Full-Blown Pull-Up Machine

I don’t know about you, but one of the absolute hardest things for me to do in the gym are pull-ups.  I can squat almost twice my own body weight, but ask me to do one measly little pull-up, and it probably won’t happen.  In fact, there’s a really good chance it won’t happen… 

My back is definitely something that I often overlook, and clearly that weakness is showing now.  Not only does having a strong back help you do pull-ups better, but it’s also really important for doing a lot of other things, and it needs to be focused on just as much as any other muscle groups. 

With that in mind, I’ve decided to add inverted rows to my workouts to try and help my back, chest, and arms get stronger.  Inverted rows are a great progression to use in order to build the strength needed for mastering pull-ups, and I plan on incorporating them regularly from now on.  Check out this article for more information on what they are and why they work.

I worked on inverted rows the other night, and then I used the Smith machine to do them during my workout yesterday morning.  They are definitely challenging, but that’s a good thing, in my book!

Here’s what yesterday’s workout looked like:

  1. Warm up: 10 minute walk on treadmill
  2. Front squats:
    1. 15 @ 45lbs
    2. 12 @ 65lbs
    3. 8 @ 95lbs
    4. 6 @ 115lbs
    5. {3 @ 135lbs} x5
  3. Workout (5x; Row 100 M less each time):
    1. Row 500 M
    2. 5 Bench press @ 65lbs
    3. 10 DB swings @ 25lbs
  4. 50 Crunches
  5. {5 Inverted rows} x10
  6. Landmine circuit @ 45lbs (4x):
    1. 10 Hammer jammers w/squat (each arm)
    2. 10 High pulls (each arm)
    3. 20 Overhead squats
    4. 20 Rainbow presses
  7. 50 Swiss ball sit-ups
  8. 50 Weighted side bends (each side)
  9. Cool down: 5 minute walk

When I get something in my head that I want to do, I usually don’t stop until I make it happen, and I don’t foresee this going any differently.  That said, it has pretty much become my mission to turn myself into a full-blown pull-up machine… or, at least be able to do a couple good ones in a row.

And if I can sculpt a stronger back and learn how to do cool stuff like Camille in this video (scroll to 16:00 and watch the girl in the yellow), well then that’s just an added bonus. 


What’s a move that you can’t do and would like to be able to? 

Is there anything you are working on right now?  I am also working on handstands because I really, really also want to be a handstand machine. 

Can you do pull-ups?

I Don’t Understand It.

First of all, I just want to say that my heart sincerely goes out to all those affected by yesterday’s tragedy in Connecticut.  I can’t even imagine what friends and family of those who lost their lives are going through, and it breaks my heart to think about how they must be feeling.  It is literally unfathomable to me to try to understand such evil, but I just hope that eventually everyone can start to find some semblance of peace.  <3  ______________________________________________________________________________________

Yesterday’s clean eats were pretty good for the first half of the day.  There were grapes, and carrots, and peppers, and scrambled eggs…




And even a couple spoonfuls of this delicious goodness that I brought home to share with my mom. 



Just in case I haven’t mentioned it before, my mom used to hate Chobani yogurt.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: how could she have possible given birth to Megan and not love this stuff?!  But it’s the truth.  When the company sent me a case of their new 16oz. blended flavors a couple weeks ago though, I finally convinced her to try my beloved vanilla chocolate chunk.  And well folks, one bite and she was hooked.  She even likes some of their other flavors now too!  And I confidently feel that my mission is complete in life.  Thankyouandgoodnight. 

After work yesterday, I loaded up my car like the nomad that I am and headed off to my mom’s house for the weekend.  I swear, I really should just get rid of my apartment and live out of my car… it sure would make things a lot easier.  I spend more time living out of my suitcase than my closet as it is!


Once I got there, I realized that it had been ONE WHOLE WEEK since I’d had Mexican food, so I invited my mom to come out with me to our favorite local Mexican spot for dinner.  We had chips and salsa to start, then I went with a glass (bowl?) of sangria and the chicken enchiladas + rice for dinner, plus we had churros for dessert (not even my suggestion, surprisingly enough).


It definitely wasn’t within the confines of my challenge, but after a great week of clean eats, I felt it was a well-deserved treat!

And now I’ll let you in on a little tidbit of my life: besides the fact that my eating often goes awry when I’m at home, another thing that changes about me when I’m here is my tidiness. 

In case you didn’t know, I am a neat freak.  I don’t love cleaning, but I love organizing.  (There’s a difference!)  If you came to my apartment, you’d probably realize that I am one of the most neat, organized people you’ll ever meet.  Everything has it’s place, and I go out of my way to make sure things are never just lying around. 

But as soon as I step into my childhood bedroom, this is what happens:


And that’s probably how it will stay until I leave again. 

I don’t even understand it. 

On that note, have a great Saturday!! Smile

Leg Day(s)

For a while now, I’ve been designating Mondays as leg day.  This week though, I decided to switch things up a bit and move legs to Tuesday, in hopes that I might be able to hit legs twice this week.  I also made up another new plan yesterday, and just like Monday’s shoulders and triceps plan, it was a total hit with me. 

My stomach was feeling really crappy when I got out of work yesterday, so to start off, I walked for about ten minutes on the treadmill to try and help myself feel a little better.  Fortunately, it totally worked, and I was good and warmed up for what turned out to be a pretty intense leg workout. 

The first part of each superset is weighted, while the second half is not.  I did each of the following supersets four times through, using a 50-pound barbell for the first three supersets, and a 40-pound barbell for the next three.  By the time I got to the step-ups, it was all I could do to complete them without any weight at all!


Once I was done, I ended with 100 body weight squats… but only because my favorite squatting song happened to come on my iPod right as I was finishing up.  Can’t let it go to waste!

It’s funny how much a song can come to be correlated with certain things for you after a while.  One time, that song came on in a bar, and I had to seriously restrain myself from busting out squats right then and there – haha!

I’m hoping to get in another leg workout on Thursday, but first I need to assess the soreness situation that I have a feeling this new plan might bring on.  I can already feel it setting in, so if I can’t walk by Thursday, then I’ll have to readjust the schedule, but I won’t be mad about it! 

For dinner last night, I had steak, butternut squash, and green beans.  I cut the squash into cubes, sprayed a cookie sheet with a little cooking spray, and roasted it and the green beans for about 30-40 minutes at 400*.  I put the steak in (seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning) under the broiler for the last few minutes, and before I knew it I had another healthy, super easy meal!


I love steak, but I can’t really remember the last time I had it, so finding this cut in my freezer was definitely a treat!  I also don’t know why I never thought of roasting butternut squash before recently.  I guess I was used to only ever having it mashed (which was how my mom always made it), but it is so, so good this way too!  I don’t put anything on it, but it’s sweet and delicious all on it’s own!

Day two of the (Mostly) Clean Eating Challenge officially in the books as a success!


What did you do for a workout yesterday?

What were your clean eats from yesterday?

Change of Perspective

This was one of those weekends where I just did not feel like being on the computer.  I barely took any pictures all weekend, and the only time I was online was to watch Friday Night Lights with Billy on his iPad.  In fact, this is the first time I’ve turned on my computer at all!  It’s so unlike me – usually I’m brainstorming blog posts at every turn – but it was what I was feeling, so I went with it!

After work on Friday, I headed down to where my parents live to visit with my family for the night.  My dad took me out to dinner, and then I met my mom, aunt, uncle, and cousins at my old high school’s football game.  Definitely brought back memories of when I was out there cheering back in the day!




After the game, I spent the night catching up with my mom; I haven’t seen her all that much this summer, but it’s nice to know that I’m only a short one-hour drive away if I want to visit.  I left Saturday morning to head to Connecticut to see Billy, but now with my aversion to driving subsiding, it makes the idea of going there just for a short time a lot more bearable!

There was a time not too long ago where I would see making both of those trips in one weekend as way too much, but that is definitely no longer the case.  Now, I see the driving as just two or three measly hours out of the 24 in a day.  And if that means I get to spend a night with my family and a couple days with Billy, I think I can sacrifice a couple hours in the car to make it work!  It sure is funny how much your perspective changes when your circumstances do – now that I live a couple hours from the people I care about, it makes the driving seem like a piece of cake. 

On the way to Billy’s, I stopped for a bacon, egg, and cheese on an English muffin and an unsweetened iced tea. 



There was also a time not too long ago where I hated iced tea – or tea, in any form – but it’s since become my second-best alternative to water.  I love it! 

Billy and I spent most of the rainy Saturday just lounging around watching a whole bunch of Friday Night lights episodes – we seriously can’t get enough.  Then this morning, I went for a quick two-mile run around his neighborhood, and it was killer.  The hills here are insane, but it was fun and challenging!  I caught some rays outside his afternoon while Billy watched the Patriot’s game, but we also finished up season four of FNL.  It was awesome, of course.

For dinner, we tried out another pizza place near his new house, and it was great.  We shared onion rings, and for my entrée, I got a grilled chicken salad.  The thing was huge, and I only ate half so I’m bringing the rest for lunch tomorrow.  Love when that happens.



Now I’ve been patiently waiting for Billy to finish his homework so we can start on season five (which I think is the last Sad smile).  He’s all bent out of shape for having to still do homework, but I secretly wish I still had to.  Going to work might be a little less stressful than doing school work, but I sure do miss college!  Hoping my drive back to the office goes as well tomorrow as it did last week though… 

And with that, I just got the signal… he’s done and we’re good to go for another episode!

Have a good night!!

Keeping It Clean: Day Four

Yesterday marked day four of Jenny’s Keeping It Clean Challenge

Since I didn’t have to work, I slept in a little bit and then the timing of my meals ended up being a little off.  Lunch was eaten really late, so I really wasn’t even hungry for dinner, which is why the meal ended up being somewhat nontraditional.  Still clean and healthy though!!

Breakfast: Strawberry chocolate chip baked oatmeal (last slice!!) + plain Greek yogurt

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Morning Snack: Grapes + Cantaloupe

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Lunch: Huge salad with romaine, spinach, chicken, carrots, cucumbers, and chipotle hummus

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Dinner: Smoothie with strawberry protein powder, splash of milk, chia seeds, frozen banana slices, fresh strawberries, and spinach + trail mix with almonds, peanuts, cashews, raisins and M&Ms

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