Category Archives: Powerlifting

Why Scotland is the Butchest Country

Having just returned from my third trip to Bonnie Scotland, I am ready to declare Scotland to be the Butchest country in the world. Though I’ve not been to nearly all the countries, I have been to more than I can count on my two hands, so here goes…

  1. Unicorns, Fairies and Rainbows. The Unicorn is the national animal. Yes, the unicorn. Fairies, gnomes and elves also figure into legend. And, I’ve seen quite a few rainbows there.
  2. Nessie. The very real, very historic [imaginary] Loch Ness Monster is a beloved national symbol.
  3. Thistle. Thistle, which is a thorny weed, is the national flower.  
  4. Whisky. Whisky is the national drink. Enough said.
  5. Butch Sports. Scottish school kids play a kind of baseball with a very hard ball and no glove in a sharp-looking school uniform, which includes a tie for all kids. Have you caught a baseball lately? Even with a glove it sometimes stings. 
  6. More Butch Sports. Adults toss cabers (a big phone pole), boulders, and other very heavy or dangerous looking things for fun – while wearing kilts.
  7. Value on Farming. They built a bridge for tractors to cross the motorway – so farmers could plow fields on both sides of the road. Oh, and they have huge round hay bales. I am obsessed with these. It’s odd, I know.
  8. Rotaries. Confusing at first, rotaries are cool and very efficient. Plus, there’s a yellow light before the green on the traffic signals, which makes you feel like you are on a speedway.
  9. Higland Coos. Their cows are furry, with horns.  
  10. Old Stuff. That building over there on the corner is older than America, yeah that one – the market.
  11. Castles. Lots of castles – over 3,000 which means one about every 100 square miles.
  12. Brilliance. 11% of Nobel prize winners are Scottish and 61% of American Presidents are Scottish or Scottish-Irish. (Google it!)
  13. Kilts!
  14. Green. It’s an absolutely stunning country. Everywhere you look is beauty. And green, and water. Plus, they are way ahead of the US on being green (e.g., recycling is ubiquitous and you must pay for a bag everywhere).  
  15. My Wife. The people are ridiculously nice. My wife is from there and her family lives there.

Got any reasons to add? Want to tell me why your country is more Butch than Scotland? Go for it.

It’s very Butch to be Scottish, but if you can’t be Scottish, it’s Butch to marry a Scott. I did. Be Butch.


How Strangers & Heroes Can Change Your Day

Sometimes, you are just doing your thing. Keeping your head down. And someone walks into your path and shakes you up in a big way. This can be a negative, like a stranger cutting you off on the road and flipping you off. Or someone being rude to you when you are out shopping, getting gas, mowing the lawn, putting up Christmas lights. Whatever. Or.

Or, it can be someone stepping into your path when you need it most. “Watch out” a passerby says as you are about to step on a patch of unseen ice, “I just slipped there, be careful.” A stranger flashes headlights at you and you know there is a police officer up ahead running a speed trap. Or, more benign, someone leaves a coupon for you on an item on the store shelf and you happen to be able to use it. There are a million little ways that strangers impact us – for the better and for the worse. But sometimes, it’s bigger than the coupon on the shelf. Sometimes it’s even better than not running through a speed trap.

I was at my physical therapy appointment. Struggling through the set of exercises after seeing the therapist and getting worked over. She is wonderful, but if you have ever had PT you know what I am talking about. Ouch. Plus, it was the first day that I had PT without taking a pain pill before seeing her. Not entirely on purpose, but certainly a good sign – that I hadn’t needed one. So, there is some improvement.

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Oh, I should explain. If you don’t know me, or are new to my little blogging corner of the world, you don’t know that I had major reconstructive surgery on my shoulder 10 weeks ago. Major. When I say major, I mean it. They did 7 different procedures on my shoulder. I can’t even name them all. In fact, when I try to share with people – so they don’t think I am a wimp that it’s 10 weeks out and I still can’t hook my own bra – I can only list 5 of them. They rebuilt my rotator cuff, which was only 20% attached. They repaired my subscapularis. They fixed my labrum. They ground up the underside of my clavicle to make more room for the muscles (which are clearly so giant!). And, they cut my bicep off of the bone, removed the shredded part, and reattached it to the top of my humerus with these cool octopus anchor things. That’s the big one, I think. But, then, what do I know? I can’t even name all 7 of the procedures.

I hurt myself training for a powerlifting competition. So, I want to make sure to tell you that. For one, it makes me feel better. For two, it will help explain what I am about to share. I am not overly competitive, but I am very excited about powerlifting. I found it last year and really enjoy it. It is something that I can do with the other physical limitations that I have (not for this post), and it helps me feel fit, strong, and control my weight. Here is a sport where my size is a benefit! Why not do a competition? Hooray! I did one and it was awesome.

But, I hurt myself along the way. And, there was rehab. And, then when that didn’t work, there was surgery. And, I have been recovering. And I can’t even open some water bottles because gripping and turning hurts so badly. And, I am not feeling like I am making much progress. And, I have needed lots of help. And, I have been feeling sorry for myself. And, not feeling all that butch – at least not in being able to do some of the things that I like to do for me and my wife (again, that’s a whole different post). And, I can’t work out. And, where are all those positive endorphins? And, and, and!

Perhaps you can see where my head is. So, I am at PT and it hurts, but I am doing alright. I joke with Todd Durkin, the amazing man who runs the gym (where I train, and also there is PT), that he should call me “QB” because I had NFL quarterback-like surgery. We laughed and I kept doing my PT. I finished up and in walks a famous NFL QB whom I love, let’s call him Joe. That is not a big deal in and of itself, as Joe works out at my gym and has done so long before I ever went there. But, this particular day, I had an experience I have not had before.

I was getting some water from the front desk and Joe is talking to Todd next to me. Todd says to Joe, “She had worse shoulder surgery than you did, Joe.” He looks at me (has seen me around, etc.) and says, “What did you have done?” I stumble through the details (evidence my attempt above), and he asks how I hurt it. Powerlifting, I share, training for a competition.

Am I really swapping injury stories with Joe?!?

He then asks how long before I get back to it. 10 months, I say. “What is your interim goal?” he asks. Interim goal? I don’t know, I think. I don’t have any. Sleep through the night? Be able to walk around with my arm out of the sling and not have it hurt? I admit that I don’t have any. He says, you need an interim goal. A couple of them. Something to get me from here to the next couple of weeks, rather than from here to 10 months from now. They told him he wouldn’t play for 8 months. He thought that was ridiculous and so he set short term goals.

As an editorial aside, can you imagine how I was feeling during this chat? This pep talk that I was getting from Joe? One of the best quarterbacks of all time (trust me on that)? A future Hall of Famer? I mean, WHAT?!?

So, here comes a stranger (just cause I know who he is, doesn’t mean he knows me) to change my day. Here is someone that is a bit of a hero for me and he takes the time to say, “Watch out for the ice there.” He shares a bit of himself with me, and encourages me to set interim goals. In doing so, he changes the way I look at my recovery. He makes it about training. Getting back to what I love. Not about focusing on the pain, or the sleepless nights, or the water bottles I can’t open and the bras I can’t quite get on myself. No. In one selfless and giving swoop, he shifts my focus. Not on 10 months from now. He shifts it to this week. What is my goal right now? What is the first hurdle that I can get over?

I don’t have stats in front of me, but I know that he has been a better QB after his surgery. That he rebuilt his own shoulder and went on to do more than he did before. Maybe he would have improved that much anyway. Or, maybe he took the challenge and made himself better because of it. I think that is what he encouraged me to do today.

My shoulder still hurts. I still can’t easily open the door for my wife. But I feel different. More optimistic. Today, I am focused on returning to a full range of motion. That is my next hurdle. That is my focus. Not 10 months from now (how much will I be able to lift again? Will it hurt? Can I compete?).

So I was just doing my thing. Keeping my head down. And, into my path walked a stranger to shake me up in a big way. Today it was a hero of mine. And, now everything is different. Thank you, Joe.


Go Figure!

I’m excited to announce that I have decided to train for and compete in a Figure Competition. These are the women with mad muscles, zero fat on their bodies. It takes a ridiculous amount of training and commitment. No carbs. No cheese. No beer. Yes, no beer. I’m not sure I can do it, frankly. I have friends who do and they put me to shame.

If things go well, I’ll be in the best shape of my life. Actually, that will probably be true even if I fall far short of my goal.

I almost let the bikini requirement and the tanning stop me. But, then… where are we if we are afraid to try?

It’s butch to wear a bikini. It’s also butch to enjoy an April Fools joke. Be Butch.

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Lifting Myself – Full Piece Up

 

A couple of days ago, I posted a short excerpt from this piece. It went up at Huffington Post yesterday. You can read part of it below, and the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html.

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past six months I realized how much I like it and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real and give me motivation — you know, in the same way that training for a half or full marathon motivates runners. It gives them a goal, something to work toward rather than just running “another five miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try.

 

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So for the past five weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events: chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting, not physique (the really, really pretty, lean bodies) or bodybuilding (also pretty but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

Though I still have a ton to learn about lifting (pun intended), I have learned a few things already:

1. This is a very supportive community. There aren’t that many women who lift, at least not at my gym, and the one other woman who competes has become my hero and a little bit of a mentor (though I am not sure she knows either of those things). All the other lifting coaches in my gym call out to me during my workouts, supporting and offering encouragement. Before and after workouts, they stop me and my trainer to offer a tip here and there. It seems to take a village to lift that bar.

2. This is hard. If you think it looks hard to lift a lot of weight, you are right. All the equipment is hard. It hurts when you bump into it. It especially hurts when you bump into your limitations. I’ve learned that you can press through them — slowly — but knowing when to press through and when to listen to your body and stop? That’s hard too. My trainer, Janet, is amazing at knowing this. And there are strains, and pulls, and aches, and bruises.

3. The next point aside, femmes dig it. I am told that lifting is very sexy. Muscles, sweat and calloused hands, all a plus. I don’t have to agree to appreciate this.

This is where it really gets good! Hop over to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tristan-higgins/lifting-myself_b_3752947.html to read the rest. Thanks!


Lifting Myself – Excerpt

This is my newest piece submitted to the Huffington Post today. It should be up in a couple of days. In the meantime, I wanted to post an excerpt here…

I have been lifting as part of my fitness routine for over a year, but in the past 6 months I realized how much I like it, and started toying with the idea of doing a competition. A competition would make my training more real, give me motivation. You know, in the same way runners decide to do a half or full marathon. It gives them a goal, something to work towards rather than just running “another 5 miles today.” I cannot imagine anything worse than that, by the way. I am not a runner.

But I think I could be a lifter. At least, I want to try. So for the past 5 weeks I have been committed to a special training routine and program to help get me ready for a powerlifting meet in September.

Monday's inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Monday’s inspirational photo was to inspire me. See the help?

Powerlifting means lifting as much weight as you can. There are three events – chest press, dead lift and the dreaded squat. I am doing powerlifting – not physique (the really, really pretty lean bodies) or bodybuilding also pretty, but beefy bodies). I joke that powerlifting is the one that allows me to still drink my beloved craft beer. But even that I am doing in restricted moderation since I started training for the competition. See? Focus. A target.

It’s butch to stay tuned for the rest. Be Butch.


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