January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.

My New Favorite Tank

I have a new favorite gym shirt, well tank top. I was out doing some Christmas shopping and catching up with a good friend when I stopped into Old Navy.  Old Navy isn’t my favorite store, the clothing doesn’t fit me the best.  But I was trying to kill time waiting for my friend and there was a 60% off sign in the window.  I’m not usually one for buying active wear that is cute or trendy because that’s not what going to the gym or being active should be about.  I get it though, having cute clothes to wear even to the gym is a part of the fun.  I went right to the active wear section of Old Navy hoping I would find an active top I could bring to Iceland in two weeks, the kind that wicks moisture away, but I didn’t want to pay a lot because I’ll likely never wear it to work out in.  I was distracted by a super cute tank top with the words “Drop, squat, & hustle.”  I love this tank top.  It’s the best.

Drop, squat & hustle

Squats are my favorite exercise, even more, leg day is my favorite day at the gym.  I’m really good at squats and my legs are where most of my strength lies.  Most of the time people moan and groan about leg day, but not me.  I’m very proud to say that my current personal record for squats is 155 pounds, 40 pounds more than what I weigh.  I just found out that a co-worker of mine also lifts and her personal record is 260 pounds! I’m completely jealous of her and it’s all the more motivation I need to work towards my personal record going even higher in 2015.

This tank top is great and all, but there is one little problem with it: I can’t wear it to do squats in. Once you get past squatting a barbell, 45 pounds, performing squats in anything less than a shirt is uncomfortable.  I’m getting to the point now where I have to put a towel on the bar otherwise it presses too hard into my skin.  My gym does have barbell pads, but they are so thick I fear the bar would slip right off my back.  Moving forward, I may invest my own barbell pad thinner than the ones at my gym as Jake and I keep adding more weight on to our lifts.  I also may invest in grips or straps for my dead lifts, especially straight leg dead lifts, as my grip strength has yet to improve even after two years.  Any suggestions on helping my lifts or accessories that I could use to improve my lifts are welcome!