How to Not Waste Your Time at the Gym

I Fucking Love Fitness

Smile (or not)! Shameless gym-selfie time. I took this picture to write about how weak I got because of not being consistent with my weightlifting. I was struggling with 24kg kettlebells. Sigh.

Summer is over and fall is officially here. To me this means saying goodbye to my lazy summer ways and welcome with open arms: new projects, new contracts, back to hardcore workouts at the gym, absolute commitment and no excuses whatsoever. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the craziness that is coming ahead, which starts the next week so this means I don’t have much time to finish my new obsession on Netflix: Battlestar Galactica (best TV show ever, by the way).

I live by the cliché, work hard, play harder because even though work  sometimes drives me crazy, I love it! I know if I can get all my shit done quickly and efficiently, I can still live life to the fullest and don’t have to make any major sacrifices. I guess I’m lucky to have a career I’m passionate about and even though it’s flexible, a busy schedule means major commitment, careful planning and knowing what my priorities are. I do spend more time in the gym in the fall since the weather isn’t deal for outdoor workouts and frequent bike rides but my workouts are shorter and more efficient yet they are still as effective and beneficial.

How to Not Waste Your Time at the Gym:

  • If your friends distract you in any way, do NOT workout with them. Don’t feel bad— you need to get your shit done and so do they. Friends are allowed to ignore each other at the gym.
  • In fact, you are allowed to ignore everyone at the gym. Just throw on your headphones and your music doesn’t even have to be on but as long as no one is talking to you, it’s working! And no, it’s NOT rude. You need to get your shit done, remember?
  • If you are talking to someone at the gym, do not talk about work or life. Only talk about workout and fitness related topics. The gym isn’t time to talk about babies or shoes… it’s time to talk about beastmode-y stuff (and yes, you are allowed to rant about the smelly B.O. coming from the treadmill area).
  • Create a complete workout plan that not only includes what you are going to do but how long you are going to do it for. Keep your eye on the clock, stick with the plan and get out of there by your pre-determined time. You’ll be surprised at how much harder and faster you will work out if you have a goal in mind.
  • Or schedule a massage right afterwards like I sometimes do. You don’t want to miss that massage, huh? Then stop slacking off at the gym!
  • Take a class so you don’t have to plan a workout and so you will know how long you will be working out since the class length is always pre-determined.
  • Take as little breaks as possible in between sets and exercises to keep your heart rate up. Unless you are a body builder, split-training or weight lifting with long breaks in between each set isn’t beneficial to you. Waste. Of. Time.
  • Instead, do full body intervals with a combination of everything (weights, sprints, plyometrics, etc). Note, if you don’t know what you’re doing, hire a trainer.
  • AMRAP. As many rounds as possible. A couple of months ago, I discovered how hard I push doing AMRAPs because I always set ridiculous goals for myself and usually meet them. One of my favorites is a 12 minute AMRAP of 5 Clean + Press + Front Squat + 15 Hollow Rocks (or some other core exercise).
  • If you do need to take breaks, make them productive breaks. Jog on the spot, do some mobility exercises, etc. I love to stretch my hip flexors, ITB and calves in between sets when I’m lifting heavy and need more rest.
  • Do compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups along with high intensity cardio for the most efficient and fat-blasting workout in the shortest amount of time.
  • Don’t take your cellphone with you. Oops.
  • Don’t take shameless gym-selfies. Oops. Guilty.

    A Lament to Watermelon (and my ITB)

    Watermelon Season is Over!

    With my boring life update, I bring you a picture of a boring pile of watermelon at City Fresh, the only place I buy from because they are simply the most heavenly. This day was very sentimental to me because the two watermelon that I bought was probably going to be the last of the season. I love watermelon and my summer is incomplete without it so this is a sad, sad time. Wah.

    I’m sitting here trying to come up with something to blog about that has nothing to do with my personal life and despite having over 100 drafts of unfinished posts that will probably never see the light of day, my mind is totally blank. To be honest, the last month, I’ve been feeling really tired (or probably just lazy) and although I’ve been keeping up with my workouts, I’ve been feeling unmotivated to blog, read blogs, to work, to do SUPERRR intense workouts like I use to and even to ride my bike.

    One of the main reasons is my damn IT band which has been affecting my mood, my workouts and my recovery, hence also the reason why I’ve barely been on my bike the last month. It’s making me feel anxious about the health of my knees so I’ve been trying to tone everything down. I think after all these years of torture, my body is screaming for a rest.

    I was also sick most of last week so I decided to pull out on that Mount Baker ride (which I totally regretted and was really sad about that night). We have a Triple Crown scheduled for this Saturday but as I’m sitting here writing this, my legs are sore and aching and I swear I feel my ITB pulling my knee caps outwards. They are SO tight. I think I’m still a little sick because that gross, sick sound cough always comes back when I’m doing something intense… I guess I need to stop working out. I think I will rest the next couple of days and pray I’ll feel refreshed for Saturday. Damn you ITB!! *shakes fist*

    I found out I lost A LOT of strength at the gym— I struggled with a 135lb deadlift and I was only trying to get 7 reps with sprawls for the first set. It was never that hard! Then today I tried to do Farmer’s Walks with two 24kg kettlebells (3x 1min:30s) which I use to do ALL the time but for the first time ever, I got so tired that I had to stop and put down the kettlebells. I haven’t been consistent with my lifting lately and it definitely shows. Consistency is the key to progress! I am just a tad bit annoyed but really, not too worried because I know I’ll be doing a lot more lifting as the cold weather rolls in.

    Although I’ve been feeling lazy and unmotivated, it’s been great! It was my first month “off” which means I had plenty of free time since work was slow and I was just finishing up my freelance contracts at home. This is just the calm before the storm because my full-time job is going to be madness very soon and I have new freelance contracts starting the next few weeks so I’m trying to be as lazy as possible! Don’t get me wrong, I do love my jobs …and how they seem to get hectic at the same time. Well, not too much the last part.

    The last month, I’ve been planning my trip to Europe next spring and I’m so glad I got a head start because this shit is time-consuming! Other than that, all I’ve been doing is trying to catch up with Dr. Who and Revenge on Netflix while lying on my yoga mat, stretching and foam-rolling all night (seriously). The good thing is that I got Boyfriend hooked on Revenge but no luck with Dr. Who, to my utter dismay. *insert ultimate sad face here*

    But I shouldn’t be complaining. Life is so good and relaxing right now. Other than my tight ITB pulling on my knees out of its socket. I like to visualize, okay.

    So that my friends, was my boring life update. I swear I will write something more interesting and perhaps fitness related soon as soon as my lazy time is over.

    And just because I like food and can find no relevant photos for this entry. 1. Avocado, toast + whatever protein has been my current go-to breakfast. 2. Roasted pototes with all the beef drippings. Heaven. 3. My favorite Chinese soup flavored with pork bones and red dates! 4. BF has been in  a deep-frying mood lately (chicken, onion rings, etc) and although it's sooo bad for us, it is way too tasty to resist.

    And just because I like food and can find no relevant photos for this entry. 1. Avocado, toast + whatever protein has been my current go-to breakfast. 2. Roasted pototes with all the beef drippings. Heaven. 3. My favorite Chinese soup flavored with pork bones and red dates! 4. BF has been in a deep-frying mood lately (chicken, onion rings, etc) and although it’s sooo bad for us, it is way too tasty to resist.


      What’s Next?

      Now that the Whistler Gran Fondo is over, what’s next?

      I have two more big rides coming up: Mount Baker part two this Saturday and then Triple Crown the weekend after BUT because of the state of my tight IT band and my knees, I really don’t see myself finishing either of those rides. I almost cancelled on Mount Baker this weekend but Boyfriend is still going and I got extremely jealous so I decided to just go for it. I’m meeting the group about 40km in at Maple Falls and I don’t think I will reach the Artist Point summit this time because once my knees start irritating me, I am going to stop (or slow down)! I’ve done this ride once already so I don’t mind just doing as much as my body allows me to this time. As for the Triple Crown, I’m going to attempt it but last time my knees started flaring up after Grouse… so we will see. My priority right now is knee health and working on that IT band!


      Pavlova and Toby (a.k.a. best dog in the world).

      The rest of this cycling season will end with leisurely (ish) rides with a lot less elevation. I haven’t done UBC, Steveston, Deep Cove, riding along the Barnat Highway and just through West Van in general in months so I am looking forward to those! I may even take my clipless pedals off so I can do at least ONE ride and Grind this year.

      When the weather gets wet and cold, I’m looking forward to spending more time at the gym weightlifting and less cardio to get my body composition back. You can’t go wrong with more  muscle! It sucks to be lean in the winter because you get abnormally cold to the bones but it allows for 100% guilt-free massive feasts which is needed for holiday season. Harharhar!

      Next year, I was planning on getting a Mini Goldendoodle named ‘Tobi’ (after the best puppy in the world,’Toby’) but Tobi will have to wait because I realized I would probably be away travelling or cycling the majority of the time. I’m also not a very maternal person so I really have to think twice about getting a pet other than for selfish reasons!

      Next spring, I’m planning to go on a solo 6-week backpacking trip in Western Europe which is something I’ve always wanted to do and then I may go to Asia for a month inthe winter or so depending how busy I am. I only started to plan my Euro trip recently and I’m not sure of anything yet except that I will be home by June just in time for Vancouver’s prime cycling season (and Tough Mudder). And of course, the bike touring/rental companies I am going with in Provence and Barcelona. I definitely have my priorities! I’m still debating on where to go and if I want to stay in France longer or spend equal amounts of time in Spain and Italy. I want this trip to be relaxed so I am going to spend more time in the cities than to try see everything at once since I have plenty of time to come back. When I do, I want to spend the majority of my time in Eastern Europe where I REALLY want to go, but with the Boyfriend.

      Do you have any recommendations of tips for my Europe trip? I would love to hear!