Dani's Rebel Log

I was hoping someone would catch that. :joy:

Chris and I don’t understand adults who require birthday cakes.

Another year older? How about we kick it off with a mound of sugar, fat, and flour because tradition!


Tell your husband to make an L-Well supplement and Z-12 Evolved.


That would be amazing! :star_struck:

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I don’t require birthday cakes, but I am all for using special occasions as an excuse to make indulgent foods (for others)

My birthday is coming up and I am going to make black forest cheese cake cake pop bars (dark chocolate cake pop base, goat cheese ruby chocolate cheesecake on top, filled with kirsch cherry jam and dipped in dark chocolate) for the class I have on that day :joy:

I guess I’m a “do as I do, not as I say” type of person

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I’m a “do whatever you want” person when it comes to food, but am always on guard with my own nutrition.

There’s a stoic sentiment that goes something like, “be strict with yourself but tolerant of others.”

On my visit to my parent’s house over the weekend I saw the results of indulgent decisions. They are never going to change and I won’t ever pressure them to.

So while fleeting mouth pleasure is important to me — and I appreciate how well my husband makes healthy food taste delicious — I won’t pursue mouth pleasure at the cost of sound nutrition.

The pain that both of my parents are in on a constant basis (from getting out of the car to laying down) is caused by the systemic inflammatory responses happening in their bodies. Their food choices caused that, and my genetics put me at risk of dealing with their same health problems.


I don’t either, but for a different reason.

For kids, cake is pretty special. They don’t have the wherewithall to obtain cake easily or often.

But us adults do. We can have cake any time we want. Now its not nearly as special.


Yep, this makes perfect sense. :dart:

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Today’s Workout: Chest, Arms, Butt

Hip Thrusts: 4 x 10, burnout top ROM partials at the end
Booty Machine: 3 x failure

Incline Dumbbell Bench: 4 x 15, 12, 10, 8 (heavier each time)

Arm Superset:
EZ Bar Curl: 3 x 10-12
Tricep Pulldowns: 3 x 10 drop set

The ongoing stickiness and aching between my scaps has been making me very cautious about back training, if I do it at all. I can build the mid and upper back pretty fast (and suspect most women can if they actually try), so, not super worried about it.

The stretch at the bottom of that incline dumbbell press feels AMAZING. Why haven’t I been doing those?

Pew Pews and Putting Holes in Cardboard

Wednesday’s competition went really well as far as mindset, self image, and even accuracy… but there are so many technical things to work on that it can feel a bit overwhelming. And when your conscious mind is focused on all that minutia, you simply can’t go fast.

It’s like learning the snatch and wanting to be explosive, but struggling because you have all these performance cues running through your brain. So my goal is to make those little things automatic and subconscious.

Here’s a peek at what I did (video is sped up to make it shorter and less boring):

There were three stages and my ranking was in the middle for one stage, then the bottom-middle for the other two. And while that doesn’t sound impressive, I’m pretty happy about it.

I didn’t come in last place even though I was the only female. Plus those guys were incredibly good. So, I’m honored to just get the chance to shoot in their presence and learn.

Meat Sticks and Sneezes on Planes

These were amazing while traveling, but I must be allergic to one particular flavor. It made me sneeze at the worst possible time (middle of a flight). And because there was masticated meat in my mouth, I had to do one of those things where your body silently yet uncontrollably lurches forward because you’re trying to hold it all in. Then, thinking it was just coincidental and not the meat stick’s fault, I had a second bite five minutes later. Same thing happened.

And then my sinuses completely swelled up and I regretted eating anything at all.

Girls in Nature

Is there anything better? Probably not.


Today’s Workout

Luteal phase me is pretty pissed off at follicular phase me. I make all these elderly friends when I’m ultra bubbly, and it comes back to bite me when I’m hormonal and I just want to lift without interruption, but all my geriatric boyfriends want to chat.

RDL: 5 x 5 ultra controlled touch and go
Leg Press: ramp up set, then 3 x 10

Then pump work: Arnold press, dumbbell iso-hold unilateral overhead press, cable flyes, EZ curls, tricep pulldowns

Awesome workout despite being moody.

Nate Bargatze’s Be Funny Tour

Last December I bought Chris tickets to see Nate Bargatze as a birthday present. If you’re unfamiliar with him, fix that right now. So the husband waited five months to receive his actual birthday present. I don’t recommend doing that for two reasons:

  1. Tickets are all digital now. So if you want to physically give a thing to a person, you have to get crafty, and then wrap your fake tickets with terrible handwriting up in a box. I have given my husband digital presents before… but those immediately lead to physical… stuff.

  2. Planning something five months in advance can cause some overcommitment issues. This weekend also happened to be my friend’s birthday too, so I booked tickets for a second thing and felt a little overwhelmed. Plus I had a massive sinus infection on Friday and wasn’t completely sure I’d be able to attend either thing.

Sunday Funday

Then this beautiful girl turned 43, so we celebrated by taking a train through a gorge out in the middle of nowhere. What is a gorge, you might ask? You probably didn’t, but it’s a deep narrow passage with steep rocky sides. I learned that around age 35.

Hope your weekend (and your Monday workout) was awesome.


So I’m starting workouts with one or two heavier lifts with the intent of progressive overload. And then following that with pump work.

Today’s Workout was brought to me by Chevelle.

Hip Thrust: 4 x 8-10, plus burn out partials

Yes, burn out partials are a form of pump work, but it creates an occlusion effect that helps me feel the glutes working hard on consecutive sets and actually the rest of the day. And I like having perpetually activated glutes.

Dumbbell Incline Bench (pyramid in weight): 12, 8, 5, 5, 8, 12

My heaviest middle sets were 40 pound dumbbells. Strength wise, I feel like I could go heavier especially with a spotter. But joint wise, my left shoulder says that’s not a good idea yet.

Pump Work: Booty machine, bentover lateral raise, seated cable row

Random memes I saved in my phone over the last few weeks…


Why the pyramid? I’m just not understanding the point of getting the muscle tired with light weights first. Personally, I like drop sets to failure a lot more.

To see how heavy I can go for five reps, and then wanting more volume with the lighter loads because that’s where I feel the greatest amount of tension and stress in the muscle without any irritation in the joints.

I didn’t invent the pyramid rep scheme, so I’m sure you could google and see why other people have done it in the past.

Paul Carter makes a case for a different style of pyramid:

And so does Tim Henriques:

Cool thing is, I don’t need you to like the way I lift. Most people won’t. Remember the very first entry of this log? We’ve already established that I prefer higher volume training and you don’t.

But I’ve worked with about 15 coaches and trainers since 2000, and the ones who got me in the most spectacular shape had me using higher volume; much higher than what I ever do now.

So over the years I’ve just taken more of a hybrid approach and…


I like those too.


Iron, Testosterone, and Nature

I listened to a podcast on low ferritin levels last week, and it was so powerful that I went and got mine retested along with testosterone.

Both are low but within range. Basically I maintained since they were last tested.

The crazy thing is, because of that podcast, I learned about the difference between heme iron and non-heme iron supplementation, and I’m a little baffled that exactly ZERO doctors have ever taught me that there’s a pretty significant difference between them, and one is much easier to absorb.

So on Friday, I started supplementing with heme iron, and I know it sounds crazy, but it seems to already be making a difference.

I can’t quite put my finger on all the changes, but the weight I’m used to lifting felt so much lighter today that I jumped up in weight on both the leg press and Arnold press for many more reps than predicted. And the dark hollow circles under my eyes aren’t nearly as bad as usual. I don’t look like an 1820s ghost child haunting you while you sleep. It’s kind of amazing.

I’m hoping a few other things happen because I’ve had some strange (mostly innocuous) health symptoms for years that multiple doctors couldn’t figure out despite a multitude of worthless tests.

And if things keep going the direction they seem to be going (being able to lift heavier with less effort), the implications of this are huge.

It tells me that the blanket statements telling women to “just lift heavier” all the time are completely unhelpful when we don’t know the ferritin status of the audience we’re speaking to. Low iron is extremely common. And sometimes progressive overload is simply not possible when your body is struggling to do normal human stuff, like stand up without blacking out.

On that note, I’m actually kind of stoked that I’ve managed to challenge my body in the gym all these years despite having low iron (sometimes a ferritin level around 10-12). So, even if I’m not super strong, or I didn’t progressively overload the right way, or I chose the pump over the 1RM, I’m not doing too bad all things considered.

Today’s Workout

  • Leg Press
  • RDL

Pump Work: booty machine, Arnold press, machine lateral raise, T-bar row, EZ bar bicep curl

Nature’s Eye-Candy

Chris and I got lost and found over the weekend.


This is definitely not a description I would have used to describe you Dani. Glad to hear you are feeling some improvement though.

Also did you change your log name ?

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Thank you! Good lighting and makeup work wonders.

I changed it back to what it originally was. Though the first iteration had this: :pirate_flag:

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Today’s Workout

  • Hip Thrust
  • DB Incline Bench

This time around, I did one ramp up set with 30s, then used 40 pound dumbbells for my working sets. This is actually the heaviest I’ve ever gone; no joint irritation either. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Pump Work: lateral raises with pauses at the top (eliminated the very bottom range of motion where I lose tension), machine chest press, and I think that’s it… memory blanking out.

Shark Week Meditations

One big thing I learned in my 30s was when to sit things out – even if the things are fun. My mindset and energy aren’t suited for competing tonight, so despite telling a range buddy that I’d be there today, I’m going to stay home, snuggle, and watch Survivor with my hot husband and our furry little love bugs.

Also, last week a range officer taught me a new way of racking the slide, so while dry firing a few days ago, my gun bit my hand.

And then the weirdest psychological thing happened after that: I completely forgot how to rack the slide AT ALL. My brain suddenly couldn’t remember how I’d been taught to do it originally.

But I needed to get some dry fire practice in, so instead I learned to rack the slide on the heel of my foot, which is something they probably don’t allow in competition… but feels pretty cool.

Ridiculousness Saved in My Phone



I’m still using the heavier loads from last week, but now owning the weight with more power in the concentric.

Yesterday’s Workout

Main lifts:
Leg Press
Hip Thrust

Pump Work: Arnold press (I call this pump work because reps were 8-10 but weight is increasing), machine lateral raise (2 extended sets with partials), battling ropes

Today’s Workout

Main lifts:
DB incline chest press
T-Bar Row

Pump Work: Booty machine, loaded walking lunge, DB lateral raise, EZ curl, tricep pulldown

Other Stuff

Chris came up with a frozen yogurt pop recipe last week and we’re getting that ready for a MD protein vid. We also just bought a Ninja Creami, so I predict a lot of protein ice cream in our future.

I converted the closet in my office into a walking desk situation. My friend Jack even mounted a small table to the wall so that there are no desk legs and a walking pad would fit. It’s very functional, just not pretty.

This project is basically having an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie effect. If you’re not familiar with that book, I will have my mom (retired kindergarten teacher) read it to you. One thing led to another and I bought some gorgeous wallpaper for it, but when it got here I discovered that it’s the type you have to glue to the wall. It’s not peel and stick. Oooops.

I’d return it, but I’m emotionally attached at this point. I want to wrap my body up in it like a present and just wear it everywhere.

So Chris and I now have a weekend project. If you have any words of wisdom for installing wallpaper in a tiny closet, I’m all ears.

Also, the “walking pads” like the one in my closet aren’t really serious treadmills. They’re just a way to get some steps in while you work. Handy if you spend most of the day sitting.


Three lifting sessions a week is about all I want to do these days, but joints are feeling so good that I brought back front squats, then jumped up another 5 pounds per side on the dumbbell incline bench.

Main lifts:
Front Squats
DB Incline Bench

Pump work: Cable flye, bentover lateral raise, seated cable row, and battling ropes

The Iron Investigation Continues

Turns out iron supplementation is pretty controversial, and so is the mere meaning of serum ferritin. I’m finding out that it may be way more complex than what even the best experts seem to know.

But – just as it is in every niche – all the experts disagree with each other. So in this case, your best source of information is your own body.

The only thing I’ve changed recently is heme iron supplementation, and my joints are pain-free WHILE my strength is rising. It has made more of a difference performance-wise than even testosterone and HRT in general. If you’ve been deficient, iron is an insane ergogenic aid.

But it’s confusing because every time you hear advice on it, another person will pop up stating the exact opposite thing. One guy even claims there’s no such thing as low iron and we all just need to donate blood right away. :smirk:

What’s funny is that at my lowest point (about 24 years old), The Red Cross rejected me from blood donation because my iron was so low that they could SEE it was too low. The woman sent me away and told me to supplement immediately.

And yet, there’s a guy on nearly every health podcast telling people iron is the enemy, we have way too much, and we need to do everything we can to get rid of it.

So I tend to trust the women with success stories; the ones who’ve at one point experienced the side effects of low iron: breathlessness for no reason, dizziness and blackouts when standing, confusion, exhaustion, weakness, cold intolerance, panicking in the middle of the night when literally nothing is wrong, etc.

Those women were able to stop those side effects by taking iron and raising ferritin levels. So even if serum ferritin doesn’t mean what we think it does, feeling healthy and getting strong is worth it by a long shot.

It’s tricky though. There are reasons to be cautious when taking it because your body often fights back with inflammation and the secretion of hepcidin, which, ironically blocks iron absorption. The solutions aren’t simple.

Stuff in My Phone



Best thing I have read this week. I need some of those magic beans.

Couple of new plant purchases for my queen that I know you will like

And some winter blooms looking awesome


Thanks so much for the encouragement!

You have amazing taste in plants. :star_struck:

Your wife is going to absolutely love those! You deserve a husband award. Way to go!!

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