Work Outs: February 20 – 26, 2022 (Alligator Lizards and Buddha’s Hand Fruit)

We were out on one of our walks this week when we saw the cheeky, little sprite pictured below. I took this picture and poked around online a bit to try and figure out the species but without any luck. I asked around and one of my sources told me it is a Southern Alligator Lizard and is very common in the Santa Cruz area.*

Sun, February 20th

Rest day. I could have worked out but I didn’t want to risk being sore (especially my legs) for class on Monday.

Calories: 2000, Protein: 160 g.

Mon, February 21st

  • Did some static and dynamic stretching for 30 minutes.
  • Attended a two hour pro wrestling class.

Calories: 1716, Protein: 150 g.

Tues, Feb 22nd

  • I followed along to Jack Lalane Season 1, Episode 5. I worked with the indian clubs during the parts of the episode when Jack was talking to the audience, and also put in about 10 minutes further with the 1 lb. indian clubs. For all of the weight work I kept moving between sets by doing dynamic stretches or just light movement.
  • DB Incline Press: 25 lbs. x 12 reps, 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps, 35 lbs. x 7 reps
  • (Tri Set) Light Spring Bar (Pronated/Supinated): (6/6) reps x 4 sets +
    • Tricep Pushdowns (straight handle): 40 lbs. x 10 x 12 reps, 45 lbs. x 9 x 8 reps
    • Fitness Bag Cleans: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) Heavy Spring Bar** (Pronated/Supinated): (4/3) reps x 2 sets, Lateral Raises 10 lbs. x 12 reps, Russian KB One-Handed Swings (2-ct): 15 reps +
    • BB Military Press: 44 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps

Calories: 2000, Protein: 151 g.

Since I was in Southern Alligator Lizard mode, I poked around on my phone and found an old picture I took in the summer of 2020, again at the state park near where I live, of what looks like another very similar but slightly different lizard sunning itself on a fallen tree.

All of this talk of reptiles and such reminds me of this brown dragon I saw (again in the same park) in 2019. And of course, who can forget The Dragons of USPS?

Wed, Feb 23rd

  • Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 6, RPMs: 80+
  • Afternoon Walk: 3.5 miles.

Calories: 2155, Protein: 147 g.

So I saw these things at the gas station we often go to when we want a cheap, touchless car wash. It also doubles as a small grocery store. I learned that this is a “fingered citron,” which is more commonly known in many countries as a Buddha’s Hand fruit.

My first thought was a better name might be Cthulhu’s Face.

I bought one and tried to eat it like you would any other fruit, but that didn’t go too well. I quickly learned that the thing is mostly peel and is usually used as a zest or garnish like a lemon.

I did a little reading and learned that people often put these in a room because they will give off a pleasing odor that can freshen a space for up to a couple of weeks. I think that I might buy another Cthulhu’s Face, if they turn up again, and try putting one in the dining room and seeing how it goes. Seems like it might be a pleasant and natural, occasional alternative to those plug-in air fresheners my husband likes to collect.

Thur, Feb 24th

  • I stretched for 20 minutes in the morning.
  • Afternoon Workout: I warmed up with dynamic stretching and some indian club work. With this workout there was no rest at all. I went from exercise to exercise and from set to set as quickly as I safely could.
  • (Tri Set) Standing Rows (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • CoC Grippers (Guide 60 lbs.) x 3 sets x 12 reps, (Sport 80 lbs.) x 8 reps (partials with left hand)
    • Low Toe Taps x 4 sets x 30 seconds
  • (Tri Set) Pulldowns (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • CoC Grippers (Sport, 80 lbs.) x 2 sets x 8 reps (partials with left hand), (Trainer, 100 lbs.) x 2 sets x 5 reps (partials)
    • Low Toe Taps x 4 sets x 30 seconds
  • (Tri Set) DB Bicep Curls: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Front Kick Stretch (each leg) x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Laterally Step Over Kettlebell x 4 sets x 30 seconds
  • (Tri Set) BB Seated Wrist Curls: 44 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • Standing Calf Raises x 4 sets x 12 reps (two sets with straight legs, two sets with legs bent)
    • Arm Pumping for 30 seconds x 4 sets (Did it like Jack Lalane was doing in this video.)
  • (Tri Set) DB Reverse Wrist Curls: 8 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +
    • DB Hammer Curls: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Supine Leg Windmills: 4 sets x 30 revolutions
  • Evening Walk: 3 miles.

Calories: 2004, Protein: 186 g.

Fri, Feb 25th

  • Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 6, RPMs: 80+. Stretched for 15 minutes afterwards.
  • In the afternoon I worked with the 1 lb. indian clubs for 15 minutes and then stretched for 15 minutes.

Calories: 2000, Protein: 163 g.

Sat, Feb 26th

I put in a lot of physical labor helping with set up and tear down at a pro wrestling show. I also worked as security for the event.

Calories: 2130, Protein: 147 g.

I lost 2.25 lbs. this week. My total loss is 5.25 lbs. over two weeks.


* I thought the animal might be some kind of skink because of the head shape but my more knowledgeable source informs me that this is incorrect.

** I remember digging out the heavy spring bar almost a year-and-a-half ago now and I couldn’t even bend it for one full rep. That big, old thing is still no joke but I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made with it, especially since I haven’t prioritized or systematized working with it in a meaningful way.

Work Outs: February 13 – 19, 2022 (Valentine’s Day and the Thagomizer Tree)

My husband and I always get a laugh when we walk by this dead tree. It has been a couple of months since we happened by this way and he remarked, “I see the damned thing hasn’t fallen over yet. Wonder when it will?”

If you look at the picture closely you’ll see what he means: the lower part of the trunk has rotted away so it is significantly thinner than the top, giving the tree a top-heavy appearance.

It is also full of holes from (presumably) woodpeckers, which are common in the area, and probably any number of bugs, which attracted said birds.

My husband, who can be somewhat prone to looking at things through the veil of omens, prophecy, coincidence, and other realms of existence always steps lively past this tree, lest it picks that very moment as if it were predestined to fall over on one of us.

I’d say my husband is letting his imagination run away with him, but I’ve been married to him long enough to where I know better. Who am I to scoff at Predestination and oracular visions, after all?

Sun, February 13th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles. Did some balancing work afterwards.

Calories: 2091, Protein: 141 g.

Mon, February 14th

  • Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Level 5, RPMs 75 – 80, Hill Program
  • Evening Walk: 3.28 miles. Did some balancing work afterwards.

Calories: ~2200, Protein: ~125 g.

Valentine’s Day was nice. I always buy my husband some flowers every year and this year it was roses. I also saw him looking at an interesting coffee cup at a grocery store we go to a lot but he didn’t buy it. So I pretended not to notice and went back later in the week and got it for him as a gift. We made a nice meal at home together, so it was a good day.

Tues, Feb 15th

  • I did one round of the MV Steel Mace Workout with my 5 lb. mace as a (strenuous) warm-up.
  • (Giant Set x 5 Sets) I had 60 seconds to do each exercise. I could rest after each exercise if and only if there was time left. There was no rest, other than this, at the end of each set.
    • Low Bench Taps for 60 seconds, Bench Dips: 10 reps, Marching High Hip Bucks: 10 (2-ct) reps, Seated Scapular Push-ups: 10 reps
  • (Super Set) Arnold Press: 15 lbs. x 8 reps x 2 sets, 20 lbs. x 8 reps x 2 sets, 25 lbs. x 8 reps x 2 sets +
    • CoC Grippers: (Guide, 60 lbs.) x 8 reps x 4 sets, Sport (80 lbs.) x 5 reps x 2 sets
    • Rest at the end of each set by stretching for 30 seconds.
  • (Super Set): Incline Push-ups using stairs: (4th step) x 8 reps x 4 sets, (3rd step) x 8 reps x 2 sets +
    • CoC Grippers: (Sport 80 lbs.) x 5 reps x 2 sets, (Trainer 100 lbs., partial reps) x 5 reps x 3 sets (was able to close once on the second set with my right hand)
    • Rest at the end of each set by stretching for 30 seconds.
  • (Giant Set):
    • Lateral Raises: 10 lbs. x 8 reps x 3 sets
    • Tricep Pushdowns (v-handle): 35 lbs. x 8, 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Cross Body Hammer Curls alternating reps with Hammer Curls: 10 lbs. x 12 reps, 12 lbs. x 12 reps, 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Light Spring Bar: 8 reps x 3 sets
    • Rest at the end of each set by stretching for 30 seconds
  • (Tri Set):
    • Seated BB Wrist Curls: 44 lbs. x 8 reps x 3 sets
    • Seated BB Rev Wrist Curls: 31 lbs. x 8 reps x 3 sets
    • (Set 1) Heavy Spring Bar 8 reps; (Sets 2-3) 2 lb. Indian Club work for one minute
    • Rest at the end of each set by stretching for 30 seconds
  • Evening Walk: 3.26 miles.

Calories: 1943, Protein: 160 g.

Back to our friend the dead tree. I took a closer picture of the trunk so you can see how it has rotted away. Not a very encouraging pillar of support. Much like some early American poetry, I often look for symbolism and lessons in nature and this tree seems to provide quite a few possibilities, at least to my thinking. What those are I’ll leave to the reader’s discernment, since such things are often different for each of us.

So my husband kept going on about the tree as we stood there having some water and debating whether it would fall over on him this time or not. Never being one not to pour gasoline on a fire, I pointed up and said that the way those branches were all pointed in the same direction, conveniently toward the trail too, they looked like stegosaurus tail spikes.

Thus the name “Thagomizer Tree” was born. The reference comes from a story about how the semi-formal name of thagomizer was used for the beast’s spiked tail based on a Gary Larson cartoon, and even made it into some scientific journals. You can read more about that here if you are interested.

Wed, Feb 16th

Took a rest day today because I was pretty sore. For the past couple of months, I’ve been doing mostly dumbbell and barbell work for my chest, and going back to including push-ups tends to make my lats sore. Also, I only did one set of the barbarian squats, but I have forgotten how much those things get to my legs when I haven’t done them in a while. Ouch!

I plan on keeping the rest of the week light because my first wrestling class is on Monday and I don’t want to be sore.

Calories: ~2000, Protein: ~150 g.

Thur, Feb 17th

  • Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Level 6, RPMs 70 – 85, Hill Program. Afterwards, I did Dead Bugs (2-ct) and Crunches for 20 reps.
  • Stretched for 30 minutes. I used to do this 3-4 days a week when I was wrestling. On the days that I didn’t do the full half-hour, and often even when I did, I would stretch here and there throughout the day. I’m sorry that I ever got away from doing this (“lack of time” … laziness, really) because I was amazed how good I felt afterward. In addition to the static stretching, I also worked in some dynamic stretches such as Cat-Cow and Cobra Poses.
  • Afternoon Walk: 3.26 miles. Did a little balancing work afterward.

Calories: 1925, Protein: 156 g.

Fri, Feb 18th

I used to enjoy following along with the exercises when I’d happen to be around when The Jack Lalanne show would come on during the summer when I was a kid. The rest of the year I only got to watch the show on vacations and such because of school. (There was no easy way to record television programs back then.)

Apparently, Youtube seems to think I like exercise videos for some reason (I wonder why?) and suggested this one to me. I followed along with the episode, doing some dynamic stretching and such when Jack would talk to the audience. I’m going to add this exercise to the ones I do regularly. I like this one too.*

Sometimes things from the past end up being kind of a disappointment when one sees them years later, but not this show. It was just as much fun and as full of energy as I remembered. And I had forgotten that Lalanne could sing!

I also stretched for a little over a half-hour after following along with the video.

Calories: 1960, Protein: 163 g.

Sat, Feb 19th

  • Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Level 6, RPMs 80+, Hill Program. Afterwards, I did Dead Bugs (2-ct), Standing Calf Raises, Crunches, Supine Leg Windmills (each direction) for 21 reps. Later in the day , I stretched for 30 minutes.
  • Afternoon Walk: 4.28 miles.

Calories: 1724, Protein: 120 g.

I lost 3 lb. this week. This is my first week tracking again so my total loss is 3 lbs. In general, I’m going to look for a loss of 1-2 pounds per week and adjust accordingly as needed.


* I have no idea what to call these exercises so I think I’ll call them Lalane-1 and Lalane-2 respectively for future reference.

Work Outs: July 25 – 31, 2021 (Twelve Week Deadlift Program, The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology progress, and Barbell Jack)

I’ve been spending a lot of time editing The Lost Librarian’s Grave, and I still have a fair ways to go. I’m about a third done, and my plan is to reach the halfway point for editing by the end of this week. Once editing is complete, the next stage of the process will begin: turning TLLG into an e-book.

I also plan on working some more on the front cover. I’m going to add a glowing effect around the gargoyle and change the tag line, though I’m not sure to what yet. Whatever I do, I’m planning on keeping the word “sorcery” and probably “doom” as well. Also, instead of twenty stories I ended up finalizing things with a princely thirty-three stories and four poems, so it’ll be a good-sized tome.*

As for the workouts, I decided to start doing barbell deadlifts again, now that we have a nice set up for it. Since it has been quite some time since I last did them, I’ve decided to go back to a 12 week program I had very good success with a couple of years ago.

The general idea is to set an end goal and then start out with a low weight and perform eight sets the first week. Then each week you increase the weight by lifting an increasing percentage of the end goal while gradually decreasing the number of sets and repetitions. Then you test your one rep goal for week twelve. Since, as I said, I haven’t deadlifted with a barbell in quite some time, I decided upon a goal that would be easy for me: 225 lbs. or a little over 102 kg.

Sun, July 25th

Afternoon Walk: 8.97 miles.

Mon, July 26th

  • Morning Walk: 3.48 miles
  • (Morning Workout) Warmed up with dynamic stretching, indian clubs and light calisthenics
  • BB Deadlifts (Week 1 of 12): 123.75 lbs. x 8 sets x 6 reps; used double overhand grip
  • (Combo Set): DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps, DB Reverse Wrist Curls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, One-Handed Deadlifts (Rolling Thunder Handle, ea. hand): 61.88 lbs. x 4 sets x 5 reps; finished workout with a timed hold: 20 seconds with left hand and 30 seconds with right hand. (Handle, carabiner and pin weighs 6.88 lbs.)

Tues, July 27th

Morning Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Wed, July 28th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 11. RPM’s: 70 – 80.

Quite some time before I purchased the barbell, I found a new-looking barbell jack at the thrift store. I was surprised that they were almost giving it away for free, and when I went up to the checkout I learned this was because no one in the store knew what the heck it was.** I told the clerk it was a “barbell jack,” and then she and I (and the guy standing behind me in line) talked about barbell jacks for about five minutes until someone else stepped into line. Anyway, they are far from essential, but they are a nice thing to have laying around.***

The purpose of the jack is to make it easier to load and unload multiple plates of the same size onto the bar, especially multiple 45 lb. plates. The way you use the jack is to position it near one end of the bar as pictured in the above left picture. Then you push down on the top lever with your hand or foot (I find using my hand safer) so that the bar is as pictured on the above right. Then you can load or unload plates as needed.

Thur, July 29th

  • Morning Walk: 3.28 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Hold Guide (60 lbs.) closed with piece of paper for time: Left = 31 sec, Right = 35 sec
  • (Afternoon Workout) Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps (Supersetted these with my bench press warm-up sets.)
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 12 reps, 75 lbs. x 12 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): BB Standing Skull Crushers (ez curl bar): 51 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Heavy Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 4 reps + Hands Supinated x 4 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps

The red plate on the ends, in the picture above, come from a set where you can add 2.5 lbs. on each side in quarter-pound increments. These are handy when doing routines like the 12 week deadlift program where one is doing different percentages each week of the eventual maximum attempt, such as 123.75 lbs. for week one. I could have just rounded it up to 125, but I tend to like precision in such matters so the little, vinyl weights are something I like having around.

Fri, July 30th

Morning Walk: 3.30 miles.

Sat, July 31st

Morning Walk: 7.35 miles.

  • (Afternoon Workout) Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Superset) DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Full Squats: 12 rep
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

I am the same weight as last week. My total loss thus far is 28.4 lbs. I’m currently on a maintenance food plan until either the book is finished or I start feeling some enthusiasm to drop some more weight again.


* Including a 10,000 word bit of horror entitled “Mother Winter” about the misadventures of an unfortunate private soldier named Herrick, who is getting a taste of cold weather (and something far more sinister) on the eastern front during World War Two, which I’m editing today.

** I found it in the automotive section. Their best guess was that it was some kind of weird, specialized tire chalk block.

*** They also make “full” barbell jacks so you can lift both sides of the barbell at once. A gym I used to go from 2014 – 2017 had one of these and I became quite addicted to using it.

Work Outs: July 11 – 17, 2021 (Book in the Forest)

I got out of the habit of posting my workouts as I shifted focus to my book publishing project with most of my online activity taking place on my new Redwood Press site. That is going well and although I’m still focused on it, I think it is best that I get back into the habit of posting my weekly workout log. I like working out a lot so I still train even when I’m not keeping records, but if I don’t have a plan then I tend to do the fun stuff and not do the stuff that isn’t as much fun. As is often the case with many things in life, it is the “not fun” stuff that seems to align most closely with my current goals.*

Sun, July 11th

Afternoon Walk: 6.07 miles. Calories: 2810, Protein: 171 g.

We’ve seen this book perched up in a tree for the last three weeks now, when we do one of our usual hikes. The second week I told my husband, “I’m going to take that book if it is still here next week,” and sure enough it was. So I grabbed it and put it in my pack.

I flipped through it later, when we were having a water break, and noticed that someone had torn various pages out, seemingly randomly, which was too bad because I was looking forward to reading the book.** Like my husband said, “It is a shame, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.” I ended up putting the book back where we found it a few days later.

Mon, July 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Warmed up for afternoon workout with the 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Ring Rows: 45° x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 30 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder in an explosive manner. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 30 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 45 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
  • DB Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Ended the workout with some static stretching.

Calories: 1974, Protein: 158 g.

Tues, July 13th

Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 80. Did some dynamic and static stretching afterward.

Calories: 2203, Protein: 144 g.

A shot up through some young redwoods during a water and peanut break on the trail at Henry Cowell State Park, Felton, California (USA).

Wed, July 14th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon workout. I warmed up with some dynamic stretching.
  • Landmine Squats: Bar x 4 sets x 15 reps
  • Romanian Dead Lifts: 75 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Finished the workout with some static stretching.

Thur, July 15th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: warmed up with 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 8 reps, 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): Tricep Pushdowns (rope): 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Light Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 12 reps + Hands Supinated x 12 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

Ended the workout with some static stretching. Calories: 2213, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, July 16th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

  • (Morning) Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 5): Left/Right (Guide Gripper, 50 lbs.) = kept fully closed holding piece of paper for 20/40 seconds

Calories: 2019, Protein: 137 g.

Sat, July 17th

  • Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 85. For the last couple of minutes I pedaled as fast as I safely could at times; I think I peaked around 146 rpm’s. I could have probably beaten that if I still had the foot clips that came with the bike, but those are long lost since most of the time I don’t like using them.
  • Cossack Squats (4-point using bench): 10 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 10 reps
  • Taekwondo Snap Kick/Leg Extension Exercise (ea. leg): 10 reps
  • Hindu Squats: 20 reps
  • Sumo Squats with Leg Abduction (4-ct): 10 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 secs
  • Concluded with some dynamic and static stretching. Worked some on the Tree Pose.

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (I am up 3.6 lbs. since I stopped tracking my workouts in mid-April. My total loss thus far is 29.4 lbs.)


* Case in point are the Captains of Crush grippers. I don’t particularly enjoy training with these (my husband loves them) but I do enjoy the results I get from using them. I achieved one of my gripper goals back in February but have been very spotty in my CoC training since I stopped recording my workouts. Now I can’t do what I did back in February. I’ve still been working on my grip—mainly through using the steel mace and some other things, which I do enjoy—and while those fun things are good for building strong hands, they aren’t a replacement for the specific benefit one gets from the grippers.

** Not enough to see if I could get the book from the library or buy it.

Work Outs: March 21 – 27, 2021 (Mountain Lion and Ring Necked Snake)

I thought this short video of a mountain lion out for an evening stroll was interesting, given that it was taken near my neighborhood. I see their tracks all over the area. In my yard, on the hiking trails, their signs are all over the place if you look for them. There are the more subtle signs like tracks and scat, but occasionally we come across carcasses and things like legs of deer sitting in the middle of hiking trails.

A few years ago I saw the yellow eyes of one gleaming from behind our propane tank one evening when I was coming back from a evening of gaming. I gave the cat the high beams and it got the hint and ran off. Not too long after that we installed some motion-sensitive lights in part to greet our friendly, feline nocturnal visitors.

Video used with permission. Videographer declined video credit.

The only time I’ve clearly seen a mountain lion in the wild during the day was many years ago when we were hiking up near Folsom Lake, which isn’t too far from Sacramento, California. (The capitol of the state.) He was sitting on a huge boulder on top of a rise along the trail we were hiking on. It was kind of funny because he was sitting there cleaning himself and took awhile to notice that we noticed his presence. Then all of a sudden it seemed to dawn on the lion that we were watching him watching us and he jumped up all frightened and offended before shimmered off into the wilderness. Funny how they have many of the same mannerisms as house cats, albeit giant ones. The memory reminds me a bit of one of our past cats, Nero, but many years would pass from this incident before Nero would be born.

Sun, March 21st: Calories: 2912, Protein: 172 g.

Mon, March 22nd

  • Morning Walk: 3.27 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 6 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 5 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper all 20 times with my right (barely) but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 10 reps.
  • I warmed up with some dynamic stretching, the 5 lb. mace, and did some work with indian clubs. Then I did the MV-2 Workout with my 10 lb. mace. I did standing 360’s instead of kneeling and I did the chest press from a horse stance, from the MV Workout, because I forgot that I was supposed to do overhead presses instead.
  • I concluded the session with some Cobras, Cat-Cow Pose, and Downward Facing Dog. I also added in some Triangle Pose after reading “8 Easy Yoga Poses for Everyone” by Health Tips Now.

Calories: 2015, Protein: 138 g.

Tues, March 23rd

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout by doing some medicine ball passes and rotational work. I also followed along with his post-workout static stretching routine.
  • Later, I warmed up with some dynamic stretching then reviewed Taekwondo “White Belt – Class 1” (focus on front snap kick and low block) on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Cossack Squats: 10 reps. This was the first time I got 10 without having to use a hand for balance/assistance.
  • KB Goblet Full Squats: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • BB Romanian Dead Lifts: 65 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Calf Raises (alternate seated and standing each set): Seated, One Leg 15 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps, Standing 2 sets x 20 reps

Calories: 2121, Protein: 151 g.

This cutie is a ring-necked snake (diadophis punctatus), which belongs to the Colubridae family. According to Wikipedia, this is the largest family of snakes and has representatives on every continent except Antarctica.

Someone in my area took this picture and was kind enough to give me permission to use it, though she didn’t want a photo credit.

I’m not surprised that ring-necked snakes are in our area once I read that they enjoy dining upon salamanders, earthworms and slugs, which we have aplenty in the redwood forest.

Wed, March 24th

  • For my warm up I did some dynamic stretching, worked with the indian clubs a little and then performed one set of the MV Workout with my 5 lb. mace.
  • I did one round from the Candy workout. The full workout is five rounds of 20 Pull Ups, 40 Push Ups, and 60 Squats. Regular pull ups and push ups aren’t happening for me in yet so I modified things where I used the 4th step on my cellar stairs to do incline push ups and for the pull ups did seated, leg assisted ones, which are an easier progression to eventually doing full pull ups. I did Hindu Squats instead of the easier (for me) regular squats.
    • A couple of useful pull up videos: One by Jeff Cavaliere about some of the technical aspects of pull ups, and another detailing progressions by Jessica Estrada.
  • (Super Set):
    • Alternating Sets of Seated, Leg-Assisted Pull Ups & Chins: 4 sets x 10 reps
    • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 45 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder with the idea of building explosiveness. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 45 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 40 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
    • (Set Seven): I walked down the street with my fitness rock on my shoulder, to the yellow 5 mph speed limit sign and then jog-walked back uphill to my house. (I switched shoulders a couple of times.) The trip took 3:07 minutes.
  • Calories: 2266, Protein: 157 g.

I went to the local range and did some archery on the 24th. My poor, neglected recurve bow hasn’t seen any use in over a year now because all of the local venues have been closed and are just starting to open back up.

I was pretty rusty and mostly shot at one of the easier targets. I was kind of all over the place but I did have one round where everything seemed to come together and I shot ok. I think I might take a lesson next week and see about fine tuning things.

I thought about putting in some targets on our property last year. We have plenty of room but I know the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it too much. We have good relations with everyone around us and that could all go away with one misplaced arrow shot into someone’s backyard. So I decided to take a break and I’m not sorry I did. Getting back to archery now is fun since I haven’t done it in so long.

Thur, March 25th

  • Morning Walk: 2.9 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 30 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper 20 times with my right (barely) and then did 10 more reps with the Guide (60 lbs.) gripper. I reached failure with the Sport, with my left hand, at 12 reps and then did 18 more reps with the Guide.*
  • I followed along with the Muay Thai “Stance,” “Footwork,” and “Jab” introductory lessons on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Recumbent Bike: 35 Minutes, Interval Training. Level: 4 – 8, Speed (rpm’s): 70+ recovery intervals, 75+ higher resistance intervals, 100+ sprints. I did the “Intermediate Recumbent Bike Endurance Intervals Workout,” video put out by Sunny Health & Fitness. The presenter was Sydney Eaton. The workout was interval training with increasing resistance each set, ending with eight 20 second sprints with 10 seconds rest in-between each round.
  • I ended with some stretching and made sure I did some Cat-Cow, Cobra and other poses and stretches, which seem to help keep my back loose. I also made a point of working on maintaining my side-lunge stretch and worked on the arms portion of the Cow Face pose, which I do a little every day now. I also worked in some stretching while I was watching my pot of Hoover Stew simmer. (I’ll post a recipe about that in a week or two.) I finished off my stretching with a few minutes of Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani). I have done these with the legs apart in various ways to stretch out the inner thighs for kicking and such, on the advice of a massage therapist I went to years ago, but never this way. It felt pretty good.

Calories: 2254, Protein: 142 g.

I get the impression my neighbors think my dooryard sandbag and rock work is a little weird.

Fri, March 26th

  • Morning Walk: 1.96 miles.
  • Later in the morning, I warmed up with some dynamic stretching, indian clubs and a little mace work.
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 35 reps
  • DB Curls: 25 lbs. x 3 sets x 10 reps, 1 set x 8 reps
  • (Exercise Complex: FOUR ROUNDS)
    • Push Ups (2nd cellar stair using handles): 3 sets x 8 reps, 1 set x 4 (2nd stair) + 4 (3rd stair) reps
    • Bench Dips (straight legs): 2 sets x 8 reps; Reverse Tricep Pushdowns (str. bar): 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 15 reps
    • Side Crunches (ea. side): 4 sets x 8 reps
    • DB Hammer Curls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps, 25 lbs. x 8 reps; Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • I worked on the Muay Thai “Jab” lesson on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Had a nice chiropractor visit and did some stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2370, Protein: 163 g.

Sat, March 27th

  • We did some medicine ball passes and such.
  • Exercise Complex: FOUR ROUNDS [Hindu Squats 20 reps, Standing Hamstring Curls (cable) 20 lbs. x 8 reps, Walking Lunges (light knee touch) 8 reps} +
    • (Set One) Muay Thai style jabs: 50 jabs
    • (Set Two) Box Pattern Footwork (Muay Thai): 15 boxes each way.
    • (Set Three) Taekwondo White Belt Drill #1: 20 times
    • (Set Four) Cossack Squats: 8 reps
  • Finished with a quick complex: Wrist Rolling (plates): 10 lbs. x 1 time up and down, Wrist Curls using wrist rolling set up (10 lbs. x 20 reps), Plate Hold (pronated for thumbs): 5 lbs. x 30 seconds, Static Finger Extension Hold (5 lb. plate): 30 seconds
  • I reviewed the Muay Thai “Stance,” “Footwork,” and “Jab” lessons on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • Afternoon Walk: 5.35 miles

Calories: 2672, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 0.6 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 30.2 lbs.)


* The idea of performing a set to muscle failure and then brining the resistance down a little and immediately doing more reps until failure and so on is called a Drop Set.

Work Outs: March 14 – 20, 2021 (Vegan Parmesan Cheese Recipe, Goldilocks the Steel Mace, and Gas Station Spider)

This week I made some vegan parmesan cheese following a recipe from ourplantbasedworld.com, which think is an excellent website. The recipe is called (appropriately enough) “Homemade Vegan Parmesan.”

This is another offering that is extremely easy to make. All that was required was measuring out a few ingredients and blending them in my food processor/blender. The recipe calls for walnuts, which is what I used, but you can substitute any kind of nuts you have on hand, according to the recipe. I wonder how this would taste with the ubiquitous peanut?

We really enjoyed the cheese and according to the recipe it keeps in the refrigerator for about three weeks. So far we’ve had it on pasta, soup, salad, several vegetable dishes, and in omelets.*

It is 55 calories and provides 2 grams of protein per tablespoon. Given that the recipe includes a decent amount of nutritional yeast, it also confers some B vitamins.**

(Photo by Gus of ourplantbasedworld.com. Used with permission.)

Sun, March 14th

Morning Walk: 3.25 miles. Calories: 2885, Protein: 150 g.

Mon, March 15th

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout with some medicine ball tosses and rotational passes.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 6 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 3 reps + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 3 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper all 20 times with my right (barely!) but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 11 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • I some dynamic stretching and worked with the indian clubs a little, concluding my warm-up by doing the MV-2 Workout with my 5 lb. mace.
  • I did the Wyatt with incline push-ups. For each set, I used the 3rd step on my basement stairs until it got too hard and then I went to the 4th step. My time was 44:53. I concluded the session with some static stretching and also did some Cobras, Cat-Cow Pose and Hindu Push Up Stretches.

Calories: 2297, Protein: 157 g.

I’ve been using my trusty 5 lb. thrift store steel mace now for awhile and I think that I’ve outgrown it somewhat. So I bought the pictured 10 lb. mace, which is produced by Retrospec.

I like the Retrospec mace quite a lot so far. It is a bit longer (40″ versus 30″) which is nice because using the mace gets harder the further one grips near the end of the handle. Conversely, gripping closer to the business end makes things easier. So there is a bit more versatility in having the longer handle.

Also, the 5 lb. mace feels better balanced. The Retrospec mace, with its larger head feels a bit more unbalanced for its weight, which makes it harder to use. That is a good thing. Thus far I’m finding the new mace satisfactory. Five pounds is too light, fifteen pounds would be too much but this mace is just right.***

The only thing so far I’m finding that I don’t like about the Retrospec mace is the finish. Even though I haven’t dropped it or scrapped it yet there are a few tiny bits of paint that have flaked off exposing the bare metal. This isn’t a big deal because I can always touch it up with a bit of spray paint but that is a small drawback.

Still, the price of the mace was right and otherwise I’m very happy with it. I’d certainly buy from Retrospec again albeit with the expectation of having to maintain the paint job if I was doing something like beating on tires with one of their maces.

My smaller, first mace will always have a home though. It is very useful for warming up and also for when I want to learn something new. Once I build up my mace collection more, it’ll probably also be useful for things like drop sets.

Tues, March 16th

  • Morning Walk: 2.37 miles. Calories: 2085, Protein: 152 g.

Wed, March 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles. Calories: 2121, Protein: 162 g.

Thur, March 18th

  • I helped my husband with his early morning workout with some medicine ball tosses and rotational passes.
  • Later in the day, I warmed up with some mace and club work and a little dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 12 reps, 35 lbs. x 6 reps, 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps +
    • (Set One) Swing & Catch (10 lb. mace, ea. side): 10 reps.
    • (Set Two) Rebel Press (10 lb. mace, ea. side): 10 reps
    • (Set Three) Incline Plank using 10 lb. mace: One Minute. I was going to try and “walk” down the handle like this guy is doing in the video with a barbell but I ended up almost face planting when I tried it, which was good for a laugh. So I stayed in a static hold at the end of the mace for one minute.
  • Board Hand Holds: 4 sets x 30 seconds. Alternating sets of hands pronated holding a short board with 1.5 lbs. at the end and supinated grip a holding long board. The pronated grip worked the thumb and I felt it strongly in my fingers doing the supinated hold. The sensation was different than using the hand grippers. We have some weight plates coming in the mail soon; I think I’ll try the same exercise with them once we get them.
  • Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 20 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps; DB Hammer Curls: 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps
  • Finished off the workout with 20 Grave Diggers using the new mace and then did some Cobras, Cat-Cow Poses and Hindu Push Up Stretches to end the workout.

Calories: 2177, Protein: 155 g.

I’m always on the look out, when I’m out in Nature, for little beasties and fun things to take pictures of. I am convinced that the gas station (in its way) is as much Nature as the hiking trail and I found this little sprite hanging out on one of the blue concrete and steel posts stores put up to protect their pumps from people running into them.

Our little friend kept running around the post, once it saw I was trying to photograph it. (I guess gas station sprites can be shy.) I got a couple of shots though and although not the best pictures I’m pleased that you can see the little hairs on its legs, which I think are especially nice. If you click on the images you’ll be able to get a slightly better look at that pretty leg hair!

Fri, March 19th

In the afternoon I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian clubs, then did the Bad Karma workout, which amounts to a whole lot of barbell curls and kettlebell swings. I kept it light and used 10 lb. dumbbells and a 15 lb. kettlebell. (The standard calls for a 35 lb. barbell and a kettlebell that weighs a “pood,” which is a hair over 36 lbs. Don’t have a bar yet.) One is supposed to keep track of time to completion and mine was 11:12. The weights were light but my biceps felt it strongly all the same and I was breathing quite hard by the end. My brachioradiales were pretty sore for a few days afterwards as well.

Calories: 2168, Protein: 156 g.

Sat, March 20th

Calories: 2895, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 1.4 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 29.6 lbs.)


* My husband enjoys a plant-based egg substitute called Just Egg, while I cling to good, old-fashioned ones that still come in shells. I’ve gotten pretty good at making two omelets simultaneously in different pans — his on the right and mine on the left. I’ve done this so often now I’m even able to time them so they are done at the same time. (I find Just Egg takes a little longer to cook than Eggs in Shells.

** I’ve noticed that many commercial vegan cheese preparations taste pretty good but are often a source of empty calories, typically having no protein at all and not many vitamins. I like this parmesan cheese because it delivers on taste but also packs in a lot of nutrition.

*** I never gave the thrift store mace a proper name but I am compelled to name my new one “Goldilocks.”

Work Outs: March 7 – 13, 2021 (Vegan Pesto Recipe, and California Poppy)

This week I made some pesto following a recipe from ourplantbasedworld.com called “5 Minutes Vegan Pesto.” Indeed, the pesto was five minutes and done because all it involved was dumping a bunch of ingredients into the food processor. Hard to get much simpler than that.

I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because I had the former on hand. I also used pre-minced garlic from a bottle instead of fresh because, again, that is what I had on hand. I added a bit more salt to balance the sweetness of the bottled garlic and it came out fine. I suspect if I used fresh garlic and roasted it myself, as the recipe calls for, I wouldn’t have needed the extra salt.

I put the pesto over some mysterious pasta that came with the herbs and such all mixed together. I say “mysterious” because the stuff has been sitting in our pantry for probably two years and I have no idea where it came from. Still, it cooked up fine and with the pesto was tasty. I sautéed some mushrooms and put some on top of the pasta and served the rest on the side.

My husband and I both liked the pesto and I’ll most likely make it again since it isn’t easy to find vegan pesto my plant-based husband can eat. Besides, this stuff is pretty darned tasty even if dietary restrictions aren’t a factor.* Gus also has a Creamy Vegan Sauce that looks interesting and might work better than pesto for putting over steamed vegetables and the like.

Sun, March 7th

Morning Walk: 6.71 miles. Calories: 3068, Protein: 146 g.

Mon, March 8th

Morning Walk: 3.05 miles. Calories: 1998, Protein: 152 g.

Tues, March 9th

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching, indian club and steel mace work.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 8, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Alternating Sets of DB Rear Delt Rows (12 lbs.) and Face Pulls (12.5 lbs.): 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Eighteen) Tricep Pushdowns (rest-pause as needed): 55 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 30 reps
  • Full Squats: 30 reps

Calories: 2118, Protein: 157 g.

I was browsing through our old collection of pictures, that we’ve never done anything with, and I found this picture of what I believe is a California poppy, which is the state flower of California. I took this picture some years ago up near (I think) Union City, CA when we were out on a hike.

Wed, March 10th

  • I did the MV-2 Steel Mace Workout with my Thrift Store 5 lb. Steel Mace.
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Nineteen) DB Cheat Curls: 25 lbs. x 4 sets with 5 second eccentric until failure, then 4 seconds eccentrics to failure then 3 seconds. Once I cannot control the downward motion for 3 seconds then the set is over.
  • Sandbag Bear Hug Carry (100 lbs.): Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked 40 steps.
  • I worked on White Belt Solo Drill #2, which is low and high blocks, and front kicks from a ready stance.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 7 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 2mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 7 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 6 + 1 reps, Right = 2mm x 3 + 2 reps

Calories: 2159, Protein: 151 g.

I’ve often seen poppies in large groups but this one was all alone, managing to grow up through a tangle of grass. I remember now being surprised that the flower managed to survive which led me to take these pictures. The picture below conveys a better sense of how the poppy had quite a lot of competition going on around it or at least to my eye it did. (I don’t pretend to know much about Botany.)

Maybe this picture should be a metaphor about not giving up when things are hard?

Thur, March 11th

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work. I also practiced the Swing & Catch with my steel mace.
  • DB Bench Press: 40 lbs. x 10, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Incline Push Ups: 3rd Step x 3 sets x 8 reps, 17″ Bench x 6 reps
  • Spring Bar: Heavy x 7 reps, Light x 3 sets x 15 reps. Alternating sets with hands supinated and pronated.
  • EXERCISE COMPLEX: Internal Rotation with Shoulder Abduction (orange band, ea. arm) x 10 reps, Cable Wrist Rolling 15 lbs. x once up and down, White Belt Solo Drill #2 x 10 times, Dead Bugs (2-ct) x 30 reps, Standing Side Crunches (2-ct) x 20 reps, Mace Chest Press From Horse Stance (2-ct) 5 lbs. x 30 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twenty) PJR Pullovers: 35 lbs. x 4 sets with 5 second eccentric until failure, then 4 seconds eccentrics to failure then 3 seconds. Once I cannot control the downward motion for 3 seconds then the set is over.
  • Did some stretching and lacrosse ball work to end the session.

Calories: 2247, Protein: 151 g.

In addition to doing the Swing & Catch away from your face, which I touched on last week, I found that it is good to do this exercise over a rubber mat or something other than concrete or a hardwood floor you want to stay nice. I ended up having a drop, which bounced off the mat and then did a three-sixty and bounced off our concrete floor. Fortunately the floor was unscathed but it did scar my mace up a little, which is fine. Fortunately, I had some black Rustoleum gathering dust so I sprayed where the bare metal was showing to inhibit potential rusting.

Some minor battle damage now but maces don’t need to be pretty.

Fri, March 12th

  • Morning Walk: 2.71 miles.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twenty-One) Final Arm Measurement. Both of my upper arms were 3/8″ larger than when I started the program, so I’d count it a success especially since I was in mild calorie deficit and lost about 4 pounds during this time. Having larger arms isn’t really that important to me, but if it is to you I’d suggest giving this routine a look.

Afternoon Workout: I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and then did another of Jenny Ford’s step aerobic workouts — “Step Aerobics Basics 2/3 Combos-Fitness Cardio Workout.” This one took about 45 minutes. I like how this video incorporated and expanded upon her beginner class I did last week.** Ford introduces three step combinations as part of the workout. I like how she works up to each combo and then puts it all together and moves on to work up to the next one.

Calories: 2001, Protein: 150 g.

Sat, March 13th

Calories: 2664, Protein: 151 g. (I weighed the same this week as last, so my total loss remains at 28.2 lbs.)


* A sharp eyed reader might notice that the food picture has cheese in it but the recipe is vegan. The picture is from one of those free image, no attribution required sites so it doesn’t match the recipe. Gus’s recipe calls for nutritional yeast in place of the cheese.

** I’m not new to Step Aerobics, but it has been a long time since I did a class and I’ve only recently tried doing Youtube-based step classes. Before then I always did Step in person at the gym.

Work Outs: February 28 – March 6, 2021 (“Tale of the Rings”)

I’ve walked or run by this display of a cross section from a redwood probably hundreds of times since I’ve lived near Henry Cowell Park. It is a pretty popular spot for people to take pictures. The first time I saw the display I have to confess I frowned a little because I thought it was a cross section from a tree that had been cut down.

While I understand the need for paper and wood products, I figure they can be produced without hacking down a tree that has been minding its own business for 2200 years.* Fortunately, once I looked more closely I saw that the tree fell (wasn’t cut) in 1934. (This was confirmed by the rangers I talked to in the information area.) So that gave me a warmer feeling about this display.

This display greets one at the main entrance to the Redwood Loop.

Sun, February 28th

(Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Eleven) Tricep Pushdowns (rest-pause as needed): 50 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2334, Protein: 160 g.

Mon, March 1st

  • Morning Walk: 1.81 miles.
  • I warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work. Then I did the MV Steel Mace Workout.
  • I reviewed the “Stances” lesson and then followed along with “White Belt – Class 5” (solo drills) on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Twelve) DB Cheat Curls with 4 second eccentrics: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps. (The program calls for a barbell but I don’t have one yet so I used dumbbells.)

Calories: 2177, Protein: 150 g.

Close up of information sign in the display.

Tues, March 2nd

  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 10 reps, 3 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 35 lbs. x 12 reps, 40 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Spring Bar: Heavy x 2 sets x 8 reps, Light (over head) x 12, 10 reps
    • Alternating sets with hands supinated and pronated.
  • EXERCISE COMPLEX: Face Pulls 12.5 lbs. x 20 reps, Incline Push Ups 3rd step x 10 reps + 4th step x 10 reps, [2 SETS: Hindu Push Up Stretches x 10 reps, TaeKwondo White Belt Solo Drill #2 x 10 times**], Knee Hover (2 seconds) x 20 reps, Bell Tower Crunches (each side) 25 lbs. x 20 reps, KB Alternating One Handed Russian Swings 15 lbs. x 20 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Thirteen) PJR Pullovers with 4 second eccentrics: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Ended the workout by picking up my 100 lb. sand bag from a 16 inch platform and walking 30 steps with it and then doing some more indian club work.

Calories: 2408, Protein: 183 g.

Here is a close up of some of the little markers denoting where the tree was in its growth during certain historical events. Apparently the tree predates the historical date of the birth of Jesus by a couple of hundred years or so.

Wed, March 3rd

  • Morning Walk: 4.07 miles.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Fourteen) Rest Day.

Calories: 2167, Protein: 154 g.

Thur, March 4th

  • Morning Walk: 3.51 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 6 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 reps, Right = 2mm x 7 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 6 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 5): Left = 4 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed 0 + 5 reps
    • (Set 6): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper 15 times with my right but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 10 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Fifteen) DB Incline Waiter Curls with six pulses each rep: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
  • I did an afternoon jog-walk for 7.15 miles. I stayed mostly on pavement and there were substantial hills. Total mileage for the day was 10.66 miles (17.13 km).

Calories: 3286, Protein: 151 g.

Fri, March 5th

  • Morning Walk: 3 miles.
  • I did some indian club and steel mace work. I also worked on a couple of mace exercises I’ve never done before. The first was the Half Kneeling 360’s, which were pretty easy since they were the 360’s I’ve been doing just from one knee. I like these because I have to go outside when doing standing 360’s so as to avoid hitting the basement rafters. The other exercise was the Swing and Catch, which was a little trickier.***
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Sixteen) Bench Dips with 6 pulses each rep: 4 sets to failure. (I forgot to write down how many reps I did.)
  • I worked on some Taekwondo high and low blocks from a ready stance.

Calories: 2048, Protein: 159 g.

I’ll have to put up some pictures of the Fremont Tree in a future post.

Sat, March 6th

  • I followed along with Jenny Ford’s “Beginner Step Aerobics Fitness Cardio” video for 30 minutes.
  • I practiced the Swing and Catch exercise with my 5 lb. steel mace.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Seventeen) Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls (rest-pause as needed): 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 43 reps
  • Stretched and did some foam rolling, etc. in the evening for about 35 minutes.

Calories: 2410, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 1 pound this week, so my total loss is 28.2 lbs.)


* I figure once you make it to that age you deserve some special consideration. 🙂

** White Belt Solo Drill #2 is two low blocks, two high blocks, and two front kicks from a ready stance. You alternate arms and legs so if you do the first low block with your left then you do the other moves starting with the left as well. For the first set I started with the left and the second I started with the right.

*** For anyone thinking of doing the Swing & Catch, I think Vaughn’s advice about doing the swing off to the side and avoiding swinging the mace up toward your face is probably good. As he says, you probably don’t want to have to make an emergency visit to the dentist. (Or the plastic surgeon.)

Work Outs: February 14 – 20, 2021 (Tortoise Itching Station, Tree of Turtles, and Athlean-X Arm Workout)

I ran across a cute video of an “itching station” someone built for a resident tortoise at a nature preserve in Oregon. That got me to thinking of a pond near where we often walk, which we’ve taken to calling by the very original name of “Turtle Pond” because of all the turtles. I dug around in my collection of pictures that I dump in an achive-junk folder and forget about and I found this 2016 shot of a bunch of turtles sitting on a tree, sunning themselves in Turtle Pond. I thought it was cute at the time, which isn’t surprising since I favor turtles and tortoises.*

Given the state of that pond sometimes I wonder if a rust turtle makes its secret lair in the mud?

Sun, February 14th

Had a nice Valentines Day and took a break. Hope everyone reading this, who celebrated the holiday did as well. Calories: 2442, Protein: 157 g.

Mon, February 15th

Afternoon Walk: 3.4 miles. Calories: 2626, Protein: 149 g.

Tues, February 16th

  • Morning Walk: 3.57 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 4 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = 4mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 1 + 5 reps, Right = 4mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper all 20 times with my right but couldn’t close it completely with my left after 13 reps. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.
  • (Afternoon Workout) I warmed up with the Daily Stretch and some indian club work. Then I followed the “White Belt – Class 3” (emphasis on punching techniques) on the Global Martial Arts University website. I ended the class with some self-directed work on high and low blocks.
  • I did the beginner work outlined on the “Beginner Steel Mace Workout” video with my little five pound steel mace I found a second hand shop.

Calories: 1802, Protein: 143 g.

Wed, February 17th

  • Morning Walk: 3.29 miles.
  • I did the Wyatt today except I had to substitute incline push-ups on my stairs instead of regular ones. I used the 4th step but for the last set I used the 3rd step, which was a bit harder. My time was 44:53 for the workout. I was pleased because I thought the hindu squats would slow me down more than they did and I had guessed my time would have been closer to an hour. Still a lot of room for improvement. I’m hoping to eventually get my time down to about 30 minutes.
  • Finished off the session with 10 Sit Ups (no anchor for feet), some Hindu Push Up Stretches and a bit of general stretching.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Zero) Measure your arms to establish a baseline for the next 22 days. Done!

Calories: 2062, Protein: 144 g.

I saw this arm video in my inbox and though it might be fun to give it a try. I used to train my arms for size until about 2010, but for many years now I’ve been content to hang out in maintenance mode. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.**

Thur, February 18th

  • Active Rest Day.
    • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles.
    • Warmed up and got a in little movement with some (mostly) dynamic stretching, indian club and mace work.
    • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day One) DB Incline Waiter Curls: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 9 reps
    • Reviewed the “Low Block” and “High Block” lessons from the Global Martial Arts University Taekwondo program.

Calories: 2071 Protein: 167 g.

Had to improvise to do the dumbbell incline waiter curls like Jeff shows in his video.

Fri, February 19th

  • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles.
  • (Morning Workout) Warmed up and did some work with my indian clubs and mace, along with some dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 8, 8, 6 reps, 25 lbs. x 9 reps
  • (Super Set)
    • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 10, 10, 8, 8 reps
    • DB Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 10, 8 reps, 10 lbs. x 10, 9 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Two) Bench Dips: 14, 12, 10, 9 reps
  • Ended with a set of Face Pulls (12.5 lbs. x 20 reps) and 10 Hindu Push Up Stretches

Calories: 2144, Protein: 153 g.

Sat, February 20th

Hung out with my husband and watched some old Hammer movies, including Horror of Dracula and some others. I didn’t want to skip the arm program just a couple of days after starting it so I popped down cellar in the afternoon, warmed up with some dynamic stretching and indian club work then got in the required bit of arm work.

(Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Three) Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2356, Protein: 149 g. (I lost 2.6 pounds this week, so my total loss is 26.8 lbs.)


* There aren’t many animals I don’t favor. I really can’t think of one I don’t excepting ones that (directly) try to bite/eat me or try to infest my house, etc. When I say “directly” I mean that I wouldn’t favor a particular white shark down in Santa Cruz if it tried to eat me but I do favor white sharks in general.

** I’m putting this together a bit late so as I type this I’m on day nine of the challenge. Thus far I’ve gained a quarter inch on my upper arms, which is both encouraging and a little surprising all things considered, such as my age, being in mild weight loss mode, which generally isn’t so great for hypertrophy, etc. I suspect after years of maintenance I’m getting a good response from the training because my arms are having to adapt to something new again and because I’m making gains into territory where I’ve been in the past, even if it was a long time ago. That’s my theory anyway.

Work Outs: February 7 – 13, 2021 (Octopus Fountain)

I was going through the folders of old pictures I downloaded from my phone and found some shots of a wonderfully unique water fountain we first encountered (I think) in 2018. It is down on the Santa Cruz wharf and was created by Sean Monaghan, a local artist, in 2015. He named the work Pearl Diver. The piece was commissioned by a local restaurant.

Sun, February 7th

  • After the morning stretch, I did a Core & Spine Mobility Tabata. Each exercise was done for 8 rounds of 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between rounds.
    • Dead Bugs: When I got tired and my form went bad I rested in the up position.
    • Bell Tower Crunches: 15 lbs.
    • Side Crunches
    • Cobra Pose
    • Alternating sets of Elbow Planks and Cat-Cow Stretch
  • Finished off with a single set of 10 Hindu Push Up Stretches.
  • Morning Walk over fairly hilly trails: 4.45 miles.

Calories: 1832, Protein: 176 g.

Here is a closer view of the little octopus on the bottom right part of the fountain. Notice the dents in the silver pearl. When I took these pictures back in 2018, I thought that this was the result of vandalism or something but they appear to be part of the original work judging by the pictures I saw on the artist’s site.

Mon, February 8th

Morning Walk: 2.14 miles We also walked 3.17 miles in the afternoon for a total of 5.31 miles for the day. I finished the afternoon walk with a quick set of 30 Full Squats.

Calories: 2080, Protein: 123 g.

Tues, February 9th

In the morning, I worked with the indian clubs, getting some light exercise but my primary goal was to work on some of the new swings I’ve been learning. Then I followed the “White Belt – Self Defense 2” lesson and “White Belt – Class 1” on the Global Martial Arts University website. I ended the session with a set of 30 Hindu Squats.

Calories: 2043, Protein: 137 g.

Two people can drink at once as evidenced by the crab fountain on the bottom left of Pearl Diver.

Kudos to hubby for lending his finger so I could get an action shot of the Crab Fountain.

Wed, February 10th

Morning Walk: 2.18 miles. I did some gripper work a couple of hours later.

Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):

  • (Set 1): Left = 10 mm x 9 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps,
  • (Set 2): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 1 rep + 4mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I couldn’t close it all the way with my right hand after 18 reps and after 14 reps with my left. I ended with some finger extension work and some thumb training using the gripping egg.

Afternoon Run: 3.2 miles with lots of hills. Between the hills and the places with heavy mud on the hills it turned into a run-walk in places. My goal for the run was never to stop going forward and to only walk when needed to keep my balance and/or keep my heart rate under control while traversing the steepest parts of the hills.

I did stop once to take a picture at the terminus of a little side trail that ended in a drop off down to a creek. I see quite a few joggers off in their own world with their music going while they gaze up at the redwoods reaching into the clear, blue sky and not at what they are doing. I hope none of them ever jog right off into the air because if you aren’t looking it is an abrupt drop off and it isn’t like there is a warning sign or anything.

After the run I did White Belt Drill #1. For the calisthenic this time I did 20 incline push-ups using an old picnic table, which while crumbling did seem like it still had enough life in it to hold me up. Later on, we did a second walk for 3.48 miles. Total mileage for the day, including the run, was 8.86 miles. I stretched for 30 minutes in the evening while watching television.

Calories: 2258, Protein: 161 g.

That next step could be a doozy!

Thur, February 11th

Morning Walk: 3.31 miles. Calories: 2182 Protein: 156 g.

Fri, February 12th

Morning Walk: 4.25 miles.

  • I worked with the indian clubs as a warm-up.
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 80 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 7 ! reps, 60 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • (Exercise Complex): 4 ROUNDS [Fitness Bag Bicep Curls x 8 reps, FB Cleans x 8 reps, FB Suitcase Farmer’s Walk (switch hands each set) x 100 steps, KB Russian Swings x 15 reps] Rest one minute between rounds.
  • In the evening I stretched for an hour.

Calories: 2289, Protein: 157 g.

Sat, February 13th

Morning Walk: 1.76 miles.

Afternoon Workout

  • Warmed up by doing most of the stretches I do as part of my daily morning routine, and also worked with the indian clubs.
  • I did the Wyatt’s Toy workout, which is the beginner level for the full “Wyatt.”
    • My time was 13:26 minutes. I wasn’t going too hard being the first time doing this work out and all, so I think beating this time will be pretty easy.
    • I’m working toward eventually being able to do the full Wyatt so I did sets of 20 incline push ups and 50 hindu squats, which was a little more than required.
    • I have changed this workout since I did this session from being nothing but straddle steps to varied kinds of steps.

Fortunately, I have other cats, both current and from the past, who I can name workouts after. I wonder what kind of workout I should name after Roxy?

You’d never know I brushed her yesterday.
  • DB Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 2 sets x 8 reps, 30 lbs. x 6 reps, 25 lbs. x 8 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 30 lbs. x 10, 12 reps, 35 lbs. x 8, 7 reps
  • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 45 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 reps x 8 reps
  • (Tri Set): FOUR ROUNDS [DB Hammer Curls 20 lbs. x 10 reps, Face Pulls 12.5 lbs. x 10 reps, Half Round House Kick Exercise (switch legs each set) 10 reps] Minimum rest between rounds.
  • Finished with a quick set of 10 three-point Cossack Squats and 50 Supine Leg Windmills (each way).

Calories: 2988, Protein: 170 g. (I lost 0.2 pounds this week, so my total loss is 24.2 lbs.)