As I drove to the gym in the waning light this afternoon, shivering from the cold and desperately wishing the heater would work faster, I came to the realization that I really should start wearing a proper jacket, socks and shoes. It is the middle of November and the weather people keep telling us that snow is bound to come any day. Just how long can I continue wearing flip-flops and a hoodie outside? I have been wearing my winter jacket to work for at least a month already, but that’s because I am up and outside far too early in the morning. I don’t want to shock my body into instant alertness with my extremely long 4 minute commute in the frosty morning! But that is different than leaving the house later in the day. I don’t like wearing socks and fussing with shoes (unless I’m at the gym), but my toes will want to stay warm very soon. Of course, when I leave the gym, I don’t even feel the cold.

1a. safety bar squats

Last week’s manta ray pause squats made me think that my time with the safety bar and the high reps were a thing of the past, but I was wrong. Michael pulled out the safety bar today and pronounced that I would do sets of 10. He also asked what my previous PR for high reps was and suggested that I might better that today. As much as I was excited for the opportunity to push myself a little further, I think I also died a little, knowing how my legs will feel tomorrow and the next day or two.

75 x 10, 115 x 10, 135 x 10, 155 x 10, 175 180 x 10

My previous PR was 170 x 10 from two weeks ago. Michael started off saying I’d do 175 but changed his mind at the last minute. No measly 5 pound PR for me! The previous sets, for the most part, were done at a fairly fast pace. As I prepared to unrack the bar for that final set, Michael suggested a pace of 3 fast reps then a couple of breaths, 3 reps, breathe, and so on. The first 3 reps were fine. The next 3 reps were a little more challenging to the point where the sixth rep was completely ugly in a desperate struggle to finish it. The pace just wasn’t good at that point; I needed a little more rest between reps. Michael asked me if I wanted to quit there. Part of me really did want to throw in the towel. There was a moment of panic with that sixth rep where I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t get squashed like a bug, but you know me…I like a challenge, I hate dropping reps, and I like setting PRs. So I stood there with the bar on my shoulders, sucked some air into my lungs, and convinced my brain to release the muscles in my legs so that I could squat again. I finished those final four reps!

1b. floor press

45 x 10, 75 x 10, 85 x 10, 95 x 8, 95 x 7

drop the weight/AMRAP: 75 x 16

You know, as I lay here typing, I realized that there might have been a first tonight! During my floor presses, Michael said, on more than one occasion, that my breathing was really good! That is something I pretty much NEVER get told; however, I am told quite frequently that I need to breathe more. Ironically, or not, I have caught myself on several occasions recently holding my breath for no real reason. Yeah, I need to breathe more! But my breathing for the floor presses was great today!

2a. walking lunges with the safety bar

Michael had me do a few body-weight lunges first to test out that right quad which gave me some trouble last week. While I could still feel it a little bit, the quad was much improved.

95 x 20 steps x 2 sets

The quad may have been much improved, but these still sucked. The first set was more challenging, maybe because I was still apprehensive about the quad. Or possibly my legs were just Jello following all those squats. The second set felt a little easier, smoother, at least for the first half.

2b. single arm dumbbell push presses

Michael started off by giving me the option of doing ‘bottoms up kettle bell presses’ or military presses. Ha! He asked me last week what my most hated exercise was and I didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t answer. There are several things that I’m not overly fond of, so my answer would most likely change depending on the day; however, military presses are fairly high on my ‘do not like’ list. I reluctantly chose the kettle bells, but Michael switched it up.

20 lbs x 3 each side, 25 lbs x 5 with the left, 6 with the right

25 lbs x 8 each x 2 sets

The left arm struggled with these much more than the right.

2c. glute-ham raises

x 10 for 2 sets

2d. toes to bar

x 3…sweaty hands…chalk up and get 7 more reps

x 7 plus 10 knee raises

(Shiver by Lisa Jackson)





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