Strength Wednesday 7/3/13 (w/ Bonus ‘Tocks!)


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 a few times a week. For about 18 months or so, I’ve been using the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. It did a brilliant job of seeing me through my n=1 experiments and definitely increased my strength, but the way my body looks hasn’t changed the way I want it to. So in the interests of both science and vanity, I’m starting a new training program with The Movement Minneapolis that I’ll tell you all about very soon.

(If you’re new to strength training, here’s a great overview of what all the lingo below means.)

8:00 treadmill at 3.9 mph (1/2 mile)
arm circles, straight-leg march, air squats


8 rounds:
bear crawl, 60 feet (approx. 20 seconds)
scapular wall slides

9 rounds:
5 Romanian deadlift (RDL), 95#
11 crunches
time: 15:35

10 to 1: deadlift, 95#
1 to 10: kettlebell squat to overhead press, 12 kg


Handstand hold at the wall… just for fun!
Cat-cow, downward dog


I usually workout first thing in the morning when the Craptastic Gym is empty, my buddy Frank is working the front desk, and nobody except Dave can see or hear my sweaty efforts at superhero training. But yesterday, my schedule got away from me, and I hit the gym at 4:00 in the afternoon.

It was a whole different world.

The owner was there, teaching a personal training session. A handful of grizzly-lookin’ men were using the weight machines. A middle-aged, super-skinny woman in a leotard (!) was using a step machine. A young kid, maybe 17 or 18, was working with a jump rope in the boxing area. And there were two lean, wiry dudes doing plyometric pushups on medicine balls, like this:

New goal: Learn to do that.

I went into the back room where no one could see me to do the beginning of my workout: the bear crawl.

I la-la-love the bear crawl. It feels like playing, and I like to see how fast I can make it from one end of the mat to the other,Β  with a fancy flip-turn-pop-my-feet-whoop! before I head back the other way. (Best time yesterday: 17 seconds.)

It was the first time I’d ever done bear crawl in a gym with mirrors, and I got a shock when I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror: cleavage on full view as I crawled toward the mirror, butt wiggling with every step as I stalked back across the mat. It kinda looked like this:


The wall that divides the back room from the main gym is punctuated by huge windows, so you can see what everyone is up to. At one point when I was catching my breath β€” hands on hips, pretending to be a badass β€” I glanced through the window and saw some of the dudes in the main room returning my gaze. I looked at them like this:


Then I decided I didn’t care what they saw or what they thought, and I finished the rest of my workout. I may have been a little ambitious when I chose 95# as the weight for the deadlifts in my circuit, because when I was done, I felt like this:


Do you ever feel funny about how you look at the gym?

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  • kim says:

    I definitely have butt issues! Totally feel inhibitions with bear crawl and a room full of 20 somethings at crossfit wo’s. Hey, its a 56 year old butt, and I am fighting some major bug butt genes!!! I will have to work on ‘the look.’ Love it!

  • Hilah says:

    This made me crack up! And it explains exactly why I only do women-only workout classes. πŸ˜‰

  • boulderbird says:

    When I work shoulders I seem to inadvertently make a Billy Idol sneer. That can be a little embarrassing. And I know for a fact that at least one person started to talk with me based on my ass. Which would be creepy, except he was something like half my age, so I just found it funny.

  • claudia says:

    ROTFL! Loved this as usual. I feel the exact same way. When I was in my twenties I would always feel uncomfortable working out around people -all ’em skinny n’ fit, me feeling all pudgy n’ out of place… But now that I’m in my thirties, I actually enjoy the gym, and couldn’t care less about who’s looking at me squat or grunt or make that gnarly face on the last rep. Yeah I’m enjoying myself πŸ™‚

    PS: Just got “It starts with food” delivered, started reading it last night, cannot put it down! I’m at chapter 5 and can totally see my whole weekend played out in my head (reading in bed, reading in the couch, reading in a red light… LOL). Happy times ahead!! πŸ˜€

  • Melody says:

    LOL! I do boot camp in the park and am really picky about which way my butt faces on my mat — towards people walking by is a big no no.

  • Marcy says:

    Love the bear photos to go with your story. And I think it’s so awesome you did your workout anyway. I’m going to try to remember your example next time I start worrying about how I look to strangers over what I want to be doing!