Archive | Emily Helt RSS feed for this section

Farewell, it’s been a lot of fun.

31 Jan

So the time has come for us to close up the site and say thank you for visiting. Lately, life seems to be getting in the way of growing this site to what we wanted so we have come to the decision to throw in the towel. We had a great time posting here, talking with one another, keeping each other motivated, and interacting with all the friends that visited.

We do plan on keeping one another motivated and would enjoy to continue interacting with all of you.

Kris Freedain @mindonly
Blake Wilson @blakethegeek
Emily Breder @ohiobuddhist
Emily (Liz) Helt @mindfulness108
Andy Lambert @uuzennie

And who knows, maybe Iron Lotus will eventually have a rebirth when the time is right.
Thank you

Kris Freedain

A father, husband, and Buddhist who enjoys strength training. Currently using the 5/3/1 training program.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

Squat it out!

4 Sep

Strong body, strong mind.

This statement is becoming my personal mantra. It is a huge part of what motivates me in my training and consequently, life in general. Since I have been lifting weights regularly a lot has improved for me beyond my physical health. The parallels between meditation and strength training are incredible, both are integral parts of my life that I know are necessary in order to become the person I want to be and to be healthy in the present. Yesterday was a day I cannot describe adequately with words; it was full of love and pain and struggle. I continue to hurt but I am beginning the healing process which will be long and strenuous. For me, training is a huge part of that so I took myself to the gym and had a great workout full of heavy squats. ;)

I know I will continue to move forward in my life- my mind and my body are getting stronger with each passing day. It takes a lot of work but I am 100% willing to put that in.


Warmup- walking on an incline for 10 min

All squats-

25 reps with the bar

15 reps at 95lbs

12 reps at 115lbs

10 reps at 135lbs

10 reps at 145lbs

10 reps at 135lbs

12 reps at 115lbs

15 reps at 95 lbs

25 reps at 45 lbs


Breaking Through a Plateau

31 Aug

Hello!! Wow, I am actually posting?! Geez, sorry it’s been so long. I just recently moved, which you may have known already if you follow me on Twitter (my only outlet for frustrations at times) and have been getting situated but that’s no excuse! Besides lacking feedback from you all, I haven’t been tracking my progress very well or recording my workouts. This hasn’t been too much of a problem because I expected my training to change for a bit while I was moving and starting class again but I’m ready to get back to it with more intensity than before.

I should also mention that there hasn’t been any progress on getting hip surgery because my insurance didn’t accept the request AGAIN. This happened the first time around because they claimed it was ‘too experimental’ and wanted me to have the older, more invasive surgery instead. Last time, we repealed and got it covered but it was a mess that I was really hoping to not have to deal with this time. I have sent in another letter to repeal their response so hopefully I hear back soon (and with good news)!

So, until then, I have been pushing myself as much as I can and surprisingly doing pretty well. I have been focusing on squats and have been able to get my squat weight and form back to where they were before surgery. I was scared to do this for a while, thinking my hip would give out mid exercise but it feels strong! Issues surface the couple days following a hard workout when my hip is swollen and aches but there honestly might not be anything I can do about that. Also, my running ability continues to diminish and frustrate me. I should just let it go but I am only 20, I should be able to run!! Anyway…

Just today I saw Blake’s post on Facebook for the website Strength Standards and plugged in my info to see where I stand. I wasn’t surprised to see my shoulders and chest  lagging behind my legs and back but it served as another reminder that I need to change up my training routine. For the most part, I have been lifting for tone and definition and although I have gained strength, it hasn’t been my focus. I want to change that and am going to test out this 5/3/1 routine that we have all seen Kris post about. Any suggestions, comments, questions are more than appreciated and I am glad to be posting again!



Hitting a Wall

15 Jul

I hit the gym like usual today, planning to work my arms and shoulders but my plan completely fell apart as soon as I started lifting. First of all, my left shoulder has been causing me problems lately but typically it isn’t anything that interferes too much and I just work through it without a problem. Today however, it was really sore and I couldn’t do more than 3 lateral raises. I decided to stop and not train shoulders today but it still felt tweaked when I did other exercises so I cut everything a bit short. I don’t think this is anything serious, just a lifting injury that I will have to keep an eye on. Have any of you hurt your shoulder from lifting? What did you to do help? What do you think caused it?

The biggest problem today was my hip- again. I haven’t trained legs in a few days and yesterday I didn’t do any cardio so this injury has taken a new turn. Typically it is irritated or worsened with use but lately, my training has not correlated with the pain in my hip. I planned to do 30 min of HIIT training on the stair master like I regularly do but my hip barely got through 15 min. I had to stop because the weakness in my leg was making it near impossible to avoid tripping while I was up there. SO! Crappy workout today.

When I got home I was in a lot of pain and ended up taking some medicine for it which I seriously never do. My doctor has given me pain killers but I haven’t taken anything in months because I don’t see how becoming dependent on meds will help. Also, I decided to call my doctor tomorrow and give him the okay to contact insurance about another surgery. This is the first step and although I want to meet face-to-face with my doc again before, this also means I am going to have the surgery. Pretty official and I don’t know how I feel about it.

Actually, I do, I really don’t want the surgery but I don’t see any other option. It seems worth the chance of this problem going away.

Rowing warm-up 5 min

SS: Shoulder press @17.5 2×12, Standing bicep curl @17.5 2×12

*attempted* lateral raise @10lbs

SS: Cable tricep pushdown @40lbs 3×12, Standing alt hammer curl @17.5 3×12

Standing triceps overhead ext @25lb 3×15,12,11

GS: Seated calf raise @65 3×20, 15, 15 & Standing calf raise @100lb 3×20, 15, 15 & standing calf raise on plate 3×15

Stairmaster: 2 min @65 spm, 2 min @ 95 spm for 16 min

Training Log: Legs Day!

12 Jul

Legs are always the most challenging to train (for obvious reasons) but today went well and I felt like I left it all in the gym. That is all I strive for when I walk through those doors. In the comments on my last post, I mentioned to Kris about how I have learned it best to let go of my expectations when training due to my injury. This is an example of where my meditation practice strengthens my physical training because I would not be so patient and willing to do this if I didn’t sit and read about this kind of stuff. I used to be very competitive and although I still am, I am more laid back about it. I compete with myself and with other people but I listen to my body and am willing to stop if I am pushing myself over the edge or for the wrong reasons.

Anyway, here is what I did in the gym today:

5 min walking warm-up

Giant Set: x3

Plie Squat 45lb plate x10

Single arm swing squat 10lb x12 each arm

1 min plank with 45lb plate on legs

Giant Set: x3

Straight leg deadlift 85lb x10

Single leg hyperextension x10 each leg

Seated calf raise, slow x15

Superset: x3, minimal rest between sets

12 Ab Rollouts

12 Jackknifes


HIIT Cardio on Stairmaster

2 min work (95spm), 2 min rest (65spm) for 30 min


Personal Update

10 Jul

Hello everyone! First of all, I apologize again for not posting regularly. I have been lacking motivation to write and gaining frustration in my training each day so posting took a back seat. For anyone who hasn’t already heard me complain about it via twitter or Facebook (which would be hard to miss, haha) I have a hip injury that has been causing a lot of issues for me both in the gym and outside of it. About 7 months ago I had surgery to correct a labral tear in my left hip. In non-medical terms, the cartilage between my femur head and hip socket was torn because my bone was irregularly shaped which was causing friction whenever I did repetitive motions that would irritate it, for instance, running or lateral movements. The surgery was done arthroscopically which just means that the doc didn’t have to completely cut me open and instead went in through two, 1 inch incisions so that the recovery process would be faster. At first, recovery was quick and positive but that didn’t last very long. It was expected that by 3 months post-op I would be able to run regularly and that by this point, I would be 100% recovered. For just a bit more back story, I have been having hip issues for years, about  5-6 years to be exact. For a long time, a doctor was misdiagnosing me and treating based off of his idea that I had bursitis (inflammation of a fluid sac in the joint). I had 3 cortisone shots and an arthrogram MRI with lidocaine before I was fed up dealing with that doctor. I have seen a total of 4 doctors now, have had 4 cortisone shots, 3 lidocaine injections with MRIs, and more than a year of physical therapy. Surgery was supposed to be the last resort and final solution but now my doctor is talking about a second surgery…

It’s hard to describe how terribly irritated I get with this because my words only do so much in communicating my emotions and the vast amount of peripheral problems that arise in this situation. I know things could be worse and I am truly thankful for the activities that I am able to do but growing up an athlete my entire life, a debilitating injury like this really is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. I am scared everyday that it will never subside and that the discomfort and limitations will increase exponentially. I am not even 21 years old and yet I walk around with pain everyday from an injury that presented as easily treatable and has grown into something completely mysterious. I find that absurd.

So, the ridiculous nature of this gets to me and I go through the typical “why me??” questions but the biggest cause of stress throughout dealing with this is the physical pain. Along with that, the psychological twist that I hate feeling weak. I do a lot to appear strong, immovable, tough but this makes me feel helpless. There are nights I don’t sleep well because my hip hurts, walking is a frequent discomfort, and my training takes a huge plunge, especially if it is acting up; all of these things together strongly affect my mental/emotional outlook. I have discussed these problems with every doctor I have seen and a large part of the issue we are trying to solve now is the chronic pain. The level that it is at seriously disrupts my life and although it isn’t always immobilizing, the pain is enough to severely distract me and persuade me out of doing things I enjoy.

I still train because, why not?? The only time my doctor advised me to stop activity was after surgery and even then, it wasn’t for long. Now, especially, there is really no reason to discontinue exercising at whatever level I can tolerate because I am not doing any more damage- the bone that was rubbing together was shaved down and the tear was sutured.

My hip has been consuming my thoughts as of late and bringing me down more than it has in a long time. I hate having to constantly push through the pain and not knowing how to fix it or when it will stop. I feel tired a lot of the time and the prospect of another surgery is not helping my demeanor. This time around the purpose of surgery is not even clear, my doctor wants to cut me open partially as a diagnostic tool. Finding tears in an MRI is difficult so he thinks there might be another tear (although doubtful) or something he missed the first time. Besides that, he will clean out the scar tissue which he tells me could solve the problem, although I don’t really believe this.

I have written enough for now and hopefully I made sense but it isn’t the easiest subject for me to talk about. There is so much confusion and dissatisfaction involved for me that I either avoid the topic or wallow in my worries alone. If any of you have advice, suggestions, or any input I am open to it. Thanks for listening.

Training Log: Back & Abs

18 Jun

I’m leaving for New York City tomorrow and may or may not be able to make it to the gym before I go so I made sure to really push it today. While I’m gone I won’t be working out in a gym but I have some ideas of other things I can do and will be bringing my resistance bands and jump rope. So, no excuses!

Rowing warm-up 5 min

Wide grip lat pull 75lbs 3×12

Seated row 70lbs 3×12

Straight arm cable pull down 70lbs 3×12

SS: Pushup & Plank DB Row 20lbs 3×12, Hyperextensions with 25lb plate 3×15

SS: Decline bench overhead extension & sit-up with 20lb dumbbell 3×15, Oblique side bends with 25lbs 3×20 per side

30 min incline walk

Long Time No Post

12 Jun

Geez! Sorry I haven’t been posting workouts or anything for a while. I have been spending less leisure time online due to the fact that I am taking two online summer classes and honestly get a little sick of being on the computer. Anyway, I have been keeping up with my regular workouts and had a nice legs day today! I felt a little lightheaded during my workout though which was a bit disconcerting but I think it was because of the pre-workout I take. Do any of you take supplements? Since starting a more vigorous weight lifting regimen I have been taking a few; nothing unusual, just a multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine, protein, and a pre-workout mix. I don’t always take a supplement before I workout but I like to because I do feel a difference but this rare occurrence of feeling dizzy and overworked isn’t comfortable. Maybe I was just working hard and didn’t have enough water throughout the day? I’m not sure but any advice would be appreciated.

Walking Warm-up 6 min

SS: Plie Squats w/ 35 plate & Jump Squats 3×15

Lunges holding 15lb 15 each legx3

Narrow Leg Press 210lbs 4×15

SS: Straight Leg Deadlift 75lbs 4×15 & Wall-sit w/ 35 plate 1 min x4

Standing Glute Kickback 100lb 1×15, 140lb 1×15, 150lb 1×15

GS: Stability Ball Hamstring Curl x15 w/ 20 single leg circles & Single Leg Hyperextensions x12 each & Decline Bench holding 10lb w/ 25 twists


PS: Welcome to IronLotus Andy!! Glad to have you!

Training Log: Arms

7 Jun

Although I haven’t posted the past few days, I have still been hitting the gym! Yesterday I took a rest day, Monday I worked legs, and Tuesday I did back. Taking a rest day definitely helped, I was sore all over and knew I wouldn’t be able to get a solid workout in.  I am down in Richmond for a bit, staying with my brother and we went to the gym together today. The VCU gym is so nice because they have a ton of equipment and a rock climbing wall (hopefully doing that tomorrow)! I can’t wait to be living down here!

Warm-up 5 minutes, rowing

Bicep Curls w/EZ bar @40lb 2×12 2×10

Triangle Pushups 4×12

Hammer Curls @17.5lbs 3×12

Concentration Curls @15lbs 2×12

Triceps Cable Extension w/ rope @25lbs 4×12

Single Arm Triceps Extension @15lbs 2×12


Jump Rope- 10 min

Stairs- 30 min, high intensity



Training Log: Arms, Shoulder, & Abs

3 Jun

I did not feel like working out today but dragged myself to the gym before I ran out of time and ended up feeling great in the gym! Lately I have been battling that lack of motivation and energy before my workouts but thankfully my intensity kicks in once I warmup. I don’t know why this has been happening though, maybe I need to change something? Maybe I’m just struggling with being in the gym when it’s so nice outside? Who knows. I am going to start doing cardio outdoors  though because it has been beautiful here! Bring on the awkward shorts tan.

Warmup: rowing 5 min

GS: Lateral Raise, Front Raise, Hammer Grip Lateral Raise 3×10 @10lbs

SS: Triceps Pushdown V-Bar 1x@50, 3x@60 & Standing Alternating Bicep Curl 1x@15, 3x@17.5 (upped my weight!)

SS: Dumbbell Shoulder Press @15 & Seated Bicep Hammer Curls @15 3×12

SS: Rear Flys Prone on Incline Bench @7.5 & Standing Triceps Extension @22.5 3×12

Ab Circuit x3:

Wheel Rollout x10

Decline Sit-up with 10lb medicine ball extension x12

Leg Raise with Reverse Crunch x12