Strength Monday 3/4/13 (w/ Badassery)

photo –

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 stuff and work on skills.

Why, hello, badass attitude! I’ve missed you.

I’m feeling good. Like, Good. Like, not fatigued or mushy or half-assed or any of the other negative descriptors that have appeared in this blog occasionally in this blog since the Frankenneck adventure began. I’m going back to Dr. Sebring tomorrow to get the results of my blood tests — and then I’ll give y’all an update on my supplement/prescription routine — but based on “feels,” things are good.

Although I’ve been enjoying the mini metcons that have been part of my workouts lately, I’m taking a break from them for the month of March. Dave and I finalized our production schedule for Well Fed 2, and we’re working seven days a week this month. It’s fun work, and it’s 100% what I want to be doing, but it’s also a bit stressful. (Is this recipe good enough? What if my instructions aren’t clear? OHMYGOD I have to write headnotes for 103 recipes! I hope everyone likes Well Fed 2 as much as Well Fed… and on and on like that.) And the cooking/photography days are physically demanding. Which makes me think that overly stressful workouts aren’t the best idea right now.

Instead, I’m putting on my badass mask and following my heavy lifts with supplemental lifts at lower weights and higher volume. It’s sorta inspired by this and by this. (Also, the new version of Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program says to increase volume, repeat the first work set for max reps, so I’m adding that into my routine, too.)

These are my training principles for March:
1. Hit the weights HARD. Instead of getting breathless with metcons, I’m going to lift heavy things with deliberation.

2. Get outside. On days I don’t go to the gym, I’m hitting the trail around the lake for mostly walking. At 4 mph, my heart rate is elevated enough to do me good without taxing me too much. I reserve the right to add running intervals once in a while if I feel like it, but the goal is movement outside, not “5k for time.”

3. Meditate every day. The timing of my yoga classes doesn’t always jive with our photography schedule, but I can find 11 minutes to meditate on my own. It’s as essential for my mental and physical well being as #1 and #2 above.

4. Participation not perfection. I have a habit of deciding what the “best” way to do something might be, then doing it that way or not at all. In crunch times, that’s not the best approach. Example: In December, I decided I was going to meditate for 11 minutes every day. Then I decided that even better than meditating for 11 minutes would be a mini kundalini class of breath of fire for three minutes, then Sat Kriya for three minutes, then meditation for 11 minutes, then relaxation for six minutes, and suddenly I’d turned my daily meditation into a half hour commitment that got pushed aside because “I just don’t have an extra half hour today.” LAME! So now I’m back to pragmatism: I want these training principles to be my guide this month, but I’m not going to demand perfection. Showing up and doing my best is what I need and all I will expect of myself.

Dave made me pretend to be a badass in the kick boxing area of the craptastic gym:


5:00 treadmill: started at 3mph and increased speed every minute t0 4 mph

2 rounds:
11 air squats
11 rotations
11 deep squat to hamstring stretnch
static squat hold & ankle stretch
quad stretch


Overhead Press:
5 @ 65% of max =60#
5 @ 75% of max = 65#
max reps @ 90% of max = 75# – I did 4.
max reps @ 65% of max = 60# – I did 11.

5 @ 65% of max =130#
5 @ 75% of max = 150#
max reps @ 90% of max = 175# – I did 5.
max reps @ 65% of max = 130# – I did 11.


Not for time. I’m lifting with deliberation and a badass grimace.
3 sets:
11 front squat – 75#  75#  65#
lat pull-downs – 90#  90#  90#
rest 1:00

3X jump pullup + hold


:45 handstand against the wall (Note handprint evidence below.)

Do you ever let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of participation?

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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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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  • Rachael says:

    Is the new location of the Craptastic gym as craptastic as the old?

    • Mel says:

      It’s PHYSICALLY less craptastic, which is pretty nice, actually. It’s clean and there’s more light. But it’s still got the attitude of the craptastic, which I love.

  • Maire Sullivan says:

    Um, pretend? Not! You are a badass! At least that was my impression when I saw you in Estes Park.

    I am modifying the last line of this post and putting it on my wall at home to inspire both me and my 10yo son.
    “Don’t let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of participation.”
    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Well… I’m glad my impersonation of badasssery is working 🙂 YAY!

      I love that you like that line. And what a cool thing to teach your son. Right on.

  • Melissa says:

    there is no pretending to be a badass in that photo 😉

  • NJ Paleo says:

    I love the Wendler 5/3/1 program! So efficient yet effective. I chose the option of doing the main lift followed by the complementary lift at lower weight/higher reps. So for example, deadlifts might be my main lift (high weight/low reps) with assistance being squats at low weight/higher reps. It works for me and doesn’t take copious amounts of time. Let’s face it, who has tons of free time?

    Love your BA photo! That’s awesome!

    • Mel says:

      I’m thinking about trying that approach when I get back from our European adventure this summer. I just re-read the new 5/3/1 book, and I like his sample program for two days a week. I *might* try that in June.

      • NJ Paleo says:

        Yes, I have the new book too. Even doing the 2 day a week thing is do-able time-wise. I rarely do 4 days a week — usually 3 so I double up one day, and it still is not tremendously time consuming. Have fun on your European adventure! Should be fun!

  • Wow, love that photo of you! Good for you!!!

  • Keith says:

    Nope, you’re a bad-ass! The evidence is right there in your description of the overhead press. Your second set was 875% of max even though modestly
    counted it at #65. Take THAT barbell!

    And yes participation over perfection is a wonderful goal. After 2 years of Crossfit I am finally able do WODs for me and me alone. No more comparisons to athletes 30 years my junior, no more angst over mods or scaling so I can move and sweat with everyone else.

    Yeah for us!

    • Mel says:

      HA! That’s the most awesome typo EVER.

      Congrats on tackling your workouts on our own terms. It can be really hard in the context of CrossFit, but it’s so much better when you can just focus on yourself. Good on you!

  • Jacob says:

    Saw your link-back to 70sbig, where I’m the editor. Why not stop by Hyde Park Gym sometime? I like to think we’re not craptastic at all.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the invite! Hyde Park is quite a hike from my neighborhood, but I might come check it out for fun.

      And I say “craptastic” with pure devotion and affection. I love South Austin Gym.

  • Emily says:

    I love the badass shot. Badass.

    Yes! My perfect is forever the enemy of my good. I struggle with the all-or-nothing deal-y and have quit a lot of things in my life because I suddenly realized I wasn’t going to be the best at whatever it is I was doing. It’s a struggle for me to just “be” and enjoy the activity rather than trying to make everything a record of sorts.

    • Mel says:

      I have to work to not let my urge to be perfect get in the way of doing, and yoga has helped me a TON with that. I’m much more peaceful about doing stuff “just ’cause” now. Love it! You’ll get there.

      Thanks for saying badass twice.

  • Anita says:

    I frequently let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of participation!! You could even say that it’s my ‘M.O.’ – but I, too, am striving for participation over perfection.

  • Cathy M says:

    Whenever I read your workout details, I smile because you do 11 of everything, and it makes me think of Spinal Tap, when he’s explaining that his amps go to 11 instead of the standard 10.