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Game Face

The moment I realize all my dreams have died

On Friday evening I competed in my gym’s SWOD, aka Strength Workout of the Day aka lifting heavy objects and being fast ‘n nasty about it. Here is a photo of me looking neither fast or nasty. Just sad. And yes, that’s my coach and gym owner in the background looking unfairly care-free and thirty-something.

This was an open male and female competition to see who had the biggest balls/vag when it comes to throwing your weight around. You could choose the RX Division (weight as prescribed) or Scaled Division. Sadly, my vag had to be scaled. Been brewing too much tea in it. Haha, I am funny.

Barbell foreplay

So the first workout of 3 was a barbell complex. A few deadlifts, a few front squats, then toss the bar above your head. Here I am prepping the barbell with some warm and encouraging words and a tender touch. Sing along: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the barbell tells me so.”

Now what?

Clearly a miracle occurred as the bar zipped above my head without hitting my chin on the way up nor crashing down on my head straight after. I did however stay in this position for quite a while as I have yet to master the art of letting go of the bar in a nice polite English sort of way.

We were supposed to repeat this 5 more times and between each round, get a kettlebell above our heads for a prescribed number of ground to overheads.

Wondering what’s for dinner

Kettlebells are vicious little bastards. Not only heavy and slippery but they also crash into your wrists giving you a nasty set of bruises that make your husband uncomfortable. I don’t care how many times I’m told that this only happens because my form is wrong. It happens because it’s a bloody big weighted metal ball with a handle that requires some pendulous momentum to get it above your head. The part where it smacks back against your wrist is called physics. Oh and it was also invented by Russians.

By the 6 minute time cap I’d barely made it through half the rounds. Good for me, I hate it when I tie with someone else for a ranking, I find it best to be very clearly and unambiguously last. Oh well, plenty of time to have another wee before the next event. Workout 2 was the horribly named burpees (squat thrusts to those of my generation).  Google ‘burpees’ and you’ll see them described as the ultimate full body workout. Which makes me wonder why coaches always add things to them. Like box jumps. Yes, do a burpee, then jump on and off a box. Why? Oh no reason.


So after doing a lot of burpee-box-jumps we had 15 seconds to load a bar on our back with 1.5 times our own bodyweight and… well just stand there. We don’t squat? Nope. Walk? Nope. Lunge? Nope. Just stand there while we stare at you and laugh at your tears and facial expressions. And stay there for a maximum 5 minutes. This is a mental challenge (in every sense of the word) and requires a strategy. Much in the way a hostage passes the time in captivity by recreating journeys in their mind instead of schemes to kill their tormentors, I clenched what I hoped were my kegels to stop more wee from coming out.

Run Gallant like you’re the only one left out there. Oh wait…

And here we are, the third and final workout. Sandbag get-ups. Lie on the ground with a 50 pound sandbag on your shoulder. Then get up with it. Then lie down with it again. Then get up with it another 4 more times. This is called a functional training exercise because it apparently prepares the body for everyday life/work. As in performing a pointless and annoying task over and over again with little reward?

In between getting up and down, there was some sprinting. It was after the first sprint that I noticed my laces were undone. Knowing that Erik would have no sympathy with me if I broke my ankle because of untied laces – he has made this very clear – I stopped to tie them. Unfortunately, my fingers had been replaced with grapefruits (Get Ripped compliant) at this point and so it took me some time. This is of course the absolute only reason that I did not finish the sprinting within the cut-off time. As I often say to Erik, an extra 20 seconds would have made all the difference.


As I was in one of the early heats, I was lucky to be able to watch everyone else compete in their heat and finish within the cut-off time. Here I am congratulating one of my LIFT team-mates on her down to the wire, no shoe-lace tying, brilliantly nailbiting finish. Being an awkward Brit, I’m more of a congratulatory finger-inter-linker than a high-fiver. More precision, less slap. Always anxiety.
(Note: hand behind me is not my third arm, but proper high-fiving person)

So that was that. My contest was no contest. But it was fun, in a way that probably only the other women in my LIFT group at Travis County Strength can really appreciate. This is hands down/interlinked, the best gym, with the best trainers in Austin and the best place to work out with a bunch of incredibly strong, fast and nasty women. Scales and all.

Tea anyone?

* Pics taken by the brilliant Mari Schwanke Barreda, who promised I’d get a great new Facebook profile pic out of these. I’m going with Maggie sad face.

3 thoughts on “Game Face”

  1. Yeah Maggie!
    Saw this in a friends Facebook and so glad to see you strong and healthy
    Tell Erik hi for me

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