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: February 21 – 27, 2021 (Vegan Stuffed Shells Pasta Recipe)

I made some Vegan Stuffed Shells for dinner this week from a recipe put out by ourplantbasedworld.com. We enjoyed it very much and I was pleased that my husband proclaimed the shells “comfort food.” For my part, I also appreciated that the meal was a decent protein source that supports my training.

Photo by Gus of ourplantbasedworld.com, used with permission.

I prepared it exactly as detailed in the recipe. The only change I made was I used a bottled pesto to save some time and effort.* Gus also has a Vegan Pesto recipe, which I plan on making the next time I make this meal, or perhaps just putting it over some pasta instead of using tomato sauce.

Two other things I appreciate about this site is that they make it easy to just print off the recipe, which I find more useful than using my tablet in the kitchen, and they provide a slider to change the number of servings and automatically update the ingredients list.

Sun, February 21st

(Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Four) Tricep Pushdowns: 45 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps. Calories: 2423, Protein: 149 g.

Mon, February 22nd

  • Morning Walk: 3.01 miles.
  • Warmed up with some dynamic stretching and then did an afternoon run for 3.1 miles (5 kilometers). The run was mostly on trails with only minor changes in elevation. Did some easy, incline push ups and more stretching after the run.
  • After I got home, I warmed up my arms with the indian clubs and then did: (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Five) DB Cheat Curls with 3 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. Also, I’ve mostly heard of doing exercises like this as “doing negatives.”

Calories: 2033, Protein: 153 g.

The ingredients I used to make Vegan Stuffed Pasta Shells.

Tues, February 23rd

  • Morning Walk: 2.39 miles.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 4mm x 3 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 5): Dynamic Training with the Sport (80 lbs.) gripper. I did 20 reps with each hand. I closed the gripper 18 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.
  • (Morning into Afternoon Workout) I did some dynamic stretching and a little work with the indian clubs as a warm-up. Then I started with the MV Steel Mace Workout for two sets with my 5 lb. mace.
  • Standing Cable Rows (Hog Bar): 70 lbs. x 12 reps, 80 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • Cable Lat Pull Downs (Hog Bar): 60 lbs. x 12 reps, 70 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Six) PJR Pullovers with 3 second eccentrics: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • I followed along with “White Belt – Class 2” (focus on high block and half round house kick) on the Global Martial Arts University website.
  • Core & Spine Mobility Tabata. Each exercise was done for 8 rounds of 20 seconds with a 10 second rest between rounds.
    • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs.
    • Alternating Standing Side Crunches
    • Cobra Pose
    • Alternating sets of Elbow Planks and Cat-Cow Stretch

Calories: 2508, Protein: 150 g.

Wed, February 24th

Rest Day, including the Athlean-X Arm Program, for which Day Seven is a scheduled day off as well.

Calories: 2222, Protein: 151 g.

Last week we had tortoise itching stations, and I’d like to keep the turtle thing going for awhile yet so this week we have “When Sea Turtles Grew to the Size of Rhinos,” by Moth Light Media, which is a Youtube channel that our household enjoys. A very interesting video if you want to know more about giant Cretaceous sea turtles and let’s face it — who doesn’t? 🙂

Thur, February 25th

  • Morning Walk: 3.32 miles.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Eight) DB Incline Waiter Curls with three pulses each rep: 30 lbs. x 3 sets x 9 reps, 30 lbs. x 8 reps + 25 lbs. x 1 rep

Calories: 2082 Protein: 151 g.

Fri, February 26th

  • Morning Walk: 2.04 miles.
  • I did the Wyatt, again with the incline push ups. Just like last time I did the first three sets on the 4th step and the last set on the (more difficult) 3rd step. My time was 41:50, which I was pleased to see beat my previous time by a shade over three minutes. Going forward and in line with my desire to get better at push ups, I’m going to start doing my sets from the 3rd step and then go to the 4th step when my form degrades. Eventually the plan is to be able to do all of the push ups from the floor as Wyatt intended.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Nine) Bench Dip with 3 pulses each rep: 4 sets x 6 reps
  • Had a nice session at the chiropractor in the afternoon. Did a little restorative work and stretched for about 40 minutes in the evening.

Calories: 2147, Protein: 155 g.

Wyatt is pretty sure he could easily better my time. (Picture is from 2015.)

Sat, February 27th

  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 8 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2mm x 6 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 8 mm x 5 + 1 reps, Right = 4mm x 6 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 8 mm x 6 reps, Right = 4mm x 7 reps
    • (Set 5): Left + 6mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 2 reps + 2mm x 3 reps
    • (Set 6): 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.
  • Recumbent Bike: 32 Minutes, Levels 5 – 10. I followed this video again. I did sumo squat stretches for the times I was directed to get off the bike.
  • I followed along with “White Belt – Class 4” (white belt self defense techniques) on the Global Martial Arts University website. After the class I worked a little on maintaining my Side-Lunge Stretch mobility, which was a goal I achieved a little over a month ago.
  • (Athlean-X Arm Program, Day Ten) Alternating Cross Body Hammer Curls (rest-pause as needed): 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2114, Protein: 150 g. (I lost 0.4 pounds this week, so my total loss is 27.2 lbs.)


* Be careful of bottled pesto if you are doing the Vegan or planted-based thing because most of the commercial preparations, I’ve found, have cheese in them. (I used one without cheese because my husband is eating planted-based.) If you aren’t into tofu and want to make this with meat, I suspect you could easily substitute the tofu for some sweet Italian ground sausage in an equal proportion of cooked meat to tofu and it would be very nice.

Beware, also, of store bought bread crumbs if you are plant-based because they often have milk products in them, such as whey. I find Panko bread crumbs pretty safe for my husband’s consumption but one has to be vigilant about reading labels. Of course one can always make one’s own bread crumbs too easily enough.

Work Outs: Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2020 (A meatloaf and a spider.)

Sun, November 29th

I made a planted-based meatloaf today using this recipe from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen.* I made a double batch and went somewhat by the recipe, but with some differences:

  • I used dried, minced onion because we were out of onion powder.
  • I used Panko bread crumbs.
  • I went half and half with Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce because we were almost out of the former.
  • I mixed the ketchup into the loaf before cooking instead of putting it on top as the recipe suggested. Additionally, I brushed a tablespoon of barbeque sauce on top before cooking.
  • I cooked the loaf in a Pyrex loaf pan instead of on a baking sheet.

We enjoyed the finished product and I also liked how easy it was to make. (Meatloaf in general is a pretty easy recipe.) I used Impossible Burger meat this time. The next time I might try Beyond Beef, which we highly favor for taco night. The only possible negative I noticed this time was that it had a somewhat compacted texture. This did make it easy to slice and would make for good sandwiches.

Mon, November 30th

Morning Walk: 3.30 miles. Calories: 2054, Protein: 135 g.

Tues, December 1st

Morning Walk: 3.10 miles.

I didn’t like how my left index finger felt today when I was doing some warm-up sets with the hand grippers, so I decided to give the Captains of Crush a miss today. One thing I’ve learned over the years is not to “work through” small things like this.

Deck of Cards Workout

SuitNumber CardFace Card
HeartsWalking Lunges + Front Kick Stretch (2-ct)10 Hindu Squats
ClubsStair Incline Push-ups10 Cossack Squats (Partials)
DiamondsBent Over FB Rows + Side Kick Stretch (2-ct)10 FB Shovels (2-ct)
SpadesEven: Leg Raises
Odd: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct)
10 FB Rom. Dead Lifts
Aces (any suit)/Jokers20 Full Squats

I found a pair of exercise handles at the thrift store the other day and used them for the first time today for push ups.** I won’t use them all the time, but I like having them and the price was certainly right. I used them to do push-ups with my hands in a neutral position, where the palms are facing each other.

These also might be useful for my husband, because he is prone to having wrist problems when he does push ups in the usual way with his hands flat on the floor.

Calories: 2115, Protein: 134 g.

Wed, December 2nd

Morning Walk: 3.28 miles. Calories: 2223, Protein: 113 g.

Thur, December 3rd

Morning Walk: 3.16 miles.

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

  • (Set 1): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 12mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 4mm x 3 + 2 reps, Left = 12mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 6mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • Arnold Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps, 25 lbs. x 12 reps
    • I did this today instead of incline push-up’s I’ve been doing lately. The cellar stairs were unavailable because of an on-going home improvement project.
  • Light Spring Bar (over head): 8-P, 5-S, 8-P, 5-S
    • P = pronated, S = supinated. Doing this with the bar over my head instead of at around chest level makes the exercise a lot harder.
  • Super Set
    • DB Flies: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 40 lbs. x 15 reps, 45 lbs. x 3 sets x 10 reps
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm) 10 lbs. x 15 reps, 12.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps +
    • (Set #1) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • (Set #2) Standing Side Crunches (each side): 20 reps
    • (Set #3) Small Shoulder Circles (each way): 50 reps
    • (Set #4) DB Front Raises 10 lbs. x 15 reps
  • (Exercise Complex) Wrist Pronation and Supination (light wood axe) 12 reps, DB Hammer Curls 15 lbs. x 15 reps, DB Lateral Raises 12 lbs. x 12 reps, DB Shrugs 30 lbs. x 12 reps, Alternating One-Handed KB American Swings (2-ct) 15 lbs. x 15 reps, Full Squats 20 reps, Calf Raises 30 reps, Spread and Raise Hands (light orange band) x 25 reps, External Shoulder Rotation (black band, ea. arm) x 12 reps

I found this little sprite lurking on the resistance tubes that I often use as part of my warm up. So I did what anyone would do and asked if I could work in for a few sets and then did my thing. All went well until I noticed the spider crawling on my arm when I was in the middle of doing some light external shoulder rotation work. Had a little laugh and relocated the beastie someplace better for all concerned. Silly sprite!

My little friend, as far as I can tell is some sort of “grass spider” or funnel web spider of the genus Agelenopsis. It looks a bit like a hobo spider, but the markings as well as the shape of the thorax and abdomen seem off for one of those. I’m not a spider expert though by any means.

Calories: 2303, Protein: 114 g.

Fri, December 4th

  • Morning Walk: 3.09 miles.
  • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 65 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Straight Arm Pull Downs (purple band): 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Super Set
    • Fitness Bag Bicep Curls: 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Face Pulls: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Exercise Complex: Wrist Roller (cable) 15 lbs. x 1 winding, Bell Tower Crunches (ea. side) 17.5 lbs. x 12 reps, Fitness Bag Cleans x 12 reps, Side Kick Stretch (ea. leg) x 12 reps, Internal and External Shoulder Rotation through frontal plane (orange band, ea. arm) x 12 reps, Reverse Flies (purple band) x 12 reps, Bicep Curls (fitness rock) x 12 reps

Calories: 2540, Protein: 141 g.

Sat, December 5th

Morning Walk: 7.11 miles. (I was down 3.2 pounds for the week, so my total loss is 17.2 lbs. so far.)

* My husband went plant-based a little under year-and-a-half ago. I consequently also eat a lot of plant-based meals, though I remain a mostly plant-based omnivore.

** Technically, it was the second time. The first time was when I wanted to make sure they weren’t cracked or otherwise compromised, so I tried them out by knocking out a few push ups on the thrift store floor, much to the amusement of a lady and her daughter, who were further down the aisle looking at glassware.