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Almost there!…

There is nothing more motivating or more frustrating than ALMOST hitting a new personal record.

Another name for Hulk is Brian

This morning we did our deadlift workout and Candy and I both ALMOST hit new PRs. My grip went. She couldn’t lock out. But we kept trying until we pretty much couldn’t even pick the bar up off the floor.

We kept trying because we were just so close! The weight was moving…It just wouldn’t go all the way up!

We just kept hoping that the next time might be better. And the 2nd try was better than the first…but by the 4th…well…we were out of juice.

But next Monday, I think we will both hit new PRs!!  Brian is very positive that we will (Brian actually hit a new high himself today and I’m a bit jealous! ;-)). While it was frustrating we didn’t get new PRs today, the positive side is we haven’t hit a plateau! We are still getting stronger! 🙂

Which got me to thinking about this past Creatine and protein powder cycle. Was it making a difference?

Uhm…I have no idea. A week into this cycle, I would have screamed out “YES!!!” My deadlift and bench PRs both went up by about 10lbs after holding steady for the past month. But since then…I haven’t really seen any gains more than what I’ve been used to. A pound here and there, but nothing impressive.

So has the creatine and protein powder worked so far? Possibly.

Neither have turned me into hulk, but then again I didn’t expect them to. Neither is a magic pill that will instantly make you stronger, and I haven’t lost strength or plateaued this month so I guess they  have done their jobs.

AND there haven’t really been any negative side effects. I haven’t really suffered much water bloat. At most a pound or two.

So if I haven’t really suffered much bloat or any other side effects AND I’ve made strength gains, I see no reason not to keep up the creatine cycling. After this week, I will take a few weeks off before going on one last cycle before the competition.

So women…I can guarantee that Creatine and protein powder won’t turn you into Hulk.

I’ll keep you posted though as I try another cycle or two!!

Personal Records

We all constantly compare ourselves to others. I know I definitely do it.

And it is good to have people who you compete with. Working out with Candy means I always push myself. It has helped me reach two personal records this week!

On Monday, we deadlifted. And we decided to try 275lbs, which would be a new personal best for each of us. I was going to attempt the weight first. Of course, I wanted to do it since it would be a new PR, but I also wanted to do it because what if Candy picked up the weight after me!?! I couldn’t let her lift more, could I!?! 😉

No I couldn’t! So that extra incentive motivated me to push to lift that 275lbs. It pushed me again to bench 120lbs on Tuesday (and I think it helped Candy hit a new PR of 130 in bench as well).

Competition can be good. And it can push you. But comparing yourself too much to others can hinder your development and make you very, very unhappy!

If you constantly compare yourself to others, you can start to focus less on success and more on not failing…which may sound like the same things, but entails two totally different attitudes. If you are always trying not to fail, you have a negative outlook. You are too worried about “winning” and not focused enough on development. Working toward success on the other hand is positive. It means you enjoy working toward a goal as well as accomplishing it.

Also, everyone is TOTALLY DIFFERENT! You simply can’t compare yourself to anyone else and their successes because they have different strengths and weaknesses than you do!

So let competition motivate you, but don’t let it consume you! Set your own personal records and work your butt off to achieve them!

Top 10 Leg Exercises (that Candy and I now hate)

So yesterday Candy and I did a leg workout. The last two leg workouts we have done have absolutely murdered our leg muscles.

Here are the 10 best (most tortuous) leg exercises (in no particular order because all can be equally dreadful):

1. Heavy Back Squat (Candy’s least favorite)- There is something about putting a heavy barbell on your back and having to squat down and stand back up that is just fear inducing. I’m always afraid I won’t be able to stand back up…which has happened before.

The Back Squat is a full leg workout, primarily targeting your glutes, quads and hamstrings as well as your adductors, abductors and calf muscles. Your erect0r spinae as well as your transverse abdominus are also engaged so you are working your entire core too! A great first exercise to do! Yesterday we did 5 sets of 5, increasing weight with each set.

2. Cocktail Lunges – Cocktail lunges are a front and back lunge combined. You lunge forward and then backwards, trying to not tap your foot down in the middle. A forward and backwards lunge is one rep. The front lunge and back lunge do both work your entire leg and the stabilizer muscles in your hips, torso and spine. However, your quad is the primary mover in both so you really burn out the quad by combining the two lunges into one rep!

For an extra burn, complete all reps on one side before switching to the other leg. Candy and I did 10 reps on each side before switching (one rep is one forward and one rear lunge). We added some weights to make it even more of a challenge!

3. Slider Side Lunges – Let the adductor machine gather dust and pick up a slider instead! Place one foot on the slider and one on the ground parallel to your foot on the slider. Slide the slider away keeping that leg straight as you bend the standing leg and squat down. When you stand, drag the slider back in keeping the leg straight. As Brian says, “It feels like my groin is ripping!!!”

4. Step Ups – I don’t know why…but I absolutely hate these. Like cocktail lunges, they always make me out of breath. They are simple. Pick a tall box (a challenging height) and step up. If the box is higher, it will also isolate the hamstrings more (but don’t make the box too high…you want it to be about knee height). And if you start farther away from the box, you will work your glutes more. When you step up, tap the other foot on top and climb back down. Isolate one leg first. Add some weight and increase the challenge!!

5. One leg squats (to bench or with TRX) – So the goal here is a pistol squat…no bench…no TRX…just a one leg squat as low as you can go. Candy and I both need a little assistance especially since this isn’t usually the first exercise we do. This is a great full leg workout. It makes you work extra hard too because you have to maintain your balance. AND by isolating one leg, you can make sure that each leg is doing the full amount of work instead of one leg dominating!

6. Kettlebell Swing – KB swings are supposed to be the absolute BEST exercise for your back side. After doing one round yesterday, I wanted to take the kettlebell and let it fly out a window. I usually like KB Swings, but yesterday they were brutal and today my butt is very very sore. So if you want a nice butt…do kettlebell swings.

7. TRX Hamstring Curls – We love to hate these. They destroy your hamstrings and you just want to be done with them. Ten times better than the leg curl machine for you!

8. Split Squat Jumps – We did these today. You start in a lunge position then jump up and land in a lunge on the other side. If you do them quickly and get low, split squat jumps are cardiovascular and really burn your legs.

Want some lean legs? Then definitely do these plyos.

9. Preacher Squats (aka Pitcher Squats, Bulgarian split squats or Balance Lunges) – Brian always wants to skip these. He has weak quads and preacher squats really really work the quads. Enough said.

10. Jump Squats -Squating and jumping. A plyometric exercise that will help you develop lean and powerful legs. What could be better?!?

Runners Up: Wall sit, Box Jumps, Air Squats, Front Squats, Plie Squat (Sumo Squat) and box shuffle.

Deadlift didn’t make the list because it is so much more than just a leg exercise. It is the Man Bicep Move!!! You can torture your glutes, hamstrings,  traps, back and core with the deadlift!!!

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