Rock Climbing | Planet Rock

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

I was searching for a good mountain/climbing quote to intro this post and they were all saying things that pointed the focus away from the difficulties of climbing a mountain and more toward celebrating the heights you have achieved. Then I clicked on the quote of the day and it was the above quote by the wise Eleanor Roosevelt.

It just really made me think about the times when life is busy and stressful and how we deal with it. My natural tendency is to recluse and isolate myself – after all, I know that as an introvert, I need separation to recharge my batteries. However, I also know that we need people in our lives. Friendships are key.

So, I venture out.

With friends.

This week we went rock climbing in Madison Heights, MI at Planet Rock.

I have never been officially rock climbing before (aside from cruises and summer camp). I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do it. One of the things that has taken a back burner (while starting up SoapBox Games) has been my regular gym routine.

Let me start this by saying I had no idea how popular rock climbing is! The place was packed out!

We got the Starter Package, which included everything we needed (shoes, harness, belay device, chalk, training). It also included a pass to come back again within 30 days.

We paid for our package, signed the waiver and then we sat by the fire and waited for our lesson to begin.


After about 15 minutes, someone came over and called everyone in our group, except Brian and me. They told us that we had to wait for the next class. This was a bit of a bummer because the class was about an hour, so we were separated from our group of friends for that long.

The class was great, though. They taught us about the equipment, how to tie knots, safety checks, belaying (holding the ropes) and climbing.

Then we practiced.

When we ‘passed’ the belaying test (where your teacher climbs/falls 3 times and you have to belay/catch them), we were able to find our friends and start climbing.

There are 2 types of climbing you can do – top rope and bouldering. Rope climbing is where you have a partner belaying you (they even have auto-belayers, so you don’t necessarily need a partner). Bouldering is where you are not roped in – you free climb (like a little monkey).

I stayed mostly with the auto-belay climbing. They were easy enough to be fun, but difficult enough to challenge me. If you fall, the auto-belayer lowers you slowly to the ground, so you don’t just fall. I felt like a graceful acrobat every time I was lowered. It was fun.

I also tried to boulder a few times. The walls are shorter and there are squishy mats to break your fall (if you fall). The first time I tried it, I forgot that I wasn’t tethered, so I had no fear. When I got close to the top and thought I couldn’t finish the climb, I was about to let go and fall. In a split-second, I realized that I would be free-falling, so I determined to finish the climb.

I did.

It was exhilarating!

At the end of the night, I tried a harder bouldering course – the pink one. I was determined to do it, but it was hard. I swung my leg up and over to the grip that was just outside of my reach. I got it.

Then, it happened.

I slipped.

The very last climb.

The skin on my palm ripped.

So I dropped.

Overall, I loved this place! The facility was very clean, the staff was extremely friendly and helpful and they made it easy and fun to learn.

Although I didn’t accomplish the pink bouldering course, it gives me a goal to achieve next time I return.

Fitness Update

**Please consult a physician/professional before starting a fitness routine. While this may work for me, it may not work for you.**

Did you know that you use your shoulder muscles to take off your shirt?

Also, you have muscles in your tush that are required to sit on the porcelain throne?

I’m sure I knew this, but it’s also possible that I’ve blocked out that first leg of my fitness journey when I started in 2016. Now I really know this.

This week marked my first full week back to the gym since my hiatus over the last 6 months.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m an all or nothing kind of a person. Which, usually means I go overboard with my workouts and expect immediate results. I don’t really recommend starting this way, but for me, if I start slow, I can’t gain enough momentum to keep me going. One thing I have changed this time around is that I’m only going to the gym 4 times a week. I have also exchanged my typical 2-hour session into a 1-hour one (sadly, this is probably because I don’t have my sisters to talk to).

Here are my basic starting stats:

Height: 5’7″
Weight: 130 lbs
Waist: 27″

My starting goals:

  • Strengthen the muscles around my knee to help with pain from my knee issues
  • Firm and shape my rump so it doesn’t look like a saggy bag of flour
  • Drop a pant size so I can fit into my favourite Silver jeans again
  • Washboard abs – ok, maybe this is pushing it, but we’ll see
  • Form a solid cap on my shoulders
  • Strengthen & define my triceps
  • Learn/form better nutrition habits

Schedule I followed this week:

Monday – Chest & Triceps

  • 4 x 10 Chest Press
  • 4 x 10 Chest Fly (machine)
  • 4 x 10 Rope Pushdowns (SS1)
  • 4 x 10 Overhead extensions (SS1)
  • 4 x 6 Skull Crushers
  • 15 minutes Recumbent Bike (cardio)

Tuesday – Back & Biceps

  • 4 x 10 Pulldowns
  • 4 x 10 Mid Row
  • 3 x 5 Chin-ups (assisted)
  • 4 x 10 Cable Rows
  • 4 x 10 Cable Rope Curls
  • 4 x 10 Bicep Curl/Hammer Curl/Lateral Bicep Curl (Tri-set)
  • 15 minutes Recumbent Bike (cardio)

Wednesday – Legs

  • 4 x 10 Leg Press
  • 4 x 10 Leg Curls
  • 4 x 10 Leg Extensions
  • 4 x 10 Romanian Deadlifts
  • 4 x 10 Side Skaters (SS1)
  • 4 x 10 Single Leg Deadlifts (SS1)
  • 10 minutes Recumbent Bike (cardio)

Thursday – Rest (mostly because I work 12 hours)

Friday – Shoulders

  • 4 x 10 Shoulder Press
  • 4 x 10 Cheer Press
  • 4 x 10 Cable Rows
  • 4 x 10 Cable Pull Throughs (SS1)
  • 4 x 10 Cable Upright Rows (SS1)
  • 4 x 10 Front Raises (SS2)
  • 4 x 10 Lateral Raises (SS2)
  • 4 x 5 Around the World Raises
  • 4 x 15 Steering Wheels
  • 20 minutes Recumbent Bike (cardio)

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Rest

My final thoughts this week? I’m trying to figure out what weights I should use. I didn’t want to overdo it by lifting the same weights I did 6 months ago, but I also didn’t want to shortchange my progress by lifting too light. With that being said, by the end of the week, I realized that I still had a lot of muscle memory and could lift close to the weight I left off at.

I also didn’t do any ab workouts this week because I was trying to get back into the swing of things first. Working my abs takes extreme concentration because I don’t have much feeling in that area and that makes controlling those muscles difficult for me.

The other thing that I stand by is that the right supplements can really make a difference. BCAAs will help with endurance and pain by breaking up the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles following a workout. When I drink water during a workout, it takes about 5x the water for me to be able to handle the same workout I can do with BCAAs (this is my favourite). The other sups I take are fish oil (I call them my happy pills because they help with my mood) and sublingual B12 pills (I have a B12 deficiency, so these help with energy).

All in all, it was a great week and it felt so amazing to get back into a workout routine. I’m always adding to my list of motivational phrases to keep me pumped, so if you have any that work for you, leave me a comment and let me know.

Fitness Goals

Ok kids, this is it.

I’m bringing back my gym game.

Over the last 6 months I’ve kind of slowly stopped hanging out at the gym. Although it hasn’t stopped me from being obsessed with everything fitness related during that time.

It took me a while to realize why I let the gym slip, but I recently figured out that when my routine changes, I feel lost and I almost feel like I forget how to do everything. When my gym buddies (aka my sisters) moved away, I felt lost and I struggled to go to the gym without them.

Strange, I know.

So, to get back on track, I’m going to put my fitness goals for 2018 out there for all to see. Then, I will do it. Period. The end. No excuses, just dedication.

All. By. Myself. <insert sappy song here>

Goal #1
Tone & Sculpt Abs & Glutes

This will be fun for 2 reasons…

#1 – I have no feeling in my abdominal region.
#2 – My glutes act like they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Having no feeling in my abs causes any core workout difficult to execute, but it also makes it easy to sculpt them (since I can’t feel the pain). Leave me a comment below if you want me to write a post on why I can’t feel my abs.

Nonetheless, difficult or not, these are my top target areas I want to focus on in 2018.

Goal #2
Strengthen my upper body

My favourite workouts are triceps, shoulders & biceps – exactly in that order. There’s just something about beautifully sculpted arms that are capped with a strong shoulder that make it all worth it.

Goal #3

Ugh. Yep, that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. All of my life I have used food as a way to stay alive – which is good, if you know a thing or two about nutrition. I don’t. I am clueless when it comes to food. Also, another problem I have is that many times, I forget to eat.

Now I’m determined to learn how to eat well.

Goal #4
Do it alone

Ok, this may not be an actual fitness goal, but my thought is that if I learn to workout alone, I won’t struggle when there’s a change-up with my gym partner. Working out with friends is always a bonus, but I think I need to be comfortable with being alone at the gym.

Goal #5
Train for a competition

I wasn’t going to include this in my post, but I decided to anyway. I am not actually interested in competing – there’s so many reasons why – but I am interested in focusing on bringing my body to a place that I desire it to be. When I started working out back in 2016, I adopted this plan as my routine – 2 hours, 6 days a week. I loved it.

Those are the goals I’m starting with. I will try to keep you posted on my progress.

As a bonus, I’m throwing in my YouTube video about what I’ll be toting with me in my gym bag.

Gym Bag Essentials


If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can never be too prepared. When it comes to working out, it’s such a hassle if you’ve forgotten something that you really need.

Over the years, my essentials have evolved, but here are the items I currently couldn’t do without.

I used to only drink water at the gym, but I would find myself making multiple trips back to the water fountain to refill my bottle. Water alone never seems to quench my thirst at the gym. My sister introduced me to these BCAAs and they have made a world of difference in my workouts. My favourite flavour is white grape.

Music & Headphones
I used to use gym time as ‘sister’ time – which eliminated the need for music or headphones. Some days we would lift and chat for a few hours at a time. Now that I’m heading to the gym solo (which was always one of my greatest fears!), I find the need for some musical inspiration. I pop on my beats, press play on my Spotify playlist and get in the zone. I love my wireless headphones and dread the days when I find myself without them at the gym.

Maybe this goes without saying, but deodorant is definitely an essential for me. I can’t say that everyone at the gym has this view, but it would be great if they did. I always keep an extra stick in my bag for those workouts that require that little bit of ‘extra’ protection.

Protein Bar
I’m currently out of my favourite protein bars, but will be stocking up again real soon! My favourite bars are Daryl’s All Natural Protein Bars. I’ve never tasted anything so delicious and satisfying!
Bonus – their factory is located in Windsor, so I get to support a local business when I buy them!

Once I forgot my lock and I had to carry all of my stuff with me. Gross. I keep my lock in my bag always now. Goes without saying that it keeps all your valuables safe and secure in the lockers.

I don’t know what it is about gum, but I feel lost without it. I have a pack in my bag, purse, car, jacket, desk, etc. I just don’t like to be without it. My favourite gum is Excel and I tend to buy it in bulk.

Moist Wipes
I don’t like showering at the gym – public showers aren’t my favourite thing. I also don’t like getting into my car all sweaty. Keeping wipes on hand helps with a quick wipe down so I can drive home and shower in the comfort of my own home.

Many times I start my workouts with my hair down. Y’all know what happens when things get real? A pineapple bun gets thrown on top of my head mid workout and gives me the oomph to kill my workout. I couldn’t do that without my trusted elastics.

Muscle Rub
I rarely use this actually at the gym, but I like knowing that it’s in my bag whenever I need it. I use doTERRA Deep Blue Rub and love it a lot! Brian actually loves it even more than I do!

Gym Bag
Maybe this is a given. I don’t know. However, I have such high expectations with my gym bags, so I’m including it in this post. I used to just throw things into my purse, but I kept forgetting essentials, so I went on the search for the perfect bag. Without getting into all the aspects of a perfect gym bag, I will tell you straight up that it has to fit nicely into the locker. I can’t stand squashing, forcing and slamming things to fit. Here is one similar to the one I use.

There are a few other things that I occasionally have in my bag such as a bag of nuts/seeds, feminine products, weight lifting gloves, makeup, Vibram FiveFingers, change of clothes, etc.

I find that when I’m physically prepared to workout, it’s easier to get in the zone mentally.

What are some of your gym bag essentials? Let me know in the comments below.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.