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.

hands blog.jpg

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 🏀)

Melissa’s Story: Be kind to yourself

Happy FriYAY flabletes – I hope everyone had a great week.

So, if you read my last post ‘Nama-stay-on-my-couch and watch Netflix (no more)‘; you knew that I had set the goal for myself to attend a yoga class this week. Well guess what… I didn’t.

I had class on Monday, Thursday and tonight… Tuesday was impromptu bridesmaid dress shopping session and group work and Wednesday I stayed late in the office and needed a night off (dare I say deserved a night off?). Anyway, I was feeling like caca💩 about myself and confided in my friend and MBA cohort, Melissa. Lo and behold, she was familiar with the feeling too and had some very sound advice.  Be kind to yourself.

Smart lady, right? Read more about her story and approach here

Nama-stay-on-my-couch and watch Netflix (no more)

enso

During my undergrad, I was enrolled in a course called ‘Yoga in history, thought and practice’ (1 class = I’m OBVIOUSLY an expert in all things yoga). There should have been a disclaimer in the course outline that there would be no actual yoga done in this religion class. BETRAYED.

It ended up being pretty effing hard for me since it was a 400-level class that greatly diverged from my normal Exercise Science classes – but still, I would take it again. To this day, I still remember the essence of Yoga Sutras and the Upanishads (collection of teachings that are pretty central to many South Asian traditions) and how versatile the interpretation of these were. The way I perceive this is that Yes, Yoga is for everyone and a great way to stay in shape – but it is humbling to be exposed to the teachings and roots behind our practices.  Especially since my solemn, deeply spiritual ‘practice’ historically entailed me sweating it up next to a lot of perfectly coiffed Westmount moms with Swarovski-encrusted S’well water bottles I could only afford by pawning my left kidney on the black market. #yogi

I digress. I’ve always done yoga, on and off – mostly off, judging by my current inability to touch my toes. Yoga is def one of those things that I keep promising myself to do more of (read: daily?) once I have the time. That, and a self-defense or krav maga class, a handy-woman class, a wilderness survival course, watercolor painting, weekend hikes… the list is long fellow flabletes, the list is long.

Serendipitously, my good friend Amanda (henceforth referred to as Pants), told me she had started to attend classes at Enso yoga on the reg since September and invited me to join her over the holidays. Challenge accepted, Pants.

In all honesty, I attended the first class alone, since I didn’t want Pants to see how deep into the flablete lifestyle I had fallen. Like, I didn’t even give her the heads up I was going. I wore all black, hid my face under a hat and hoped no one would recognize me walking in.

So yes, it was with much trepidation that I took to my mat that day – I very much expected that I would need to rest in child’s pose every 2 minutes or leave – BUT I DID IT! Got through with no breaks.

Did I do all the easiest variations? You bet your bottom-dollar I did.

Did I sweat like a moose in a muggy Montreal heat wave? Eff yes, friend.

But still – the feeling of accomplishment was invigorating and encouraging.  The instructor and staff at Enso were all very friendly and supportive too!

From January until mid-February, Pants and I were steadily attending 2 hot yoga classes per week (she got over my betrayal of attending without her… for the most part). Yoga classes were a nice change from watching ‘The Office’ on repeat from the comfort of my ass-groove in my couch. And let’s face it, it was great to end the day with a good workout in great company!

Then disaster struck in the form of midterms – deliverables due in all 3 classes in one very short week. I like to think that I manage my time fairly well – I haven’t had to pull an all-nighter during my entire MBA – but I do need to dedicate more hours of my weeknights/weekends to studying when examinations come around. So, despite loving how I was feeling, losing weight and enjoying the company of a good friend, when crunch-time came, exercise was the first thing I cut from my routine. The second was my meal-prepping time and third was my social life. Thankfully, Taylor picked up the slack on our food duties and I have very understanding and supportive friends/family.

Now we are 2 weeks removed from that hellish week; I’m helping out in the kitchen again and I’ve knocked back a few with my friends, but I still haven’t gone back to yoga. I tell myself I’m tired and I need a break, while I slowly watch my couch ass-groove deepen by the day. It’s just so hard to get going again…Why Jeebus, WHYYYYY!

According to Newton’s law of motion (NERD ALERT), an inertial force is a force that resists a change in velocity of an object. It is equal to—and in the opposite direction of—an applied force, as well as a resistive force. Basically, it is harder to get something to start moving than it is to keep it going once it has started. Same goes for my exercise regimen, so it would seem.

So, to get the ball (read: my ass) rolling again, I am committing to attend a Yoga class next week. Enso, Pants, I will see you there!

Namaste, flabletes 🧘