Me, 300 Pounds and a Trip to Lululemon

 

So, this happened last night….

 

 

Yep, that’s me….Deadlifting 300lbs.

 

I honestly don’t know when I’ve been so excited.  Most of you know, I’ve had a goal of deadlifting 300lbs for quite some time, but that sneaky little guy has just alluded me.

 

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Here’s me crossing off my goal off the Goal Board.

 

 

But, let me be clear – I haven’t just wished to hit a 300lbs deadlift.  If wishing would’ve done it, I would’ve hit that goal a long time ago.  Instead, I set a plan, stayed committed to it and put in the work.  Funny how things seem to work out when you have a goal and a plan.

 

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I love goals and rewards.  The rewards are a nice little extra incentive to reach that goal – and an awesome way to celebrate.  So, I promised myself when I hit a 300lbs deadlift that I’d buy myself some Lululemon pants to replace my Target cheap-os.  So, come this weekend, this little girl is heading to Lululemon and is ready to buy some fancy pants.

 

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Here’s me updating the max board. That’s 2.5 times my body weight!

 

I also want to give a big shout out to my coach.  He’s helped me come up with a plan and kept me on target to hit my goal.  After watching the video, some of you were probably thinking, “how did she not know how much she was lifting?” The funny thing is, I sometimes let the amount of the weight get in my head and it makes me start overthinking the lift.  So, my sneaky coach just loaded up the bar and said to lift it. I honestly had no idea it was 300lbs until he told me after the lift.

 

I don’t even want to admit how many times I’ve watched the video. (My husband suggested probably close to 300 times – one for each pound lifted.)  But I’m sure I’ll watch it 300 more before it’s all said and done.  I’m proud of it.

 

It’s awesome to set goals.  Even more awesome when you reach them.  So, this weekend, I’m celebrating by squeezing my booty in some expensive spandex pants.  Then, it’ll be time to set (and reach) my next goal. 🙂

 

Watch out Lulu…..here I come!

 

 

 

 

 

Nationals Training Update

 

 

USS Nationals is 10 weeks and three days away (not that I’m counting or anything…)  And I’ve had a few people ask about how the training is progressing.  So, I thought I’d give you guys a little update:

 

The Weights Are Heavy:  I spend my weekdays doing cardio and normal weight lifting. Then, my Sunday afternoons are spent training Strongman implements.  That means log presses, heavy deadlifts and Atlas Stones for me.  And, let me be the first to say this – these weights for Nationals are heavy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that these weights are challenging me and pushing me in a way that I haven’t been pushed in a while.  But, the log press weighs more than I do.  I’m deadlifting 2 ½ times my bodyweight and don’t even get me started on the Atlas Stones (the platforms are almost as tall as me.)  But, part of the fun of Nationals is the challenging weight.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.  

 

Here’s me doing some 120lbs log work. I told you it’s heavy.

 

 

Strongman Bruises:  The other day, I left Strongman training with a bloody chin, two scraped thumbs and concrete abrasions on my forearms.  (Please forgive all the bruises and band-aids when you see me in public.)  These weights push me and I’m pushing myself.  That’s an equation that’s left me a little banged up and bruised.  Which leads me to the next point….

 

 

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Strongman Hangover:  Anyone in the Strongman world knows the phenomenon that is “The Strongman Hangover.”  When you’re really training the implements hard and pushing weight, the day after Strongman training leaves you feeling like, well, you’ve been hit by that car instead of deadlifting it.  This has caused me to have to back off a little on my Monday morning cardio training and instead use the time to sleep in and recover.  One thing I’ve learned the hard way is the need to listen to your body.  So, when my body says it needs rest, I’m listening.

 

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Pretty much how I feel every Sunday night.  Minus the tiger.

 

Training Partners:  I’ve got some pretty remarkable girls in the gym to train Strongman with right now.  They’re all pushing themselves and that’s pushing me.  And, my awesome trainer is doing his normally awesome job of leading, pushing and teaching me so I’m continually getting better (thanks, Robby!)  And, I got some pretty fantastic news the other day: my Sister-in-Law is going to do Nationals with me!  How much fun is that?  It’s made training even more fun.  And I now have someone to text a million times a day with strongman talk. (#sorrynotsorry, Jen.) 

 

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No fair, Jen.  Next time I’m doing my makeup and hair before workout, too.

 

Weight:  I like to keep my body weight under 120lbs.  For my height and frame, that’s a good, healthy body weight.  But for this competition, I know I need to weigh as close to 123.4lbs (the weight cut off) on the day of weigh-in as possible.  You wouldn’t think it, but I can tell a HUGE difference in my performance with just five extra pounds on the scale. So, I’m trying to not go crazy with an overly-strict diet or too much cardio.  In this one scenario, a few extra pounds is going to be helpful. (How many times have you ever said that before??)  It’s certainly been hard to see the numbers on the scale go up and know it’s a good thing. But, I know it will help me perform better with these heavy weights and align me with my goal of competing well at Nationals.  

 

Here’s me doing some light weight deadlift work (245lbs.)

 

 

The Competitors:  I’ve seen the list of competitors in my weight class.  And there’s some really tough competition.  But, this year, I’m not Facebook stalking them and hunting down their training videos. This year, I’m going in blind.  I’m making myself as strong as I can be. Then I’m going to show up, do my best and let the chips fall where they may. Because, afterall, I can’t control anything about my competitors, but I can control everything about me.

 

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I’m Getting Excited:  I have no idea where I’ll finish this year.  Could be first, could be last.  Really, it’s a complete toss up.  But, one thing I do know, I’m getting really excited. And trophy or no trophy, it’s going to be a super fun competition and I can’t wait!(Although, just to be clear, it is a tiny bit more fun with a trophy.) 🙂

 

There’s 73 more days and counting.  That means 73 more days to train.  And you know what….June 11th will be here before I know it.

 

Nationals Bound!

I Took a Pole Fitness Class

 

You read the title correctly – I took a pole fitness class. Yep, that’s a class with a pole and booty shorts.  And yep, it was ridiculously fun.

 

This weekend, I grabbed my sister (thanks, Mandy Jane) and went to Bella Forza Fitness Studio in Lexington, Kentucky for a Pole Fitness class.

 

 

Boutique Fitness at its Best

First things first, this place is super cute. And, the ambiance is very chill and kinda funky. It’s like New York loft meets Cirque du Soleil meets Golds Gym – trust me, it’s a combo that works.  There’s aerial silks hanging from the ceiling, yoga mats, an aerial cube hanging in the corner and the pole fitness poles all shiny and tall….just waiting for me.  Today’s instructor (and owner) Jessica Johnson, greeted me at the door.  And she is quite possibly the most adorable thing ever. (Seriously, you just want to put her in your pocket and take her home with you.) But it didn’t take long into the class to realize this little pint-size girl is deceptively strong. You’ll see why in just a minute….

 

 

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Me and Jessica.

 

Entertaining….and a Solid Workout

We started by learning some basic spins and climbs. Things like the fireman, pirouette and front hook spin.  Awesome names, right?  It didn’t take long into the class before one thing was quickly apparent – these moves aren’t as easy as they look. To complete each move, it took a good combination of strength and technique.  (We actually worked a long time just to get this basic spin.)

 

 

After we worked on the basic spins and climbs, we got to try a few inversions. Yes, that is me upside down on the pole.  And yes, it is as hard as it sounds.

 

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Me upside down.

 

 

We messed up.  A lot.  We did it wrong.  A lot.  And, we laughed….a lot.

 

We kind of muddled through the class a little clunky and awkward, mostly because each of these moves take technique and strength and a lot of practice to master. Certainly more practice than just one class. Jessica said the normal progression for anyone that starts in the pole fitness classes is to start in the beginner class for a few months until you master the moves, then move to the intermediate and eventually advanced classes (they even have student showcases for pole routines – how cool?)

 

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A Workout for All Shapes and Sizes

Curious if all the girls that took pole fitness classes looked like Jessica (that tall, skinny frame) she surprised me by saying a quick “no way.”  She said the ladies that take the pole fitness classes range in all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness abilities.  But, she did say that in order to get to the most advanced pole moves, it takes someone well-rounded in a lot of different areas: strength, cardio ability and flexibility.  Isn’t that the goal for any well-balanced athlete? It sure is mine.

 

A Fun Way to Cross-train Core Strength and Flexibility

I used a lot of different muscles during my class: shoulders, arms and definitely my core. The other thing that was quite apparent in the class was the need for flexibility.  At one point, Jessica suggested putting my knee on the pole at hip level.  That certainly pointed out an area that I’m lacking in – flexibility.  But, what a fun way to work on cross-training my core and flexibility than by spinning and climbing on a pole?

 

I was pretty surprised to hear Jessica didn’t have a background in dance (she’s like a graceful swan on the pole, I was more like an awkward gopher.) Jessica was actually an athlete playing softball and volleyball.  She got into pole for a way to cross-train and stay active. She took up dance classes afterwards to help her become more graceful (so, there’s hope for me yet!)

 

Since this little spitfire straight owned the pole, I asked Jessica what she does to stay in the shape for her pole fitness classes now.  She said she trains by doing Pilates, taking dance classes, deadlifting and squatting.  (She even showed me her squat rack there in the gym – I knew I liked her…)

 

 

 

Did Someone Say Girl’s Night Out?

After Jessica showed us a few of her ridiculously impressive pole moves (check out her video below or HERE on Youtube) she said they even rent the room out for private parties. A Girl’s Night pole class? Yes, please.  Side note: To all my girls, go ahead and mark your calendars for our next Girl’s Night…cause I can’t wait to go back.

 

 

I had a blast in this pole fitness class.  And, I can see where you could totally get hooked on pole fitness classes.  It was challenging (hello, core and arm workout) and super fun. And, you did feel kinda graceful doing the moves. (Although, reviewing some pictures after class, I think there may have been a little difference between how I thought I looked and reality.) 🙂

 

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My Review on Pole Fitness

 

If you’re looking for something new, perhaps a fun and different workout, I would totally go give it a try.  Want a fun way to cross-train your core strength and flexibility? Definitely give this a shot.  I bet you have a blast.  Check out their website for all the details on times/prices, etc (and while you’re there, check out the list of all the other classes they offer: aerial yoga, partner acrobatics, aerial silks – so cool.)

 

And, before I sign off, I thought I’d leave you all with one more thing.  I ran across this little gem while Googling info on pole fitness classes. And, well, quite honestly I just can’t NOT share THIS…..(I love the internet.)

 

 

Have fun!

Holiday Detox

 

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t quite come to fruition. That’s about all I can say about my weekend eating….

 

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Yes, I write a fitness blog, but no, my eating is nowhere near perfect (as a matter of fact, perfect eating is not even visible in my rear view mirror.) Pretending I have a perfect diet is like saying my husband is going to beat me in this year’s March Madness bracket — not gonna’ happen.

 
This weekend was a double whammy for me – my daughter’s birthday party (happy birthday, Elinor) and Easter. While I had good intentions of continuing my normal healthy eating habits, I think a combination of stress, lack of sleep and temptation got the best of me. Calorie overload.

 

 

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A little math humor. Man, I’m a nerd…

So, today, I’m back on it. Forget about the cupcakes and margaritas from this weekend. What’s in the past, is in the past.

 

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Today, I’m focused. I’ve got my accountability girls on high alert. I’ve got my workout clothes laid out for a full-throttle workout week and my LoseIt calorie app is ready to go.

 

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Yeah, we have a Facebook page for our accountability group. This is my actual post last night.

 

No need to stress about my calories for this last weekend, there’s nothing I can do about those now. All I can do is realign my focus and hit it hard starting today.

 

So, if you’re in the same boat as me with a few too many sugar-coated treats from the weekend, don’t stress, just do something about it today.

 

See ya at the gym!

Attack of the Chocolate Bunny (aka Handling Easter Food Temptation)

This weekend is Easter.  Happy Easter!  It’s a time to spend with family, get excited about Spring and be bombarded by chocolate.  Yep, it’s everywhere.  Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, Reese’s eggs (aka chocolate covered crack) and those adorable Peeps – which are undeniably better stale. (There’s actually a Facebook page dedicated to the love of Stale Peeps…) 

 

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The holidays can be a time where your healthy eating habits can really be tested.  Food temptation is around every corner.  And without a gameplan, it’s easy to overeat and wake up Monday morning with holiday food regret.  So, today, I thought I’d touch on a few tips for eating healthy at Easter:  

 

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Me after an overindulgent meal.  #foodregret

 

Don’t Fill the Easter Basket with Candy:  Easter baskets don’t have to be filled with just chocolate. The kids don’t need it and if it’s in your house, it’s just going to be temptation for you. Try things like bubbles, a Slinky, hair bows, you get the idea.  Get the kids something fun that’s not sugar coated.  Plus, it’s hard for you to eat a Slinky….

 

Buy Candy You Don’t Like:  Ok, if you’re going to put some candy in the kid’s basket anyway, buy something you don’t like.  Twizzlers and Starbursts aren’t exactly on the top of my candy wish list, they’re easy for me to pass on.  But, put some Reese Cups in the house and I’ll sniff them out like a bloodhound then eat them until I’m sick at my stomach.  So, if you’re going to put candy in the basket, stick to something you don’t care for.  It’s easier to pass up and your thighs will thank you.

 

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Small Portions: Easter dinner is chocked full of Grandma’s famous cheesy potatoes, homemade yeast rolls and butter covered everything.  Now, I’m not going to tell you to skip dinner completely.  Just load your plate up with the low-calorie foods (hello, salad) and stick to small portions of any calorie-heavy foods.

 
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Add in Extra Cardio:  If you know your calories are going to be up for the holiday weekend, try adding in some extra cardio.  Add in a walk, a little extra time on the treadmill or an extra session in the gym.  Something to get your blood pumping and help offset some of the extra Easter calories.

 

Guys, eating healthy on the holidays can be done.  Just be mindful of what you’re eating. Make smart decisions.  After all, the summer months are coming…make sure that chocolate bunny is worth it.

 
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Happy Easter!

 

How To Bathing Suit Shop (Without Crying)

 

Spring Break is right around the corner. And, I know a lot of you all are thinking about packing up and heading south to enjoy a week in the sunshine.  Hello, Florida!

 

While the thought of sun on the skin and toes in the sand is awesome, Spring Break also brings with it one thing that strikes fear in every woman…..bathing suit shopping.
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First of all, let’s get one thing straight: No one likes bathing suit shopping.  Seriously, the thought of standing in a dressing room trying on tiny pieces of spandex isn’t appealing to anyone – regardless of what size you are.  But there are a few things that you can do to help make the experience a little more enjoyable.

 

Go Prepared: The best advice I can give you is to take the time to get prepared before you head to the store.  Do your makeup. Get your hair did (no, Mom, that’s not a typo, it’s gangsta.) Get a spray tan.  Guys, take this from experience, tan cellulite looks better than pasty white cellulite.  If you’re going to have to stand in front of a mirror in a bathing suit, you should go looking the best you can.

 

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Take a Friend:  Women are so hard on themselves and their bodies.  We tend to be much more critical on our physique.  So, take a good friend. One that will be honest with you. You look at yourself with a critical eye.  A good friend will be able to be objective and tell you from an outside perspective which ones look best and which ones you should put in the “no pile.”  (My husband had no idea that women had a “yes”, “no” and “maybe” pile in the dressing room.)

 

Recognize That You Are Where You Are:  Standing there wishing you were 20 pounds lighter doesn’t change the fact that you still need a bathing suit. Pick out a suit that looks good on your body how it is now.

 

Online Shopping:  If the thought of going to the store bathing suit shopping is just too much for you, try online shopping.  My recommendation is to order serveral styles and several sizes.  Try them all on in the comfort of your own home where the lighting is a ton better than the horrible flourescent lights of the dressing room.  Just make sure that the store you’re ordering from allows returns on bathing suits.  And, if you want to have a few cocktails before you try them on, I certainly won’t judge….

 

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So, before you head out to the dressing room,  do your hair, makeup and grab a girlfriend.  It’ll make the trip to Target a lot more enjoyable.

 

Happy Shopping!

Deadlifts and Donuts with Kelsey Clifton

Weight loss stories come in all shapes and sizes, right? Well, this one is really about strength.  And an 18-year-old named Kelsey Clifton who dramatically changed her size, her attitude – and most importantly – her strength.  I got to hang out with this little teenage badass last weekend for a little donut and deadlift date…here’s how it went.

 

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Bourbon cream for me and Chocolate for Kelsey. Yum!

 

For those of you that may not be familiar with Kelsey, she’s a teenage phenom in the powerlifting world.  She’s kind of a big deal.  Seriously, when it comes to powerlifting, she holds more federation world records than I have high heels (and I have a lot.) Not only is this girl a badass who could easily deadlift three of me, this teenage girl has an amazing story.

 

Back in 2012, at age 16, Kelsey topped the scales at 225lbs. Since that time, she has lost over 65lbs.

 

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Pretty impressive, huh?

 

So, when I got the opportunity to have donuts with Kelsey, I jumped at it. And when she was up for a little deadlifting, too, I’m in! A “Donuts and Deadlifts” date with Kelsey — umm, can you say jackpot?

 

Looking at the picture above, you guys are probably thinking, “how the crap did she make that kind of transformation…especially at age 16?”  I was, too.  Over our donuts, Kelsey told me she actually got her motivation by watching the 2012 summer Olympics.  After seeing the Olympians in fantastic physical shape (a moment of silence for Michael Phelps’ abs…) she felt motivated to get moving.  She started by walking and jogging. Then, a pivotal moment came when her parents got her a gym membership for Christmas.  Like Kelsey said, “It was the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.”

 

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Like most women, Kelsey started by spending all of her time on the treadmills and ellipticals.  And, she said she was clueless as to what to do in the gym (even getting a lot of her initial workouts from Instagram and Pinterest.)  But she found her way into lifting with a group of people in the gym.  It didn’t take long to notice she was made for weightlifting.  Kelsey said, “One day when I had the leg press loaded down with 45lb plates and 75lb dumbbells, a guy came up to me at the gym and said I should do powerlifting.” So she did.

 

Kelsey signed up for her first powerlifting meet.  And after the first one, she says, “I was hooked.”

 

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One of the things I love about Kelsey (and there’s a lot to love) is that at such a young age, when most of us were just worrying about what to wear to the movies that weekend, Kelsey was taking control of her health.

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Listening to Kelsey’s fitness story, it’s clear to see that it certainly wasn’t easy.  It was a long, hard road, but the impact has been incredible.  She’ll be the first to tell you, “[Getting in the gym] can change your life. It’s like jumping into a swimming pool and you don’ t know how deep it is or how to swim, but ask questions, don’t give up.  It is hard.  If anyone tells you it’s easy, they’re lying.  Be extremely persistent. Consistency is key.  If I would’ve let the fact that I was hitting plateau after plateau and gaining weight affect me, then I wouldn’t be where I am.  I would’ve given up a long time ago. One of the things I’m proudest of is I never gave up. Even when I was gaining weight, I still went to the gym, [I was] still doing what I need to do.  When I wasn’t losing weight like I was supposed to, I still went to the gym.  When I was going through hard times, I still went to the gym.  It just became a habit.”  

 

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Same spot, two years difference.

 

Kelsey said she can tell a huge difference in her life before and after she found her way into the gym. “You feel comfortable doing things that you never thought possible. If you would’ve told me [before I started weightlifting] that I would be happy and have friends and a social life and be breaking world records, I would’ve laughed and thought you were making fun of me…and then probably cried.”

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Kelsey has a goal of hitting a 1,000 lbs total (bench, squat and deadlift total weight) at her next powerlifting meet.  (FYI – for all you non-powerlifters out there, that’s a ridiculously high number.)  With her push in heavy weights and push in the gym, she has seen the scale go up. With that added weight, Kelsey admits that she has a love/hate relationship with her body right now.  “I love how much stronger I’ve gotten.”  She admits, “Some days I love [my body], some days I feel like a huge exploding can of biscuits. I find myself wanting to wear bigger shirts to the gym.  I feel a little uncomfortable sometimes when I look back at recent pictures and think, ‘wow, I was so small, look at my shoulders there, look at my legs there.’  But, when I think about it, my goal is to total 1,000lbs. And I know if I weighed in at 165lbs at this competition, there’s no way I would hit that.”
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I asked Kelsey, “if you could give one tip to anyone wanting to get started in their weight loss and fitness lifestyle, what it would be?” Without hesitation, Kelsey said: “Get in the gym.  Just go.  It is extremely nerve wracking at first.  I used to go literally in a tank top, t-shirt, sweatshirt and two pair of pants to try to hide my body.  I didn’t want anyone to look at me. When I say, ‘just go’ it’s because so much good can come out of it. It’s not just because of your health, it can literally change your life. It literally broke me out of my shell.  I’m still the exact same person.  It’s just that the fat was a brick wall.  And slowly I took it down. Stepping outside of that brick wall, I found so much that’s there for me that I never imagined was possible.” Wise words from someone so young.

 

 

Here’s me and Kelsey deadlifting.  Really, I mostly just watched her in awe as she warmed up….with my max. 🙂

 

Kelsey has a goal of a 1,000lbs lift total at her next powerlifting meet which is in Cleveland on April 23rd.  And, I, for one, can’t wait to see her hit it.

 

Lift on!