Work Outs: January 3 – 9, 2021 (Christmas in the Forest and Peanut Butter Pinecones)

I took an “active rest” from December 20th through January 3rd where I didn’t lift any weights but we did do a fair amount of hiking on the local trails. We got a little bit of a surprise out on one of our usual hikes, which made me smile, when we stumbled upon the Christmas Grove a few days before Christmas. Someone had spared no effort!

I’m making a couple of changes to my training with the start of the new year. First, after a few months of working in the 12 – 15 repetition range, I’m going to decrease that to 8 – 12 reps for many exercises and increase the set intensity a bit. I also decided to up my protein intake to about 150 grams per day. Finally, I’m going to pay a bit better attention to how much rest I take between sets, now that I’m aiming a bit more at muscle hypertrophy, and keep it in the 1 – 2 minute range rather than “just going when I feel ready,” though I’m still going to do that too.

Mon, January 4th

  • Arnold Press: 20 lbs. x 15 reps, 25 lbs. x 3 sets x 10 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 20 lbs. x 15 reps, 25 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 10 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps, 12 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Front Raises: 10 lbs. x 12 reps, 3 sets x 13 reps
  • (Super Set)
    • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • DB Flies: 10 lbs. x 15 reps, 12 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • (Super Set)
    • DB Prone Rear Delt Row: 5 lbs. x 12 reps, 6 lbs. x 12, 15, 15 reps
    • DB Hammer Curls: 20 lbs. x 12, 8, 8, 7 reps
  • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 45 lbs. x 12, 10, 8, 8 reps
  • (Super Set) One-Handed Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns (d-handle, ea. arm) 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 reps +
    • (Set #1) Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
    • (Set #2) Standing Side Crunches (each side): 12 reps
    • (Set #3) DB American Swings: 20 lbs. x 15 reps
    • (Set #4) Small Shoulder Circles (each way): 60 reps

Calories: 1969, Protein: 151 g.

The Christmas Grove is a place where several trails come together and in addition to regular trees is also home to many Messed Up Trees. Besides the stand of trees pictured above, the forest elves also decorated single trees dotted around the grove as well. I thought it was rather nice of the elves to include a tree with edible decorations.

I have to admit the peanut butter and popcorn pinecone was a little tempting, but I resisted with some gentle help from my husband. “You really aren’t going to eat that are you!?”* I relented ostensibly because while I love peanut butter I’m not going to eat that stuff that is loaded with hydrogenated fats and palm oil. I am a peanut butter connoisseur after all!

Anyway, between the carrots, cranberries, popcorn, persimmons and so on it was a veritable smorgasbord for the critters. I hope whoever cleaned off that pinecone enjoyed it!

Tues, January 5th

Afternoon Walk for 3.43 miles. Calories: 1984, Protein: 154 g.

Wed, January 6th

Morning Walk: 3.14 miles and an afternoon walk of 3.44 miles for a total of 6.58 miles for the day.

Deck of Cards Workout

SuitNumber CardFace Card
HeartsAlternating Stationary Lunges + Front Kick Stretch (2-ct)10 Goblet Full Squats (30 lb. DB)
ClubsDead Bugs (2-ct)10 Cossack Squats (Four Point)
DiamondsStanding Side Crunches (2-ct)30 Squats
SpadesSingle Leg Balance Jacks (2-ct)10 Rom. Dead Lifts (10 lb. DB’s)
AcesBlack = 20 Full SquatsRed = 20 Hindu Squats
First Joker10 Full + 10 Hindu + 10 Squats
Second Joker30 Hip Raises + 50 Supine Leg Windmills (ea. way)

Stretched for 30 Minutes after doing the deck of cards. Deck of Cards workout music: Ghost Ship album by Theocracy. Calories: 2021, Protein 159 g.

Thur, January 7th

Morning Walk: 3.48 miles. We went for another walk in the afternoon for 3.54 miles. Our total for the day was 7.08 miles. Calories: 1985, Protein: 159 g.

Fri, January 8th

Morning Walk: 3.51 miles, and a 3.25 mile afternoon walk for a total of 6.76 miles. Calories: 1846, Protein: 159 g.

Here is a semi-lonely little tree in another part of the grove. My friend, Daniel (of Imperial Guard fame) said, when he saw the picture on Facebook, that it made him “think of the classic Charlie Brown tree,” and I can see that. It is a little weedy, though I don’t think it has quite managed to achieve a Charlie Brown level of weediness. 🙂

The Charlie Brown tree still had its ornaments when we walked by in the afternoon today, but I did notice that some of others were returned to their natural state with nary a plastic holiday ornament to be found. I’m hoping that whoever put up the decorations finishes taking them down by the end of the month. If they linger into February I might pack out a bagful each time I go by. Hoping I won’t have to though.

Sat, January 9th

A bit of new notation today: The bang or exclamation point after a rep number means that while I completed the indicated reps, I’m not happy with my form at that weight, typically for the last rep or two.

Morning Walk: 2.22 miles.

Afternoon Work out | (Music: Disturbed play list.)

  • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 70 lbs. x 13 reps, 75 lbs. x 3 sets x 9, 8, 8 reps
  • DB Pull Overs on Bench: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 10, 9, 9, 8 reps
  • Pull Downs (d-handles): 60 lbs. x 8! reps, 55 lbs. x 3 sets x 12, 11, 12 reps, 60 lbs. x 8! reps
  • DB Bicep Curls: 20 lbs. x 12 reps, (25 lbs. x 5 reps + 20 lbs. x 3 reps), (25 lbs. x 3 reps + 20 lbs. x 2 reps + 15 lbs. x 3 reps), 20 lbs. x 8 reps
  • DB Shrugs: 30 lbs. x 15 reps, 35 lbs. x 15 reps, 40 lbs. x 15 reps, 45 lbs. x 13 reps
  • Seated DB Cleans: 10 lbs. x 15 reps, 12 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Cable Crunches: 40 lbs. x 4 sets x 15 reps
  • Exercise Complex
    • Fitness Bag Pick Up and Shoulder: 8 reps
    • Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 25 reps
    • Wrist Roller (cable): 15 lbs. x 1 winding and unwinding
    • Internal and External Shoulder Rotation taking place anterior to frontal plane (orange band, both arms) x 15 reps**
    • DB American Swings: 25 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Heavy Spring Bar: 4 reps (P) + 4 reps (S)
    • Internal and External Shoulder Rotation (black tubing, both arms): 15 reps
    • Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 15 reps
    • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Sport):
    • (Set 1): Right = Closed x 10 reps, Left = Closed x 9 reps
    • (Set 2): Right = Closed x 9 reps, Left = Closed x 5 reps + 4 reps
    • (Set 3): Right = Closed x 8 reps, Left = Closed x 4 reps + 4 reps
    • (Set 4): Right = Closed x 7 + 1 reps, Left = Closed x 4 reps + 4 reps

Calories: 2020, Protein: 154 g. (I was the same weight as the last time I weighed myself in mid-December, so my total loss remains at 18 lbs.)


* No I wasn’t, but I did have fun seeing the look on his face when he thought I was going to try a sample. I do love peanut butter after all!

** I’m going to have to poke around and see if I can find a proper name for this exercise.

Work Outs: December 13 – 19, 2020 (and pulling Scotch Broom)

When we moved near Santa Cruz, California some years ago I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with my now old friend, Scotch Broom. Apparently the plant was was brought into the United States “from Europe in the mid-1800’s” to add to gardens and for soil stabilization.* The stuff doesn’t look too horrible and is quite pretty when it flowers, producing lots of bright, yellow blooms.

It does come with some problems though, not the least of which is once broom establishes a foothold, it is very hard to get rid of and keeps coming back.** It reminds me of bamboo, which is the same. The plants develop a lot of seeds “that are naturally spring loaded,” so that the pods can scatter away from the parent “with the force of a tiny explosion.” That is probably why the stuff is all over the place in our area.

Anyway, this is a picture of one patch of the stuff near one side of my house before I yanked it all on Monday. Keep in mind that I’ve been pulling this stuff some years now.

Mon, December 14th

Morning Walk for 2.58 miles and late afternoon walk for 3.62 miles for a total of 6.2 miles for the day. Also spent a couple of hours today pulling broom in our yard.

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

  • (Set 1): Right = Closed x 2 reps + 3, Left = 12mm x 6 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 2mm x 3 reps +2, Left = 12mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 4mm x 5 reps, Left = 10mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 4mm x 4 + 1 reps, Left = 10mm x 3 + 2 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 4mm x 5 + 1, Left = 10mm x 3 + 2 reps

Calories: 1976 Protein: 129 g.

Tues, December 15th

Morning Walk for 3.73 miles and late afternoon walk for 3.58 miles for a total of 7.31 miles for the day.

Calories: 2022, Protein: 137 g.

Wed, December 16th

Morning Walk: 3.18 miles. Calories: 2559, Protein 144 g.

I haven’t let the broom in my yard get too out of hand, but the stuff can get quite big and thick if you let it. Below is a picture I took the other day when we were out hiking. I included my five foot walking stick in the foreground for scale. I’d say the plants in the stand were up to 8 or 9 feet high in places.

Thur, December 17th

Afternoon Walk: 3.31 miles.

Captains of Crush Gripper (T):

  • (Set 1): Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 reps
  • (Set 2): Right = 2mm x 6 reps, Left = 10mm x 4 + 1 reps
  • (Set 3): Right = 2mm x 6 + 1 reps, Left = 10mm x 5 + 1 reps
  • (Set 4): Right = 2mm x 4 + 1 reps, Left = 10mm x 4 + 1 reps
  • (Set 5): Right = 2mm x 2 + 3, Left = 8mm x 1 + 4 reps
  • Arnold Press: 20 lbs. x 2 sets x 15 reps, 25 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 10 reps
  • DB Bench Press: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Lateral Raises: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • (Super Set)
    • Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps, 12.5 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • DB Front Raises: 10 lbs. x 12 reps, 10 lbs. x 6 reps + 8 lbs. x 6 reps, 8 lbs. x 15 reps, 10 lbs. x 12 reps
  • Heavy Spring Bar: 8-P, 8-S
  • Tricep Pushdowns (tricep handle): 45 lbs. x 2 sets x 12 reps

Calories: 2883, Protein: 138 g. (We got some take out from a local Mexican restaurant so the numbers today are an estimate. To be safe the estimate is probably a bit on the high side.)

Scotch broom leaves grow in little groups of three like in the picture above. If we had this stuff in Maine when I was kid I could definitely see myself having done something like using an X-Acto knife to cobble together my own four leaf clover and try to trick people into believing I’d found the real thing. I went through my childhood wishing I could find a four leaf clover and keeping my eyes open for one because I wanted one like the real one my grandmother kept in a bible.

Fri, December 18th

Morning Walk: 3.28 miles, and a 4.73 mile afternoon walk for a total of 8.01 miles. During the afternoon walk when we were making a pit stop I did 100 squats and toward the end of the walk I did a little uphill jogging.

  • Standing Cable Rows (straight bar): 65 lbs. x 2 sets x 12, 15 reps, 70 lbs. x 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Pull Downs (d-handles): 50 lbs. x 15 reps, 55 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Fitness Bag Bicep Curls: 2 sets x 13 reps, 2 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Bicep Curls: 25 lbs. x 8 reps
  • Exercise Complex (FOUR SETS)
    • Fitness Bag Cleans: 8 reps
    • DB Shrugs: 30 lbs. x 15 reps, 35 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
    • DB Hammer Curls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps
    • Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Alternating Sets of Hindu and Full Squats: 10 reps
    • Internal and External Shoulder Rotation through frontal plane (orange band, one arm) x 12 reps
  • Stretched for about 20 minutes later when I was watching our ovens to make sure dinner didn’t burn.

Calories: 2408, Protein: 125 g.

Scotch Broom is one of those plants with a very long root and it will readily grow back if you just break off the top of the plant and leave the root. That is one reason why I generally pull it after a good rain like I did this time. The larger plants anchor themselves very firmly in dry ground and the root will often break off, even in wet ground. So I sometimes have to loosen the dirt around the larger plants, like the one below, with a trowel.

It took a bit of work, but I managed to fill the yard waste bin pictured above (mostly) with Scotch Broom and most of a second one too. So I’m probably good on the Scotch broom front for a few more months. This will allow me to turn my attentions now to the blackberry thorns, that had engulfed much of our back yard and even wrapped themselves around some of our smaller trees. Much like the broom, constant vigilance is required to keep them sorted.

Sat, December 19th

Calories: 2192, Protein: 132 g. (I lost 0.8 pounds this week, so my total loss is 18 lbs. so far.)


* The quoted material is from this article:

Warnert, Jeannette, E. “Beautiful but ecologically harmful shrubs get a foothold in California forests.” Green Blog, 14 June 2013. Accessed 17 December 2020.

** I learned, when I was reading about Scotch Broom, that there are many other types of broom, which were brought into the U.S. including French and Spanish Broom. I had no idea though I’m not surprised. The stuff all looks pretty similar but everyone around here calls the stuff we have “Scotch Broom” so that is what I’ll go with.