Dear Chin-ups,

From the moment
I stopped exhaling
And had to frog-kick my legs
to get one extra inch
Up over that bar
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love(hate) with you.

Andddddddddd that’s about as much Black Mamba that I will plagiarize for now.

So, is it just me or do we all have that one effing exercise we just cannot master. And we think to ourselves…. Youuuuu B$TCH. I WILL BRING YOU TO YOUR KNEES AND YOU WILL BOW TO MY WILL. Then one day it just clicks and you wonder why you were yelling so much and now need a Fisherman’s friend.

For me, that exercise was chin-ups. Sure, rookie year in Uni, EVERYTHING (yelling again) was daunting. A bench-press bar that was donned with feather weights fell from my outstretched arms onto my chest for cripes sake. Hang-cleans sounded like something you did with a harness and a mop and a push-jerk was what you did when a boy was mean to your bestie. However, after a hard year of work, I was making gains on those exercises, bruh. Sick gains.

But not chin-ups. No sir-ee. Liz (if you don’t know who Liz is yet, please read this bad boy) – Liz had this annoying – read: worth while, amazing, smart – rule that you had to start your chin-ups from a hang. Like…full arm extension, feet hovering, dead hang.

At the end of year one, every fiber of my being would will me to lift myself out of said-hang… yet I would still just swing there. Frustrated. Sweaty. Sore from this frustrating isometric routine I had going.

Over the next few years, I had friends who would get a better biceps workout than my lats were getting as they hoisted me up during a ‘chin-up’. A chin-up assisting elastic band was helpful at first until one snapped straight up onto my rump and I had a welt for a week. I did negative chin-ups (jump up so your chin is over the bar and then gradually release back down to full arm extension over 10 seconds) til I was blue in the face and still… that initial lift off… URGH.

Then one day… poof. Like a 90s Pringles ad – once you pop, you can’t stop. I think I cranked out three that first day. Considering I was described by my coach as a ‘big bodied defenseman’, this was no small feat… and yet. CHIN UPS WERE MY BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH! YES.

By the end of year 5, I could do 8 of those suckers from a dead hang – though my last reps always did include a frog kick or two (woops).

So now you’re thinking… cool story Meghan. Well. It does not end there, flabletes.

5 years chin-up free and guess who is back where she started rookie year. She has 2 thumbs and weak lats – that’s right. This girl.

Not for much longer though. For the past couple of weeks now, myself and a few former Stingers have gotten together to workout in a park near our mutual place of employment. A park with a chin-up bar (or a jungle gym for little Billy. Whatever, the kid can wait).

So, Gabrielle can thank me advance for the great biceps workout she will get while I journey back to the land of chin-ups, but I am committed now more than ever to get back to where I was. Even if it means a bunch of negative chin-ups and the return of calloused palms.

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And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that girl
With the frog kicks
Sweat on my brow
:05 seconds on the clock
Bar in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,
Kobe

(just kidding, still Meghan 🏀)

I deserve…. Chicken Nuggets a pedicure

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I met Maggie, one of the smartest/sassiest people I have the pleasure of knowing; my rookie year at Concordia University in 2007. Mags, her roommate Cath, and I always pushed each other especially hard in the gym or off ice during our tri-weekly summer workouts with Liz (the Stinger’s amazing trainer extraordinaire). We challenged ourselves to get that extra rep on bench, shave that half-second off the pro-agility or reach another inch higher in the vertical jump. I was really #blessed to have those girls in my corner.

In season, we were only allowed to go out once a week, for the 24-hour window following our last hockey game of the weekend. I know that most girls on the team respected that rule since being hungover at practice SUCKS – but that meant that the 24-hour window was key for our social lives.

Back then, Mags and I had a saying – or more like a life style – that if we played hard, trained hard, studied hard, we DESERVED a pitcher (or 3) at the end of the week to unwind, and of course, we DESERVED nuggets #McDo. It’s no mystery why we were never recruited to Team Canada despite our athletic pursuits, folks. Basically, our whole reward system was based on food and booze – as I’m sure can be the case for many early-20-something year old university students.

Fast-forward to 2018, Maggie has established a healthy gym routine for herself at Limitless Performance (https://www.instagram.com/limitlessperformance), while pursuing her PhD in Waterloo.  The workouts she describes are reminiscent of the off-ice trainings with Liz, making me nostalgic for those days of muscles past. Mags recently told me about a body-fat challenge she was participating in at the gym – where the biggest loser received a 200$ gift card for Aveda services. Maggie was all in, because, in her words: ‘Mama needs herself some new highlights’. (Best of luck Marge)

On my end, I realized that I never really got rid of the ‘I deserve nuggets’ mentality. When I’ve had a tough week– I deserve a date night at Knox Tavern with my beau. Taylor’s birthday? We deserve a night out at Gibby’s to celebrate. When I successfully finish a semester at school, I deserve to unwind at Irish Embassy with my MBA cohorts. I literally had a 2-week span during my December 2017 exam period where I deserved a chocolate bar every single day. The gist is; Food = Reward = contributor to big white beluga belly for Meghan.

So, in the spirit of my healthier-me pursuits, I have decided to change the conversation and take a page out of Limitless Performance’s reward system. Therefore, for every 5 lbs I shed, I will treat myself as follows (TREAT YO-SELF).

5 LBS = PEDICURE

10LBS = HAIRCUT

15LBS = FACIAL

20LBS = MASSAGE

25LBS = SPA DAY

30LBS = SPA DAY + MASSAGE

I know some may say I should judge my progress by how I feel, not care about the weight, bla bla bla (cue Charlie Brown teacher voice). But with my busy schedule, I figure this is a measurable way of doing things — AND I GET TREATS AND I LOVE TREATS!!!

When I told her about my plans, Mags relayed the words of a coach at her gym to me: ‘You can’t control if you will lose weight or how much you lose. You can, however, 100% control what you ingest and how you expend your energy’. Good advice. So, I’ll control what I can, and I’ll make adjustments to my reward system when I need to (since yes, I concede 30 lbs might not be the most realistic of pursuits, and mama still wants herself a spa day).

Anyway, if you see me in the near future with a fresh to death haircut, congratulate me on my annihilation of 10lbs of blubber, K?

How do you reward yourself? What do you think of my system? Leave a comment below and let me know!