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….

The Ten Worst Words I Could Hear

‘You have the rest of your life to work out’.

That’s what my boss said when we were talking about how much I hate Lower Body Murder Day and that I think I may have a hernia (more details on that later, when I have confirmation).

To elaborate, I had these bumps checked out by my doctor, but we aren’t sure if they are in fact hernias, and I am scheduled to see a surgeon.  I was talking to my boss, who is fit, athletic, and nutritionally smart.  He is my go to when I have dumb questions.  Anyways, we were chatting about these potential hernias (Yes, I know…HerniaSSSS. Two.) and he told me to take it easy at the gym.  Listen to my body.  Don’t let Franz push me to a point of no return because I don’t want to hurt myself.

Then he said it.

“You have the rest of your life to work out”.  Inside I thought, ‘OUCH.  You mean, my one work out tonight doesn’t count for forever?  You mean that I will still be doing this shit when I’m 90??’

I’m no dummy.  I know that tonights work out doesn’t count for forever.  I know that years from now, I’ll still struggle to complete some work outs and that I will push myself to new limits and new goals.  I know this… but I don’t like thinking about it.  I mean… compare it to hearing ‘You will be working for the rest of your life’.  Painful to hear, right?  That’s not exactly what he meant though, but it’s how I heard it.  What he meant was, I don’t need to feel like I HAVE to push myself to my limits RIGHT NOW, because if I get hurt, or hurt myself farther then I already have, then I won’t be able to do it long term.  Makes sense.

I proceeded to go to training, and Franz encouraged me and pushed me on a lower body work out that was concentrating on my midsection.  My abs (remember those 12 pack abs under my E.T. exterior??) were throbbing before I even left the gym.  I managed to complete 30 side planks on each side, 30 J-Curls, 60 lunges, and 54 squats among other things.  I didn’t cry, I almost barely complained, and I only talked about someday being in a full-body cast, once.


Proof Is In The Numbers

I’m at the gym on training day.  I’m doing my first exercise of the night- throwing a medicine ball down as hard as I can, then picking it up, throwing it forward, walking to it, and doing it all over again.  I hate this work out.  HATE THIS WORK OUT… but something changed on my last throw.  A woman working out nearby saw the medicine ball and said, ‘WOW!  Twenty pounds?!’.  Franz said, ‘YEP!’.  I sat, confused.  This isn’t normal?  Is that a lot of weight?  Apparently it is…

That’s what’s so funny about working out with Franz.  I am pushed to do things I wouldn’t do on my own, and sometimes, I don’t even realize how physically strong I am.

So, let’s go over a couple of the numbers from this particular work out day.  After my twenty pound medicine ball throwing, I did 10 reps-4 times, of pulling 135 pounds back in what I call the ‘Pull Back’.  Good enough name, right?  Wouldn’t it be lovely if I knew (or listened) to the real names??  In between reps, I did 10 push ups.  Kill me.  Next up, was planking, but I had to plank on one arm, while moving weights from one side of my body to the other, and then switch to the other arm.  In between reps, I pushed a 25 lb weight over my head, one arm at a time.  Fast forward a few more fancy moves, and my very last ‘challenge’ was holding 40 lb kettle bells in each hand (90 lbs!!  (Almost) Exactly what I’ve lost!) , and walking back and forth down the track, for 2 minutes.  Sounds like it might be easy… it’s not.

Numbers don’t lie.  I don’t know where I started… but holy crap I can do a lot more than I thought I could, now.

P.S.- I am writing this and my arms are shaking.  The next two days are gonna be rough.

P.P.S- Today I taught the little boy I nanny how to show his muscles (and grunt while doing it).  Clearly an important skill.


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I’m sensitive.  Underneath the funny, sarcastic, fowl mouthed exterior, I am sensitive.  Sometimes I find these more serious Memes and my sensitive, sentimental side comes out. I think about where I have come from.  Ninety pounds ago, I thought I … Continue reading

Safe Word

So in my last entry, I wrote about how all I do is complain to Franz, and when it really hurts, he doesn’t believe me.  Well, after that blog came out, a loyal reader (Hey, Katie!) suggested that we come up with a safe word to use.  You know, the one word that I’m allowed to use to tell him that NO I’M DEAD SERIOUS, I’M DYING.

When I walked into training on that Wednesday, I proposed this idea to him, and he laughed.  Then we both threw out words to use… at the same time.  His was ‘Nutella’.  Mine was ‘Marshmallow’.  The first thing I thought was, I need a s’more.

After this, he proceeded to kick my ass, and I couldn’t use my legs for two days, and I never did get my s’more.

By the way, when Katie suggested I use a safe word, she also told me I couldn’t abuse it.  I kept that in mind, until the end of my session.  I was tired.  I had been working so hard the whole time.  Pushing myself to my limits.  Feeling weak, but knowing I was strong.  The very last set of exercises he put me through was pushing the Man Sled down the ‘green’, and back.  He loaded it with 90 pounds, on top of it’s own heavy steel weight.  When I got back to the start, I immediately had to go into a plank for 45 seconds, and then do it all over again.  By the third set, I finally succumbed to my own pain and suffering, and yelled, “Nutella!  Marshmallow!!  NUTELLA AND MARSHMALLOW!!”.  And if you were wondering, he didn’t care.  I had to finish my last set.