May 29, 2009

Getting stronger

No marathons for me this weekend – I’m off to Phoenix for some sun, fun, Mexican food, and margaritas! Boyfriend’s parents have a house there and will be moving full time later this year, so they invited us to join them for part of their Memorial Day vacation.

Knowing that I wasn’t going to be burning 2620 calories, I sternly forced myself to get a workout in early this morning before leaving for work. I set my alarm for 6:30 AM and actually stuck to it, but then decided to make Boyfriend breakfast in bed: Bobby Flay’s banana Nutella paninis. Fantastic! They were really quick and easy to actually make, but I definitely lingered over them a bit too long when I served/ate them, doing a double disservice to my gym time (more calories eaten, fewer calories burned).

By 8 AM, I was finally heading down to the gym with only about 20 minutes to get in a brief workout before rushing to get ready for work. I had planned to make today really intense on the arms, so I started with ten five minutes on the rowing machine. Next up in the old arms circuit that I somehow remembered (don’t ask me how, since I can’t tell you the last time I did it) was the assisted tricep dip and pullup machine I’ve talked about in past posts.

I set the assistance to what in the past has been a fairly aggressive level 8, meaning about 40 pounds of assistance. Expecting to do just a few reps and then drop the weight down, I managed to do the entire set of 10 without really fatiguing. I switched to pullups to get my triceps a break and did a much more normal number of reps/level of weight there. Going back to the dip side, I decided to try dropping the assistance to 6 (about 30 pounds of assistance) to see what would happen. This time, I was determined work myself to exhaustion within 10 reps.

But… it didn’t happen. Once again, I found myself finishing the set (not without a bit of a struggle, but still finishing with decent form). I again did my pullups (struggling more with those this time, even though I put some more assistance). Finally, it was time to try something truly aggressive: level 4, which represents only 18 pounds of assistance. It’s the lowest setting on the apparatus, and it’s a setting that I don’t think I had ever even seen the pin left at when the big bodybuilding guys used the machine before me.

Now, I won’t kid myself. I didn’t make it to ten reps (I stopped around 6 or 7), my form may not have been perfect, and I was really struggling to keep it going. But still, I have seen what I can accomplish, and I have seen the light. I’m not setting a time for this goal, but I want to someday be able to push the assistance bar away, and do 10 reps with NO assistance – just my triceps vs my whole body weight. I CAN DO IT!

Any other female readers ever manage to do that? I’m curious how much of a scene I can make at the gym when all the bodybuilding guys stare at my feat of strength, astonished by the prowess of the little brunette wearing pink who only comes to the gym for 15 minutes at a time πŸ™‚ Take that!


2 thoughts on “Getting stronger”

  1. Hmmm, I’ve been trying the assisted machine for pullups lately, with pretty good results, but haven’t tried the dip side of things. I’m curious now. I too enjoy being the girl in pink in the weight room getting funny looks from all the bodybuilder guys doing set after set of seated bicep curls πŸ™‚

  2. I’m not super good at strength training, because I get bored really easily (not that it’s easy…).

    So instead I do the 30 day shred! It’s the only thing that’ll keep me motivated long enough to work on strength πŸ˜›

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