Dumbbells in the gym

Another good week in the gym

This week was mostly… cold. Anything between -6 and 3C (-5 to 35F) and just not pleasant. I’ve stayed indoors except for my gym days when I need to be in the office, and then I only go out to take myself to the gym and back. Everyone else was going on about the lovely sunshine and I agree that some extra light in the winter is great, but perhaps not very useful if it’s too cold to actually enjoy it.

But I had a fabulous week in the gym, with another set of heavy strength sessions.

Here’s a summary of this week’s activities:
Monday – gym
Tuesday – indoor cycling & high step-ups
Wednesday – gym
Thursday – high step-ups
Friday – gym
Saturday – start of a very inactive weekend
Sunday – Storm Isha


New week, new lifts, and they’re still extra heavy. Today was back and chest day.

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Those chest presses made an abrupt start of the gym week! But I always enjoy the bench presses, they’re a good challenge and very satisfying when I can do them, especially with 37,5 kgs. Today’s barbell row was also a personal best, although it didn’t feel as dramatic as last Friday’s squats, because I’ve always felt quite strong with barbell rows.

Renegade rows with fewer reps felt really great despite the 10 instead of 6 kgs!


Today we had -3C (26F) in the morning. I know that’s nothing compared to temperatures people have in both the US and Scandinavia, but… it kept me inside for sure. I enjoyed a good bike ride on Zwift, with some steep uphills and through lava flows… very timely considering the happenings in Iceland right now! It was one of the tougher routes I’ve done on Zwift, and perhaps not the best when I also tried to prep for leg day in the gym! But I felt good afterwards and later I did my high step-ups too.


Leg & shoulder day in the gym.

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Lunges at 40 kgs? Oh shit. They went exactly as badly as you would expect. However, they also went much better than I expected myself. I needed a lot of pep talk to do them, they were wobbly and with awful form because I was too nervous, but I expected much worse. We agreed that we’ll cut back on the weight on these but at least we tried. And I’ll work up my lunges to master them eventually.

8 kg lateral raises are tough and I don’t get any beautiful big lifts done with this weight but at least I let the shoulders work. And the shoulder press that usually feels like a fail went great today! I managed one full set with good lifts, then about 4-5-4 on the remaining three sets. A good session altogether.


This was the coldest day since a while back.. I stayed inside, worked, and did my high step-ups.


Back & chest day again.

Certainly building strength takes longer than a few weeks, but somehow I really felt strong with most exercises in this session, even the 20 kg dumbbell row. I warmed up with pushups and back extensions, and realised how much I’ve improved my pushups – I’ve always struggled so much with them but now doing 10 of them felt like nothing! Isn’t it wonderful when you see real progress?

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The RDL was the most challenging today. I was instructed to not go beyond the knees (not sure I do that with lighter weights either), took a deep breath, heavily engaged my core and did the lifts. Good form is always important, but particularly with heavier weights. With all the previous RDLs, Good mornings and barbell rows (and more), I’ve mastered my hip hinge by now, and felt quite good doing these RDLs but my goodness, they were heavy.


Today was the arrival of milder weather, which I welcome with open arms, but it also meant the return of strong winds. Honestly I still prefer this to minus degrees and the risk of ice, but the winds were so bad that I skipped walking. My husband was braver and went for a run, after which we went to Cork for some shopping.

On the way into the city there is a good shop for buying protein powders and other supplements for athletes. I’m problematic with such things since I’m both coeliac and can’t handle artificial sweeteners so there are VERY few options for protein powder. I always get unflavoured to avoid sweeteners, and usually buy whey protein online, or buy another brand from our local supermarket but I try to avoid it because it only comes in 250 g jars and is a lot more expensive. Now I had only a few scoops left, my online order seemed to be delayed, and the plan B brand was out of stock at Supervalu.

I’ve asked for sweetener-free protein in this shop before and I didn’t expect them to have any for me this time either but asked anyway. This time he actually had something! A European brand I had seen somewhere but only with the usual flavoured options, but here they actually had the unflavoured one!

I was sceptical when I saw it was vegan because most vegan proteins don’t have all the essential amino acids or too little of them, however then I was happy to see it was 100% pea protein – pea protein is supposed to be one of the best options for complete vegan proteins (Jenny will know all about this!). It may be low in one of the amino acids but with all the dairy and eggs that I consume, I’ll certainly get that elsewhere. And how lovely to have another local option!

Now whether pea protein suits flavour-wise in waffles and smoothies (which I always make with milk), that remains to be seen.


I really would have loved to go for a long walk today, but the weather:

I don’t have a problem with walking in rain, but with winds of around 50 km/h already in the morning and gusts up to 80-90 km/h, it was a no-no. Storm Isha is arriving today, and I’ll probably suggest we cancel our planned evening music activity as well.

It was a very inactive weekend, although I’ll get my high step-ups done later today, but I really hope there’ll be some better walking weather next week. For next Sunday we’ve signed up for an 5 mile charity walk & run by the sea, so…. please, weather?

Thanks Kim and Deborah for hosting the Weekly rundown link-up! Head over there to see what other fitness bloggers are up to, and get inspired!

26 responses to “Another good week in the gym”

  1. Wendy avatar

    Nice work! For those barbell lunges, do you put the bar on your back or in a front rack position? Either way, they are tough!

    I used Nuzest for a long time but then they started using stevia to sweeten it. Maybe that was only in the US, but it didn’t taste good. I used pea protein for a long time but switched to whey protein last year after learning about its benefits for post-menopausal women. I’ve not had any issues with it, thankfully! I’ve also been taking creatine and I’ve been really happy with my results!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I have the bar on my back for the lunges – it’s so hard. When we shopped at Decathlon at New Year, we actually bought a bar, mostly to use when the gym is closed but I’m going to use it without weights as a balance exercise, to get used to the experience of doing these more challenging exercises with the bar, so that I can get more of the strength benefits in the gym.
      I think stevia tastes horrible! As do most artificial sweeteners. For me it’s about more than flavour though, all artificial sweeteners give me nausea. I realised last year it’s definitely not in my head… when I first was diagnosed with osteoporosis I started taking a calcium tablet my doctor prescribed. It was chewable with lemon flavour and tasted good. But after a few days I started feeling sick all the time and struggled to eat. It took two weeks for me to figure it out! In a totally different context, I ran into this tablet on the internet and there was an ingredient list – and I found it has 3-4 different sweeteners. After that I stopped taking it and felt good immediately. Now I get my calcium mostly from food but take another supplement when I need to.
      I do prefer whey protein but this pea protein will be a great option if I can’t get whey for whatever reason.

  2. Coco avatar

    I didn’t get out much this week either. I won’t walk Scooby when it’s in the teens (F), or when people haven’t cleared the sidewalks, so I think we only had two walks this week.

    I don’t use any powders or shakes. I just don’t like them!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Let’s hope the weather gets more walking-friendly for both of us asap!
      If there were no unflavoured, sweetener-free protein powders there’s no chance I would use them. Even if sweeteners didn’t make me sick, the flavours of them would keep me away! Now I use unflavoured and I add chocolate, berries or something else and that works really well for me.

  3. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    Well my week wasn’t super active for obvious reasons but there’s still a lot I can do & I concentrate on that. I know you’re familiar with that. 😉

    I’m sure it really feels good to feel so much stronger! And I don’t think anyone does lateral raises with heavy weights, LOL! Great job.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes – I’ve read your post now and I’m very familiar with the situation! It’s great that you have your bike, and there are dumbbells, bands etc! But I hope you’re back on your feet as soon as possible.
      The Friday gym session was amazing and it’s such a wonderful sense of achievement when I can do things I couldn’t just a few weeks earlier. Those lateral raises are rough! But I’m curious now about how I’ll feel about doing them with 6 kgs again.

  4. Deborah Brooks avatar

    I used Nuzest for a while and found the taste ok. I know use a whey protein bc I wanted more of the amino acids etc. Pea protein is about as good as you can get for vegan. Making gains in the gym always feels good! Hope you are feeling strong and accomplished!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I feel great after these weeks of the heavy strength program!! After the last time I did a program like this, I could increase weight afterwards also with more reps. I’m curious about how the next week will be in the gym.

      Yes, I’m with you about the amino acids and will prefer whey, but this is a very good substitute for if I have problems get the whey again. I eat a lot of dairy and eggs so it’ll be good enough. I now found that my “plan B” brand has started selling their whey in 1 kg jars also with the unflavoured one (previously they only had 300 g) on their online shop so I’ll order whey from them from now on. It’s an Irish shop so the delivery should be much smoother than what I’ve been buying.

  5. Debbie avatar

    That’s great that you found a protein powder locally that suits your needs. Hope it works well for you!

    Fingers crossed that the weather improves for your charity walk by the sea because I selfishly want to see your photos!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Aaw, that’s a lovely argument!!! (And, I apologise for the lack of photos lately) Actually, one wonderful thing with walking instead of running is that I get more photography done! The weather forecast for the next week looks very miserable but as long as the wind isn’t too bad, I’ll go out walking. Sunday looks at least not too bad but obviously with windy weather it changes very quickly.

  6. Melodie avatar

    I have always had issues with protein powders as well. It has been frustrating! I finally found one that works for me. Hoping this new one you are trying works for you too!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi there and welcome to my blog! Yes, I hope this one will do the job! If not I just found out that my “plan B” brand (which is Kinetica) sells their whey in 1 kg jars online so then I’ll get that. But now (or at least when/if that online order arrives) I should be ok for protein powder for months!

  7. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    YOU are seeing some nice progress! Congrats on all your hard work, and onwards to even more gains 😉 Well, I did make it outside, daily, last week because #shoveling, but that kind of work does keep me plenty warm in the extreme cold.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I don’t envy you the shoveling, although I know it’s good exercise!! I hope Mother N treats you (and us) better soon. Nice job with your stair climbing today!

  8. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    I love a post that has the word “good” in it.

    So congrats on all your workouts… I’m very impressed and feel like a slacker.

    But we all do what we can… I just thrilled that I can start to run (with a brace) even though the weather is awful..

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oooh Darlene, you’re NOT a slacker! I may strength train more and heavier than you do but you are mega ambitious with running, and you always inspire me with your level of activity and taking every opportunity to go for a run!
      But yes, we all do what we can. I’m so happy for you that your run again, and I’m celebrating my own achievements with strength lately.

  9. Jessie avatar

    Cold weather is a challenge for running/getting outside. It was -12 in Zermatt (Celsius.) Hurt the lungs a bit!

    Great job on the strength training- you are getting very strong!

    Glad you found a protein powder that works for your dietary restrictions!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you! I’m so happy about my achievements in the gym lately!
      Yes, it’s hard when it’s cold!! For me honestly the ice is the main problem. But you’re right, it’s unpleasant for the lungs when it gets too cold. Actually they cancel ski races when it’s too cold because it’s considered unsafe to go ahead with them.
      I hope you’re enjoying your snowboarding trip!

  10. Marcia avatar

    Great job in the gym Susanne! It’s been so cold and the snow is so deep I don’t have a prayer of getting outside except for a very brief dog walk. This too shall pass, right?

    1. Susanne avatar

      I keep telling myself that spring is coming!!! (And I saw daffodil leaves yesterday, even after the big freeze) And as long as we all have training options indoors we’ll get by in the meantime.

  11. Jenn avatar

    Lunges are no longer my friend. I am in search of something that works as well, but it hasn’t been easy. Stupid injuries.

    Great week of workouts! You should be so happy with your progress.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Lunges particularly with weights are very hard. And particularly if you still have lingering problems after an injury. My main problem with them now is balance. Bulgarian split squats would be a good option! They work more on the glutes but I feel them a lot in my quads too. You can start doing them with a dumbbell in one hand and holding on to something with the other hand to make them more doable (I remember you also mentioned poor balance a while back).
      I’m so happy with how far I’ve come with strength!!!

  12. Jenny avatar

    Nice Job! Yes, barbell lunges are hard. I also have a lighter bar at home, which I use to practice with- when I do them at all (I haven’t been, lately.)
    You wouldn’t like my protein powder because it has stevia, but it’s a blend of protein sources (including pea) and contains all the amino acids. I like it!
    It’s nice to notice real gains in strength. i can’t say I’ve had that experience lately- I’m just not focused on it right now. I’m just trying not to get any weaker, and then I’ll focus on strength more after my race. Every time I read your Weekly Rundown post I get inspired!

    1. Susanne avatar

      I totally understand that you don’t focus on strength a lot now so close to your race! But maintaining your strength is important too while you need to focus more on running.
      It makes me so happy every time you talk about how my posts inspire you!!
      I have this weird thing with sweeteners (and I know stevia isn’t considered “artificial” but I still react on it as if it was aspartame and the like). Some of them are ok in flavour but I seem to be allergic or intolerant or something to all of them. I get very bad nausea straight away if I eat or drink anything at all with even small amounts of sweeteners. I was delighted to find this brand of protein. I’ll test it tomorrow in my waffles!

  13. Michelle avatar

    Great job in the gym! It’s been so cold here that I got out a lot less this past week – I’m so ready for spring lol

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Michelle! And a total yes and amen to spring! We don’t even have snow here but instead cold snaps followed by Atlantic storms and it isn’t fun. I want to go walking!

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