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Gettin Hitched

 

I’ve been completely out of commission with my July 30th wedding…sorry!  Rest assured, I have been in the gym and will ready to rock for the August 13th Twin Cities Open!!  I will be posting a summary of my training very soon!

Cheers,

AJ

Off the Meters

Best  Wedding Cake….EVER.

Life has been one giant roller coaster for me these days.  I’m in the midst of wedding planning (3 weeks out), training for a meet (5 weeks out) and remodeling my kitchen.  Crazy huh?  Yeah, story of my life. I wish I could say it’s all falling into place, but it’s more like it’s all crashing into a place…not necessarily the right place, just a place.  I’m fine with that though.  Luckily, I’m at a point in my life where not everything has to be perfect.  One of my alltime favorite quotes- “Perfectionism and loneliness are intimately related.”  Couldn’t be more true!  Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things that I still cling to, but I’m picking my battles.  I the most picky when it comes to me- the dress, my shoes, my hair, veil, etc.  The decorations, the pictures, the timeline….eh.  It will all work out somehow.  People spend months planning/worrying over little details that typically end up getting tossed out in the end anyway.  I’m just worried about the big picture….like how I plan to demolish my kitchen and then have it all put back together by July 29th.  No biggie.  The most wonderful part of all of this is that my fiance has been a champ through every step of the way.  Every day closer to the wedding we get, the more he shines (okay that’s off the cheese meter).  It’s true though!!  I couldn’t be happier. 

With everything that’s been going on, my workouts have somewhat landed on the back burner.  I’m still getting them in, but some days I’m just not as into it as I should be….and it shows.  On tuesday I had the most amazing bench workout that I’ve had in a long time.  I felt strong, stronger than my bench has in a long time.  Then on Wednesday…..the doom of deadlifting came over me.  I couldn’t lift anything to save my life.  I doubled 250 just fine, but then I just fell apart. I was supposed to do 1×2 at 270 and couldn’t even budge it.  I tried it 3 different times because it was just so frustrating.  I should be able to do it…..nothing.  So then I tried to move on with my workout and do the 9×3 at 225 that I had on the books.  Nope, couldn’t even do that.  It was the most depressing workout that I’ve had in months.  I left the gym in a ball of tears and went home to whine to the fiance.  Then the next day, I went to the gym and cranked out my close grip bench workout like it was no big deal.  I’m not sure what the hang up is with my deadlift, but it definitely needs help.  I need to read deadlifting for dummies….is there such a thing?

Tonight is another squat workout.  Friday is now my heavy squat day. It’s a hard workout, but a very rewarding one. I feel like a real powerlifter after I finish it.  I’m not so excited about having to spend my Friday nights in the gym, but it’s worth it in the end.  My goal for next week is to leave my vajajay at home on Deadlift day and to finally get back into a cardio groove. I’ve been putting it off for WAY too long now!!

The only way to tube…..airborne.

 

Anyone that has had any sort of experience in the restaurant industry knows that it is an alternate universe.  Things happen in restaurants (especially kitchens) that would never be allowed to go down in the real world.  One of the cool parts about my first job was that we served in teams.  There was a front waiter (the girl) that hung out on the dining room floor and watched the customers eat, and the back waiter (the guy) that carried the food and the heavy trays full of dirty dishes.  The set up and tear down work was also divided in a similar manner.  The official term was Chick work and Dick work.  Girls folded napkins, set silverware, and decorated buffet tables.  Boys carried things, moved furniture, and got sweaty.  It was awesome and so not PC.  I loved it though.  It’s something that I’ve held onto throughout my life.  Of course, I worked in other restaurants where this was not at all the case.  But at home….it’s a whole different story.

 

My generation is filled with feminists and strong, independent women.  I applaud them, but I am not one of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I like being able to vote and have a career.  I would, however, at a moment’s notice quit my job and be the best housewife on the planet.  I would bake, do dishes, sew, and garden all day long.  But I would not and do not pick up heavy things, weed whack, mow the lawn, or shovel.  I’m certainly capable of doing these things, but I have no interest in it.  I realize that the roles of two individuals in any relationship are incredibly unique.  Some guys cook (even bake).  Some girls have no issue with hefting around furniture or mowing the lawn.  That’s great!  I just decided early on that it wasn’t for me.

 

I, of course, make an exception to my rule of not lifting heavy things while I’m in the gym.  In fact, it’s just the opposite- the heavier the better.  So where does that leave me?  Incredibly unaware of the real life application of the strength that I have acquired.  I don’t think twice about schlepping my insanely over packed reusable grocery bags, or loading garden supplies in the back of my station wagon.  Could other people do this stuff so easily….maybe not.  It’s very reassuring when I see guys that have trouble doing things that I didn’t even think twice about.  Like this weekend, I went tubing.  You don’t think about the physical nature of tubing until you’re out on the water getting the crap kicked out of you.  You’re hanging on to a wet, slippery handle for dear life and very thankful for your ability to keep hanging on.  Some people, even some guys would not be able to do it. I saw one poor weakling this weekend that clearly did not have the strength to lift his own body weight much less hang onto the tube for any length of time.  Those are the moments that I appreciate the real life applications of powerlifting.  It may be as simple as a festive, holiday ass-kicking on a tube, but I’m very glad that I can do it.

 

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend!  Anyone else notice the many great benefits of lifting in odd applications?

No blood no foul?

 

So how does one end up with bruises like these after a workout?  Leave it to me of course.  I don’t normally do a full body scan after my workouts, but I noticed these bruises in after my workout last night.  I’m not sure if my shoulders always look like this after I bench, or if it was just the mother of all bench workouts that I did yesterday that put me over the edge?  I’m going to have to check next week to see if they show up again.  Getting bruises and battle scars from lifting can actually be pretty cool.  I’m not sure how cool armpit bruises from benching are, but a big old stripe across the back of your neck from benching….that’s cool.  I’ve had that one a few times now.  Those are always neat because you can see the knurling in the bruise.  And of course, the most common weight lifting injury are the chunks of flesh left on the deadlift bar.  Deadlifting is notorious for tearing up people’s shins.  I have never actually lost any skin to deadlifting, but I’ve definitely come home with a few bruises.  The thing about deadlifting, is that you can tear up your shins with just about any weight.  So it can be misleading.

This was done with a whopping 135 pounds in a crossfit gym…..see.

 

I was talking with a fellow powerlifter (a guy) after the gym last night, and I mentioned by benching bruises.  I also mentioned my previous squatting bruises and my theory on deadlifting injuries.  His repsonse….”where have you been all my life?”  My answer….”in the gym!”  Come on guys…..give us girls some credit!  I know I can’t lift as much as most full grown men (teenagers on the other hand….), but occasionally move some weight around.  And more importantly, I can spot a sissy in the gym (guy or girl) from a mile away!!!

The Overwhelming Room

 

Have I mentioned that I spent the first 10 years of my working life as a waitress?   I’m sure everyone has taken their turn in a not-so-luxurious industry at some point in their life…whether it was scooping ice cream, serving up microwaved burgers, or waiting tables.  Given my personality and my oh so black and white reality…I took the whole side job thing to the next level.  In fact, after I finished graduate school I actually debated taking a job in the resort industry instead of persuing a career in environmental science/education.  For real.  I almost flushed away 6 years of education for a lifetime of cocktail parties and wedding receptions.  It wasn’t just that I LOVED waiting tables (i really didn’t at all), but the lifestyle had sucked me in.  I even married an executive chef from the very first restaurant I worked at.  We only worked together for a few years, and then I moved on to a nearby Yacht Club where I spent seven years of Saturday nights and every stinkin holiday.  It was a private club where the ass kissing reach new heights on a daily basis.  The building that housed the restaurant that I worked in was actually designed by a housing developer.  Anyone who knows anything about restaurants knows that houses and restaurants have very little in common.  The result- horrific.  No service areas, no efficiency, terrible traffic flow, and zero storage.  Hence, the Overwhelming Room.  There was one room that got carved out of the basement of the restaurant where all things that weren’t currently in use went to die.  It was horrendous.  It was packed floor to ceiling with plastic forks, buffet decorations, center pieces, napkins, kids cups, table skirts, and much, much more.  The walls had built in shelves that went all the way to the 20′ tall ceilings.  I spent more time climbing like a monkey in that room that I’d care to admit.  No matter how good your day was, or how relaxed you were feeling….it only took about 4 seconds in the OR for straight up panic to set it.  I learned to avoid it at all costs, dispatching underlings to fetch things from the OR whenever possible.

It’s amazing how these sorts of memories/experiences come back to haunt you later in life.  With everything that’s going on lately, I feel like my life has morphed into a bit of an overwhelming room.  My house is bursting with all things wedding.  I feel like I could eliminate half of what I own, and I still wouldn’t have room for everything that we have laying around right now.  There are cases of pop, jewelry, shrapnel from the invitation project from hell, shoes, guest book, shower gifts, oh my!  The fact that it’s only going get worse as July 30th draws nearer and that I have to host the rehearsal dinner at my house the night before the wedding is enough to make me want to hide in the panic room….if I had one.  I know I’ll get through it and somehow it will all come together, but I have no idea how.  I’m sure my climbing skills that I honed in the OR will definitely be coming into play again though!

To go along with my crazy hectic life….is a crazy new lifting schedule. I’m in the gym 5 nights a week now instead of my usual 4, and the workouts have been brutal.  I’m even more worthless on weeknights than normal.  The upside is that they have actually been going pretty well.  It’s amazing what I can do with a few extra pounds on me ; )  There’s a bit more volume involved than I’d like, but I’ll get through it.  Tonight is my easier squat night, not to be confused with my hard squat day on Friday.  I was in the gym for a solid 90 minutes last Friday night….and I wanted to die.  It was probably one of the most killer workouts I’ve ever done.  It went a little something like this:  13×5 at about 65%, 3×12 front squats at at 55%, and then 115 back squat at 135 pounds.  I wanted to die.  My legs were like Jello and my back was having trouble holding up the weight of my torso by the end of it.  Can’t wait to do it again this week!!

 

 

Such an Ass….

Does anyone have that friend that just ALWAYS has to tell the truth?  They can’t ever just gloss over the fact that the person you’re talking to is totally full of crap and will never make it to a professional MMA career, or has zero chance with the guyat the bar that she’s been oogling for the last two hours?  Unfortunately, that’s me.  I’m very honest, and sadly short on tact.  On my very best behavior, I’ve been known to let a few things go but it causes me physical pain.  In my mind, I’m screaming the entire time, “JUST SHUT UP!!!!”    But on most days, I’m the Debbie Downer that walks around crushing people’s dreams.

Case in point.  I was approached by an acquaintance at the gym yesterday.  I was in the middle of my 5×5 @ 80% bench workout when she came over to talk.  First she commented on the weight that I was lifting.  This is always awakward for me.  Thanks?  It really wasn’t much though. It was more of a volume set, so the weight was lower than what I would/could use.  Of course, trying to explain that just makes me sounds like an egomaniac.  “Thanks, but I can actually lift a shit ton more…just didn’t feel like it today (while flexing of course).”  Then she said, “You’re ripped.  I want to look like you some day.”  What do you say to that?  A normal person would probably say, thanks!  Me…no.  I said, “well, a lot of it is genetics.”  Seriously…that’s what I said.  Like I was just born this way or something…stupid.  Of course, that’s not what I meant.  I was trying to refer to the whole meso-, endo-, ectomorph thing and how different people add muscle differently.  Just to give you some background….here is an exaggerated comparison of her and me.

Her:

Me:

So you see what I’m saying.  I’m short and stocky.  I make gains somewhat easily…whether it’s muscle or fat.  She, on the other hand, is tall and skinny with no visible muscle on her at all…not even a quad.  So it’s going to be a bit more of a challenge for her to get “ripped”.  After bluntly explaining that, I moved on to her workouts.  Right now, she’s doing more cardio based workouts with some lifting incorporated, but it’s all high reps with low weight.  Well that’s not going to work.  Yeah, I told her that too (*wincing*).  So within 60 seconds of her complementing me by saying she wanted to look like me, I told her that it was likely unattainable due to her genetic predisposition AND that she’s never going to get there by doing the workouts she’s doing anyway.  WTF?  I am SUCH and ass.  She took it like a champ though.  I swear, next time I’m just going to say thank you.  I’m going to have to take her through a powerlifting workout or two to make up for this one!!

On the plus side, I’ve been having some great workouts this week.  No failed attempts, no excessive levels of pain.  Overall, I’m happy.  I did have to suffer through Wednesday’s deadlift workout with no chalk.  My poor hands were a mess after that one, but I survived.  My bench workout was good yesterday, and my shoulders are still holding up, thankfully.  This morning’s workout was probably the best one of the week though.  I did box squats 10×2 at 62.5%.  Last week I did them at 50% and they were a joke, so I just used 135 this morning and got it over with.  Then I had 4×8 front squats.  I did 115 last week and it wasn’t too bad. I was pretty sore this morning so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sustain much of a jump, but I eventually talked myself into it….125 pounds.  It seriously wasn’t that bad.  It even made me think that I should really give 135 a shot again.  I have to admit, I’d be pretty proud of myself if I could do sets of 135 pound front squats.  It’s a goal!

What are your gym goals?  Do you have a weight that you’ve been flirting with for a while?  Come on….put it in writing!  Or tell me about your best “foot in mouth” story….it will make me feel better.

Have a great Father’s Day weekend!!!

At some point, you’d think the guy would just take his shirt off???

I’m not even sure where to begin about yesterday’s workout.  All I can tell you is that it felt like I was at the gym ALL NIGHT.  It was the never ending squat workout from hell.  Every single body part was wrecked when it was over.  All I could do was go home and sit on the couch afterwards.  I could barely even operate the TV remote.

So here’s how it went:

Back Squat 5×5 at 80% max (175)

Triset of 4×8

    Front Squats (115)

    Pull ups

    Reverse Hyper

Back Squat 2×15 at 62.5% (135)

 

In case your math skills are lacking….that’s 87 squat reps.  87 effing squat reps.  My legs were absolute jello before I even got to the 2×15.  I really tried to get out of it.  I made a serious plea to my coach explaining that I had already had a hard work out and really didn’t need the added volume.  He laughed and told me to get it done.  He also reminded me that my body is capable of doing it.  Out of context, that may be an odd statement to process, but it made perfect sense to me. It’s actually what convinced me to suck it up and do it.  He was totally right, my body could handle it just fine.  It was my mind that was struggling.  I was doubting myself and my level of fitness. I thought I was going to crumple at rep 8, but I wasn’t going to.  It was 135…..of course I could do it 15 times.  So I put on my big girls pants and got it done.  The first set actually went fairly smooth….despite the burning in my quads.  I gave myself a few minutes rest and then went after the second and final set.  I used my belt just for a little added support….big mistake.  The most challenging part of doing 15 reps is the cardio.  Even with my belt on loose, I could still barely breathe.  The second set dragged on forever.  I did about 8 reps before I had to take a break.  Then I had to talk myself into every rep after that.  My neck was starting to burn after about 10 reps.  That’s also when I realized that my contacts were fusing to my eyes due to dryness from staring up at the ceiling for so long.  Seriously, I was focusing so hard on the squats that I wasn’t even blinking….wtf?  It was brutal, but I did it.

 

In an effort to keep my foam rolling streak going, I laid down for a few minutes of roller torture after my workout.  Turns out I was so dead….even my arms and shoulders from gripping that bar….that I was no match for a foam rolling session.  I went through the motions for a bit, but I was worthless.  I just barely got my shoes off!  So I packed it up and headed home for an episode of “What About Brian” and then off to bed.

What was your most killer workout?  Does squat day leave you in a puddle like it does me?

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