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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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On Benchmarks

Some of my best friends are men.  I drink beer.  And, while football baffles me, I have learned to cheer for the Yankees.  Still, by no stretch of the imagination could I be considered "one of the guys."  This isn't something I think about often, but last night at CrossFit I kept tripping over my sex and my gender. 

The workout of the day ("WOD") was the Total, one of CrossFit's benchmark workouts which involves a back squat, a shoulder press and a deadlift.  You warm up, and then you have three shots to hit your maximum for each move.  Because it was crowded, we split up into groups of three people per rack.   

The guys in my group were about the same height and lifting the same weights, so we had to adjust the rack height and the plates between their sets and mine.  They were the shortest men present, but still significantly taller than my 4'11".  I managed to use the men's bar for the back squats, but had to switch to the lighter ladies' bar for the presses, which just meant more hassle between their sets and mine.   Despite my efforts, I wasn't much help lugging the 45 lb plates around and I couldn't spot their 225 lb lifts.  I wanted to, but I wasn't sure if I could, and it seemed like a pretty silly risk to take.  It also didn't help that I was the newbie who didn't know where the equipment was etc.  I couldn't pull my own weight, literally, and that sucked.

Putting aside my physical limitations, I discovered that I really don't speak guy.  I'm learning clean, snatch, jerk and all the other lifting terms a girl just doesn't pick up at Equinox, but I can't encourage someone by yelling or cursing at them.  I don't mind that kind of thing directed at me.  I actually appreciate being included, and when the weight is really heavy I mostly tune out what's going on around me anyway.  Still, I can't reciprocate.  It wouldn't come out right.  I can fist bump and "nice" and "good job."  That's the extent of it.

The actual lifting went pretty well.  I didn't know where to start, so I figured I should err on the conservative side.  For my back squats, I did 64, 74 and 94.  For the presses, I did 43, 48 and 48 again.  For the deadlifts, I did 113, 123 and 128.  The numbers mean very little to me right now, but the next time we do the Total I'll have something to compare.  That's the whole idea behind the workout.

I have a hunch, though, that the next time the Total or something comparable comes around, it won't just be the weights that I'm using as a benchmark.  Of course, I'm hoping to gain physical strength.  Perhaps more than that, though, I'm hoping to feel more at ease.  I'm not expecting to be totally at home in that environment, but the next time we do this, I want to be able to deal with my rack setup unapologetically.  That, and pressing at least 53 lbs, will make me one proud chickie.

I'll keep you posted.

-Gym Belle-

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