Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I thought I was in labor but I was just "lifting heavy".

Full disclosure: I joke a lot about how incredibly old Kemper makes me feel, but the truth? I freaking love that guy.

Even if he is fully a generation behind me and is totally adorable in his naivete about the realities of a mid-thirties mother of four (who used to weigh 100 pounds more!), he has been my favorite trainer ever. Simply put, he's really good at his job. He knows a lot not only about the mechanics of the human body, but also the science behind it all, and has a talent for explaining it in layman's terms. He is really positive in how he communicates. I don't know if this is purposeful, but he rarely says, "Don't do this." He tells me what I should do. It's never, "Don't eat carbs," it's "Eat way more protein, and eat your carbs after a good workout to refuel your muscles."

I didn't even make this ecard. Which makes it
even funnier to me.
Another reason I Love Kemper is that he is the first person at Lifetime that hasn't tried to sell me something. He is incredibly giving of his time and knowledge, and hasn't charged me a dime for any of the private counseling or the time in the gym working out.

And lastly, Kemper has fully earned my trust. I'm not big into fads, and avoid most fitness ideas that become buzz words. (You know, like "lifting heavy" and "high protein".) So when Kemper came at me challenging everything I know about weight loss, telling me to stop counting calories and focus on food that fuels me, to get more protein and healthy fat and a drink a crapton of water, I did it warily. Honestly I promised him one week because I was at the end of my rope and he was so good to sit and give me free nutritional counseling and I felt like I owed it to him to take his advice. But a funny thing happened around two weeks into his crazy eating plan: I felt good; really good for the first time in a long time. Food stopped being such a battle. And then, my Weekend Nosh Fest last week. It was seriously fun and delicious. But I am still trying to get my stomach to cooperate four days after returning to The Plan. I can not believe what an effect all that crap had on my body. (Although Kemper, I'm still not eating Ezekiel bread. Non-negotiable.)

Enough with the love on Kemper fest. I just feel bad that he has taken the brunt of my frustration at the (lack of) speed of my weight loss in so many previous posts, and I just needed to state for the record that Kemper is AMAZING. I want to adopt him and do his laundry and makes sure he is eating. (Sike. That last one I don't need to worry about because homeboy lectures me about food all.the.time.)

On to lifting heavy.

On Tuesday night I met Kemper at the gym. He had me do a quick treadmill warm up (I jogged for five minutes) before showing me how to wrap my wrists with his wraps he was letting me try out. (I have crazy bad wrists, to the point that push ups and plank position become bothersome.) The wraps were fluorescent green and totally inconspicuous, so don't worry if you thought I would stick out in the meathead section of the gym - I totally blended right in.

Kemper started me on chest press and row, alternating sets of pushing and pulling. I've done strength training before, but never at such an intense level. The weight was heavy (go figure), and I honestly thought, "Dude, I don't know if I can do this." Kemper had to assist me on the final reps of the last sets because my body just couldn't do it anymore. (If you want to know how Kemper trains he is HYPER FREAKING FOCUSED, and says things like, "Pushpushpushpushpush." This is awesome and will only make you think of being in labor because the feelings of contractions and heavy lifting are surprisingly similar.)(In fact, to further widen the age and gender gap between us, when Kemper asked how I felt after the chest press/row sets I replied, "I feel like I just birthed a fifth child.")

Next we moved to lat pull down and shoulder press. Kemper decided he wasn't playing around anymore and put on a weight so high I was all, "O.K." That was it. No smart aleck remark, no joke, just pure unadulterated fear. The bar for the lat pull down was so high over my head I had to climb the machine in order to reach it. About four reps in I was all, "HOLY CRAP I'M GOING TO ACCIDENTALLY DISMEMBER MYSELF," because I was pretty sure my arms were going to be ripped from my body. Kemper stood behind me and "helped". (*By helped I mean he guided the bar down with a teeny bit of force while saying, "keepiteven,pullpullpull,keepiteven.") He had me move straight into shoulder press.*

*Why is it that trainers can remember the minute details of numbers? I mistakenly mentioned to Kemper one time I could finally do 12 pounds on shoulder press - neglecting to mention that I had only done 1 set of 12 reps - so he brought me 15 pounds. That will teach me to lie exaggerate.

When I moved to my second set on the lat machine, Kemper lowered the weight because I was struggling after 4 reps of the first set. The second and third sets were much easier. Easier in the way where I could now do them thinking only that I might crap my pants and not that my arms would be ripped off.

As we prepared to do our final grouping, Kemper was all, "Hey, Dumb@ss, did you bring water?" (Ok, the name calling didn't happen. But it was fully implied.) I replied, "I'm just going to apologize now because I honestly thought I wouldn't need any because we were just here to lift weights." Kemper laughed and I deserved it after being such a PITA about changing my routine.

We ended with leg press and dead lifts. I'm not going to lie, this was both my favorite and the most horrifying part of the workout. Kemper started me with pressing 90 pounds on leg press and ended me pressing 230 with the pronouncement of "Your legs are really strong," which is a compliment I've clung to all freaking week. (Mainly because my love language is words of affirmation and I drink up that crap like it's iced coffee.) The dead lifts were awful and ridiculous and it had nothing to do with the physical aspect.

Being in the free weight section of the gym is hard for me. It is filled with huge muscley (totally a word) guys and a few tiny women that are always gorgeous. I have a hard time walking through that section to get to the yoga studio, and even feel weird walking through it with Kemper when I have to get weighed because I feel like a total impostor. Like everyone is thinking, "Look at how cute it is that that fat lady is trying," while they all know I don't belong there. (Can we take a moment to award me with a "The Most Vulnerable I've Ever Been On This Blog" merit badge?) Having to be in that environment and focus on dead lift form (i.e. Kemper telling me to stick my butt out more or telling me to watch how he sticks out his butt) I. just. can't. It was all too overwhelming. But the take-away is that I started to become aware that no one is looking at me and no one cares about my butt. (And that dead lifts are wonderful for your hamstrings and tush.)

I finished the whole workout feeling like I haven't felt since my first 5K. When I trained for my first 5K I was not convinced I would be able to do it. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Even childbirth doesn't compare because, well, the baby has to come out. I never had to do a 5K if it was seriously too hard, but I did it. That accomplishment changed my life. Forever. I've upped my game steadily over the years, adding mileage, adding triathlon, but those were just more challenges, and never had the same, "I don't know if I can do this" feeling about them. I knew all the new things would be hard, but I knew I could do them if I put my mind to it.

But in the gym on Tuesday it was like 5K training all over again. I was revisited by all those old emotions, and the euphoria after that workout was on par with the emotion of crossing the finish line for that first race.

It's a great feeling. I'm chasing it again.



  1. I love lifting. It's the better way to lose weight and keep it off because the metabolic burn rate is so high! Good for you!

    1. You might be a new go-to person here because I am sooooo out of my element with all this stuff. It's like it's own subculture.

  2. Welcome to the world of weight lifting. From one former triathlete to another, you will get addicted. Actually I don't know that for sure, for sure. Since I'm doing CrossFit and its a little different than up and up weight lifting. But lets pretend crossfit didn't exist and I had to choose between a gym with weights and triathelte stuff......I'd pick the gym.....and I can't believe I said that! Its highly addicting, really exciting when you see gains and hola- check out the women who weight train. At first your kinda shocked then later you see some little tiny model prancing on a runway and your like, "EW OMG WHATS WRONG WITH HER??!" and you realize she's thin without muscle and you find it oddly....icky. I'm only about two months into crossfit so I'm going to be watching to see where your at. We kinda (ok you don't read me BUT) I can kinda follow along and pretend we are in this together. I'm glad Kemper has you doing free weights, he's a good trainer!

    1. I can't believe how hardcore I feel after a workout. I just made my way to your blog, so we can totally be in this together! I'm already adding you to my mental list of "People That Might Have A Freaking Clue About Any Of This." It's totally a well-named list.


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