old creaking plyometric boxes behind my back with old towels and cushions for padding which slowly slips off as I work through the sets and reps.

Measurements

Still no pre-photos.  Definitely too late for a real comparison now!

My heart rate variability (‘HRV’) managed to stay fairly stable in the low 60s this week.  A further average improvement over the week of 3 points.  I’ll see if I can get that to improve even further by getting a bit more sleep again this week!

Reaction time measurements also stayed stable in the 200s.  240-280ms all week.

Diet

Until my trip away at the end of the week, it was a very good week for my diet.  Good wholesome food in sensible-sized portions.

The usual 3 eggs scrambled with onion and tarragon for breakfasts, tuna or salmon mayonnaise with pepper and pickled onions for my lunches and then dinners pot roast beef and pork jalfrezi.

On Saturday night I was playing in a concert so ate out, but kept it simple at a Mexican restaurant with a starter of grilled corn on the cob with a chilli butter and then half a roast chicken with a honey peri-peri sauce and salad.

The other end of the week was a different matter.  Quality of the food was mostly ok but in distinctly excessive portions with too much sugar loitering along the edges.

Thursday evening I had a starter of baby octupus in a tomato sauce, a main of roast rack of lamb with roasted vegetables in a tomato sauce with cheese over the top but the wheels came off with a dessert of Amaretto torte – a layer of thick cream on top of a thin layer of sponge soaked in Amaretti liqueur.  Plus of course, wine.  If you’re going to do something bad, be really bad!

Friday breakfast was good, with mushrooms, poached egg and bacon.  Lunch was equally good with a chicken salad.  Dinner was mostly good: pheasant with butternut squash to start, lamb shank with vegetables for main but then a divine sticky toffee pudding which was more like a black treacle sponge.  I did drink far less – only one glass of wine and a small rum cocktail without any fruit juice.  The bigger problem with this day was visiting the Chocolate Story museum just before lunch.  Although I didn’t eat very much sugar, since part of what they were introducing people to was 100% cocoa chocolate and the original Mayan cocoa drinking recipe (which is neat cocoa with chilli – the way I make it, although up until now I hadn’t put chilli in it).  Still, it was definitely a day of excessive sugar consumption for a person who usually doesn’t eat very much of it and certainly far too much in terms of overall quantities for the day.

Training

With all the work, I’ve managed 2 walks to the village on some days but often only 1 walk.  I’m hoping that I can get my cardio back where it should be from next week.

Resistance training was much better with everything feeling easy and I was really excited to be able to put an extra exercise in towards the end of the week, thanks to the Hip Thruster.

Workout 1: (Monday)

  • Romanian Deadlifts: 92kg – 8×3 – still nice and easy.
  • Hip Thrusts: 110kg – 6×6 – This was my first time on the Hip Thruster and it took a while to work out the change in feel, since the pad was higher than I was used to.  I found the mechanics much harder on this first time and dropped the weight slightly to compensate.
  • Seated band abductions: Third of pink band and green physio band – 24 reps – I added a few more reps but I still wasn’t convinced that I was doing a really good quality full range of motion without the assistance of my hands on my knees.
  • Clams with band resistance: Green physio band – Right: 25 reps, Left: 33 reps – More reps and still great extension.

Workout 3: (Wednesday) – I did this workout at 6.30am!

  • Back squat: 76kg – 8×3 – For the time of day this felt surprisingly easy.
  • Single leg hip thrusts: 10kg – 6×6 – Finally this felt like I was ready to increase the weight.
  • Band resisted hip thrusts: Green band – 30 reps
  • Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band – 32 reps – I finally really cut the resistance down and also made sure I didn’t touch my body at all.  It was tough but I finally felt like all the right muscles were working.
  • Clams with band resistance: Green physio band – Right: 27 reps, Left: 34 reps
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Hip Thrust Championships 2013

November 24th, 2013 · Training

Calling everyone in the UK who does Hip Thrusts!  Hip Thruster UK and Europe are holding a launch party which is also going to include the first ever Hip Thrust competition – the Hip Thrust Championships 2013.

Hip Thrust Championships 2013

It’s going to be fabulous event with prizes for the different category winners and a chance to try out the new Hip Thruster equipment, rather than waiting for someone you know to get one first.  How often do you get to be one of the first people in the country to try out a new piece of equipment and you don’t want to be waiting until next year before you find out what it is like, do you?

It’s being held on 14 December and is set to be a fantastic day.  How do I know?  I’m helping out on the day as the competition chaperone – weighing everyone in and making sure everyone’s ready to compete and knows where they’re going.  Don’t worry – I’ll look after you.  Whether you’ve never competed at anything like this before or you are a seasoned veteran competitor, don’t worry.  We’re all there to support and encourage you.

It would be really lovely to have the opportunity to meet some of my readers who comment on the blog and have emailed questions to me over the years and I’m hoping to see a strong female contingent too.  You might not be competing against the men (men and women are competing separately with two different weight categories for each sex), but that doesn’t mean we can’t show those men a thing or two about hip thrusting!

Even if you’re quite new to the hip thrust exercise don’t let that put you off.  This could be a great opportunity to come along and get some advice from some of the best Sports Scientists in the country (who happen to be judging and supervising warm up exercising) on your technique, as well as meeting like-minded people who enjoy training.  We don’t only want the people who think they’re going to win the prizes to come along either (although it’s a great incentive).  Everyone is going to get a warm welcome and can be guaranteed of a good cheer when it’s their turn to squeeze out as many reps as they can with the set weight for their category.  We’ve set the weights reasonably low so everyone should be able to get at least a few repetitions out when it’s their turn.  The weight classes are as follows:

  • Women under 60kg – lifting 60kg
  • Women 60kg and over – lifting 80kg
  • Men under 90kg – lifting 100kg
  • Men 90kg and over – lifting 120kg

In between times you can have plenty of fun trying out the warm up unit with a lighter weight to get a good feel for it, and there should be some stalls and a sports massage physiotherapist on site too so you can get a treatment while you’re there too so that you head into Christmas feeling fabulous about yourself.

We’d like everyone to come along and try out the Hip Thruster.  We genuinely want to know what you think of the equipment and the best way to tell us is to try it out without the commitment of buying it first and give us your feedback there and then.

Hip Thruster

Hip Thruster – get to be one of the first in the country to try one out

Entry prices are really reasonable, especially if you buy your entry ticket before next Friday since there’s £5 off until then, making it a delightful £9.99.  You can bring along supporters for free too (hurrah!).  The more, the merrier (although supporters aren’t allowed to try the units – they need to be reserved for competitors)!

You can buy you competition place here.

Come along to the Hip Thrust Championships 2013.  I would really love to meet everyone who reads Not Just a Man’s World at last!

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