Posts Tagged ‘strength training’

The first thing Zach, our Olympic lifting coach, taught us in his Sunday morning Oly lifting class was how to address the barbell. He clearly was not as amused as I was when I chimed in, “Good Morning, Mr. Bar!”

Addressing the bar is very important and there is one thing that Zach never, ever wants you to do. Bend over, grab the bar and then roll it back and forth a few times. Zach hates this. I mean he really, really hates this. He tells us this every class: “Don’t do this,” Zach says, rolling the bar back and forth in front of him. “You’ll look like a fuckin’ idiot. I hate this.”


Zach, my coach, played professional R-U-G-B-Y. He also wears socks with kitties on them.

Next question: “Where do your feet go – and don’t say under the bar!” Zach hates it when people say under the bar. He tells us this every class, too. The bar should be directly over the spot on your foot where your toes meet your foot. Gotcha.

We work on snatch progressions, from the floor, from below the knee, from above the knee, from position two, from the power position. We work on making contact with the bar.

I tend to “hump” the bar instead of jump with it, which prompts Zach to tell me, for the millionth time, “More jumpy, jumpy. Less humpy, humpy.” Gotcha. (This guy is going to make a great dad someday.)

I also tend to pull on the bar with my arms instead of driving with my legs. Your arms, Zach explains, should be “like spaghetti strings” and shakes his huge arms at me. Gotcha.

Now comes my favorite Zachism, which comes in three variations:

“Get under the bar.”



I haven’t really gotten that one yet. My instincts tells me NOT to throw heavy objects above my head and then jump under them and try to catch them. I saw Wile E. Coyote do that once and it didn’t end well for Mr. Coyote. Zach says I will lose that fear when the bar actually drops on my head. Gotcha. (Remember, Zach played R-U-G-B-Y.)

Zach demonstrates how to “GET UNDER THE FUCKIN’ BAR” and he makes it look so simple, so effortless. I ask him to do it again, and he does it again, just as effortlessly as the first time. I would ask him to do it a third time – just for yucks – but Zach played R-U-G-B-Y and now wears socks with kitties on them. Swear to God. You don’t want to yuck around with a retired professional R-U-G-B-Y player in kitty socks.








You get to a certain age in life when it doesn’t take much to make you happy. A beautiful sunset. The smell of bacon. The Yankees losing. New shoes. A PR.

Well, guess who is 5-0? Over the weekend those five little happy nuggets just so happen to have happened to me! Is this a great planet or what?!

Let’s start with shoes: I love new shoes. Not the kind of shoes you wear to work or on a hot date. Athletic shoes. I was a runner for about 35 years. Marathons, half-marathon, 10 k’s, 5 k’s whatever. I ran everywhere. shoe-pile-300x192 Paris, Detroit, Palm Beach, Miami…dirt roads, gravel, sand, asphalt…up mountains, down stairs, around the neighborhood, across town…I ran like Forrest.

I studied shoes and tried virtually every brand out there. In all those years I only purchased one bad pair of running shoes: Nikes that hurt my feet so bad that during a marathon that I took them off and ran the last 6 miles without shoes. (Don’t try this.)

One day I just stopped running. I took up cycling and bought cycling shoes. Mountain bike shoes. Triathlon shoes. When nearly every cyclist I know had been hit or run off the road by a crazy driver, I stopped cycling.

Then came Crossfit.


Once you graduate from high school, you are pretty much going to spend the rest of your life with people like you. In school – at least in public schools – you spend your days with kids of all different ages, colors, shapes and sizes. Some kids will come from wealthy families. Some poor. Some will have parents who are married to each other. Some may never even know both parents. Some are good at sports. Others prefer band. You are all mashed together – all day long.

But all that changes when you grow up. You will likely live in a neighborhood with people who like to live in the same kind of neighborhood – gated, urban, suburban, condo, mansion. You will worship with people of the same faith. You will go to concerts with people who like the same music. Your political beliefs will be the same as your friends. Co-workers do the same type of work.

If you are young, you won’t want to play tennis with an old guy. If you are an overweight middle-aged woman, you probably won’t want to work out with svelte young thangs.

Not so with Crossfit. When you become a Crossfitter you lose all that baggage. We leave behind all the crap that separates us and instead focus on what we have in common. We are just one sweating mass of humanity who believe in trying something different and stepping outside of their comfort zone. You probably won’t even know the last names or occupations of the people who work out with.


So there I was at the Southeast Regionals, minding my own business and hitting people up for donations at the booth for our local Steve’s Club, when a couple of guys came by and asked if I was competing in Clash of the Fittest. “Nope,” I told them.

“Well, a woman on our master’s team dropped out and we need a replacement. Wanna do it?”

Now, I did not know these guys from Adam but I could see no reason to break my 50+ year string of saying “yes” to strange men, so I said “Heck ya!”

The competition is this Saturday and I’m sure it will be a blast – as soon as I locate my teammates. But I am already miffed about the whole “Masters” division thing. More specifically, who the f#ck decided 40 is old enough to be in the Master’s division? Are you kidding me? Hell, at 40 I didn’t even have gray hair and I could stay up late enough to watch Saturday Night Live.

Why am I – 54-years-old – competing against 40-year-olds?