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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Learning the ropes - literally. My top 3 favorite moments during Week One.

(You might be a child of the '80s if you
 heard that in Pee-Wee's voice.)

I love the new training plan Kemper gave me. Like, "why don't you marry it?" a la Pee-Wee Hermann love it. There is something so incredibly freeing about going to the gym and not having to think about what I have to do. Every single time I start to worry that I'm not doing enough I'm all, "Self, Kemper is the boss of this rodeo. You just need to pony up and follow the plan, Cowgirl." (Yep. It's that fun inside my head all the time.)(Don't get too jealous.)

This doesn't mean I was completely on board with the schedule the first time I saw it. I'm pretty sure I wanted to throw up when I read through the email detailing all the new exercises and the weights Kemper wanted me to train with. In fact, I may have sent him a message asking him to clarify what he meant by the set and rep counts. Surely five sets of five reps at such heavy weights was a typo? He clearly meant I was to do five sets of one rep each because otherwise that would be cuh-razy.

Well, apparently Kemper is crazy. He confirmed that yes, he meant five sets of five reps. But while he is crazy, he is also right. And he knows more than me. And has better hair. And is probably a better cook but we are not even going there.

I was so nervous about the first day of this schedule that I lay* awake in bed the night before going over the math for the weight plates again and again. Because Type A. I also visualized doing the entire workout so I could memorize it and not have to carry some dorky sheet of paper around the gym with me like a note from my mo-om. Make fun of me all you want because *I* looked like I knew what I was doing (except when I failed my last bench rep and didn't have a spotter and the dude next to me jumped over super fast and rescued me by hopping in to spot me so I didn't have to totally biff and do the Scoot of Shame out from under the bar.)(Props to that guy.)(And props to you for enduring that run-on sentence.)

Here are a few of my favorite moments from Week One.

1. Learning how to wait for a weight bench

It took a bit of observation, but I'm starting to get a grasp on how boys hover but don't look like they're hovering when they want next up. This was a particularly important skill to master on Monday when everybody and their brother was bench pressing and I had no freaking clue how to "get in line" when there was no line. (If Moms Ran The Gym #6: Fellas - ever been to the deli? Or the fabric cutting counter at JoAnne's? They both have an excellent and proven "Take a Number" system. Just a thought.)

You can work in with me and my feathered locks.
I solved this dilemma by catching the first eye I could and asking how many sets he had left. This nice young man was all, "You can work in with me," so I didn't have to wait at all. (Another bonus? The nice young man is the guy I've seen around the gym and nicknamed "Kevin Federline" in my head because he looks just like long-haired Kevin. And since I had already given him a nickname in my head it was like we'd been boyz forever.)(However, the next time I tried this "waiting for a bench" trick the guy was all, "One more set," so I had to wait a minute or two. And that's how I found myself without a spotter and failed my last rep almost died bench pressing, so yeah, I'm more a fan of the former situation.

2. Making new friends

There is this woman at the gym who literally intimidates the pants off me (if she literally intimidated the pants off me I think I would find myself escorted off private property for indecent exposure yet again). She is this little sprite of a woman but built like a brickhouse - yes - that kind of brickhouse. This woman is all muscles and BRF and that combination for me = awe and fear. I found myself deadlifting next to her on the first DL day of the new schedule. She reached over to help me get a weight off the end of the barbell (Lifetime just got all new racks and weights to handle the Olympic lifters)(which is rad)(but they stick a little)(the bumper weights, not the Olympic lifters) so I took advantage of the opening to make a friend.

Her name is Tracy and she is a competitive powerlifter. She helped me with my form on barbell rows, and has been all sorts of encouraging since then. I also made a new friend (another competitive powerlifter!) named Sara and we deadlifted together last night. (She used my max weight as a warm-up.)(So awesome.) I feel so welcomed! The weight lifting community reminds me of both the running and triathlon communities. (For all those scared of trying athletic things because you are so out of shape - just do it. The people who love these things want you to love them too, and will generally go out of their way to help you get started.)


Totally me after Battle Ropes.
I suck at High Intensity Interval Training. My biggest weakness as an athlete (I just snorted when I wrote "athlete") is that I'm lazy. I do well with endurance sports because you have to pace your efforts. That translates into an easier pace for a longer time. I do well with weight training (even heavy weight training) because it means tiny bursts of harder moments with a lot of rest time. But HIIT training? HIIT training is filled with seemingly endless portions of time that are the worst thing in the world. Most HIIT training goes poorly for me because I don't go balls-out for the whole time. I start slowing down, even when I know I only have ten more seconds. I quit in my heart and in my body. That's why I do most of my HIIT training on the treadmill; I'm forced to keep the pace.

Kemper gave me a cardio circuit that included Battle Ropes. These are so good for me because if you slow down errrrrbody can tell because your ropes stop moving. They also make your heart rate skyrocket, so yeah, it's completely effective all the way around. I would recommend them to anyone with a limited time to live because Battle Ropes make 20 seconds seem like a decade.

I *know* y'all. But accountability and all that.
I owe you one.

So to recap week one, and because this is a strength program and some of y'all care about this kind of thing, here are my numbers. I'll post them every week so we can see if there is progress.

Week One

Bench press:
2 warm-up sets (1x8 @ bar, 1x6 @ 60#)
1x5 @ 70#
3x5 @ 75#
1x5 @ 80#

2 warm-up sets (1x8 @ 65#, 1x6 @ 95#)
1x5 @ 125#
3x5 @ 135#
1x5 @ 140#

2 warm-up sets (1x10 @ bar, 1x6 @ 95#)
3x5 @ 125*
1x5 @ 130
1x5 @ 135

*This is not what Kemper told me to do. But after my first set of 125# I couldn't even imagine next hitting 3 sets of 135 like he directed. So I went my own way, and guess what? I'm totally pissed at myself because I know I could have done it. Lesson learned noted.

Spoiler Alert: I've started Week Two and have already seen strength gains in both my bench and deadlift. It's working, y'all! Huzzah!

*Lay vs. Lie - because grammar is a jerk, did you know, to further confuse this issue, that lay is the past tense form of lie. WTHeck, Grammar?


  1. I love you for making fun of literally. Seriously you are my new hero. Soooo your saying you'd hate crossfit. We are in a cardio portion right now which means pretty much two HIIT sessions in one go. I died a couple time's and the rest of the time I scream in pain. Anyway, I'm lost. Is that 1 set five reps and then 3 sets at five reps etc.? Glad you made friends, thats super cool! Your gym sounds amazing, I would consider giving up crossfit (lying) if I had a nice gym like that. And they even have ropes??!!

    1. I could probably do well at Crossfit because there would be other people doing HIIT with me, right? I can run with that okay because pride. It still sucks, though. For my workouts the first number is the set and the next the reps. One set at five reps, three sets at five reps, etc. lifetime definitely has it's pros and cons, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how cool the people are turning out to be. I have so much fun there. literally ;)

  2. I did know "lay" was past tense (miraculously) since Scripture uses it "Adam LAY with his wife and she bore him a son..." :)

    SO, what is your end goal now? Have you abandoned your old way of working out, or just added in all the weight training? Are you done with races and such? Are you planning to become a weight lifter permanently??? I'd love to know what your goal is and how you plan to adjust once you reach it (which seems like it could be soon!)...

    You're doing great! Hopefully I'll run into you soon!!

    1. Smarty-pants! You must homeschool ;-)

      As far as long-term goals, I'm just starting to flesh it out. It is all so new to me that I'm just exploring it all right now. I still love running and triathlon, so I'm not done with those, but my focus has definitely shifted these past few months. I don't know if powerlifting is for me, because there is a LOT of standing around and not a lot of lifts because your weights are so heavy. But I'm def NOT going into bodybuilding/figure competitions. I love the strongman style training stuff, but again, it doesn't really seem like my scene totally. So, to answer your question, I HAVE NO IDEA right now :)

  3. You rock. And I actually enjoyed this post, so there!!! :p

    I think having a Kemper is a great idea...let someone else do the hard math! ;)

    1. Dude. Everyone needs a Kemper. (I think everyone needs Kemper, period) The math alone is totally worth it ;-) Plus, he has battle ropes ...

  4. You're right...everything I know I r learned since homeschooling ��.

    Well, you are doing great and your dedication to your schedule is rocking (how and why are you so diligent? I guess that is what motivated my earlier question! Unless I have a clear, visible goal, my dedication is always lackluster...what motivates you to even work out on vacation???)

    And, just an FYI: if I see you walking around with big man shoulders, I will initiate an intervention ��. Keep at it, just keep it pretty ��

    1. HAHA! A true friend would intervene :) Thanks, Megan.


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