Gearing up for Strong Man

It’s not unattractive to have a body that works well. In fact, people generally find it very respectable/appealing.

Many women (and sometimes men) will resist weight training because they think, “Oh, that’s going to make me look bulky or manly.” Not true. That’s going to make you look FIT (i.e. HEALTHY, ATTRACTIVE). It’s going to make you look like you have a body that WORKS.

I’ll never forget the first time I looked at a cadaver in an Kinesiology lab. The professor was guiding us through the different muscle tissues, but they weren’t anything like I anticipated. She picked up this string from the arm area and informed us that this was the biceps brachaii. I thought the biceps brachaii would look something like this…

But instead, it looked something more like this….

I remember looking down at the little string she was pointing to and thinking “THAT is what’s supposed to flex the arm???” No wonder they couldn’t do anything with it.

The reason that my cadaver likely had such a small bicep is that cadavers are sometimes extremely old people that donate their body to science. The older you get, the more muscle tends to waste and the weaker you become. Especially if you stop using your muscle in the name of “retiring.” (But that’s a lesson for a different day)

The Point is… Muscles DO Something

Even after all of this talk of cat-calls and surprising the common person with brute strength, the real reason for lifting is not attention. The real reason for lifting heavy things is that I have a healthy body that does what I ask of it.

Exercise of all forms makes you healthy. And specifically, lifting, helps you build stronger muscles. Muscles are meant to move your skeleton. They allow for motion and weight bearing. That’s an important task.

Which Brings me Back to Gearing up for Strong Man..

This weekend, I’m competing in a strong man competition. I might even post some videos of it so that you readers can see the extend of my craziness. I always like to think of the practical reasons that I might be doing what I do… Here’s a few of my possible events and their practical application:

  • Tire Flip: I can flip a 500 pound tire. I’m sure this will come in handy when I am visiting a farm. While I’m there, a tractor tire will inevitably incur an injury and need to be changed in order to get it safely home again. Unfortunately, no one else will be able to get the tire to the tractor – except for me.
  • Yoke Walk: I can walk with 400 pounds on my back. Not very far, and not very fast. But still. I can walk. This means that if I (for some unknown reason) wanted to put on an extra 400 pounds, I would still be able to walk. Usually 550 pound persons have a hard time ambulating, but I would still be kickin.
  • Stone Lift: I can pick up a 165 pound stone over and over again. Tell me there’s not going to be a time in my life when I need to lift a 165 pound person or a 165 pound boulder. When you need this done, I’m your girl. Call me.
  • Keg Carry: Obvious reasons. I may not drink much alcohol, but that doesn’t mean I won’t watch you drink it. Let’s get the party started.
  • Car Pull: I can pull a Jeep Cherokee – by myself. In fact, I’ve already needed this skill. The last time my car broke down, I realized that chivalry is over. I needed to push my car about 300 feet up a slight incline. Upon trying to flag down several capable looking men (who all had excuses, like “My back is out” or “I’m in a hurry”) I had to enlist the help of a little old lady to steer while I pushed it BY MYSELF. Wow. Thanks.
  • Log Press: I can lift a 135 pound log over my head. What’s that? You need this log to be hoisted up to you? No problem. It’s got handles, right? Okay, so this is a little far fetched, but still – that motion of putting something heavy up over your head – I have it down.

The real reason why I started doing strong man competitions: it’s fun. I’m a firm believer that whatever activity you’re doing, you need to find a way to make it fun. Otherwise, you’re not going to be looking forward to it nearly as much. I look forward to the time I get to spend with my friends pulling cars and flipping tires. It’s quality bonding!

This weekend, we’re all competing together for the first time. It should be lots of fun. Gearing up for a meet is a little different than a lot of you would expect. For that reason I decided to share my pre-meet instructions.

In Preparation for my Meet, I Have Orders from the “Coach”

I lift with a lot of people smarter than I am about health, nutrition, and exercise – so, I’m lucky in that aspect because they keep me in check. Our little group includes a physiology/nutrition professor, an Exercise Physiologist, a couple of PhD students (in nutrition), a really smart undergrad, a past semi-professional football player, and me – a diabetes educator/dietitian.

Whereas, the dietitian in me might want to hold back from eating too many carbohydrates, our coach urges me forward. Eat Sarah! Thank goodness I’m not the one in charge. 

This week, I am to do these things:

1) Rest (no lifting, no late-night (whatevers), no biking, no dancing, no sprints)
2) Eat (anything and everything, as much as possible)
3) Ice (anything and everything, as much as possible)
4) Visualization (you beating whoever)
5) Mediation (try to figure out how to block out the smack talk/yelling)
6) Get Your Gear in Order
7) If you think you should train this week, then, you didn’t train hard enough last week.
8) General food to pack for the trip: bananas, water, zone bars, gel packs, pretzels (oh wait, everyone eats ours), caffeine , skittles, grapes
9) Pray for a cold front or at least some clouds
10) Bring Your ‘A’ game –> None of this: ‘I’m not feeling it; I don’t want it bad enough; this is just one thing I can check off my bucket list; my back hurts; I’m too old.”

This week, I’ve not been lifting or exercising much because I’m prepping. I need all my muscles fresh and I need them full of energy. That brings me to my favorite part of these instructions: Rest and Feed.

I love eating, so this week has been great in that respect. Hopefully, it will all be worth it when I go to compete this weekend. ;)

Wish me luck!

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