This is a shameless horn-tooting post. You’ve been warned.

Listen, some days you just have to revel in your own awesomeness, especially when said awesomeness comes from working your ass off regularly. Plus, I’ve been meaning to post some more detailed info about my workouts, and this is a good excuse to do it.

Today’s workout was The Hulk, created by my amazing (but possibly evil genius) trainer Christa. It is a strength circuit with looooooong intervals (over a minute) where we are encouraged to lift as heavy as we possibly can with the goal of leaving the workout feeling like a limp dishrag. (Mission accomplished. In a very big way.)

We’re also encouraged to keep a scorecard of how much we lifted and/or how many reps we did. This can get a little confusing–well, at least it did for me today because my brain started to get addled after awhile and I would forget to count, etc.–because you’re running from one exercise to the next, choosing the right weight, and trying to log your results all in a short rest period between intervals.

Folks, get ready for the shameless horn-tooting I’ve promised you. Because I rocked that workout in a serious way today. I couldn’t even believe what I did today, and am so proud of my progress, and some MAJOR WINS I had.

Now, my clothes didn’t actually tear apart during the workout, but I seriously felt like the Hulk.

So, here’s what I did, in the order I did it:

  • WIN! Explosive shoulder press: 6 reps with 2 40# dumbbells (that’s 80# total, just to make sure you didn’t miss it), and 5 reps with 2 35# dumbbells
  • Goblet squat: 31 squats holding a 45# dumbbell
  • Seated row: I used a purple band (the most resistance) AND a red band (lowest resistance) combined and did 19 rows
  • Box jumps: This is a HUGE WIN for me today. There are 3 levels of box jumps with the Rogue boxes: regular, high, and you-must-be-insane high. Since I overcame my terror of the Rogue boxes, I have mostly been doing regular, with one or two high mixed in when I’m feeling especially saucy. Today I did 10 jumps onto the high box, and I am so proud of myself. I wanted so badly to turn it over to the regular level, but I resisted the urge and kept jumping high. (To give you some perspective, the high box probably comes up to about my mid-thigh.)
  • Bridge lift: 22 reps (I think?) with 70#
  • Unexpected win! Farmer carry (using the hex bar loaded up): 155# Holy. Shit. I actually didn’t realize how much I was carrying until the end of the round when I went to get my scorecard filled out. I counted twice to be sure because my math can’t always be trusted.
  • A bit of a fail. Romanian Deadlift: I had some trouble with these today. I picked up the heaviest weights I’d ever tried for these, 2 45# dumbbells, and it wasn’t the weight but my grip. My forearms following those farmer carries were just done. Plus, Christa came over to show me that I was bending down too low. I ended up dropping one of the weights on my foot like a dork, and during this whole process, completely forgot to count how many reps I did. But, the good news is that I (barely) made it all the way through the round with those super heavy weights.
  • Jam ball slams: 26 slams
  • Meh. Chin ups (using the equalizer bar): these are my nemesis; one of my weakest exercises. I did 11.
  • OH YEAH! Pushups: For the first time today, I tried using a resistance band to make my pushups a little (okay, a LOT) more challenging. I was able to do 3 pushups with good form and depth using the red band (lowest level of resistance). After I dropped the band, I did 12 more pushups.
  • Goblet lunge: I did 17 reps with a 45# dumbbell. And at this point, I was seriously feeling exhausted.
  • TRX chest press: I did 10 reps on the lowest angle I could do…not quite parallel, but getting there. I came up a few inches towards the end of the interval and did 3 more reps.
  • Wall ball: I did 15 throws with the 18lb ball, and I was super proud of the height I got.
  • Blurg. Pull ups: Well, shit. Pull-ups are the part of the workout that make me feel defeated, especially when they come at the end of a workout where I’ve been pushing to my max. I used one purple and one black band to assist, and I managed 2 full pull-ups before I had to start holding midway. I know this is the way I’m going to build up to dropping a band, but it still feels so lame. I didn’t give up, though. I kept pulling as high as I could and holding til time was up.
  • HOLY BADASSERY WIN!!! Deadlifts (with the hex bar): So here I am. It’s the end of the workout. The last interval, and I feel like I could just be done. Oh, and have I mentioned yet that today’s workout was the 6th workout I have done in a row this week? Yeah. I could have gone easy. But I didn’t want to. I decided to see what I had left, because I think we always have more left than we know. I loaded that bar up for a total of 205#, thinking I’d have to drop down during the interval. I DIDN’T. I did 5 slow, painful, excruciating pulls, each time sure it would be my last rep. At one point, I actually felt like I might cry a little from the exertion and the emotion I put into that last round. But, with 5 seconds left, I made that 5th pull. It was such an amazing feeling to know that I really had pushed to my absolute limit.

Okay, so, I am definitely proud of myself. But why should you care? Maybe you don’t, and that’s cool. But my point to you is this: I am just a normal person, with no superpowers or special talents. And if I can do these things, really, ANYONE can.

All that stands between someone saying “I wish I could…” and someone (like me, today) saying “I did” is the work. Are you willing to do the work?

I am so grateful to my trainers, Christa, Karin and Mike, who motivate, teach, encourage and inspire me regularly, but at the end of the day, I did the work.

And guess what? I’m still working, so those pull-ups, chin-ups, and Romanian deadlifts better watch their backs.

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I’m Avenged…Barely.

This is a quick hit and run post, but I had to share this struggle of a morning. The workout was the Avenger…40 second intervals with alternating strength and cardio. We like to call it “super hero training”!

Usually, I love this workout; it’s fun and challenging. Today, it was challenging and miserable and I barely made it through. It was frustrating and I was so angry about it. What the hell? How can I be struggling this much when I’m working so hard, especially coming off a rest day? Even the stations that I typically hit like a rock star posed a serious challenge.

But I gave what I had and then, afterward, I came across this message:

Image

So, in the spirit of my new outlook to focus on the positive, here are some good things I am taking away from my workout struggle this morning:

  • I dragged my sorry ass out of bed at 4:42am and actually WENT to this workout
  • I did both 40 second rounds of power jacks without stopping
  • I hefted two 35# dumbbells during split jerk intervals (not gonna lie…those bitches were HEAVY!!!)
  • I (mostly) kept up with my very fast and agile partner during the ladder runs

These are all things I couldn’t do a month or so ago (well, except for the first one). And I did them today.

I wonder what I’ll be able to do by next month?

Reflections on Perseverance.

I read a book a couple of years ago about this awesome woman who went from over 300lbs to being a seriously fit and trim marathon runner. It was a pretty inspirational read.

But once I finished it, a couple of things just didn’t ring true to me. I have no doubt that this woman wrote truthfully about her own experiences, but these things just didn’t jive with mine.

Here’s the first thing: She wrote about her “aha” moment, which was cool, and basically woke up the next morning and changed her life. Also cool. She adopted better eating habits and committed to doing some sort of physical activity 30 minutes a day, every single day, even if it meant walking her cul-de-sac at 10:30pm at night…which she says she did a number of times. I had a lot of respect for her commitment.

Then she went on to say things like, “It was so liberating knowing I never had to go back to my old lifestyle,” and “I never missed a day, no matter what it took.” (These are definitely not direct quotes; I am generalizing from a book I read 2 years ago. You know how committed I am to complete and utter accuracy.)

My deal is this: I believe her in fact, but I don’t believe her in my heart. I get what she was saying about her liberating new lifestyle, but it just sounded too easy. Like anyone could just wake up and DO IT (true) and never have a doubt or struggle with it (serious bullshit).

Maybe she did write about struggles, but I don’t remember. They weren’t highlighted enough in her book for them to have stuck with me.

And for me, it’s all about the struggle. I struggle with my journey every single day. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I feel amazing about my fit lifestyle and choices, but just as often I want to eat whatever the hell I want and not have to work my ass off 5+ times a week. I don’t give in to that, but I do want it. A lot.

So how could this chick not miss the chocolate chip cookies that she wrote about baking almost daily before she changed her life? How could she make it sound like a total piece of cake? This is some hard shit to do, people!

I agree with her 100% that anyone can wake up, decide to change their life and DO IT. But…to do it, you have to work your ass off every single day, every single hour, every single minute. Especially when your journey might stretch into years…because that is a LOOOOOONG time to persevere. It’s worth it, but it is seriously friggin hard.

You mess up along the way, you hate the journey sometimes, you have your “screw it” moments, you really REALLY crave a big honkin piece of pepperoni pizza–or two or three or seven–and you might just kill your mother to get it some days (sorry, Mom). That’s the reality of my journey.

Strength and persistence

That’s one of my trainers, Christa Doran, the original Tuff Girl. She is pretty amazing, and is a true testament to the power of perseverance.

So look at the guns on my trainer Christa. And the quads, and the perfect form. She is such a badass, but she will say time and again that achieving this amazing body was not easy. She had to sacrifice again, and again, and again, and again, even when she didn’t want to.

For a full year, she ate clean and worked her ass off, and she’s still doing it to maintain this awesomeness. THAT’S what it takes, and she’s had her share of struggles along the way. But she kept going.

Perseverance pays off.

So back to the book: I mentioned this woman ultimately ran a marathon. But I’m not sure how, because one second she was walking on the treadmill or riding the recumbent bike for a half hour a day, and all of a sudden she said, “oh, and BTW, I ran a marathon, too!” There was like a huge middle piece missing there…and it was the piece I really, really wanted to hear about. THE HARDEST PIECE!

I trained for a sprint triathlon: swim 1/4 mile, bike 12, and run 3.1 miles. My time was god-awful (well over 2 hours) but my goal was to finish, and I did.

Training SUCKED. I hated nearly every minute of it. There were a few seconds of joy, sometimes when I was coasting down a hill on my bike with the wind flying at my face, but mostly, it sucked. I was a big fat girl in a dorky helmet on a bike. Or a big fat girl flopping around in a pool trying desperately to do that breathing thing without panicking. Or a big fat girl clomping around on a treadmill.

During my training, I was exhausted. And discouraged. And terrified. But I kept going. I started it, and I was determined to finish.

I had to drag my kids along most of the time because my husband was on a travel assignment during my 3 months of training. Sometimes they had to sit on the bench in the aquatic center while I swam laps. Sometimes they were sitting in the middle of the track with snacks and toys while I ran/walked laps, and they were not always well behaved (hellooooo, understatement). My son used to sit on the rock wall at the edge of our yard and read his book while I biked the .45 mile circuit that is our block about 20+ times. Once, I fell off my bike for no apparent reason near the corner of a major road, making a complete ass of myself as cars went by. I got back on.

That’s the stuff that I want to hear about, and that’s what I missed from this woman’s story. The nitty gritty. The details. The sweat and tears. The scraped knees and crying kids. The determination that moves you to grind your way past all those things and Just. Keep. Going.

So what are your struggles? Your nitty gritty details? And how do you push through them and persevere?

Remember: Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working.

Keep fighting, peeps! It’s going to be worth it.