A guide to freely interpreting "PRs": Announcing PLATESLAM 2023

Our national lifting holiday approaches. Plus: our last remaining mentally hinged member of society; becoming an outdoorswoman; meditation startups. This is Link Letter 109!

A guide to freely interpreting "PRs": Announcing PLATESLAM 2023
The people spoke, and "lasers" are the official theme of this year's PLATESLAM 2023 flyer.

PLATESLAM began as a humble online event in 2021. We did it again in 2022. And now, we’re doing it again in 2023. It’s still a humble online event, though I like to think it’s grown in reach, influence, gravitas, and most importantly, history.

Here are two recaps from the two previous PLATESLAMS:

PLATESLAM 2022 recap
PLATESLAM 2021 recap

But first you are probably asking, what is PLATESLAM? Let me tell you about PLATESLAM. PLATESLAM is

  • a virtual two-day event taking place December 16 and 17, 2022, when the greater She's A Beast community will attempt a PR of their individual choice and post it.
  • a holiday for celebrating gains.

What is a PR?

A PR is a "personal record," sometimes also known as a "personal best." You want larger words? OK: A PR is a notable feat of strength, wherewithal, integrity, or character, relative to you.

Can you be ANY more specific?

The most traditional heavy-lifting PR is a "one-rep max."

How do I PLATESLAM? Do I have to "one rep max" for this?

No! Not everyone’s program accommodates maxing at the same time. Thus, PLATESLAM achievements are open ended; if you consider it a PR, I probably do too. One rep maxes, rep PRs, form PRs, AMRAPs, circumstantial PRs (e.g. you haven’t lifted in two years, but are lifting today), doing some lift for the first time ever… as long as you care to make the list, I will nod sagely in approval.

Here’s what you do:

  • Do your PR.
  • Film it.
  • Post it using the hashtag #plateslam2023 (or if you’re in the Discord, feel free to post in the #plateslam2023 channel).

That’s it!

Why should I PLATESLAM?

Challenging yourself is important in lifting. However, most official opportunities to challenge yourself with strength training are "meets" of various kinds, which have a lot of rules and can be expensive.

I don't want to do a whole meet or restrict us to the narrow concept of "one-rep max as the only PR type worthy of focus and celebration." But I DO want to share, as well as absorb, some good "achievement" energy.

So we are just doing gym PRs, but like, when gym bros gather around one guy benching and they all yell together?

Yes, yes we are.

Is PLATESLAM right for me?

Anyone can participate! Hashtags (such as #plateslam2023) are the people’s commons. This is supposed to be fun. Have you ever wished there were a way to find people who post about lifting, who are not the influencers that Instagram is shoving down your throat? PLATESLAM is the perfect way to see and be seen and make friends.

Tell your friends!

Why is it three days long?

Some people might not be programmed to work out on any given single day, but two days should cover most of us.

This is somewhat compelling, but really what’s in it for me?

Funny you ask; I am pleased to introduce…

The Third Annual PLATESLAM Awards.

Winners of the awards, to be judged by me, will receive one year’s paid subscription to She’s A Beast ($100 value), one free copy of LIFTOFF: Couch to Barbell ($20 value), and a free PLATESLAM 2023 t-shirt (forthcoming, value TBD).[^1] The events in which participants may compete for awards are:

Bravest “PR.” What I don’t see enough of is people doing silly or even obnoxious things in pursuit of a PR. Maybe your PR is “only workout for the first time in a month.” Maybe it’s “you touched barbell for the first time.”

Most Ambitious PR. To win this award, you may have to do some additional explaining of why this is ambitious, for you. Maybe you haven’t tried to PR your squat in three years, or have never PR’d your pull-ups.

Most Creative PR. A real highlight of last year’s PLATESLAM was one Discord member’s “pistol Zercher squats.” Now that’s the free interpretation of PR to which we should all aspire. As in all things, do not hurt yourself.

You may be saying to yourself, hmm, all of those events sound mighty similar. And if this weren’t a unilateral dictatorship where all that matters is that I’ll know it when I see it, I might hear you out further. But until such a time as when this civilization evolves into a democratic panel of judges, I consider this matter closed. However, I will note that participation does not require interest in or competition for these awards; it is still acceptable to PLATESLAM out of boredom, insanity, a predisposition toward shenanigans, or any combination thereof.

PLEASE NOTE: The easiest way for me (and all your soon-to-be lifting friends!) to see your posts to to put it in the feed and hashtag it. I can’t guarantee I’ll see your stories, or whatever, before they disappear. You’ve been warned!

Last year, a few gyms even held IRL PLATESLAM events with their members. We welcome and encourage this! Please find below a black-and-white flyer image for your use:

All proceeds from PLATESLAM t-shirt sales will be going to ANERA.

Watch those recaps for inspiration/motivation, and share with me/us your PR ideas in the comments! Inspire and be inspired.

Everything I bought for my home gym (both times)
How I arrived at a good set of home gym stuff that even lives outdoors.

Last week's Link Letter:

The math of meat
A guide to measuring protein, plus: rebranding “off season” for runners, gyms banning filming, the best breakfast cereals. This is Link Letter 108!



~Liftcord Pick of the Week: This is poetry?:


“My mind was poisoned by diet culture. Then I tried weightlifting.” One of us! One of us!

Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop: Uhhh, sign me the hell up??? (This is not really related, but I’m taking a woodworking class this weekend and I’m freaking stoked.)

To my surprise, I found solace. I am now more amazed by life than ever.” A biology writer reflects on getting prostate cancer.



U.S. men are dying nearly six years before women. COVID is playing a lot of havoc with these numbers, but men aren’t okay. No, nootropics aren’t going to fix it.

Instagram wellness influencers are spreading climate misinformation. I’m not sure what leads wellness influencers to believe they are equipped to speak on the vast range of things they do: hormones (no), business strategy, and now climate management. Here is a great interview with Naomi Klein on how wellness influencing flows into hyper-individualism, which of course flows into reactionary far-right politics.

Meditation is big business, but the science isn’t so clear. I skew meditation-negative, but it does seem worth an askance look at the sheer number of startups that are about meditation in some way.

A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture your front door. Did you lock it when you left?

It’s time to break up with fast fashion. Look: I love a cheap thing as much as the next guy. But I have to look with clear eyes at the ways I only ever get got by really cheap clothes, especially ones made of synthetic fibers: they shrink, they pill, the stitching scrunches up and it never lies flat again. And that’s assuming the cut wasn’t incredibly weird in the first place.

Getting an itemized hospital bill is basically impossible. Remember when someone posted on social media a couple years ago about the hack of asking doctors for an itemized bill when the charges seemed very, very high (i.e. always)? Now hospitals have figured out how to place those bills behind several complicated and confusing gates of bureaucracy. Love our system!!



If you followed the the Wile E. Coyote v. Acme movie drama this week, you owe it to yourself to go back and read the classic New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs on which it’s based, “Coyote v. Acme.” It goes incredibly hard.

Mid season NFL grades by Al Pacino.

The last lighthouse keeper in America. Probably our last remaining mentally well member of society.

Man, this poor pilot who took shrooms one time. Also, it seems like it should be a problem how strenuously pilots are discouraged from surfacing any mental illness, lest they lose their entire careers in pursuit of one crumb of Zoloft.

How stories help us make sense of the world.

Programming notes: Since the next two letters fall on the holiday weekend, I’ll be digging up and rerunning some classic Swole Woman columns. (If you have a topic request, reply here and tell me; there’s a pretty big catalog to draw from!)

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—

[F1] In the event the winner is an existing subscriber, time will be added on to their account.