Lifting Like a Lady

Published February 7, 2012 by coachkatriel

After Push Pressing my old max 3 times!

It’s been a month since I’ve had time to post anything. Life’s been busy, and I’m mostly okay with that.

Sometime about halfway through January, I decided I would start consistently doing the StrengthWOD at Put It Up CrossFit. StrengthWOD** is 4 days a week training with Seth Berbert for an hour and a half, focusing on increasing capacity with the barbell, increasing work capacity during MetCons, and overcoming mobility issues or muscular imbalance through strategic assistance work. Seth originally started StrengthWOD as a sort of boys’ club for the guys who were trying to get their strength numbers up. Since Seth and I are dating and I like spending time with him, I’d often sit in on his StrengthWODs and watched how for the 6-8 people in the class, he’d modify the general days’ programming to fit each athlete’s needs-giving them high quality personal training in a group setting. The group setting is effective because sometimes watching someone else’s form while listening to the critiques from the coach can help you understand your own technique issues better than just trying to grasp it on your own. Working with the group also is motivational: you’re more likely to lift heavier or lift with better form if other people are watching, especially if you’re prideful like me. I was impressed with how smoothly the classes would run-each of the participants listening closely to everything Seth said, responding, and moving quickly to maximize the hour and a half they had of training. I watched them all hit massive personal records in their lifts, get stronger, and pack on muscle.

While I have a decent back squat and deadlift, I struggle with horizontal and vertical pressing. And though my numbers are pretty good, I was eager to take my strength to the next level-increase my personal fitness capacity so I’ll have a better chance at the CrossFit Games the next time they come around. So I begged Seth to let me do StrengthWOD.

For awhile, I’d tried to follow the StrengthWOD programming on my own, but once I started going consistently and doing my best each time I showed up, I started to see significant progress. I’m most excited today about my bench press, which is up 10 pounds since starting last month, and my *Fran time-which I cut in half.

I know a lot of ladies are scared of lifting heavy because they’re scared of getting man muscles. This is not something I’m worried about. For one, I’ve seen how difficult it is for guys to pack on muscle. They have to be eating a TON, and it’s a slow process-often even slower than dropping body fat. There are a number of genetic, hormonal, nutritional, and workout factors that impact how quickly someone will pack on muscle.  Ladies typically aren’t chemically designed to pack on lots of muscle. Some ladies can, however, but I’m not worried about this for myself because my trainer is also my boyfriend and I know he doesn’t want me to look like a man. And I know he tailors the StrengthWOD programming to each person participating and has 10 years experience training himself and other people. Bottom line: I know he’ll help me reach my strength goals while maintaining femininity.

As I’ve been doing the StrengthWOD, I’ve also been playing with my diet a little bit. Each meal consists primarily of lean protein and vegetables. I’ll have 1/2 cup of oats with my post workout shake sometimes, but other than that, I’ve eased up on non vegetable or starchy carbohydrates. I’ve also increased my intake of fish oils, and been more consistent with taking my multivitamin. The result? As my strength is going up using the StrengthWOD, my muscles are getting more defined and my bodyfat is *slowly* going down. If I could be better about just having just 1 cheat meal on the weekends, instead of having a 2 day long binge fest, I’d likely see the progress more quickly from week to week. But I’m pretty happy with the progress I’m making so far.

Plan for the future? Keep doing StrengthWOD 4X a week. Keep doing MetCons Wednesday and Saturday. Try to do AM workouts 2X a week. Do better at planning just 1 cheat meal a week + eating clean the rest of the time, EVEN on the weekends.

*Fran is an official CrossFit benchmark workout. It is 21-15-9 of Thrusters and Pull-ups for time. It was featured on the Biggest Loser last week, as Bob Harper has started to get into CrossFit.

**For more information about StrengthWOD, contact Seth Berbert at the contact information found at


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