Yeay! Week 3 on Hybrid starts off with a real improvement for me in strength gains and in weight. I’ve gained 1 lb a week steadily since starting eating (a lot more!) for 4 weeks now, so I’m almost at 115.  No doubt, I’ve gained some fat too as the pics at the end of this post will show, but it’s a small sacrifice for seeing strength gains.  It’s so satisfying to see the numbers go up here in weight carried. I’m glad I take careful notes and always bring my training journal. Most people feel naked without their iPod— me, I can’t get by without my notebook. I repeated the same workout for the upper body hypertrophy hybrid day and here’s how I made out:

  Week 1 Week 1 Week 3 Week 3 Notes
Exercise Reps Weight Reps Weight  
Incline DB Press 12, 11, 9 30 15, 12, 8 30, 35, 40 Next time I’m starting with the 40s!
Hammer Chest Press 11,9,9 90 10, 9, 7 100, 110, 115  
Weighted Dips 4,6,10 5, 5, No weight 8,8,6 5, 10, 10  
Chins 8,7,7   8,4,5   Chins were better last week but I did MUCH better with the weighted dips. Compromise!
Hammer machine low row 12,12,12 70 8,9,9 90  
Partial rep deads in power cage 8,8 135 8,8 135  
Seated DB Shoulder Press 12, 8 25,30 12,8 25 Hmm, week one better effort but I’m starting to feel my form slip. Better to stay safe.
Side Lat Raises 15,15 15 15,12 15 We really need a 17.5
Standing barbell curl 12,8,8 40 12,8,8 40 Same here, but I try a new move on sets 2 and 3- keeping my back against a wall makes it HARDER
Skullcrushers 15,15,7 40,40, 50 8,8,8 50 Big improvement! But was clearly being too conservative in week 1!

So- I’m no mathematician, but using the incline DB press and hammer machine press as an example, and comparing the weight carried on set 3, that represents (I think!) an increase in strength of 33% for the incline DB press and 27% for the hammer machine chest press. Whoa, did I really do that right?

The next day is lower body hypertrophy day…and I’ve never met a leg day I didn’t like. Rather than bore you with another chart, I did want to make the important point that I am seeing strength gains here too! Comparing front squats (love to hate em!) on set 3 on week 1 I was using 85 lbs, this time around (week 3) it’s 90 lbs. That’s a 5% improvement. Not huge, but front squats are one of those things where I’m super strict with form and tempo. Plus, I’m still figuring out the most comfortable spot for bar placement. It’s getting easier though! For barbell lunges, comparing set 3 again, I’m seeing an 8% increase in weight carried (125 lbs and now 135 lbs). For leg extensions, same weight (130) but one more good rep out of each set (8 versus 9) so that is certainly an improvement. I break even with straight leg deadlifts, 115 lbs for 12 reps for 4 sets, but I have to remind myself that the one minute rests really keep my heart rate up and make packing on too much weight a bad idea, at least for me.   No matter, there’s nothing that makes you feel like you’ve worked HARD when you’re lifting that bar off the low pins!

Total Body Hybrid HIIT is next up on the agenda. Unfortunately I’m really getting the hang of just how agonizing true HIIT training is. I choose the elliptical machine and use my gymboss interval timer to make sure I complete 10 sprints at 30 seconds with 1 minute recoveries (which by the way, go by WAY too fast!). For those of you who think you know what HIIT is, think again! 20 minutes and I’m TOAST.  My squat, chin, bench circuit is improving too! I can squat 85 lbs for 15 reps (10 lbs over last time), bench 65 for 15 (5 lbs over last time), and well…the chins are another story. For sets 1,2, and 3 I get 10, 8, and 5- diminishing returns indeed! I work on hitting the remaining reps for sets 1 and 2 by jumping up and working the negatives, but by set 3 my tank is on E! I finish with 20 minutes on a stairstepper. I think I’m really starting to understand (sort of) why people get “addicted” to cardio- it feels sooooooo good when it’s all over!!!


Racking up for squats is always a happy moment!


Day 4 is a upper body 5X5 where I really see some improvement in the bench press. When I started, I was benching 85 lbs for a 5X5 and I’m now able to do 95 lbs for the same workout. So exciting! For back I do one arm DB rows with 50 lbs, and before I started Hybrid I was using the 45 lbs. So, all in all, despite gaining some body fat, I know some of it is muscle, and it was a great week! Please feel free to leave any helpful comments below.

-Sumi Singh is a Personal Trainer in Austin, TX and an online diet coach. Her website is www.shailafitness.com




Sumi Singh is a diet coach, group fitness instructor,  personal trainer in Austin TX, and a mom.  She is an ISSA Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, holds her personal trainer certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association, holds a certification in pre-and post-natal exercise, and is a Les Mills Group Fitness Instructor. She writes for her online fitness blog at www.shailafitness.com, and is a contributing author on the BrinkZone.com.


She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tufts University and a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University.  The strong science background gives Sumi a unique edge in being able to separate fitness fads and trends from effective approaches to fitness and nutrition.

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