Today I Failed

IMG_0630The Chin-Up Challenge Post Show

I have grown stronger, but I have not grown strong enough. I set out three months ago to do 10 chin-ups. Very quickly I realized this was a lofty goal and though I didn’t change it, I knew that if I could manage to do 1 chin-up, I would be happy with that even though it would still mean the failure of this challenge. This is the closest I have ever been to doing a chin-up, but I still did not do a single one.

Today I failed.

Those who have followed along won’t be surprised by this. Some might be: you might have thought I was improbably going to pull this off; you might have rooted for me; you might have seen a fellow underdog make an attempt at something; you might have even seen yourself in me about that one thing you want but have been too scared to try and have. I set the bar high and I went for it.

Today I failed.

This is the first challenge that I have failed and it’s important. It’s important because it’s easy to set goals that don’t push you or make you try harder than you have ever tried before. If you don’t fail – if you don’t fail ever – then you aren’t trying; you’re coasting. There may be nothing wrong with coasting, letting the status quo take you through your life, but if you want something more, if you want to be more, to accomplish more then you have to fail. Nobody likes this idea, but it’s true. If you keep coasting you will never know what you are capable of. There is greatness in you, but it’s up to you to find it. Whatever that may be.

Today I failed.

No one likes to fail and I am certainly no different. I don’t like being told I am not good enough, but I can accept that at this moment in time about this particular challenge I am not good enough. Perhaps I never will be, but perhaps, one day I will. That is entirely up to me. When you fail, it’s life asking you if you have what it takes to try again. It’s asking you do you care enough to try again? Are you strong of heart? And if that answer is no, so be it. That’s where you settle. That’s where you begin to coast. The thing about coasting is that you will always, eventually, come to a stop. It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to say this is the way it is. It’s easy to point to any number of obstacles and say it’s too hard.

Today I failed.

There are many reasons why – some are excuses, some are fact, and some are interpretations of commitment, dedication, and perseverance. But none of them matter. What matters is what comes next. When you go after something and you don’t get it, it’s not the end unless you let it be. You have to ask yourself, is this it? Do I quit? And I hope, whether it’s a trembling, uncertain whisper or a resounding NO, that you do not accept that it’s game over. Every time you fail and pick yourself up again, you are becoming someone who is more powerful than you were before. Don’t let disappointment or frustration make you forget that.

Today I failed.

Tomorrow I may fail again.

But that won’t stop me from trying.

Chin Up Champ Wannabe     IMG_0630

^ Day 1                                                                                         ^ Day 94

 

 

 

 

 

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The Final Workout: Stronger

Here we are on the cusp of it all; the penultimate day of the chin-up challenge. I can undoubtedly say I am stronger. While I increased the heaviness of the weights I used throughout the challenge, this fact is much more clearly evident in my fighting prowess during the champions grunge match tickle fight.

You see, I am awesome at the tickle fight. I’ve got the moves, the strategy, and the burning desire to triumph. However, my weak left side hampers what moves I can pull and any serious tickler knows my right side is where I pack the heat. Yet, in my latest bout defending the championship I surprised even myself. My left arm muscled up and pulled off the old roll-over flip all by itself. That means my left arm single-handedly moved my opponent into a pin-move (which is key for getting maximum tickles in) all by itself.

To give a little background, in the past I have sometimes been unable to prop myself up using my left arm which is a pretty basic and simple thing to do. This is due to the titanium plate that is still in my elbow and which still gives me pain and/or trouble at times. But now, due to this challenge, my left side isn’t quite as pathetic as it used to be. It’s like Rocky Balboa when he trains using his opposite arm as dominant and so his opponent is ill-prepared and doesn’t see it coming when the wrecking crew comes to town.

Boom-shaka-laka.

Tickling aside, I am stronger and I have gained more respect for weight workouts. I’ve historically been a cardio gal, but now I don’t have quite the fear for weights that I used to. I will also say that weight training, although perhaps only in reference to this particular challenge, seems to be just as mentally as physically demanding. While no matter what workout or sport you do, they all have a mental aspect, but weight lifting was perhaps one of the most intense for me. I had a very serious goal in a tight deadline which I wouldn’t recommend. It’s okay to have a big goal, but make sure you focus on the little goals – the steps you take – along the way because those will add up and get you where you need to go, while focusing on one big end goal can easily be your undoing.

As a final note, the challenge comes to a close in good time as my cat decided to Mufasa my stability ball awhile ago – puncturing it – and the tape job hasn’t really been holding up (picture a cat clawing their way up the ball like Mufasa tried to claw his way over the ledge before, well, you all know what happens.)

IMG_0602
Not exactly Everlasting…

Today’s Workout

  1. Push ups
  2. Assisted chin-ups
  3. Inverted row
  4. Chest press
  5. Dumbbell row
  6. Bicep curl
  7. Shoulder press
  8. Tricep overhead press
  9. Sit ups
  10. Squats
  11. Reverse lunge

Chin-up Challenge Workout 18: Butt Hell Fire

Tonight, I’m going to let these simple doodles sum up how my body is feeling with less than a month left in this challenge. And yes… I actually now have a document saved in my vault of stuff called butt hell fire. I feel, somehow, not quite as mature as I did a mere half hour ago.

hurt, pain_edited-1This is only the beginning…

agony_edited-1

Don’t let my stick form worry you. The agony isn’t about some painful accident in which I seemed to have lost two fingers from each of my hands. It’s just a *mild* case of sciatica.

butt hell fire_edited-1And this, well, this is clearly about gluteal muscles. I’ve been doing a lot of squats and reverse lunges lately.

Now, I think I am going to have  to call ‘er quits on this post and end on that note. Nothing else is going to top butt hell fire.

Today’s Workout

  1. Assisted pull up with 5 lb weight, controlled descent
  2. Assisted pull up, unweighted
  3. Dumbbell row
  4. Bicep curl
  5. Hanging leg raise
  6. Hyperextension
  7. Push ups
  8. Plank
  9. Dumbbell squat
  10. Reverse lunge
  11. Stiff legged deadlift

Chin-up Challenge Workout 16: Those 5 Pounders…

It felt grueling out there today.

I mean… every workout feels grueling as I’m a superb weakling trying to attempt the seemingly impossible (the impossible being the lifting of the more than a hundred and fifty pounds of myself over that dad-blasted chin up bar) with a titanium plate in my elbow and sciatica firing in my back, but today was a just a little bit more… harsh. Just a smidge.

I normally keep it pretty consistent with the dumbbell fly, but today I couldn’t even manage one using 15 pound weights and had to scale back to 10 pounders. But where things got particularly dicey was for the front raise, lateral raise, and rear raise part. No breaks, no rests – nothing. After a couple sets of that trifecta, my arms went on strike. I mean, I ordered them off the picket line and back to work, but it just wasn’t quite the same.5 pounders

Every time I use a 10 pound weight… or 8 pound…. Or… *sigh* 5 pound… I can’t help but think of the end goal and how the aforementioned plus 150 pounds is supposed to be hoisted to victory by me. Me. The person who sometimes uses 5 pound weights. Sure, the 5 pounder doesn’t appear too often, but when it does – it just looks like defeat.

Although! There is no doubt that I am stronger. I see it in other ways so that is encouraging. I am getting somewhere, but by the end of the challenge it still probably won’t be… up.

Today’s Workout

  1. Assisted chin-up
  2. Inverted row
  3. Dead lift
  4. Hyperextension
  5. Sit ups
  6. Dumbbell fly
  7. Front raise
  8. Lateral raise
  9. Rear raise
  10. Overhead press
  11. Bicep curl
  12. Dumbbell squat
  13. Spider crawl
  14. Mountain climbers

Chin-up Challenge Workout 15: Mastering the Couch Press

The flip-flop of the past few workouts continues! That controlled descent was back with the full four count lowering (again, not for every rep though.) So the good news is that I’m not 100% pathetic – just a mere 50% pathetic. But who’s keeping stats, right?

Recently I’ve upgraded to phase two of my training so although the workout exercises look primarily the same as what I’ve been doing since the beginning, they are a bit more strenuous due to increased reps and what-not. On Thursday I laid down morelifting-24401_640 squats than previously and my body was still sore going on to today. As an added bonus round to my workouts, I also spent yesterday afternoon helping another friend move out which gave me another chance to crush some couch presses, coffee table curls, and booze box lifts. Now, remember folks – always lift with your legs!

Today’s Workout

  1. Assisted chin-ups with 4 count descent
  2. Deadlift
  3. Inverted row
  4. Hanging leg raise – alternating sides
  5. Dumbbell squat
  6. Reverse lunge
  7. Stiff legged dead lift
  8. Dumbbell fly
  9. Reverse delt raise
  10. Push ups
  11. Planks

Chin-Up Challenge Day 16: The Dork and the Prom Queen

It’s morning. I’m feeling good. The bar hangs in the doorway and I eye it up like a nerd who finally grows a backbone, tosses his glasses aside and struts up to the beauty queen while showdown by the Electric Light Orchestra pumps over all other sound. He doesn’t just ask her out, but tells her You. Me. Saturday night.

Except that it’s me and the chin-up bar and we’re not going out. No. The impossible odds I’m trying to overcome are not those of a dork winning over the lady at the top of the social pecking order. I’m going to slowly lower myself to the full hanging position. Bad friggin’ ass, I know.

I grip hard. I raise my chest to just beneath the bar. I clench my biceps. Flex my shoulders. And take the step.

It’s no 4 second decent, but it is controlled. Oh, and did I mention I tied an extra 5 pound weight around me? Booyah! But, like the middle of any rise-of-the-dorks movie after the first 20 of these I was pretty much back to the slight-resistance plummet. Such a cruel tease… just like those damn prom queens. But, as you know, this movie ain’t even but a fifth of the way over. I’ll win her over in the end.

…Maybe.

So. Those hanging leg raises. If I ever get to feeling like I’m accomplishing something, they’re always there to tell me I’m still nothing. Here is what the final position is supposed to look like, based on the workout I’m following:

Her leg raise

Here is what my final position looks like:

IMG_0573

As you can see by my strain face, I clearly ripped a hole in my shirt from trying so hard. Clearly. And look at that form. Nice, tight and straight am I right? I’m not right. Now, in turning to the almighty internet, “hanging leg raise” returns a lot of results that look like this:

hanging-leg-raises

 

 

… and I’m still not even close.

montage leg raise 2

 

Today’s Workout

  1. Stick ups
  2. Assisted weighted pull ups with controlled descent
  3. Assisted pull ups (no extra weight)
  4. Bent over row
  5. Reverse dumbbell fly
  6. Hanging leg raises
  7. Turned out bicep curls
  8. Chest press
  9. Push ups
  10. Stability ball planks
  11. Dumbbell squat
  12. Stiff legged dead lifts
  13. Spider crawl
  14. Mountain climbers

 

Chin-Up Challenge Day 9: The Olympian and the Trophy Wife

When I’m on a challenge I feel kind of bad ass. Like when a friend dares you to do something outrageous, thinking there’s just no way you’d do it, but then you peel off all of your clothes and blast down main street, a streak of white lightning on an otherwise calm night. You do it. And you feel so completely bad ass in all your naked glory.

… So that’s sort of what I feel like when I’m doing a challenge, but, you know, with clothes on. Kind of.

Except that this time I don’t. As the workouts come and go, I feel more and more like I was a bit overzealous on choosing ten. One I think I can do, but ten? This is in no way a forfeit or a throwing in of the towel; it’s just the honest fact that I am completely unconfident. That being said, there’s also this part of me that really absolutely loves impossible odds because success is more than just saying you did it, but knowing you had to come so far to do it… you defy the odds.

Now, let’s put defiance aside. I’m right handed. Most people have a dominant side and without a doubt it’s my right side. My left hand just can’t get its act together. Write, draw, cut, punch, hold a fork… that left hand is about as uncoordinated as the Edmonton Oilers break out. It’s always been that way, but then two years ago I slipped, fell and broke my elbow. The broken elbowA titanium plate and a bunch of staples later, my left side just got a whole lot more weak.

I’m finding this difference to be really cramping my style. It’s like my arms are conjoined twins where one is an Olympian and the other is a trophy wife. It’s just not working out. The Olympian (right) is trying to make up for the trophy wife (left). I’m really being a jerk to that trophy wife, trying to make her do everything the Olympian does, but she always, inevitably, starts shaking and straining and gives out before the Olympian.

She also cries at night.

Just kidding, all my muscles scream at night. And throughout the day. But! In better news…. My stability ball antics were not those of a grease wrestler trying to grab a hold of another slicked up body. I actually stayed on this time and did the exercise. So yay! for small victories.

Today’s Workout

  1. Attempt an unassisted chin-up (no progress)
  2. Stick ups
  3. Jump pull ups
  4. Assisted pull ups
  5. Bent over row
  6. Reverse dumbbell fly
  7. Dumbbell wood chop
  8. Bicep curls
  9. Dumbbell squats
  10. Chest press
  11. Push ups
  12. Shoulder press
  13. Tricep overhead press
  14. Stability ball plank