Week 2 of V.2.0 – Building Stronger Arms

Hey Challengers! you have made it through the first quarter of your 50 days!  That is two weekends under your belt and a whole 14 days, you are hopefully feeling like you are really starting to get a good handle on all of this clean eating and meal prep business.  It is likely starting to feel a bit easier to make healthy choices instead of caving into cravings, mostly because you are probably aren’t craving things like refined sugar and white bread anymore.

Now that you are filling your bellies with healthful foods, full of vitamins and minerals you are probably bursting with energy! And if you were lucky enough you probably escaped the dreaded change of season cold (I wasn’t so lucky but hopefully all of you were). Because you have all of this energy I figured it would be a great time to make share a little at home arm workout with you.

I wanted to make something that was a nice balance between cardio and strength and with a main focus on your arms.  Arm workouts tend to be something I neglect on this blog, I am a sucker for a good leg workout so when I am making myself a circuit or a HIIT I end up loading them up with leg stuff over arms.  I probably do this because my arms are weak beans compared to the horse strength in my legs, but I digress.

So if you only have 20 minutes and you want to get your heart beating fast give the building block arm workout a shot.

Building Block Arms

I have added this video incase some people are wondering what a plank with alternating shoulder taps are.  If you need to take it down a notch try just holding a full plank for 50 seconds or if you still want to try the tap drop to your knees.  Make this workout work for you.

Let me know how you found this workout. Would you like more arm workouts?  What other types of things would you like to see?

Happy Wednesday Everyone! 


***I have been notified of some typos in the workout…it is side planks not plans and it is frontal and lateral raises not later raises, sorry for the confusion***



Since the end of the 50 day challenge my eating habits have been hit and miss. I find it a bit tricky at times to self regulate when there aren’t definite parameters around what I should and should not be eating. However, even though my eating has become much more relaxed, compared to the challenge at least, I have managed to stick to the goals I had set out for myself. I am allowing for treats and keeping them as treats instead of daily snacks, I am staying active, learning from my set backs, and remaining positive instead of beating myself up when I might over indulge.


Although I think my maintenance and clean eating routine has been going pretty great I find it helpful to have mini goals and challenges for myself. So as a bit of a challenge and motivation to stay on track I have been attempting to make at least one recipe from my Eat Clean cookbook every week. I have found that although the recipes seem a little overwhelming at first (there is a long list of ingredients a lot of the time) they end up being so easy to toss together. The list of ingredients ends up looking never ending because of all the herbs and spices that end up going into a dish but in the end nothing (except maybe the BBQ sauce) has taken me more than 30 minutes to throw together.

Keeping with my goal of trying to introduce new clean recipes into my weekly meal prep last night I whipped up some scallops with pesto quinoa and grilled garlic scapes (or garlic spears). Being someone who is allergic to nuts I have actually never had pesto for fear that it was made with nuts, but because I was making it at home I subbed the nuts for some raw pumpkin seeds. Taking fresh basil from my basil plant, mint from a friends garden and the rest of the herbs from the grocery store, the pesto was a great addition to a light and flavourful meal.

Finding fresh and flavourful meals helps to keep me motivated and focused on my personal fitness and health goals. Having variety in what I am eating keeps me interested, and I find it rewarding to have a tasty reminders that healthy food is also tasty food. Is this something you do to keep yourself focused on your personal goals?

On top of testing out delicious new foods I have also to date managed to keep my promise in regards to making fun workouts for everyone. I had been browsing my Workin’ It section and found that the arm portion was definitely lacking so I started testing out various combinations to make a great sweaty workout to share. I think I came up with a great combo, at least my shoulders and triceps were killing me the next day so you know that means it was working!


There are two moves I would like to focus on: the falling push-up and bridge with a press. These are moves that I haven’t included in a workout in the past and feel like some explanation might be needed so I have included some videos of what the moves look like below.

Falling Push-Up

Bridge with Press:

I hope these videos help and I hope you love this workout, I had a pretty fun time creating it. Please let me know if you have any requests for the next Gingersneeze workout I would love to work on something for you.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Arms and Abs for Spring

So yesterday was the first day of Spring but if you are living in the Ottawa area I am sure you would agree with me that it definitely doesn’t feel like it. After getting dumped on with another 15 cm of snow on Tuesday it feels more like Winter than Spring, but it is starting to warm up (fingers crossed) so hopefully we will see less white stuff soon.

Weather talk aside I have been working very diligently on a new upper body workout for all of you. It started out as an arm workout and then I thougth what am I doing this should really be your upper body, so I added in some core, I know you are all super excited about that. This is the third workout in the getting ready for running series, hopefully you have had the chance to check out the leg and ab workouts, if not I strongly recommend you give them a try and work them in after a cardio session.

Making this routine was challenging, I think I went into it thinking “only arms, only things that workout your arms” but at the same time “no weights let’s just use our body weight” and with these self imposed limitations I came up with a couple exercises but the routine just didn’t feel completed and that is when I realized it was missing something. So I think what I have concocted here is a great workout and my upper body would agree.

arms and core workout

So repeat the 3 circuits 2-3 times (optimally 3 times) resting 20 to 30 seconds in between each circuit. Do your best not to take any breaks while going through the circuits to get the most of the workout. I also recommend you do 20-30 minutes of cardio to warm up before, the cardio will not only warm you up it also helps to round out the workout and really get your heart pumping.

There are some moves in the workout that not everyone might be aware of so I have included some links below as a guide.

Inch Worm (omit the push-up)
Shoulder Stabilizers

I hope you all have a great time with this. Let me know in the comments below if you felt the burn!

Late Day Weekend Round-Up

Oh my goodness the day got away with me, and I totally blanked on getting this post put up for everyone.  Then I came and sat down to tell everyone of my extremely exciting adventures this weekend I realized that it happened. I finally had a slow mellow and kind of relaxing weekend! It is all pretty exciting.

I started the weekend off with my regular trip over to Epic fitness for a training session with Alannah, it was the last day of our Strength phase and it was totally crushed! I set a new record at the gym for the flat back bench press with dumbbells, and it feel pretty great.  My arms and shoulders were definitely raging out the next day but it was the kind of hurt that makes you feel like you did a good job.  So the record was 40lbs in each hand for 7 reps and I ended up with 10 reps putting me just that tiny bit in the lead, and blowing my mind.  To think just 4 months ago I was working out with 5-10lbs weights thinking how could I ever lift them over my head for 3 sets of 10, and here I am pumping out 10 reps with 40s.   I think that is my absolute favourite thing about weight training, it is actual tangible progress and it happens on such a regular basis that it is truly difficult to become unmotivated about it.

To catch up on a promise from over a month ago now, here is my before Build and Strength phase picture of my arms AND my afters finally.  There is a slight bit more definition and as my rational mind had been telling me at the time there is no extra arm bulk up.  Actually the measurements for my arms has pretty much come in at the same thing since I started training, I guess they can’t get any smaller and they don’t want to get any bigger.
gunsCollagearms januaryI apologize for the quality of the photos, I was basically taking selfies of my arms and well that can get a little difficult after 10 minutes of flexing for a picture.  I find that you can see the biggest difference in my shoulders, they are more defined, not bigger just “sharper” for lack of a better word.  But there you have it folks, I was eating loads of protein because of all the weight training I was doing, and I was lifting HEAVY and I didn’t bulk up.  I think as a woman if you want to bulk up like that you have to take some pretty serious steps and really seriously watch what you eat. Just staying on the path of clean eating and healthy living won’t make you bulk up like the Hulk, although you will feel like the Hulk with your new found strength.

After my training my weekend was pretty relaxing attended a CPR and AED course Saturday and then did some studying Sunday for my final exam before I become a certified Nutrition and Wellness Specialist, my exam is tomorrow so here is hoping it goes well.

In a nutshell that was the weekend.  I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the glorious temperatures of only -16 (that is 3.2F for my American friends), and nope that wasn’t sarcasim with temperatures like -46 (-50.2F) today was like living in the tropics, if the tropics had snow.

Anyways, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and a great Monday seeing how it is almost over. 

Just Try

At the end of last week I formed the opinion that arm day was easy and therefore I loved arm day. Well last night I found out that arm day can be super tough and at times feel totally challenging, nay impossible.

Last week being my first week of conditioning there was still a little experimenting with weight to see just how heavy I could lift and well I went on the assumption that weight we landed on last week would be the same as the weight used this week.   Apparently as it turns out that isn’t so much the case.

armThis week push day/ arm day ended up being totally nutters, in the best possible way of course.  I rounded it down to two things I learnt, I learnt that:

  1. I was able to lift more for most exercises, and;
  2. I found my end point.

Let’s start off with number two.  “End point”, what in the heck does that mean, no it doesn’t mean I wanted to give up and never go back to the gym, it doesn’t mean I was miserable, quite the opposite actually.  I was able to reach a point where I was physically incapable of lifting my arms for those last couple reps, which by the way is a very interesting feeling if you have yet to have the pleasure of reaching that point.  Your brain is saying “crush this, just blow it out of the water” and your arms are saying “it just isn’t going to happen get a lighter weight for the last five”.  So although I was unable at one point to complete a full set at a heavier weight reaching this point is what lead me to learn number one.

I can lift more weight than I thought.  I have always been under the impression that I have the weakest set of gangly stick arms around as it turns out those gangle sticks are so much stronger than I thought.  I mean doing a lateral raise with a 20lbs weight was never something I thought I would be remotely capable of doing, I mean normally I would stick to my 5lbs weight range or maybe if I was feeling a little daring heading on up to 8lbs.   Although, my arms are more than likely going to be screaming at me later I am so proud of myself for at least giving it a try, yes Alannah told me to do it but I could have pushed back and whined and complained but mostly I am happy that I believed that she believed that I could do it, in the end I was pleasantly surprised.

So just because I just tried it out, put my toe into the water so to speak,  I had the opportunity to find out that I am made up of so much more than I had originally thought.  Even though the past week was a complete struggle for me motivation wise, it is moments like this that I do my best to hold onto so that when I just “don’t wanna” I can think back at this moment and remember it happened because I put the effort in when I really had no desire to do so.

Just try something you have never done, or never thought you could do, you will probably surprise yourself!

Happy Thursday and Happy November everyone!

Draggin’ My Feet

Disclaimer: Gingersneezes isn’t about whining and complaining but I do feel like I need to be honest, and it is only fair to share a nice rainbow of my experiences in exercise with you. So that means the good, the bad, the grumpy and the happy.

Yesterday was one of those work days were you just can’t wait for it to end. It seemed like all the little things managed to make their way under my skin yesterday and by the end of the day I was pretty much ready to explode.  My natural instinct when faced with these types of days is to  go home and hide under my duvet and only emerging for sips of wine.

Unfortunately or rather luckily (it didn’t feel lucky at the time) my regular hide from the world technique wasn’t one I could use. It was Wednesday which meant I had a training session with Alannah and besides the fact that I have to drive there I am sure she would have frowned upon me showing up slightly intoxicated, and I mean it would have been an all around bad idea.

After about thirty minutes of complaining in the form of texting to my Running Buddy for some motivation I sucked it up and begrudgingly got into my workout clothing, laced up my shoes and waited for my husband to come home with the car. I mean I knew that the work out would make me feel better. I knew that I had made a commitment to myself and to Alannah (mainly to show up and not leave her hanging), but I so didn’t feel like doing it. I mean seriously look how grouchy I looked.
UntitledOnce I got to Epic I hopped on the stationary bike for 5 minutes hoping it would curb my attitude and warm me up at the same time. Although it got my heart pumping a bit I still had that “I so don’t want to be doing this right now” feeling screaming at me from the back of my head.  It was at this moment when Alannah went for the agility ladder.  I have mentioned how awful I am at this, and although I have gotten better I still think it is pretty comical to watch me attempt any form of agility.  So about 2 minutes into the agility ladder drills exercise magic started to happen. I was focused on something besides my mood, mainly not tripping over my own feet, and my body and mind started to accept the fact that it was about to be put through the ringer.

Our session then continued with some pretty rad arm stuff, which I have found I am starting to get excited to do because I always find out I am stronger than I had originally thought. Then out of nowhere the session was over.  It was almost shocking how something I had been so resistant to for the first part of the evening, finished so quickly and as predicted made me feel so much better.

So the takeaway…if I hadn’t had the support if my Running  Exercise Buddy and the commitment of meeting Alannah at the gym that wine bottle and hiding under my blankets could have most definitely won the battle. Through this experience I had the opportunity to discover how important having a support system really is during this journey and I am so grateful for the one I have.

How do you stay motivated? Do you have a workout partner?

Happy Thursday everyone! Hope you are getting excited for the weekend.

Personal Training Wrap Up

So yesterday marked the last day of my free personal training sessions and it was one heck of a sad day.  I really enjoyed all three of my sessions, and my personal trainer is a complete blast.  Our personalities fit really well together, so thanks to whoever paired us up!!! Here is a picture of us in front of one of the two giant tires in the gym.
photo (32)
Yesterday being the day before my 5k colour run race (more information on this later in the weekend round up), I wasn’t too interested in working out my legs seeing how that could make competing in a race, even a fun one, super challenging.  So instead we did some more arms and back (pulling and pushing as it was explained to me) and then some ab work, upon my request and yes, I regretted this immediately.    Today my abs, back and arms are screaming, in the best way possible.

With my sessions coming to an end I was totally bummed out, thinking of different ways I could scrounge together enough money to keep up with the sessions, but no matter how I slice it, I don’t think it is something I could responsibly afford at least a for the next couple of months, and even then living would be tight, but it is something to think about for sure.
PlyoBox_2Now for the fun item of the training session…having seen several videos of people doing insane 5 feet tall box jumps I have been wanting to try the out. Even though they are terrifying.  There is something about jumping up even just 2 feet off the ground onto a box that makes me think I am going to bail and lose all of my teeth, dramatic I know, but I am pretty clumsy.  Besides them being pretty scary, they were incredibly fun, challenging, and once again super fun!

What fun exercise have you tried out?
Hope everyone is having an awesome Saturday!!