(world of WEIGHTLIFTING, that is)
So a while back I wrote a whole post on CrossFit. I found it in October 2009, and I still love it. Despite its growing popularity and now mainstream culture and marketing, I still love it. I love what it’s done for me, my parents, and others, and that it promotes being active and healthy and caring about your body (not just the image, but your actual body).
Another thing I love about it is that it introduced me to other sports, such as Olympic Weightlifting. I have openly embraced the snatch and the clean & jerk. They’re not dirty euphemisms, they’re lifts!
Clean & Jerk:
CrossFit was my gateway drug, in a way. After a lot of debate and encouraging from friends and coaches, I finally decided to go “wod-free” and just lift. I got a taste for it during my 3 weeks in Oxford, and realized it was certainly worth a full 2-month trial. In December 2011, when I got back to the States, that’s what I did. I started going to Bare Bones Barbell Club (part of my parents’ CrossFit gym in Tucson) and began just lifting (well, once a week we have “conditioning”, which is pretty much a WOD). New coach, new lifting partner, new shoes, new goals. I came back to the States with a DL of 122.5kg, BP of 60kg, BS of 110kg, a C&J of 72.5kg, and a snatch of 57kg. My goal was to try out ‘just lifting’ to see if I really did make the gains I hoped to in such a short time period. I told myself “I’ll give it 2 months and then, if I like that path, keep going until I either plateau or get bored”. I hoped to add about 2-2.5kg a month to my Olympic lifts.
Well, now it’s the middle of April. In 5 months’ time I’ve put over 7.5kg on my C&J and 5kg on my snatch. Slightly behind target schedule, but I’m still steadily improving so I’m okay with it. I have competed in 2 Olympic lifting competitions (69kg class): 1st one I tied for 4th place and my Total (130kg) qualified me for University Nationals.
At University Nationals I got 5th place with a 134kg Total going 4/6 on my lifts with a snatch PR of 62kg.
I beat out some other girls who have been doing this a VERY long time, but I also watched the top girl, Allie Henry, get a 194kg Total, reminding me I still have a LONG ways to go with this sport. I have another meet in a month, and my long-term goal is to qualify for American Open at the end of this year (I’ll need to get a 145kg Total at a sanctioned meet). Yesterday I almost hit a 66kg snatch, and my best C&J to date is 80kg so things are looking good.
79kg C&J caught on video:
As for other weightlifting, the power lifting sort, my gym hosted a local push/pull meet and I came in 2nd in the bench (63.5kg) and 3rd overall (with a DL PR of 125kg). My BS, as of January, is at 115kg. I mean to max that out again very soon and hopefully see a nice PR. In June I’ll compete at a full PL meet where I hope to set new 100% Raw Federation World Records for my weight class and age group.
I still do CF now and then. I signed up for the CF Open with my gym, Crossfit Works, and am proud to say 2 of my scores contributed to helping them make it to Regionals! They compete first weekend in May and I’m excited to head up to Denver to cheer them on. They’re going to be amazing (they always are).
And what has all this lifting and little cardio done for my physique? Do I have man muscles? A big belly? Do I have manly bulging muscles? Is this me: ?
Well, no. I have better abs than ever, to be honest, and I eat a LOT of yummy food (especially meat). My arms are more defined, my booty is the bomb (well it was before), and I still have feminine curves where I need them. I’m 5’5”, I weigh 69kg, and depending where I shop I’m a 6 or an 8 (BMI is a lie, by the way).
Check back in 5 more months’ time and hopefully I’ll be showing you my amazing 90kg C&J and 70kg snatch, paired with a 140kg DL and 125kg back squat and 68kg bench (WITH a pause). I’ll even show you my abs. Just don’t ask me to run a mile for time.
And, of course, when I’m not in the gym I’m on my computer, writing my dissertation (exercise for the fingers!)
Fun fact: in Greek “Xena” really means “stranger” or “foreigner”. I’ve certainly had the honor of filling that role many times in my life, and recently.
I am Xena!
I am not ashamed to admit that I own all 6 Seasons of the CLASSIC TV show, “Xena: Warrior Princess” starring Lucy Lawless. The show is full of absurd fight scenes and corny jokes, and also lessons of love and friendship. The episodes are filled with quips on Classics, history, love, friendship, and kicking ass.
When I become a teacher, I’m going to include clips from this show. I kid you not. In fact, I think a great quiz would be to have the students watch an episode of Xena from Seasons 1-3 and then write down the following: 1) inspiration for all names of people and places; and 2) everything that was WRONG with the episode. I can’t blame writers for taking serious liberties with history or mythology. They keep us on our toes!
Greek history: Solon, Callisto, the Trojan War, Greek geography (apparently it takes no time at all to travel around Greece by foot), music, ancient currency, ancient dress (okay not really), centaurs and Chiron, Elysian Fields/Hades, Amazons (who live in “Amazonland” according to John Boardman hehe),
Hercules (sadly not called Herakles), shamans, Greek temple architecture (…no), the gods and their interactions with humans (this actually happens quite a lot in Homer), and so on. Ares especially
Roman history: crucifixion, Caesar (who is also Cupid who is also the guy who kills Jason Bourne’s wife AND the son of Theodin in LOTR – busy guy!),
Cleopatra, Christianity, Livia, Vestal Virgins, medicine (Galen), the brutality of the amphitheater
Other cultures!!!: Indian (Krishna), Chinese (where Xena travels to repay a debt to Lao Ma), Japanese (Samurais). During the later seasons of the show Xena travels East (just like Alexander and later Romans!). She learns secret arts of fighting and power and of gods while in India, and later Gabrielle discovers her own power and how strong she really is while in the Orient.
Do you believe in rebirth or past lives? The writers of Xena sure do. It all comes with the idea of “soul mates”, I suppose. Xena and Gabrielle (…and Joxer) are always meant to find each other, no matter what the year.
Real life lessons learned from Xena?
1) Don’t believe everything you see on TV
2) Friends are the most precious commodity
3) You can walk ANYWHERE
4) Gods exist, but they don’t rule you. You control your own life.
5) When in doubt: wear leather, carry a big sword, and kick ass.
6) Good ALWAYS conquers evil.
Lucy Lawless loves to sing. Therefore, Xena loves to sing. There are many musical episodes in this show, some reference “Bye Bye, Birdie”, some “Footloose”, some are anti-war messages… and some, like this favorite of mine, are all about girl-power (kind of a major theme of the show). Enjoy 😀