Monthly Archives: February 2014

Training log & stuff

I managed to make it to BGWLC last night despite a cold – which has been brewing all week – turning me into a big snotty mess at the moment. Thank goodness for pseudoephedrine.

I had intended to have a bit of a “mini competition” at the gym by myself, but I ended up just doing a squat run-up. The gym was pretty empty as almost everyone else is resting ahead of the GBPF South East Open on Sunday.

  • Squats: worked up to a single at 92.5kg (my current competition pb). Then attempted 97.5kg twice but failed both. I nearly lost my lunch on the first try, which was not pleasant
  • Good mornings; glute & ham raises
  • Bench: worked up to 3 x 3 @ 40kg
  • Hammer curls; stretching etc

Today I went to conditioning at Urban Kings, and it was brutal. My legs were already feeling shot after those squats, and they feel even worse now!

  • Warm up: 5 minutes of jogging, high knees, butt kicks etc. Dropping to do occasional burpees/pushups/situps
  • 2 rounds of – 50 squat jumps, 40 tuck jumps, 30 burpees, 20 pushups, 10 situps
  • 3 rounds of – 6 x 20m sprints, 4 x 20m bear crawls, 20 situps
  • 200 shoulder-to-shoulder with a 10kg sandbag. I also had to do 10 burpees because I dropped the bag
  • 100 situps

Yeah, conditioning is horrible. I’m not sure why I pay so much money to that gym so they can TORTURE ME.

Food-wise, I’ve been tracking fairly well, although I’m never 100% convinced that the values pre-programmed into apps like MyPlate are totally accurate (and I’m too lazy to scrutinize labels). So I’ve been taking all my totals with a large pinch of salt. But if the tracking is more-or-less correct, I’m running at about 2000-2200kcal per day, which is less than I intended. I can’t help thinking that when I estimated I was eating 3000+ per day before, I was wildly overestimating.

  • Nutrient profile 1
  • Nutrient profile 2
  • Nutrient profile 3
  • Nutrient profile 4

I’ve also been managing to keep a fairly decent nutrient split, although I should probably eat more protein. Somehow!

And while I’m geeking out about apps, I used RunKeeper to figure out just how long my home → station walk is…

Home to station walk

Almost a mile! So yeah, if anyone thinks I’m not walking enough, I’m pointing them here. Twice a day, baby!

I have not, however, lost any weight at all, which is annoying. Yes, I know, it doesn’t happen overnight etc (disclaimer: I’m 37 and read and stuff). If I’m not seeing 72 or 73kg on the scale by the end of March then I’m thinking a return to Dr Ray Peat style eating is going to be necessary, as I had good success with his plan pre-competition a couple of years ago.


Recipe – easy pilau rice

I am both coming down with a cold and not managing to work out much at the moment. On Monday I swapped lifting for a really excellent workshop on public speaking; and today I missed yoga for a lunchtime talk on feature flagging. I feel bummed that I haven’t been to the gym, but on the other hand the geek stuff was necessary (and interesting).

I really do not want/need to get a cold at the moment, so I’m going to pick up some drugs on the way home tonight. Fingers crossed I don’t get properly sick!

This recipe isn’t really much of a recipe at all, it’s just a way of cooking rice that makes it extra delicious. I make it when we’re having curry at home – we’ve recently been using Vini & Bal’s excellent sauces & they’re excellent (for lazy people like us!)

Easy (probably not very authentic) pilau rice

White basmati rice, rinsed well in water (see recipe for quantity)
1 tbsp butter or ghee (you can use coconut oil, but olive oil/animal fat won’t work here as they impart too strong a flavour)
3 cloves
1 bay leaf (dried is fine)
1 little-finger sized piece of cinnamon bark
1 green cardamom pod, bruised
1 tsp turmeric (optional – this will turn the rice “curry house yellow”, but the recipe works fine without it)

Put the butter/ghee into a saucepan & melt over a medium-high heat. When it’s foaming, add the spices and fry for a few seconds. Then add the rice.

How much rice you use depends on how many you’re cooking for, but take note of the quantity – you want twice as much water to rice. So, for example, I use half a mugful of rice, so I know that when I add the water, I want a whole mugful of water.

Fry the rice & spices for a minute or two, until all the rice is coated in butter and the spices are fragrant. Then add your water, stir once, and allow to come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, put the lid on the saucepan & turn the heat down low.

Leave the rice cooking, covered, for 15 minutes. After this time, take the lid off the pan and use a metal spoon or fork to “part” the rice & see how much liquid is left. If there’s still bubbles of water, put the lid back on & leave it for another new minutes. Keep checking the rice – but don’t stir it! – until the bottom of the pan looks almost dry (but the rice isn’t starting to burn!) When 99% of the water is gone, take the pan off the heat & fluff the rice up with a fork.

Eat! (But remember to take the spices out first!)

Review: MyProtein Total Breakfast

MyProtein's Total Breakfast product

MyProtein’s Total Breakfast product

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’d ordered a pouch of MyProtein’s Total Breakfast, along with my usual whey protein. I was curious to try this out, as I usually have either Oatibix or Mornflake Toasted Oatbran with greek yogurt for breakfast but wanted to get more protein – without ditching my beloved oats. Seriously, I love oats. I know we’re all meant to eat eggs for breakfast but dammit I love oats. Ahem. Anyhow.

Total Breakfast is a shake mix containing whey, egg white, caffeine and oats (yay!) among other things. I ordered the vanilla flavour, with the idea that if it tasted truly horrible, I could add other things to it to mask the flavour. It’s a bit harder to do that with strawberry or chocolate shakes.

I admit, I was cynical. I am not generally a fan of protein products – I eat them because I have to, not because I choose to. I must have a spoiled palate, because I find products which other people declare as “delicious” (you know, like protein pancakes or raw paleo carb-free primal whatever protein balls) to be decidedly not delicious. So I was expecting Total Breakfast to be – at best – something I had to choke down rather than enjoy (you know, like Oatibix…OK, I’ll stop going on about how much I love oats. For now.)

I got my pouch in the usual super-speedy way I get all my MyProtein products. Top marks. Total Breakfast only comes in 2.1kg pouches, which is a lot (especially if it turned out I didn’t like it!) and you need 2 scoops (70g) to make up your shake, along with 400-500ml of liquid. To that end, it’s a good job I already owned a large protein shaker, as my standard SmartShake would not have been big enough.

I’ve been having my breakfast shakes with milk, so I can’t comment on the taste with water. However, the shake made up with milk is….surprisingly not awful! In fact, it’s pretty damn palatable. This is high praise indeed from me, hater of vegetables & lover of Krispy Kremes. The shake tastes, to me, like a melted Mr Whippy ice-cream, although the texture is obviously quite different thanks to the non-dissolving milled oats. But the texture is not unpleasant – if nothing else it’s a bit like very runny Ready-Brek.

As for mixability – it’s OK. Having a blender bottle like this one definitely helps, as does adding the powder to the liquid. Adding the liquid to the powder resulted in a rather concrete-like shake on the first day.

I’ve found that the shake takes me quite a lot longer to drink than the time I need to throw a bowl of Oatibix down my gullet (read: not very long at all) so I’ve been carrying it on my journey to the station (one mile, twice a day!) and drinking it on the train. Maybe this is just me, though – YMMV on how quickly you can gulp an extra-thick shake.

As for satiety – I have my Total Breakfast at 8.40am (on the train!) and am still feeling satisfied by the time lunchtime rolls around, so that’s a win.

Overall, I was really pleasantly surprised. OK, I may change my tune after 4 months of drinking the same damn breakfast every damn day, but for the moment I’m happy with it. I may actually try making my utter “oh god these taste awful” nemesis – protein pancakes – with it & shall report back if I do.

Note: this review was not endorsed by MyProtein. But hey, if you guys want to send me some free stuff…!

Talking about powerlifting, part ??

You might recall that a couple of months ago I did a 5-minute lightning talk at Ladies Who Code on powerlifting. The lady who organises LWC also helps to run Devs Love Bacon, a conference about “things developers love” and she suggested I apply & do an extended version of my talk. I was all gung-ho about public speaking at that point, and decided why the hell not.

Weeks pass, and my enthusiasm about public speaking totally wanes. So not interested in that any more. So of course Bacon accept my talk and now I have to do it. YIKES.

The Benefits of Powerlifting for the Desk-bound Geek by moi.

I haven’t written the talk yet – I just have my outline and the 5-minute talk I did before; this one has to be 30 minutes. I specifically put that I was into body positivity and HAES in my intro, so I need to work hard over the next month or so to get back to a positive place with my self-image. I think I can do it. I know I can do it.

Tonight I’m not going to the gym (I’m only missing out on setting openers for a competition I’m not doing!) and instead I’m off to Soapbox: your first steps to public speaking confidence.

I’m so nervous. I just have to remind myself that if I can stand up on a lifting platform in a room full of people, looking like a string of sausages stuffed into a singlet, pulling faces like a champion gurner; then I can do this talk. Probably.

Friday positivity

Right right right, I’m going to try to be more positive. Yesterday was pretty miserable, mood-wise, and I went to the gym just wanting to be left alone. For all I appreciate BGWLC being a social & supportive club, sometimes my inner Greta Garbo comes out, I just want to train on my own and not have the comparisons with others right in my face. But happily the gym was pretty quiet last night so I was able to brood in peace. Hopefully I’ll be in a more sociable mood next time.

  • Bench: worked up to singles (with pauses) at 47.5kg & 50kg. Then 42.5kg for 9.5 reps without stops (the half rep was because my bottom came off the bench!!)
  • Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 10kg, 3 sets of 7
  • Squats: worked up to 3 doubles @ 75kg (80%)
  • Band leg curls & reverse hyperextensions
  • Abs etc

I would really like to get an unofficial squat pb of 100kg by April (unofficial because only competition pbs count) because that’s the 5 year anniversary of my starting to lift. 5 years and I still can’t squat 100kg 😦

Sorry, positivity fail there. Five years and I’m really close to being able to squat 100kg! Woo! Better?

I have some other thoughts about food and how depressing it is that these days, the focus seems to be on everything you eat being “healthy” or “good for you” or strictly timed around activity etc, and no-one seems to remember the pleasure of food, of eating things that you genuinely enjoy; but that’s for another time.

Fat yoga

I didn’t think I was going to make it to Yogalates yesterday as I thought I had a meeting over lunchtime (about feature flagging, so actually q interesting). However it turns out that’s next week, so I managed to scuttle out of the office in time for class.

I really enjoy the Yogalates class although I’m pretty rubbish at it (that said, I can Warrior III fairly well on my right leg now, but not the left!) What I didn’t enjoy yesterday was sitting in front of the mirror & feeling pretty fat. I am absolutely fine with the fact that my arms & legs are twice the width of the other ladies’ in the class; when we put our arms out to the side I don’t care that I have dangly bingo wings; and when we put our hands on our shoulders it doesn’t bother me that my upper arms look matronly. What I don’t like at the moment is that the extra 10lbs I’ve gained have all gone onto my trunk, so when we sit down, I bulge even more than I used to.

I know I shouldn’t care, and it annoys me that I do. I’m just cross, so cross, that back in September I really thought I’d nailed it, and then I go and “eat the food” & ruin it all (and – worse – I’m now fretting about food & counting calories/macros, whereas before I didn’t and was lighter!). I’ve quit the ETF group I was in; I tried, it wasn’t for me.

In calorie/weight news, I’m managing to stick to 2000-2200kcal a day without any problems, but am still 75kg. Blargh. My coach said it’s fine, it’s good to train heavy to get some strength into me; I just worry that when it comes to my next competition the damn weight won’t come off, you know? It’s all very well being strong at 75kg, but I need to be strong at 72!

(I don’t even think I’m all that strong, TBH – not for my weight!)

Oh well. I’m not deeply unhappy about all this or anything, just cross. Cross because life isn’t fair (wah!) and I want to not count calories/macros/track what I eat, like I did last year. Maybe this is just one of those effects of getting older. Sob!

Training 17/02/14 & Total Breakfast

As it’s only 12 days until the SE Open at Woking, last night at BGWLC was 98%+ squat night; ie. the last heavy squat session before competition. I’m not competing but I still wanted to take part in the training regimen (I might even have my own run-ups in the gym the day before the comp to see how I’m doing). I was hoping to squat at least 90kg, and ended up doing a 95kg squat that didn’t feel as hard as the one I did back in December at the club comp. Pretty pleased with that.

  • Squats: ran up to 3 @ 75kg; 2 @ 80kg; 1 @ 85kg; 1 @ 90kg; 1 @ 95kg
  • Dimel deadlifts: 2 sets of 20 @ 40kg
  • Glute & ham raises + pullthroughs
  • Bench: worked up to 3 sets of 3 @ 42.5kg, with a pause on the last rep of each set
  • Hammer curls: 2 sets of 12 @ 9kg
  • Machine rows: 2 sets of 12 @ 15kg (each hand)
  • Cable crunches

I had quite a decent day yesterday, macros-wise (argh, can’t believe I’m caring about macros, god) but I’m struggling to eat enough protein without resorting to frankly odd practices, such as eating an entire packet of ham at my desk with my fingers. I was recommended to try oats with added protein, since I’m an oat fiend and found this stuff for sale on

MyProtein's Total Breakfast product

MyProtein’s Total Breakfast product

Total Breakfast is, apparently, an oat & whey shake with 24g of protein & 24g of carbs in each serving. I won’t lie – I’m expecting this to taste pretty awful, but I’m willing to give it a go. I’m getting used to all “healthy” food alternatives tasting pretty bad. I’m afraid that whenever I see someone describing a “healthy” cookie or cake alternative as “delicious” I immediately assume they’re deluded – the same with protein flavours. Let’s face it – nothing ever tastes as good as the real thing. Sigh 😦

I had hoped to get to kettlebells today but again the world is conspiring against me on Tuesdays. Maybe I should give it up as a lost cause!