Strength Monday 05/21/12 (w/ Bonus Bathing Suits)

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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 in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

Hello, summer.

Dave and I are going on a yoga retreat next week in Tulum, Mexico… seven days of sand, surf, sun, and Satnam. (More on that later this week.)

When we went to Costa Rica a few weeks ago, my favorite bathing suit (black scoop neck tank with long, rock-n-roll fringes) popped an underwire. Very upsetting! And I decided my other stand-by — an athletic-shaped, black scoop front-scoop back — was serviceable, but not totally vacation worthy.

But I hate shopping, and I’m kind of a cheapskate, so it’s hard to get me to spend money on things I don’t deem essential. (My essentials? Food, books, Smudge’s food… and that’s about it.)

Thank goodness for smart Internet friends like Holly. Her post “Real Life Style: Look Foxy In A Bathing Suit – No Starving or Exercise Required” convinced me to at least try to find a new bathing suit for this summer. Something that would make me feel fun and flirty and fit.

Rather than focusing on my flaws — a little more belly than I’d like; left arm bigger than right arm; arms, in general, just lookin’ a little too meaty — I decided to shine the spotlight on the good stuff.

Legs: I have thighs like hams, and I like ’em. They’re short, but they’re in proper proportion with the rest of my body, and they look strong.

Boobies: I’m not always glad they’re there, but bathing suit time is a pretty sweet time to have them.

Collar Bones / Shoulders: They’re not quite as defined as they used to be, but they still look feminine and strong, so I’ll take ’em.

I decided to hit up Land’s End because they have cute separates that offer plenty of support for the… um, er… the Girls. Plus, I la-la-love swimming skirts because they remind me of old Hollywood. I chose these three pieces. Cute right?!

(In case you care, they’re the SwimMini, Princess Tankini, and Halter Tankini. They’re all available in other colors, too, so don’t be put off by the all-black theme to which I will always remain loyal.)

So, friends — both female and male — if you’re sweating the fact that the temps outside mean bare arms, legs, shoulders, back, and, potentially, tummy — or if you’ve been stalling on the torture of [dressing room + expensive bits of spandex + bad lighting] keep these things in mind:

(1) We’re all with you and/or we’ve all been there. Some seasons are better than others for body image. But you can survive it — and maybe you’ll be happily surprised.

(2) Read this post from Holly and take her good advice. Make an investment in a good quality suit that flatters your body… and then forget about it. The true value of a bathing suit is that it’s the appropriate costume for all kinds of fun adventures: swimming, splashing, Frisbee, snorkeling, lounging, beach running, handstands in the pool, cannonballs, water slides, tubing… and maybe some water ballet!

5:00 elliptical
PVC shoulder mobility
10 slow PVC Frankenstein squats + 10 PVC good mornings
10 slow PVC back squats + 10 PVC good mornings
10 slow PVC OH squats + 10 PVC good mornings
straight-leg march


5 @ 75% of max = 135#
3 @ 85% of max = 145#
max reps @ 95% of max = 160# – I did 6.

Dave had 200# on his bar, so I decided to try it. I got into position, contracted my abs, cleared my mind, and… got the bar about 2 inches off the floor before the whole thing kinda collapsed. I rested for a minute or so, and tried again, but  no dice. Thisclose to getting that damn 200# off the floor. Maybe next month!

Bench Press:
5 @ 75% of max = 85#
3 @ 85% of max = 95#
max reps @ 95% of max = 105# – I did 4.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve never benched 105# before. It was exhilarating!


11:00 AMRAP:
11 push press, 55#
11 kb swings, 12 kg
11 box jumps, 20″ box

I did 5 full rounds plus 5 push press.

How are you feeling about bathing suit season this year?

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  • gogo says:

    I’m starting my first whole 30 today; I need to tell someone, so I’ll tell you and your readers because you seem cool 🙂 My biggest challenges will be to cut my fruit consumption down to only “some fruit”… and to change my post workout carb from fruit to sweet potatoes. I work out HIIT first thing in the morning and eat after, usually fruit and 3 eggs 🙂 Can’t wait to read more of the blog for info!

    Totally happy about your yoga retreat, how awesome….and big fan of the bathing suit choice, well done!

  • Mel says:

    Have you checked out Title Nine? I’ve got ham-thighs, too 🙂 and a belly – and ended up pretty darn happy with this tankini:

    The bra actually has underwires and a hook-and-loop closure in the back. Not too much reveal in the bottoms. Good stuff. 😀

  • Julene says:

    So, so, SO not enthused about bathing suit season. 😐

  • melephant says:

    I’m pretty damn excited for bathing suit season this year. They’re filling the pool in my apartment complex this weekend. I bought a bikini bottom that fits perfectly a couple weeks ago and just found a top to go with it that I LOVE. My main issue with baring all that skin are the varicose veins that are popping up on my legs (truly my father’s daughter), but I have decided to take his FTW approach and bare my legs with confidence this summer(a little suntan helps, too).

  • Susan says:

    Yes! It was definitely time to invest in a swimsuit that is made well and actually fits without spillage or squeezing. No more Target clearance bin for me. I went to Victoria Secret online and found a cute, supportive halter top with cinched up boy short bottom. Free shipping and returns if you bring it to their store. Score!

  • Mallory says:

    This is actually the first year I’m excited about bathing suit season – it’s the first summer since I started CrossFit! I tried on one of my swimsuits yesterday and strutted around the house for a while 🙂 Can’t wait for my vacation to Charleston next week! Have fun on yours, Melissa!

  • Tasha says:

    I love the idea of finding the “right suit for your body” and then not acting on it. You should find the right suit for you, in that it makes you feel good and works for your purposes (swimming, jumping, running, playing, lying about, posing, whatever). I am in need of a new suit and since I don’t need support, I’m on the hunt for bottoms that will stay on and any ol’ top that’s cheap.

  • Mariah says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with bathing suit season. This is the first year I’ll have a decent body for a suit, which is extremely exciting.

    I’ve got some serious squatter’s booty and thighs, which I love. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost everything on top, but I have nice lats and traps/shoulders now so it’s a little evened out. (There’s a plus side to all those power cleans and snatches!) Plus, when you don’t have much, it’s nice not having to worry about the ladies falling out.

    However, I’ve got lovely red pores against white skin.. so it looks like I’ve got continual razor burn on my legs. Sunscreen makes me break out, but I burn within 15 minutes. Urk!

    But yes, it’s definitely time to find myself a little pushup for the top and something cute for the bottom… even if it is only worn outside for 15 minutes at a time. 🙂

    • Marie says:

      Have you tried straight coconut oil? I did on Sat when we hit the farmers market as a test and then did a round of shopping. while it was only short stints outside and car sun, that’s usually enough to burn me and inflame my pores. I didn’t burn and two days later my red pores and the itching seem to have calmed down. I’ll be trying this daily. Also Google wellness mama. she had a blog on homemade sunscreens recently that i’m going to try since like you sunscreens give me rashes.

  • Mariah says:

    Oh, and I love Holly’s post as well. I just read that recently!

  • Katee says:

    I planned a trip to the hot springs for our gym for June 3rd and 4th. We are gonna show them what a crossfit body looks like. Everyone is excited to have fun and hang out together! Girls are going shopping for new swimsuits this Saturday! Kinda hard not to pick the right one, when you have 10 other women telling you how awesome and strong you look while trying them on!

  • JennF says:

    Timely post as I count down the last few days before my own island retreat. Bathing suit shopping came early for me this year. Every year I say “when I have a flat belly I’m going to buy myself a bikini”. Well I still don’t have a flat belly, but damnit I bought myself a bikini anyway! I’m not going to be the person with the best body on the beach, but I’m not going to be the person with the worst body either, so I decided not to care so much, since most likely other people won’t give me a second glance. So for the first time since I was a teenager, my belly is going to be exposed to the public and the sun!

  • Sarah says:

    Well if you want to show off your more random/punk style you seem to rock, you should go with this suit 🙂

  • Lydia says:

    Lands End swimsuits rock. I bought the Tunic Slender Suit (05728-9A67) nearly ten years ago, and it has yet to fail me. I feel like Esther Williams in it.

  • Amy says:

    I’m new to your blog, but I had to post when you mentioned water ballet:

    Strutting around a city pool in a crazy costume, doing synchronized swimming routines and having a blast while working your butt off can be a great self esteem boost and make you stop worrying about the bathing suit! Sadly I’m too busy to participate this year but if you know someone in the Baltimore area who might be interested, sign ups are next week. I think the next show has sort of space theme.

    • Mel says:

      Sweet! Thanks for sharing. Man! I hope there’s a reader in Baltimore that wants to sign up. I would LOVE to try that.

  • Holly says:

    Super cute choices!!! And thanks for the shout out. I’m on a mission this summer to get everyone I know to buy a bathing suit they like 🙂 I’m surprised by how many friends haven’t bought bathing suits in years because the act of shopping for one is so traumatic. I’m a fan of ordering online and trying them on in my own house — the lighting is better that way, at least 🙂

  • Tom R. says:

    Hey Mel-

    Haven’t been checking in as often (apologies) but still lurk by every now and then. While I have much input on booies and female swimsuits, I doubt it’s the input you are looking for. I did see your post last week about looking for some what-what in your workouts.

    I’ve gotten a little ho-hum myself and have had some elbow bursitis blow up, which limits a lot of what a guy can do (hello back squats and sprints). For yourself, I might suggest scheduling in one workout a week to give you that kick in the shorts. Maybe it’s going in and hitting a WOD with your morning crew; maybe it’s pulling that heavy single dead; maybe it’s something else. From having read a lot of your posts, I think a once a week visit to CF Austin might be something to consider. Sure, you will get your tail smoked and wouldn’t PR Fran if she were put on the board, but you would get a little charge, see your friends and have a lot of fun.

    Positive thoughts your way…

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Tom! That’s a really good idea that I will definitely throw into the consideration set.

      Sorry to hear about your bursitis — BOO! Wishing you quick healing.

  • Jamie says: for bathing suits. Bra sizing. Hello!

  • Andrea says:

    Yep, I’m with Jamie…big boobies need bra sized suits…I love Athleta as well. the suits are a bit pricey but they hold up well and fit GREAT! Surf the internet for those coupon codes or buy at the end of the season, they have great sales!

    So, this is off topic but…has anyone told you lately just how fabulous you are for creating the absolute best cookbook on the planet? You have completely rocked my world and freed my mind and palate with your over the top recipes! You have introduced me to new flavors and taught me how to change things up by substituting spices…I was stuck in a rut of S&P and garlic powder…everything tasted the same (delicious but the same!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I hope you have a super time in Tulum. Namaste.

    • Mel says:

      Andrea, you’re welcome to go off topic anytime if it’s to give me a compliment 😉

      Thank you SO much for your lovely words about Well Fed. I’m so glad you’re having fun in the kitchen with the recipes.

      Namaste and satnam to you!

  • Emily says:

    Love Lands End suits! I just bought my second one. I’ve had my current suit for five years and there is nothing wrong with it but I’ve got a beach trip coming up and figured I might need two suits. My new suit makes me feel like a 1940s Hollywood glamor girl! Plus, it hides my tummy. A swimsuit that fits well and lasts = well worth the money.

  • Tonja Pizzo says:

    Wow, we could be twins–I got my “mom-kini” at Athleta (my FAVORITE on line shopping outlet)–I too bought 3 pieces–however I went with a black top, a black swim skirt…which tends to be my uniform–even having lost 40 pounds, I’m still most comfortable wearing the all slimming black. BUT, just to go a little out of my comfort zone–to really change things up a bit–to get just a little bit CRAZY–I also bought a SALMON PINK SWIM SKIRT!! WHOOO HOOOO!

    • Mel says:

      Good for you! I almost bought fuchsia, but they were out of my size, so all black it is. Have so much fun flouncing around in your salmon pink skirt this summer!

  • Tonja Pizzo says:

    PS. I like your choices. Halters are fun!

  • Love 5/3/1! When I started it my deadlift was 195. About 6 months later I pulled 245! Although, I’ve never benched over 100 lbs in my life…nice work!