100 Days of Training Strong(wo)Man

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe it’s been 100 days since I declared I wanted to be strong and then subsequently wrote the 45 day update. So, let’s cut to the chase: I’m stronger.

Deadlifts by Stacy at Paleoparents

First, I have something I want everyone to hear:

If you, too, want to start crossfit but worry you’re overweight or not an athlete – DON’T! There are people of all ages and sizes who go to our box and any crossfit affiliate worth attending will make you feel supported and encouraged to be the very best YOU you can be. I will never be a super lean professional athlete, but I love that I’ve found a way to exercise that is appropriate for me.  Read my Confession on Starting Crossfit from less than a year ago.

As a mother I found myself always putting my own wants behind those of others. I found myself less concerned about my own health as I focused on that of my children. But lately I’ve started walking the walk instead of just talking it. It’s not enough to TELL your children to do the right things, you have to SHOW them. And just like being a good example with healthy foods, I had to set a good example for a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve had more than several conversations with my children talking about why I am not home on Tuesdays and Thursdays until after their bedtime. We all agreed on my schedule and they know when to expect me or when to expect to not see me. We talk about Saturday mornings doing Crossfit together as a family. It’s not just fun – it’s also important for their health. And of course my young boys like to watch their progress as they gain strength and skill to climb the ropes, do flips on the rings, etc.!

These are commitments we’ve made together, as a family. Having my friends and family be supportive has also been very important to my success; having my dad and sisters support me at the Barbells for Boobs event was fantastic and so encouraging! And because I know my family encourages and supports me, I have let go of the guilt associated with having less time for them. This is something I do for me, but it’s also something I do for them. I’ll be alive longer, not to mention happier and healthier while alive!

Now, onto the epic ton of visual proof about my own progress from the last 100 days!

My greatest achievement of late was even captured on video! I NEVER thought I could lift this much, especially so soon!

Oh, you want numbers to determine how strong?

Way to cut to the chase! Alright well previously I gave you numbers for front squat and thrusters, and although I still do those movements it’s just not as often. Below are the 3 major strongman movements that have measurable weights I can share. They’re my favorite and “best” numbers… I like to say squatting is my jam, man!

Back Squat:

Jul 8, 2013 3×3 143lbs
Aug 5, 2013 – 3×3 173lbs
Sep 15, 2013 – 3×4 185lbs
Oct 18, 2013 – 1RM 220lbs
Goal 1/1/14: 250lbs

Dead Lift:

Jul 21, 2013 – 1RM 235lbs
Aug 4, 20131RM 253lbs
Oct 4, 2013 – 1RM 275lbs
Goal 1/1/14: 300lbs

Farmer’s Carry:

Aug 6, 2013 – 228 lbs (114lbs ea)
Sept 6, 2013 – 330lbs (165lbs ea)
Oct 28, 2013 – 370lbs (185lbs ea)
Goal 1/1/14: 400lbs

Just in case you’re wondering, this is what getting a deadlift PR looks like.

Deadlift PR Face by Stacy at PaleoParents

OK, actually, it’s more like this… but the video includes explicit language, so don’t watch if at work or with sensitive ears…

We also do a lot of movements with things you may not have heard of or used before, like zercher squats, H stone, log press and variations on standard movements – like deficit deadlift. Really, if we find something heavy we just try to lift it. It’s pretty much that simple…

Log Press StrongMan at PaleoParentsStacy's Deficit Deadlifts

Lift Heavy Stuff by PaleoParents

As Prescribed

I’ve been SUPER excited that within the last month my ability to perform a Workout Of the Day (WOD) has been “as prescribed” (unless there’s something pull-up related). I was able to finish the Grace WOD for Barbells for Boobs in a respectable time (4 min 15 sec, my goal was 5 and I smashed it!) at the standard women’s weight of 95lbs. In fact, in recent cases I’ve been doing even more than the women’s prescribed weight.

Barbells for Boobs Top Fundraisers at PaleoParents Stacy & Courtney Barbells for Boobs

My dad even took video… so you have an unprecedented amount of footage of me working out in this post!

On Halloween I did some bad math (anyone else lose the ability to add simple numbers when lifting heavy?) and ended up doing a heavy set of 5 deadlifts at 255lbs rather than the 240lbs I intended. So then when it came to the WOD where I went to pick up the standard kettlebell for women, I was practically thumped on the head and informed that if I could lift 255lbs 5 times then I needed to be using at least a 1 1/2 pood for WODs. Alrighty then! So I did and rocked the WOD ♥

Boxes & Snatches at PaleoParents

Even cooler, things I’d been unable or afraid to do previously, like box jumps, I bit the bullet and made the effort. No more junior boxes and only step-ups if allowed… this was huge for me!

Why working out is important to me:

I’ve truly been enjoying working out. It is something I look forward to everyday. It offers me hormone regulation (estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, insulin, etc.) as well as offering a healthy boost of serotonin and adrenaline while aiding to regulate my metabolism, circadian rhythms and all kinds of awesome stuff that just makes me feel good.

For the last few weeks, due to a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to attend as regularly. I can feel the difference in my moods and general health and wellness. Part of my intention in writing this very post is to remind myself how much I love and miss being in the gym and how important it is to me personally to get back to my commitment to make it work. Being off-track for a few weeks hasn’t derailed my months of progress, but here’s how I’m going to get back on track in order to meet my 2014 goals.

  • Quit treats. Halloween was bad for business. Hosting a potluck filled with grain-free treats where leftovers lingered meant trouble… but the entire family started a sugar-detox this week, so it’s just a matter of staying strong and following-through!
  • Ensure I’m getting my supplements and super foods  each and every day. Lately I’ve been feeling depleted more than usual – probably the increase in sugar has thrown off my other nutrient sufficiencies. I’m ensuring that I get seafood, sea vegetables, bone broth, organ meat and pastured meat daily.
  • Sleep. Honestly, this is the biggest thing. It’s what went off-track to begin with. I got behind on work, blog, etc. and kept creeping my bedtime back until before I knew it I was sleeping after midnight instead of 10pm. That’s when sugar cravings come. And efficiency slows down. So last night was the first night I was back on track and in bed at a time that gave me more than 8 hours of sleep.
  • And last, but not least, doing it with others. Nothing motivates and excites me more in the gym than having friends come too. I plan on getting my sister and mother (below) CrossFitting more as well as convince other local friends (like Aimee and Courtney) to train strongman with me on Sundays.

 Sisters Squat Together at PaleoParents Mom & Daughter CF Together at PaleoParents

It’s hard to give up the main part of one of my few precious weekend days, but if friends come too it’s more like a party. We can go get mani/pedis or Peruvian chicken after. And I love it when the boys come with me! They tell me how strong I am, make funny faces at all of my sweat, and then we get lunch or have a mother-son date after if they behaved and waited patiently.

Finian & Teen Titan at PaleoParentsFinian and Titan (who he calls Teen Titan) patiently waiting for their guardians to be done

Body Changes

And not to be forgotten when focusing on motivation… as I had hoped, I appear to be getting leaner. As I noted in my last post on the topic, cutting out calories less than I was consuming (around 2000/day) affected my sleep, hormones and menstruation so I have been eating when hungry with a bigger focus on starchy carbs on work-out days and more protein in general.  So, although all of my clothes still fit, they continue to fit slightly differently. I notice that as my waist becomes more defined, my booty and thighs grow – my pants size remains the same. However, I’ve had quite a few people make mention of my figure changing… so that’s exciting (although NOT the point here, ladies)!

I’d love to tell you that with watching my diet and regular exercise over the last 3 months I’ve lost weight. But that’s not the case. And that’s OK. I’ve talked a bazillion times about the fact that my body REALLY likes this weight, likely because it’s slightly smaller than I was in highschool when I went through puberty and there’s evidence to suggest that’s a hormonal set-point for women. I’m just not willing to sacrifice other areas of health and performance in my life in order to get skinnier. I don’t need to be skinny. I love and respect myself, my purpose, my strength. My husband, children and family love and respect me. I am incredibly healthy. Having extra body fat is simply something akin to a different color hair at this point – it’s only about aesthetics to others. If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d like to advise you to Get Over Your Fat Phobia.

Stacy 100 Days of Training Strong at PaleoParentsPlease pardon my awkward face, Matt surprised me by snapping this photo as I was climbing in the car after shouting “Hey girl, you look gooooood!”


As you may recall, last post I said that the box where I train, housed The Edge 2.0, the StrongMan component of the box. Sadly The Edge 2.0 is moving, but I’m thrilled to hear that my gym is keeping the trainer I work with closely and praised in my last post to take over for a new StrongMan component itself. So, that doesn’t mean much for you, but it means for me there will likely be some changes and new faces in the StrongMan program over the next few months. And sadly, it also means that the competition that was planned for Dec 2013 is on hold. Oh well, it was only ever a competition with myself to see what I could accomplish by 2014 anyway, and I still plan to hit those goals!

  • 300lb dead lift, 400lbs farmer’s carry (200 per hand) and 250lb back squat by 2014
  • being able to pull a truck by whenever the competition is
  • pick up the Husafell stone from the ground by Thanksgiving (yikes, that’s only a few weeks!)
  • ACCOMPLISHED! Handstand without a wall by Sept 14th – it’s still not perfect but I can go vertical without touching anything but my hands to the floor!

And yes, sometimes you just need a fashion show at the gym. I loved Maria’s shirt and made her pose with me! Follow me on Instagram for more pictures almost daily!

Fashion at the Box by PaleoParents

Stacy Strongwoman Farmer Hold at PaleoParents
Don’t forget, we make have our own fashionable workout gear too! Check out our Spreadshirt shop for lots of tanks, t-shirts and even hoodies! Get Matt’s famous quote on a shirt here! Use code “EARLY 20″ through 11/12/13 for 20% off! Perfect holiday gifts!


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  • Diane

    Wow – you rock! I’ve been paleo for a year now and have just ventured into my first crossfit class this week. I have no idea how an 8 minute workout can leave me a hundred times more sore than an hour at the gym, but I’m hooked! Can only hope to lift as much as you can one day. 🙂

    • Congrats! Just focus on what YOU want to do that’s best for you 🙂 I long for a pull-up… but it’s not happening anytime soon!

  • Rosemary Sewart

    How refreshing to read this! The idea of getting stronger is so appealing to me, but I have always been so intimidated by the idea of CrossFit. I’ve never been athletic at all, and I have zero coordination. I did a trial session one day and the workout was okay, but I didn’t get a sense of any of the ‘group support’ that I so crave. The group of people seemed like an impermeable clique. I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s experienced that. But, it gives me hope to think that maybe if I try another box I might fit in more with the group. I feel like this lifestyle can be lonely, sometimes, but CrossFit seems like a good way to fit in with other like-minded people. Are the friends you have people you met through CrossFit, or friends that you encouraged to come with you? 🙂 Lastly, I have a question. I am not the naturally ‘competitive type’, even with myself. I feel like CrossFit people are hugely competitive by nature, with themselves and each other. I wonder if you would think CrossFit might still be for me? Or would you suggest I look into another type of exercise regime?

    • I admittedly had a hard time “making friends” at the gym too. I felt different because I was overweight with kids. Turns out we all have something in common: wanting to be healthy. Which meant over time I was able to get to know people and become friends with them. Quite a few of the people I talk about on the blog are all people I met because of paleo or the gym, not that I knew before. So you just have to be open & willing, introduce yourself with a smile and ask about them… I bet you’ll find quick friends with people you wouldn’t have thought you had a lot in common with! 🙂

  • BevIronPhoenix

    Love this! You are for sure a strong women inside and out! I have spent 2 years trying to get back on my feet after neurological disease and this week I rejoined my gym. If I cope well I’d love to start crossfit next year! Baby steps. Your an inspiration and perfect as you are x

  • Cathy

    Man, you are one seriously strong Chick! I am in awe of how much you can lift. Fantastic stuff! Just wondering about the app you are using for to record your lifts and WODS…it looks neat. Keep up the great work, Stacy. You are killing it!

  • Valerie

    It is so fun to follow along on your strength “journey!” I am doing a lot of the same stuff in the gym – I have one day where I lift heavy (dead lifts, squat thrusters, etc.). I am loving it. Keep it up and keep sharing!!

    • That was my favorite day, too… so I just started having more planned heavy days 🙂

      • Valerie

        I am looking at doing the same thing! I would love to hear from you about how you got your food choices “dialed in” – I am killing it in the gym, but my eating is decent some days, abysmal others. It’s a real struggle and I know I would perform even better in the gym if my food choices were healthier. Thanks again!

  • Valerie

    P.S. I would love to order some of your tank tops, but they only go up to XL in the women’s sizes, unless I’m searching/viewing them wrong? Just thought I’d put a bug in your ear!

    • Valerie, I’ll see if we can find some larger sizes – problem is that it’s the manufacturer of the type of t-shirt we pick that decides sizes. I know the long sleeves are XXL and the only tanks that are XXL say run small and aren’t racer back. We’ll see if we can’t find something else though!

  • goodandgreen .

    I have tears in my eyes! This post is amazing. You are incredibly strong; articulate; deeply encouraging of size acceptance and making goals work with responsibilities. I am truly inspired. Its so special to get this glimpse into a life (similar in many ways to mine) where you are thriving- You RULE!

  • Evie

    I’m just at the beginning of my CrossFit journey and can only endorse your comments about the CrossFit community. I pulled up outside my box, 47 years old, very overweight, very unfit. All the really strong members made me feel so welcome and cheered me on in my first pitiful attempts at lifting. I couldn’t even run! I did 6 weeks before being floored for 5 weeks with a chest infection…during which time I received support and well wishes from everyone via Facebook. I couldn’t wait to get back…a first for a confirmed couch potato! I’m so glad I took that first step, and can’t wait till I can lift heavy. Strong is the new skinny!

  • Wow, you weren’t joking. This is so so impressive. Congratulations!

  • clairechapman

    Hold on. Is that a picture of you LITERALLY LIFTING A F#$*ING HOUSE? Speech. Less.

    • Well, not quite an actual lift… only a couple inches off the ground. But I hope to be able to lift it soon! Funny enough… it’s not just a shed… it’s a shed filled with heavy stuff. I bet if it were emptied I could definitely lift it! 🙂

  • Leslie Hughes

    You are amazing! Reading your story over the last year (since I went Paleo) has been a tremendous help in my journey. I started CF about two months ago, not able to do much, but today I am progressing every day. I, too, suffer from math deficiencies when I am lifting.. actually set a dead lift PR (225 lb) because of it! haha I have been working on box jumps, up to four 45 lb plates now (14″?), so I think I will try the 20″ box next time. I get scared of biffing. lol Thanks for motivating us all with your great attitude toward life!

  • Melody

    What an amazing post and captures the essence of CF so well! My husband and I just hit our year mark and it has literally been life-changing. We have made some amazing friends, have gotten really involved with our gym and helping others love it, our kids love it, we have become SO much stronger and SO much more fit and SO much happier with our body image. It’s one thing to be lean or skinny, but it’s a whole different animal to appreciate your butt for how much it can help you squat or love your traps for how much they help you clean. Totally changed the way I look at my body! Thank you for sharing your experience, love it!

  • Jen

    The gym I attend runs a Charm City Strongwoman contest every September in Baltimore. The events are different every year, but we did pull a truck this past year! Totally fun. You need to participate next year!

    • that sounds awesome, please send info along when you have it!

  • Carmen

    You’re doing awesome! Don’t be surprised though if by month 6 you see a significant weight drop. Women in crossfit tend to gain quite a bit of weight in the first few months due to building muscle. Then as their bodies adapt, the fat sheds. It’s a healthy, more substantial process. Keep us posted!

    • Carmen, thanks for the encouragement, but I’ve been crossfitting since January (11 months at this point) 🙂

  • Jillian

    Thank you so much for posting this, it was a much needed read! I’ve been paleo/crossfitting/lifting/generally being healthy for the past year,and yet I am at my fattest. I’ve been a bit depressed the past few weeks that after a year of hard work I don’t look like Annie Thorisdottir, and even gained weight. For the past few weeks I’ve been very lax about going to the gym or running around, and that in itself is making me even more depressed.

    I needed that slap in the face to realize: it’s not about vanity, it’s about being HEALTHY. I enjoy lifting, I enjoy eating well, and I REALLY enjoy the fact that my doctor looks at my bloodwork like it just came down from heaven.

    So, thank you again for the boot up the butt. You are an inspiration to all the lady lifters out there (f*cking awesome DL), and so refreshing in the vanity obsessed crossfit blogosphere. Without further adieu, I’m going to go run a 5k on this rainy Saturday morning, look awful and sweaty and jiggly while doing it, but leave the Lululemon shirts in my dust 😉

  • Claire @intuitiveappetite

    I loved this post! So inspiring and motivating. I have been curious about crossfit, but too intimidated/scared to try. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • AC

    I rarely leave comments, but I was so very inspired by this post. Can I just say that I have major envy over those beautiful muscles of yours?

  • Kate @eatrecyclerepeat

    Stacy you are so inspiring! I’m brave enough to try CrossFit because of you 😉

  • nissenpa

    Your strength updates have become my favorite articles on your site. You are truly amazing. A strong woman, a strong wife, and you are SUPERMOM! What a fantastic example you are setting for your boys. Can’t wait for the next strength update.