Suns Out, Guns Out

Summer time fitness check in:

It’s been a couple months since the spring semester has let out and since I’ve been back state side (more on my Taiwan trip to come, my bad for the delay!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to in my fitness game.

First up – Measurements:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 11.5″
  • Waist: 32″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 142.8# BF: 21%

Next up – 1RMs:


  • Bench Press: 100#
  • Bent Over Rows: 90#
  • Dead lift: 205# (new PR!)
  • Squat: 125#


  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 315# (222.705# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle – another new PR!)
  • Leg Extension: 175#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 145#
  • Hip Abduction: maxed out
  • Hip Adduction: maxed out
  • Chest Press: 100#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 100#
  • Seated Rows: 100#

Haven’t done much running at all this year; missed the PGH Marathon (ran every year since 2010) due to being out of the country (which is a pretty cool reason) but I’ve been biking everywhere and doing my best to keep up with the National Bike Challenge (May – Sept). I’ve also been hitting the gym for some lifting time about 2-3x a week, keeping it casual with alternating upper/lower body focus days plus some abdominal work.

Upper body focus days:

  • Bench press
  • Lat pull downs
  • Bent rows
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps extensions
  • Overhead press


  • Incline crunches
  • Incline Russian twists with medicine ball
  • Oblique bends with plate

Lower body focus days:

  • Squats – barbell, on bosu ball, free weights
  • Deadlifts – barbell
  • Leg / Calf press – hip sled
  • Lunges – weighted with plates or dumbbells, walking

Abdominals: variations of above list


  • 969.2 miles in 46 days
Year to date:
  • 1,359.7 miles in 82 days

January – 13 out of 31 days, 106.1 miles total

February – 7 out of 29 days, 62.5 miles total

March – 3 out of 31 days, 29.2 miles total

April – 13 out of 30 days, 192.8 miles total

May – 20 out of 31 days, 440.6 miles total

June – 25 out of 30 days, 509.6 miles total

July – just started

Aside from commuting I’ve been hitting up some trails and going on group rides at least once a week. Including: Steel City Roll (first Mon of each month – next ride 07.04.16), 412 Flock (third Fri of each month – next ride 07.15.16), PGH undies ride (last Thur of each month – just went on one last night 06.30.16, next ride 07.28.16) and random rides with friends around Pittsburgh, the #LunchLoop (new) with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH (06.17.16, 07.14.16, and 08.23.16) as well as OpenStreetsPGH (last Sun of May, June, July – new route this month) again with with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH. For those in the Pittsburgh area feel free to come out and join me for these monthly group rides!

Spring Break Check-In

Fall semester has come and gone; winter break has come and gone, and now I’m heading into the 10th week of my spring semester a.k.a. spring break! Spring semester is once again my most busy and full schedule and this semester is particularly so. On top of taking 20 credits I’ve started my thesis project, interning and am working 2-4 jobs. Plus it has not been too inviting outside with bone cutting wind chills and inconsistent weather changes.

I ended the fall semester/ 2015 with multiple PR race times and a good amount of lifting PRs, along with these measurements:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 40″
  • Chest: 35″
  • Biceps: 10.5″
  • Waist: 35″
  • Hips: 37″
  • Thigh: 21″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 141# BF: 27%

January measurements:

  • Neck: 13.5″
  • Shoulders: 42.5″
  • Chest: 37.5″
  • Biceps: 11″
  • Waist: 33″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22.5″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 149# BF: 24%

We got a new toy in the exercise science dept. it’s called Skulpt and it is a more accurate measurement tool for body fat and muscle quality. I had the chance to try it out and measured my RT biceps, triceps, abdominals and quadriceps muscles.

I got some interesting results: my upper arms, which are really sculpted/toned showed that my biceps were 101 MQ (average) & 26.4 Fat % (needs work) and my triceps were 111 MG (average) & 28.2 Fat % (average) while my abs, which are somewhat toned though not much compared to other muscles were 124 MQ (fit) and 21.4 Fat % (athletic) and my quads were 121 MQ (fit) and 20.5 Fat % (athletic), which was not really all that surprising to me. It measures more muscles than just the above, which would also produce a better total body composition but this is a fairly accurate/ genuine reading thus far.

I’d like to remeasure and get a full body scan once I’m back up to my fitness level from that of end of fall semester.

This semester I switched my workout focus to more muscular endurance based rather than strength alone; including more super sets and working with about 60% of my 1-RMs (instead of 80-90% as before). I started out strong this year with only 4 workouts missed in January; hitting the gym 21 times, which is 12 more workouts than last Jan.

Workout Plan for Jan:

Weeks 1-4

Day 1 – warm up 10 min
1 Front barbell squat 6:25,20,20,15,15,10 and Mt. climbers 5:30sec ea
2 Leg press 6:20,12,12,8,8,4 and Single-arm kb swing 5:10 ea
3 Stiffed leg DB dead-lift 6:25,25,15,15,8,8
4 Arnold press 4:15,10,6,6 and pop squat 4:15
5 Neutral grip single-arm DB press 3:12,8,6 and DB squat jump 3:15
6 Single-arm upright row 3:15,12,8 and MB slam    3:15
7 Seated calf raise 3:08 and Standing calf raise 3:12
8  Cardio 47 min total =40 min steady state, 5 min HIIT

Day 2 – warm up 10 min
1 Wide-grip lat pull down 5:16,12,10,8,4
2 Rope straight-arm pull down 4:16,12,8,6 and DB squat jump 3:15
3 Seated cable row 4:16,12,8,6
4 Alternating incline DB curl 4:12,8,6,4 and Mt. climbers 4:15
5  Ez-bar reverse curl 4:12,8,6,6
6  Standing palms-up barbell behind back wrist curl 3:15 and lunge jump    3:15
7 Cardio 47 min

Day 3 – warm up 10 min
1 Single-leg cable kickback 6:25,25,15,15,10,10 ea + 10 partials
2 One-legged cable kick-back 4:10
3  Smith sumo squat 5:25,20,15,15,10 and Quick step-up 5:40
4  Thigh abductor 5:25,15,15,10,10 with 10 partials to finish ea set
5  Plank 3:1 min ea
6 Cardio 47 min

Day 4    Rest Day

Day 5 – warm up 10 min
1 Hack squat 7:25,16,16,10,10,6,6 and Mt. climbers     7: 30 sec ea
2 Dead-lift 5:12,12,8,8,4 and MB slam 5:15
3 Single-leg extension 6:15,15,10,10,8,8 ea and Leg extension 6:15,15,10,10,6,6
4 Lying leg curl 4:15,10,6,6 and Squat 4:15
5 Side lateral raise 4:15,10,6,6 and DB squat jump 3:15
6 Front DB raise 3:15,12,8 and Bench step-up 1 min
7 Rear delt cable raise 3:12,8,6
8 Seated calf raise 3:08
9 Standing calf raise 3:12
10 Cardio 47 min

Day 6 – warm up 10 min
1 Incline DB press 4:15,12,8,8
2 Decline bench press 4:15,12,8,8 and Mt. climbers 4:30 sec ea
3 DB fly 4:15,12,8,8 and lunge jump 3:15 ea
4 Cable single-arm triceps extension 4:12,8,6,4 and Cable single-arm triceps push-up 4:12,8,6,4 and Squat 4:15
5 Skull-crusher 4:12,8,6,6 and Close-grip barbell bench press 4:12,8,6,6 and Side bench step-up 3:15 ea
6 Cardio 47 min

Day 7 – warm up 10 min
1 Barbell step-up 6:20,15,15,15,15,10,10 ea
2 Smith hip thrust 8:25,20,15,15,10,10,5,5 and Quick step-up    8:40
3  Cable hip abduction 6:25,25,15,15,10,10 ea and Lying leg curl kick-back 4:15 ea
4  Cable crunch 3:15
5  Pull-up leg raise 3:05
6 Cardio 47 min

15 SEC B/W SETS Stretching 11.5 min

February 1-RMs:


  • Bench Press: 100#
  • Bent Over Rows: 95#
  • Dead lift: 185#
  • Squat: 125# (new PR)


  • Arm Curls: 30#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 315# (222.705# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 495# (349.964# at a 40° angle)
  • Leg Extension: 140#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 135#
  • Hip Abduction: 245#
  • Hip Adduction: 245#
  • Chest Press: 100#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 96.6#
  • Seated Rows: 110#

Not too bad for not feeling as active this semester as I was last semester. This month tends to be the toughest for me, it’s the coldest and most miserable outside plus my depression flares up more often because of the season. I missed 10 workouts this month, which turned out to not be as many as I thought I had missed and I managed to maintain a decent amount of muscular strength and PR in my Squats. Also I hit the gym 11 times this month, which is 5 more workouts than last Feb.

Workout Plan for Feb:

I went to for this one … 4 weeks 2 shred challenge (28 days, which is perfect for this month even if it is a leap year)

Week 1 -4 (the exercises change but the focus groups are the same for each day)

  • Day 1: AM Back and Biceps PM Calves, Abs & Cardio
  • Day 2: AM Shoulders & Triceps PM Cardio
  • Day 3: Active Rest (Cardio and Abs)
  • Day 4: AM Legs PM Cardio
  • Day 5: AM Chest & Calves PM Cardio & Abs
  • Day 6: Active Rest(Cardio and Abs)
  • Day 7: Active Rest (Cardio and Abs)

I also raced in the 3rd Annual Frigid Bitch Alley cat Bike Race.

Game plan for March

Tuesdays and Thursdays will focus more on Cardio based exercises – biking and perhaps swimming. Increase the weight by 5-10# each week.

Barbell Full Squat 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Bench Press – Medium Grip 5 sets of 5 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row 5 sets of 5 reps
Accessory Exercises
Sit-Up 5 sets of 5 reps
Cable Lying Triceps Extension 5 sets of 5 reps

Front Barbell Squat 5 sets of 5 reps
Standing Military Press 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Dead-lift 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
Pull-ups 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
Accessory Exercises
Barbell Curl 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
Crunches 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

Barbell Full Squat 5 sets of 5 reps
Barbell Bench Press – Medium Grip 5 sets of 5 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row 5 sets of 5 reps
Accessory Exercises
Bench Dips 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps
Ab Crunch Machine 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps

Spring break fitness plans are to get outside more, as the weather is forecasted to be in the 60s and 70s, I plan to do more biking & running plus a day trip for hiking while getting all the work done. As the weather fairs up overall I will begin commuting on my bike again increasing my activity levels once more.

Summer Camping Trip 2012

First camping trip, since I move to Pittsburgh, ever! This was a few years ago so I’m not exactly sure how this trip came to be but it def kicked off our camping adventures. Our first trip took us to Ohiopyle State Park.

On the first day some of our group went white water rafting while the rest stayed behind to set up camp and prep dinner. Our sites were pretty modern with outlets for electricity and either right next to or across from the wash rooms. A couple of our campers also came fully prepared with all kinds of modern fixings.

The second day we went on a nice nature hike, explored all the trails and enjoyed all the scenery and eating lots of delicious foods.

Summer Camping Trip 2014

Another great adventure at Ohiopyle. Weather: 77*F/58*F for Saturday


  • Sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad
  • toothbrush
  • shower gear
  • food/cooking skills
  • an extra blanket if you get cold
  • dibs on space in a tent

don’t mess with our camp

Went on a great hike and “got lost” with some friends.

Saw lots of cool fungi, trees and rocks to climb.

Took a little break at this little water fall creek.

We wound up finding the GAP trail after gallivanting through the woods for a bit.

Hung out at the water falls (Cucumber Falls) and natural water slides.

The Menu:

Sat breakfast/ brunch:

  • Eggs & potatoes & veggies
  • Lemon almond kale salad
  • Cranberry muffin mix, baked in oranges

Sat dinner:

  • Spaghetti and tomato sauce
  • Extra chili (meaty)
  • Cornbread
  • Banana boats and Ice cream

Sun breakfast:

  • quesadillas + leftovers

new treat that takes a long time but also so delicious – suggest scooping out the orange ahead of time unless you need something to kill an afternoon with

takes a long time to cook through but again worth it

I used choc and PB chips

Summer Camping Trip 2015

Another successful camping trip completed. I’ve been camping since I was a child but I’ve been camping on my own (with pals) in Pittsburgh since about 2012. I’ll post about the previous trips as far back as possible (mostly for me but enjoy the evolution of my camping trips as well).

found this at one of our sites

Our camping party went down to a final party of 5. The forecast of rain/showers and T-storms scared away the other people. This ended up working really well for us, we had the perfect amount of food, good spacing for our sleeping arrangements plus we burned all the fire wood. We arrived to good weather conditions and were able to set up our tents/ hammocks and a tarp city around the fire. Dinner = delicious sweet potato hash prep’d beforehand and put into foil packets, cooked over the camping stove and kale salad. Then we ate s’mores and banana boats for dessert! Only rained a little bit after we went to bed – around 11p.

base camp

Dinner: sweet potato hash – vegetarian option

successful fire

Dessert: take a banana, peel back one layer, scoop out and eat some of the middle, add treats – choc. chip, wh. choc. chips, PB chips, reeses pieces, marshmallows wrap in foil and place over slow burning flame

Saturday was pretty fun. Breakfast = veggie and cheese omelets (sausage for the meat eaters). It started raining around 8 am then sheets of rain came down b/w 10:30a-12p, it lightened up enough to go exploring around the campsites then at 2p we went on a hike. Throughout the hike (3.5 miles and 2.5 hours long) it only sprinkled a little and we saw some sweet nature including multiple birds, a deer, multicolored fungi, flowers and ferns. Got a little parkour action in as well. Got back to camp (hiked/walked 4 miles total including camp to trail head and back) and we still had great weather to chop wood, start a fire and cook treats and dinner. Pre-dinner = apple crisp treats! Dinner = super tasty quesadillas – lots of veggies and cheese. Right around dinner time/ after eating it started pouring sheets again, it rained this hard on and off throughout the night. Our fire was super amazing. The rain kept trying to put it out but it stayed strong, re-lighting itself each time the rain let up. The downside was that it was also really smoky. But still had many successful s’more desserts!

and the rain starts

this babbling brook is swole

bottom of ‘the hill’ from the campground connecting to the GAP trail

impromptu bouldering action

parkour – stump hoping

parkour – rock hoping or log balancing

found a nice walking stick … limbo tree

parkour in action

the Youghiogheny River

apple crisp (before) – butter, apples, topping: sugar, nutmeg, oats

apple crisp (after)

protection against the smoke

Dinner: quesadillas – veggies =red & green peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes; Mexican mix cheese/ cheddar cheese; wheat tortillas

Sunday was nice as well. Broke down our tents and hammocks real quick like in the morning before the rain – ended up not really raining that much during tear down. Enjoyed a delicious breakfast burrito – used up the rest of the eggs, veggies and sweet potato hash = so good! Kept our tarp city in case of crazy rain, which ended up being smart since it did rain sheets a couple times. Hung out for a little bit then cleaned up, torn down the tarps and packed up the car in good timing. Right as we were leaving it started raining again.

Breakfast – eggs, veggies (same from quesadillas) left over sweet potatoes wrapped in wheat tortilla for a delicious b-fast burrito

snail friend on my tarp

Things learned – Gear to bring, get, update for next trip(s):

  • make sure hammock is completely covered (including the rope) – though my hammock stayed under the tarp and I/ my sleeping bag managed to stay dry (I had a sleeping pad underneath me) the rope dripped in water from the harsh rain causing my hammock to get soaked by the second night
  • scout out better trees – the one side of my set up was not the most ideal for anchoring my tarp
  • practice more rope knots
  • make more rope tying options – cut up different lengths and tie diff knots
  • practice different tarp tent/ shelter ideas
  • get more tarps – varying in size
  • bring the new equipment I got online (didn’t arrive till after trip) – pocket knife, leatherman multitool, steel eating utensil
  • get a collapsible bowl/ plate
  • bring tongs – for getting things out of the fire
  • in general watch more camping, hammock, shelter set ups, rope tying/knot videos

I also think I’ll use my tent next time – alternate using the hammock/tent with ea trip. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the gear I did bring, always looking to improve my gear and be a more efficient camper. Looking to be a minimalistic as possible for all the camping situations. I’m thinking I’ll prob get a backpacking bag to pack all my gear in vs. having to use multiple packs.


I can’t believe I haven’t shared any of my camping adventures or extravaganzas on this medium yet! I must correct this right away! First up is this weekend’s camping trip (coming soon previous epic adventures). This post is about the preparation and packing; lists; tips etc. I’ve been camping quite a bit but it’s nice to have a check list and over the last couple years I’ve upgraded and added to my camping gear and experience.

Weather Conditions: Friday is looking like it’ll be in the mid 70s to low 80s °F (high of 81°F and low of 63°F) with a <30% chance of rain. Saturday is looking like it’ll be cool staying in the mid 60 to low 70s °F (high of 72°F and low of 54°F) with the highest percent chance of rain: close to 60% in the morning and 88-98% chance in the afternoon and evening. Sunday will remain cool staying in the mid 50s-60s °F (high of 66°F and low of 53°F) with a <40% chance of rain during the day.

Friday my group & I will head out to Ohiopyle state park. Since my group will be the first to leave/ arrive we’re in charge of setting up (most of) camp, fire and food prep (actually most of the necessary prep work has been done the day/night prior so we’re good there).

Packing List – find a number of list that are great for first time campers if you’re not sure where to start or for those seasoned campers who want to keep organized. I like this camping pack list and REI has some great check lists that you can print out too: The 10 Essentials, Camping Checklist and Backpacking Checklist.

My packing list: clothing & gear fit into a medium duffle bag and the camping/hammock gear fit into a “beach tote” like bag

Clothing (fit into compression bag) & Footwear:

  • 3 synthetic/ wicking T-shirts
  • 2 cotton T-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve synthetic T
  • 1 fleece hoodie and sweatpants
  • 1 pair of cargo shorts
  • 2 pair of quick drying shorts
  • 1 pair of bike shorts – in place of a bathing suit for the intended natural water slide/ falls
  • 2 sports bras
  • 4-5 pairs of underpants
  • 4 pairs of socks – wool (for hiking) and cotton
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Shower/ Swim flip flops
  • Rainwear (pant, jacket)
  • 2 bandanas
  • 2 hats
  • 2 pairs of gloves

Toiletries (fit in a shower bag):

  • Towel
  • Wash cloth
  • Toothbrush/ paste
  • Floss/ teeth cleaners
  • Brush
  • Shampoo
  • Wipes
  • Tampons

First Aid Kit:

  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Tea tree topical for bites
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Gauze patches with tape
  • Band-aids (variety of kinds & sizes)
  • Tums
  • Ibuprofen and Advil
  • Neosporin/ Antibiotic cream
  • A&D lotion
  • Tissues
  • Tweezers

Camping Gear:

  • Hammock – I wrote a previous/ separate post on hammock gear
  • Tarp + extra tarp
  • Rope + extra rope
  • Tent stakes + extra stakes
  • Carabiners
  • Ziploc bags
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Chair

Equipment + Personal Gear:

  • Cell phone – emergencies, acts as alarm clock and camera/ video
  • GPS watch
  • Whistle
  • Lights: 2 flash lights, 1 head lamp
  • 2 lighters
  • 5 Fire starters
  • 1 knife, 1 mini multitool
  • CamelBak (act as day pack for hiking as well) + 1-2 water bottles
  • Wallet + cash
  • Map – campsite/ grounds and hiking trails
  • Print outs of reservations

Homemade fire starters: toilet paper rolls with dryer lint inside wrapped with magazine paper


Food for 2 sets of breakfast, lunch and dinner prep’d the night/ day before and stored appropriately – left overs = snacks and desserts = s’mores and other fun camping treats

I’m in charge of bringing cider and cocoa

  • Trail/ hike food
  • Mug, Bowl, Utensils
  • Foil (extra)
  • Paper towels (extra)
  • Trash/ recycling bag (extra)