Is it already the end of August?!
I am freaking out because time is flying and I have officially lived in Boston longer than I have lived anywhere else in the last six years. It’s a cool feeling. I’ve really fallen in love with this city.
One small complaint or observation: I have been walking a lot lately and the combination of the heat and the trash is not so lovely. It has been stinky lately around downtown Boston. And that is one reason I am very excited for fall; perhaps the cool weather will make it less smelly!
This week might have been crazy but I still had time for handstands. I haven’t been practicing as often as I used to so I added in these Donkey Kick handstands because I couldn’t practice handstand walking outside. They are great because there is CONSTANT TENSION on the shoulders, mimicking the tension when you walk on your hands. If you want to learn 10 Simple Steps to master the handstand, click the link!
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This week was fun. I felt like I was pushed outside my comfort zone as an instructor because I taught 10 Barry’s Classes, five Cyc Classes and trained two clients one-on-one. It was an active but social week.
I was thankful to get to meet my client Meredith from Philadelphia in person this weekend too! She is a hoot.
Professionally I took on a new client this week and added a very deep, reflective homework assignment component to my #Daretoeat Program and I think my clients very much enjoyed it.
I practiced posing more often since this week marked 12-weeks out and came up with a bit of a routine! Woo!
Also, random but sweet, my Dad and Stepmom celebrated their 9th anniversary. Happy Anniversary to them– shirts provided by my baby brother #woodnation!
Sunday: Deadlifts only, literally.
On Sunday I not only was wiped out from taking a Barry’s class and not feeling fully recovered to deadlift. I also didn’t have enough time to get all the way through my program so I only did trap-bar deadlifts with 205 for 3×5 and then sumo deadlifts 3×5 at 205. The plan was to only trap-bar deadlift but after a good warmup and some strong sets I went ahead and pulled three sets of sumo but just stayed light.
Monday: Accessory work from Sunday
I finished my deadlift program on Monday. This week was the beginning of my new program. Not a ton of changes but enough to make it exciting! I wanted to have added challenges without necessary having to push myself to put more weight on the bar…
..And not because I don’t want to put more weight on the bar, but because I will ALWAYS push myself (a little too hard) to do that and with my deficit for this #bikiniprep, more weight may or may not be the greatest idea. I made the exercises more difficult in order to use the same load (or less to start) but made it feel more challenging.
Can we take a moment to talk about how beautiful the lighting is in this gym?! What the heck?! These are great because I did not feel like going up to 170 this week with sumo RDLs and it made the exercise harder without adding weight. I have seen several people in the industry doing these and figured I would add them into my program. Syatt Fitness had a great video of them about a month ago.
Tuesday: Upper Body
I benched 3×3 at 95 pounds. Afterward I did a back off set and then added paused bench back into my program for this month. See the video below.
Wednesday: glutes and biceps
It was important to me to get some heavy chin-ups in on my front squat day this week. I did these first and was happy with how they went!
Front squats with a slow eccentric:
After my front squats I kept my push presses light this week. I did my front squats, front squats with slow eccentric and push presses with 85 pounds. It was very convenient.
Friday: Heavy back squats and hip thrusts
This week I didn’t want to go as heavy as possible but I wanted to see how many sets of 8 I could do heavy(ish). I was VERY surprised. 160 pounds felt good so I did it again, and again, and again! Woo!
Due to hex plates, bad mats and an awkwardly tall bench, I was OVER trying to do hip thrusts on the regular bench with a barbell. This week I used the smith machine and really really liked how smooth it felt.
This week was a solid one for nutrition.
I had ground turkey a a few times. I had salmon once. I had my weekly plate of mushrooms. It was splendid.
I let myself have two higher days to stay sane on Thursday and Friday (sign-up for the newsletter and you’ll see next weekend when I release my bi-monthly macros).
Because I taught so many spinning classes this week, high cal days were in order. I am happy with the way I am looking physique-wise so a few more calories were not going to hurt me.
I wanted to show you guys two photos taken one day apart so you can see how being hydrated/dehydrated and different lighting can really change the way you look.
Don’t always believe what you see on instagram. Neither of these have filters but the lighting is dramatically different. Also, if you are doing some type of prep, if it best to take photos in the same lighting as often as possible because things like this can really confuse you with your own progress. With how mental this whole process is, don’t make it more difficult on yourself. Be very matter of fact with results and progress. Streamline everything and make sure you quantify everything with tape measures, photos in the same lighting/clothes etc.
This upcoming week will be a lower calorie week. I will be traveling for Labor day, teaching slightly less and on a better week of my cycle to eat less. I am excited to see how the low calorie week affects my body and then I can go back to what I have been doing for the following four weeks. I do not plan on tightening things up significantly until 4-5 weeks out.
What I am reading:
(Favorites: #2, #3 and #8)
1. 4 Deadlift Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make via Ryan Wood
3. Lack of Sleep and Hormone Havoc: What to do about it via Girls Gone Strong
4. 2 Exercises to keep your shoulders healthy and feeling amazing via LaVack Fitness
5. Stage Ready Myth via JMax Fitness
6. 31 Random Training Thoughts via Roberson Training Systems
7. Powerliftter vs. Calisthenics: Who is stronger? via Broscience
8. Signs of Steroid Use via Mens Health
9. Wait Til You’re My Age via Tony Gentilcore
10. Targeting Different Gluteal Areas via Bret Contreras for Fitness RX Women
11. #BikiniPre 12-Weeks out via Crossroads of Fitness
Exercise [combo] of the week:
This was something I stole from Emily Susen at Barry’s Bootcamp. If you haven’t taken her class, she’s a bad A$$– make sure you get in to one of her classes!!
She had us do the side lean (mimics the pattern of the hip hinge for a windmill, but instead of bell overhead, the bell is in a carry position), clean to push press, one minute per side. I took that combo and added onto it for this video, adding one windmill at the end. I am not sure why but I have so much fun with this combo.
I think the atypical clean is what makes it fun. It is not your traditional SFG clean, but sometimes different is fun. Also, you all know I love pressing and push pressing anything makes you feel bad A$$. This combo is the perfect mix of power and control. Try it!
[NEW SECTION] Texts from my clients:
“You know you are eating like a bro when your afternoon snack is a plate of chicken.” Haha Get it Ash! (insert fist pump).
Randi sent this and posted the following:
“Is ricotta bad for you?” The thing is, ricotta is not bad for you. It is just like eating cottage cheese or string cheese for those of you who eat those items regularly. Cheeses are known to have a lot of protein, and if you are not allergic to dairy there is no problem with dairy. Several of my female clients say they feel less bloated when they eat dairy less often. But if you enjoy cheese and digest it well, ricotta is an excellent option to snack on or add to a meal for great flavor and high protein!
Then Randi was a Bad A$$ and posted this:
Erin sent this:
She has been traveling for two weeks. She got home, deadlifted 200 pounds and the following week (week post vacation) she sent this with a really personal message about how proud she is to have learned enough to be able to stay consistent on the road with nutrition and find her weight unchanged! Go Erin!
Side note: if you are traveling, it might not be the best idea to weigh yourself the day you get back. Do what Erin did and take a week to get back to eating your normal foods, sleeping in your own bed and exercising. Then if you want to use a scale for accountability, by all means!
I am proud of Amy because she has been working very diligently this week to monitor portions since so many of her meals have to be away from her own kitchen. Go, Amy!
Laura (who is traveling in Europe) sent:
A photo from the Swiss Alps! Laura has been checking in daily despite being away on vacation. She and I made a deal: carbs and fat could be higher than her normal macros, so long as her calories were in check for two weeks on vacation. She is STILL MAKING PROGRESS while eating yummy dinners in Italy and small bites in Switzerland. Go Laura!
My client Katie is doing a triathlon this weekend and send me TONs of updates. This week her protein came. She was ecstatic. She also sends me pics of the food bowls she makes– some of which will be featured next week! Go Katie!
A photo of an amazing protein pancake! Three days of Bani’s meals will be featured as well next week. Her meals have been ON FLEEK and every time she texts me I get hungry. I think she has a lot of great snack and meal ideas so stay tuned next week! Go Bani!
Kati worked her ass off:
She crushed some chin up clusters (here is part of one cluster) after being out of town for ONE MONTH!
How did she stay on track? She followed a three day/week strength program I wrote and did it on her own very diligently for the entire month of August.