Tag Archives: strong woman

Unintended Rest Week #2

Strong woman meet was two weeks ago today.  I’m still feeling like this…

At the beginning of this week, my back was still hurting in that “this isn’t really a good pain” sort of way, so I let life interfere with my plans.  I only got to the gym twice – one workout for chest and another for shoulders.  I didn’t even want to workout, and since that is rare, I decided it must mean I shouldn’t.   I put in more time at school than I normally do.  I slept in a little.  I came home earlier than usual.  Every day, I was sooooo tired and just wanted to come home and go to bed.  And HUNGRY!!!   The back recovery’s been taking a toll on my whole system.

Diana, my masseuse/muscle therapist, worked me over again on Tuesday – the second massage since the strongman competition.  She said there was still a lot of ‘issues’ in my back.    And somehow, my traps turned into rocks over the previous week.  Weird.  I did nothing.  Maybe the ‘issues’ were working their way up?

It was a great week, though.  Last weekend, I finished up that nutrition certification I’ve been working on for a year.  I was allowed three attempts at the exam and needed a 70% passing rate – I got 94% on the first try.  Boom!  I had amazing interactions with students, colleagues, and clients.  My personal program may be in limbo, but the part of me that gets to help other people be awesome feels more accomplished today.

I’m sharing this video with you because you encourage me.  If you ever need a pep talk, this is a good one.

By Thursday, I started to feel it again – those little butterflies of restlessness about getting back to the gym.  Now I’m ready.  Still resting until Monday because life works better when I coordinate things.

Before Monday, there is a stack of homework to be graded, a fridge with food to prep, several loads of laundry to do, client matters to attend to, and I need to design a new program for myself to start.  

Instead of doing any of that, I’m writing.  When I don’t make time to write, I get anxious.  I write to nail down my thoughts.  It still astounds me that any of you read it.  And when you tell me it helps you, that’s a bonus.  But it’s hardly ever about that.  It’s just how I process what’s going on in my head.  Maybe someday I’ll have time to research more and be a proper fitness blogger.  Or not.  I’ll probably always be working on something else.  I had this great idea for a  book about a year ago…

I’ll update the blog about my new program when I figure it out.  Right now, I’m leaning towards German Volume Training.  I want something simple, but with variety of exercises.  After 8 weeks of high intensity work (really heavy, low reps), this program feels like the right direction to go for a bit.  Well, actually, doing NOTHING was the right direction to go for a bit.


Filed under Life, Teaching

OK, Now What?


Am I bodybuilder or a strong woman competitor?

It’s been a week after my strong woman competition.  Today, the first ever Ms. Physique Olympia was chosen.  And it was Dana Lin Bailey.

Can’t lie – my excitement was so high yesterday following pre-judging online, that I had butterflies and a was a little nauseous. Yesterday afternoon, I went with a friend to see the documentary “Generation Iron” about the 2012 Mr. Olympia competitors. I was riveted.

When I listen to music, I classify every song I hear as “potential posing music” or “not a good posing song”. I practice quarter turns in the bathroom when I wait for the shower water to warm up.

I am a bodybuilder.

The two months of training for that strong woman competition felt like six months. I hated it. I liked how it challenged my fears and mental boundaries about what I’m capable of doing. It feels like I grew muscle and I got stronger.  But I hated doing it. Soooo boring!  But I had a lot of fun at the meet.  I LOVE lifting and pushing myself to do more and more.  I’d definitely do it again – but my passion isn’t there.  All the local shows happen when I’m teaching, so I have to travel to compete anyway.  Expensive.

My rest week is almost over and I have to start training again. Training now will be different. I’m not training for a specific show or meet. I have NOTHING on the calendar. In fact, I’m leaning towards not competing again as a bodybuilder until summer 2015 and I don’t know if I’ll be strong enough to compete in a sanctioned strongman competition.

There is another consideration.  I’m curious to see what kind of gains I can make if I don’t have to interrupt my training to prep for a show. What gains can I make if I just relax and TRAIN? What will happen when I eat clean, eat in surplus, and give my body 18 months to progress before I go into a contest prep cycle again? If I have to pay for airfare and hotel, I want to compete in a bigger show and be more competitive. I’m cheap. I’m not going to pay more to come in last place again.  And if I’m going to compete at age 50-something, I need to make sure that’s not a variable when I’m standing next to the 30 and 40-somethings.  Despite what some people think, I’m very serious about this little bodybuilding thing I do.

There are other things I need to pay attention to right now. I spent this rest week finishing up another certification. This one was a fitness nutrition specialization that I’ve been working on for a year. Since that’s done, I need to take care of other things. I have been distracted by these three competitions and neglected things at home that are important to me. I am also building a new business so I can make a lateral move to it when I retire from teaching – which I think will be June 2016?

And there is that book Hubby and I started to work on…

For training, I’m going to design a hybrid program that uses some of the strongman exercises within a more “normal” training program.  I’d like to go back to a 5 day split based on body parts for a few weeks.  Maybe take another run at the Madcow 5 x 5 after that.

It’s a weird spot I’m in right now.  These transition points are difficult for me.  I usually rely on Coach to help me through them, but I’m going to do this on my own now.  I do this for others.  I can do it for me.


Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Competing, My Lifting Log, Strong Woman Training

Thoughts After Strong Woman

there is no finish line

It’s Monday after the meet on Saturday. I am soooo sore! Except for legs, which means I didn’t use them enough, I guess. I’ve been reviewing the video and can see things I can improve. So I guess that means I’m open to doing this again.

It was a fun experience. The general atmosphere is very different from a bodybuilding competition.  A bodybuilding show is more stressful. The strong man meet felt more like play. I noticed that many of the people there actually train together and everyone was cheering for everyone.  You wanted the next person to do something amazing.

I was told to expect a different kind of camaraderie than at a bodybuilding competition.  I’ve made friends at my bb shows and have had about as much fun as a person can have without drinking water.  But the strong man meet was pretty wonderful, actually.  When I got home, I was browsing Facebook and came across one of the more popular pages I follow only to find another thread of women bickering about food – name calling even.  Ugh.  There is more to bodybuilding than food and cardio, but that’s all anyone wants to talk about.  There is the LIFTING.  How about we talk about that? LIFTING is the whole point!  If something isn’t helping you lift heavier, it sucks and should be avoided.  Sorry – I digress.  But it bears repeating…

“If something isn’t helping you lift heavier, it sucks and should be avoided.”

I didn’t feel like I did much that day, but the next day – WOWZA! I felt like that truck I couldn’t pull might have run me over. I also had that same cold-like congestion I’ve felt after each of my bodybuilding shows. I assume that is some inflammatory response to the physical stress. And I’m HUNGRY. SOOOO HUNGRY!! I didn’t really diet hard, so this was unexpected.

There was no workout on Sunday or today, Monday. I’m not planning to do one tomorrow, either. There is some back strain that is not serious, but it’s slightly more than just the regular sore.  I’ll get a massage tomorrow.  I’ll decide then if I can do anything on Wednesday.

My Thoughts About the Events…

If you haven’t seen the video, here it is again.

Log Press, 90 lbs: I got three reps at this weight. The last time I practiced, I could only do two. After watching Nicole do 10 reps (I think) before I went up, and watching the video, I have a clearer idea of what I need to do to improve. I was coached properly, but just didn’t have a visual or couldn’t imagine the correct form. What I needed was time – and I have that now. I will start practicing with a much lighter weight, maybe even just a PVC pipe.

Farmer’s Carry (230 lbs) and Keg Carry (135 lbs ?)/Placement Medley: I had the fastest time for women – I think it was 44 seconds. Still room to improve. I saw a couple of mistakes that, if avoided, would have shaved off a little time. I also don’t handle the keg well. I think the keg was lighter than 135 pounds, but I don’t remember. I didn’t pay that close of attention because it didn’t matter. I had to move the keg.

Tire Flip, 450 lbs: I wish I hadn’t paid attention when the weight of the tire was announced. I was annoyed. The tire was supposed to be 400 lbs and I had only trained with the 350 lb tire at the gym. I let myself down on this event. I let myself get psyched out. I don’t think I would have been able to move it as far as Nicole did, but I should have been able to do a couple more flips.

Fire Truck Pull, 9200 lbs: Very disappointed. The only reason I wanted to do this event was to pull this truck.

Overall, I’m very proud of what I accomplished in the two months I had to train for this thing. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest competitor out there. I don’t know for sure, but you look at the faces – do you see any other 50-somethings?

And, based on how my brain as been chewing on this since, I think I might do it again.

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Filed under Competing, Strong Woman Training, Videos

My Strong Woman Competition Video


I’m sorting out my thoughts.  More to come…

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Filed under Competing, Strong Woman Training, Videos

God’s Little Kick in the Ass

The last post was about how busy I am.

Today is the second of two days off from work for sick days.  Well, today is also a dental procedure – part two of the triple root canal thing I had done two weeks ago.  Today, the temporary crown is popped off, the effectiveness of the medicine for the infection that was at the bottom of my roots will be assessed, and I hope the news is good so the new crown can be installed.  More on this later…

When I got to work on Tuesday morning, I got sick.  A mild, but annoying, tummy flu sort of thing.  I didn’t feel well enough to set up for a sub that day, so I pushed through.  I took yesterday off to rest.  Sat on my arse all day and did desk work.  Got up early today to get a few sets of Farmer’s Carry in before I headed over to DTR to open and set up for the class this morning.  I had stomach cramps from the time I woke up, but I was able to get a few sets done.  Left DTR to go to school to set up today’s sub.  While there, I felt shaky and cold.  Decided I should skip the rest of the workout and come home to rest before the dental procedure this afternoon.

OK – boring stuff, I know.  Nothing terribly inspirational.  Except maybe that I was still able to do four sets of Farmer’s Carry with stomach flu.    Yeah – probably stupid.

This stomach flu is a gift from God and I am grateful for it for a couple of reasons…

1) Our town has an annual hot air balloon race and it started this morning.  Had I been well and at work, I wouldn’t have had the experience of driving home UNDER the balloons as they were flying low and coming down near the freeway.  That was cool.  It’s always cool.

2) I wouldn’t have had two days of forced “slow down” time.  It finally hit me as to why I’m feeling more strung out than usual.  I’m one of those people who needs quiet alone time to stay sane.  This morning, I have the house to myself.  Just me and the dogs, a bird, and a lizard.  Many pieces of data that have been cycling in my head like a tornado are starting to fall into the right spots.  I’ve been talking about changing my priorities, but I have let people/circumstances pull me off in a different direction from where I need to go.

At the end of this video, I whine/vent a little about needing help today and not getting it.  That has to do with the dental procedure.  I have dental anxiety and my endodontist prescribes a little “happy pill” for me to take an hour before.  It really helps – and it has interesting side effects should I take it with a beer…

Oh my!  I wouldn’t want to talk on the phone or make and eat food!  The rest sounds like fun, though.

I am required to have a driver when I take this pill.  I had it set up with Hubby.  He’s done it twice before, so to say he hasn’t been helpful to me is unfair.  He has. But a week ago, he was hired by a client to do a photo shoot today, so I had to find a second driver.  So I asked someone who I’ve been helping a lot lately.  Last night, the second driver texted me to say they couldn’t do it either because yesterday they scheduled something for today during the time I needed the ride.  Or it was just inconvenient?  I’m not sure.  Depends on how you read the text.  Hubby gave me plenty of notice – driver #2 did not.  But it’s good to know where I line up on the priority list for this person.

Today, I’m feeling a little foolish and disappointed – with tummy flu symptoms and dental anxiety.  But a reality check was needed – and if I have to meditate instead of medicate to get through the procedure today to learn the lesson, so be it.  “God’s little kick in my ass” because I haven’t been paying attention or just lying to myself about being helpful and supportive expecting nothing in return – which clearly is not the case since I’m pissed off about not getting what I need today.  I’m sure I’ll feel better emotionally when it’s over and when I’m not sick on top of being nervous.

But the lesson is learned.

I apologize for this post, actually.  I personally hate reading about how people think other people have let them down.

Hubby gets frustrated with me when I won’t ask for help when I need it.  I got married later in life and just learned that it’s easier to figure out how to handle things alone.  I swear if the receptionists at the dental office would let me walk out of there alone today, I’d take my happy pill and drive.  But that’s stupid.  I might end up making and eating food while talking on the phone and driving.

So when my little pity party is over and I’m back to full strength – I’m going to make a serious effort to prioritize properly.  Things have shifted in my head over the last 15 hours and I’ve been quiet enough to let it happen.  The little pieces of data have fallen together into a new perspective.  Now I completely understand my place in the pecking order, despite what has been said to me.  I also know what I bring to the table.  I am clearer now on what deserves my attention and what is just distraction.  THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE.  Yup.  I’m yelling online…at myself.


This is fun… while I’m writing this at home, my students, who are working on their homework online at school with the sub, are emailing me questions.  It’s kind of awesome.


Filed under Faith, Life, Opinions, Venting, Ranting, Strong Woman Training

I Can’t Write

Life has been busy – full and abundant with opportunities.  I should have a minion who follows me and takes notes.

I am too busy to write...because I am a teacher.  I love that job.  I love my classes.  I look out into my classroom and see nothing but potential.  They are so open and funny.  

I am too busy to write… because I am a trainer and a coach.  I’m helping people learn that they are capable of doing things they never thought they could do.

I am too busy to write… because I am part of a small group of passionate, accomplished trainers working together in a new space – a private fitness facility where we train clients, teach classes, and offer seminars.  It’s an exciting opportunity – this isn’t a gym.  People aren’t hanging around.  I’m learning so much about what makes a workout effective and efficient.  It has been taking up a lot of my free time and imagination.  I have so many ideas and not nearly enough time to develop them.  I do believe this teacher is really an entrepreneur!    I know our space is small, and it’s still under construction (we still need to get mirrors and a better floor – investors?  Anyone??), but we have big plans.

I am too busy to write…because I spend everyday talking myself out of and then back into this strong woman training.  It’s really hard on the ego to go from being somewhat proficient at an activity – bodybuilding – to an insecure, frightened newb.  If you’ve been following my journey with this training, I can imagine that you’d like it if I just committed, bucked up, and got it done.  But there is no permanent attitude adjustment that’s going to happen here.  I want to quit everyday.  But I don’t want to train how I used to train.  I can’t imagine doing anything except this right now.  I have epiphanies every day about how to approach this monster.  Today, I’m going with the “life lesson” approach.  This training is similar to how it was for me when I first started exercising.  HATED it.  I stuck with it because I believed it would help me.  Just doing it was a daily goal.  Eventually, exercise became the tool for managing stress.  Now, it’s a stressor.  But I’m going to follow through.

I am too busy to write…because I am obsessed with perfecting my log press form.  Every week things get better, but I’m running out of weeks.  Under three weeks now until the competition.  I watch videos every night.  I talk to the guys who are more experienced.  I record myself to analyze my form.

The critique: I use my back too much on the initial pull, it’s too slow and I and use too much energy on that first part of the lift.  Need to work on using my legs and hips more.

In conclusion, I’m too busy to write.

You didn’t read this.

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Filed under Life, Strong Woman Training, Teaching, Videos

My Crazy Strong Woman Workouts

I wish! I hardly ever get to raise bars anymore. But the ‘awkward’ objects I’m using are f**ing heavy.

Just in case anyone is curious, I’m going to share what I did last week. The little notes are for my coach. Sorry for the profanity, but that’s what I wanted to say to him at the time. I email him the workouts each day. I did 45 sets total last week. I’m bruised, scraped, and sore. When did bodybuilding workouts, I would do 20-30 sets a day and I didn’t really beat the crap out of myself like I am doing now.

And this is freakin’ awesome. Seriously. During my massage this week, Diana (who has been working out the knots for about two years now and knows my muscles intimately) said “it’s like you’re on steroids or something.” I started this training mid July and the gains have been – dramatic.

My aggression level is up. I use the f-bomb in almost every effin sentence.

Yeah, this is awesome!!!

I’m still not sure what will happen on Sept 21. I hate this training. But I can’t imagine stopping. I also know I can’t keep it up indefinitely. It’s just too hard on the body and the CNS. But this has certainly shifted my paradigm.

8/19/13 Log Press in Strong Woman
5:35:27 AM 57 x 3
5:42:14 AM 77 x 3
5:47:56 AM 97 x 0.5 No press. Fuck.
5:51:13 AM 97 x 0.5 D – you are fooling yourself. I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH YET.
5:55:57 AM 87 x 1

8/19/13 Farmer’s Walk in Strong Woman
6:11:06 AM 155 x 20 Trap bar – didnt count the steps. Same as we did before by platforms.
6:11:22 AM 205 x 20 Walked to Smith machines
6:14:44 AM 225 x 20 Smith to calf raise and back
6:19:33 AM 235 x 20

8/19/13 Keg Carry in Strong Woman
6:27:53 AM 125 x 2 With lift. Taking about 30 steps.
6:30:49 AM 125 x 2
6:34:34 AM 125 x 30

8/20/13 Tire Flips in Strong Woman
4:05:10 PM 350 x 9 2nd smallest tire – used marks on asphalt
4:05:45 PM 350 x 9
4:25:23 PM 350 x 9
4:25:27 PM 350 x 9 When I get some sleep, I’ll be ready for next one.

8/20/13 Sled Pull in Strong Woman
4:25:58 PM 200 x 2
7:10:54 PM 310 x 2 Ran out of time

8/21/13 Glute Ham / Reverse Hypers in Lower Body
5:52:23 AM Glute Ham Raise: 100 x 10 Reverse Hypers: 10 x 15
5:54:02 AM Glute Ham Raise: 100 x 10 Reverse Hypers: 20 x 15
5:57:34 AM Glute Ham Raise: 100 x 10 Reverse Hypers: 30 x 15
6:03:31 AM Glute Ham Raise: 100 x 10 Reverse Hypers: 40 x 15

8/21/13 Goodmornings in Lower Body
6:05:29 AM 45 x 10
6:06:35 AM 55 x 8
6:10:07 AM 65 x 8
6:12:35 AM 75 x 6
6:15:12 AM 85 x 6
6:26:56 AM 95 x 6

8/21/13 Pull Throughs in Lower Body
6:27:25 AM 60 x 10 Superset with one arm raises
6:27:38 AM 70 x 10
6:54:50 AM 80 x 10

8/21/13 One Arm Press in Strong Woman (easy assistance work)
6:55:09 AM 25 x 10
6:55:13 AM 25 x 8
6:55:16 AM 25 x 8

8/23/13 Box Squats in Lower Body
6:02:13 AM 45 x 10
6:02:23 AM 95 x 6
6:02:31 AM 115 x 6
6:02:46 AM 135 x 3 Low back is aggravated.
6:06:00 AM 135 x 3
6:11:41 AM 165 x 1 YOLO. Back could not do 2. Legs were OK.

8/23/13 Deadlift in Back (fat bar)
6:23:43 AM 155 x 3
6:29:52 AM 165 x 3
6:35:24 AM 185 x 3
6:42:18 AM 195 x 1

This video is from Aug 15th, but it shows a couple events I’m training to do.


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Filed under My Lifting Log, Strong Woman Training