Warrior Girl Has A Tribe

My sessions with Coach begin with the same conversation everyday. Coach “how’s it going?”. I smirk. He laughs. Then he calls out “Deadlifts” or “Bench Day” or “Squat Day” and I set up the area and put on the appropriate shoes (converse low-top for deads, oly shoes for bench, converse high-top for squats).

Deadlifts have been crazy fun. Coach always mixes lbs and kg weights so I can’t quickly do the math between sets. Every week we inch towards that glorious 300#. I’m so close but starting next week he’s bumping me to reps of 3 at the current weight. It’s the right thing to do but I really want to keep maxing. It’s a good thing I have a coach.

He’s been sending me videos daily. I’ve finally caught on to the message: the best lifters all lift differently. They know what feels good to them. The average lifters follow the “rules”. I told him I finally caught on and he replied “your old coach taught you how to lift technically and that’s important. You follow the rules very well. But that can only get you so far. Figuring out what is best for you – and only you – will take you as far as you want to go”. I have ¬†started playing a lot and he never discourages or gets mad at me. He always smiles (sometimes laughs) as he critques what works and what doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong: he’s tough and he expects a lot but he expects what I can give. He said today “I love the journey my athletes are on. I want everyone to do well but I don’t really care about the outcome or the ending. I like being a part of the story”. I finally have a Coach that coaches like me. A coach that my New Mother always said I deserved.

Bench day was great. It has been a sore spot for me since December. Coach has been keeping me sane throughout with his words of wisdom (which when he says them The Wife – his wife – and I look at each other and roll our eyes. She too has been struggling). The Wife then said she started using her oly shoes to bench in. The bigger heel allows her to plant her feet. We are both all of 5 feet tall. Keeping Coach’s words in mind, I laced up my oly shoes Tuesday and benched. No PRs but I got 3 sets of 3 reps at a weight I failed the week before. I left the gym yesterday the happiest girl in The Middle of Nowhere.

As I put on my shoes Monday, I mentioned to Coach that the meds were kicking my ass. He said “you should be adjusted to them by now. Has your diet changed?” Not really. Well…I’ve been having ice cream. Daily. A gallon of chocolate milk. Every few days. “And how clean was your diet until the last few weeks? How much sugar did you have?” Extremely clean. I listed my daily food intake for the last 5 years (easy to do since I ate the same food every day). No sugar – except for my 4 oreos a month which was really only every-other-month. He laughed and said “Holy shit.” and I replied “It’s the food that’s making me exhausted! I’m such an idiot. But I want to have a normal life. I want to get ice cream with The Husband sometimes (for 15 years we’ve talked about walking to the Dairy Queen 4 blocks away but we never have) and I want to eat a piece of pie – everyone says I make amazing pies and I have never had a bite. I want to have those moments”. Coach said my body just needs to get used to it and I can have those things but I need to slow down and let the body adjust to sugar. Start with once a week and build up. He basically told me what I would tell a client who was too strict for years but I forget to apply these things to myself. He said The Wife is having the same problem.

Today I got to introduce Coach to the man whose name is on the Credit Card I pay him with – The Amazing Husband. And they chatted quite a while. As I was leaving The Wife stopped me on and we spent 20 minutes lamenting our sugar withdrawal headaches. I have been trying to talk her into doing a powerlifting meet and she is going to!!! I may just change mine set for September so I can lift with her. Then Coach joined us girls and we talked about all the big names in lifting, some they are good friends with (worldwide!), and talked about all the big meets said friends have been doing. The Wife and I mocked our own shortcomings and how Coach has to remind us both of the obvious. And then they announced they were getting a puppy toy poodle this weekend. I squealed for her and made fun of him. Seriously? One of the world’s strongest men is getting a toy poodle? How could I resist!

Coach left and The Wife and I continued talking. Some of the other lifters drifted in and out of our conversation. Two hours after I started leaving I picked up my bags and on my way out the door I said to The Wife “Thank you for making space for me in the group” and she smiled and said “you bring a lot to our little group”.

The Husband had dinner on the table when I got home. “You look happy” he said. I curled up in my chair and started eating. “I’m so glad you got to meet everyone. And…I have a group. I’ve never had a group. I drifted around until you and in college your friends were the group and even now, your friends here are the group. I’m friends with them but they aren’t my group. And my few friends aren’t in the same circles. But I realized tonight I belong to a whole little group.” He smiled and said “I knew you would find your way”.

Tomorrow I squat.


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Lifting is my love. I think it is safe to say it is the only thing I have ever loved in this life. After 20 years of battling anorexia, this Warrior Girl started winning that battle the first time I touched a barbell. Loving something is a powerful thing.

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