Back squat max day

Doing back squats every week has definitely paid off.  After months of struggling to reach my pre-pregnancy max, I FINALLY got to it again on Monday.

Back squat max 5-3-1-1-1 → 80/100/115/130/145
Hip Power Snatch + OHS 3+3 x 3 → 45/45/50
Hang Snatch w/ pause at hip 3×3, 2×3, 2×1, 1×2 → 50/50/55/60
Push Press 65%x4, 75%x4, 85%x4 →  55/65/70

I am very happy with 145#. It’s not a PR, and I did hit it once back in March. But ever since then I haven’t come close. I just hope this kind of progress continues.

I also really benefited from the hang snatch with the pause at the hip. It was so helpful to be able to see exactly where I was going wrong with the regular hang snatch. I was jumping too soon because my shoulders weren’t over the bar when it reached the hip. I was flinging my chest back, rather than straight up. That’s really hard to feel when you’re moving so fast.

Still much work to do, though.

Being outside

Photo shows view looking outside at roads and flag poles

I missed the “cold” front. It moved through Austin sometime Thursday, well after I had already been to the gym, driven to work, and holed up in my office for the next 9 hours.

Working in a hospital is kind of like shutting yourself off from the world. Unless you move yourself outside, you’re unlikely to notice any change in the weather — even with a window. I guess most office buildings are like that.

Where am I going with this? Lately, I’ve been feeling an itch to be outside. Not just walk to my car to go some place. I mean BE outside. Lay in the grass. Watch the sky. Smell the air.

I don’t think I’m much different from many other Austinites who spent a lot more time inside over the summer. This drought and the heat have been awful. I haven’t found much grass to lie in that isn’t brown and dead. Being outside can seem downright depressing.

But there are actually health benefits to being outside. Studies have found it can actually boost immunity. That might explain my urge to sit in the park. It’s been a long, hot summer, and a hot fall so far. I am very ready to spend time outside again.

At least my workouts aren’t far from the outdoors. A garage gym is open to the elements, so at least I can feel the sun on my back or feel a breeze while I’m getting my butt kicked. Crossfit Central and RedBlack Gym can be pretty industrial and intense with the music, people yelling, and barbells dropping. But there are times when it feels closer to nature — early in the morning, when it’s quiet. There’s something about it that heightens my sense of possibility for the coming workout. It’s like approaching a trail before a hike. What will it bring? How will I perform? I walk away sweaty and invigorated.

This morning’s workout:

Back squat 3×5 –> 95-105-115-125-no time

5 rounds
9 plyo-push ups
6 broad jumps
9 weighted sit ups (M 35# / W 25#)

Time: 6:48 @ 25#

I LOVED this workout. It’s very much Ross Emanit-style. It reminds me of the days when Andy and I would do workouts from Never Gymless — back before Crossfit. Maybe even before Luke. I love his philosophy about getting outside and using your own backyard as your gym. Nature offers some of the best training tools. But that’s a post for another day.

Walking dead

We had an exciting night at the Brummer Casa Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

Poor Luke was sick. Really sick. (Poor kid… it’s agony not being able to fix it when your child hurts so much).

Andy and I did not get much sleep as a result. I got off easy. My job was to get Mads back to sleep. We ended up moving everybody around into different beds. Poor Andy was up practically all night with Luke. He missed his Crossfit class in the morning. He had barely slept when it was time to leave.

I was able to function a little better, but I was still REALLY tired. I wasn’t sure how I would do in Olympic Lifting class, but I decided I would try. I was so worried about showing up late that I got there early. We ended up starting our warmup early, which makes me wonder if I really was late on Monday.

Back Squat: 70%x5, 75%x4, 85% 4×4 → 95/100/115
Snatch Pull + Power Snatch + Hang Snatch : 1+1+1×2 60%, 1+1+1×2 70%, 1+1×1 80% → 45/45/55
Technique work: Jump, Jump, Power snatch w/ 35# bar

I am still struggling with the snatch. It’s such a technical move — and it’s ALL in the details. I wasn’t the only one who struggled. In fact, Zach got so fed up he threw out the rest of his planned program for the day and we JUST worked technique with the bar. I found that extremely valuable.

I feel bad, because I want to “GET” the moves but it’s coming slowly.  I think we’ll be doing a lot more drills because of that.

SIGH. I’m gonna learn this stuff. I’m determined.

Crazy week makes for little blogging

I’ve been working out this week.  I just haven’t been writing about it.

Blogging fell to the wayside, just like the vacuuming and dusting, and all of the other things I need and want to take care of but can’t because home life has been jam-packed. Add to that Baby Girl getting sick — and then me — and it’s been downright impossible to even want to crack open my computer at night.

But I’ll catch you up ever so quickly.

This was week 2 for my new Olympic Lifting class! And the workouts were very similar to last week.

I’m loving the format, because the class is small and we actually have TIME to work on lift form. Of course, that also means Zach watches me more closely, which is good because he notices stuff I had no idea I was doing. But he also yells because I’m such an awkward goof trying to learn these new muscle movements.

I go through this mental checklist in my head, and sometimes… SOMETIMES…  I get a “That was better” or “I guess that was OK” Those are the moments I LIVE for. Most of the time, I hear “You have to BE AGGRESSIVE!” and a whole bunch of other stuff about how to move my body effectively and efficiently. He does not like repeating himself. I hope that one day he won’t have to.

Like I said, I’m an awkward goof. But I keep telling myself that I’m learning something very new. I’m forging new neural connections! I’m building muscle memory! And while I want to catch on quickly, I did not expect to be remotely good at the lifts when I started. Even though I’ve been doing them for 2 1/2 years. I’ve picked up some poor habits.

So here’s what I did:

Front Squats 65% x 5 /  70% x 4 /  80% 4×4 → 70/80/90
Hang Power Snatch (bar below the knee) 3×3 / 2×3 / 1×3 → 35/45/55
Snatch Balance 3×3 → 35/35/35
Snatch Deadlift 95%x4 / 105% 4×3 → 65/85

Back Squat 70% x 5 / 75% x 4 / 85% 4×4 → 95/100/115
Snatch Pull & Snatch 3+2×2 / 2+2×2 / 1+1×2 → 35/35/35
Push Press 70%x5 / 75% 4×4 → 50/55

I’m still trying to step it up in my regular Crossfit classes, too. But now that I’m in an Olympic Lifting class with only about 5 or 6 people, Crossfit feels a little crowded. Not really in a bad way. We have a lot of really new people who are just learning the ropes. It’s awesome to see so many people taking control of their health!

This week’s workouts were short! Both had 10 minute cut-offs, including a “Girl” WOD benchmark that will repeat in 6 weeks.

Handstand pushups

Time: 8:28 @ 135# (HSPU on knees from box)

Push Jerk

Results: 35-45-50-60-70-75

3 rounds
35 box jumps
15 ring rows

Time: 9:35 (rows scaled w/ bent knees)

I haven’t been doing any core training this week. With feeling sick early in the week and  Baby Girl’s being sick, I’ve had to put my own sleep ahead of additional training.  I’ll pick that up again next week.

Today, I rest. And rest is soooooo sweet.

Pouting and strength

I’ve been doing a bit of pouting lately.  OK.  A lot of pouting.

See, change can be hard, especially when you get into a groove and think you’re going along just fine.

And I’m not gonna lie and say everything’s hunky-dory, because that wouldn’t be true.  That wouldn’t be real.  And yes I know I need to suck it up and get over it, but it’s important that you know that I do screw up from time to time.  Or rather, all the time.  And that despite my best efforts to do my best and be positive, it just isn’t going to happen all the time.

Got it?

Back to the pouting.

I got feedback for the second week in a row on my food log and suddenly I realized — it isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.  Changing to what Zach wants me to do isn’t going to be seamless, and it’s going to be hard, especially with Luke’s birthday party right around the corner.  Not to mention menu-planning and prepping my meals for the morning and all of that.

It’s also kind of that gut-wrenching realization that I didn’t do as well with my food log as I thought I did.  There’s still room for improvement.  A LOT of improvement.  I didn’t execute as well as I thought I did, and it’s actually going to take some effort.  Some re-thinking.

Does that mean I’m not going to do it? No.  It doesn’t.

I know what I want.  I went to Zach for guidance.  He’s giving it.  Now it’s up to me to take it and implement it. No one said it was going to be easy.  There is no magic wand, no matter how much I wish there was.

Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat.

~Ann Landers

OK.  Pouting over. Sorta.  But let’s move on.

We were off from class Tuesday, so Andy came up with a strength set for me.

4×8 Back Squat 45-55-65-65
(I kept the weight low to work on depth and form)
2×8 One-armed pushup, each arm
(I had one arm on a med ball.  I was going do do a full 4 sets, but a shooting pain started up in my right hand.)

4×8 Ring Rows
(Directly under the bar with knees bent)
4×8 Good mornings 65-65-65-65

I pouted during this workout too, because these are not my favorite exercises.  But as Andy reminds me CONSTANTLY… that’s why we’re doing them.


The definition of ‘allstar’

Someone called me an “allstar” last week.

It’s the kind of comment I brush off because of modesty.   I believe I countered the comment with, “All the allstars left my class, so it only looks like I’m an allstar.”  I certainly don’t think of myself as an allstar.

But then, in the middle of my third WOD this past week, I was thinking about it, and I realized something.  Maybe being an allstar isn’t about being the one who always finishes first, or the only who loads the bar with the most weight or the one who does everything RX.  Maybe it’s about something else.

Maybe it’s about how hard you work.

I don’t think about it very much, because it’s just what I do and there’s nothing to think about as far as I’m concerned, but I do put a lot of effort into my time at the gym.  I push myself.  Sometimes I feel like I could have pushed myself harder, but what I do is no joke.

Take Tuesday:

“Mary D”
Thrusters (M 135# / W95#)
Weighted pullups (M 45# / W 24#)

Time: 14:02 @ 65# (2 purple bands for strict pullups)

Hard!  My arms were toasted after this one.  I was so tempted to bump down the weight or grab another band to make it easier, but I didn’t do it.  I stuck it out.

We celebrated my birthday on Thursday with 35 birthday burpees and a BRUTAL WOD.

Sumo Deadlift

Results: 135-145-155-160160

That damn butt muscle ACTED UP AGAIN!  The same one from when I was pregnant.  Grrrr!  I’m not sure I can blame it for scratching on those last two sets, but it certainly didn’t help.

12min AMRAP
2 wall walks
10 DB Muscle Snatch (M 55#/W 35#)
20 box jump

Results: 3 rounds + 2 walks + 10 DB snatch @ 30#

The bad: Wall walks.  I just couldn’t pull myself vertical.  I need to do this more.  A lot more.
The good: The 25# DB was too light!  I am so happy I was able to bump up to 30#!

Friday was the day I started thinking about what it means to be an allstar.  I had dropped into Big Mike’s class and the comment was made.  I felt a little uncomfortable, because it seems like everyone is so much stronger and faster than I am.

Bench Press

Results: 65-65-70-70-(ran out of time)

4 rounds
400m run
10 back squat (M 155# / W 110#)

Time: 15:19 @ 105#

This WOD seemed pretty straightforward when I read it, but 105# was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I really pushed myself on this WOD.  The cutoff was 15min, but Big Mike let me finish, and he coached me through to the end.

I think I screamed on the last 3.

Yeah, it was that painful.

I’m still feeling those squats today.  I’m glad for a rest week.  I’m walking around, but no WODs.  Alright, maybe a light run tomorrow with Andy if there’s time.  MAYBE an endurance WOD toward the end of the week.  But all in all, I’m taking a break.  My friends are doing a benchmark tomorrow, and I’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines.

Even allstars need to heal.

Can I have more weekend hours? Please?

There’s too much to do on the weekends.  And during the week.  Seriously.  I thought that by cutting TV out of my life I would gain time.  What a crock!

The weekend was jammed pack, and by the time Andy and I got the kids to bed Friday and Saturday, we were beat.  Exhausted.  Spent.  No way was a workout happening.

We forced ourselves to follow through on Sunday, and while I did NOT want to do anything, at the end I felt rejuvenated and energetic again.  And I slept really great that night.


Results: 115-125-135-145-155

I’m still clawing my way back up the deadlift ladder, so to speak.  That 155# was hard, and it shouldn’t have been.

AMRAP 12 min
200m run
15 Back Squat
10 Knees-to-elbows
5 Push ups

Results: 3 rounds + run @ 55#

I went kinda slow on the back squats, but depth has been an issue for me, and I was consciously working on going low enough.  The knees-to-elbows were my strongest yet — I had my knees closer to my elbows than ever!  Come on, abs!  Get stronger!

Pushing outside your comfort zone

I’ve been doing a lot of reflection over the past few weeks on my comfort zone,  both at the gym and personally.  It’s amazing how fast you can go from pushing past your comfort zone to developing a new one.  And it’s frustrating how easily I can talk myself into staying in my comfort zone.

That’s why it’s good to have coaches and friends to push you.

Yes, I am more driven and motivated than many others, but I have learned I only push myself incrementally.  It takes a push from someone else to get me to go farther — whether it be a coach yelling at me or a friend encouraging (or competing with) me.

This morning I teetered in my comfort zone.

Back Squat

Results: 75-95-105-115-(ran out of time)

I should have tried to go heavier, but in my head I was thinking “I’m sore.  My max is 145#.  I’m sore.  Don’t push it.”  Our assistant coach, Jeff, did encourage us to go heavier. (I think his exact words were “weak sauce.”)  I shouldn’t have argued.

AMRAP 12 min
3 Handstand push ups
6 Power cleans (M 155# / W 105#)
9 Box jumps (M 24″ / W 20″)

I was slow.  And I’m disappointed in myself.  The average on the board was more than 6 rounds.  I finished 4 rounds + 3 HSPU + 3 cleans @ 75#.  That’s pretty pathetic.  As Stephanie accurately pointed out, my box jumps are suuuuuuppppppppeeeeeerrrrrr slow. The fear shows on my face, apparently.  And I took too long on the power cleans.  I did not need to rest as much as I did.

But here’s the positive (because you know me — there MUST be a silver lining): I pushed past my comfort zone on weight (although, maybe I should have pushed more).  At first I planned to do 65#.  But then the competitor in me decided to do 75# when I heard Zach tell Steph to do 105# and Suzette to do 75# or 95#.  I very nearly wimped out and pulled the weight off after my first round when I stalled and could not clean the weight after several tries.  But I persisted.  I did NOT want to wimp out.

I am not going to let this WOD defeat me.  I will revisit it again in 6 weeks on my own.  It’s written down on a post-it in my journal for May 11.  My goal is to add at least 2 rounds to my results.

I can do it.  I WILL push past my comfort zone.

Bye, bye baby body. I’m back.

Mads is over 5 months old now, and we’ve both changed so much.

She’s growing like a weed.  She’s starting to sit up, roll over, and I love how she laughs when we sing and talk to her.  It’s crazy how she’s turning into this little person right before my eyes.

I’m changing, too — and I’m noticing it physically.  I’m… well… SMALLER.  My pajamas, which were tight just a few months ago, are now loose around my waist.  I’m back to wearing my small pair of Lulu WunderUnders.  And I just went shopping this weekend and was pleasantly amazed by the sizes I had to buy.

Eight weeks of clean-eating and intense training really can change things.

But I think what has been really telling is my results at the gym.  Yesterday we started Crossfit Total  I only had time to complete one of the 3 max-weight exercises:

Back Squat

Results: 115-125-145

I’m back.  145# was my max up through the first half of my pregnancy.  After that, it was too unsafe to even go that high.  And after Mads was born, I had to rebuild the strength I had lost.  I tried 145# in December, and scratched.

I’m back.  If anything rings a bell for me that I have recovered from pregnancy — it’s this.  I can’t wait to finish out Total on Thursday.

Later on Tuesday, I did one of the challenge’s home workouts, since I skipped it on Saturday.

20 swings
10 push ups
30 swings
15 push ups
40 swings
20 push ups

Time: 6:02 @ 30#

I really need a kettlebell, so I can use a full pood on those swings.

Today I get my body comp done for the end of the challenge — we’ll see how I did!

What changed? The weather for sure….

Stephanie, beth, Madeline and Cindy sitting on the couchEven when the temperature drops like a rock to about 30 degrees — windchill closer to 20 — My “I AM” buddies suck it up and show up.  This is us after our WOD on Wednesday.  The wind had chilled us to the bone, and we were trying to warm up inside with some hot peppermint tea.

Fortunately, this workout was pretty darn fast — even with the strength component.  And we’re all fairly evenly matched, so we didn’t need to spend a lot of time taking off or putting weight on the bar.

Back Squat

What’s awesome is that — even though I don’t have a rack — with 3 of us, we were able to be a “human rack” for each other.  That meant we could squat more.

Results: 75-95-105-115-125

I could really feel the squat cleans from Thursday when I balanced the bar on my back.  Yowza!  What I need is one of those chair massages to focus just on my shoulders and neck.

We followed up our strength workout with a met-con:

AMRAP 12min
10 DB deadlift
10 DB shoulder press
10 DB hang clean

Results: 5 rounds + 10 deadlifts @ 20#

20# is still a huge struggle when I’m doing shoulder press.  I knew this WOD would be tough at that weight — and that my number of rounds would be low as a result — but something in my head has clicked on that pushes me to do the max amount of weight possible on every workout.

I’m not sure what changed.  I used to worry about not being able to keep up.  Now I relish trying the “elite” or “RX” weight.  And I beat myself up if I do a workout and know I could have gone heavier or it wasn’t as challenging as it could have been.

Competition?  Perhaps.  Or it could be that I’m 4 1/2 months post-baby, and no longer can I say, “Oh, I’m pregnant” or “Oh, I just had a baby” as excuses for not pushing myself.

It’s official.  I’m recovered.

Or maybe it’s just time to up the ante, and this challenge has lit a fire in me.  Whatever it is… I’m dialing it up.