Strength Thursday 11/8/12 (w/ Bonus Letting Go)

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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.

Letting Go

After the emotional overhead of  “Document Every Single Thing You Do October,” I’m enjoying just kinda rolling with my good habits and taking a break from journaling everything. It feels so refreshing! At Kundalini class on Tuesday, we had to visualize something that’s been troubling us, then see ourselves literally handing it to the universe. I have to admit, that little mental exercise has vastly improved my outlook this week. I don’t have to fret over individual details of my diet, my sleep, my temperature, my workouts. I merely need to do the things I know make me feel good and let it all unfold. Whew! (It’s worth noting, however, that without the month of documentation, I wouldn’t know which things make me feel good, so the detail work has to come before the “letting go.”)

But… I am still furiously scribbling in another trusty Mead Composition Book (college-ruled, of course) because I’m developing and testing recipes for Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. I’ve got 14 nailed so far — just 61 more to go… plus lots of tasty bonus material and quick, easy meal ideas. I’m super excited about WF2 and can’t wait to start sharing details. The other good news is that all of this cooking is inspiring new recipes that aren’t quite right for the book, but will make an appearance on my blog. New recipes for everyone! YAY!

Before I started chopping and stirring in the kitchen today, this is what I cooked up at the gym…

5:00 treadmill
5:00 drills on the running ladder

2 rounds:
10 PVC behind-the-neck press
10 PVC good mornings
10 PVC back squats
5 full pushups + 5 knee pushups
10 PVC rotations


Back Squat:
5 @ 75% of max = 105#
3@ 85% of max = 120#
max reps @ 95% of max = 135# – I did 7.
When the craptastic gym moved, they didn’t replace the mirrors on the walls, and I think my lifting has improved because I’m not watching myself in the mirror. My squats feel much lower and much calmer now that I’m not seeing the bar descend toward the ground (thereby crushing me under its unbearably heavy weight while the demon who lives at the bottom of the squat pokes my butt with a pitch fork… or maybe that’s just me.)

Bench Press:
5 @ 75% of max =85#
3@ 85% of max = 95#
max reps @ 95% of max = 105# – I did 2.


3 rounds, not for time, but keepin’ things moving:
11 front squat, 65# (up 5# from last week)
11 pull downs, 90#
11 incline dumbbell press, 30# dumbbells


On Thursdays, I follow my strength work with a 75-minute kundalini class.
Today we focused on the fifth chakra, which meant a bunch of moving/breathing exercises that focus on the thyroid. Good stuff! It was mentally tiring, and my legs were twitchy from the gym… so yeah, I loved it ’cause it was hard. Then we did a badass meditation that I’ll tell you all about tomorrow so you can join me a new habit (!).

Did you workout today? Lay it on us!

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  • Cynthia says:

    Lookin’ good ma! Thanks so much for these posts; they’re all the way inspiring and keeping me focused on the weight training. Today I did another NROLforLife workout, but got the Running Thin Man I married on board with the plan so we had fun in our craptastic home gym! Can’t wait to hear about the badass meditation tho. For some reason I came down with a bad case of bedtime anxiety during my last Whole30 that has stuck with me for a few weeks now. I can’t seem to shake it and have had Xanax and Ambien thrown at me which I refuse to consider as an option. Meditation sounds like a much better plan! I’d love to be able to fall asleep in my own bed again instead of on the couch. The dog is entirely confused 😉

  • Brittany says:


    Love this! You’re sounding happier and kinder to yourself. Good on you.

    Silly question: who spots you when you’re bench pressing for max reps/weight? I’m guessing Dave is alongside, but I’m curious. I’m lifting and am about to start the Wendler plan at the crappy GloboGym next door to my office, and all the angry lifting dudes in denim and workboots don’t seem like the type to spot a girl like me benching a mere 100#…

    • Mel says:

      Dave and I usually spot each other on our max reps set, but not always. Wendler doesn’t really want you to go to complete failure, so you don’t *technically* need a spotter on that last set. Also, our racks have extra ledges where we can dump the bar if we need to…

  • Laura says:

    On an unrelated note, I have made the jicama home fries twice and I cannot get them crispy nor get the center the right consistency of “cooked”. Any tips? I’ve tried slow cooking for 24 hours! Help!

    • Mel says:

      I’m not sure what to tell you… I make mine exactly the way I describe in the cookbook and they get fairly crisp. Maybe try a little more coconut oil and get it really, REALLY hot. Also be sure you’re not crowding the pan — maybe do two batches so there’s plenty of air around the cubes so they fry instead of steaming.

      The inside consistency is soft, but not like potatoes, so if you’re expecting that starchy middle, you’ll be disappointed 🙁

  • HannahMontana says:

    Any suggestions for a Paleo friendly Mexican spice mix? I miss tacos so much and all the commercially produced taco seasoning mixes contain all kinds of nastiness in them. Maybe something you could incorporate into Well Fed2?

  • Tom R. says:

    Just now catching up on my reading and have to say I really like the post. We all need to let go (to a point) so good for you. Squats and bench. Love it. Thursday was rest day but today was front squats, which is more than slightly odd with a cast at 120 degrees, and one armed kb work.

    On a food note, Saturdays during football season let me cook stuff for others. Last week was your chili (HUGE success). Tomorrow is carnitas. Intimidated but will give it a roll…

    • Mel says:

      I can’t imagine doing front squats with a cast… good on you!

      Fingers crossed that carnitas prep is uneventful and the results are delicious. Lemme know how it goes! I’ve started watching football on Sunday afternoons, and I have to admit that I really love it. Who knew?!

  • Good post, keep up the good work… Mel I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Congratulations again on a good job Mel.