CrossFit: Unicorn Warrior Amazon Pull-Ups

by Megan M. on May 5, 2009 · View Comments (Blog) |

I recorded this yesterday, but wanted to give Athena a little more airtime—so I held the video post for today.

After an exhaustive search, I found the series in question: The Secret of the Unicorn Queen. I can’t find a really good primary link for it, but here’s the search in Amazon, and a fan listing of all the books in the series. Apparently the books were out of print, but they’re coming back (with all new, nearly-unrecognizable covers).

I wish I knew where mine were; they may all be in a box in Ohio, for all I know. But after making this video, I’d probably read them again happily, kids books or not! They were fantastic, at least from what I remember.

My CrossFit class today—my first real class ever—was amazing, incidentally. And I got through the whole thing.

Day-After Update: Marty listened to this video and walked wordlessly out of the room in the middle of it—I didn’t even notice. He came back five minutes later with this book, absolutely coated in dust, the pages yellowed, but otherwise in reasonable condition. I asked aghast where he had found it, and he said it was just in a pile with some other books he’d noticed the other day. It’s the only one we know of that I have with me in Austin, it’s the first book in the series, and I had no idea it had moved with me from Ohio.

It’s going on the shelf with the rest of my Really Good books—the motivating ones, the inspirational ones, the ones that really mean something to me. Well-deserved, I’d say, if accidental. ;}

  • DmentD
    Here is my free, unsolicited advice for the day. Do with, or discard as you see fit. *grins* It's long and, and I apologize for that.

    As someone who has undertaken, and is currently getting back on a physical regimen to get into a more pleasing and healthier shape, I have these simple mental notes that you may want to keep in mind. It is usually good to only take health and exercise advice from someone healthier and in better shape than you are, but these have been handed down by my greatest inspiration, and good friend GonzO, who is in the best shape of his, or anyone else's life. He's a meticulous researcher and a machine when it comes to keeping to a regimen.

    1a) Physical change -- whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, endurance building, etc -- DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. It is a gradual process, and anyone who tries to sell you on a super accelerated program is trying to sell you, at best: a phantom hope, at least: a temporary condition, at worst: something detrimental to your health or physique. Gradual progress is necessary so your body can slowly adjust to the new conditions -- dramatic physiological change shocks your body and you will either hurt yourself or rebound in the wrong direction before too long.

    1b) Do not expect dramatic change in a short time, or you will be disappointed. Disappointment leads to discouragement, and discouragement leads to failure. Let change happen at its own pace... this is a game of inches, not miles. Small milestones and realistic goals in a realistic time period are the way to go.

    2) Have frequent conversations with your scale, but don't take what it says at face value. Weigh yourself daily, or every few days, and as long as that needle moves -- up or down -- you're doing something right. The true measure of your progress is in how your clothes fit, how you feel, and how you look in the mirror. Weight loss while gaining muscle makes the scale lie to your face. You will swap super dense muscle for comparatively light fat, your pants will fit better but the scale will tell you there has been little change. You've made progress, but the scale is only one way to measure it and it's notoriously poor at it. People who put too much faith in a scale will be disappointed... see #1b for the rest of that tale.

    3a) The most efficient way to change your shape is a three tier attack: eating, cardio, muscle building -- in the right order, at the right times. You can do any two of these and have very slow, marginal results, but all three together is the way to go.

    3b) Change your intake habits -- reduce the fats and carbs (but not eliminate... they are important!), figure out your optimal caloric intake per day, and spread it out into 6 meals, eaten every 2 or three hours... this keeps your metabolism from shutting down between meals, and keeps you from eating more in one sitting than your body can process at once (and will store the rest as fat). Sugary meals (fruit and such) early in the day, carbs and proteins spread out all day long.

    3c) Get in 200+ minutes of cardio a week, preferably 30+ minutes per session... cardio is the most efficient way to burn fat. It takes your body 30 minutes to get up to speed and into a fat burning mode, everything over 30 minutes is optimal and efficient. Do your cardio first thing in the morning, before eating anything. That way you will start to burn your body's store of fat before it can burn anything you would have consumed. Eat no carbs for the first 2 - 3 hours after cardio... you stay in a high metabolic mode for about 2 hours, carbs are the first to get processed, and your body will use them first rather than what you have stored. Get a heart rate monitor, figure out your target zone, and stay in it during cardio.

    3d) Muscle building doesn't necessarily mean pumping yourself up to look like Mr. Universe, it means building lean muscle mass. Muscle is a tremendously efficient caloric burner -- it takes more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does a pound of fat -- and not only will you be stronger and have a more pleasing shape, but you'll make those cardio sessions exponentially more efficient. Pay attention to your form when doing all muscle building exercises. Let me repeat that: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FORM WHEN DOING ALL MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES. You will eventually get hurt -- count on it -- if your attention lapses or you get lazy.

    4) Shake up your workout. Your body gets into a routine, will anticipate what's next, and start to flatline your progress. Break your exercise into 8 week session, take a week off, and then start again... but this time, shuffle your workout around. It surprises your body, and you'll continue to make progress. If you find you've stalled for a few weeks, shake things up then as well.

    5) Find your motivation where you can get it, but ultimately YOU are the only one you should count on make you get up and do this. Workout partners are fine, but it has been my (and many others) experience that if you count on that partner too much, you'll use them as an excuse not to do things: "well, Sarah couldn't make it today, so I'm going to skip and just go another time." When Sarah stops going altogether, likely you will too. Excuses are not an acceptable reason not to exercise, and as humans we are all VERY good at making up excuses not to do things. Remove as many of the excuse wellsprings as you can.

    6) This is not temporary. This is not a "diet" or a fad. This is not something you do for 2 months to get into a bathing suit for summer, and then stop. These are permanent changes you must make in your life, your way of thinking, and your way of living. This is for your health and quality of life... that should be one of the most important things to you.

    7) This is not easy or fun... if it was, you'd be doing it already and be in spectacular shape. Everyone would be. The hard reality is that exercise takes work, even just to motivate yourself to get out of the house. Come to terms with this truth, embrace it, and resign yourself to doing it. Your health is more important than an extra 30 minutes of sleep. It can become fun, it can become something you look forward to, but it's a rare breed of person that is built to adore this kind of daily maintenance from day one.

    8) Give yourself a break. If you miss a session, a day, a week, a month, don't beat yourself up and don't lose your momentum. Things come up, shit happens. No big deal. Just keep on moving. You are human, mortal, and fallible.

    9) You are your own worst enemy. Half of getting in shape is in your head, and it's sinfully easy to psyche yourself out. Motivation gets harder to come by the longer you exercise... but look at how far you've come, and feel good and proud. Set realistic goals, and laugh maniacally as you zoom past them. Get naked in front of the mirror and take careful note of the changes that are occurring. Bench press the occasional midget just to prove that you can. It's all about you, and you're allowed to be selfish in this regard.
  • James | Dancing Geek
    Megan M. you are an inspiration and I love listening to you talk about this stuff.

    You make me want to take the soundtrack and put some funky imagery over the top. Like those text art videos, only much, much better. I have a dance in my head from what you're saying (which in my world = compliment) and an awesome cartoon version of your story playing on my mental cinema screen.

    Right now, I have other stuff that I'm focussed on, but I hope that one day in the near future I'll be able to quote you as an influence in the awesomeness that is what I do.
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