New Training Routine

Posted at 22:45 in Progress, Training

As you know, I’ve been using Wendler’s 5/3/1 progression on my main four lifts – bench, deadlift, squat and overhead press. However, up until now we’ve been adding our deadlift after bench pressing, when really, the four exercises should be done on different days.  I’ve found deadlifting after benching is getting increasingly difficult. Arching for the bench still makes my back ache and it feels a little fatigued by the time deadlifts come around afterwards. Though I’m making all my reps and exceeding them on my +rep sets, I still felt I could be stronger if I did the lift first on its own day.

So, after our latest deload, we re-jigged our routine and have just finished the first week. And f*ck, my body feels like it’s been hit by a truck! I’ve not felt so sore in a long time and I know that is mostly down to performing new exercises that my body is not used to but also due to training 2 days on, one day off, 2 days on, 2 days off.

I’m still following the Wendler 5/3/1 progression on all big lifts, just the accessory exercises have changed and chest/back have been split up and are performed on their own days. So now my programme looks as follows:

Monday – Chest & biceps

Incline bench press – 5/3/1
Flat barbell bench press – 3 sets of 6-10
Dumbbell flyes – 3 sets of 6-10
Cable bicep curls – 3 sets of 6-10
Preacher curls – 3 sets of 6-10

Tuesday – Legs/glutes

Barbell back squats – 5/3/1
Romanian deadlifts – 3 sets of 6-10
Front squats – 3 sets of 6-10
Lying leg curls – 2 sets of 6-10
Walking lunges – 3 sets of 20 paces
Calf flex (on leg press) – 3 sets of 10-15
Glute bridges – 3 sets of 10-15

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – Back & Triceps

Deadlifts – 5/3/1
Chin ups – 3 sets AMRAP (currently band assisted)
T-Bar row – 3 sets of 6-10
Straight arm pulldown – 2 sets of 6-10
Close grip bench press – 3 sets of 6-10
Tricep pushdown – 3 sets of 6-10

Friday – Delts & Abs

Military press – 5/3/1
Seated dumbbell press – 3 sets of 6-10
Leaning lateral dumbbell raise – 3 sets of 6-10
Chest supported rear delt raise – 3 sets of 6-10
Hanging leg raises – 3 sets of 10-15
Cable crunches – 3 sets of 10-15
Barbell hip thrusts – 3 sets of 10-15

As you will see, there is a lot more volume than I used to do. This is because each muscle group is only being targeted directly once per week so it needs to be stimulated sufficiently. Also, if you notice, biceps have been added to chest days and triceps have been added to back days, whereas usually it’s the other way around – back & biceps, chest & triceps.

The reason for this is because the biceps and triceps play a very important role in the (upper body) big lifts. Therefore, I want to hit them when they are feeling fresh and not fatigued from previous exercises that utilise them. As an example, triceps are hit hard on chest days from 2 lots of bench press. However, by the time I come to train them on Thursday, they should be recovered sufficiently to train them properly.

You’ll also notice that I have switched from front to back squats as my primary move. The reason for this is because I have aspirations to compete in powerlifting this year. As the back squat is one of the main lifts, it makes sense to begin training this again as I have been front squatting since before the new year.

One thing I have noticed is that front squats have drastically improved my back squat form, as you will see from this picture…

As you can see, I’m much more upright in the second picture and I can only attribute this to front squatting over the past 4-5 months. I don’t think my excessive forward lean was due to poor mobility, I think I just had to learn to remain upright properly.

Here is a little video of my front squats from this week…

And my deadlifts, where I got a new rep PR at 107kg – 9 reps!

I’ll leave you with a picture that demonstrates just how much the scale doesn’t give the whole picture. In the first picture, I’m actually 4lbs lighter than I am now, yet I’m definitely fatter. It goes to show how the figure on the scale doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re pumping iron :)


Enjoy the long bank holiday weekend and I’ll be back with more training updates and videos next week.




Grain & Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Posted at 19:48 in Food, Progress, Recipe, Training

Hola blog friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter break. I had a lovely 5 day weekend and I don’t want it to come to an end, I’m so not ready to go back to work tomorrow!

I didn’t indulge in any chocolate this Easter break as I’m not really a big chocolate fan. I have to really fancy it to eat it which isn’t very often. I’m more of a savoury person at heart but as an Easter treat, I offered to bake my boyfriend a yummy gluten free carrot cake, which he very happily said “yes please” to.

I make my carrot cake with almond meal which gives a lovely, dense cake. I find sometimes that cooking cakes with gluten free flour gives them a very ‘unique’ taste so I prefer to use almond meal where I can.  So if you’re a fan of paleo/primal eating, this recipe is for you!

Grain Free Carrot Cake

300g blanched almond meal
3 large carrots, grated
5 eggs
60g melted coconut oil
75g maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp Himalayan/Sea salt
100g walnut pieces

Combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, coconut oil and maple syrup.  Stir in the carrots and walnuts.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour the batter into a cake tin, greased with coconut oil. I like to make my cake in a loaf tin as the frosting is quite rich so you’re not getting as much on each slice.

Bake in the oven at 170 for around 30-35 minutes, until cooked and golden brown.

Cool to room temperature and then add frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

350-500g soft cheese (I used 500g which made a MOUNTAIN of frosting)
75g icing sugar
50g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth, then spoon onto the cake. Sprinkle frosted cake with walnuts and set in the fridge until ready to consume.

We went to visit the in-laws yesterday for lunch and the cake was very well received :)

It’s been a very lazy Easter break really. Apart from training, visiting family and a quick walk into town, we’ve not really done a great deal. Sometimes those kind of weekends are the best – we’ve watched movies, read books and just enjoyed quality time together. We’ve also eaten some pretty awesome meals!

We did visit a new coffee place that has opened up literally across the road from our apartment. It’s a beautiful place and will give us somewhere nice to laze on a Sunday morning before hitting the gym…

We’re into our deload week now training wise, but here is a video of my Military Press from my last 5/3/1 session. I was really pleased to press my previous 1RM of 30kg for 4 reps :) Not the biggest weight but it’s a big deal for me and my piddly, unstable shoulders!

After this deload, I am switching up my training somewhat.  I’ll come back with another blog post to explain my reasons for this, I think it’s something that is deserving of its own post :)  But be assured it’s news I’m very excited about!

I’ll finish up the post with a snap I took earlier in the week of my legs/glutes – very happy to see how they’re coming along!




Training update

Posted at 20:24 in Food, Progress, Training

Training is going amazingly well at the moment! I’m seeing lots of rep PRs on, well, everything! Deadlifts, front squats, bench press and even my military press, which is my absolute weakest lift. I’m so happy I started on 5/3/1!

I have a feeling I’ll be seeing some new 1RMs this year so watch this space!

It was my mum’s birthday Friday last week, so we went up for the weekend to celebrate with her. We had a fab time and it included an amazing meal out, where I devoured this bad boy…

20oz t-bone

Definite foodgasms!

I hit a new rep PR on my deadlifts tonight – 107kg x8! I can’t wait for next session when I’ll be pulling 113kg :-D

I’m keeping this post brief as I’m flagging and need to make food, but I’ll leave you with a little collage I made, documenting my progress. Sometimes you have to look backward just to see how far you’ve come :)


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