Iris’s journey from curls…to squats and curls

Today’s post is courtesy of long-time reader, contributor, friend, and chili-maker, Jake Brisket. You should already know who he is. Keep the submissions coming! – Brian


Well, it’s been a while since I’ve contributed anything substantial to this site. Long time readers may remember the writeup I did of my first powerlifting meet; it’s a shock to realize that was two years ago. I guess it’s time to start fixing my incredibly high ratio of lurking to contributing.

Anyway, it’s Monday again, so I thought I’d give some publicity to an up and coming female lifter who I started coaching last summer. Iris has a solid athletic background outside of the gym, and excels as a hockey defender. Since she started doing dumbbell curl and presses (AKA Arnold presses) in her basement around the age of 7, she has enough natural swollertrophy that more than one random person has told her that she would make a good powerlifter. Surprisingly, she had never actually been on a structured lifting program until last fall, when she asked me to put together something that she could follow around her practices and games; at time of writing, she just finished a third season captaining her university’s club team while also playing a few games each month for the Honey Badgers, her local men’s rec team. Now, I don’t know jack about hockey, but I can confirm that Iris plays hard for all four periods, and she brings that attitude into the gym.

I first saw Iris lift in July when her best friend brought her to Cambridge Strength and Conditioning. At the time, CSC’s upper echelon was experimenting with an advanced Russian system called “put everyone on an LP and have a Woodchuck“, so Iris just jumped in with what our other trainees were doing. First impressions were good, when she easily squatted 135x5x3, benched a couple sets in the low 100s, then deadlifted 205×5. Those are reasonable numbers for a 130lb woman, but I wasn’t really surprised until I found out that she had just returned from a semester abroad in New Zealand, and hadn’t touched a weight in over six months. Not bad imo.

Fast forward to the present: hockey season is over, so Iris has put on about 10 solid pounds and is hard at work getting ready for her first powerlifting meet, date to be fixed for this summer.

Finding a new trainee with good natural ability is always reason to celebrate, but her 70sBig attitude is the real reason I think Iris deserves to be featured here. As hard as it is for men and boys to find good training information in the ocean of broscience that is the internet and print media, it’s at least twice as hard for women, because unfortunately many women have also internalized sexist attitudes about what is “appropriate” for them. Remember being a scrawny and confused teenage boy, bouncing back and forth between TNation and, searching desperately for a clue? That’s a hard enough time, but at least your quest for swole wasn’t being hampered by friends and family pointedly wondering why a lady would want to lift weights (read: be useful), or magazines reassuring you that no really, that low-fat Yoplait is a great source of protein. Gag me with a pink dumbbell.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that Iris never internalized any of this, so her attitude is refreshing change from all the issues that cause Justin to completely lose his shit. She didn’t need to be cajoled into lifting heavy, and I think she already eats more protein than half of the guys reading this post. I’m not making that up. The first time I asked to see her food log, I looked at the summary for a single week, Monday-Friday and  the row “Protein (grams)” read: 210, 215, 204, 283, 243. Read that again. A 140lb woman ate over 200 grams of protein every day for a week, and on Thursday she cracked 2g/lb of bodyweight. If any of you guys want a safe space to discuss how this makes you feel, I would check out imo. I know that’s where I was headed after comparing my own poor eating habits.

But despite having a few good reasons to feel self-satisfied, Iris doesn’t like getting on her high horse (which is why she wanted me to introduce her) and prefers to just quietly show up and do work. As she said to me the other day after seeing one of her peers doing 3lb dumbbell front raises “there’s no attendance credit at the gym.” Make a note of it, and stay tuned for updates from Iris on her meet prep. Over and out.

 Iris is squatting 200×5 and deadlifting 210×10 these days.




30 thoughts on “Iris’s journey from curls…to squats and curls

  1. I mentioned this on the PR post Friday. My shorts continue to garner much scoffing and gagging and the occasional bro-fist.

    I don’t know how this is gonna work. It’s my first attempt at embedding video but here it is, short shorts plus 3×480.

    • As a ‘Murican, I’m pretty sure I am bound by law to make fun of Canadians that can’t recognize a joke based on the context of a sentence.
      “Now, I don’t know jack about hockey, but I can confirm that Iris plays hard for all four periods…”
      (Note: I didn’t say it was a GOOD joke…)

      • We have a semi-pro hockey team here in my southern ‘Murica town, and on the few occasions I watch the hockey, I like to stand up after the second period buzzer and yell HALFTIME !! Also, I consider everything north of Kentucky to be Canada anyway.

        Good job, Iris-bro. It’s always great to hear about ladies that haven’t been overly brainwashed. When my gf pulled 135# for a single this weekend, I popped a semi chub.

  2. I can imagine myself walking in the sunset, holding hands and smiling. Hearing the crash of the waves as a gentle breeze flows through my body and hair. Walking miles and miles, while the moon rises high into the sky. The whole world is asleep, but I am the only one living a dream. The graceful peace, settling into my heart. For once I actually feel alive. This is what it should feel like. This is how you’re supposed to live. A longing sense of comfort. And as we lay on the sand staring into the night sky, the stars become brighter and multiply. Soon enough, the dark sky is brightened by each star’s shine. We close our eyes, hand in hand and lie in a moment of silence when all we can hear in the background is the calm waves alining upon the shore and the light night breeze. We make a wish and lie together in a few more moments, appreciating each other for everything we are. We then both open our eyes to the diamond-like sky, staring for a brief moment as we then both turn to eachother, lying on our sides. I am looking into your eyes and you are looking into mine. I look at every inch of your body, then interlocking my eyes into yours once again. I inhale as you take a deep breath. I then begin to speak in a soft whisper. I tell you this is everything. You are all I’ve wanted. You were in all my dreams. You love me the way I wanted. You care for me like no one else has. I appreciate everything you’ve ever done for me, everything you’ve spent on me, everything you’ve said to me and everything you’ve felt for me. You are the only one I want. I am in love with you. Please keep me forever. Locked away in the eternity of time. You are different. You give me ideas. Thoughts, feelings, unlived visions of places I’ve never been or never knew existed, walking beside you in every one. It may be simple to state how I feel about you and say I love you a thousand times, but it is all too complex to fully give you the understanding of the meaning of the immense amount of love and appreciation I have for you. I tell you you’re the one. You’re everything anyone could ever ask for. I am thankful to have you in my life. I love you. I then pause and look into your eyes. You don’t say anything. You can see the moon reflecting onto the calm ocean. A warm chilling feeling flows throughout my body as I watch you begin to slowly close your eyes and bring your body closer to me. Your face inching towards mine. As I close my eyes, I take one deep breath, tasting the chilled ocean air. I slowly bring myself closer to you, as you put your arms around me. I can feel your body heat and your soft hands touching my body. Our lips then touch. We kiss. Passionate, gentle, everlasting. This one kiss expresses all my thoughts, feelings, emotions and every little detail of every little existing idea, dream, form of all the words and feelings that I’ve developed for you. That moment, it was all unveiled. We lied there for minutes, sharing this dream we both created together. As we slowly move our faces away, I lay my head upon your shoulder and your arms around my body. The night had never seemed so bright and beautiful up until this day. It’s like the world turned and everything completely changed. Everything was clear and I can actually breathe and feel each beat of my heart pound against my chest, as the blood slowly flows through my body. I can feel, hear, touch, taste, see, smell and understand everything, in what now feels like what is heaven. Lifelessly floating on a cloud, feeling fully alive. The feeling of being so unrealistically content and that a perfect life and person can exist is far beyond anything I could have ever perceived. You are my savior and meaning for existance. I thank you for everything you will do and being there, always. We lie, staring into the sky feeling the air get colder as the night becomes later. It doesn’t bother me though. My body is filled with a warming sense of completion. Everything I’d dreamed of having is fulfilled, finally. I close my eyes and daydream once again of having and sharing this same exact moment with you. Soon enough the stars slowly fade away as the sky becomes lighter and the light of the sun pierces through the sky, slowly rising as time repeats itself once again. But this time is new. The feeling of being reborn into a life that you feel you’ve lived every single day. It feels so right. Life is beautiful with you. I appreciate things much more thoroughly. I love you. I always will.

  3. My internet friends and I do a virtual lifting meet every 4 months or so and one of them is a member of CSC. The first time I ever participated I went up to Boston for the weekend to meet up with a bunch of those friends and CSC invited us all to participate there. That place is awesome and so were the members that were there.

    Two guys (one of them is Micah, forget the other dude’s name) were doing this double clean and jerk where they were both on the same bar cleaning together then being jerkin’ buddies together. It was awesome to watch.

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    • Hi Daryl,
      Here is a sample from my food log of what I ate yesterday:

      April 8
      Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 strawberries
      Lunch: 2 ribs, 5 eggs, 1/2 cup brussel sprouts
      Snack: 6 strawberries, 1 kiwi, iced green tea, 5 macadamia nuts
      Dinner: 1.5 cups broccoli, 1lb steak, sweet potato fries
      snack: 1 fig, 2 ribs, 1 banana, 2 tbsp almond butter

      Basically just a combo of meat/fruit/veggies/nuts on repeat, and though it didn’t show today, large amounts of coffee with coconut oil in it.


  5. Hey Iris if you are still playing hockey try throwing some hill sprints in maybe twice a week. I added them in maybe a month ago and they seem to be doing wonders for my on ice speed and my recovery between shifts. Feels like I have an extra gear.

    • Thanks, that is a good idea, I definitely find that adding some intense sprinting or circuit training to my routine helps with my endurance on the ice too.

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