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.)