"Fran," Pull-ups and Me

Fran”

I see her up there on the board, mocking me…challenging me.

 21-15-9

Thrusters, then burpees.

90 reps total — which I would find out in just a few minutes that it would take me 6 minutes 30 seconds to complete.

My heart starts beating faster just as I anticipate her domination of the next few minutes of my life.

The only way to finish is to start, and the coach says, “10 seconds!” and they count down. I hear the three beeps that signal “3..2..1” and I hoist that 65-pound bar into a clean and start the thrusters (a front squat into an overhead press).

Oh the way my mind wanders as I do the thrusters! Gotta focus on anything besides the fact that I’m doing thrusters. I think about how the coach just said, “This workout is meant to be unbroken…” and I wonder how many thrusters I will get unbroken this time. I want 21…but I realize at 11, that I need to drop the bar and reset because my brain needs the 5 seconds to reassure — Yes, I can do another 10.

From the bar, I move on to the pull-up bar and I start doing jumping pull-ups because I haven’t mastered a pull-up yet. I get through five of them and I wonder just when I will get that darn pull-up!?! I power through another 10 and I start thinking, “Gosh, I have to be getting close to getting those darn pull-ups…I wish I could be doing this workout Rx.” While I finish my last 6 jumping pull-ups, I marvel at the guy who is already on his round of 9 pull-ups and think, ”…someday I will do this workout Rx.”

Back on the bar and I think, “Only 15 this time.” ONLY 15 front squats into overhead presses. I’m trying to string them all together, I don’t want to drop…but, after 8, down goes the bar. My brain needs that break – I don’t believe for a minute that it’s my body that gives out. I definitely think it’s mental. I finish the last 7 and get up to the pull-up bar and do my jumping pull-ups.
Then back to the bar for 9 more reps and I bargain with myself. “Break it into 3…” and then, “no…string them all” but alas, my mental state falters after 5 and I drop the bar, reset and then complete the rest. I get the jumping pull-ups done and I complete the workout a minute faster than the last time I did it.
*****
When you are doing CrossFit, you hear about “Fran” all the time. It’s like the gold standard of the CrossFit workout. It drains you like nothing else…Rx or not. This morning, I seriously started  to contemplate my problem in attaining these elusive pull-ups. I think I should have them by now. Darn it all – what is my problem? And, so I’m newly motivated to get this. I guess I just haven’t formed the strength required. Most of what I read mentions that most women’s problems with getting pull-ups is the strength. I had started thinking that couldn’t be it, but I suppose it is.
LINK
A few weeks ago, I swore off the banded pull-ups. I had heard enough coaches mention that they wouldn’t help me actually get pull-ups and I read a quite a few articles like this one and this one. I think I’m convinced that the way to improve pull-ups is not to keep using bands. I’ve been doing ring rows when the WODs called for pull-ups or — as in “Fran” today, doing jumping pull-ups. I’m not sure I get the full range of motion with a jumping pull-up, but it’s definitely a workout. The stuff I have read puts forth some things to do that will help – things like dead hangs on a daily basis to improve grip strength, Negative reps (haven’t had time to try this yet), segmented and barbell-assisted pull-ups. I just need to either get to workout 15 minutes early or stay late to do this extra work for awhile.

I remember when I got toes-to-bar, I worked on them almost every time I was at the gym. I’d just get up on the bar and do a toes-to-bar rep/attempt after the workout on my way out. I guess I should try the same with pull-ups – just get up there and try to get a pull-up every day on top of doing some extra work like negative reps, barbell assisted, dead hangs, etc.

LINK

All I know is that the next time I do “Fran” I really want to be doing pull-ups along with the Rx Thrusters. As much as it will kill, it will also be a thrill if I can make it happen.

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Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) – 9

Accountability post in 3…2…1…

So, the weekends are getting easier and easier to get through on this. I have even thought (GASP!) that I could potentially stay Paleo indefinitely. I suppose that is the point, right? And no matter what I think I’m definitely going to be going for 90% Paleo regardless. I think it’s unrealistic to believe I would go the rest of my life without beer or my margaritas.

Saturday Food
Breakfast: After getting up and getting a run in (a run which really kinda sucked, by the way) I had a terrific breakfast of 3 eggs, 3 slices bacon, blackberries and a sliced avocado.

It was  YUMMY!

Breakfast was late and also big AND I was getting my hair done over the lunch hour…

This color and style has really grown on me — I love it!

So, I SNACKed on almonds.

Dinner: Taco night! so I had my taco meat with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and a few olives.

Saturday Workout: 3 mile run that, as I said before, really sucked. My legs were sore and I think I was trying to go faster than I should have. But, I was glad to have done it anyway and I resolved to have a Sunday rest day.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon. I made Sarah an omelette, but I wasn’t all that hungry so I didn’t eat one myself.

Sunday Lunch — was kind of just water. We took the kids to the ballpark to watch the Royals last home game of the season. Needless to say, nothing there is Paleo and I can’t afford to buy it anyway!! I’m rather surprised, however, that I really was not hungry. Water was about all I needed.

Sunday Dinner — To start off I had a bed of romaine lettuce with salsa mixed in. Then, I cooked our asparagus in bunches of 5 stalks wrapped in a piece of bacon. My kids enjoyed it and yes! — my new favorite way to eat asparagus!! I also cooked a ribeye steak and ate the whole thing. I put the other one away for Monday’s breakfast.

Sunday Workout: Rest

10 more days of the Paleo Challenge!!

 

 

Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) – 8

Accountability post (again).

Wednesday Food
Breakfast: 3 slices of bacon cooked crisp, 2 hard-boiled eggs and raspberries
Lunch: Banana (pickin’s were slim and time was short)
Dinner: Chicken Breast, Romaine with salsa

Wednesday Workout: CrossFit which included some gymnastics work, climbing the rope again (yay!) and then a Benchmark WOD which was pretty much awful, but a good workout, and I was glad when it was over!

Thursday Food
First of all — I weighed in with WW even though I am not required to do so. I dropped 2.0 pounds! Yay! I am sure that is the Paleo kickin’ in on the weight front.

Breakfast: Banana and 2 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: Lunch meeting, but they bought us Chipotle, so I had my salad that is all Paleo!
Dinner:

Thursday workout: Rest day

Friday Food
Breakfast: 3-egg omelette with diced tomatoes and black olives, 4 slices bacon
Lunch: Chipotle salad (romaine, steak, mild tomato salsa, guacamole)
Dinner: raspberries, banana
Snack: almonds

Friday Workout: CrossFit, did a 3-rep back squat up to 170 (1RM is 175), and it was a nice 10 min AMRAP for the WOD.

LINK

Paleo Challenge Part Two (The Part During) – 7

Accountability post following.

Monday Food
Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs
Lunch: had another lunch in the Executive Dining Room at work. Chicken, cauliflower, fruit bowl.
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: 4 slices of cooked, crisp bacon, Avocado and tomato slices, romaine lettuce with salsa

Monday Workout: CrossFit which included me climbing the 15′ rope in about half the time as the last time I did it. Then we did what is called a “benchmark WOD” that was pretty much awful, but a great workout.

Tuesday Food
Breakfast: Banana and 3 slices of cooked, crisp bacon
Lunch: Made a salad of all fresh veggies at Jason’s and added 3 hard-boiled eggs for the protein part (no dressing)
Snack:  Almonds
Dinner: Romaine with salsa and strip steak

Tuesday Workout: CrossFit which included a good 30 minutes of strength training (Push Press, Push Jerk and Front Squats) and then a WOD that was more like a sprint that had rowing, pushups and front squats. It was a good fast workout, which I like to have — especially when I need to rush home to get ready for work!

I am gonna go ahead and let you know that my size 6 work pants are feeling awful loose these days. I’m surprised because as of last weight check, I haven’t lost any weight. So maybe I’m using up fat stores and my body fat percentage is decreasing? I hope so!!


One of my favorite quotes from a movie, ever.

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) — 6

The Next Paleo Accountability Post 🙂

Saturday Food
Midday (went to CrossFit so didn’t eat until later): Bacon and fried eggs

Dinner: Strip Steak over lettuce with salsa

Saturday Workout: CrossFit WOD with Craig. I PR’d on the Front Squat at 140#. Then I went on to do a 3 rep-max at 135# making me think I could probably do a 1 rep max higher than 140#. Go Figure.

Sunday Food
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, bacon, tomato and avocado slices. Yum!

Breakfast was late, then I went for a run, so I had an early dinner…

Dinner: Rotisserie chicken with Romaine lettuce and sliced tomato

Sunday Workout: 3.0 mile run that was pretty rough as my legs were very sore!

Paleo Challenge Part Two (the Part During) – 5

Another few days sticking to Paleo. It’s funny, I’m tempted at times to “cheat” and have something that isn’t Paleo. But then, I think…”nah, don’t do it…make it one more day” and I pass on it. I still miss cheese though. And Margaritas. 🙂

I guess when I think about veering, I can remember this…



Wednesday Food
Breakfast: 3 pieces of crisp cooked bacon

Lunch: 2 hard boiled eggs, fresh salad veggies with no dressing and some grilled chicken

Dinner: 4 oz hamburger with Romaine lettuce with salsa

Wednesday Workout was CrossFit. A WOD called “King Kong” and yes…it was hard like that. 🙂

Thursday Food

Breakfast: Banana (I was running late)

Lunch: Chicken breast, Romaine and another banana

Dinner: Tuna Steak, grilled along with some bacon (6 pieces) and romaine with salsa.

Nighttime snack: raspberries

Thursday Workout — I took a rest day from working out.

Friday Food
Breakfast: New York strip steak and 3 eggs

Lunch: I went to Chipotle and got a salad that had no rice or beans, but did have the grilled vegetables and the steak along with the tomato salsa and guacamole. How much do I LOVE that Guacamole is Paleo? (very very much, actually)

Dinner: Craig had made tacos, so I had taco meat on lettuce with tomatoes and salsa and a few black olives.

Friday Workout was CrossFit which included lots of Split Jerks and Push Presses, then a double-WOD. It was a good/hard workout!



Weight Watchers Wednesday (23) — Thoughts on Before/After

I know, it’s Thursday. But, I wanted to get my monthly weigh-in with Weight Watchers At Work before I posted. Also, this will be a nice little break from Paleo Challenge posts!

I attended the At Work meeting today and weighed in for September at 159.8. That is 0.6 more than last month’s weigh-in, but still under my goal weight of 160.

I have been thinking a lot about this weight loss thing the past week. Mostly, I have been thinking about my mindset before and my mindset now.

You know what? I used to be one of those people who would say, “BMI is crap. That is an unrealistic weight for someone with my build and my height.” Or, I would say, “I just can’t get under 170 pounds. It’s just impossible.”

I would say those things because I hadn’t achieved that BMI in a healthy way in all of my adult life. And honestly, I think my peak fertility must be somewhere under 170, because any time I did actually lose enough weight to be under 170, I got pregnant as soon as we tried.

When I think back to how my mindset, I am sad at how defeated I must have been. I had been overweight for so long, that I had simply convinced myself that God made me this way, and I should just be happy with myself.

In the meeting today, the topic turned toward “What brought you to Weight Watchers?” or what was the main motivation or the catalyst where we decided, “Hey, I’m going to (re)join Weight Watchers and lose this weight!”?


As I reflect on this last time that I rejoined Weight Watchers, I focused on what was going on:

All of those factors gave me this feeling of, “I have to do this and I have to do it now.” With five active children, I desired to be healthy and active so that I could keep up with all of their activities. I wanted to be healthy so I could take care of Craig, and be there for him as we continue to grow older, raising our family. I wanted to regain the fitness I knew I had when I was younger. I know I’ll never be as flexible and strong as I was when I was 18, but I want to be as flexible and fit and strong as I can be at 40 and beyond.

I may have written this before, but my commitment level as I rejoined Weight Watchers on October 31 last year is unlike anything else I had to grab ahold of before that. I had joined Weight Watchers several times in the past 15 years as well as attempted other diets to try and lose weight…but never before last year did I have that desire burning inside.

Honestly, I didn’t know if I could do it. I worried I would fail yet again. For the first time, I followed the WW leader’s advice and set my first goal for just 5 pounds. Then I set it for 10% body weight, then I kept chipping away with manageable goals. Then, I was amazed when I’d hit the healthy range and maintained it for 6 weeks and achieved Lifetime Status.

And now, I’ll be honest with you. I am shocked when I realize I have maintained for four months. Every time I have ever lost weight in the past, I have either gotten pregnant or gained weight within two months of getting to a good weight. Right now, every month, my goal is to get to the next month and still weigh-in at or below my goal weight. I haven’t even contemplated “a year at Lifetime.” Just “one more month.” And every month, I’m happy that I’ve made it one more month.

I share this with you all because I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that the person you see in front of you was the person she used to be. I used to be that woman who thought she was destined for an overweight existence. I used to be that woman who thought she couldn’t face another day of shopping and being disappointed when nothing she liked fit. I used to be that woman who worried that her health would fail her at some point and leave her husband and children to move on in life without her.

And now.

Now, I see that it was possible and always was possible. Now, I still don’t shop much, but it’s not because I’m afraid of the dressing room. Now, I continue to make healthy lifestyle choices and I teach my children. I was so proud of Helen recently when she turned away a second helping and had slowed down her eating and told me, “I don’t want any more. I feel full.” Over the course of these last few months, Helen and I have had several talks about healthy choices, eating slowly and listening to our bodies. If I can say in 20 years that my baby girl (who is my mini-me in so many ways) has ventured on in adulthood at a healthy weight with a healthy body image intact and good healthy habits — oh my gosh — I believe that will be one of the main successes from this endeavor of the past year.

So, yeah. 4 months at Lifetime with Weight Watchers. Here’s to the next monthly goal.