How To Suck At Life

Wow, it sure has been a long time since I posted any content here.

No, I didn’t die. Obviously. Because here I am writing to you.

But, lots of other stuff happened.

My favorite aunt, who was like a second mother to me, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, struggled with it for three years, and passed away.

My mom was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. She had major surgery, chemo, and radiation, and, thank God, is cancer free today.

And there’s still the fallout from my Dad’s sudden death way back in 2005. That upended my life and I never really found a solid foothold with that until very recently.

I emotionally ate through all that crap, and gained back all the weight I had lost in the previous years. I’m now heavier than I have ever been in my whole life, and I’m pretty pissed off about it.

But, on the bright side, I lifted fairly consistently and heavily throughout all of that, so I also retained quite a bit of strength. I worked with a few great trainers, and a few bad ones. I learned a lot about what type of training is best for my body, and I’m hoping to apply that knowledge in my long road back to health.



One of the things I learned is: I feel great working out and lifting every day IF it’s the right kind of lifting.

Kettlebells every day? No. Injuries galore.

CrossFit every day? No. See above.

Martial arts every day? No. See above, again.

Bodybuilding/Powerlifting every day? Yes. I feel like a million bucks.

I will admit, I bought fully into the CrossFit “bodybuilding sucks” propaganda. I snickered at the dummies doing curls and using the cable machine. Meanwhile, I couldn’t bend over because my back hurt from doing deadlifts for time, or do a simple push-up because my shoulders were jacked up from doing 100’s of burpees and overhead kettlebell swings.

With all that in mind, today I started a cycle of Dan John’s “Even Easier Strength.” I recently read Matt Perryman’s Squat Everyday book, and having had the epiphany that I can actually lift every day and feel great, I decided to run a cycle of one of the greatest lift every day programs there is: Easy Strength.

My first workout today was:

Stretch – 5-10 minutes

Deadlift 2×5

Overhead Press – 2×5

Seated Cable Row – 3×5

Barbell Hip Thrust – 2×5

Farmer’s Walk

Short, brisk walk outside with the dogs.

And that’s it for today. I started with really, really light weights and will work up to heavier as I go along. The idea with lifting every day (unless I’m doing a bodybuilding split) is to never, ever struggle with a weight. All lifts are easy, or relatively easy, anyway. No grinding out 99% 1RM deadlifts. Naughty, naughty.

I would also like to point out, before the kettlebell and CrossFit and Beach Body haters come around, that I’m not saying those types of workouts are wrong or stupid. They just don’t work for me without making me a creaky, grumpy, exhausted, binge eating excuse for a human being. I think every one has a different type of program that works for them. So if you think CrossFit is the bee’s knees, and you can honestly say you thrive on it, then good for you, go for it!

I’ll just be over here, doing my lateral raises and lat pulldowns, cheering you on.


The Squat and Me

The squat and I have many issues. For one, I hate them. Absolutely freaking hate them. For two, I totally suck at them. My form is horrendous and no matter how hard I try or what cues I implement I still can’t squat correctly. It feels like I’m beating my head against a brick wall when it comes to this movement.

My internet buddy/ranching weightlifting sista Barb asked me recently why I’m even doing them. Why not do something else? Anything else?

That is an excellent question which I have pondered many a time while being crushed under a loaded bar. Many a savvy weightlifting coach has pointed out that it’s pretty darn stupid to do a movement that you are either not built for or is physically difficult for you to do. Plus, if it hurts you why the hell are you doing it, you bonehead? Well, I sorta have to do squats, mostly because of this:

That, my friends, is kata guruma. If I want to test for my black belt in judo I have to complete this throw, once from the left side and once from the right side, as a part of Nage No Kata. There really isn’t any substitute for lifting something heavy on your back besides… well, lifting something heavy on your back.

I would love to do nothing for legs besides deadlifting, sled dragging and lunges – but I have a feeling that the squat will be my best ally, even if I do hate them.

Ways I plan to implement squats into my repertoire despite my physical limitations:

Zercher squats
Box squats
Concentric squats
Squat lockouts

Oh yeah, and practicing lifting an actual human being on my back during judo practice isn’t a bad idea either.


Moment of Clarity


AMRAP, 10 minutes:

wall squats
KB halos

6 rounds, + 10 squats, 7 halos


Turkish getup singles, 5 minutes
4 left, 4 right – 25#

As I was lying on my back on the floor with a 25 pound ball of iron balanced precariously over my head, I had a brief – yet intense – moment of clarity. It went something like this:

“What the hell am I doing?”

I usually have those while I’m doing judo. More specifically, when one of the eight foot tall, 300 pound dudes in the class picks me up and throws me. At the apex of the throw, when I am balanced horizontally in the air above his shoulder, I sometimes have the same thought.

“What the hell am I doing?”

Notice I said sometimes. I think other things too, like “Mommy!” or “Did I remember to turn the iron off?” But by the time I hit the floor I usually remember that I don’t iron my clothes, so those moments are slightly less terrifying.

The getups today went one of two ways. The right side was just peachy. The left side was like a rotten peachy with a bunch of worms in it. My left shoulder (the injured one) does not hurt, but man is it weak. I may have to practice with a lighter dumbbell until I build up strength and get the movement pattern down.

Judo Ground Work

Judo tonight. All groundwork. There is a tournament coming up for some people and our resident juijitsu expert worked on ground with us all night. He is an excellent teacher and it was lots of fun.

When we worked on a Kesa Gatame escape the jj teacher was showing us, I took advantage of a brief lull and tried the escape Matt demonstrated above. Whattayaknow, it worked! I even used Crusher as my uke, and as her name would imply she usually crushes me with Kesa Gatame and I can never get out of it. For an escape we were taught the “pull your arm out to the side” technique that Matt mentions above. Like he says, it never works. But this one did!

I’m perhaps overly excited by this because I always end up being pinned in Kesa Gatame at some point during a match. We were working on a different technique tonight and after I finished practicing it someone said “Tami, it looks like you’ve been doing that for years!” I said “Well, actually, I’ve been getting pinned for years.” Ha, ha! Big difference.

Beyond Grappling

I did a quick workout this morning adapted from Matt D’Aquino.

3 rounds:
40 seconds jump rope
10 sprawls
10 overhead ball slams with twist (10#)


That was a gasser! It did indeed feel like a round of randori, minus the large person trying to throw me to the ground and crush me.

Mr. D’Aquino is a black belt in judo who was also a 2008 Olympian from Australia. He has four excellent sites that are well worth checking out.