Reason # 1: Two Saturdays ago I went to Open Gym at the Center and decided to work on pull up progressions and deadlifts. The trap bar was in the corner and Nancy encouraged me to use it instead of the barbell as it stops my “sit at a desk all day” shoulders from rounding. So I quietly started off at 135lb with 5 reps and then moved to the pull up bars. Here’s where it gets exciting!
Dear readers, a few months ago, I could barely dangle from a pull up bar for 5 seconds, let alone engage my lats. I would hang there like a limp sloth and then immediately fall to the floor in a graceless heap, bewailing the fact that I would be no good in any action movie that would require me to hang from a helicopter landing bar while it’s flying through the air, bullets whizzing past my body. (Because that scenario could happen, right?)
To my delight, on Saturday, I was able to not only hang for over 10 long seconds, but was able to engage my lats and, just to show off, raise my legs! Well, I say raise my legs…they may have been raised a nano-millimeter, but they were definitely raised! I could actually pull myself upward a teeny-tiny bit too. Must be all the upper body work we’ve been doing. The best thing about working out consistently is seeing improvement isn’t it? Remember that even a small improvement is a huge step towards reaching your goals.
Reason # 2: A few months ago, I tooted my horn and blew my trumpet about my 225lb dead lift and then went on to tell you that my next goal would be 235lb. I then kind of became a little inconsistent with my training at TKFC. I did a few deadlifts here and there, 155lb, 175lb but nothing major to speak of. However, I feel that doing the last Whole30 and having the hubs on board with healthy eating has given me back some of my mojo and consistency. And to that end, armed with a bottle of water and a cup of strong, dark roast coffee from Speedway (their coffee is ace!), I went to the corner of the room to the trap bar and started deadlifting (with my amazing pull up progressions in between…don’t forget those pull ups!).
Now I don’t know about you, but I hate knowing how much is on the bar. It kind of psyches me out if I know how much I’m lifting – because as soon as I get to my last PR, I kind of balk. My brain tells me I can’t lift more. However, for some reason on Saturday, I was feeling some major mojo and started being reckless; I deliberately calculated how much I was lifting. I DARED that bar to defeat me once I got to 225lb. I didn’t go from 225 to 230…no siree! With insolent abandon, I put 10lb on and went straight for a PR of 235. And bless my giddy aunt, if I didn’t pick that thing up immediately! For good measure and to show that bar who was boss, I did 3 reps at my new PR. Then I swaggered to the pull up bar and hung there with a cheesy grin in my heart.
I went back to the trap bar and added some more weight…240lb. Yes!! Nailed it! Drank some coffee, drank some water, hung from the pull up bar then did some cobra stretches. Added more weight: 245lb. Bam! Pixie-danced over to Nancy and Beth-Ann and whooped it up. Went back to the trap bar and just for the hell of it, picked it up again. 245lb, people. 245LB!!! (Today, my glutes and lats are giving me grief for what I did to them, but a wee bit o’ foam rolling will shut them up, for sure.) I really want to be able to lift at least 1 ½ times my bodyweight by the end of the year and am hopeful that I will get to that goal. But for right now, I am the swagger queen of my household. And if you want to see the 245lb lift, you can click on THIS LINK and then contact me for an autograph.
Reason # 3: The second week in September, my new and improved husband, and my improving self went to the Adirondacks for a week. (By the way, I recommend the Wild Center at Tupper Lake…it’s the bee’s knees!)
We surprised ourselves that week. Normally we gain weight on vacation, but we didn’t chow down on junk. If we went out for dinner, we chose delicious but healthy food and only ate half of what was on our plate. (What is it with the mahoosive portions anyway?) We cooked together. One night, I had the unusual experience of cooking wild rice on a propane burner and veggie curry on a charcoal grill, as there was a huge power outage for 7 hours all the way from Mayfield up to Speculator. Cooking outside at night, by flashlight, hoping that bobcats and bears were not attracted to the smell of curry was a little disconcerting. Dan, in the meantime was in hunter/gatherer mode; driving to Gloversville in the hope of finding some hurricane lamps and/or candles. By the end of the week, with the kayaking and walking, we both found that we had lost weight. Our clothes were looser and we had slept well all week. In fact, I can fit back into clothes that I haven’t been able to wear since 2013! I have gone from a size 18/20 to a size 12/14. Another reason to grin.
Reason # 4: Another upside to us eating so much better is Dan’s willingness to try new foods and the variation we are eating. It’s made cooking, for me, so much easier. Yes, he is eating grains and legumes, but it’s no hardship to add them in for him. Also, we’d worked out between us, that when we bought our junky lunches, we were spending a huge amount every month. Now, we take packed lunches full of greens, veggies, nuts, protein, good fats and fruit. Yes, we spend more at farmers markets and organically, but the health benefits outweigh everything, and we are actually saving money; because when we break down how much our packed lunches are, it’s a pittance to what we were spending every day, buying our lunches at a supermarket or, heaven help me, a gas station.
Reason # 5: I want to leave you with a delicious recipe that I tried out last night. It’s from the New York Times and I adapted it to be a little healthier for us. Cauliflower Gratin with Goat Cheese. The recipe calls for skimmed milk and breadcrumbs. I substituted almond & coconut milk for the skimmed milk and used almond meal instead of breadcrumbs. Serve it as a side or as its own meal with a green salad. And yes, it has goat cheese, but every now and then, I love me some goat cheese and eating 80/20 Paleo gives me some leeway. This recipe literally gave me a “cheesy grin”!
So there you have it. 5 reasons for huge, cheesy grins. What small or big things have caused you to grin outwardly like a maniac or inwardly like a delicious, introverted hug this past month?
Until next time, I’m off to call Tom Cruise and see if he needs a body double to hang off a helicopter for “Mission Impossible 7”.
Stay strong and healthy!
- J x