Girls Just Wanna Have… a Workout

My new Crossfit gym hosted a workout challenge for girls only on Sunday.  They announced that it would be a partner WOD, but that if you didn’t have a partner they would match you up.  I am never a big fan of partner WODs, because I feel pressure not to let my partner down, especially if that person is a stranger, but I thought I would be brave and show up.

We knocked out some running and stretching, and then they asked who didn’t have a partner and there were a few others… I was matched with a girl named Kat and we said our hellos. Say what you want about Crossfit – I know there are a ton of people who aren’t fans of it — but Crossfit people are by and large very nice and friendly.  That community vibe is part of what got me addicted to it.

Here’s what we did for a workout.  We kicked things off with ten rounds of:

5 Pullups

10 Push ups

15 Squats

It was ten rounds total, so I did a round of that and then Kat did, and we just went back and forth until we completed ten rounds.   After that we hit the door for tire flips.

I wish I had pictures of everything, but I don’t so use your imagination.  We had to do 12 flips, so we split them up six and six.

Now, at this point we were supposed to go back into the gym and do 8 rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.  But Kat and I were so pumped we ran on over and did the sled push task too.  First I sat on the sled and Kat pushed me 50m and then we switched.  At that point the coach told us we goofed… so we had to do 14 rounds of pull ups, push ups and squats.  Ouch.

The next task was the heavy rope jump.  It’s a really thick rope, like the one we climbed, and we had to do 12 jumps each.  This was probably the toughest challenge for me because the rope was so heavy and cumbersome, and I’d never done it before.

Back into the gym — this time for 4 rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.

Back outside for partner carry.  Kat grabbed my arm and flipped me onto her back “fireman style” no problem.


She sprinted for 50m.  Then we switched and I carried her piggy back style.  I wanted to stop and rest but I toughed it out for 50m.

Back into the gym — this time for only two rounds of the pull ups, push ups and squats.

Last task – the rope climb.  This is one of the few Crossfit activities that came fairly easily to me, so I’ve been able to do it for a while.  Still, after all those pull ups and push ups my arms were pretty shaky.

I gave myself a minute to rest and shake them out, then I got on the rope!




Made it!  Time to ease myself back down…


It was tough to say how Kat and I “placed” because it wasn’t set up exactly like a race.  Some of the tasks were crowded so we had to wait our turn to do them.  (Which was nice, because it gave us time to breathe.)  I would guess there were about 50 girls there, because all gyms in the area were invited, and maybe half of them modified the movements, like using bands on pull ups and such, so it wasn’t an apples to apples comparison.

Still, I would say Kat and I did pretty well.   I was on a high for the rest of the day, and I can’t wait for the next one!




Abs and Fast Runners

I’ve been trucking along on my competition prep… and I can’t believe I’m four weeks out already!   Guess I’d better register.  (Making a note on my lengthy to-do list….)

Yesterday I spotted these fast runners (what my sister used to call them when she was little) and couldn’t resist.  I love bright tennis shoes!  These are by Reebok and Reebok sponsors crossfit so of course I had to throw money at them and run off with new shoes.



I haven’t worn them yet because I’m doing a fitness photo shoot tomorrow and I don’t want to scuff them up before then.   After that, they’re gonna get scuffed and sweaty.  Yay!  and, gross!!

I have been adding in a little cardio at night… usually going to crossfit at noon and then my “other” gym after work for 20-30 minutes.  I still need more muscle, but what the heck, the lean out is going okay and maybe those other girls won’t have this:


Do you think they’ll let me lie down on the stage for my poses?  No?  Too weird?  Okay.

Four more weeks!


Bikini Competition Status: Undecided

I haven’t pulled the trigger and signed up for any competitions, but the one I have my eye on is five weeks away.


I was talking to a coworker last night, and when I told him how long I had he said, “Oh, you should do it for sure!  That’s plenty of time!”

I realize it might sound like plenty of time.  But most people who compete give themselves about 12 weeks to cut for a competition.  I have given myself about 7.   Not to mention, I haven’t had a decent bulk cycle before this, so I have to cut carefully.  I am still smaller than the average bikini girl, but if my lean out is successful, I might still be able to place.

I’ve been working hard.  Sunday I skipped a gym workout in favor of my barn one.


These are round bales.  There was one stacked on top of the one you see on the left.  I pushed it off, pushed it to the gate, and then rolled it up a hill.

Crossfit, country girl style.

I know my upper body is lacking, so I’ve added in some bicep and shoulder work.  And I have been doing 50 push ups a day, because I really need to get better at push ups.

This week I was super excited to hit a PR on my back squat.  We have been working at 70-90% lately, and then we pushed it all the way to 100% on Monday.  I was able to squat my previous max (110 pounds) three times, so I threw caution to the wind, and threw on ten more pounds.   And I did it!  120 is my new max.  🙂


I love how bumper plates make my 120 look impressive.

Annnnddd… I hit a PR on my 500m row.  I usually row it in about 2:20 or 2:30, but I actually got it down to 2:06 yesterday.  Whoooo hooo!

Sadly, all these celebration-worthy efforts and my strict diet are making my jeans roomy, but not adding a ton of muscle.  I don’t really have time for that, so I will just have to see what my lean out reveals.


I put on my comp bikini, but that isn’t looking so good yet, so here’s a shot in one of my other bikinis.


Needed: lower abs, more shoulder, higher glutes, more quad.


I’m trying.

A Girl Named Fran Killed My Quads

Some Crossfit workouts have names, like Grace or Murph or Cindy …

or Fran.

I knew we were doing Fran today and I wasn’t looking forward to it, but sometimes the more you dread a workout, the more sense it makes to go…. work on your weaknesses, seize the day, triumph of the spirit… and all that.

Since Fran is considered a “sprint” we took our time warming up with rowing and lunges and spent the first part of the class working on the back squat. We worked on form and then loaded up the plates.

“Guys put on 25s….girls put on 15s…Robyn put on 10s.”

I love how I am my own category.

We added weight until we got to 75% of our one rep max, and then added weight again in working sets, to get to 95% of our max.

I don’t usually post numbers because they are so low, but maybe someone will find this blog who thinks that everyone but them is lifting big weight, so if you’re that person, don’t worry, I’m not either. Here’s what I did:

85 pounds – for 5 reps
95 pounds – for 3 reps
100 pounds – for one rep
95 pounds – for 3 reps
85 pounds – for 5 reps

After that it was time for Fran.


Fran consists of thrusters and pull ups. It’s a benchmark workout that many Crossfit gyms have done over and over, with the hope that members can beat their times and get stronger and faster. I’ve done it before, but I’m a slacker when it comes to recording my weights and times, so I have no idea if I bested my previous time with today’s effort.

The weight for women is supposed to be 65 pounds, but I consulted the trainer, and based on the fact that this is supposed to be a fast workout, I scaled back to 55 pounds. I can do a 65 pound thruster, but I would have had to take more breaks and it would have taken me even longer.

21 thrusters (basically a front squat into an overhead press, and the exercise from hell)
21 pull ups
15 thrusters
15 pull ups
9 thrusters
9 pull ups

….and you’re done!

The pull ups aren’t too bad but the thrusters are some kind of terrible. I was happy to get through the last set broken up in reps of 3/3/3, dropping the weight in between.

Thank God for bumper plates. You can just toss the bar to the ground and it’s very satisfying.

The coaches at my gym are great… they really stay on you, but in a way that keeps you going, not in a way that tears you down. This is what I hear during any given workout:

“Yes, you CAN, Robyn, yes you CAN!”
“You don’t have time for that.” (When I walk away from the bar as though it has offended me.)
“Get outta your head.”
“Atta girl Robyn. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” (When I occasionally lift something super heavy.)
“Finish it.” (When he can see on my face that I really, really want to quit.)

So I got out of my head and finished it and then I felt much much better, even though my quads are very mad at me after all the heavy weight I made them move.

After all that heavy lifting, I went into the locker room to see if I’d gotten bulky yet.

IMG_20130228_125739_264Well, maybe I just need to strike my usual pose, then the muscle will show up….

IMG_20130228_130531_108Hmmmmm…. Maybe next time.




I’ve Been Known to Wear Black

We have a joke in our family about Valentine’s Day. It didn’t begin as a joke; it began with a nice motherly reminder my mom would dish out in the morning as we got ready for school.

“Are you going to wear red today?  All the kids will be wearing red.”

(She actually said that for Saint Patrick’s day too… all the kids will be wearing green.  It was a nice mom thing, like when she used to leave a note in our lunch boxes or spend an extra ten minutes braiding our hair just the way we wanted.)

When I got into high school, I ignored the advice that all the kids would be wearing red, because I was going to wear black.  I was protesting Valentine’s Day, I told my friends.  I was too cool for it, apparently.   (I pretended to be too cool for a lot of things.  I was a teenager in the late 80’s.)

So I teased my bangs to high heaven and wore all black and protested the day of love and happiness.

(Mostly because boys didn’t like me so it was easier to pretend I didn’t want them to.  Awwww.)

Which brings us to now.

I’m still not a fan of Valentine’s Day… but I didn’t protest it this year.   Instead of red or black, I wore a grey skirt with purple/pink hearts, a purple shirt, a jacket and boots.


I decided this outfit says, “Yeah, I realize it’s a holiday so I’ll just go with it.”

Also, today… the President made me late for Crossfit.

I thought the First Lady was really into fitness and healthy families… so why does the First Family want me to lie on my (new) couch and eat nutty bars?  (Mmmm…nutty bars.)

President Obama was in Georgia today and gosh, for some reason I should have known that… let me think what it is…. oh yeah, because I work in the news industry!…. but it just slipped my mind and therefore I was stuck in traffic for forever trying to get to Crossfit.  Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one so the class kicked off a little late and I was able to do this:

20 calorie row

30 burpees

40 dumbell ground to overhead (i used 25# each hand and it was plenty heavy)

50 toes to bar

100 foot walking lunge with 25# plate overhead

150 foot sprint  (sprint? ha ha ha ha)

I finished dead last.  I got stuck on the ground to overheads and had to do singles for much of those 40 reps.  I still finish last a lot in Crossfit, which is frustrating and humbling, but still addicting.  It’s the finish that I love… first is the initial feeling of “oh man, will this suck” and the actual suckage, and then the finish…. whew… it’s over… I really did that.  Mission accomplished.

I’m working on not getting so frustrated with all the people (nearly everyone) who lift heavier than I do and finish faster.  I know I’m improving too, but not as quickly as I’d like.


I saw this online and had to get it… it’s small, but the writing on there reads “patience”.    The back of it reads “I know what I’m becoming.”

Good reminder.

I’m now wrapping up my Valentine’s day with an arts and crafts project.   We have a story on Monday about “Manscaping” and rather than show video for the promo (ew!) I’ve decided to show hands (mine) cutting out the shape of a man… and then we’ll use the snip snip sound effects and then a tearing sort of sound effect to throw on the title of “manscaping.”


My first efforts look like aliens.

The story is not about manscaping for aliens, so I need a little more practice before we shoot.

I hope everyone is having a Happy Valentine’s Day, in red, black, grey or whatever you’re wearing.

and if you have any leftover nutty bars… you know where to find me….

Christmas in Florida

The bad thing about having your sister move farther away, is that you don’t get to see her as often. The good thing is that when you do, you have a good excuse to stay longer!

I had Monday off work for the holiday, so I asked off at the barn and had a whole weekend free to hang out in Pensacola. I drove down Friday after work. Max was his usual helpful self… sleeping the entire way.

On Saturday morning it was time to open presents! (What? Isn’t that what you do on January 19th?  This was our late Christmas, since I spent the actual holiday in Ohio.)

My nephew Ben is really into Power Rangers, so I got him a black morpher and some other Power Rangers character that looked like a transformer of sorts.  Bottom line, I’m not sure what I got Ben but he seemed to like it.
ben gifts

Emma is into the Littlest Pet Shop characters, so that was an easy one.

em pet shop

And Abby…

Well, Abby wanted a bunny.  A real, live, hopping, nose-wiggling, carrot-eating bunny.   But I wanted to live to see another Christmas, and I knew my sister would not be happy with me if I got any of the littles a live pet.

So we compromised.  I found a stuffed animal that hops and wiggles his nose, put it in a cardboard box, and let Abby in on the prank.  We tried to act like there was a real bunny inside, but Mel’s no fool.   She knew I wouldn’t do that to her.

abby bunny

(“Mistletoe” is almost all of the fun of a real bunny, and none of the mess.)

I guess Mel sensed that I was looking for a cool bank for my change, because she got me one shaped like a cowgirl hat (yay!).  Abby made me a scarf/belt and I also got some guitar music that will help motivate me to play even more.

We decided to go to the zoo on Saturday.  Mel asked Ben if he had been to one in Korea but his response was something like “probably” so we’re not really sure.  He did seem to have a good time.  I asked him beforehand what he wanted to see, and he told me alligators.



I wanted to see monkeys and I sure wasn’t disappointed.  This zoo had a whole bunch of them…. including two in this cage that were cracking us up.   One was hanging out at the front of the cage staring at us, while his friend played with toys in the background.  When the active one dropped a toy, the quiet one yelled and made a really funny face.  I didn’t capture it, so I asked the girls to recreate it for a picture.

monkey faces

This is a spot on representation.

We also saw a ROUS.  (They DO exist, and not just in the fire swamp.)


The zoo also had plenty of goats, deer, and donkeys that we could feed.

ben feeds deer

We were having such a good time that we didn’t realize the place was closing and some workers had to (nicely) ask us to take our leave.

On Sunday we went to church, and then Abby wanted to work on her basketball skills.  She and Emma have both joined a team and are just learning the game.

But you wouldn’t know it by this picture.

abby shoots

Check out that form…. you just know that shot’s gonna go in.


Eeeexcept it didn’t.

Since neither of us is able to jump that high just yet, I knocked it down with my shoe so we could continue.

Then Abby got this cool action shot:

robyn shoots


Basically we are really good at taking pictures and looking like we can play basketball.  The actual skills will come later.

After that Mel and I went for a run at did 47 miles on the chip trail on base.   We could have done more but it was getting dark, and we didn’t want to further embarrass the new recruits that we blew by and lapped several times.   Rookies.

Monday we chilled at home, jumped on the trampoline, ordered pizza and went out for coffee drinks with whipped cream to celebrate all our activities.

And that must have really refueled me, because I finished first in our 2000m row, 100 squats and 50 power cleans CrossFit workout today.

That NEVER happens.

Whooo hooo… and Merry (late) Christmas!

How Much Do You Bench?

Don’t worry, I would never really ask that.

I don’t go around asking people how much they lift on anything, 1) because it’s just kinda rude and 2) I certainly don’t want them to return the favor.

A few posts back I talked about lifting heavy, and I do, FOR ME.

My “heavy” is a lot of people’s warm up weight.  No joke.

Lately I’ve been determined to increase my deadlift. 

Don’t do the math.  It’s not that impressive.  Bumper plates just look heavy.

I was doing five sets of five for this workout, and that was plenty heavy.   I wish that it wasn’t.   I wish I could knock out so much more.  But I get in position, I get my back right, I pull, and….nothing.

I think genetics does work against me a bit, but I’m not someone who throws that out there – “Oh, that person has great genetics, no wonder they’re strong!”   I think it plays a part.  

So does hard work.

And the fact that five years ago I looked like this, also plays a part I’m sure.

Burst fractures aren’t fun.  I hated that brace.  

But I had physical therapy, I’ve 100% recovered… and I have been lifting heavy for about two years.

We bench pressed today.  My friend Hillary is a superstar with weights.   She was awesome. 

Then it was my turn.   I was not so awesome.

I’m gonna go ahead and tell you what I bench.


70 pounds is my one rep max.

I can make excuses and say, I’m the smallest girl in the class.  For being 5’4″ I have ridiculously long skinny limbs.   I don’t eat big enough and I don’t bench often enough. 

All of those things are true.  But it’s still embarrassing. 

My friend Britton lifted more and we’re about the same size. (See girl in blue tank above.)

Often friends/trainers will tell me, “Get out of your head!”  – meaning I think myself out of being able to do it.

But when I lower that bar and can’t get it back up no matter how hard I try, that’s not in my head.

That’s in my (too little) muscle.   Right?

I’m looking for words of wisdom from my weight-lifting friends….  Am I thinking myself out of getting stronger?