shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Well, gotta say, this Whole30 thing made a difference. I've lost 7.6 lbs and gained lean muscle mass all while eating like a ravenous beast and training like a crazy person.

Here are the photos to demonstrate.... )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I took some more photos yesterday. Here's what I look like now.... )

Back At It

Nov. 15th, 2011 01:14 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I think my trapezius muscles are getting meatier.

It's been a while since I've done progress pictures and measurements. I think I'll do some later today.


Sep. 7th, 2011 08:57 am
shanmonster: (Default)
About twenty years ago, when I first started going to the gym, I remember needing to get help from some of the big guys whenever I needed to remove 45-lb plates from the leg press. I remember getting on an exercise bike for a ten-minute warm-up, and being absolutely exhausted and drenched with sweat, heart pounding a million or so beats per minute when I got off it, staggering for balance. I'd noodle around on the various exercise machines, and make minimal progress.

Sometimes, while I was exercising, someone would see me using a machine wrong and would show me how to use it properly. Other than that, I was ignored and left alone.

Now, about twenty years later, I carry around plenty more than 45 lbs at a time, and never need to enlist aid. I rarely use machines, opting instead for barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or my own body weight. Instead of running on the treadmill or elliptical, I do plyometric exercises. Sometimes now, the big guys see me doing some of my exercises (like extended plank push-ups or single-leg squats) and they shake their heads and grin, saying the reason more people don't do those kinds of exercises are because they're too hard, and that they think I'm damned fit. And the women, who seem more shy, approach me in the change room and ask me for advice on how to do particular exercises.

I wonder where I'll be in the next twenty years?


It's been a while since I've done a link dump. Here you go!

Fandom wasn’t always such a negative experience for creators. I'd never heard of commonplace books, but it seems like social media like Google+, FaceBook, and MySpace are the modern counterparts of this Victorian concept. Short, and interesting article!

I Wish I Had the Balls to Risk My Life Like This Man: How long would it take you to scale a 13,025-foot mountain in the Bernese Alps? Probably a lot longer than this speed climber.

British Columbia Joins War on Wolves: Open season on wolf hunting, ostensibly because wolves are killing all the livestock. Yet "wolf-caused losses represent slightly over 0.01 percent, about half the number that die on the way to the slaughterhouse or are injured and have to be euthanized."

Sperm Donor System Under Scrutiny After Donor Fathers 150 Children: Accidental incest becomes much more possible in such situations.

The sky was gorgeous last night, so I snapped some photos. )
shanmonster: (Default)
Today was the last day of my 6-week TRX training. I'm sad it's over, but I won't be slacking off. Until my next series of supervised training (whether TRX or CrossFit), I'll be doing weight training.

I made enormous gains in strength and technique, over the last six weeks. At the beginning of the series, I was given baseline testing. Here are the befores and afters of it all... )

Back At It

Aug. 10th, 2011 10:43 am
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I need lessons on posing. And/or a coach. Or something.

I found a website on the classic poses, and I decided to give the rear lat spread a try.

Here I am relaxed:


And here I am attempting a rear lat spread:


I was afraid there wouldn't be a significant difference between the first and second photo, but I can see there is something there. It just needs a lot more work. Starting next week, weight training, with lat pull-downs and bent-over rows. Then maybe that triangle shape will be much more pronounced. Here's hoping!

The pose itself still needs a lot of work, though.

(Oh yes, the massage yesterday did wonders. And so did icing it, having a nap, and a hot bath. I'm still a little sore today, but it is soooo much better. No longer being in misery ROCKS.)
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
This is me this time last year. I was doing regular weight-training, lifting heavy free weights:

[Back then]

This is me today. I've been doing TRX suspension training for just under two weeks, and calisthenics, dance, yoga, and isometric exercises sporadically for the past year.

[Back now]

I believe I have lost muscle mass. That being said, it's still not too shabby. Oddly enough, my measurements aren't significantly different. I even weigh about the same. I'm curious to see how I measure up in a month's time. I continue to do TRX training three times a week as my main strength- and stamina-building exercise. I haven't noticed a significant difference in strength, but in the past week, I have noticed an improvement in my stamina.

On Saturday, I will be trying out a CrossFit class for the first time. If I like it (and I suspect I shall), once my TRX training sessions are done, I'm switching over to CrossFit.

In the meantime, the bootcamp classes I've been leading have been going well. A few people dropped out after the very first class, but those who have stuck with it have been busting their asses and I'm seeing dramatic improvement all around. The next month's session is already sold out.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
New set of photos to mark progress made with TRX training. These were taken on day 2 of TRX.

Weight: 139 (I'm retaining like mad today because of woman stuff. Blargh.)


Neck: 12.75"
Chest: 34"
Waist: 28.25"
Hips: 38"
Left bicep: 10"
Right bicep: 10.25"
Left thigh: 21.5"
Right thigh: 21.5"
Left calf: 14.5"
Right calf: 14.25"

Body fat percentage to be measured, but when I measured last week, I think it was 16.7%.

Read more... )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I'm way overdue for these. I haven't been doing regular weight training for quite some time, due to scheduling conflicts and persnickety injuries. But I haven't exactly been lying fallow. I've continued dancing, walking, and cycling, as well as my occasional calisthenics/plyometrics/isometrics.

Here's what I look like today, aka the day after I turned 40. Oy vey....

Behind the cut lurks bikini photos )
shanmonster: (Default)
These were taken on Sunday. )
shanmonster: (Default)
It's been a while. Because of a non-workout-related muscle pull, I haven't been doing as much strength training lately. But I have been doing a decent amount of cardio, and started pumping iron again. My muscles didn't fall off in the interim.

Here's the proof. )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I've been working on a lot of things, lately. Mostly, I'm trying to improve myself in a general sense.

I'm trying to improve my cooking. That's going well. Maybe too well. The stuff I make is so delicious I might make myself fat eating it! I try to limit my baking to about once a week, although I did bake two things this week: crackberry pie and ginger banana muffins. They are both really damned good. I'll also be baking more things as Christmas presents. The curry peanut soup is delicious, and I feel less guilty about eating lots of it, because it's crammed with good-for-me: protein (chickpeas, natural peanut butter, and shrimp), and vitamin-rich veggies (sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.). And it tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge. It's even better that it's [ profile] f00dave-friendly.

My knitting skills continue to progress. I'm actually pleased with the stuff I've been making. It no longer looks like something a kid might make. It looks good.

My workouts at the gym have been irregular this month because of a pull in my SI joint, but the massage therapy and stretching I've been getting has been helping a lot. I'm starting to feel like my strength is getting back to where it should be. I need to work on my cardio, but my asthma makes it difficult, sometimes. Still, yesterday I was able to do a bunch of skipping (including crossovers which are nice for working the coordination), 320 jumping jacks, 120 dragons, and the rest of my regular isometrics and weight-training. It took me a lot longer than it should have, but I finished it all, so for that, I'm grateful.

I've continued my quest of doing at least one creative thing a day, whether it be cooking, writing, dancing, photography, or crafting. And I share it with others. I think it keeps my brain limber. It certainly fills the time more productively than watching television, and it leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that I've done something to make the world a nicer place for at least one other person, too.

What I need to work on:
  • Cardio endurance. Skipping is great for this. I should really start running the stairs in my apartment building again, too, now that outdoor running isn't a good option, anymore. It will do my legs and butt a hell of a lot of good, and will also burn off more fat, giving me more muscle definition.
  • Reading. I just haven't been reading many books, lately, and it's pissing me off. The last couple of books I read and enjoyed were Robin Hobbs' newest dragon books. I devoured them pretty fast. I stopped reading Colleen McCullough's Marc Antony and Cleopatra, though. It was getting too silly. I also want to continue to read more of the literary greats. I've been reading Machiavelli and Plato, lately. I need to do more of that, to wake up my lazy brains.
  • Latin. I miss studying it.
  • General crafting. I did a bit of papercraft today, with the skullflake, but really, that's pretty simple stuff. I should be doing much more complex work than that, considering my craft background. It would help if I had some better supplies. The scalpel I was using is pretty dull.
  • Sewing and costume design. I have rather a lot of ideas which I need to make. Everything from dance costumes to historical Viking costuming.
  • Painting. It's been too long, and I'm itching to break out my acrylics again.
  • Crochet. I suck at it. I need to not suck at it.
  • Building more muscle in my arms and chest. I'm pretty pleased with my back, abs, and legs. But they are a lot stronger and more defined than my arms and chest. My shoulders aren't too bad, but they could be better, too. I just need to rack on more weights.
  • Dance technique. I especially want to work on my armwork again. I've let it fall a bit by the wayside in favour of floorwork.
  • Photography. Now that the camera has been repaired, I'm looking forward to doing lots more photography. I have willing human and critter models, and I don't need consent from the inanimate objects I want to do macro-photography of. Mwahahah!

Edit: Look at all the high-impact stuff I've been doing, like skipping and jumping jacks. And note that my bad foot hasn't bothered me since the summer. Is it possible it's finally healed? Oh, I do hope so! Once upon a time, I couldn't do any sort of impact movement with my feet without them swelling up. This hasn't been the case for a long time. I am filled with hope.
shanmonster: (Default)
The pictures were delayed this month, but here they are. I'm afraid the past month has been tricky for me, so these seem more like regress photos than progress photos, but ah well. Here's hoping my back is better really soon so I can get back into hardcore weight training three times a week, rather than the pitiful once a week I've been managing.

Read more... )
shanmonster: (Default)
A week later than I should be, but here they are. )

Flex Appeal

Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:03 am
shanmonster: (Default)
And it's time for the monthly progress pictures and measurements. )

Flex Appeal

Sep. 1st, 2010 03:07 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
Looks like today is progress day! Here's where I am, now. )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Time to check in with my measurements, I guess.

Weight: 139 lbs
Height: 5'8.5" (I've shrunk over the years)

Neck: 13.5"
Chest: 36"
Waist: 28"
Hips: 37"
Left bicep: 10"
Right bicep: 10"
Left thigh: 21"
Right thigh: 21"
Left calf: 14"
Right calf: 13.75"

Hmm. My right calf needs to step it up!

My measurements in January were the same, except my biceps were .5" bigger then, and I weighed a bit less.


I see a difference, but the tape measure doesn't.

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