Summer Training Plan (+ Strength Friday – 05/18/12)

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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.

I need a revamp.

I’ve been consistently throwing around the heavy barbells twice a week since January, and I love what it’s doing for my confidence and my frame. True, I’m still broader and heavier than I want to be — I feel like I get very “bulldog-y” when I gain weight… very dense — but I can see the scaffolding that sits underneath the external mushiness growing stronger and tighter. This is movement in the right direction.

But I’m not feeling fired up and inspired by my training. I often felt terror and joy when confronted with my CrossFit workouts, and I miss that very much (along with the social side of CrossFit Austin and my dear workout buddies in the morning class there). But given my hormones right now, my body is simply not ready for those high-intensity hits yet. My inner 8-year-old is throwing a hissy fit of epic proportions these days, demanding workouts that include a little glamour, a little sexiness, a little what-what that makes me feel like a super badass when I’m done.

So while my pre-teen self is whining and eye rolling, the adult in me is thinking honestly about what to do with myself this summer. What kind of plan can I put together for June, July, and August to make myself feel fit, accomplished, happy, and — please, oh please, oh please — leaner?

The yoga and meditation need to stay. The strength training is a given. Based on this very wise article from Whole9, I should probably be enjoying more low-intensity activity in my life, and I’m committed to GetUpStandUp on the days that I’m at my desk for long stretches. I also really love hitting the trail with Zombies, Run!, and I’d like to be doing more body weight movements that increase my heart rate but don’t wipe me out.

Putting all of that together in a sensible plan is going to be no small feat, but I’m going to make it happen. Damn it.

I’m going to chew on it all over the weekend to get a plan together for Monday and the start of a new week. I need to get back that feeling of zing wow! about my workouts, rather than the decidedly meh approach I’ve been feeling lately. It’s the foodie equivalent of eating plain poached chicken breast and steamed broccoli. I want to feast on workouts made up of — metaphorically, of course — spicy stuff like Merguez Meatballs, refreshing stuff like Vietnamese Chicken Salad, and luscious stuff like Tropical Chopped Salad.

To stretch this point to breaking, I need a workout plan I can sink my teeth into. (Sorry.)

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


Back Squat:
3 @ 70% of max = 100#
3 @ 80% of max = 110#
max reps @ 90% of max = 125# – I did 6.

Bench Press:
3 @ 70% of max = 75#
3 @ 80% of max = 90#
max reps @ 90% of max = 100# – I did 6.
(According to the 5/3/1 strength training program, that means my estimated 1 rep max is now 119#. Um, that would be a killer new PR. I’m thinking about doing a real 1 rep max day to kick off June training to see if that estimate is on the money.)

Bonus Fun:
bench press: 10 reps @ 65#
lat pull: 2 X 10 reps @ 80#

How are you feeling about your summer training plan?

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  • Andrea says:

    Sucky…I injured my shoulder at work and I’m in PT three times a week!!! I am missing my body-weight strength training and hot yoga classes!!!! I am truly grateful for my morning hour long walks though…Hopefully only a few more weeks until I’m released to some light training! Can’t wait to see what you come up with…I’m feeling a Bora Bora Fireball workout!

  • WendyD says:

    I hear you. Right now I’m taking 8 mile bike rides and LOVE it. But the kiddos are going to be out of school soon, so no can do. I had to give up my kettlebell workouts because I’d feel depressed for 2 to 3 days later. MISS them! My goal: work out journal and light kettlebells with intervals on my stationary bike. Mix in a yoga dvd here and there. Maybe that’ll do it.

  • Roberta says:

    I have a couple suggestions. First, I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but a nice hike always turns my frown upside down. (I’d recommend the dog thing again, but you’ve got poor smudge to consider). Secondly, I did only weight lifting for January, February, and March but occasionally my coach gave me a crossfit workout that was slower, heavier, and shorter than what you might do in a typical crossfit class. I was always extra happy after he threw in one of those workouts. Maybe something like there every week or two?

  • JulieC says:

    I hear ya! I’m waiting for some hormone tests to come back, but the dr said he may want me to chill my workouts out even more…. really? Currently doing 1-2 ‘chilled’ Crossfit sessions plus 2-3 low heart rate rowing sessions on the water each week. So counterintuitive to do less and hope for better results. I dread hearing him tell me to back off further. I’m sitting here trying to figure out where I can fit in a few sprint sessions. Oh, well. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog and book.

  • gogo says:

    I just found your blog while searching for healthy eating habits, I love it…and I am with you on the workout revamp! Winter is great because it’s easy to conceal a lil pooch under a black dress…but it’s spring now, time for lean and fit so our tattoos look good in tank tops 🙂

  • Wendy W says:

    Going through something very similar. Tried to work out through a bout of mono (I’m 41 – don’t ask….) and set myself back to the point where I finally had to give in and quit Crossfit. Also injured my elbow too during that time – which limited my options. PT just ain’t sexy, even though it helps. Been putzing around with some bodyweight stuff now that the elbow is healing. Still a ways away from Cindy at any speed (maybe 3 rounds – but not many more reps). I’m hoping to take some climbing classes this summer and do another round of aerial silks and some adult gymnastics.
    Good luck with the docs and the thyroid. And thank you so much for your blog.

  • dana g says:

    Hola! This post came just as I was pondering the same. I’ve gained weight, my thyroid’s getting rechecked and (hopefully) a slightly different plan in place will appear on that front. I want a Dr. Sebring! 🙂

    I have a triathalon Sunday (my first and probably only) and I’m frexcited, but nowhere near as well prepared as I was a few months ago!

    I def. need a revved up CF bora-bora meatballs to replace my boring chicken!


  • Sabrina says:

    Kick ass bench press!

  • melephant says:

    Hi Mel! I’m sure your forthcoming summer training plan will be a lovely blend of intensity and excitement. A veritable tropical-meatball-chicken salad-smoothie of satisfaction! It’s a good thing that your body is begging you to kick your own ass. I’m pretty sure it’s a sign that your superhero aspirations are coming along nicely.
    I am absolutely REVELING in the joy of movement this summer. Lifting big weights, riding bikes, kayaking, swimming, trail running, horseback riding, basketball, hiking, rock climbing. I spent the past two semesters hitting the books HARD (old-ass undergrad) and basically want to spend this endless summer bounding through open fields.

  • I’m excited about summer. My “A” race is June 10 (Olympic distance tri), then a week off, then mostly running and weight lifting for the summer. Even thinking about getting my husband into CrossFit. We’ll see… feeling strong now, though!

  • Linda says:

    One year, my BFF and I decided to walk the distance from Central Canada (where we live) to the East Coast. We kept track of all of our miles and added them together until we reached our destination. It was a fun way to stay motivated and it encouraged us to walk some wicked distances daily. We’d slap on our Garmins and report in weekly with our accomplishments. Wouldn’t it be fun to have all the Clothes Make the Girl buds work together on something like that?

  • kathy says:

    hate to sound *dumb* but what does PVC mean?

    • Trisha says:

      PVC is plastic pipe ( like for plumbing). You use a piece the length of a barbell for stretching and movements you might use a barbell for ( like overhead squats) but don’t want the weight. Often used for warm ups or cool downs.

  • Lydia says:

    Have you looked into any of Scott Sonnon’s bodyweight programs? Like TacFit or TacGym? They’re pretty intense, but are scaled to different ability levels and have good meditative aspects.

  • Trisha says:

    Im doing crossfit 3-4 days a week. I need the days off in between because my knee is still not 100% after surgery in January. But I’ve been thinking of ways to add lower intensity stuff myself. I’ve been wanting to take tennis lessons and get back to rollerblading. The tennis lessons may have to wait for a while while I build my knee up, but I’m gonna give rollerblading a go and hopefully that will help strengthen my knee. Plus I’m hoping I can skate from zombies, as I can’t run. 🙂

  • brian t says:

    i’d look into easy strength and never let go by Dan John (ES was co written by Pavel T)

    you could try his 40 day program, his big 21, or his one lift a day. His big saying is, “everything works – for the first 6 weeks”

    I morphed a program based off Joe Kenn’s tier system

    day 1
    strength total body lift
    (major) lower body
    (minor) upper body
    day 2
    strength lower body lift
    (major) upper body
    (minor) total body
    day 3
    strength upper body lift
    (major) total body
    (minor) lower body

    I typically go 2 days on 1 day off. I feel that as i get older that the rest is more important (age 36)

    the beauty is you can constantly change the strength scheme and exercise every 3-6 weeks to keep it fresh.

    the key is to come up with a list of exercises in each category and then you can just pick and choose.

    also add in some hill or prowler sprints.

  • June says:

    I need a revamp for summer too! I love your site and book! So I’m on day 8 of a n=1 whole 30 challenge, and I can’t believe how heavy I feel, like I’m weighed down with meat and fat! Very dense! Does this feeling go away? Pretty much all I’m eating is a ton of water, vegetables and salad, plus eggs, chicken, fish, blueberries and avocado. I also had one yam today. It doesn’t help that it’s 90 degrees here in Los Angeles but wow do I feel like a ton of bricks with sausages for toes! Please tell me that this heavy feeling goes away, I want to feel all the benefits you and everyone else are raving about…I’m excited for summer and for yummy paleo barbeques!

  • Mel says:

    Thanks for all the ideas and support, everyone! Love this conversation!

    I’m still mulling over my plan, but I’m leaning toward a few overarching goals:

    – movement every day (where “movement” is not a “bash myself into oblivion” workout… so alternating high intensity with walking and yoga)

    – strength training 2X per week, followed by either a 10-minute metcon OR additional light weight stuff to get my heart rate up

    – walking as often as possible for movement and Vitamin D

    – running at least once a week because I like it

    – two days on, one day off so I can get adequate rest. Three days in a row is too much for my taxed endocrine and adrenal systems

    I’m on vacation next week, then in June, I should have my 4-week plan to share in my continuing n=1 experiment.

  • Molly says:

    Had to lay off crossfit for 6 weeks following surgery in Feb. Have had the hardest time getting back with the program! Must motivate!! On a happy note, we got 2 paddle boards and I’m looking forward to lots of stand-up paddling this summer. Its quite a workout! Lots of balance and core work.