It’s no secret that I’ve been pushing the fitness envelope pretty hard in the last year. Between hours spent in the gym with new routines, training programs and diet changes, I’ve been yielding some pretty exciting results!
And to my surprise, people have been psyched for me! Not only have they been enthusiastic with my progress, but also to learn what my gym sessions and meal planning looks like.
A few weeks back I asked my Instagram followers to toss questions at me related to my training and diet. I will do my best to answer them all (keeping in mind I am not a certified trainer or dietician and some of these suggestions won’t work for you based on your body type, current health conditions etc.)
So here’s a breakdown of a typical gym routine (I am usually in the gym 3 – 4 days a week, outside of climbing and other outdoor activities).
My gym routines consist of a variety of body weight, added weight, isometric and finger board training exercises. I do not do cardio at the gym (other than route endurance on the climbing walls). I get most of my cardiovascular exercise in with my job as a Park Ranger and trying to run after/before work.
Before I recommend anything to you, you’ve got to find your passion to train. I didn’t begin to see positive results until I was excited to go to the gym. It started with learning the basics from a personal trainer (Patrick Humphries). Before I joined Pat’s class, I wasn’t sure what muscle groups to target, how to avoid plateaus and see actual progress. Once I began to feel comfortable with body position and weight increase, I gained confidence to push myself with each exercise. I can tell you with full honesty: I am never bored at the gym – yes, I have days where I feel weak or tired, but I am never bored.
So – find your psyche. Whether you are training for a specific event or just trying to get healthy – you’ve got to want it.
Start with coming up with a 4 week plan. Slowly adding weight to each exercise and pursuing weaker muscle groups. Make sure you are correcting your posture and always rolling after a workout. Don’t jump into lifting heavy when you’re cold – never skip the warm up.
A Day in the Gym with @Mountaindarlin:
Here is a breakdown of 10 exercises (I am constantly changing up my training routines but this is one breakdown to understand the types of movement I am doing). I do 5 sets of each and the reps change depending on the exercise but usually between 8 – 20.
I never saw a single ab until I started hanging out in a plank more often. The basic plank is simple: Assume a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor. Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. I usually push forward to increase the difficulty. I will usually do a mash-up of forward, side and single leg plank, trying to hold each for 1 – 2 mins.
Squats suck. But they sure strengthen your legs quickly! I turn my feet out about 30 degrees and make sure my knees are not collapsing when retracting out of the squat. Start with a warm up set of 20 and add weight with each set. I usually start with 20lbs and work up to the 60lb dumbbells. Use a band to keep your knees turning out and avoid dipping too low in your squat.
Start slow with these – always do a few warm up sets to wake your fingers up before adding any weight. Try and do 10 seconds on for every hang. I will usually incorporate a hang in between other exercises (usually doing about 20 hangs a session). If you work out at a climbing gym that offers multiple hang board options, start with a large edge and progress to different hold styles and small edges. I am still working hard to increase my finger strength and am usually maxing out at 30lbs + 10 seconds on a small crimp. For this, you can use a harness to rig the weight onto yourself or pinch a dumbbell between your knees.
“I can’t believe I can do a pull-up” I say to myself every time I do one. It seemed too far out of my reach before I started training them. Start with wrapping a band around the bar and doing assisted pull-ups, progress to lifting yourself into a single pull up and slowly lowering (a negative repetition). After a couple weeks you should be able to do a few with just your body weight – time to ditch the band. Once you are able to complete 10 body weight pull-ups start considering adding 5 -10lbs. Similar to hangs – do your warm up sets and gradually add weight. Remember to switch up your grip to work other muscle groups.
Kettle Bell Shoulder Raise
These are my favourite ab burners – which also work your shoulders and back. Start with a lighter weight bell and progress accordingly. Make sure you are keeping your shoulders square and flexing your core with each lift. Really watch your posture with this one – if you start to feel pain in your lower back or neck, chances are, your body position is off. It helps to stand in a mirror or have someone film you for the first few sessions.
All you climbers definitely know about the campus board struggles. It’s probably been one of the most difficult training tools for me. I started by using the foot rungs and getting the coordination down on large and small edges before letting go and lifting my body weight up the rungs. I do a mixed routine on the board – I usually warm up with ladder raises (moving up each individual rung and back down), doing rung skips and seeing how high I can get my right arm and then left and bumping back down. I don’t know what the actual lingo is for these specific sets. I also do one I call “up downs” which is bumping up and skipping two rungs and bumping back down to the start point. It’s hard to maintain a “locked off” position, but I found once my pull-ups increased I was able to hold it better!
Kettle Bell Single Leg Deadlift
These will kill your legs the first few times! I remember not being able to bend my legs after the first time! Start light – make sure your back is staying straight as you lower and come back up. Start with a 10-20lb kettle (8-10 reps each side) and work on getting your single leg balance. Increase your weight and reps as they become easier.
I use these to warm up before almost every workout. There are tons of different ways you can use them – check these out! I usually start with 10 – 20 reps of each position: T’s, Y’s, W’s and pull ups.
A lot of questions have come up as to what I have changed in my diet. A few people assumed I’ve gone “keto” (ketogenic), which isn’t the case. Others assume I must count calories and eat insane amounts of added protein. Non of the above are the case…
My boyfriend, Pearce developed a gut sensitivity to gluten and most dairy products last winter. He had been experiences stomach issues before and those inflammatory foods had only been making it worse. He decided to cut out all gluten and modified milk ingredients from his diet. Naturally, to make the transition easier for him, I jumped on board with the food changes. We cut out mostly all dairy products (except some fresh cheeses) and eat no gluten products. I noticed after a month or so that I was never bloated, had much more energy and didn’t miss any of the foods.
So what do we eat?
We eat a ton of veggies, rice, rice pasta, chicken and small amounts of fish. We snack on nuts throughout the day and do most of our cooking with olive or avocado oil. We also enjoy fermented foods and homemade soups. We don’t count calories but we do watch our portions – we eat one serving and avoid overeating or feeling “full”. We try to avoid sugar (other than natural sugars from fruit – which are combined with fibre and able to break down in your digestive system). We have smoothies after workouts and in the morning before a day of Rangering in the mountains! We use a plant based protein called Garden of Life Sport (organic). Also – I love chocolate; Like can’t live without chocolate. But I try to limit the amount I eat and go for the darker percentage, organic chocolate bars. We cook lots of gluten free banana muffins using coconut flour!
This is my favourite recipe to use:
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 cup creamy or natural peanut butter (well stirred if natural)
- 4 eggs (Sub 2 eggs for avocado oil 2tbs for 1 egg)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with baking liners.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add all the ingredients. Process until totally smooth.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan until evenly divided.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and fluffy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Enjoy! (Recipe)
IF you have any questions about other exercises or meal options shoot me a message below!
Phase SL Bra