Today’s post and the lesson of the day are all brought to you by the day’s METCON and the number 7.

Bench Press 9 sets, 3 reps each @50% 1RM, go for speed, 1 sec up, 1 sec down, rotating grips at each set. Worked at 135# w/Einar and Craig. Very quick work.  135# is a bit heavier than 50% of my 1RM but it was a solid weight to work at. The reps felt stable and fast.

I’m finding it difficult to find the correct shoulder positioning. This idea of pinching a penny between the shoulder blades doesn’t work for me. I get the concept, I just haven’t found the right contraction to achieve it. I don’t feel like I’m finding the correct spot. Need to continue to work on that.

Unkipping —
3 sets of 8 Chin Ups
Ashley was very clear from the start that all reps should be done strict. No kipping. I took that to heart and tried to apply it. It’s not easy. A few reps into my first set Ashley was reminding everyone “no kipping.” I suspect that even though she was speaking to the group that was probably directed at me.

I had to ask for clarification on the difference. Ashley was great about showing me how I’m still using my lower body to initiate a swing even if I was minimizing it. She demonstrated how strict reps start in the arms and shoulders.

I got a few good clean ones. A few I still started with a swing. It’s going to take a fair bit of practice to develop the muscle memory to keep them separate.

Strict chin ups are a bit easier to execute over strict pull ups. Not sure of the why particularly.

7 KB swings 52#
7 DB Push Press (40#)
7 Toes to Bars

So the lesson of the day is, “You can pick your friends and you can pick your weights. But don’t let your friends pick your weights for you.” Looking at this WOD when it was posted, I cringed over the 40# DB Push Press. The adventure of 40# Push Jerks on Monday was still fresh in my head. Still there was this internal dialogue running in my head

“7 reps per round doesn’t sound too bad.”

“NO! Learn your lesson. Lighten up when you get to the gym.”

“We’ll see.”

As we were finishing chin ups, I saw Einar pulling gear together. He grabbed 40# dumb bells off the rack. By my estimate that’s conservatively half his bodyweight. I know we shouldn’t measure ourselves against anyone else. Still, my brain fired off with, “Well, crap! If he’s doing it, you’ve got NO damn excuse.” There was an instant of hope when I couldn’t locate 40’s. I thought I’d have to scale back, but no. I found them.

Einar and I were working side by side and I pointed out that I was only using 40’s because he was and that I considered all the pain that I was about to endure to be his fault. He seemed disturbingly comfortable witht that. 😉

All KB swings each round went unbroken. It’s really satisfying to think that that’s the expectation and not the exception now, even at 52#. Call that the highpoint and surprise of the day.

In spite of the mental drama, Push Presses were actually ok. I never put the dumb bells down and most rounds were legitimately unbroken. Last two sets I probably rested them on my shoulders longer than strictly necessary.

First set of TTB were strict, but not unbroken. All other sets were knees to elbows and none were unbroken. I completed an even 7 rounds of this METCON.

When it was done I collapsed on the floor and shouted at Einar, “That’s the last time YOU get to pick the weights, friend!” It was good for a laugh.

My performance on TTB leads me to my next point…I’ve found a new motivation to drop a few more pounds. My grip keeps failing. All of the bodyweight exercises the past week or so have really demonstrated that at this stage every pound I could drop would improve my performance that much more. Simply, it would be that much less weight to cope with.

I’m still not fit enought to do every rep for things like pull ups, chin ups, toes to bars, knees to elbows etc…but my grip is the first thing to fail well before the other muscles involved. I simply can’t keep 219 pounds in the air long enough to get through the assigned reps. If I was 215, or less, it should be that much easier.

The tricky part is I’ve definitely hit a comfort zone. Frankly, I’m loving it. I’ve gotten very comforatble in this body and haven’t felt that way for a long time. I can eat carefully, but don’t have to eat too rigidly. I don’t feel like I’m starving. I don’t feel like I’m punishing myself avoiding foods I enjoy. But I could certainly refine the diet further, be more disciplined and cleaner.

Jack and I actually had a conversation about this Tuesday. He asked me what my current weight was and what my new weight goal is. I told him, “I like where I’m at right now.” He pointed out that any extra pounds shed would help my performance on all of the bodyweight exercises and WODs.

Losing weight at this stage is not about saving my life like it used to be. It’s about optimizing my performance. I still want to be better. I’m no longer certain that I feel like I NEED to be that much better. Does that sound complacent? I’m not sure.There’s definitely a very satisfying balance to everything right now. Not sure how hard I’m willing to press at the risk of upsetting that balance.