Saturday, November 12, 2011

Be Not Afraid

I've had this phrase in my head a while now...I don't know why, but it's been whispered to me (by the Holy Spirit?) many times over. Most memorably, Mary heard it from the angel that God sent, "Be not afraid!", but it appears as a reassuring phrase from God frequently throughout the Bible.

That phrase is stuck to me like a catchy song, and I'm finding it extra soothing, particularly since we're on the brink of the holiday season; it's helping me to mentally cut through the fluff and know that God will sustain us through what matters most.

Yesterday we had Veteran's Day holiday hours at my Crossfit box -- so instead of rising at 5 a.m. as I normally do, I slept in a bit and then left the girls with my husband to head over a midmorning WOD.

There was a heavy lifting workout, and a hero workout. As I understand it, each of the hero workouts are specifically created for and named after a serviceman or servicewoman whose life was lost for the sake of serving our country. Crossfit HQ and the individual boxes are very diligent about honoring servicemembers, and particularly those who have perished while serving their countries. Sadly, I wish that I could say that there weren't as many hero workouts as there are. My heartfelt thanks go out to the veterans - those still here and those we remember - who regularly faced their fears in service to their country. In large part owing to their dedication, we need not be afraid.

Since I had done 4 aerobic-style workouts Monday-Thursday, this time I chose to lift heavy. It's the first heavy lifting workout I've had in a while where I didn't have a partner alternating reps with me, so I kind of soaked up the extra time and solitude to focus on my form, how I really felt during my reps, whether I could do more. I was supposed to do a single squat, as seen below, 7 times:

...I was supposed to end on the 7th rep at or close to my max -- but to keep going until my max if I wasn't there by the 7th rep. Since it was my first weighted back squat session, I had no idea what would be my theoretical max.

I started with 55 lb. (including the 35 lb. bar), adding increments of 5 lb. at a time, and ended the 7th rep at 80 lb. or so. I knew that I wasn't even close to my max by then, so the weight kept coming on.

By about 125 lb. I asked my instructor (who'd been a few steps away overseeing the others doing the hero workout) to come watch me to do a single rep at 125 lb. to make sure that I was keeping up my form despite the climbing weight. My instructor - who herself probably weighs less than 125 lb. - said, "You're strong! You're not even struggling! You can lift more than that."

By my 15th (!) rep I was using the 45 lb. bar (at my instructor's suggestion) squatting a total of 140 lb., which I called my max for the day.

I thought about it: I was back squatting more than I weighed in high school. I was backsquatting 16-year-old me and then some. Were I not so tired from the previous 14 reps, I might have even been able to squat more. My instructor asked for my final number and even threw an exclamation point behind the poundage that she wrote next to my name on the whiteboard.

Even though I was a bit nervous about adding more weight, her encouragement had pushed me through that mental block of 125 lb. to an additional 15 lb. above that. Be not afraid. You can do this!

Would that all of my strength gains were so measurable.



  1. Thank you for this post. It was very encouraging.

  2. wow! I'm impressed! I remember in Jr. High we went to the weight room..I couldn't even bench press the bar. Your post just brought that memory out..Funny watching me struggle with the bar only, my friends "saving me."

    I feel like God's been speaking to me too...only he's saying "Let Go" ...I have a tendency to hold onto the feelings of resentment and anger when people hurt me. Holds me back... great post girl!

  3. Great job and keep it up!!!! Yay!!


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