THIEF in my gym!

When I first began going to my current gym, I saw everything through rose-coloured glasses. The machines were great, there was ample space and the boys were nice to look at. I have been with my gym for a year now and I am sad to inform you that the glasses have come off. I have noticed that some of the machines break down on a somewhat regular basis, the gym can be quite crowded at times and the boys have gotten less attractive. Perhaps it was this way all along and I have just become somewhat bored with the monotony of my gym leading me to get picky about silly things. One thing that is not silly however is the disappearance of the ankle cuff!

After doing some research on different ways to work the glutes and hamstrings, I came across an exercise called cable kickbacks. For this exercise, one uses a strap to attach their ankle to the cable machine and they then proceed to kick backwards. This is a fantastic exercise and it looks kinda sexy at the same time. Unless one has an ankle cuff for this maneuver, this exercise can become very difficult to carry out. Back in the summer of 2013, I started doing this exercise on a regular basis and never had any difficulty locating the cuff. Well as time went on, this changed. Where the hell did it go? I went to the front desk and asked if they had any extras, they took a quick look and said that I was out of luck. The next leg day, the ankle cuff was still MIA. When questioned, the front desk staff informed me that they would be ordering more soon. I waited perhaps a month before approaching them again and it was at this point that I got very frustrated because the ankle cuffs were still unavailable. Seriously, what the F.

I fell into a cable kickback withdrawal depression because I could no longer work those glutes in the desired way. I began to eye my fellow gym goers knowing that one of them was my ankle cuff thief. Do not rule out anyone as a suspect! Who the hell steals an ankle cuff? What are you planning on doing with it? I would really like to know the answer to that question, unless it is for some kinky business and then keep that information to yourself and you should probably burn the cuff…

Enough is enough. I was tired of waiting for something miraculous to happen which would result in the re-appearance of the ankle cuff. So what did I do? I acquired my own of course and it was a fantastic investment. Now I can saunter right up to the cable machine and bust out my very own ankle cuff and do my thing. Once finished, I detach the ankle cuff and take that sucker with me as I watch all the girls look on with curiosity as to how I found the mystic ankle cuff. That’s right ladies, I bought it.

To all the gym thieves out there, I have a message. That message is that I do not know who you are and realistically if you want to keep stealing ankle cuffs you will likely be able to get away with it. However, if I ever do find out who you are, you can expect some major stink eye from me. What did you think I was going to say? I am not about to threaten these dummies with violence even though I could so take them on. Although if they ever tried to touch my personal ankle cuff, all bets are off and the SHE BEAST is coming out!

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The Not-So-Cheat-Cheat-Meal?

When on a restrictive meal plan, there must always be room for the occasional cheat meal. I can train and train all day and not have a care in the world, but for me the most difficult part of preparing for a fitness show is the diet. It is not about restricting calories and starving oneself, but rather making healthy food choices. For example, don’t add salt to your food, cook with coconut oil instead of butter, drink water instead of calorie filled drinks. It doesn’t sound too difficult but when you have been spending the better part of a year in this strict state, it can become mentally taxing.

Cheat meals can help ease the burden of these self inflicted obnoxious restrictions. That being said, having a cheat meal everyday is not appropriate if you are seriously considering changing your lifestyle. My struggle is that I simply cannot get away from the pizza. I have tried and failed too many times to count so I must just embrace the fact that I need to have it in my diet. Perhaps it is an addiction or perhaps just a very strong craving but at the end of the day it just pains me too much to give it up. However, not all pizza is created equal. What if you could find a way to make that favourite cheat meal into something that was less guilt inducing. Well it is definitely possible and it is all about substitutions.

Yesterday I did indeed indulge. I planned out my cheat meal and enjoyed it immensely but this time I managed to avoid a severe wave of guilt that customarily follows the pizza consumption. How, you ask? Through substitution and the addition of healthy ingredients. Instead of traditional pizza dough, I used whole wheat pita bread, I applied minimal sauce and minimal cheese and then I loaded that sucker up with chicken, green peppers and mushrooms. It was exceptionally delicious and full of quality ingredients. You can also use Ezekiel bread as pizza dough. I have not tried this yet but I have heard very positive things about Ezekiel bread. Another possibility is making your own pizza dough with cauliflower. I know that sounds like a bizarre idea but apparently it is quite tasty and an excellent gluten free and very healthy alternative. When I feel adventurous, I will make it for myself and report back to you.

As we approach the 6 week mark until the next show, I must really focus my energy on limiting my food indulgences. I have been pretty good about staying away from sugar but I have my moments. I do enjoy spending time with friends and sometimes those friends do enjoy taking part in the occasional drinky drink. What I typically do in these situations is that I stick with the red wine. Red wine has fewer calories than white and obviously less than sugary cocktails. Red wine also has powerful antioxidants but there I go again trying to rationalize my indulgences. Perhaps as long as you haven’t emptied the whole bottle by the end of the night, you can call it a win…What can I say? I am human and I battle with the same temptations that everyone else does, fit or not.

Change of Scenery

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, today’s workout will be slightly different. I am unable to make it to my regular gym and the only fitness facility that will be available to me will be one of those “gyms”  within a condo building. These “gyms” are known for being quite basic and not a hard core gym rat’s first choice but you have to work with what you have, I suppose.

Of course the “gym” will have a couple of treadmills and perhaps a few elliptical machines and likely even a bench or two. None of that will be of use to me today as it is supposed to be a heavy leg day. Well, change of plans I guess. I am expecting that they will have at the very least, a dumbell rack. I may very well just shit a brick if they don’t. What gym wouldn’t have a dumbell rack? And if they do have one, they better be packing more than just 5 and 10lbs dumbells because if not, I will be utterly disappointed. How in the world am I supposed to do a sumo squat with 10lbs? That requires about as much effort as it takes to yawn and I will never achieve a good glute burn by doing this.

Ok, ok, so I know that you can workout anywhere and going to an inferior gym is not the end of the world. I am also aware that I am being quite over dramatic about the situation but you must understand that I had a heavy leg day planned out which now must be swapped out for a light leg day with an infusion of plyometrics. I don’t like last minute changes when it comes to my workouts but one must adjust. Such is life. Maybe I am just in a pissy mood because I have planned a cheat meal tonight which I am already feeling guilty about before the consumption has even occurred. Any guesses? Pizza of course, duh.

The following will tentatively be on agenda for todays light leg day:

Walking lunges
Sumo squats
Glute bridge
Single leg dumbell deadlifts
Jump squats
Alternating leg jumping lunges
Side lunges
Pistol squats
Step ups

That should be sufficient for a light leg day. I do apologize for the horrible content of todays post. Hopefully I will be inspired to write something of better quality tomorrow.

Give a compliment, get a compliment. A gym karma tale.

Is there truly such a thing as gym karma? Perhaps there is and perhaps there is not but putting a smile on someone’s face is always better than making someone frown.

There is general gym etiquette which each and every gym member should follow. For example, one should ALWAYS put your weights back after you have finished using them. This is gym etiquette 101 and for someone to blatantly disregard this unwritten rule is like leaving gum on one of the pews at church. It is just not right and God will strike you down for doing it. There is nothing quite as unpleasant at the gym as seeing weights strewn everywhere. It makes the gym look messy and you can never find the weight that you are looking for because it is buried somewhere under that stack of 100 lbs dumbbells. The people that do this are typically not the hardcore gym rats. My keen skills of observation tell me that it is either the hot shot show off, the stupid teenager wannabe hot shot show off, or one of the peekaboo people I mentioned in a previous post. Next time I see someone not put their weights away, I want to walk right up to them and inform them that if they do not immediately clean up their mess, I will find a place to shove their used dumbbell and it won’t be on the weight rack, if you get my drift. Oh my, it is too early in the day to be having such violent thoughts. Let’ get back to my intended topic.

As the title of this post says, give a compliment, get a compliment. This is a lovely sentiment especially when this happens at the gym. This is gym karma at its finest. The other day, I noticed a lady who I suspect was in her 50’s. She caught my eye because she had a fantastically shaped and muscular back. She was a very petite lady and from the front, you likely wouldn’t be able to tell that she had a monster back. But there it was and every time she turned her back to me, I was in awe of it.  At one point, I wanted to use a machine that happened to be near where she was standing. I politely asked her if she was using the machine and when she said no I said “By the way, you have a fantastic back.” She then responded by saying, “Thank you, I work hard for it.” I was truly impressed by her physique and even though I did not know this woman, I was happy that I was able to make her happy.

After my workout, I was packing my things in the change room when a fellow gym-goer who I did not know, asked me if I was a gymnast. Of course I went on to explain about how I compete in fitness shows and that is the reason that my physique looks the way that it does. She then complimented me on my figure and it made me feel really nice. I don’t ever need someone to justify my hard work with compliments but of course it is always a wonderful feeling when it does happen. Perhaps there was some good gym karma coming my way.

I don’t know if I actually believe in karma or not but it is an interesting concept regardless. The idea that there is some balance of good and bad deeds can be somewhat of a frightening thought and it may actually promote people to do good deeds only on the selfish basis that they want to avoid being punished. At its core it is just positive and negative reinforcement I suppose. Regardless, the simple fact is that one should be considerate of others and this applies to people at the gym as well. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, so be nice and maybe you might get some good stuff in return.

For The Love Of Leg Day!

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Hello friends! Today is a glorious day. Why is that, you ask? Because it is leg day of course.

Leg day is notorious for being uncomfortable, painful and an all around difficult workout. That is why I hold a great deal of respect when I see men working on their legs. Men have a long history of focusing on chest and arms and neglecting the legs because they are not as noticeable. However, to any lady that lifts, a buff body sitting atop a pair of chicken legs is as noticeable as Justin Bieber in a jail cell filled with real men.

Of course the chicken leg man has devised ways of hiding his weakness. He has been known to wear high top shoes or knee high socks or baggy pants with attempts at deceiving any onlookers. He can be somewhat successful at hiding his embarrassing legs while wearing such items at the gym but this will not change the fact that whenever chicken man hits the beach, his physique will resemble the shape of a lollypop. You know, a big bulky mass on top of a minuscule stick.

There is almost nothing more admirable then seeing a well proportioned man performing squats at the gym. Ladies usually spend more time working on their legs because that is typically more accepted by society. A woman would likely rather have strong glutes than strong biceps. I believe that a well balanced body is what everyone should strive for rather than focusing on only one area. I know that that may sound hypocritical coming from someone who prides herself on having a very well developed set of glutes, but I will have you know that I give every part of my body the attention it needs at the gym. I have had a tumultuous relationship with leg day since I began lifting. In the past, I have loved it, I have hated it and I have spat a full range of curse words when thinking about it. Presently however, I am back in love with leg day.

Let me tell you what is on the menu on this fine leg day.
Squats
Leg press
Standing and seated calf raises
Hip thrusts
Cable kickbacks
Prone ham curls
Stiff leg deadlifts
Jump Squats
Walking lunges

Ok ladies and gents, its time to shape that ass. Now get to it!

The Plastic Princess

The grass is always greener on the other side, right? Perhaps this is not always the case. When someone gets plastic surgery to alter their appearance, does it increase their self-esteem or does it simply make it easier to consider having another procedure and another and another? Does plastic surgery actually resolve body insecurities or does it make the individual more self-conscious? I suppose this question is a very personal one and the answer greatly depends on the individual, the procedure, and the surgery outcome.

Yesterday at the gym, I noticed a woman who we will call the Plastic Princess (PP for short).  She was a very thin woman with what I can only assume were watermelons shoved into her bra. She had the kind of figure where you only need to take a quick glance and you can instantly tell that there is no way that those “breasts” are natural. At some point in the plastic surgery decision making process, what makes someone think that going for an unnatural look is better than a natural look? If I were ever to have a procedure done, I would not want anyone to even question whether I had had work done or not. That shit has to be subtle or you start looking like the cat lady (pictured above).

As I was doing my rear delt dumbbell flyes, PP walked right up to me and struck up a conversation. She said, “I’m not trying to be a pervert or anything but you have a nice round bum. What exercises have you been doing to get it to look like that?” It was at this point that I noticed just how far PP had traveled down the plastic surgery hole. In addition to having giant cannon balls for boobies, she had obviously had something done to her lips and I suspect that she had work done around her eyes as well. Is there something in the plastic surgeon handbook that states that everyone who has gotten facial work must end up looking the same? Do they not all look the same?!  I am not against the idea of someone getting plastic surgery however I just think it looks much more appealing if it is done in a way that results in a natural look. It is alright if you disagree with my opinion. After all, opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.

Upon our face to face encounter, I noticed that PP was fully made-up at the gym. With that much plastic surgery on your face, you would hope that you would consider yourself beautiful enough that you could feel comfortable going au natural to the gym. She had on glittery eye shadow and some obvious fake eyelashes with some pink lipstick. This made me question just how much self-esteem does plastic surgery actually give you. I do not know this woman and I will not speculate but my first impression is that her self-esteem is not very high. I could be way off base here but it was my initial thought.

I proceeded to inform her that the booty may be a genetic gift but I provided her with some tips none the less. I gave her some advice regarding the leg press machine and she proceeded to execute her interpretation of my directions. She had one 45 plate loaded on each side of the leg press for a total of 90 pounds. If you have read my leg press post, you will know that I insist on pushing at least your own weight when using the leg press. She was not 90 pounds so this weight was not acceptable in my eyes and I even walked past her and in a friendly tone said “You can do more weight than that”. I then noticed that in between her sets, she decided to take quite a long phone call. Hmm…maybe the low weight and long rests in between sets could play a part in your lack of muscle gains. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

I would advise thinking very carefully prior to doing any permanent body altering modifications. Too bad fitness can’t be a permanent body altering modification. If it was, I would save a fortune on gym membership fees.

Intimidation Nation

A strong, confident and independent individual is what every woman aspires to be, right? Well, why is it that sometimes society doesn’t always appreciate this? I saw a commercial recently which compared men in power with their female equivalents. The men were seen as taking charge and inspirational but the women in the same position were seen as bossy and demanding. What double standard bullshit is this?

Over the summer, I was hanging out with one of my close male friends. He doesn’t really understand my fitness dreams and does not particularly appreciate a very muscular female physique. He was quite apprehensive when I informed him how I had intended to change my body through fitness and warned me of not getting too muscular. Well, on a particularly warm summer day, I was wearing a tank top and carrying my purse on my forearm. As girls often do, I was carrying the world in my purse which made my bag quite heavy. My good friend was then kind enough to demand that I not to hold my purse on my forearm because apparently this made my bicep bulge excessively and caused me to have a vein pop in my arm. This was very unappealing to him and he made this known. I became immensely annoyed at his words and therefore I continued to hold my purse in this way just to irritate him.

Do we live in a culture that is afraid of strong women? Or is it just the men who are insecure with themselves that fear strong women? My male friend does not go to the gym, does not lift, and he is not as fit as I am. I wonder if that comes into play when he comments on my bulging biceps. I actually became somewhat self conscious of my biceps and decided to stop training them. I figured that they were as big as I needed them to be and they still get a workout indirectly when I work my shoulders, chest and back. When I informed him that I had stopped training my biceps, he verbalized his approval. This pissed me off that much more and I was upset with myself that I had let his words sink in. I truly believe that the male gym rats can appreciate a toned female physique. The male muscle head knows how much work goes into staying fit and they can relate. Regardless of any man or woman’s opinion on my physique, I am in love with my body. I am so in love with my body that my ego has been known to fill an entire room. In the end, the only person you need to impress is yourself. You are the one who has to look in the mirror everyday and if you are happy with what you see in the reflection, that will translate in your actions and behaviours. I don’t think anyone can deny that confidence is sexy. So I say love yourself and that will make it that much easier for others to love you too.