NROL: Supercharged, Basic Training I

I’m mostly through the first stage of Supercharged, Basic Training I. I’m getting a lot of throwbacks to New Rules of Lifting For Women, and that’s because a lot of the exercises are the same, and the structure is very similar.

The unusual thing about it is that core work comes first. It’s followed by either a power much like jump squats, or a combination move like lunge and press. Then comes what I consider the “real work”: the alternating sets. And finally the interval training.

At the moment it is the perfect workout level for me. I am definitely challenged, especially with the interval training at the end. I get pretty sweaty and I push my weights if I feel up to it.

My ankle has been a limiting factor, especially in squatting exercises, so I’ve been giving myself a lot of leniency on those. Squats have always been a problem exercise. My quads still get very tight, even after my 7 min cycle warmup, and I’ve even taken to foam rolling them before the workout as well as after just to try to loosen them up a little.

On the other hand, I’ve really been taken with kettlebell swings. Initially I had them as a power exercise, but now I use them as my interval training. It’s so much more fun than just cycling. I’m hoping to have mighty hams by the end of the programme.

I have about a week left on Basic Training I before I start Basic Training II. Should be good.


New this week

I’ve upped my kilojoules slightly and placed an emphasis on protein, from this week onwards. It’s hard, definitely, because carbs are so delicious, and I’ve been making a lot of feijoa jam and wanting to try it every day (you know, to make sure it still tastes like feijoas).

But to make things a little easier for myself and for Tony, I cooked a batch of meat slop. Most of us who frequent /r/fitness on reddit will be familiar with it: Basically beef mince and cabbage with spices, a good easy way to get some protein in you. I added in some onion, garlic, carrots and celery and fish sauce, and have a big bowl of it in the fridge that I have been chipping away at all week. As you may know, I absolutely love Korean food, and I’ve found that adding a drop of sesame oil, a tiny bit of soy sauce, and a big teaspoon of gochujang to a serving of meat slop transforms this otherwise average dish into something deliciously Korean-esque. Rather than having it for main meals, I’ve been having a bowl of meat slop as a late afternoon snack, and then preparing something more exciting for dinner.

The other new thing this week is my protein powder. I’m now lactose-intolerant, so my taste tests of 2012 aren’t of use to me anymore. I ended up choosing Nutra Life’s Whole+ protein powder in the chocolate flavour.

It does not taste like chocolate.

It does taste healthy. It is kind of gritty, a strange, fine grittiness, but as part of a smoothie it becomes quite enjoyable.


I kind of want another one now.

Gym-going is going well, but I’ll write a bit more about that in a separate post later.

Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 16.07.42

Like diets and university majors, the best way to choose a workout regimen is to choose one you can stick to. I’ve toyed with doing Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer since she published it, and I think that now is a great time to do it. I noted in the past that the workouts can take a really long time, but at the moment, I have plenty of time for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately with my ankle still recovering, Supercharged isn’t viable for another few weeks, but the LiveFit split-style workouts mean I don’t have to put too much pressure on my ankle each time I work out.

I started today, at a whim, as you do. I initially intended to just do some HIIT training on the cycle, but, well, one does not simply walk into the gym and not lift anything. Thanks to the excellent Wifi service in the gym, I found the LiveFit trainer and completed Day 1. It was good. It was hard. But it was just what I wanted in a workout today.

The only thing that I will not be following is the diet plan. Too hard. I have a handle on my current plan, and if I need to, I’ll increase the kilojoule limit. Food and cooking is one of my personal interests, and I know I can make my preferences work for my limits. I guess I just don’t want to be told what to eat, especially if it means chicken breast multiple times a day. Srsly. Thigh and wings are where it’s at. I’d much rather enjoy what I eat, even if it’s only a little bit.

So tomorrow, Tony and I have planned to go to the gym, and I’ll do Day 2 of the LiveFit trainer.

I’m already excited.

An unexpected setback in my protein adventures

Recently I’ve been getting headaches a lot. They begin in the afternoon, around 14:00, and don’t go away until I’m asleep. They’ve been going on for just over a month (and also the the month or so after my Asia Adventures), on the days that I work out. I assumed it was just more neck issues.

But I realised that on one day that I worked out, I didn’t have a headache. What was different? It turned out that on that day, I had tried the Reactiv protein powder (the natural, NZ-based one). And I had mixed it with water instead of milk.

It’s not a coincidence. I have replaced the milk in my protein shake with rice milk yesterday and soy milk today, and worked out on both days, and I have not yet had a headache. This is after one month of headaches on workout days.

So unfortunately, that may be the end of my protein adventures – for now. I prefer soy milk but it has a strong flavour, making any further protein flavour tests difficult to compare with my previous tests. In future, after I get used to the taste I may start the experiment from scratch.

So with everything I have learned from my protein flavour tests, what have I decided?

  • Optimum Nutrition’s Delicious Strawberry flavour was tied as my favourite, despite it not mixing completely smooth
  • I will try Reactiv’s whey again, with (soy) milk, probably adding cinnamon or cocoa
  • I will definitely try Balance Vanilla again; it was delicious and tied for my favourite flavour, next to ON’s Delicious Strawberry
  • Powders marketed towards women have fewer calories, and also less protein; I probably would not choose female-centric powders because of the lower protein content

Horley’s Sculpt: Vanilla Creme

After the great success with Balance Vanilla, I thought that Horley’s vanilla offering would be very similar.

It’s… okay. Still has that “rubbery” whey flavour, and not as strong-tasting as the Balance Vanilla. It also has a milk powder flavour, like milk biscuits! I like milk biscuits so this is a good thing. It’s not too sweet though, and it froths up quite a lot. The texture is slightly gritty (like tiny particles, rather than sand). 

Like the other Sculpt flavour, it’s lower in calories, and as a result also lower in protein than the other choices. I’ve decided that for women = lower calories = less protein.

I’d try this flavour again if I was in a pinch – I got these sachets from the supermarket for about $2.50 NZD each. The protein powder offerings at the supermarket are limited – and more expensive than buying protein powder online.


Powder Flavour Kilocalories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g) Sugar (g)
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Double Rich Chocolate 120 24 1 3 1
Balance Vanilla 111 25 0 2 0
Gaspari Myofusion Chocolate 150 25 3 5 2
Horleys Sculpt Swiss Chocolate 94 18 1 2 1
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Delicious Strawberry 110 24 1 2 1
Reactiv Supplements Pure NZ Whey Unflavoured 122 23.7 1.7 2.4 2.4
Horleys Sculpt Vanilla Creme 96 18.6 1.3 2.2 0.9

Horleys Sculpt Shaping Protein for Women: Swiss Chocolate


I’m not quite sure what make this protein powder specifically for women. At only 18g of protein per serving, it’s on the lower scale of the powders I’ve seen so far. It’s also the lowest in calories so far. Maybe that’s why.

But how does it taste?

Its blander than the other flavours I’ve tried so far. There’s a slight taste of something that I don’t quite like, but not the horrible aftertaste that ON’s French Vanilla had. The colour is more of a beige than a chocolatey brown too.

It does froth up heaps (I had more than I could fit into the glass after shaking it up with 300mL of milk), and smells like a milkshake.

I would probably not buy this flavour again. I will try the Vanilla flavour though – though not for my next shake.

How does it stack up, macros-wise?

Powder Flavour Kilocalories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g) Sugar (g)
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey Double Rich Chocolate 120 24 1 3 1
Balance Vanilla 111 25 0 2 0
Gaspari Myofusion Chocolate 150 25 3 5 2
Horleys Sculpt Swiss Chocolate 94 18 1 2 1


A seriously effective workout

Well, I wasn’t expecting this. Those four exercises yesterday are very effective, because I’ve got almost full-body DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) today. I even managed to get a fantastic ab workout without doing any ab-specific exercises.

So, what did I do?

  • Negative chin-ups
  • Underhand grip lat pulldowns
  • Barbell Split Squat
  • Push Ups

What hurts?

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abs
  • Pecs
  • Triceps
  • Lats
  • Bicep, slightly
  • Traps, slightly
  • Forearms (Brachioradialis?)

This actually reminds me a lot of Starting Strength; only 3 exercises each day, but a full body workout nonetheless.