My coach has been torturing our poor triceps for the past month.   Workouts that look like:


A lighter night at the bar.

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Monday night.

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= very sore triceps.  If you’re wondering, I did NOT do the plank holds in the first picture, I could barely do the plank tabata without collapsing – if I can’t hold plank for 20 sec, 1 min just isn’t going to happen.  (Ask if you need abbreviation translation)

Robyn was talking about triceps, so… okay.  Understood that I am substantially overweight.  I guesstimate (haven’t dunked this year) that I’m about 31% bodyfat (based on the last time I dunked).  45yo.  This is what my very pale pre-summer arms look like:

Yes.  Fat is.  But also muscle is.  They don’t jiggle much.  The flap on the top picture is all the jiggle that’s left.  Also, yes fat – but not sag.  Because lifting.   (If you care, DH says the three years of squats/DL mean my butt doesn’t jiggle at all.  I checked, he’s right – and that’s kind of weird.  This might matter to … anyone other than him… if I ever wore anything that showed it off).  (The weird line to my chest on the top picture is also muscle.  Is that pec or delt?  I don’t know).

I complain about the last pic – before we were doing endless triceps, we did endless shoulder workouts, and that is muscle.  It does not squish.  And it does not fit in clothing especially well.   I look like the girl version of a guy who played college football and let himself go.  Gah – genetics.

If I could hose off the fat, I’d be cut as heck.  But hosing off the fat continues to be problematic.  Anyway.  I’m not ashamed of wearing tank tops in the summer, which was the point of this post.    Also that push-presses will kick your arms into gear.  Although tricep kickbacks and dips are also excellent torture devices.




Eat your sauce!

My (long-time) suspicions that traditional sauces are, in fact, a big part of what we’re supposed to eat get confirmed.

Want some pesto?   You can get about 2/3 of your daily vit K if you nom up 4tbsp of chopped basil.  (You like healthy bones, don’t you?)

Love some chimmichurri?  Well, parsley blows dear basil out of the water for K – but look at the C!  20% in ten little sprigs.. and nearly that of Vit A.

What of a gravy?  Well, are you making your gravy with bone broth?  If you are, enjoy all the minerals and collagen.

Have you looked into the nutritional profile of any number of spices and herbs?  Off the charts!  And instead, we substitute the tongue-tingling bite of chemicals in processed food.  -sigh-  Either that, or use herbs with such a delicate hand we may as well not bother.  Food IS meant to taste good, and food that tastes good IS good for you – well, if eaten close-to-the-source, anyway.

No.  I don’t think that food-as-medicine will substitute for a doctor any time soon.  But I DO believe that if we paid a bit more mind to what we ate – including the tasty tidbits – we might have less use for the doctor.

Morning in the Garden

I took more pictures, I wanted to show you the after of my lime and lemon pruning, and the before of my tiny orange tree, but the contrast levels and the busyness of the backgrounds just weren’t working visually.  So, here’s the back hill … it’s doing fairly well.  Nothing under the eucalyptus really thrived – some of it died, some of it is hanging on politely, but thrive?  Nope.   The iceplant spread nicely, that’s good.  And the roses are happy.

I need to get out there and weed and such.  Well, list to follow.  But here’s a picture regardless.


The kids have two more weeks of school… so while I might wave at the hill before then, probably I won’t get much time.  The last weeks of school (charter/HS included) are stupid with scheduling things.  (Spent four hours last night baking for various end-of-year activities, for example).

Need to:

  • Weed thoroughly.
  • Cover top of hill in cardboard (I’ve been saving my boxes) for weed barrier/soil improvement.    (Newspaper worked beautifully some years back, why not try upgraded newspaper?)  Will move some rocks from front yard to hold down the cardboard.   Will also cardboard over/tarp the areas covered in pepper tree sprouts.
  • Plant onion seed.  Late but can’t do it sooner.
  • Send son after the plumbago with a machete.  (Pale blue flowers.  DH is allergic).
  • Weed/cardboard under the orange tree.  Feed and prune and spray off the bugs causing leaf curl.
  • Rip off sweet peas, decide whether to use as mulch or just green bin ’em.  (They’re done).
  • And then start hauling the rocks from the front yard into the backyard… somewhere.

There’s plenty to do.  🙂

Pursuing Health

If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll have noted that my husband has had a heck of a last couple of years, healthwise.  And it’s been hard to get him feeling better.  Seems like he just about gets on his feet and gets knocked down again.   Saw doctors, was told that he’s fine… and that means it’s time for Crunchy Hearthie to go into overdrive and feed that immune system UP.

Today was the first day of the project (since he’s about done with the latest round of antibiotics).

Healing foods in the mix:

  • Bone broth (home-made)
  • Garlic (lots)
  • Parsley

The veggies (cukes, tomatoes, onions) are a flavor conduit right now.     Just trying this out, see if folks enjoy it – I am not serving it as a main dish, none of us thinks that cold soup makes a main dish worth eating.   But we eat a ton of carne/pollo asada, and I thought it would make a fine side dish with same.  I’ll even serve it in glasses/cups, because it’s drinking consistency.

I am going to go to the crazy hippie side, y’all might as well get some popcorn and enjoy the ride.

ETA:  The kids thought it was “meh”, DH and I liked the first half-serving and then were like, “okay, done now”.   Remembering that Healing Foods don’t require giant servings – something to work on.  Definitely scratched an itch, that first half serving (aka 8oz).

Lifting Stuff – chasing the PR

I’m very self-competitive and my body likes lifting heavy things, so when I get in the gym by myself (aka no one shows to BBC but me or it’s the day I go in during free hour) and if there isn’t a workout written down or the WOD is something I’m going to have to completely scale (happens – I can’t do some movements), you’re probably going to see me chasing a PR.  This is how my coach ramps you up for that.

  1. Get properly warmed up.  This includes a bit of cardio, it also includes about five minutes of stretching and body weight work.  Whatever it is you’re aiming to work, it needs to be loose.  Spend the extra couple minutes.  Coach has been known to warm us for 10 min or more… it’s worth it.
  2. Start around your 50% mark, do a set of 10.  Since lots of folks don’t know their one-rep-max (PR) weight, just assume if you can do 10, that’s about 50%.
  3. 60% – 6 reps
  4. 70% – 4 reps
  5. 80% – 2 reps
  6. If you don’t know where you are at that point, just keep adding small amounts of weight until the weight doesn’t wanna move.  You don’t want the number of lifts you do here to be super huge, so if you know your 90%, start the “add an itsy bit” there.  But if you don’t know, just add SLOWLY and find out.  There’s a sweet spot between “I did too many lifts and got tired” and “I pushed too fast”.  You’re not in a competition, it’s not a huge deal, just take the info and go on.  Plus different days you’re feeling different, you lift differently.
  7. When you can’t complete the lift, whatever the last number you COULD complete is, that’s your PR or ORM.  I’m old, I don’t usually go to failure, I do a partial lift and say, “nope!” or my last successful lift I’ll say, “Yeah, that’s enough”.
  8. Take a couple of minutes between attempted lifts after your 90% or thereabouts.  You need to recover.  Walk around, stretch, drink some water, just let your heart rate and blood pressure drop.   You are asking for maximum effort from your body, it needs the breather.

Notes on safety:

  1. Bench should be spotted during heavy lifts like this.  Yeah, if you can do 10, you don’t need a spotter at that weight.  When you can barely squeeze out 3?  Spotter.
  2. Bench, likewise, is not done with clips on the bar.  Should you not have a spotter (bad rabbit!) you can, should you get stuck with a bar across your chest, tip the weights off the ends.  My coach once spent half an hour in an empty gym stuck with a bar on her chest… don’t let that be you.
  3. Find out how you dump the bar in a backsquat, should you need to do so.  (You let go and it rolls down your back, and no, it doesn’t hurt done properly, but still scary).  This might be different if you’re in a lifting rack rather than the completely free lift I do, and I’ve never used one of those.  ASK.  Maybe practice with a light bar.
  4. If it’s DL, you just let go.  I use straps.  They wind around, they are NOT tied.  If I let go, so do they.
  5. Take your time and find your balance before you try for the lift. Pay attention to where your feet are.  How your head is aligned.  Etc.  It all matters.
  6. USE YOUR CORE.  Stay strong, stay in position.  Do NOT lose form to “get the lift”. Ever.  Not on your 11th rep, not trying for a PR.  Unless you want to strain something and you like ice packs, form is your friend.  Always.


  1. You will be sore after a PR, you pushed to your max.   “Sore” is different from “oops, something’s wrong”.  At our age, usually you can tell.  The 25yo don’t seem to be able to differentiate.
  2. If you did DL or BS, you’re also likely to be very hungry.  This is normal.  If I do heavy DL, I eat all the things that day or the next.
  3. You are eating w/in 30 minutes of working out, yes?  A banana or something at least… it’s important.  This kind of work can knock your blood sugar for a loop.  Has a snack.
  4. Epsom salt baths are the awesomeness.  Just sayin’.    Also I like a recovery drink that I get from the health food store.  Okay.  I do NOT like it one bit, but it helps so I will drink it anyway.
  5. My minimal testing seems to indicate that alcohol the night after and Advil the day after is optimum for pain management.

Strength Training:

If you want to move the PR numbers up, there are methods to do this.   Usually you see recommendations to hit it 3 sets of 5 at 70%ish as a strength builder, 3×3 at 80%, that kind of kick, you can look these up online.  But this tends to be lower reps than you’re doing at least in a set.  If you’re doing 3×5, that’s 15 lifts – you just don’t do them in a row.  Different types of muscle exhaustion.

Oh.  And yes, I’ve hit my target cardio numbers during DL.  Max effort is max effort, ja?

Since you said you were doing lots of presses, here’s the press bit of our workout from Thurs:

5@50%, 5@50%, 3@60%, 3@60%, 3@60% – but descend all bars slooowly, to count of five.  (Meaning it takes 5 seconds from top to bottom).  Then, barbell only as many as you can rip out in a row for strict press (no leg action), and immediately after, as many as you can push-press (with the hip bounce).   Roll out triceps afterwards, they’ll be mad at you.

Crunchy Thoughts

Influence:  Listening to a lot of Paul Gautchi videos (Back to Eden garden dude).

Influence:  Opening the newspaper.

Influence:  Being a crunchy hippie chick.

Influence:  Reading a feminist book about body image.

Dude.  We’re so broken.  We keep trying to find ONE cause of the broken, and I don’t think there’s just one thing.   There’s not ONE thing wrong, there’s a ton.  They all feed into one another and interconnect and there’s no way you look that you don’t sit a minute and say, “Oh wow.  How could we have messed things up this profoundly? What were we thinking?”

(Usually the answer to that is:  Cheap/fast/money, or as the Bible says, 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  It’s not like I don’t know the answer to these questions, it’s that one still asks them, in grief.  And then there’s other sin.  Mostly if you trace back the “why did we DO that?” the answer is some sort of sin).

If you look at creation, how were we designed to live and eat and drink and interconnect?   Then you look at our lives, and compare.   And then you can’t but sit back and wonder that we’re not more profoundly broken than we are.

We eat GARBAGE.  Do I need to start my processed food rant again?  No? Good.

We surround ourselves in plastic, which is not good for us.  Our clothes are plastic.  The lotions we put on our skin.  The stuff we put on our floors and in our houses and wrap our food in and “allow” in our food and… on and on and on.

We put chemicals in all our food and water.  BCP traces in the water system, antibiotics in the milk, etc ad nauseum.  Ad NAUSEA-um, more like.   Air pollution.  Noise pollution.

We have completely devalued craftsmanship of any kind.  We don’t teach it, we don’t want to pay for it.  The deep satisfaction of doing or owning?  Gone.

We stay inside too much.   We don’t let our bodies acclimate to heat or cold.  We insulate ourselves from the changing of the seasons.

We stare at blue screens all day long.

We don’t spend time with other humans in community.  We don’t do much in the way of extended family.  Marriage is disposable.  We try not to have very many kids, especially not unless everything is perfect.  Gender roles based on nature?  Nope, totally have to buck those.

We disinfect everything.  We don’t touch the soil.  We wear shoes constantly.

God forgive us for how we treat our food animals.

The way we raise our kids and educate them is nothing short of criminal.  Value of curiosity?  Value of rational thought?  Everyone has to end up the same or you’re a failure?  Mastery – of anything?  Again, I could go on for days.

We interact (as much as possible) only with people in our own age group.  Why would we want to learn from the older generation or enjoy and teach the younger?

I could go on and on.  But then, THEN we act startled when systemic illnesses break out.  When people’s minds break down.  When people’s hearts break.  We’ve transformed humans made in God’s image into hyper consuming robots in search of short-term pleasure and convenience.

The world is very badly broken, and you can see it all around you.   ALL around you.  What makes me wonder is not that we are seeing bad things, but that more bad things haven’t happened yet.  We should be on our knees praising God for His forbearance, honestly.   And we’re not going to fix anything by a one-step change.

We have to get back to real.   It’s not a one-step process, it can’t be gotten to in our lifetimes.  But we can try, we can make the moves as they become available.

REAL is beautiful.  So incredibly beautiful.  The way we were designed to live, in harmony with nature and each other is beautiful.  Carved wood and real wool and clean water and happy animals are BEAUTIFUL.

If we keep starving ourselves, it’s no wonder we’re dying.

PRs in bench and backsquat

In the last week, I’ve hit PRs on benchpress and backsquat.

133lb for bench now and 265 on backsquat.  I think I might have gotten 275 on the BS, but I was too tired to go to full depth after the number of lifts I took to get to 265, so I stood back up from half-depth.   Maybe I could have, maybe not.  I didn’t feel like going to failure.

So, that’s cool.

For all those keeping track at home (hi, Bike), one of the biggest reasons I go and work out with my amazing coach is that she makes me do hideous amounts of core work, which pays off later.  I *frequently* wake up at 3am the night after working out curled in a ball because of my core work – it’s NOT a joke.  So, when I have more than my husband’s weight on my shoulders, I can tighten my abs and drop – and not torque out my lower back.

An example of core work would be doing knees-to-elbows with the rope.  You know, three sets of 8.  Then we might do banded kettlebell swings (I hate those) or dragon flags.  Another 3 sets of 10 or 12.  Does that take long?  Nope.  Will you cry like a little girl before dawn the next day?  Decent chance.  I can’t think the last time we did *situps*.


My coach is awesome and I get to do cool stuff.  🙂