Work Outs: April 11 – 17, 2021 (Quick & Easy, Vegan Curry using Patak’s Rogan Josh simmer sauce)

We have a number of meals, that I make during the week, that we often cycle through because we like them, they are reasonably healthful, and most importantly — they are quick and easy to make. A winning combination! One of those weekly meals is a curry of some sort. This week I used Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry sauce.*

One has a lot of flexibility making these curries. The ingredients I used this time around was based on what I had available. You can easily change the quantities or use different ingredients altogether. Much like with the Hoover Stew and the Chickpea Tangine, this is a very flexible meal.

Yogurt is a nice addition if diary is on the menu.

Ingredient List

  • One 15 oz. (420 grams) jar of Patak’s “Rogan Josh Curry” simmer sauce.
  • One cup of dried TVP. I used “Just Like Chicken brand” by Whole Provisions, but any type will do.
  • One 15.5 oz. (434 gram) can of green peas. (Fresh or frozen are nice too.)
  • 3 oz. (84 grams) of Chickpeas
  • Four ounces (112 grams) of Sliced Bella or White Mushrooms
  • One ounce (28 grams) of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • One medium or large Onion, chopped.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • (Optional) One to two ounces (28 – 56 grams) of Sliced Almonds
  • (Optional) Harissa sauce to taste.

The list above is what I added based on what I had in the refrigerator. What you use and the amounts can vary depending upon what you have on hand and what you enjoy eating. For example, if you like meat I think chicken, pork or lamb would go very nicely with this meal instead of TVP. I am also thinking vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli would be nice additions as would a green onion garnish.

How to Cook

  • Reconstitute TVP according to package directions. In general this involves mixing together equal amounts of dried TVP and hot water and then microwaving for about 5 minutes. Then check the consistency and allow for more time until the product has reached the desired softness.
  • Sautee onion and mushrooms using your oil of choice or even just a little water in a non-stick pan if you are trying to avoid the added calories. (I used olive oil spray.)
  • Add in all other ingredients except the sauce and mix them together. (I included half of the almonds and then sprinkled the other half on top as a garnish.) Add the sauce and mix again.
  • Cover and simmer until heated through.
  • Serve with rice or naan. We had some garlic naan on hand, so I used that.

I discovered Harissa a few months ago courtesy of Shinta Simon of Caramel Tinted Life. It adds a decent amount of spiciness and a deep, red color to whatever you add it to.

I find it particularly useful because my husband likes extremely spicy food and I like food mild to medium. This recipe today I would characterize as medium to my palate, which to my husband would be hopelessly mild. So I mixed two tablespoons of Harissa into his portion, which jazzed the meal up considerably and made both of us happy.

I add a side of yogurt when I want to to ameliorate the heat between bites and add some tang and character to a meal.

Mon, April 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3 miles, after which we did a little balance work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2 mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed 3 + 2 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): 15 lbs. x 10 sec, 15.25 lbs. x 2 sets x 10 sec, 15.5 lbs x (left 3 sec, right 10 sec)
  • Arnold Presses: 35 lbs. x 6 reps, 30 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +

Calories: 2113, Protein: 139 g.

Tues, April 13th

I went down to the court at the bottom of the hill near where I live and shot some hoops for about 30 minutes with an almost new-looking basketball I found at the thrift store. I made a point to run around to keep my heart rate up. I worked on some drills and concluded by playing Horse against myself. (I won.)**

Calories: 2127, Protein: 140 g.

Wed, April 14th

  • Morning Walk: 2.26 miles.
  • I did one set of the MV Workout with my 10 lb. mace. I had to hike my hands up the handle of the mace a bit on the barbarian squats. My eventual goal there is to do those with my hands gripping the bottom of the handle. I didn’t have to with the 360’s but I really felt them in my hands and forearms.
  • After this I did: Swing & Catch and Alternating Swing & Catch, Mace Bicep Curls, Mace Reverse Curls, Taekwondo Leg Extension/Snap Kick Exercise. Did 10 reps (each side) for each exercise except for the kicks, where I did 20. Also worked in some dynamic stretching.

Calories: 2413, Protein: 154 g.

Thur, April 15th

  • Afternoon Walk: 4.58 miles.
  • I did some work with both my 1 and 2 lb. indian clubs.
  • BB Bench Press (full stop): 75 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
    • It has been over a year since I have bench pressed with a barbell because of the gyms closing down for the pandemic, so I was very conservative with this exercise.
  • Incline Overhead Tricep Extension: 15 lbs. x 15 reps, 20 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm 6 + 1reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 5): Left/Right (Guide Gripper, 50 lbs.) = kept fully closed for 30 seconds
  • Board Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs.
    • Pronated: 2 sets x 30 seconds
    • Supinated: 90 seconds

Calories: 2113, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 16th

  • Morning Walk: 2.19 miles. Afterwards, we did some balance work. Calories: 2321, Protein: 132 g.
  • Full Squats: One set of 30 reps, then 70 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): One set of 37 reps, then 63 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • (Super Set):
    • Standing Cable Leg Curls (ea. leg): 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps
  • I followed along with the “30-Minute Recumbent Bike Workout” video on the Vive Health channel, which I’ve done a few times now over the past couple of months. During the workout the presenter has one get off the bike three times and do some squats. For my three sets I did 10 Cossack Squats for the first, 10 Leg Extension Exercise (each leg) for the second, and finally 20 Taekwondo Front Snap Kicks.
  • I worked a little on foot dorsiflexion with the cable machine and then did the Muay Thai “Front Teep” lesson on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • I concluded the workout with some stretching and Yoga poses, including the Cat-Cow and Cobra poses, which both seem to do good things for my spine.

Sat, April 17th

  • 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: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (My weight didn’t change from last week. My total loss thus far remains 32.0 lbs.)


* If eating plant-based is important to you, then I recommend carefully reading the labels with these products. Some of them have milk products and some don’t. Many of the labels on these sorts of products list them as “vegetarian,” which includes lacto-ovo vegetarian eating, which can be problematic if like my husband you are trying to avoid dairy.

My husband started laughing when I showed him Patak’s simmer sauce. I wondered what could possibly be funny about a jar of curry sauce when he said, “I wonder what Worf would think of eating this brand?” “Very droll,” I replied. “Perhaps you should ask him the next time you talk to him?” “I’ll do that,” he said with a nod and wandered off.

** I didn’t cheat. Not badly anyway.

Work Outs: April 4 – 10, 2021 (Golf Ball Spider)

I’ve been posting pictures of salamanders, slugs, scorpions, and of course spiders off and on and of these worthy, little critters my favorites (I don’t know why) are spiders. This short video of a spider was taken one town over from where I live. So far as what kind of spider it is, guesses include a Calisoga, which is a genus of spiders also known as “false tarantulas,” or perhaps Titiotus californicus. Someone else said it was a “redwood spider.” I’m not sure exactly but I do know I’ve seen a lot of these around and about so they are pretty common in our area.

I do like that the person, who took this short video, took a picture of the spider crawling next to a golf ball to give one a sense of scale. Enjoy!

When I was a child I used to keep pet spiders and that started when I found a spider that had apparently lost some of its legs and seemed crippled. So I set it up in a terrarium with the idea of giving it some kind of chance for a life.

Much to my surprise one day I thought the spider had died but in fact it had been hiding in its little spider burrow under a fish tank decoration and molted.* Not only did my spider friend present me with a fancy husk, it had grown all of its legs back.

Once the weather turned nice again, I released my rehabilitated friend back into the wild. I was sorry to do so but I thought the spider would have a better, if possibly much shorter life, living out in the world than in a cage.

I kept a scorpion under similar circumstances some years later and was pretty surprised when it turned out the scorpion, unlike the spider, didn’t grow its legs back. (At least that one didn’t.) My experience with the spider had caused me to assume it would.

Sun, April 4th: Calories: 2064, Protein: 109 g.

Mon, April 5th

  • Morning Walk: 3.35 miles, after which we did a little balance work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 5 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Left 2 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): I have never done this before so I worked up to a couple of sets holding 18.5 lbs. to see where I was at. The next time I do this I’m going to try a slightly different grip to see if it makes a difference.
  • I did a full body warm up with some dynamic stretching, indian club and mace work. Also also practiced an alternating hands version of the Swing & Catch with the 10 lb. mace.
  • Standing Leg-Assisted Pull Ups: 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Standing Ring Rows: 5, 7 reps; went to about 45 degree angle to make it easier and did 10, 12 reps
  • DB Curls: 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • KB Russian Swings: 35 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Cross Body Hammer Curls: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps (Added in some hand pronation on the last two sets.)
  • Face Pulls: 12.5 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • I finished the work out with some stretching and yoga poses, including Cat-Cow, which is my current favorite.

Calories: 2178, Protein: 151 g.

I hope you enjoyed the video and pictures of Golf Ball Spider, who lives the next town over from us. The person, who took the video and extracted the pictures, kindly gave me permission to use them but declined a video or photo credit.

Tues, April 6th

  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): One set of 37 reps, then 63 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • Full Squats: One set of 30 reps, then 70 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • (Super Set):
    • Standing Cable Leg Curls (ea. leg): 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps
  • I followed along with the “30-Minute Recumbent Bike Workout” video on the Vive Health channel, which I’ve done a few times now over the past couple of months. During the workout the presenter has one get off the bike three times and do some squats. For my three sets I did 10 Cossack Squats for the first, 10 Leg Extension Exercise (each leg, Taekwondo) for the second, and finally 20 Front Snap Kicks (Taekwondo).
  • I worked a little on foot dorsiflexion with the cable machine and then did the Muay Thai “Front Teep” lesson on the globalmartialarts.university site.
  • I concluded the workout with some stretching and Yoga poses, including the Cat-Cow and Cobra poses, which both seem to do good things for my spine.

Calories: 2356, Protein: 162 g.

Wed, April 7th

  • Morning Walk: 2.33 miles. We concluded with a little balancing work.
  • I did two sets of the MV Workout with my 5 lb. mace. Then I worked on the Swing & Catch and Alternating Swing & Catch, kind of mixing the two together now that I’m getting better at doing it. As always I was careful not to swing the mace near my face.
  • Finally, I worked on the Muay Thai left jab and front teep using various targets (for the teeps), such as trees, one of the tires of our Land Cruiser (for low strikes) and practicing my footwork over various surfaces (rocks, pavement, leaves) and going up and downhill as well as the usual flat surfaces.

Calories: 2104, Protein: 151 g.

Thur, April 8th

  • Morning Walk: 3.33 miles. We concluded with a little balancing work. Calories: 2252, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 9th

  • Morning Walk: 2.19 miles. Afterwards, we did some balance work. Calories: 2321, Protein: 132 g.

Sat, April 10th

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (I lost 2 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 32.0 lbs.)


* My father varnished up the husk and I kept it in my room on a shelf for years. For all I know it might still be somewhere in my ancestral home though my old bedroom was repurposed a couple of years after I flew the nest, so it might have ended up in the trash.

For those of you who have the itch to watch a spider molt (speed up in places!), well, your wait is over.

Work Outs: March 28 – April 3, 2021 (Hoover Stew)

We saw this recipe for Hoover Stew from The Wolfe Pit and I thought it might be amusing to make a pot of it. As chance would have it I had all of the ingredients on hand, including some plant-based hot dogs, since my husband has been eating plant-based for quite some time now.

Apparently Hoover Stew was one of many pot luck type of recipes, popular in the United States during the 1930’s, where the idea was to feed a family very cheaply. It was named after the American president, Herbert Hoover, who was in office when the Great Depression kicked off in 1929, which was a worldwide phenomenon.

Kudos to hubby for repairing the handle on my favorite pot with J-B Weld!

I mentioned Hoover Stew to my mother and she said she had it and many variations like it under the common rubric of “Pot Luck Stew” where the ingredients were simply whatever was on hand. She said they called it “Mulligan Stew” if there was a lot of potatoes in it, which there commonly were since my grandparents grew potatoes commercially up until the mid-1980’s.

So it seems to me that this recipe for Hoover Stew is simply a base that can be varied greatly depending on what you have on hand. My mother said they most often had it with beef because hot dogs cost money while they had large quantities of beef because they raised cattle. I knew this because I ate much of this sort of thing growing up too, both because my mother had learned habits of frugality and because money was tight in our family, as it was for many, during the 1970’s.

I followed the recipe from The Wolfe Pit using the ingredients listed below, but you can add pretty much anything you think will work and omit anything you don’t like.

Ingredient List

  • 16 oz. box of Elbow Macaroni
  • Two 15 oz. cans of diced or stewed tomatoes (with juice, if any)
  • 15 oz. can of corn (with juice)
  • 15 oz. can of cannellini beans (with juice)
  • Eight hot dogs
  • Optional: Bouillon to taste. I used Better Than Bouillon brand “Roasted Garlic Base.”
  • Optional Wolfe Pit extra: Granulated garlic and onion to taste. Fresh would be good too, I bet.
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste. I also used Italian seasoning. (The video presenter instead used tomatoes that came with spices.)

How to Cook (more or less following Wolfe Pit directions)

  • Cook elbows for about half the time it says on the package. Drain but do not rinse.
  • Add tomatoes, beans, and corn to pot you cooked the pasta in as well as whatever spices you want to use.
  • Mix in pasta and hot dogs. The presenter just added them in cold, but I pan fried them first to give them some character.
  • Add some water if needed. The idea here is to have the finished product resemble something like a stew but not so much water that it is like a soup. Also, you’ll want to have some liquid to help finish cooking the pasta.
  • Simmer until heated throughout and pasta is done however you like it. (We like it al dente.)

We thought Hoover Stew wasn’t bad though I can see where it would be bland if one didn’t have some spices on hand. I might try making it again but instead of hot dogs using TVP. I think it would also be good with chicken, beef or pork and any kind of vegetables, such as say broccoli or cauliflower. Whatever you have sitting around, really. I’ve got the remains of a package of edamame that is just itching to go into a pot luck stew!

Sun, March 28th: Calories: 2596, Protein: 153 g.

Mon, March 29th

  • Morning Walk: 2.98 miles.
  • I spent much of the day doing yard work. I was tired enough that I decided to hold off on the weights until tomorrow. My hands were pretty warmed up though from all of the hacking, cutting, toting and hewing so I did some hand work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed x 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = Closed x 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = Closed x 0 + 5 reps
  • Board Pronated Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs. x 4 sets x 30 seconds. The pronated grip works the thumb in an interesting way.
  • I worked the Muay Thai “Jab” lesson and also did a set of 100 left jabs. Then I did the “Cross” lesson, which touches on the right cross punch. Afterward I worked on Taekwondo White Belt Drill #1. All of this comes from the globalmartialarts.university site.

Calories: 2088, Protein: 150 g.

Tues, March 30th

  • I warmed up with some miscellaneous yard work and mowed the Lower Fifty. After that I did some more warm up work with the indian clubs and steel mace.
  • Arnold Presses: 35 lbs. x 8 reps, 30 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 15 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps + following exercises 10 lb. mace (ea. side):
    • (Set Three) Grave Diggers x 15 reps
    • (Set Four) Pike Push Ups x 10 reps
      • I’m not satisfied with my form on these. I’ll have to do some research.
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 36 reps + 64 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • I worked on some Muay Thai footwork and the left jab. I did some upper body stretching to end the workout and a little more stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2208, Protein: 120 g.

Wed, March 31st

Morning Walk: 2.29 miles. Calories: 2257, Protein: 162 g.

Thur, April 1st

Morning Walk: 2.9 miles.

I took an hour archery lesson in the early afternoon to see what I needed to work on after over a year of not shooting (except for last week) what with the range being closed and all. I had a lot of things I needed to address but I think we did make some progress.

The instructor let me stay and shoot by myself afterwards for about a half hour. I shot a somewhat harder target (though still not a particularly difficult one) than last time. I had some nice rounds and some pretty ugly ones too but I did have this one round where I did very well indeed. It was as if I had been touched by the breath of Artemis and was pulling a +3 bow and letting fly with +2 arrows. Now if I could just bottle that moment!

  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed x 0 + 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 6 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 5): Left = 6 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 6): Left = 4 mm x 2 + 3 reps, Right = 2 mm x 4 + 1 reps
    • I did better than usual with my left hand but worse with my right. Although I didn’t feel fatigued after my archery session, I suspect my right hand was a little tired from all that shooting.
  • Board Pronated Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs. x 4 sets x 30 seconds. (Thirty seconds rest between sets.)
  • Did a little stretching in the evening.

Calories: 2252, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 2nd

Afternoon Walk: 4.76 miles. Calories: 2254, Protein: 142 g

Sat, April 3rd

Afternoon Walk: 5.25 miles. Calories: 2986, Protein: 153 g.

(I gained 0.2 lbs. this week. My total loss thus far is 30 lbs.)

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 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: 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.)