Review of the PH3 Program - JanessaMann.Com

PH3 Programming Complete! – First Time Powerlifting

Review of the PH3 Program - JanessaMann.Com

If you’ve read my fitness updates in 2016, you’ll know that I followed Layne Norton’s PH3 workout on I had a hard time on the website finding a workout program that had legs 2+ days a week, because I really, really like to deadlift. I stumbled across this powerlifting program, and knew it would be perfect for me. The program focuses on strengthening you in the “big three,” squat, bench, and deadlift, and then hypertrophy to pump up the muscles.

Throughout the months that I did this (it should’ve taken 3 months, but I had to take extra weeks in case my back got too sore) I saw strength gains (70 pounds added to my deadlift!) as well as improvements in my physical appearance-down from 18% body fat to 16.23%!

January & February

Since my lower back disc herniation (L4-L5), I haven’t been lifting heavy, and my workouts have been pretty random, and definitely mroe of a bodybuilding workout. Turns out powerlifting really leans me out! Since January I’vel ost 2+% body fat!

The biggest transition for the workout program for me was that it is percentage-based. It took a lot of patience and intention to not over-stress my back based on what I had lifted previously. Some days I could squat 155 for 3×5, other days 135 felt incredibly heavy. Percentage-based is great if you don’t have to worry about injury, but if you do, be very careful and humble about your progress. Don’t focus on the numbers, focus on your form, and the strength will come!


Thanks to benching 2 or 3 times a week, I’ve gotten new muscles in my back-ones I can’t even name! One thing I didn’t foresee was that my right scapula would freeze up. At one point I was doing 90 lbs for 3×3, and then I had to drop at least 15 pounds or my back would hurt. I learned to roll out my scapula lots, stretch constantly, and focus more on bringing them in during my bench. Now, my bench is going back up, and I can’t wait to hit 100 lbs!


My quads are still pretty dominant over my hamstrings, but I’m very happy with the definition between the two. Also, look at my back. 😉

I’ve definitely gotten over squats. With the new program I made for myself to shred a bit mroe for summer I have lighter squat days (well, I also need to de-load) and involving some front squats as well so I hate them less. Still absolutely obsessed with deadlifts and bench. If you’re interested in getting stronger in those three lifts, and losing some body fat, I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a mind game, and I worked hard, but it paid off.

Summary of Lifts:

Start: 135×8 = 170 1RM
Highest: 175×1
Issues: tight hips and low back, IT bands snapipng during reps, mental (hating squats)
Goals: 200 lb 1rep

Start: 95×7 = 115 1RM
End: 155×4 = 170 1RM
Highest: 170×2 = 180 1RM
Issues: tight hips, grip
Goal: 200 lb 1 rep

Start: 65×9 = 84 1RM
End: 90×2 = 95 1RM
Highest: 90×3 = 971RM
Issues: elbows flaring out, scapula pain
Goal: 100 lb 1

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com

May Favourites

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Product Favourites

This month I didn’t have too many new product favourites, but I will share with you the wonderful things I did love.

Aromaforce Lavender Essential Oils – In the fall I bought an essential oil diffuser because I had read that lavender can help with insomnia.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash pink grapefruit – So necessary when you work out a lot, super helpful for bacne. The biggest issue with working out.

Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 day smooth – I don’t do much to my hair, but when I do blow-dry it I like to use a smoothing cream so it looks nice. This argan oil cream makes my hair super smooth and beautiful when I apply it before blow-drying. However, it doesn’t do much if you just put it in and then let it airdry.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Medicated Gel for Acne – Tiny, expensive tube, but cleared up the bacne I had really quickly in time for the wedding I went to recently. I’ll probably keep it on hand for when I have a bad breakout, but for cost effectiveness I’ll just use tea tree oil every day.

Squish Strawberry Rhubarb – I discovered Squish in the fall, and love their candy. They’re based in Montreal and are gluten-free, use real fruit extracts, no artificial colours, no-GMOs, and are fat-free. These are perfect to make me feel like I have a strawberry rhubarb pie with me right now.

Lush Aromaco patchouli deodorant – I’ve used this deodorant for years. I love the smell of patchouli, and unless I’m working out and going somewhere afterward, this is strong enough to block out any B.O. I keep mine in a small plastic container to keep in the moisture, and one $5 block can last me for a whole year.

May Favourites - JanessaMann.Com
Our herb garden

Check out what’s in our herb garden!

On Saturday, Nic and I got to check out an Olympic Lifting class, run by his friend Winston, at CrossFitYKV. It was a lot of fun learning snatches and cleans, and I look forward to incorporating some more of those movements into my powerlifting routine. At the end of the main workout, Winston said, “let’s do accessory work now.” For Olympic lifters, their accessory work is squats and deadlifts. That’s my main as a powerlifter. I squatted less than I normally would, but Nic and I were definitely sore on Sunday. I’d definitely recommend that gym, it’s BEAUTIFUL.


Starting a Home Yoga Practice

If you’re looking to get into yoga but can’t afford a gym membership (or there isn’t a good quality studio around you) or you want to expand your yoga practice, doing so at home is a really great thing. For years I only did yoga at home from instructions I found in books or online, plus the small amounts my ballet teachers had us do to increase core strength and flexibility.
Of course, you have to learn to be aware of your body, so that you aren’t hurting yourself, and you might train your muscles wrong, but that’s what you can go to class for, even if it’s a drop-in once a month.

Start with a yoga mat!
It’s very easy to get your hands on a yoga mat these days. You can buy them for about $20 at stores like Winners or Marshalls, try out the Gaiam brand which is sold at Chapters, or you can go the more expensive route and get one from a store like Lululemon. I would suggest starting with a cheaper mat, since there isn’t too big a difference in quality. However, the benefit of a store like Lululemon is that you can actually feel the mat better before you buy it, so you know how slippery it is.
On that note, the mat will be a little slippery or sticky at the start.
This is my current mat from Gaiam, bought at Chapters. It’s 4 mm.
My previous yoga mat (from 3 or 4 years ago) is a 3 mm Gaiam mat,
I can’t say that the extra 1mm of mat is that beneficial, or that I’ve noticed it, so don’t worry about that unless you have very bad knees.

Find some space:

Our living room is large enough that if I push the cofee table out of the way, I have lots of space to move my whole body around. You want to be able to reach all around your mat without hitting things, especially if you end up trying balances.

My Yoga Goals
If you follow @MrYoga on Instagram, they re-post pictures of people trying out the asanas!

Find some resources:

  • YogaWithAdriene – What I’ve always loved about Adriene is her mantra, “find what feels good.” She encourages you to stay on your own mat, and make any modifications necessary to feel good for you.
  • Yoga by Candace – Candace is very young and fresh, happens to like powerlifting, and a really encouraging teacher. If you check out her instagram, she has the most beautiful videos of herself playing around with yoga, and it’s super inspiring.
  • The Journey JunkieThe Journey Junkie – Allie has lots of helpful articles that explain how to get into certain asanas, how to do cool transitions, and answers to any questions you might have.
  • The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga: An Integrated Approach to Strength, Flexibility, and Focus” by Sage Rountree – great ideas for starting your practice, and talks about how beneficial certain poses are for your cross-training purposes
  • 2,100 Asanas” by Daniel Lacerda – for intermediate or advanced yogis, there are tons of modifications on every pose!


Get some props:
Obviously not all of these are necessary, so find what you think will help your body the most.
A blanket – great for extra support in poses, folding under your knees during low lunges, or keeping your warm in savasana!
A pillow– some restorative yoga practices will suggest using a bolster pillow to rest yourself on. Any pillow that can be somewhat stiff will be good for this. I have a throw pillow on my armchair which has the right amount of support for me. If you’re practicing inversions, or don’t want to break your face in crow pose,  it’s handy to have a pillow nearby.
Yoga strap- these are very helpful for getting your body into a deeper stretch. If you already have a blanket or towel on hand, you can use one of those instead. Here’s how to use a yoga strap. My yoga strap is actually an old lifejacket strap and I added a d-ring on one side.

Check out this blog post with 9 different infographics on yoga, including this one, to help you find which type of yoga might be awesome for you.


What’s in my Gym Bag

I recently got into watching fit womens’ “what’s in my gym bag” videos on YouTube, so I figured I’d make a blog post about it.

Lululemon “Weekend Warrior Bag”

This Christmas my parents got me this beautiful bag! I had a leather yoga bag from Blogilates before, but it was really worn through and since it’s leather, it’s pretty heavy. This bag is a lot lighter, has more pockets, and is easier to clean.

I love how they include such cute labels for pockets, like this “in it to win it”
I keep my toiletries in this zippered pocket so they’re faster to find.
The toiletries I keep in my gym bag

 Now that my closest GoodLife is about 10 minutes away by public transit (in Ottawa it was 2 minutes in the car) I’ve taken to showering there. My body wash is a mix of the Body Shop’s grapefruit shower gel and Neutrogena’s Body Clear Body Wash in Pink Grapefruit.

I keep a mini deoderant in my bag in case I’m going out afterward, this is Dove’s cool cucumber.

Any moisturizing lipbalm, this is Burt’s Bees “lip treatment with kokum butter”. I always keep makeup wipes in case I don’t have time for a shower. I got this sample of Paula’s Choice “Clinical KP Treatment Cloths,” they have salicylic acid so it helps with making sure you don’t get a breakout. My dry shampoo is a sample size of Klorane’s oat milk dryt shampoo.

All the items

Waterbottle/shaker: ProStak from Bed Bath & Beyond, love having water and then the protein powder in the bottom.

My Kobo Aura for reading on cardio machines, otherwise I’m real bored.

My headphones are from Sound Logic, I got them for $15 on a Groupon deal, apparently they’re worth $80? Whatever. Someday I’ll get a new pair, these are too small for my ears, especially if I wear glasses.

Always keep an extra sports bra and pair of underwear in your bag, in case you forget to pack one.

I keep a folder with my workout tracker sheets so I can see when I have back flareups, if I’ve gone up in reps or weight etc.

When I know I’m going to shower at the gym, I bring my bathing suit bag. I bring a washcloth instead of a loofah, and put the body wash in the bag in case of leaks.

Gotta have my douchey bike gloves to stop myself from getting aggressive callouses from weightlifting.

My cross-training shoes are the Nike Trainer Ones. I love them. Also gotta have flip flops for the shower.