Why I stay the hell away from gluten…

Those of you that follow me on facebook or at my other blog will know that I have been gluten free for a long time.

Two and a half years ago, I started a “paleo challenge” because I was fed up of feeling constantly ill – drained, lethargic, bloated, IBS, mouth ulcers, migraines, painful joints, spot prone skin; the list could go on and on.

There have been occasions over the past couple of years where I’ve indulged in gluten containing foods and have consequently suffered because of it, but the symptoms were never enough to stop me from having the occasional cheat.

Earlier in the year, I finally got my bloods checked for coeliac disease and though they were taken at a time where I was not eating gluten, the result indicated a high possibility that I was suffering with coeliac disease.  I spoke to a gastroenterologist at work and showed him my results and he tried to convince me to go back to my GP and request a refererral for an endoscopy. This is the gold standard for testing for coeliac disease and is the only way I could get the diagnosis.

However, when I informed him that I eat gluten free by choice, he agreed that there was no point putting my body through an invasive procedure if the result was not going to change anything. So I left things as they were.

I do feel though, that had I got the diagnosis in black and white, it would have stopped me from cheating, eating gluten and making myself suffer un-necessarily.

Because this is exactly what happened the past weekend…

We had my family coming to stay and rather than stress about gluten containing foods being brought into our flat and the risk of possible contamination, I decided to forget being gluten free for the weekend and just go with the flow. Prior to this I had meticulously gluten free for 7 and a half months and the annoying, itchy, burning, bright red rash that appears at each side of my nose had finally cleared…

Gluten rash (aka dermatitis herpetiformis)

Gluten rash (aka dermatitis herpetiformis)

As you can see, the rash has come back with a vengeance after just three days of eating gluten.

I’ve also noticed a significant dip in my mood and have been tearful, suffered with lethargy, aching joints, sores in my mouth, severe nausea, unpleasant lower GI symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding and mucus.

Apart from feeling like utter shit, I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve put myself through this after finally starting to feel well in myself again.

You see, it’s not just a matter of eating a bit of gluten here and there. The damage that gluten does to the gut (and the rest of the body) takes months and months of abstinence to heal, it’s not as simple as allowing myself the odd treat now and again. The only way for me to remain symptom free and feeling well & healthy is complete abstinence.

So I’m making a promise to myself, from today, that I will do everything in my power to remain gluten free. It’s really not worth the pain!

Lower Body Training

It’s been a while since I updated and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just suck at blogging nowadays!

Whilst I’m loving this hot weather and enjoying the walk to work and back, the heat is a real ball-ache to train in. I was absolutely saturated by the time I had finished and on more than one occasion, I was glad I only wear black bottoms to exercise in! #sweatybuttcrack

Warm Up:

Foam rolling – 10 minutes
Hip opening/mobility exercises
Dynamic hip flexor stretches
Forward leg swings
Third world squats
Third world squat to stand

Barbell Squats:

37.5kg x5
57.5kg x3
76kg x4
76kg x4
76kg x4

Holy shit, these were so tough! I’m sure the heat didn’t help but I struggled with the first two sets. My third, funnily enough, was my best and strongest. Go figure!

Romanian Deadlifts:

40kg x5
60kg x3
77.5kg x8
77.5kg x8

These were tough too. Really felt it in my hamstrings and was out of puff by the time I had finished.

Leg Press:

100kg x5
150kg x3
210kg x8
195kg x8

*fist pump* Finally got all 8 reps on my first set. You have no idea how happy this makes me :D

Lying Leg Curls:

25kg x5
40kg x7
35kg x8

Standing Calf Raise:

260kg x10
250kg x10

Seated Calf Raise:

55kg x10
55kg x10

Here are a few pictures that I’ve taken lately – really starting to see a difference with leaning out :)

Loving how my v-taper is developing. Needs moar delts though!

Loving how my v-taper is developing. Needs moar delts though!

Abs looking leaner and trimmer every day

Abs looking leaner and trimmer every day

swole legs

Hit the beach a lot lately. Love how swole my legs are from the night before legs training

Had my hair chopped and love it. Now to get the roots sorted...

Had my hair chopped and love it. Now to get the roots sorted…

Warming up the glutes earlier and I noticed how awesome they look. Hurrah for squats!

Warming up the glutes earlier and I noticed how awesome they look. Hurrah for squats!

 

 

Instagram Pics

In case you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with instagram right now!

You can follow me at @justagirl_1978 – http://instagram.com/justagirl_1978

Anyway, here are my most recent pictures :)

If you are on instagram, leave your username in the comments section, I’m always looking out for new health & fitness folks to follow :)

 

Lower Body Training – 23.6.13

Whew, absolute killer workout today! I love hitting lower body when I’m fasted as I feel so much stronger and more powerful. Today was no exception!

Before I log my workout, I’d like to share a couple of pictures with you. I know many females get hung up on what the number on the scale is. When trying to drop fat, it’s often the only tool utilised and these pictures will hopefully give a good visual as to why that is a bad idea.

From saggy butt to kapow-ing booty!

From saggy butt to kapow-ing booty!

skinny fat front

From no abs to visible abs and hellooooo leg muscles!

 

Tighter, leaner, smaller

Tighter, leaner, smaller

It may shock you to find out that in the bikini pictures, I weigh 138lb. In the second photos, I weigh 172lb. That is a difference of 34lb. Now do you believe me when I say the scale means jack shit?

I hope so!

On to today’s training…

Warm Up:
Foam rolling
Dynamic hip flexor stretches
Hip openers
Fire hydrants
Third world squat
Third world squat to stand
Pigeon stretch

Squats:
20kg x5
30kg x5
42.5kg x3
52.5kg x1
66.5kg x5
66.5kg x5
66.5kg x5

Romanian Deadlifts:
40kg x5
72.5kg x8
72.5kg x8

Leg Press:
140kg x5
210kg x6
200kg x6

Lying Leg Curls:
25kg x5
45kg x7
35kg x8

Standing Calf Raise:
260kg x10
260kg x8

Seated Calf Raise:
55kg x10
55kg x9

Awesome session. My entire posterior chain is utterly fried and my legs have that delicious heavy feeling. I’m going to sleep well tonight!

Oops…

I’ve been slacking at posting my workouts! But just because I’ve not posted, does not mean I haven’t been training – I’ve been working my ass off as usual!

Rather than post the last few weeks of training logs (which would be boring) I’ll just post the most recent from yesterday.

Before that though, I’ve a few things to write about.  Firstly, I had my last physio session last week. Sadly, there is nothing more that my therapist can do for my condition as the treatment she has been giving me has just not worked. I’m gutted to be honest, a lot of cash was spent in the hope that this would be fixed but it’s just not possible.

So now, I’ve to see my GP and get a referral to the orthopaedic team. Maybe the shoulder/neck requires scanning to see if there is something else going on. I don’t know. All I do know is that symptom wise, nothing much has changed. The treatment I was having has definitely helped to relieve the muscle spasm and tension in my traps and scalene muscles and my first rib is mobilising a little better than it was. But there is still that “pinching” sensation in between my collarbone and first rib and I still get unbearable pain whenever I raise my arms above my head.

The good news is though, that stopping my bench press did not have any positive effect on the injury so I was advised that I can restart it.

In other news, dieting is still going well. I’ve lost a total of 9lb so far and I’m feeling so much better. I’m seeing new progress all the time, most noticeably in my mid section and legs – two of my problem areas!

I was looking back over my very first set of “before” pictures from 2008/2009 the other day and when I compared them to how I look now I was absolutely astounded by how far I have come…

side comparison

Still feel pretty embarrassed about how big I used to be :$

 

It’s crazy to think though that I am only about 26lb lighter now, even though it looks like I’m about 4 stone lighter! That is the awesome thing about gaining muscle mass. It doesn’t make you look huge like a man, it makes you look tight and lean and shapely.

Back in 2009, I dropped over 50lb in a relatively short space of time (4 months) but ended up pretty much skinny fat. I had very little muscle mass and in the end, was not happy with the lack of shape.

In this picture, you will see that there is very little difference in size, except that I’m possibly a little smaller now…

2009 vs 2013 side

34lb difference in scale weight o_O

 

The main difference is in that number on the scale. I was 138lb in the first picture. I was 172lb in the second picture. That is a whopping 34lb difference without any noticeable difference in size.

Now do you believe me when I say the scale sucks?

Here are a couple more recent progress pictures…

facial comparison 2

It’s not just your body that changes when you drop fat!

 

Legs

Well helloooooooooooo muscles!

I’m pretty thrilled with the progress I seem to be making and I can only attribute it to being consistent. This year is the most consistent I’ve been with my diet and training and it shows in my results. It motivates me to keep hitting the weights hard and eating well because being the perfectionist that I am, I’m always striving for better.

Anyway, onto yesterday’s training session…

Upper Body Training – 21.6.13

Incline Bench Press:
20kg x8
25kg x5
33kg x5
33kg x5
33kg x5

I’m now working again at 70% of my 1RM. This will increase after the next session, when we’ll be lifting at 80%.

Deadlifts:
75kg x5
95kg x3
117.5kg x1
117.5kg x1
117.5kg x1
117.5kg x1
117.5kg x1

30 second rest pause. These were difficult but I was never in danger of not making any of the lifts. Rest pause to decrease to 15 seconds next time, before increasing to 120kg – eek!

Barbell Bench Press:
20kg x8
35kg x8
35kg x6

I would have made all 8 reps on my second set but there was a bit of a to-do outside the gym which caused a group of guys to congregate by the window to see what was going on. Unfortunately, that window was right next to where I was benching and one guy almost knocked the barbell as I was benching as he moved away so that ended that set.

Weight to increase back to 40kg next session (which is where I was before I took my break)

Seated Wide Row:
20kg x6
42.5kg x8
37.5kg x8

To increase to 45kg next time.

Standing Military Press:
20lb x8
45lb x8
45lb x6

I haven’t done this in months due to my injured shoulder. My thinking (which may well be wrong) is that it hurts whether I do it or not so I may as well work my shoulders as much as I can.

Obviously, I’ll be sensible and if I suffer with severe pain during the exercise I will stop but yesterday, I felt nothing but a little discomfort.

Barbell Curl:
27.5kg x8
27.5kg x8

I was sooooooo pissed off – I should have been curling 32.5kg and I miscalculated my weights. I didn’t bother to change it for my second set, I’ll just double check before I curl next session.

Tricep Pushdowns – Rope Attachment:
25kg x8
25kg x6

I always manage the first set no problem, but I just CANNOT get past 6 reps on my second set. Stupid weak triceps. I’m consoling myself with the fact that it’s probably due to reintroducing benching ;)

So there we have it. I’m hoping for more beautiful weather so that I may again enjoy the walk to work. I also want to get back to the beach – my tan is looking awesome :D

Topping up the vitamin D

Topping up the vitamin D

Lower Body Training

Thank goodness this was the last session of my current cycle – I’ve *so* had enough of lifting at 90% of my 1RM – it’s tough!

We deload now, recalculate our 1RM and start again from 75% – I’ve never felt so happy to be squatting 66.5kg  :D

How about this amazing weather we’ve been having?

I was sat on the bus on the way home from work last week, crawling along in traffic, sweltering, with no air conditioning and feeling utterly miserable. I decided there and then to walk to work the next day. Why not make the most of the gorgeous weather whilst it lasts?

So for three days this week, I walked to work and yesterday, I walked there AND back :)

beach2

I actually hit the beach yesterday for the first time since last year. I was a bit nervous about putting on my bikini again as I’m about half a stone or so heavier than I was this time last year and for the past few months, I’ve been striving to “get back to what I looked like then”.

In the end, I thought sod it, put it on and got my tan on. I took a couple of pictures and it was only when I compared them to me last year I realised that I actually look *better* than I did!

2012 vs 2013

 

There isn’t a great difference in levels of leanness but there is a HUGE difference in my body shape! I posted the above picture to my instagram and a guy commented on it saying “nice quads. you squat” – damn well made my day!

But what made my day even more was when I compared my latest picture to one of me two years ago…

2 year progressWOW! It’s only when I compare these photos that I see how far I’ve really come. I feel extremely proud of myself!

Anyway, on to today’s workout. We must have been mental choosing to train legs on such a hot day. The gym was sweltering and my gym gear was saturated by the time I’d finished!

Warm Up:

Foam rolling – quads, calves, piriformis
Dynamic hip flexor stretches
Hip opening exercises
Forward leg swings
Third world squat
Third world squat to stand

Squats:

20kg x5
40kg x5
60kg x3
81kg x3
81kg x3
81kg x3

These were TOUGH! I’m so happy that this 90% cycle is over. I also have to wear a full t-shirt for squatting from now on – my back was sweating and the bar was slipping – eek!

Stiff Leg Deadlifts:

40kg x6
65kg x8
65kg x8

I can really feel the difference now I’m focusing locking out using the glutes at the top *thumbs up*

Leg Press:

130kg x5
205kg x8
195kg x6

*fist pump* I am so happy to have made all 8 reps! I dropped two reps on my second set but I don’t really care – I pushed 205kg for 8 reps :D Weight up next session.

Lying Leg Curls:

25kg x6
40kg x7
35kg x8

Standing Calf Raise:

240kg x10
240kg x10

Weight to go up next time :)

Seated Calf Raise:

52.5kg x10
50kg x9

Didn’t realise til I came to write in my book that I should have put this weight up today – damn it!

I have to say, before I even started tonight’s session I was already sore – the walking has made my glutes ache so badly! Who would have thought that walking would hit the glutes like that? I do make sure to walk very briskly and  take big strides – it only takes me 45 minutes to walk the 3.2 miles.

I’m back to the beach tomorrow – hurrah! Long may this beautiful weather last. Have an awesome weekend folks :)

Lower/Upper Body Training

How much are you all enjoying this stunning weather?!?

I’ve actually walked the 3 miles to work the past couple of days because it’s just so beautiful out there. My route to work is is simply gorgeous and I’m definitely going to do it more often whilst it stays nice…

view

 

I’m working a half day tomorrow so my plan is to take my bikini & towel to work with me and hit up the beach when I finish to soak up some vitamin D! I’ll also be doing the same after my physiotherapy session on Friday. I just LOVE living right on the beach <3

I missed recording my last training session as I’ve been so busy and then by the time the evening rolls around, I’m knackered and barely have the energy to eat and then fall into bed.

So here is tonight’s session as well as my last session…

2nd June – Lower Body Training

This was a fasted session and it was pretty freakin’ awesome!

Warm Up:

20 minute walk to gym
5-10 minutes foam rolling – quads, piriformis, calves
Dynamic hip flexor stretches – 12 each side
Hip opening exercises – 8 each side
Pigeon stretch
Shoulder dislocations – 3×10
Third world squats
Third world squat to stand
Leg swings – forward/sidewards

I’ve also started doing a new dynamic hip opening routine which is hard to put into words but I will get a recording of it over the weekend.

Squats:

20kg x5 – with a 3 second pause in the hole
40kg x5
60kg x3
81kg x3
81kg x3
81kg x3

Awesome squat session! I felt really strong and powerful and I felt my glutes firing with every rep. We have one more session at 90% before we recalculate our 1RM and deload to 70%.

Stiff Leg Deadlifts:

40kg x6
60kg x8
60kg x8

After my last session, I said I was going to drop the weight a little and work on form as I was not pulling the glutes through at the top of the movement. Much improved this week!

Leg Press:

140kg x5
205kg x7
195kg x8

Loved my leg press this week though they were still tough. I’m determined to get the full 8 reps on my first set next time.

Lying Leg Curls:

25kg x6
40kg x7
35kg x8

Standing Calf Raise:

240kg x10
240kg x8

I could barely stand after these – and I love it!

Seated Calf Raise:

52.5kg x10
50kg x8

 

Upper Body Training – 5th June 2013

Warm Up:

Shoulder dislocations – 2 x 10 (Had to stop after two sets as it was aggravating my shoulder/neck)
Pectoral Stretches

Eccentric Dumbbell Flyes:

5kg x10
5kg x10

My shoulder was really giving me some grief tonight so I only did two sets. It’s getting extremely depressing now :(

Deadlifts:

70kg x5
90kg x3
115kg x1
115kg x1
115kg x1
115kg x1
115kg x1

15 second rest pause. It was hot in the gym tonight and my legs/glutes were feeling heavy due to walking to work and then standing on my feet all day in work. But I was never in danger of not making reps.

Next session I’ll deload and do some speed deads before increasing the weight up the following session to 120kg.

Seated Row – Wide Grip

20kg x6
40kg x8
40kg x6

Barbell Curls:

30kg x6
25kg x8

Tricep Pushdowns – Rope Attachment:

20kg x10
20kg x8
20kg x6

Arms were suitable fried though I do not feel I’m working as hard since I took out benching. I know it’s for my own good so I’ll stick with it for now but it’s driving me slightly potty!

A little flex shot from tonight’s session – I really think it’s noticeable that my upper body is leaning out :)

flex