Push It… Push It Real Good

One of the things I like most about physical challenges is what they teach me about the way I think.

Last Friday, I had a horrible time at my CrossFit Women workout at the gym, and it was 100% my fault. I approached my workout with the wrong attitude. I suspect it’s because I was tired, but whatever…

I know I do best when I tackle a workout with optimism and feel “competitively inspired” by the people around me — instead of using others’ excellent performance as a stick with which to beat myself into a bloody pulp.

I do best when I tell myself something like, “Sure, she’s faster/stronger/leaner, but it would be really fun to try to catch her. I wonder if I can… gooooOOOO! Woohooo!” … instead of giving in to this kind of self-defeating thinking: “F*ck! She’s getting ahead of me. I’ll never be able to do a pullup like that. I’ll never have the body I want. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be good enough.”

That knee-jerk, “old me” way of thinking is just toxic — and completely useless.

Now, Monday morning, rested and still flying high on the kickass training I did over the weekend, I know I was exhausted on Friday. I needed to take a breather, remember why I do CrossFit, and have FUN while trying hard, instead of being all intense and weird. I know “intense” works for a lot of CrossFitters, but not me. Delight, fun, wonder, play… these are the best ways for me to excel at my workouts.

So this morning, instead of being dumb and being threatened by our new (fast, young, pretty) Bootcamper Lyssa, I recruited her onto Team Mel. We were running up the parking garage during our warmup at a faster-than-easy pace when she started to pass me.

“You’re going to be really good for me,” I told her on an exhale. “It’s great to have you here to push me.”

“Well… let’s go!” she said. And we picked up the pace. By the time we got back to Crystal and Megan, we were almost in a full sprint.

Now THAT’S fun.

I just have to be careful not to hog Lyssa all to myself at Bootcamp because the new infusion of energy — coupled with her being just a little faster and stronger than the rest of us — is going to be fantastic for the whole group.

Plus, she’s not better at EVERYTHING. My pushups hold up pretty well against our lovely newcomer. (BRAG ALERT below.)

Our workout:
3 rounds:

  • 10 L + 10 R rotation wall slams
  • 10 wall ball
  • 10 L + 10 R overhead side slam + lateral jump over ball

(1st round 10-lb ball, 2nd & 3rd 6-lb. ball — ’cause I was sharing the 10-lber with my homies…. not ’cause I was tired 😉 Those lateral jumps over the med ball were WAY harder than they looked.

Max rounds 10 minutes:

  • 15 sprawls
  • 12 front squats, 15-lb. dbs
  • 9 L + 9 R 1-arm snatch, 15-lb. db
  • sprint down & up stairs, 4 floors

I finished 3 rounds in 10:25. No one can beat me on pure stubbornness. When I left for my final sprint, there were 15 seconds to go, and I was hellbent on finishing 3 full rounds, even though I knew I would go over the cutoff time.

Partner med ball, 10-lb. ball

  • 15 situp + overhead throw
  • 15 pushups + clap w/ partner
  • 15 3-tap Russian twist + chest pass
  • 15 situp + overhead throw
  • 15 pushups + clap w/ partner


Last week, I did 431 pushups.

Monday: 106 pushups
Tuesday: 30 pushups + 60 renegade rows
Wednesday: 30 pushups + 45 man-makers
Friday: 30 pushups
Saturday: 100 burpees

My form is looking H-O-T, and I think I see a new line of definition in my right shoulder (but not my left because my left arm is still fatter than my right. GAH!)


The Best Version of Ourselves 2018

The post below was originally published in 2011, and it's been updated each year to reflect where I am in my life and the new...

Read More
A Little Respect (Strength Monday 7/8/13)

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy stuff and work on skills...

Read More


  • lyssa says:

    Mel isn’t telling the whole truth about me (Lyssa) or the pushups–she kicked my ass in our final round of pushups!

    So glad I found your blog, you’re a great writer and I love hearing about Crossfit struggles … I’m totally down for a weekly pushup challenge. See you tomorrow morning!