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.


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.)

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 19: All Sorts of Hurt

The first exercise today was the chin up. As in, no assistance – just your straight up, chin-over-bar exercise. From there, I was to do as many as possible and then do assisted chin ups once I failed. I haven’t tried to do a real chin up in a while because I know it’s not going to look pretty and it’s a bit of the ‘ignorance is bliss’ syndrome, but today I had to do it. It was written in the stars.

I did everything right.

I bypassed those amped up pop songs and let the hardcore rock songs stay silent. I went for the motivational speech. It’s one of those things that make you feel powerful when you listen and you really believe that whatever is holding you back doesn’t have a chance.

Today is your day.

This is your time.

Take a listen, it’s worth it: Mindshift Motivational Video (The video itself is fairly typically cheesy, but the audio is what gets me going.)

I started stretching with the words sliding over the air and setting up camp right in my very core. I even put on gloves for better grip. I paused before reaching for the bar, envisioning my muscles going through the motions. And then I started to lift.


As in I have maybe gained a centimeter or two, maybe even an inch of distance since the beginning of this challenge. I can’t blame the motivational speech – that was spot on. The chin up really is a mark of physical strength. There’s just no way to cheat it. When you’re doing cardio, you can run slower; when you lift weights, you can sacrifice form. With the chin up, you just do it or you don’t. There is no gray area, no sort of, no excuses.

So, needless to say, I went straight to the assisted chin up from there. I also had my second run-in with the devil’s trifecta: front raise, lateral raise, rear delt raise – no breaks. Individually, these exercises are A-OK, but one after another is a rough go, particularly with my weak left elbow. Now, I also had a sporting commitment in the evening so my workout was followed up with a grueling season opener broomball match. Grueling in that my team only had one sub… And this was my third sporting event of the week. So, If I were to add on to Tuesday’s soreness diagrams…. it would look something like this:

stick all pain_edited-1

Today’s Workout

  1. Chin ups (do assisted once you fail)
  2. Deadlift
  3. Bent over row
  4. Assisted chin ups
  5. Crunches
  6. Stability ball plank
  7. Dumbbell squat
  8. Reverse lunge
  9. Chest press
  10. Front raise
  11. Lateral raise
  12. Rear delt raise

Chin-up Challenge Workout 14: Bipolar Muscularitis Whiplash

Okay. I definitely made up ‘bipolar muscularitis,’ but it does have the right kind of ring to it. As for the whiplash part, well, that’s where you come in. Consider this fair warning.

Last workout’s confetti celebration is being subjected to a retraction in today’s post-workout review. The controlled descent chin-up seems to be my greatest measure of how I’m doing, so let me do a bit of a recap on that front for the past 4 weight sessions.

Workout 11: Not awesome, but felt a bit more controlled on the way down. So, progress.

Workout 12: A huge step back from workout 11… Retraction!

Workout 13: Killed it! In a good way… Progress.

Workout 14 (today): No good. Retraction!

With so much back and forth, you must be getting some serious whiplash just watching my struggle unfold. As for my muscles, well, as you can clearly see, I’m on an exhaustive seesaw of able and not able. teeter_totter_2(Why is that piece of simple playground equipment called that? Someone suffering from tense confusion? And what does it have to do with sight? Teeter totter makes so much more sense.)

Anyway, there seems to be a pattern developing here and I’ve deemed this pattern the aforementioned bipolar muscularitis. I fully encourage any and all of you to swiftly adopt this term into your vocabulary. Now, in case you missed the obvious, I was a free-fall fool plummeting groundwards on my attempted controlled descent chin-ups today. It’s a little sad because I felt so victorious on Tuesday, but, like life… you lose some, you win some. If there’s anything to this bipolar muscularitis pattern then I’m sure the next workout will another underdog uprising.

Today’s Workout

  1. Bent over row
  2. Assisted chin-up with controlled descent
  3. Dumbbell row
  4. Sit ups
  5. Hyperextension
  6. Chest press
  7. Shoulder press
  8. Tricep overhead press
  9. Bicep curl
  10. Dumbbell squat
  11. Dumbbell reverse lunge
  12. Couch press (More colloquially known as… helping a friend move their new couch into their place.)

Chin-up Challenge Workout 13: Mysteries Revealed!

I tried today – I really tried – to do a single chin up. I put today’s workout on the back burner, eyed up the bar that is the bane of my existence, and tried my best to believe I could do it…

I did not succeed. Shocker, right? Though I was fresh off that defeat, I got down to business and began my workout in what feels more and more, with each passing day, like a futile attempt to succeed. However! There was some more undeniable (undeniable in that ‘Harper-needs-to-go’ sort of way) improvement with my assisted pull-ups, meaning I don’t have any doubt: I crushed my first set of assisted pull-ups today… and Harper really needs to be put out of office.

I actually accomplished a 4 count decent.

That’s right. Cue the applause. Release the confetti! Fire the works!! (…Light the fire? Boom the firework? … Blast! Blast the fireworks!) You gotta celebrate the small things right?

Now, I did, in fact, find out who said that less than 5% of people can do chin ups. And what’s more, she also says how many. Boomshakalaka! The great mysteries of this challenge have been revealed! Unfortunately, I don’t know where she got her stats from. So. There’s that to think about. Shawna Kaminski (C.P.T.) is responsible for this thought/idea/stat/pondering/reflection/fact/detail/truth/info:

5 %_edited-1

So there you have it. I had some serious questions from the last workout about this so-called fact… and those questions primarily still remain. For the most part. But the gleeful part of me is all hunched over, with my palms together and my right fingers tapping those of my left in a conspiring manner. Ah, yes. Just a single chin-up. Perhaps I’m not failing as hard as it appears. There is hope! Mwahahahahaha –

Yeeeah. Right.

Today’s Workout

  1. Assisted pull ups
  2. Inverted row
  3. Bent over row
  4. Barbell squat
  5. Stability ball curl
  6. Chest press
  7. Lateral raise
  8. Rear delt raise
  9. Bicep curl
  10. Tricep overhead press

Chin-Up Challenge Day 11: The Glimmer of Progress

I grab the handles and prepare to step off the chair to do an assisted pull-up. I take a deep breath and silently encourage my arms. I take the step. And holy hallelujah! I actually don’t plummet straight to the ground. There is resistance! Sweet, glorious, tiny-little-bit of resistance more formally known as… controlled descent.


Out of the 40 attempts, a solid 10 of them felt like I could categorize them as controlled. Well, it might be more accurate to say semi-controlled because it was still a quick trip down. That’s some lowlife underdog maybe-a-come-from-behind-victory-just-might-maybe-possibly-could-happen-maybe action right there. I mean that’s only 25%… not quite a passing grade but this isn’t a school kid’s paper going through some red inked grading.

Right now, any progress deserves a small celebration. You see, each work out is this straight up battle where I’m the leader of the battalion yelling at the soldiers not to give up: you’re better than this! You can do it! Do not give up! Why are you trembling?! You pathetic son of a …..

I have some weak soldiers signed up for duty so when they get a little stronger, do a little better I get pretty pumped about it.

Now, the great thing about today was I finally got some tunage going on as well. Everybody has their work out or pump up jams and so far that has been missing from my routine. We all label them corny-like, you know, with names like Gym Rat Jams or Rocky Balboa or Gettin’ Buff or Party Time. I call mine Adrenaline so I fit right in. It starts perfectly with intro by xx then explodes into a mishmash of pop, rock, rap and even a country song. Whatever gets ya goin’.

So if you’re looking for some workout tunes, here’s what I got in my line-up so far:


Take my advice. Out of all the music and songs and sounds out there, obtain intro by xx. It’s a short instrumental , but no matter where I am or what I’m doing that song digs right into my bones and makes me want to save the world, cure cancer, blow out raging forest fires with a single breath…. I’m sure you get it. It starts slow, but deep and you can feel your back straighten and your head lift and there’s power running through your entire body and then it hits when the voices come over the speakers and you actually start to believe you can do anything.

But then again, everyone experiences their music different. It gives me chills, but it might just piss you off. Either way, there’s motivation in there.

Today’s Workout

  1. Stick ups
  2. Assisted pull-ups with controlled descent
  3. Bent over row
  4. Dumbbell row
  5. Hanging leg raises
  6. Bicep curls
  7. Push ups
  8. Shoulder press
  9. Front raise
  10. Tricep overhead press
  11. Dumbbell squat
  12. Sit ups
  13. Spider crawl
  14. Plank