Strength Monday 03/19/12 (w/ Bonus Nom Nom)

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In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

Introversion & Inversion

I’ve been known to exaggerate for dramatic and/or comedic affect, but it’s no exaggeration when I say that I spent both Saturday and Sunday on the couch in various states of reading, napping, and movie watching. I rivaled Smudge for weekend hours logged in a semi-conscious state. PaleoFX was a whooptastically good time — interspersed with moments of pure frexcitement — and as a mostly-introvert, I found it both exhilarating and exhausting. But it also totally kicked my ass in a way that only that much social interaction can. (I have lots to share with you about PaleoFX; look for my recap of my paleo celeb sightings, presentation takeaways, and photos tomorrow.)

Do you know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert? It can make a huge difference in how you manage (survive/enjoy) different situations and adventures. If you’re energized by interaction with others, you’re mostly an extrovert. If you need solitude to replenish your energy, you’re mostly an introvert.

I’m generally uninhibited, which confuses people and tricks them into thinking that I’m an extrovert: I have a “big personality,” I love people, I talk a lot, and I’m pretty brazen about public speaking and acting like a ding-dong even when others are watching. However, I can only emit that kind of energy for so long before I need to sit quietly and recharge — and that’s the calling card of the introvert.

So yeah, I spent two days lying low to counteract last week’s paleo mania, then this morning, I was ready to hit the gym this morning for some barbell time. I was feeling fired up by my limited-edition (already sold out), totally badass Nom Nom Paleo knee socks. Nothing says “deadlift day” like knee socks adorned with the name of one of my favorite people.

And those magic socks brought me extra strength! The last set of the day on the 5/3/1 program is always max reps, and I squeezed TEN 140# deadlifts off the floor this morning. I can only attribute it to the special powers of the socks. Then, ’cause I was feeling cocky, I did a handstand, too.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m feeling down about my weight and fitness right now, so sometimes I need to invert myself to remember how far I’ve come and to remind myself that there’s always a different perspective if we’re willing to take a look. (Handstands weren’t always my thing; read all about my terror and the day I finally go it.)

run around the parking lot (maybe 600m)
2:00 elliptical
2X (10 air squats + 10 pushups + 10 rotations)
PVC work:
slow squats
slow good mornings
shoulder mobility


65% of max = 5 reps @ 105#
75% of max = 5 reps @ 125#
85% of max = max reps @140#. I did 10.

Overhead Press:
65% of max = 5 reps @ 55#
75% of max = 5 reps @ 60#
85% of max = max reps @ 70#. I did 6.


2 rounds:

15 renegade rows, 20# db
50 walking lunges
50 situps


1:00 handstand


Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Did you have training fun today?



Monday Strength 4/15/13

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I'm following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym...

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Strength Wednesday 4/3/12 (w/ Bonus Arm Noodles)

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I'm following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym...

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  • Windy says:

    Introvert for sure! I too have spent a couple of days on the couch after leaving my comfort zone in the dust and spending a significant amount of time socializing with peeps I did not know.
    (Soooooo happy I did!)
    I am fasting, so no workout today.

  • Ed says:

    Gotta love the handstands…fun and inversions are always good for the blood flow…

    • Mel says:

      I do love handstands. It took me a lifetime to work up the courage to try them, but now, I love ’em… as long as the wall is there 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    Yay for handstands! I’m reading through your cookbook right now-yes reading each and every word, not just skimming recipes and i’m loving it!

    I think your hot plates will be the new way I eat! I’m so excited!

  • Jules says:

    Love your Inov-8s! I need to get back to work on the elusive handstand; I’ve always had a fear of being upside-down :/

  • Roberta says:

    100% introvert! And I LOVE those socks. The shoes rock too!

  • I miss that upsidedown face so much!! I’m now 5 weeks out from my powerlifting meet! Today was 6×5 backsquats at 155, benchpress 5@95, 5@105, 5@115, 4×4 strict press at 65, 3×10 pushups. I’m…tired (and extroverted). I may need to order those socks. 🙂 Love you Mel!!

    • Mel says:

      MACHINE GUN! I can’t believe your meet is in 5 weeks… so awesome! Can we come watch? Where is it? Do you want us to come cheer for you?

      • I can’t believe it either. I’m going to do my best! The meet is at Fort Hood in Killeen and I would LOVE for you to come. I know some CFA folks are coming. BUT. It is also the weekend of regionals in SA and the Bun Run…and some other stuff. So, I am totally understanding if you guys are pulled in many directions.

  • Chris B says:

    I just said almost exactly the same thing this weekend to a visiting musician (couch-surfing at my place) who is a true extrovert while I am just like you.
    I can talk your ear off and be very outgoing – UNTIL I CAN’T. And then I need some time in my cave (or in a bookstore cafe all by myself) before the whole idea of talking to someone sounds vaguely appealing or even possible.

    • Mel says:

      Exactly! You’re just going along, ‘La, la, la… this is fun!’ then WHAM!

      • DanaG says:

        TOTALLY me, too. People just don’t believe it, because Italk, am very outgoing…..UNTIL I CAN’T. Perfect description.

        Hubby knows there are days when I hear from NO ONE.

        Me want nom-nom scoiks! Any chance for a second edition? (I suppose I could always ask nom-nom, but here I am.)

  • aseafish says:

    I’m such an introvert, and just as you describe, I am outrageous and outspoken much of the time. I used to debate and speak competitively but was horror-struck by the thought of an oral report in school, not to mention one on one conversations with people I barely knew.

    As far as training goes, I am simply ignorant over how to start. My diet is darned near perfect, while my exercise program is almost nonexistant.

    • Mel says:

      Re: training… just pick a workout and start. Want me to give you one? OK, here you go:

      3 rounds:
      400m run (jog, whatever)
      25 squats
      15 situps


    • Alisha says:

      I am exactly the same way. I did debate in high school, but I would freak out about oral presentations. I love being out with people and can talk for ages but feel totally worn down by the end of the week. I started having F Off Fridays where my boyfriend and I make dinner and stay in and it made a huge difference.

      I still get super nervous before work presentations, but I am always the person that they have show new people around because I can be outgoing. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  • Marianne says:

    I’m a clown and I can spend hours talking wih interesting people. But the rest of the time, I need to be alone in my things… Cats, books Pens and pencils… I’m definitely introvert. I’m living a parallel life in my head even when walking in busy places and I need it. As for training….. Mmmmm…. Well I could do better ;0)
    have a great week!

  • Erica says:

    Biggest introvert of all time!!!! You NEED to read the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” if you haven’t already. It put so many puzzle pieces together for me and made me feel so normal!

  • sarah k. says:

    Another introvert here. Seriously, any extro-s yet? How many of us are there? I have this one friend, who, for the first year of knowing me, thought there was something wrong with me that she could fix. She kept inviting me to things, like parties full of people I didn’t know, and just didn’t understand what was up. She finally gave up, and though she is the source of the both the best compliment and worst insults I’ve ever had, she still thinks I’m just socially boring because parties with lots of people make me instantly weary.

    Praise the magical internet, where introverts can get together on their own time.

    Also, introverts are funner to watch Downton Abbey with.

  • Beth says:

    Introvert – although like yourself everyone guesses me to be an extrovert and I think there’s a vague sense of disappointment when people expect me to be ‘on’ when instead I need to escape for some solitude.

    You life really heavy? When deciding to lift heavy, how do you know where to begin?

    What is the value of headstands?

    This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog, but I read your work all the time and love. I also made your pork carnita recipe -FANTASTIC!!

    Also, what kind of shoes are you wearing?

    • Mel says:

      Heavy lifting: The easiest way to start is to use a gym that has a lifting rack, pick up an empty bar, do 8-10 reps of, say, a squat, then start putting weight on the bar. Start with sets of 5 and work up to where they’re heavy, but still manageable. There are tons of books on the subject, if you really want to get into it in a serious way. I always just did 5 sets of 5 reps until I started the 5/3/1 program. For that, you need to know your 1-rep max, which is just the heaviest weight you can lift one time. That can be fun to figure out — you just keep loading the bar ’til you can’t do it any more.

      Handstands –> #1 value is that I like to do them. #2 is that they’re good for building upper body strength. #3 is that doing them gives me confidence to try other stuff. Also: silly fun.

      Those shoes are Inov-8s.

  • Beth says:

    Ha. Just saw I wrote ‘you life really heavy’? Sometimes I life IS really heavy, but I meant lift heavy. 🙂

  • Laura Maxwell says:

    Loved reading the handstand post. I used to be there. Now I’m just trying to face my fear of the box jump. Some day, possibly tomorrow.

    • Mel says:

      Box jumps are a big one for lots of people, I think. I struggled with them for ages, too. Here’s the post I wrote about THAT…

      • Rose says:

        Mel, Loved the article about the handstands! My big issue is box jumps, going to read your post on that next. I can do 14.5′ jump but the 20″ freaks me out, working on getting over this one next. Nice work on your strength training.

        • Ashley says:

          I’ve been stalking this site for a while… Rose- regarding box jumps (my nemesis!), my fear was missing and injuring my poor little shins. To counteract this I stacked bumper plates to 20″ and the rubber made me feel better. Then I graduated to a real box and one of the coaches put duct tape on the edge and that really worked! I am still not completely confident but managed to do all 50 for Filthy Fifty yesterday!

          • Rose says:

            Thanks Ashley! I’m going to keep practicing to get over this issue. Nice job on the 50 !

  • Lydia says:


    Tuesday is my Crossfit intro class, btw.


    • Mel says:

      I’m not going to wish you luck, instead I wish you FUN! Enjoy it! Give yourself over to being uncomfortable and f*cking revel in it. YAY!

      • Lydia says:

        Because I’m a weirdo, I actually enjoy that next-day stiffness. I’m just a little nervous about actually INJURING myself. My track record of injury-free exercise has not been stellar these last six months. Ugh.

        I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Melissa M says:

    Outgoing introvert here, too! Kudos for your badass deadlifts, handstands, and NomNom socks!

    I read these recently, posted on Facebook by an acquaintance, and have been mulling them over ever since. I would LOVE to hear your take on these articles if you have a chance to read them.

  • Kathleen says:

    Looking mighty fine and badass there, girlfriend.

  • Supers says:

    Oh, I so relate to the handstand thing.
    I kicked up into a handstand against the wall on my own yesterday (this has taken years to achieve!) and squealed the whole way through. And then did it twice more just to make sure I could!

  • De23 says:

    I’m a major introvert too, which is doubly tough when you have kids, because even on your “down” times at home you still have to respond to the wee ones. I have a conference this week that I’ve been looking forward to for two weeks – all because my hotel roommate backed out and I have a room ALL TO MYSELF. And – bonus! – my ride has to be there by 5:00 for a meeting but I have nothing scheduled for the whole evening! At this point in my life, 4 hours of being on my own, unscheduled, is like a visit to paradise.

  • Carrey says:

    Despite the hectic schedule I keep (two jobs/two classes this semester), totally an introvert. It’s funny, though, Meg’s (my fiancee)even more of an introvert than me. So, in that situation, I’m the one who says, “We need to see our friends. We should go be social.” In everyday life – introvert. In my relationship – social butterfly.

  • Julie says:

    Put another notch in the Introvert category. I’m like you though Mel, I love people and I love to talk, and I can definitely hold my own in a crowd, but at the end of the day I absolutely must spend some time in my cocoon in order to re-energize.

  • Susan says:

    I’ve never commented before but I’ve been dropping by now and then recently because I just bought your book and I LOVE IT. You have me to thank for at least three other sales already 🙂 I’ve read it cover-to-cover and made several things all in one week. Thank you!

    Also, thought you might be interested to know that the outgoing introvert things works the other way, too: I’m a shy extrovert. It took me years to figure this out because I (along with everyone else) assumed that I must be an introvert because I’m quiet and I like to read. But, like you, that’s great . . . until it isn’t. Then I MUST INTERACT!

    • Mel says:

      YAY, Susan. Thanks for speaking up… and thanks for the Well Fed love. WOOT!

      Interesting that you’re our opposite. Neat!

  • Kelly R. says:

    I am another introvert! Everyone knows when I am in the room, but anyone who knows me knows when it is time for me to get the hell out of that room. I thought I was the only person that needed at least two days of people-free recovery from fantastically fun, adventerous vacations. Decompression is the best!

    I’m still hanging out and waiting for my shin injury to heal (Rose – this might have happened on a box jump, but don’t let that scare you! I was going to fast for my own good!). Stitches are out, but the swelling is preventing me from even walking normally. Boy do I want to push press tonight!

  • Erika says:

    Introvert, here… with a very extroverty job. And an extroverty husband. So glad I read more about the concept and no longer feel like a freak. I bet there are more of us than the statistics indicate… and I’m looking forward to reading that book the earlier poster recommended!

    I love your word “frexcitement.” I’m working on a wall-free handstand now and boy is that scary! I convinced our local gymnastics place to start up an adult class, which I am taking– and every time I fling myself into the air there, I think of you, and even though I am the least-accomplished gymnast in the class, I give myself props just for doing things that scare me.

    Thanks for being an ongoing source of inspiration. And great snacks.

  • Erin says:

    Add me to the introvert list! I just had a total ‘duh’ moment, no wonder I just want to chill on the weekends! My job is very ‘extrovert’ and while I love it, I am mind weary by the end of a week.

    If you really want to cook your noodle, try ‘pike’ handstands with body at a 90 degree angle, and feet on the wall, hands about 3 feet from the floor. Then alternate one foot up above the head.

    My personal fave are headstands. A great way to change perspective on the world.

    • Mel says:

      Erin, thanks for the recommendation on the pike handstands. We did those in yoga a few weeks ago, and they were super fun (and hard!). I forgot about them ’til just now… thanks!