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Showing posts from 2015

December challenge!

December challenge: 30-minute #powerlifting total Not my cleanest lifts, but there's only so much one can do in half an hour 😬 I didn't even match my current #benchpress max (boo), but I hit a 425 #backsquat and 465 #deadlift for PRs (yay)!!! Challenge total: 1,045 All-time total: 1,065 #girlswholift #fitness #fitnamese #everydayislegday #beastmode #anchoredsc @anchoredsc A video posted by Thu 📚🏋💄💜 (@acciobeastmode) on Dec 23, 2015 at 8:03pm PST I am not gonna lie. This was hard. I'm never worried about big numbers (well, maybe for my bench press), but limiting my time to 30:00 is a whole new ballgame. I am totally the one who takes looooooong rests in between sets. This one meant that I had to go in with a plan, and my plan had to include time constraints and working on much less rest than I am normally used to. (Also, I recently took a few days off from coming in for finals and yada yada, and I'm not sleeping well, and I'm having Lady Issues, so

Asian strong!

At Anchored we have a group of Viet girls whom Steve likes to refer to collectively as "Fitnam."  This could be because I live in the Bay Area, but at the two powerlifting meets I've attended, I've noticed that there are a lot of Asians. There are a lot of Asians in weightlifting, period, and there was a large contingent of Asians at the Crossfit box I used to go to too. (And I include South Asians and PI-ers when I say "Asians" here.) I'm not going to pretend that I know the whole history of Asians and weightlifting, but what I can  tell you is that it's at such odds with what the rest of pop culture/American mainstream media would show you about us. Asian men are often portrayed in such emasculated ways. (Unless they're "kung fu fighting," right?) They're always geeks, sidekicks, comic relief - so rarely the hero who gets proper respect and the love of the audience. (There are plenty of cartoonish Asian villains.) Or the l


Yesssss! 175 on my #benchpress (just barely)!! That's a 20lb #PR, and it really felt like a fight. Been hitting this lift more lately and I finally feel like I'm making some #progress. New total: 1,026!!! #powerlifting #fitness #fitnamese #girlswholift #anchoredsc @anchoredsc A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Dec 10, 2015 at 6:56pm PST Is it weird that I'm more excited about this PR than my other ones? I think it's because I really had to fight for this one - the bench press is my weakest lift, as it generally is for women. As you can see, I'm not even up to bodyweight, though judging by the weightlifting standards for the bench press , it's generally not expected anyway. But it's my goal all the same. Part of it is that I'm just way stronger in my legs, and part of it is that I don't bench as consistently as I squat and deadlift, so I'm much less experienced and much less confident in this lift than my other two. I ha


Monday was my birthday! It was a great day! I was absolutely flooded with messages, posts, and hugs, and even though it was a regular Monday (and not conducive to wild party celebrations), it was still a special day. Thank you to everyone who took even a moment of their day to think of me on my birthday :) Special thanks especially goes out to my lovelies at Anchored for surprising me with cake and presents when I came in to work out! I love these people so much! How am I ever supposed to say goodbye to them? :(

Putting in the work

( Photo by Bobby Menbari) After I started lifting last year, it wasn't long before some of my students - namely, my freshman boys who were hoping to make the football team - found my lifting videos on my Instagram. (It is public, after all.) It's a never-ending source of amusement to me - do fourteen-year-old boys usually look up to their female English teachers when it comes to weightlifting? I'm thinking not. There's one kid in particular who pops his head into my room every now and then to ask about my numbers, and this week, after a particularly awe-filled shake of his head, he followed up by asking, "How do you DO that? How do you get your total so high?" The truth is much more complex, but what I told him was: "I show up and I put in the work." I mean, yes, my genetics plays a huge role. I honestly don't know where in my family this comes from, because if you look at my parents, my grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles, ther

A big post of thanks

I know Thanksgiving isn't until Thursday, but I won't have time on the actual day (because family!), so I'm writing this up now :) Between this Thanksgiving and the last, it's been a big year full of changes not just for me but for my loved ones as well: - I went from running my best marathon ever, to not being able to run at all. - But then I competed in my first powerlifting meet this year, discovering strength that I never would've thought I had. - My best friend got married, and I was lucky enough to be by her side for the big day. - My brother-in-law and his wife had a baby, so I became an auntie. - Jolie started kindergarten. She's just... growing so much, all the time. She's like an actual PERSON now. - I finally made the decision to move to Portland, after many years of hemming and hawing about it. - I am more than likely not going to return to teaching as well. ... and many other things, some of which are not mine to tell. SO much h

We're dead upon our feet / but there's joy somehow in me

These last couple of days have been rough. I'm not sore, so much as exhausted  - I think I can say, more than ever, that I fully understand Mrs. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice  when she keeps going on and on about HER POOR NERVES, because the combination of all the stress, the heavy lifting, the long day, being around LOTS of people (I'm a total introvert in the sense that I get drained really easily around people and I always need lots of alone time to recharge), and the late drive home on Sunday night... well, you get the picture. I barely made it through the school day Monday, and decided that I really needed the day off yesterday because I needed to recover - not my muscles, but my entire nervous system. I went to the gym last night intending to stretch, foam-roll, do my usual knee rehab routine, and maybe do some light lifting, which we call de-loading........ "WHAT? No way. You're squatting heavy today," says Steve, incredulous that I would dare suggest s

Recap: Norcal Powerlifting American Championships in Concord, CA

Yesterday, I participated in my first-ever weightlifting competition. I didn't do the full powerlifting meet (squat, bench, deadlift), but I did the deadlift-only event, just to get my feet wet. I've observed a powerlifting meet before, but of course, watching is not the same as doing . I decided to sign up for my favorite/best lift and see how things go from there. How did things go? Gosh, I don't even know where to start. Maybe we'll back up a little bit: last week, the week before my competition, was a pretty lousy week: The cold/sore throat that had been developing finally decided to hit, and I wasn't able to go to the gym at all for pretty much the whole week. (I finally made it in Saturday morning  for some light stretching and knee rehab.) Progress report grades were due. 'Nuff said there. This is totally MY fault, but I didn't even think to look at the Norcal Powerlifting rule book until Gabe, my fellow Anchored member who was also competi

Race recap: Mermaid Run SF 5k

FINALLY. It feels like a million years since the last time I posted a race recap. I wasn't even sure that I was still going to do this one (because of my knee), but I realized that this might be my last chance to do this race (at least for a while), and also, Jolie really wanted to do this run with me. She's never run a 5k before, and she has also never been to San Francisco or seen the Golden Gate Bridge, so I decided just to throw caution to the wind and show up with the intent to walk. Okay, I didn't TOTALLY throw caution to the wind - I dug out my hefty knee brace that I used to wear as a gasket under my knee pads for derby, think that extra stabilization would help, right? Mind you, I haven't done any walking or running for a while, and the last time I attempted it, 10 minutes of treadmill walking made my knee ache for the rest of the day. Even walking from my car to my classroom every day results in me limping a little, and especially this past week, my knee

The importance of a female-friendly gym

That awesome moment when you squat 390lbs as a girl , and everyone is happy and proud instead of feeling threatened or resentful. (Photo credit: Bobby Menbari of Tabata Times) I've waxed ecstatic about my gym, Anchored Strength & Conditioning, before , and as you could probably tell from my lifting videos , things are going really well for me on that front. I've found a place where I belong and I've found a sport that I can excel at. This isn't everyone's story. At least, this is not every woman's story. I've read more than my fair share of comments and blogs from women who get bothered (at best) and harassed (at worst) when they go to the gym. And that sucks, for many reasons. Women are expected to be attractive and sexy, which includes being fit and thin, so that often necessitates going to the gym. And while they're AT the gym, working hard and trying to achieve their goals, they also get treated like objects and eye candy. Or, if they'r

The opposite of a bucket list

A quick search on Google tells me that the opposite of a bucket list is a F***-It List, a list of things you have absolutely no desire to do before you die. And while I do have certain things that meet this criteria, I ultimately feel like making a list like that, for me anyway, would come across as more negative than liberating. Instead, I'm reminded of a blog post I read a while ago (which I can no longer find), where instead of making a list of awesome things she wants to do before she dies, the writer makes a list of awesome things she has already done, that she is proud of and happy about. I really like this idea. I've been feeling pretty down lately about my knee and about not being able to run. It's easy for me to get stuck in this downward spiral of sadness and despair. And really, I shouldn't because in truth, I'm a really lucky woman. I've had many amazing opportunities in my life, and I've done a lot of cool things. So this list is not meant

Deadlift PR!

435lb #deadlift!! That's a 20lb #PR!! 5 weeks til the big meet. #powerlifting #fitness #fitnamese #girlswholift #beastmode #everydayislegday #anchoredsc @anchoredsc @fitnamese @sixstringidiot @sara_berlin115 A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Oct 10, 2015 at 11:51am PDT

Nostalgia can really trigger FEELS sometimes.

2001/2015 Dear Teenaged Me, What would you say to me if you could know what our life would be like now? What if I could show you that things were not going to turn out how you planned? Would you just shrug and say "Okay"? Or would you be disappointed in me? What if I told you that you're not going to be a doctor like you've wanted since you were 6? You're not going to do anything even remotely sciencey, and you're definitely going to be doing anything "glamorous." And that even after ten years on the job, you will still have doubts every single day about whether you made the right decision. Every. Single. Day.  The extent to which you will experience Imposter Syndrome wrt your job will be staggering . And also: you had wanted to get married by 25 and to have at least one kid by 30. Well, the kid part happened. And you're not going to get married, but you're still in love with the same shy boy whom you met when you were 15. And t

What happens now?

Thanks, Kaiser. :/ Last week I finally went in to Orthopedics to have my knee checked out by an actual sports doctor. I'm pretty sure my knee issues have been widely chronicled on my blog - I haven't been able to run for weeks because I just keep getting pains in my knee, and it's clear that it's not a bone or ligament issue. The ortho advised me to get an MRI so we could see if it's a meniscus issue (which is what Steve thinks), and she also told me that I'm developing osteoarthritis that my knee, besides. This means that I can "jog lightly a couple times a week," but I should stay away from marathoning, because my knee will not be able to handle that type of high-volume training anymore. "It's not the happiest news I can tell you, I'm sorry." Sigh. So I'm not doing much of any running right now. Nor will I for the forseeable future, as I've got a lifting competition in November, and I don't want to risk messi

390 back squat!!!

Yesssss It's a beautiful day for a #PR!!! 1rm #backsquat at 390, 15lbs up! Now I can squat as much as @sixstringidiot 💜 #strength #fitness #fitnamese #girlswholift #beastmode #everydayislegday #anchoredsc @anchoredsc @sara_berlin115 A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Sep 19, 2015 at 11:46am PDT

Deadlifts: 5 at 375lbs!

375lbs for 5 reps! Video editing wizardry by Steve #deadlift #powerlifting #fitness #fitnamese #girlswholift #beastmode #strength #everydayislegday #anchoredsc @anchoredsc A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Sep 15, 2015 at 7:42pm PDT It wasn't that long ago that I could only do one of these at 385 :)

So yeah, this is happening...

I'm entering my first competition!!!!! My coach is even more excited than I am :)

Existing in the In-Between

I have at times been thinner , but I have never been thin. I've been talking to my freshman students about the idea of identity and fitting in and all that, and what I haven't told them (yet) is that you never stop trying to figure out who you are and where you belong, even as an adult. My whole life, I've grown up believing I was fat and ugly. I got teased pretty mercilessly (by family members even more than other kids, though that happened too). I used to hear all the time how, even as a baby, strangers would stop and stare at me in my stroller because I was just so... globular. Yeah. People laughed about me being fat even at this age. I was always a stocky, thick-limbed child, and as a teenager, I dreamed of being as thin as my friends and being able to shop at Contempo Casual and other mall stores. I always dressed slightly older than my age because I couldn't fit junior sizes. I got into fitness in my 20s, but not in a healthy way, and it wasn't unt

Life, lifting, and the pursuit of happiness

So, this is my first written post in a while! I know I've been sharing a slew of PR videos mostly. School has started again, and that's been taking up most of my time. Between doing all the prep work and then vegging out at home at the end of a long day, I don't have much free time. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, but there's always an adjustment period. And even though it's my 10th year, I'm still trying to find ways to do things better and to keep myself  from getting bored, so even if I'm teaching the same texts, I still have lots of work to do. So far, my kids have been great. Things are never without hiccups, but I've got a nice mix of kids, and they all seem like good kids. Hopefully things will stay that way. Outside of work, I've been trying to get back into my groove, workout-wise. I'm no longer training for CIM, thanks to my knee injury flaring up again, and I've been working hard with Steve to rehab it

Bench press PR

When you tell your coach, "I'd like to test my bench press at the end of this cycle," and he's like, Okayhowboutnow? STOKED to be making some headway on my #benchpress, finally! I don't work this one enough. 10lb #PR, bringing me to 150, and bringing my total to 940. I WILL #break1000 someday! #powerlifting #beastmode #fitnamese #girlswholift #fitnamese #anchoredsc @anchoredsc A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Aug 10, 2015 at 7:33pm PDT

And a backsquat PR!

375 #backsquat!!!! #PR #beastmode #strength #fitnamese #fitness #girlswholift #powerlifting #anchoredsc @anchoredsc A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Jul 24, 2015 at 7:43pm PDT

New deadlift PR!

A new #deadlift #PR of 415!!!! WHAT IS THIS LIFE. Thank you to everyone at ⚓️ @anchoredsc ⚓️ for always building me up and helping me improve 💜 #powerlifting #girlswholift #fitness #fitnamese #strength #beastmode #anchoredsc A video posted by Thu (@acciobeastmode) on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:51pm PDT

Running rut?

I came here ready to post about how I haven't gone running in well over a month, and I feel like I'm in a rut, but I suddenly realized just how many of my posts might say very nearly the exact same thing, and oddly, around the same time of year (summer break). Going over old posts, I'm realizing that there's a pattern to my "ruts," and they usually occur during summer break and deep winter (like, January/February). And I suddenly thought... What if I'm not actually in a rut? What if this is just my natural "off-season"? Running is one of those sports that you can do year-round, and the available races each month can attest to this, but maybe that just wasn't meant to be my thing. Maybe (I realize, years into this sport) I need to take long breaks. Focus on other things for a while, and keep myself from getting burnt out. Or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better. I don't know. In the meantime, I've still been hit