Back to blogging in 2020!

at the gym

Apparently I first tried lifting weights at the gym in March 2012. A labmate of mine is on a (fairly successful) quest to take everyone else in our lab to the gym at some point and introduce them to weight lifting. It has been an off and on thing for me since then, but I'm trying to start up a streak again, and I've gone 3 consecutive times this round. Adam even comes with me sometimes!

It seems like a good thing to do. It makes me feel strong and bad-ass, and I know my body must change its shape to allow me to squat an increasing number of pounds. (Whereas running different amounts doesn't seem to convince it to change shape.) If the 45-pound bar feels light, my hope is that a 45-lb backpacking pack should also feel light. And it did, kinda? (Thinking back to the Grand Canyon...)

Adam and I made up a little song:
pick up the bar, put it back down
pick up the bar, put it back down
pick up some weights, put 'em on the bar, pick up the bar, put it back down

I think there's a book my labmate/gym-influence got his info from, but I just like to think of the workout regime as "Yun-en's Decree"...

It involves doing 3 sets of 5 reps (after working/warming up to your max weight) of the following exercises. Alternate A/B days whilst going 3 times a week.

Day A:
  • squats (current weight: 65lb, though I once got up to 75lb)
  • bench press (current weight: 50lb)
  • chin ups (I do assisted chin ups because I am a lady)

Day B:
  • squats
  • overhead press (I do the Arnold press because I can't do this with the 45-lb bar, and Mr. Schwarzenegger signed my college diploma)
  • deadlifts (current weight: 95lb, and conveniently, my gym recently got taller 25lb bar weights)

I am a female in computer science, but I usually don't think about it. Being a female in the weight room feels like what being a minority in CS can feel like. Luckily, a fair number of CS folks hang out there.

Anywhoo... check back in some amount of time and maybe I'll be picking up bars with much heavier weights on them!


  1. Around the midpoint of an earlier century, I exhibited a certain facility in getting modest weights over my head using the clean-and-jjerk and the snatch. And I, too, squatted and deadlifted. But I drifted away when I plateaued. Bicycling to get to wherever I needed to be was my major exercise mode until I went to a commuter college and had to carry a salesman's sample case containing all of my books everywhere around campus.

  2. I briefly joined the powerlifting team in high school along with my brother. (The whole team only had four people on it, including my brother) It was really fun, but all of the meets were overnight and there wasn't a female chaperone, so I didn't get to go on any of them. I was able to benchpress my body weight though. And I could do 10 pull ups. I was also taking three gym classes a day at the time, so that probably helped.

    Although I love lifting weights, I hate working out in gyms. If I had money and lived in a space that wasn't a tiny apartment, I would get some weights for myself. But for now, I just have dumbbells and a weighted hula hoop.

    Do you work out at the IMA? I only went there once when I was at UW, and there were just a bunch of strong guys in the weight room, so I felt really self-conscious.

    1. That sounds awesome! Except for not getting to go to the overnight meets :(

      I do work out at the IMA. I would have stayed mostly away from the big weight room if it weren't for my large male friend showing me how to do things, and then going with other people the first few times until I felt "established". I think the extra-bro-ey guys hang out with the dumbbells working each muscle individually or something ridiculous, and it's more of a mixture of folks by the barbells/cages.

      Over the past 6 months or so, I've noticed an increased number of women working out there! I am shy and I don't want to talk to them either, but I've heard some of them are national-level lifters!

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  4. Weight lifting is pretty impressive, especially if you’re going to hear it from a girl. They say that strong is the new skinny. I have to agree with that. It’s sexier to look at and inspiring too. On the other hand, working out in the gym should not be because one wants to have an improved physique. It should also be because you want to get fit and healthy. Lastly, do it for yourself and not for anybody else. This will keep you going. Good luck!

    Carmelia Paradise @NorthWest CrossFit


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