Monthly Archives: June 2013

Goodbye Bertha – A Love Story

Today we said goodbye to dear Bertha.  Although I did not mention her by name, you met Bertha in the last post in the “I’m so excited to go to the gym” picture of Chris.  See that beauty just behind Chris?  That is Bertha.


Bertha -a previously essential component of the “I’m so excited to go to the gym” package

Chris and Bertha first met in Pennsylvania while Chris was in college.


Chris and Bertha circa 2004 (photos in PA courtesy of Chris’s mom, Kathi)

Together, Chris and Bertha “hauled things” for Chris’s dad’s pool company over many summers, during which, their truck-human romance blossomed.

Bertha adored Chris’s tan triceps:

Chris admired Bertha’s shiny side panels and capacity to “haul things”.


Following college, the happy couple moved to Illinois.  There, they met me.  Although the possibility for tension existed between me and Bertha as we vied for Chris’s affections, Bertha finally agreed that, as long as I wasn’t a truck (which I’m not), I could join their lives.

In August of 2009, we moved to Oklahoma.  For this move, Chris towed Bertha behind a U-haul.  As Bertha’s ability “to haul things” is her sexiest characteristic in Chris’s eyes, it was sad to tow her; sad, that is, until we realized that Bertha was basically wake-boarding down the highway and we were generous humans to be giving her the time of her truck life.

For four years in Oklahoma, Bertha and Chris did everything together: if Chris worked late at the lab, Bertha stayed late too; if Chris worked out for two hours, Bertha waited patiently outside the gym.

After such glory days with Bertha, it was a tough talk Chris and I had a few months ago when we decided that, devastatingly, it just wouldn’t be practical to tow Bertha back across the country when we move to Massachusetts at the end of July.

And today was the day the man said goodbye to his lover, er, truck.

She is going to a good home.  She’ll be happy.

I do not believe that I will ever fully convince Chris that, as professors in Massachusetts, we will be OK, life will be OK, without us owning a vehicle with which to “haul things.”  “But what if there’s something that needs hauling?” he’ll query.  And I’ll just sigh, because he’ll be right.  Our days of being able to “haul things” are forever over.

To end, an ode in pictures to Bertha’s beauty:


Her hood, lovely as the morning dew upon a rose blossom


Her large side dent, glorifying her striking uniqueness of character


Her admirably functional passenger door (that was regularly crawled through to get to the driver’s side door because the driver’s side door is too hard to close)


Bye Bertha. It’s been good.













Squat Insults Revisited

If you’re a “Life with my Bodybuilder” aficionado, you’ll remember that, but a week ago, on Tuesday June 18th of the year 2013, Chris insulted my squatting.  To reacquaint yourself with this emotional plunder, click here.

After Chris defenestrated my squatting pride, we agreed to tape my squats sometime in the future and to analyze the video together.

Today was the day.

I agreed last night to leave our apartment at 9 am this morning to go to the gym with Chris.

At 8:40 am, Chris hovered by the door, wrestling shoe clad, lifting bag and water bottle in hand, ready to bust down the door like an exuberant terrier puppy needing to whiz.

We’d said we would leave at 9 am.  Fine Chris.  9 am means 8:40 am.  I can’t fight a rollicking puppy.  At 8:42 am, I grudgingly zipped on my own wrestling shoes, grabbed gym-related items, and let him out to pee in the bushes.  By which I mean, we then left for the gym.


“Yeah! Got my THE CAGE shirt on, got my GYM BAG, got my WRESTLiNG SHOES, let’s get this 8:42 am par-tay star-ted!”  -Chris

At the gym, I dragged myself ruefully to the squat rack, bracing for the sob-inducing criticism that was sure to soon befall me.

I slowly warmed-up.

Finally, the moment of truth:  Chris stood beside me, camera in hand.

I squatted.  I squatted again.  I squatted again.  I squatted again.  And finally, I squatted again.

After squatting, squatting, squatting, squatting, and squatting, the set of five was complete.  I racked the bar.  I walked out of the rack.  I turned to Chris.  And non-nonchalantly he said:  “Those looked good.”  Followed by, “I’m not sure what I was seeing before.”

Glory, glory Hallelujah!

I made him watch and tape another set.  After watching this set he said, “That looked textbook.” which maybe wasn’t really a compliment because textbooks don’t always show correct squat form (and the people in the pictures are always wearing super squishy bounce-mobile aerobics shoes) but I think he meant it as a compliment.  Which means…

My squat is back.  I am a good squatter, Chris certified.

So what gives? Was Chris just a jerk before when he criticized my squats?  Did oh, I don’t know, my posting on my blog how he’d destroyed me emotionally cause him to change his tune?

Nope.  I changed my squats.  I listened to what he’d said about my being too “bouncy”  (see previous post) and changed my squats to focus on being “not bouncy” when he was taping me.

I think the form he observed previously was a bit of me showing off to myself what I could do with such a light weight (ha! you’re nothing light weight! I can squat butt to heals and bounce up to the sky with you!) and really, that was stupid of me.  If I’m bopping around with the weight that much, um, maybe that’s a pretty clear sign that it’s time for me to lift a heavier weight.

So thank you Chris.  Thank you for showing me the fallacy of my hubristic squatting ways.  You’re still the good man I knew you to be.

And now…

You want to see my squats from this morning don’t you?  Read through all my garbage just to get to the video huh?  Here you go!

(Note:  Chris taped two full sets of me.  You only get to see the one set that he taped from the side.  The one he taped from the back, no one will ever see, ever.  My squatting butt viewed from behind is not something that, with full sanity, I can ever post on the internet.  If Chris ever starts his own blog, “Life with my Fiance who Enjoys Life with her Bodybuilder who is Me” then maybe he can post the video, but for now, it’s side view only.  Anyway… Enjoy!)


Chris’s Nipples

Recently, Chris and I have been spending a lot of time scrutinizing his nipples.  In this post, I let you in on the fun!

First, a plug:  Check out Chris and I talking with Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jake Wilson on Muscle College Radio about the case study we did on Chris during his last diet.

Now back to the nipples.  Here’s his “front relaxed” picture from this past Saturday. 

Week 5 - June 22

See those nipples?  Yeah, I know.

For those of you not used to male nipple scrutiny (I know, they’re vestigial so why bother?), let me show you that picture again.


With a CIRCLE this time!

Now do you see it?  A slightly raised piece of tissue below the right nipple that is NOT found below the left nipple.  Look again:



There is a slightly raised tissue on his right (circled).  There is no slightly raised tissue on his left (arrow).

“Lindy, you promised nipple talk, but slightly raised tissue talk.  What gives?” – you ask

This slightly raised tissue on the right has made the right nipple more lateral than the left nipple.

This slightly-raised-tissue and nipple discrepancy has induced a variant of the following conversation between Chris and I several times over the last few weeks:

Chris (looking at his chest):  Would you look at my right nipple for a sec?

Me:  Why? It’s vestigial.

Chris:  No seriously, check out my nipple.

Me:  Ok fine. (grumbling under breath) Thanks for failing me evolution; couldn’t have done for humans what you did for rats** could you?? Wouldn’t have to deal with his nipple issues then…

Chris:  So see?  My right nipple is more lateral than my left nipple.  I think there’s a tendon or something under the right one that isn’t under the left one.

Me:  Are you flexing poorly?

Chris (disgusted with me):  Of course not.

Me (looking closely):  Well, yeah, I do see the difference.  Why do you think that is?

Chris:  Well, back when we were at Illinois [editor’s note: this means >4 years ago], remember how I couldn’t bench press for like 6 months and how I said sometimes that maybe my chest hurt on that side and how it took me a long time to get back to my original strength on that side and how I thought maybe something was wrong but I am a man and men do not go to the doctor for silly things like large muscle groups that do not work?

Me:  Yes.

Chris:  Well, I think maybe back then, well, maybe I ripped my pec.

Me (in non-committal agreement with a hint of condescending “I probably told you 5 years ago to go to the doctor” thinking):  Huh.

Chris (getting excited now):  Yes, I think that’s it.  I think I just made a little rip in my pec 5 years ago and now that tendon looks like that!

Me:  Probably it.

Chris:  And that’s why my right nipple is more lateral than my left nipple!

Me:  Eureka!

Next time Chris poses for weekly pictures, we’ll have this talk again, looking at the nipple from different angles with different things flexed, seeing if there truly is a discrepancy, and concluding, finally, that there is, and that, yes, it was probably caused by a 5 year old muscle tear.  So that’s the fun we’ve been having.  Scrutinizing the ole nipples.  Thanks for joining us in this fun.


“My nipples are asymmetrical and my pants no longer fit.  It’s a tough life I lead.” -Chris

One final thought: being engaged to someone like Chris with his large muscles and low body fat, it’s easy to get down about my own smaller muscles and greater body fat, but I’ve got one physical trait that I can always hold over him: that’s right, I have evolutionarily valid nipples.  Even a rat did better at evolution than you Chris, you hyper-muscular hypo-adiposcular male human.  So there.  And that’s how I maintain a positive self body image.  I encourage any other significant others of male bodybuilders to do the same.

**Male rats do not have nipples.  I learned that during my 7 years of graduate school.  While we’re on the subject of rats, everyone should also know that male rats’ testicles are retractable. Way to go 7 years of graduate school knowledge!












Hot-Sauce Chicken with Oatmeal and Broccoli with Cottage Cheese

At 10 am Wednesday, Chris ate this:


That is stinky fajita chicken doused with Frank’s hot sauce with a side of giant-bowl-of-cinnamon-and-Equal-oatmeal-with-blueberries.

This meal was obnoxious for three reasons:

1) The Stench. Remember on April Fool’s Day when Google pretended to have a new App that would let you smell through your computer?  That would be so useful right now.  Since it doesn’t exist, I’ll have to explain the smell of stinky fajita chicken doused with Frank’s hot sauce to you with my skills of prose:  it smells like butt.  Intense butt.  And our apartment is 900 square feet so when the butt chicken starts to smell, there’s no escaping.

2) The Timing.  It was 10 am in the morning.  Who eats chicken with hot sauce at 10 am in the morning?  (I know, I know, bodybuilders eat stinky chicken with hot sauce at 10 am in the morning.  This is why this blog has to exist; normal people don’t do this).

3) The Jealously. Despite smelling disgusting, this meal represents a key jealously I have of Chris which is that, when he’s dieting, he still gets to eat so much food!  During his last diet, when we did the scientific case study on him, his lowest caloric intake was around 2,500 calories.  LOWEST.  The stupid man went from 14.8% to 4.5% body fat and never consumed less than 2,500 calories!  I think I speak for all smaller statured women out there when I say, “Jerk.”

“So, Lindy, stinky butt chicken with hot sauce and oatmeal is a pretty nasty sounding meal, but is there anything else Chris eats that you find gross?” you ask.

Heck yes! Check this out:


That is an entire bag of microwaved broccoli.  I’ve always feared scurvy, so I totally support the vegetable eating.  What makes me want to hurl on the carpet though is what he eats with the broccoli:  a huge bowl of cottage cheese.  He doesn’t actually mix the broccoli and cottage cheese but just eating those two in the same temporal vicinity is just, well, not my bowl of cottage cheese brocolli.  (That’s an expression that’s going to catch on, you wait.)


Oh yeah, chunky and watery and weighed to the gram, bring it on

Did I mention cottage cheese and broccoli is his before bed meal?  Because he has a “before bed” meal.  Doesn’t everyone?

At least the cottage cheese doesn’t smell…

If you haven’t already left to go vomit, or, if you’re a bodybuilder, to excitedly go prepare your own cottage cheese / brocolli / hot sauce butt chicken with oatmeal combo, I want to end with a few shout-outs to some other blogs that I like:

1) Hilarious Blog theoretically on motherhood but you’ll still love it even if you are totally against children (and I’ve been friends with the author since 2nd grade and she’s awesome so go read it now).

2) New Informative Blog on why women need to get out there, wear wrestling shoes in the gym, and not listen when their fiances insult their squats; well, that’s what I took from it I guess… her tagline is “The female guide to conquering the weight room.”  Good stuff.

3) Another Blog for some good nutrition and exercise reading.  I recommend gawking at the picture of the peanut butter chocolate chip thing in the bowl – amazing (and it’s the perfect mental antidote to all the nasty food pictures I posted here).

No matter what Chris says, I’m good at squatting. So there.

I just got home from the gym.  I was kind of bummed because this elbow-mildly-painful thing that means I need to stop doing any exercises that stress my elbow was happening again and I had to limit my workout.  I had done 9 sets of squats though so I still felt like the workout was successful and I was feeling admirably (yes, I admire myself) positive about the situation.  I figured, OK, the elbow can recover; I’ll take a week off from any upper body work and it won’t be a big deal;  I had a great squat workout today so I’ll just focus on squatting a lot so I still feel like I’m having good workouts and I’ll be fine.

And then I talked to Chris.  Our conversation went roughly as follows:

Me (sadly, yet admirably positive):  My right elbow is bothering me.

Chris (consolingly):  I’m sorry.  That stinks.

Me (admirably positive):  It’s OK.  I decided to just lay off the upper-body work and focus on squatting for a while.

Chris (emotionless):  Your squats look awful.

Me (outraged):  What?!

Chris (sensing danger):  I’m not saying your squats look bad, I mean, they don’t look bad, they’re not bad, I’m just saying you’ve been bouncing a lot at the bottom and they look bad.

Me (aghast):  What?!  What am I doing?

Chris (scared now but intent on explaining):  No, your squats aren’t bad, I can’t explain what I’m seeing, I just, well, I’m surprised your knees aren’t bothering you.

Me (still aghast):  What?!

Chris (still fearful but intent):  I can’t explain it.  I’ll have to video tape you.  Just know that your squats don’t look right right now.  I’ll video tape you next time you squat OK?  Then you can figure out what I’m saying.

End of conversation.

So basically, the consolation I had, the thing that was going to make it OK that my stupid elbow is taking vacation days, the thing allowing me to act so admirably positive, looks terrible right now but can’t actually be explained to me and it’s a miracle I’m not injured.

The poor man didn’t realize what he’d done.

And that’s one of the (in retrospect only) most humorous parts of any man/woman relationship.

I truly believe that Chris had only good intentions in saying what he said.  If I was going to start squatting more; he wanted to make sure I knew that I should consider some form tweaks so I don’t hurt myself.  While I heard him cruelly yanking away the one thing that was going to make my elbow being hurt OK, he heard himself being helpful and kind.

We ended the conversation with me bluffing, “So, I shouldn’t squat?” and him assuring me that we would analyze my squat via video tape the next time I workout.

with bear

See? We still love each other even if one of us criticizes the other one’s squatting.  I wouldn’t fib in front of the bear overlord.

So the good stuff in this post is over now, but, because I have an ego and my identity as a good squatter* is something close to my heart, I have to defend what I think he’s seeing in my squats.  Unfortunately, unlike Chris, I do not set up a camera on a stool in front of the squat rack before every set, so I have no record of what my recent squats look like, but I know they look nothing like my heavy powerlifting squats such as seen in the video below from a few years ago.

My current squats are a bit deeper and with much lighter weight.  Lighter weight changes the way the bar moves me.  I think the “bouncyness” he sees may be because the weight is light enough that I can easily rebound out of the hole and he’s used to seeing me struggle.

So I’m still a good squatter.  However, I am not a stupid squatter so, next workout, I am going to video tape myself and analyze my mechanics with Chris.  It is, overall, very nice to have a fiance whose idea of a good night at home is to sit around analyzing tape of my squats.

Not done!  This is the post that never ends!

So you know, my max competition squat is 215 lbs not the 198 lbs shown in the video.  That’s just to emphasize the following point which you may have missed: I’m a good squatter.

Now the post has ended.  (Well, unless you skipped over the asterisk earlier and are reading the footnote now, but that’s your fault).

*By “squatter”, I mean “someone who performs squats for exercise” not “a person who occupies property or land to which he has no legal title” as is the real definition, as defined by




I recently discovered that Chris has been keeping his “cardio shoes” in a shoe box by the front door.  As previously discussed on this blog, Chris loves original boxes and saves all of them, but this is not the original box of these shoes:  this is a new Nike box housing old New Balance shoes.  What is going on here!?


New Balance “Cardio shoes” in a foreign original box

If he wore these shoes very infrequently perhaps the shoe box would be logical, but these are not “occasional wear” shoes for special outings. (Also, the shoe box is right next to the front door, not in a closet).  These are shoes worn regularly when he performs high-intensity intervals.

I just discovered this shoes-boxed-in-a-box-under-the-table system a few days ago and have decided not to question him about it.  Perhaps I will put a box of my own frequently-worn shoes on top of his box of frequently-worn shoes and see what happens…

On another shoe topic, a week or so ago, at the gym, I was asked if I am a wrestler.  I am not a wrestler.  I do, however, lift in men’s wrestling shoes.


My men’s wrestling shoes.  That’s right, they have zippers.

You don’t know what feeling attractive is until you wear men’s wrestling shoes with zippers.  I often wonder, while wearing them, if people think that I think that I look good in my men’s wrestling shoes with zippers.  (For the record, I do not think that I look good in my men’s wrestling shoes with zippers.  And yes, in my worldview, people constantly think about what I think about myself).  Who suggested I wear men’s wrestling shoes to the gym?  You guessed it:  Chris, who also wears men’s wrestling shoes to the gym.


Chris’s men’s wrestling shoes.  Note the lack of zippers (= not at all as cool as mine).

As a part of the group “men”, Chris’s wearing “men’s” wrestling shoes is not nearly as weird-feeling for him as wearing men’s wrestling shoes is for me, a non-men.  Also, his shoes do not have zippers.

So why do I wear them?

Because the flat soles are amazing.  If I try to squat in normal athletic shoes these days, I feel like I’m squatting with pogo sticks on my feet.  The flat soles allow me to squat with better form and to feel more stable on any free weight exercises I perform while standing.

I think the epidemic of bad squatting permeating this country could be greatly improved (not eliminated, but improved) by a change in footwear.

And finally, I’ve been wearing the zippered wrestling shoes for over 4 years now and the wrestler question was actually the first weird thing anyone has ever said to me about the shoes.  I think someone once pointed out that Chris and I have matching lifting shoes and that that was kind of funny but I was OK with that.  In fact, now that I think about it, maybe Chris and I should have more matching clothing pieces…  No time to figure out a matching outfit now though; I have to go put my own box of frequently-worn shoes on top of Chris’s box of frequently-worn shoes.

Maybe something magical happens when you do this?


I’m waiting for the magical porthole to open?



This is a code that I am adding to this post so Technorati will list my blog in it’s index:  VWCEHQ5A4K4F


So you think you know what high-intensity interval training is…

Today I creepily hovered over Chris with the video camera while he performed high-intensity intervals on the bike.  You haven’t seen intensity until you’ve seen these.

Below I present intervals #1, #3, #5, #7, and #8.  Why watch 5 intervals of a guy on a bike?Because the intensity is impressive and it’s interesting to watch his interval performance over time. Why are videos of all 8 intervals not included? Because you can get the idea well enough from 5.

Be sure to watch each video to the end (they’re short) to see the true face of exhaustion. If you’re only going to skim this post and just want to watch one video, I highly recommend the second to last video in this post, “Interval #7”.

Ok, first interval completed. Seven more to go. (Each interval lasts 20 seconds and is followed by a 1 minute and 40 second “rest” period of light cycling.)

Geez our gym is loud. That one looked a little harder. Quite a bit of cheek breathing going on there. That was interval #3. After the first 4 intervals, Chris takes an additional 2 minutes of light-cycling “rest.” This is planned.

That was interval #5. Nothing like a close-up of the face with a video camera when you want to vomit!

Watch that next time you feel like giving a half-butt effort at the gym. That’s the face of getting results!

And done. He then took a nap right on the machine for the next 25 minutes. Well, no, but you could almost believe that’s what happened next right?  What happened next was a gentle cool down on the bike, stretching, and then a nice drive home from the gym past this wonderful field that has a llama and cows in it.

Quite a workout huh?

After the last interval

After the last interval


The tranquil drive home from the gym past the cow / llama pasture