RGF.  Resting Gym Face.

Franz actually requested that I call this entry “Resting Gym Bitch Face”, but it didn’t seem to roll off the old tongue as easily.

I make dumb faces in all aspects of my life.  When I take pictures of myself, I make dumb faces.  When I see people do dumb shit out in public, I make dumb faces.  When I am listening to my friends/family/Franz speak, I make dumb faces.

So, it’s no secret that I would make dumb faces when I am at the gym.  Oh god there are so many reasons as to why I would be making faces… One of which being- I’m listening to Franz.  Like, when he tells me over and over again to STARE at him while he demonstrates an exercise, even though I can see him in the mirror I am looking at.  That definitely calls for a ‘face’.  When I am struggling to lift weights, I make a face.  A very clear, ‘WHYYYYY MEEEEEE’ face.  And please, have no doubt in your mind when I tell you, that my best faces are when I am resting between sets.  When I am struggling to catch my breath, and not die.  Those are the best ‘faces’.  That’s when Franz will laugh at me.

Franz will not only laugh at me, but will follow up his deep belly laugh with a comment about my face.  His head will be back, while he laughs uncontrollably, and holds his stomach.  When he catches his breath, he will look at me and say, ‘You look so dumb.  You’re faces are stupid.’

Do you know what that is?  Love.

Yup!  That’s love.  He knows that I can’t be mad about what he says, because he knows that I know all about my dumb faces.  I know I look stupid.  Sometimes, I even catch my own face in the mirror, and I laugh at myself.  It’s hard not to.  I look ridiculous.

With that being said- I need this shirt.IMG_1277


I Thought You’d Never Ask

On numerous occasions (FINE! Every time..) at the end of training sessions, I am so exhausted by the end, that I dramatically collapse on the VERY CLEAN AND OBVIOUSLY VERY COMFORTABLE floor of the gym.  Franz hates this.  First of all, I think (I know) it embarrasses him.  I just literally spaghetti legs straight to the floor… I guess it could be somewhat embarrassing for a trainer, but whatever.  Secondly, he’s grossed out that I have no problem laying on the floor, and normally, I would probably be grossed out too.  I mean, let’s be honest, they can clean that place all they want (and to their credit, they do keep it clean!), but it’s still a gym.  Dirty sneakers, sweat, spit… it’s inevitable that it’s everywhere, and on everything.  Gyms are gross.

Anyways, Franz is so used to seeing me collapse into a pile of death, that he doesn’t even say anything any more.  Instead, he let’s me lay there for a few minutes, heaving… usually mumbling some inaudible words, and then typically closing my eyes and wishing I was in pajamas.  At the end of my pity party, Franz will normally chivalrously extend his hand to me, and seamlessly pull me up to my feet, as if I am a rag doll.

So let me set the scene for you from last weeks ‘Lower Body Murder Day’.  Franz had basically made me do 2,762,046 squats, and 9,613,763 dead lifts.  No, I’m not exagerating.  My body was sore and weak, and my legs were jelly.  My mouth, however…. worked perfectly fine (between the heaving breaths).  As we walked over to ‘the green’, to where the death sled was sitting, I opened my unfiltered dumb mouth, and said, ‘Ugh!! Can’t you think of ANYTHING else for me to do?!  All you ever have me do are squats and pushing the fucking sled!! What do I pay you for?!’

Now, let me be clear.  I know what I pay him for.  He knows that I’m kidding when I say that shit.  I throw that specific comment out there on the regular, because I know how dumb he thinks I am when I say it, and it makes me laugh, inside.  Also, don’t you worry, because in turn, Franz has plenty of things he says that ‘get back at me’, for what I say to him.  It’s a very healthy, dysfunctional relationship.

Anyways, I mention my kind words of wisdom, and he responds by pulling a TRX rope from it’s home on the wall, tying it around the sled, and says ‘Of course I can think of new things for you to do!!  Today, you’re going to pull the sled… backwards.  And yes, I’ll be standing on it’.

I literally almost died on the spot.  I mean, part of me was like, ok, going backwards won’t be that bad.  I can do this.  My legs are strong, and I can handle pushing this man-beast while he takes a free ride across the gym.  As I reluctantly get into position to pull, my body reminds me just how weak I am at the moment.  I am so tired, and now I have to pull this meat head and a steel machine, down ‘the green’ and back again.

I start to pull on the handles at the end of the rope, and get some momentum.  By momentum, I mean, we were moving- but very, very slowly.  As I pulled backwards, my toes jammed into the front of my sneakers, my legs shook, my breath was severely shortened, and I complained- The. Whole. Time.

I got to the end of ‘the green’, and bent over, hands on knees, trying desperately to catch my breath.  For once in Franz’s life, he took my complaining seriously, and told me I didn’t have to pull the sled back, that this time, I could just push it.  Awe… so sweet. I can just push it now…’.

Again, I get myself into position, take a deep breath, give myself a pep talk, and start to push.  I’ll fast forward to when I got to the other end of the gym, and Franz hopped off of his throne atop the sled, and I collapsed to the floor.  Like usual, he allowed me to lay there for a moment, and suffer.  Then, Franz reaches his hand down towards me, and says so sweetly, ‘Would you take my hand….in training’

Then, without skipping a beat, as he lifted me from my death bed, he followed up his own proposal with, ‘I thought you’d never ask’.

I’ve never been more in… love?


Franz always wants me to pay attention to what he says, and learn, so that ‘You can do this on your own, and you don’t always need me’.  Yeah ok, Franz.  As if I’d push myself half as hard as you push me.  As if I’d finish a set with as much determination, as I do with you.  I wouldn’t.

I have, however, tried to pay more attention to the things we do, the names of the exercises, and why they are good for my body.  At least I am trying to understand what each lift of a kettlebell, squat, pull-up, or sled push is doing for me.

The other day, on Upper Body Murder Day, Franz walks over to a resistance band that is tied to a steel pole.  He says, ‘Ok, this is new.  You’re going to do rows, like you normally do, except this time, you’re doing them fast.  Speed Rows.’  He says this while demonstrating what they should look like.

‘What’s the point?  What do speed rows do for me, besides make me look stupid while doing them?’ I ask. (Yes, I had to add the last part. It IS me, we’re talking about!)

‘You’ll see when you start doing them’, he replied.  Normally he would answer my question with a well thought out, thorough response as to what this work out is doing to my body, where I should feel the strain in my muscle, and just how many parts of my body I am working, while doing it.  Not this time, though. Not when I actually asked for an explanation.

I grab ahold of the band, and step back into position. Before I pull, Franz says, ‘Don’t let the band pull you back in’.  He was probably having flashbacks of my feet flailing about while trying to do pull-ups, using the same kind of resistance band.  Anyways, I start to pull the band in row formation, rapidly back toward my body.  It was definitely harder than it looked, and I definitely felt it, in my arms.  My core was feeling it too, because I was unknowingly keeping myself super tight to ‘engage my muscles’ (as Franz would say, usually while smacking my ‘abs’ to make sure they were tight).

I ask again, ‘So what is the point of doing it really fast?’

‘Because… it’s awesome.’ Franz replied.  Oh…. ok then.

So, the next time I am looking for a new work out routine, that I most certainly won’t do by myself at the gym, I’ll just look around for anything that looks ‘awesome’ to do.  Cool.


Size Matters

Get your damn minds out of the gutter….

Some poeple can remember what they weighed, or what size clothing they wore WAY back when they were in High School, or even Middle School.  My best friend and I talk about this a lot.  She can remember what she weighed at all sorts of times in her life.  When we talk about it, it always makes me really think, because I really can’t remember things like that.  Personally, I think I blocked those numbers out of my head.

The only things I really remember are certain shopping trips to the good old Natick Mall. Headed to popular clothing stores, and hoping and praying they would have my size on the rack, so I could shop with my friends.

At one point in time, they did.  That was back when I wore a size 9.  I don’t know why, but I remember this number; Like, it’s engraved in my brain.  Size Nine.  This was back in my freshman and sophomore years of High School.  I even remember this cute little blue skirt that I had, that I was so happy to be able to wear.  It was light blue, and short, and had a cute little slit on the right thigh, and had a zipper back.  This was also the same skirt that my teacher told my parents I couldn’t wear, because it was distracting, so I would hide it in my backpack to change into, when I got to school.  NO ONE can stop a wanna be fashionista.  Not even a Spanish teacher.

Sorry, I am teetering off the mountain called ‘THE SUBJECT OF THIS BLOG’.  My apologies.  Anyways, size 9.  As health issues arose, and my body started showing it’s challenges, my size 9 became a thing of the not so distant past.  Numbers got bigger, and I didn’t remember any of the sizes of my clothing.  Like, if you asked me what size I was in senior year of High School, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.  However, I would be able to say that it SUCKED finding clothing.  Nothing fit.  Nothing cute, anyways.  Shopping trips with friends were complete inner torture.

Part of being Plus Sized means finding the right cut, and fit for clothing, and stores that sell them.  It took me most of my plus sized adult life to find Torrid.  Torrid is a store that services curvy girls sizes 10-?? (I forget).  All I know is, I spent all of my money there.  I had more clothing than I can explain.  I created a fashion style with their clothing.  In few words: I was addicted.

As I started to lose weight, I had to sell all of my clothing.  All of my pretty, well cared for, loved, beautiful, expensive clothing.  I also had to create a whole new wardrobe and learn to dress a whole new body.  Still trying.

Today, I had to go and buy nice black pants, for an event, because since I had to sell all of my clothing… I have nothing when I need it.

I’m in Express, and I try on some cute black skinny pants, and like usual, my awkward body makes clothing shopping challenging, and the fabric is swimming around my knees and ankles.  The cute little sales lad says, ‘What size are those?’

‘8’, I reply.  (STOP.  Right here… can you believe that??  I can’t)

‘Do you have some room in the waist?’ he says.

I proceed to stick my fingers into the waistband and pull the pants away from my body, just like my Nana used to do when we would do back to school shopping at Marshall’s.  Sure as shit, there’s space between me and the fabric.

‘Uhh… a little?’ I answer.

‘You should try a size 6’, he says (And I actually waited for him to snicker, but he didn’t.  He was serious.)

‘Listen…. if I am a size 6, then we are going gambling.  Cows are jumping over the moon, and pigs are actually flying…’ I reply, in true Ally style.

He looks at me like I have 10 heads, laughs a little to be polite, and walks out of the dressing room to retrieve the pants that surely won’t fit me.

When he returns, I take them into the dressing room (kind of dreading taking off my boots and jeans AGAIN), and I slide them on.  So far so good… but come on… they won’t button, will they?  Yes.  Yes they did.

Size 6.  A new number to engrave in my brain.  The shock hasn’t really worn off…. and even when I modeled them when I got home, it was a shock all over again.  Size 6.

Truly, the size doesn’t matter.  Seriously.  It’s how I feel about the clothing.  I never looked at the sizes in my plus size clothing and got sad thinking about what I wore… I was so happy in my clothes.  It’s just moments like today, when I will look back and remember how I felt.  Just like the blue size 9 skirt from freshman year, these pants will remind me of this feeling, forever.


I still think about that skirt….

Face Plant

Franz loves to laugh at me.  He loves to pretend that he’s tough, and unbreakable, but when he laughs at me, I FUCKING LOVE IT.

I have been told not to laugh.  I have been told to pay attention.  I have been told not to fool around.  Sometimes… these things just find me. Sometimes, I don’t actually mean it, but I do something that sets Franz off into laughter, which ultimately makes me laugh.  You can compare this to laughing in the middle of class, and not being able to stop because your friend laughs when you stop, and vice versa.  Teachers don’t like that; Trust me.

So here I am on upper body murder day.  In front of me, laying on the floor are two pads.  They are about 2″ thick, each, so 4″ of padding.  My hands are on either side of them, and I am being yelled at to do push ups.  I do a set of ten, touching my chest to the pad.  Slightly dying.  Another set of ten, and I am ready for this to be done.  Like usual, Franz knows when to push me to my complete end… and he removes a pad.  So, if you’re following along, I now have a pad in front of me that is about 2” from the ground.  Franz tells me to do 10 more push ups, and make sure I touch the (now lower) pad, with my chest.  I am already weak and tired, and I know this is going to be rough.  I start, and I am on number 7, which is usually my breaking point.  I try for one more, and as I go down towards the ground, I lose all strength, and my face smashes into pad.


Franz loses it.  He had been crouching in front of me, watching to make sure that my chest was hitting the pad, and that I wasn’t ‘cheating’, so when my face squished into the pad, Franz lost his balance, sat on the floor, and just laughed at me.  At first I was kind of in shock, and it took a minute for me to realize that I just did a face plant.  Then I started laughing.  The two of us, on the green, laughing like complete morons.

And of course, in true Franz style, he snapped out of it real quick, and said, ‘ok finish!!’.

And I did.

InBody Proof

Two months ago, I told you guys all about how I got to use the coolest machine ever… InBody.  InBody measures your body content, and breaks it down as far as telling you what each arm or leg weighs, and what percentage of that is fat/muscle/etc.

In my past post, I was shocked that using this program, and seeing the results, got me so excited.  Like, where did this Ally come from?  Numbers on the scale tell such a small part of the story when you’re getting healthy.  No matter what you think, the number on the scale doesn’t mean as much as you think… the following is proof.

(Please keep in mind that in this time, the scale didn’t change much.  In fact, it fluctuated up and down, between a few pounds, but I never truly lost any weight.)

InBody Results

11/2017                                                       1/2018

60 lb          skeletal muscle mass        62.2 lb

42.6 lb               body fat mass               39 lb

28.2%         percent of body fat        25.7%

So, let’s pause for a moment, and give Franz a quick shout out.  In two months, he helped me gain 2.2 lbs of muscle mass.  See?  If I had seen a gain of 2.2 lbs on the scale, I would have freaked out; but deep down, I wasn’t gaining bad weight.  I was building muscle.  That a GREAT number to see.  Ok, keep going… I lost 3.6 lbs of body fat!! WHAT?!  I guess all my struggling, and nutrition fact counting is worth it.  And, if you didn’t follow this… this all boils down to a 2.5% loss in body fat.  In. Two. Months.

Left Arm:

I gained .2 lbs, and 3.7% of lean mass (muscle)

Right Arm:

I gained .24 lbs and 4.7% of lean mass (which is amazing since this is the arm that I hurt, back in August)

Left Leg:

I gained .62 lbs and 3.9% of lean mass

Right Leg:

I gained .31 lbs and 1.8% of lean mass

One more pause.  Seriously.  I don’t know how much better to explain this to you… but numbers on the scale truly are not everything.  Obviously.  I mean, they mean something, but we all put far too much weight (pun intended) on the numbers that we see on the scale, when our bodies are SO MUCH MORE than that.

Now, let’s discuss my E.T. core.  I KNOW there is muscle underneath this hot ass mess… November:  112.8% lean mass and 48.6 lbs.         January: 114.3% lean mass and 49.3 lbs.

My new goal is to continue to rely on these InBody results to prove to myself that things really are changing, even when the scale isn’t.  Also, I will start to track my measurements.  I know that doing this will help me focus on the positive changes happening, even if they aren’t blatantly obvious to me.

In the meantime, I mentioned all of this to Franz, and he was super pumped.  He spoke so highly of himself, that I threatened him with greasing doorways so he can get his fat head through them.

“I See Land!”

I try really hard to not bring the outside emotions of my life into my sessions with Franz.  It seems like lately, the gym is my only constant place to be ME.  I focus, I smile, I have fun (go figure!).  So, when I have a lot going on in my head (which is always), I try hard to let it go, when I walk into my gym.

The other night, I couldn’t do it.  I walked in, and I. Was. Pissed.  I had had a tough day, and right before I walked into the gym, one more thing just set me off.  I was fuming.

I got onto the rower, and rowed faster than I ever had… until I couldn’t breath.  Then it was time to work out.  The whole time, Franz kept asking if I was going to make it, or if I was OK to keep going.  In between sets, I found myself slumped over and I would immediately start to think.  Tears of frustration and being overwhelmed, would well up in my eyes.  Then, Franz would say, ‘Are you ready?’, and I was back at it.

In some ways the frustration and anger and sadness made me want to push harder.  In other ways I would lose strength and confidence.  My emotions were clearly affecting me.

This was shaping up to be one of the worst sessions because I couldn’t even remember what exercise I had done; My head was OBVIOUSLY in another place.

This all changed at the very end…

Franz truly knows when I’m at my end.  When I can’t push any more.  When I’m at my weakest.  That’s usually when he makes me do the sled.

At the end of my session, Franz looks at the clock and says, ‘Good, we have two more minutes’.  He walks over to the sleds, grabs the biggest one (the same man-sled I have mentioned in the past), and drops a 45 lb weight on it.  As he turns around to get another one, I drag my ass over, hold onto the handle bar, and brace myself for the worst push of my life.  And then, in usual Franz style, he makes it worse.

He has this light bulb moment, takes the 45lb weight off of the sled, and STANDS on the front.

(This is going to be a small insight as to what Franz looks like… and what I like most about our alias ‘Franz’, is that it allows you to have your OWN idea of what he looks like… but thats ok.  This needs to happen.)

This tall, JACKED, 245 pound man, is STANDING on the front of an already VERY heavy sled.  Then he says, PUSH ME!

I am weak.  I am pushing with all of my strength.  He is yelling at me to keep going.  All I can focus on is how every single muscle in my body is being used, and I can’t do anything to relax any little bit of it.

Then he says…

‘I feel like Christopher Columbus!’

‘I see land!’

I’m. Dying. Laughing. For the first time in my entire session- hell, my entire DAY, I am smiling and laughing.  Unfortunately for me, the laughing took every bit of energy I had left, and it stopped me in my tracks.  To even get the strength to get going again, to finish pushing him down the track, and back to the beginning again, was hard enough.  Add in the fact that I had the ass of my trainer in my face, while he was just hanging on for a ride at my expense, all while trying to make me laugh; It was HARD.

We got to the end, and another person at the gym walked over and said, ‘Damn!  She’s tough!!  Go easy on her Franz!’.  Sometimes, that’s the kind of stuff you need to hear.  It’s proof that I really am working hard and doing insane things…

I may have told that kid that Franz calls me at the end of his day to come back and give him piggy back rides to his house.

Franz doesn’t think I’m funny.