Friday, March 25, 2016

What Doesn't Kill You | Operation 健康アップ Weeks 29 - 32

There's a saying, "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger".

After so many grueling workout sessions, I can only believe it to be true. For the second part of my Cycle 3, I had another workout rotation program, but this time it only had 2 workouts {i.e. I'll start with Workout A, then Workout B the next session, and the rotation sequence starts again}.. and one of them involved metabolic conditioning, which meant that I had to do it on a higher frequency compared to the first 4 weeks of Cycle 3!! Arrgh!!

Gym Workouts
I learnt a few more interesting weight-lifting moves during these 4 weeks, like the Hybrid Deadlift, Snatch Romanian Deadlift {RDL} and Dumb-bell Bear Complex. Quite fun, and it made me feel like I "leveled up" a little from amateur strength-training haha..

One day Superman randomly asked me to try doing a pull-up and I realised I could do pull-ups again! The last time I did them was years ago when I was still training for my swimming. So thanks to this random discovery, the pull-ups has been added in all my workouts to train my upper body strength. Superman will always try to sneak in a few extra sets / reps outside of my usual workout program for me to do but it's ok. I quite like doing pull-ups haha.

Ultimately, I hope to be able to do at least 1 muscle up in 1-2 years time! According to Greg Glassman {CrossFit founder}, if you can do 15 good pull-ups & 15 good dips, you're strong enough for muscle-ups. If you can't work your pull-ups & dips overtime until you can do the muscle-up. 

Workout A with the latest weights I lifted:
A1. Incline Step Up, 3 sets, 15 reps/leg - 4kg 
A2. Pull-ups {Neutral}, 3 sets, 2 reps - body weight
B1. Hybrid Deadlift, 4 sets, 8 reps - 62kg
B2. Seated Unsupported Dumb-bell Shoulder Press {Neutral}, 4 sets, 8-6 reps - 12.5kg
C1. Snatch RDL, 4 sets, 8 reps - 62kg
C2. Kettlebell Swing {w/ hip band}, 4 sets, 60s - 16kg
C3. High Incline Dumb-bell Shoulder Press {Neutral}, 4 sets, 8 reps - 14.25 + 12.5kg
C4. Half Squat Thrusters, 4 sets, 60s - 6kg
D. Flutter Kicks, 4 sets, 60s

It'd been a long time since I did any Deadlifts {about 2-3 months ago?} so felt kind of rusty. Anyway Hybrid Deadlift is different from the Conventional Deadlifts that I did previously. It's in between Conventional and Sumo Deadlifts - the legs are still on the outside of the arms ala sumo, but with a closer stance. If I remember correctly, I think Jen mentioned that doing the Hybrid is better for my back, and will help to train my hamstrings more.

For the Snatch RDL, I was quite excited to know that I was learning how to do something with a Snatch, which the boy often talks about as he does it a lot during CrossFit. A Snatch grip RDL is basically a RDL {which I'd been doing in my previous program a lot} with a much wider grip. The wider bar grip stresses the upper back and trap muscles even more than the usual RDL. Tall Guy taught me to put my middle fingers on the barbell's ring mark so that I'd use the same width for all my reps. I'd to be really careful to keep to my proper form and not round my back, and my grip was still pretty weak so I needed to use straps.

Oh I was supposed to train my Bench Press for C3 but since I still hard trouble feeling my chest muscles, Jen changed it another Shoulder Press exercise.

Workout B with the latest weights I lifted:

A1. Pull-ups {Neutral}, 3 sets, 2 reps - body weight
A2. Prowler Medley, 3 sets, 120m - 26kg
B1. American Kettlebell Swing {w/ hip band}, 4 sets, 75s - 16kg
B2. Dumb-bell Bear Complex {Clean, Squat, Thruster}, 4 sets, 75s - 9.5kg
B3. Burpees with Jump, 4 sets, 75s
B4. Alternating Groiner, 4 sets, 75s 
B5. Toe Touches, 4 sets, 75s

I'm usually pretty happy / excited to hit the gym but I think this workout was the first time I actually felt some dread going in on the days I had to do it. Workout B was another MetCon workout which always leaves me so so so dead tired, but truth be told, is really darn good for fat-burning.

Prowler Medley consisted of running up and down the track with the Prowler as fast as I could. First lap was with my hands on the high bar handles, then running back with hands on the low bar handles, then another lap squatting and pulling the Prowler, then running back with hands on the low bar handles, followed by pushing the Prowler like a bench chest & moving forward, then finally a lap back with hands on the low bar handles again. It. Was. Crazy.

After that was the crazy just continued on with Set B cardio exercises where B2 - B4 really got me panting hard and it took all I could not to just collapse and give up on the floor. Really, really appreciate my trainers pushing and not giving up on me, even during those times that I felt like giving up on myself.

Food Nutrition
I think this year I've definitely been eating better since I started with my meal-prep and trying consciously to get more protein in each day {see 5 High-Protein Healthy Snacks I Love}.

For a few weekends Jen got me to carb-load to jumpstart my metabolism and hopefully get me leaner. Previously, although I indulged once in a while, I was eating kind of low-carb, high-protein and about 1,500 calories / day. As I got leaner, my body fat loss rate was slowing down. What worked previously nutrition-wise was obviously not working as fast the same way so I got carb refeeds for 3 days a week over the weekend {think I did it 4 times} to "trick" my body into using the extra energy to burn my fat again. For those 3 days, I ate up to 1,900 - 2,000 calories and the extra calories had to be high-carb, low-fat. Protein intake stayed the same. 

That's a very, very simple way of putting it, and you can read more about carb-loading here. Anyway it worked and each time I measured after a carb refeed, we found that I lost some body fat. Of course during this time, I kept up with my fitness training too so that probably helped as well.

Thoughts of the Weeks
My last measurement for this program was on 26 Feb 2016 and I measured 17.03% body fat. Arrrrgggghhh so close to my fitness goal of reaching 16%!!! {so that weekend I did another refeed and a week later on 4 Mar 2016 I reached 16.9% woohoo}

I've gotten used to going to Genesis Gym 4-5 times a week now. Since I'm there so often, I've gotten to know the trainers a bit better, as well as some of the other gym members. I can actually recognise some of them and remember their names haha.

The thing with Genesis Gym's system of having a team of personal trainers help you, as opposed to the traditional 1-to-1 personal training with a specific trainer, is that sometimes you can receive confusing /conflicting information about how an exercise should be done. And that can be a bit frustrating.

However, if you grow in your own fitness journey, as one should, you will be able to take whatever information and knowledge is passed on to you, and use it for your own individual advantage. Don't just rely on what the trainers said - go home, read, learn more and know how to apply it to yourself.

I overheard Jon telling someone that Genesis Gym isn't just a gym, it's like a fitness tuition centre. That's rather true. Clients are welcome to go, ask questions, and learn for themselves how to lead a more healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. A lot of times, I've questioned my trainers to explain in detail how to do a certain exercise, or why I need to do something, or how I can do my workout better. Then I'll go home and read more into just not because I don't trust them, but just to gain a better understanding on what they told me and how it can work for me.

Just like in school, don't expect your teachers to spoon-feed you everything. Likewise, don't expect your trainers to set up and do everything for you to help you lost fat / build muscles / be a pro athlete etc. You have to be a bit more pro-active in your own fitness training.

There's no denying though that having a team of personal trainers enable me to learn the best from each of them too. Each of the trainers bring their own experience and expertise to the table, and I'm able to benefit from their collective knowledge and skills. For example, Jen helps me with the overall workout and nutrition planning, Superman is great with giving me specific exercises to target some of my specific weak points e.g. weak grip, flabby belly and gives me tips on how he does it himself, while Tall Guy who I suspect is a very visual learner himself, shows me video examples of how to do certain techniques and exercises that I just can't get my head around.

Anyway, my current contract will end around mid-April and hopefully by then, I can hit 15% body fat, see some abs and gain even better muscle strength!!


NCSue said...

My hat is off to you - you look great & are willing to put out the effort to do so!
I hope you'll come link up at

Stacy said...

I seriously love that photo of you and Pumpkin!

Theresa Mahoney said...

Work It, Girlfriend! I used to be the best at pull ups when I was in school. Sadly, age and lack of practice have made me horrible at them now. Arm strength is something that I really need to improve on.

You are looking super fit! I am really impressed with your leg definition!

May said...

I should show my husband this post lol he just bought himself a weighing machine and a Fitbit. The target is walking xx number of steps a day and all he does is walk. Hahahha old man exercise. That's so not going to help trim those fats!!!

Ashlyn Thia said...

You're looking really fabulous and healthy now! I love how you always bring your daughter around your gym sessions!

Jolin said...

Kudos to you for the perseverance in attaining your goal. Really a super woman and looking great as always.

Michelle said...

It usually takes a team to reach a goal more effectively. Good on you to have found your own group of teachers and supporters in your fitness journey.

mummybean said...

You go, Ai! You've worked hard and you're obviously grown fitter and lost weight. Keep going, I'm sure you'll reach your goal!

life is in the small things

Shub said...

That's motivating! I have been making and breaking resolutions as far as weight loss goal is concerned. Hope to get fitter in 2016.

Danessa Foo said...

I am greatly inspired by you to go back to the gym and perhaps engage a personal trainer, like previously. Thanks Ai, your post is timely!!

Pooja Kawatra said...

I have been looking at your gym updates photo and feel so inspired so do it. It is great how you are capturing this journey and following it.