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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!!

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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?

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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!!

 

 

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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!!!

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The Cab Ride

 

 

I’m still reliving the many, many wonderful moments of my recent vacations.  I had so much fun…I could probably blog about it for weeks.  However, in an effort to keep my main focus on weight lifting, and keeping in mind that most of you probably could care less how much fun I had on vacation….I’ve tried to keep myself in check.  BUT, there is one story that I just have to tell.  It was the best/worse cab ride ever.  It will live on in memory forever.  It was just one of those things that will never happen to you twice….we drew the short straw that day so it was our turn to dance with the Hatian Yellow Cab Devil (HYCD).

In case you havne’t figure this out about me yet, I love Orlando.  I never would have guessed it, but I can honestly say i’m a lifer.  My Uncle has always been strangely obsessed with all things Disney World and Orlando for years.  He has several time shares in Orlando and has always tried to get me to come down and hang out. I put him off for years, but finally gave in last winter.  I’ve been back 3 times since then and have definite plans to go back in January next year and maybe even November of this year.  What can I say?  I’m hooked.  I love Universal/Islands of Adventure the most, but a trip to Epcot is a must.  We go around the world (well, we got pretty hung up in Mexico this time around) to get a taste of every country….with the exception of the US and Canada.  We can get Bud Light and Labatt’s at home.  The only downside to going to Epcot, is that it’s a ways away from our hotel….hence the cab ride.  On the way down, we had a very pleasant ride, but on the way back…..it was on like Donkey Kong!

We got in the cab with the HYCD and the first thing that I notice was that there was a full bottle of water rolling around at my feet.  Annoying.  So I picked it up and tossed it into the empty passengers seat.

HYCD:  Oh, no…..you shouldn’t have done that.  That was rude!

MOH:  Rude, why?  It was rolling around at her feet.

HYCD: I had a British woman in here the other day that threw a banana peel at me.

MOH:  She didn’t throw it, she just put it in the front seat.
HYCD:  We clean our cabs everyday.

Me and MOH:  wtf?

So, obviously, at this point the HYCD is pissed.  Some British lady pissed him off the other day, now he’s got sand in his vajayjay, and he’s taking it out on us.  Great.  The cab ride was about 20 minutes and we didn’t really talk to him much after that (I don’t think anyway), but when we pulled up to our hotel…..

Me and MOH: Shit…I don’t have any cash.  Do you?  No….spent it all on tequila.

MOH:  Do you take cards, or do we have to have cash?

HYCD:  I don’t take cards.  There is an ATM in the hotel.  I wait.

MOH:  You don’t take cards?  Well, what’s that swipey thing on your cab meter then?

HYCD:  Oh, this?  It is for credit cards, but there are fees.  You should use ATM.

MOH:  Well, what are the fees?  The ATM has fees too.

HYCD:  It is 10%.  (The meter was at $29.70 at this point)

MOH:  So $3, okay.  We’ll just pay here. 

HYCD: Uh…no.  In my experience You People are not good tippers.

Me:  You people?  What do you mean by ‘You People’?  Do you mean White People?  Young People?  Women?

HYCD:  I mean young ladies like you….don’t tip well.

Me:  Here (thrusting my card at him).  Swipe the card.  We’re definitely not going to the ATM now.

HYCD swiped the card and handed it back.  Two little receipts popped up and said Total $29.70, THANK YOU

HYCD:  Can I have your card again please, I need to swipe it.

MOH: What?  We just gave you our card, and two receipts printed out.

HYCD:  No, you have not paid.  I need your card back!

MOH:  We’re NOT giving you the card back.  We already paid.

HYCD:  Okay……BRING. IT. ON.

Me and MOH:  wtf??????  Did he just say Bring It On????

HYCD:  Okay, I’m going to call the cops then.

Me: Please….call the cops.  I’d love to speak with them!

Me and MOH:  you realize he isn’t making any money at all with us sitting in his cab right?  Sweet….let’s take our time with this.

HYCD: (on the phone) Hello, this is HYCD, I need to confirm a transaction.

Me:  Give me the phone! (I very nicely snatched it from his grubby mits)

Me on the phone:  Hi, this is AJ.

Cab Dispatch: (so polite) Hello, I’m just looking up your transaction now.

Me to MOH:  It’s not the cops!  Not the Cops.

MOH to HYCD:  (I have no idea what was said because I was on the phone, but I don’t think it was pleasant)

Cab Dispatch: I can’t find your transaction can you read me your card number again?

Me:  Fine, I’ll give it to you but I’m not letting him swipe my card again!  

Cab Dispatch:  Okay now I need the driver’s ID number.  Can you hand the phone back to him?

Me: Gladly

HYCD to Disbatch:  These girls didn’t pay!!!  I never swiped their card!!!

Me and MOH:  Let’s go.  (and out the cab we went)

Needless to say, it was a sobering experience.  I spent a good hour on the phone with the cab company after we got home retelling the story and making sure that the HYCD was held accountable for his actions.  I was charged twice for the cab ride, but they remedied that for me.  Like I said, that kind of a mess only crops up once in a lifetime.  It was definitely off the meters!!!!

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Still Standing

Poor little guy…he’s just barely hanging on!!

Barely hanging on….that’s a pretty good description of how I feel.  It’s my first real week back in the gym after almost a  month of living like a “normal” person…whatever that is.  It took me about four days be be able to walk normally after the full body workout I did last Wednesday.  Luckily, I regained the full use of my limbs just in time to do a squat workout on Monday.  It was fairly rough.  A lot of what goes into my workouts in mental.  I have almost as much trouble getting my mental game back into shape as I do the physical end of things.  As a result, I used some lighter weights on a few lifts just so I could get through it.  Two days later, I’m a bit stiff but nowhere near as sore as I was last week. I seriously think I redefined toilet sore.  It morphed into ‘have to scoot down the stairs on your butt sore’.  Ugh.

Yesterday, I had a bench workout.  Bench days are always so much easier than leg days, for me anyway.  It was a tough set though – 5×5 at 110 pounds followed by a few super sets.  I am happy to report that I have finally made some progress on my shoulder issues!  First, I have followed my goal to foam roll after every workout (all 2 of them so far).  Second, I have realized that if I am diligent about keeping my elbows tucked while i bench….I don’t have any shoulder pain.  If only I would have realized this six months ago!!  For the first time in a long time, I did 25 bench reps pain free and then went on to do dips and dumbbell bench…also pain free.  (Yeah, I know…I’m jinxing myself).  Maybe I’ll get in a full training cycle for bench this go round?  Wouldn’t that be nice??

Finally, the last thing that has been weighing heavy on my mind, aside from missing the gym….my weight.  I have felt like a hippo the last few weeks, like I’ve been gaining a pound a day.  It started with a few treats after my meet just because I could, but it didn’t stop there.  I left for vacation a few days later and ate some of the most delicious food on the planet.  Have you ever been to a Brazilian Steakhouse?  OMFG.  They bring you slabs of meat on a skewer!!!  One after another until you’ve eaten so much you have to be wheeled out of the place on a dolley.  So amazing!  And of course there was chips and salsa, nachos, rice and beans, oh….and a few cocktails.  It was unbelievable.  I told myself the whole time that I would be better when I got home.  Of course, I was only home for one day.  Then we packed up and left for Michigan to visit my family.  If you live away from your family, you probably know that stuffed feeling that you get whenever you stop in for a visit.  Inevitably, they all want to fatten you up.  They make every single one of your favorite dishes and make sure to have all your favorite junk food on hand.  It is so sweet of them, and I fully intend to do it to my children some day.  However, it’s not so good for a weight maintenance plan.

Visiting home does have it’s benefits though.  Aside from spending some great quality time with everyone, you also get a chance to compare your normal to everyone elses.  I’ve mentioned before that we’re pretty good about having only good, whole foods in our house.  We don’t have much in the boxed food department or junk food in general.  We keep a few treats on hand- supplies for a gooey batch of chocolate chip cookies, a bag of popcorn for the air popper, and maybe some tortilla chips and salsa.  Otherwise it’s all meat and veggies.  My mom, on the other hand, has pantries brimming with food- rice, noodles, canned goods, crackers, chips, candy.  And then there’s the ice cream.  We had sundaes every single night that we were home.  EVERY NIGHT, and there was always an array of toppings to choose from- berries, caramel sauce, hot fudge, or Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  One night, as I was eating my french vanilla ice cream drenched in a fabulous combo of caramel sauce and Hershey’s syrup, I glanced at the label on the “calcium enriched” Hershey’s chocolate goodness.  I noticed in bold lettering that it said “Refrigerate after opening”.  Hmmm….I had seen my mom pull the Hershey’s out of the room temperature pantry three nights in a row now.  After I pointed this out to her, she asked the obvious question….”well, where do you keep yours?”  The fiance and I gave each other a quick smile…..”we don’t have any mom.”  It was clear that the thought of a household without a continuous stock of Hershey’s syrup had never occured to her.  It’s a staple on her grocery list- milk, eggs, TP, Hersheys.  So there you have it….we’re doing pretty darn good.  Even if I did eat pizza and ice cream several nights a week for the last month.

And now it’s time to survey the damage. 

After spending weeks in a fantasmic downward spiral of cookies, pop, and ice cream, I’ve finally come to the surface for a peek at reality.  And after all was said and done, I did the unthinkable this morning.  I set foot on the scale. I didn’t want to, but my fiance could not stand another second of my constant worrying.  If we were on a boat and there was a plank, I’m fairly certain he would have pushed me off of it.  Alas, I’m only up a few pounds…maybe 4 at most. I’m estimating because I have not stepped on the official gym scale yet, but either way the news is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  So……Pizza for dinner tonight!!!!!  Not really, I am working my way back to a steady diet of lean protein and complex carbs….oh god….please kill me now.

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Gone Fishin

I apologize for not posting for the last few weeks, but I’ve been on a much needed hiatus.  It started off with a FABULOUS trip to Orlando with my dear friend and Maid of Honor.  It was filled with fun, food, a few drinks, and a boat load of laughs. I came home with the sorest abs I’ve had in years, and believe me I did not do a single ab exercise while I was down there.  It was from laughing my brains out for five days straight.  I love it, and I’m already dreaming of going back.  Since it would take days to give a play by play that would even come close to doing it justice, I’ll just give you a few picks and let you fill in the blanks.

At our hotel the first night.  I already miss Judy, our hotel bartender/concierge extrodinaire!!

 

The recovery meal….this biggest peanut butter cup cookie you have ever seen!

A night on the town.  Nothing good ever comes from drinking blue drinks……

 

The tequila flight, an annual tradition.  The best tasting tequila ever, but still oh so intimidating.

 

Silly.  So. So. Silly.

 

After returning from my trip to Orlando, I spent one quick day at home and then headed off to Michigan for a much needed trip to visit my family.  With the wedding this summer, I won’t be able to make my usual summertime trip home to hang with the fam.  Memorial weekend was the only window I had so I jumped at the chance even though the time was not great.  I quickly unpacked and repacked my suitcase.  Thanks Mom for washing all my clothes!!!  We headed out Friday for 2 days of fun.

My mom and I did some serious grilling.  I had a few tricks up my sleeve after my 3 month chicken adventure!!!

 

No trip home is complete without a stop at my grandma’s garden.

 

It’s always nice to have all the things that you love in the same place at the same time.

 

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