Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Turning it Around

Sooo....deadlifts. I *heart* them. I'm so excited about the upcoming meet, I can't even tell you. I visualize an amazing pull over and over. I can tell you in my visualization it's not easy, it's a long fight...but I pull through it and I get that bar up and lock it out and the feeling is amazing. Over and over. I visualize it with every lift I train, during cardio, and sometimes even at random moments throughout the day. The meet is 4 weeks from Saturday - that's crazy soon!

Yesterday RC and I trained deads - back and hamstrings. I followed the plan, 5-3-1 plus heavy singles. Five at 220, three at 250, then singles at 280, 305 and 325.

280 was easy

(yeah I wore the socks!)

So was 305...

A long rest, and I was ready for 325 - a crazy gym PR and equivalent to my meet PR...a big step along the way to the big pull at the upcoming meet...I set up, I visualized it over and over. I took hold of the bar...

And I missed it. I didn't just miss it, it kinda owned me. It didn't budge. Glue. sucked. And that's a total understatement. I'm glad RC was there, because he didn't sugarcoat it...he just said, "it sucks to miss a lift, doesn't it?" Yeah it does. And that was that, and it was time to move on to the rest of the session.

Which I did, I caught my breath, I got my shit together, and I still had a good session. I was a little down, and definitely tired (missed deadlifts, particularly the kind that are glued to the floor, are kinda deceptive in that even though the weight doesn't're still exerting a max force on it!), but I just needed to move on and finish up strong.

On the (very, very short) drive back to my house, I had a moment. I had a little conversation with myself:

"I gotta rethink this, maybe I should just try to be back right where I was in January at the upcoming meet, aim to pull 325 in August and be good with that."

But...almost as soon as that thought completed, I had another that went...

"Uhh...fuck that yo! Give it a *just* happened like 10 minutes ago and you're tired and hungry and you've got a month to get your shit together. You never train the week leading up into a meet, nevermind the day before and nevermind a "warm-up" with 5 at 220 and 3 at 250. It's SUPPOSED to be fucking hard today. You're in the middle of a skirmish preparing for the big is not the time to run away."

So there it is. I turned it around, not stopping. Tired, was not (and still isn't) the time to make any decisions like that. I have a plan, I'm sticking to it!

Tomorrow: Bench!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Training Week Ends - Massive Weekly Wrap Up!

Not the best training week for me, numbers/strength wise but a HUGELY important and awesome training week for me in so many other ways.

1. Last Friday, RC and I beat the living sh*t out of our legs. I can't even begin to relay the soreness and the "overdoneness" factor. If it helps to even give you an inkling, on Sunday I took a step and my entire right hamstring seized and cramped up and refused to move for a good 5 minutes or so. It took about an hour for it to relax and unseize (it's a word now), and probably another 3 or 4 for the crampy pain to totally subside. This seriously affected my strength and performance all week (I'm sure of it, but if you need proof, check my shakey/unstable performance with Overhead Press from Monday!). What's the major lesson learned here kiddos? Note to self: don't do this in the future!

2. I had a solid deadlift day on Tuesday, but it was a step back week, and a good thing too, because I was still not fully recovered on Tuesday for Deads. I went for warm-ups, followed by 3 sets of 5 at 240, 250, and 265. RC followed suit only he stuck with the conventional stance. Had I needed to go for max reps or heavy singles, it would not have happened. Or would have further impeded my recovery from Friday for sure! RC and I discovered a slight inefficiency in his deadlift that we are going to work on correcting going forward. Video would be nice here, huh? Yeahhhh...that day I lost my camera :( I think it fell out of my bag and I didn't notice it, and of course...NO ONE turned it in*

3. Wednesday - OFF

4. Thursday we worked Chest. I benched with 5-3-1 and then did a bunch of accessory work, RC started with Flat DB Press. We used his camera on Thursday and got my last bench set and got a nice video of some of his heavy DB presses - 75 pounders for 10 reps! It was not my best chest day either, I wanted at least 9 reps at 100, I got 8, and only got the 9th with assistance:

It really was just the tiniest bit of assistance, but assistance nontheless.

5. Today - well, wow. We worked legs again. I made a very conscious effort to not beat them at all. Next week is a heavy week for deads and the heaviest week in the cycle for everything else, so the plan for today, spoken many, many times outloud, was (say it with me!) MODERATION! The plan was to do 5-3-1 sets as written, but go very light on the accessory work. I'm happy to say I stuck to the plan, however I'm not fully convinced that my legs were fully recovered even TODAY! Much better, and really close - but maybe not quite all the way there yet! Wow huh?

Anyway - we brought the camera back in the gym today...RC wanted to be sure to work on his form and his depth for squats and I'm always looking to improve on those things, so we put it to good use today. Learned something very deceiving and interesting. My squats, from the angle that I normally film from, look pretty good. They're not beautiful, they're not perfect, form gets lost as the weight gets heavier and/or I get tired during the set, but for the most part...not so bad! We got some video today that shows a VASTLY different squat! I'm like...ok so you know you watch some youtube videos of people lifting and you wince and sort of turn away, or watch out of one squinty eye, because they look like they're going to kill themselves? Holy crap that's me! Here's why it's interesting! From the side, from the view I normally get, they look great! But change that angle, a little bit behind...bad, bad news. I don't even know how that can be! But I was mortified. I never would have seen it though, without a partner filming it from a different angle. They're so bad I honestly believe it would be irresponsible for me to post them. Not to mention I'm embarrassed to, too!

6. With that understanding, I'm now on a mission. As I mentioned last week, one very big and obvious issue is my elbows. Another potential contributor (mentioned before): weak abs. I'm not sure how they're weak at this point, but it seems likely given my "symptoms." Easy enough to work on, and it certainly can't HURT, abs will get some extra attention. I WILL GET THIS, damn it ;)

7. Having a training partner freaking rocks. I've never had one before, but in just this week alone I've learned many little (& some big!) things. In the process, I'm also learning how to BE a good training partner. My spotting sucks and needs some work, but I've already seen improvement in that - it's an art. I get a different perspective from it - it helps me to see my workouts through another's eyes in a few ways - not just selection of sets and reps and exercises, but also energy levels, enthusiasm, determination, etc. It's cool to sort of combine things from different "schools," too. I'm not sure I can fully explain either one of those things, but it's been enlightening for me and for however long it lasts, I'm very happy for the experience, the camraderie, the extra push and nudge, and the friendship. Shouts to Raphael for that, it's been awesome and I look forward to more :)

8. Like my friend Ms. T, I'm learning more and more to work through fear. Tara has pushed so hard in the past, that she's having now to recover from Adrenal Fatigue. It's a long, difficult road (and one I'm so proud of her for walking, and walking tall). Although some of the circumstances are different, what she just wrote in her blog really struck a chord with me:

Pushing myself has never been the problem (in the last few years). It’s listening to my body and knowing when to slow down that I have a problem. But what I’m neglecting are the answers to these questions. Of course I’ll know when it’s too much… AFTER the fact and it may trigger a worsening of my symptoms by putting more of a strain on my adrenals and thyroid, but will it set me back months and months? Of course not… as long as I listen and act.

Listen and act. Listen, learn, act. Adapt. Guess who's not going to work to the point of total leg annihilation again? I didn't know it was too much until AFTER, until I couldn't sleep from the soreness/pain, could barely walk, and had my entire leg cramp/seize up. But I certainly learned, and now is the time to listen and act. And it DID set me back, but not months and months, so all is ok. Not a total screw up, just learning. Still :) But aren't we all? Still? :) Tara's an awesomely strong role model in this (and many other) regard! Thanks Ms. T!

I'm learning to know when to stop, yeah I have a ways to go ;) I'm also learning to trust me and my body and FOOD. I'm up to a little over 2000 calories per day, and at least one meal out each week. Seriously - me, 2000 calories a day?! I'm NEEDING it and recognizing that need, and equally important: I'm enjoying it and I'm not sweating the little things. I could probably stand to go for even a little more some days. But I'm staying away from religious tracking of cals/macros and manipulating every meal to be perfect. Part of it comes from still having the "safety net" that Tara mentions in her post, I'm getting little nudges here and there on the food front that make it just a little easier to listen to the voice that tells me I need to eat (rather than shutting her right down, as I've so often done in the past). But I too want to learn to trust my own voice that says "too much" or "not enough" or "just right." Hello Goldi-Cooth :)

All in all - it's been an amazing week. I've learned a lot, I've made a ton of progress, even if it all wasn't in my strength and in my numbers.

* Do you have any idea how much it irritates me that people can suck so bad? If it's not yours, turn it in! How many times could I have had a new phone, iPod, CAR...but these things weren't mine, so I gave them to the front desk to keep safe. It would be nice if most of the world operated that way.

So here's where I debate a second post or just keep right on going into "everything else." Well here's where you can decide to quit, or keep reading cuz I'm goin in!

Tuesday of this past week I heard back from the job I last interviewed for - no go. It was a pretty big blow, and despite what my mom says about the email, I really feel it was the dating equivalent of the "it's not you, it's me" speech. And we all know that means "it's you, and you suck." BUT - it wasn't the ideal job anyway, it was only part-time, no benies,, onward!

That was the same day I lost my camera at the gym :(

It was also the same day that my Bloom site went totally on the fritz. I ended up having to call Go Daddy because I could not log into it _at_all_. No post updates, no changes to the theme - nada. They ended up having to "roll it back" to a few weeks ago, so all of the cosmetic and other changes I'd made to the site were lost.

Tuesday was not my brightest day this week ;) But today is Friday, and it's a much, much brighter day. My new camera arrives today. I'm on the job hunt EVERY day. And in between that and training, I'm keeping much busier than expected with some small projects RC and I are collaborating on. They're coming together really nicely and there's some potential for some really great things to come from it all, I believe that! I've also successfully put Bloom back together again, and now just need to get over THERE and update. I've got several ideas, I just need to discipline myself to sit down and WRITE. Through all this, I've picked up a little web design knowledge which is kind of cool. Unemployed, but picking up a new skill here and there can't hurt!

Which leads me to another thought! I'm thinking of getting another certification. Debating going to NASM for a Corrective Exercise Specialist certification. It feels like that should open some employment doors for me, and definitely goes along the lines of picking up a new skill while I'm down! I need to make a decision...I've been sitting on this one since the beginning of July. I guess I just want to be sure that the output (cash/time/effort) is going to be worth the return. It's hard to say in this economy, and particularly since I don't know where I might end up job wise right now!

And with that, friends...I stop being a windbag and I leave you to your weekend :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Training & Meet Updates

I've printed out my entry form for the Treasure Coast Classic meet at the end of August, I'll mail it in tomorrow (deadline is 7/28). I'm getting super psyched up the closer that gets!

I also got a very exciting call last night and an email this morning from my friend Brandi - she's going to fly down here for my full power meet in November, stay the week on vacation, and then we're going to drive up to Savannah the following weekend for her Olympic Weightlifting meet. (Roadtrip + girls weekend + lifting) x 2 = Awwwwwesoooome, hahahah ;)

So on Friday I had a very special guest with me at my gym - Raphael was my training partner for the day and we did legs.

It was pretty excellent having a partner, I definitely pushed myself hard (lots to live up to, hahah ;) and got a fantastic workout - it felt GREAT, until yesterday, hahah. Yesterday the sore had probably crossed the line into "a little too much"

My working sets were 5 x 125, 5 x 135 and a last set of 5+ at 150. I got 12...
Several ugly reps in there at the end but I was super happy with this set overall. One day I'm gonna get a fully clean set, all good reps that feel smooth and right!

Squat 150 x 12

RC did some pretty awesome looking sets...I think he ended up with something insane like 210 x 12 (really it might have been 15, I can't remember - but umm..either way, insanity), 220 x 10 and 230 x 8 or 10! Ahhh one day. He has excellent form (of course), he makes it look easy! I noticed he squats with a slightly closer stance than I do, and he stays better/more upright. His elbows are also more perpendicular to the bar than mine are. We're speculating as to whether my elbows being a little more behind the bar may be causing me to pancake over a little bit. day I fully plan on owning this lift :)

Today was Press day. I fully believe that my legs held me back today, they weren't fully recovered. Not sure if you can see it in the video (ahh, yup - you can) my legs were shaking like crazy during my last set. Overall I had a really great workout, but this set of presses could be a lot better. My first two sets were for 3 at 64 and 68 pounds. I tried a slightly wider grip on those, and found it really awkward. I brought it in a little for the last set (probably too narrow), 3+ at 72. I wanted 8 or 9, I ended up with 7 but there was nothin' left in there really. I'll have more weeks. I did try to take Myles' advice on the breathing and leaning back on the bar descent...still, a lot of room to improve on technique. I kinda felt a little all over the place with these today...don't use these as a "good" example, LOL:

BB Press 72 x 7

RC will be joining me again tomorrow for deadlift day. Tomorrow is a bit of a backoff week, not going for any max sets, which is good given last week and that my legs are STILL feelin' it from Friday. Next week I go for some singles again, so I need to save it. Should be fun :)

All in all - good stuff!

Work wise...still no word on anything. I feel good though, something is coming my way :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A title might be nice...

I had a GREAT bench workout today - bench went well and so did all of the accessory work I did. I felt strong...I added one chin-up to almost all my sets (supersetting chins with bench) and was still strong for DB Incline Press after that.

Still ramping up slowly with bench, but the last set was 95 x 10 - all paused. Gotta watch the bum though, once or twice it might've come off the bench? I'm not sure - tough call but it needs to be clearly *on* it:

In other news - Christie was super happy with me today, really happy with the progress I've been making. Our next appt is now not for 5 weeks. Applied for health insurance, hopefully there are no surprises there! Trying to teach myself WordPress Web, yeah...That, and I'm working on figuring out my financial situation for the next 6 months or so. Productive, ish, I guess. I did have to get out earlier...went to Barnes & Noble, just couldn't be in the house anymore! I think sometime this weekend I"m going to rent the last Harry Potter movie (i saw it in the theatre, but I'd like a refresher) and then maybe sometime next week I'll go see the new one as a matinee mid-week, cuz I can ;)

Squats are up tomorrow, and Raphael will be joining me - so excited about that :) He makes squats look easy. Hopefully we'll have a video or two to share.

And that is that for this day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Whole Buncha Stuff, and Very Little (at the same time)

That's sort of how I've been feeling this week. Like I have a ton of stuff to do and to figure out and to "fix" and yet at the same time, really I have very little actually going on. It's a weird feeling, hard to explain. I feel like things are very far from a plan, and we all know how I like PLANS, don't we? Right now I'm a little bit all over the place and feel like a lot is out of control, but how else do I really expect to be right now? I mean I *just* lost the job, right? It's not like I've been at this for months. So rather than killing myself trying to control a bunch of stuff that really can't be controlled...I'm TRYING to go with the flow and just do what I can. So even though it's very little, it somehow feels like a lot of work hahah.

Friday July 8 was my last day with eDiets, it was busier than I expected and not quite as smooth as I'd hoped (a lot of last minute stuff), but it still ended the same. Friday night I took myself out to dinner to celebrate - nice big burger and fries and a margarita. Yum :) Still have a lot of mixed feelings over the whole thing. I'm trying to stop myself from trying to justify them all or from pushing them away, just trying to go with it.

Yesterday I had an interview for a great job, I'm feeling really hopeful and positive that I'll get the call for another interview. She said I could expect to hear either way by the end of the week next week. Please if you're reading this keep that in your thoughts for me, I really need for something to come through soon. It is only part time but with that and some PT I should be ok for a little while and it's really a great match for me, so...Yesterday eDiets and I also struck a deal on the one thing that was left as a bit of a loose end. We'll have to call it "mutually beneficial" and just leave it at that, though.

Today I think I found the health insurance plan I'm going to go with, it seems to provide basic (though very reasonable) coverage at a somewhat affordable rate, considering. Cobra, as always, is completely out of my reach at $400/mo!

Deads was a good day. They went about as I expected...not quite ready, hahah ;) That said, I'm also not real worried about it. It all went down like this:

5 x 135
3 x 165, 195, 215
5 x 245
1 x 295
miss x 320

This was a "3" week so for working sets it was 3 x 195 and 215, 3+ at 245
I held back on the 245 and only pulled the 5 (easily had way more in me) but I probably should have just stuck to 3 I guess, because in addition to the regular 5-3-1 program, the revised program calls for adding singles in meet prep phases. Since I've decided to go for the August DL only meet, I'm adding that in now (that's the part I'm not quite ready for). Singles this week were 85% and 92.5% of intended meet max (345). 295 went up easy and 320 didn't go up at all. Well, I did move it about an inch off the floor, but no way it was comin all the way up - not surprising, and not alarming :)

Here's the 245 (continuing with the dead stop thing):

Here's the single at 295:

In still other news (this is a long update!) ... I see Christie tomorrow. I think it's been about a month since our last session. I'm feeling really incredible good about things lately. I ate comfortably when at home with my folks last week and came back only 1lb higher than when i left. Before I left for that trip, Raphael asked me to come up with a plan that I enjoy. He said, "forget the calories, forget the macros, just come up with a plan that has foods that you think you'd enjoy and put them together into meals and then let me see it." I did this, and when I was done and looked at it - I was really happy and kind of excited about it. I spent a minute too long looking at it, and found myself wanting to tweak the macros and move things around between meals, but I walked away from it. He asked me to show it to him and he said, "I love it, go for it!"

I wasn't sure about it, I'll admit I was hesitant because I still KNEW the macros and the cals...but on Monday I went ahead and gave it a try, it just felt like the right time to do it. And then yesterday. And today. And I'm fully enjoying it. And I'm lifting strong. And I'm scale weight is still higher than I'd ideally like it, but I haven't felt that out of control feeling - I'm confident and comfortable. I'm feeling like...I can finally DO this and be ok :) And I can't wait to share this with Christie tomorrow - all the "new" foods I'm adding and swapping in and out of my daily diet. The flexibility, going out and enjoying myself once in a she said at the end of my last visit (I think), I'm getting my life so many ways :)

Bench is on deck tomorrow, and squats on Friday, with a guest appearance! Really looking forward to that :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Officially IN for August

I'm officially throwing my hat into the ring for the meet on August 27 - deadlift only! So excited about that!

Setting my sights on 345 for that 3rd pull, since I won't be doing a full meet ahead of it, and training will reflect that accordingly. Adding some singles into my training that'll be at 85, 92.5 and 95% of that. So tomorrow I'll be going for one at 320 and in about 2 weeks it'll have me going for a PR in the gym at 328, eek! Fun!

In other news, today was a pres day and I pulled out 5 x 60, 5 x 65 and 8 x 70. I know I have some work to do on my form with this move, it's my least practiced exercise...I took it out of my training some time ago. Obviously 8 was not failure, but I was right on the edge:

Tomorrow - deadlift report! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Home in VA

I came back to VA earlier in the week to visit the folks, my aunt and uncle, the ole' folks, and to celebrate (early) both the 4th and my birthday.

Travel day on the way here went super smoothly - that was a nice change! My dad picked me up as planned and we hit the Trader Joes. Really wish we had one in SoFl! The weather was gorgeous, just a bit cooler than FL and the skies were sunny and bright blue with big fluffy, cotton candy clouds. I made sure to take my shoes off and loll around in the grass (since FL has weird/hard grass) and I even laid out on the lawn for a little while - heaven! It was sooo relaxing! Despite the major relaxation though, I did manage to come down with a bit of a migraine - boo.

Thursday morning started with me at the gym - chest/shoulders and cardio on the agenda. I did it, I got through it, but I wasn't strong or focused or into it _at all_ It really was pretty awful, hahah. I think it was because I took so many drugs the night before (for my head!). After that I worked a half day like a good girl, got caught up on some emails and then helped get dinner together with mom.

Friday was leg day (skwat!) and then off for the day to visit the ole' folks with my Aunt. My legs workout went MUCH better than the day before, wow...I was like a different person!

I forgot my camera in FL, but squats went:
5 x 115
3 x 130
1+ x 150 = 10

I was definitely pleased with that performance, and they all felt good/clean, no pancake-y-ness ;)

Today I spent the day with mom after starting the morning with a (hilly! omg!) 3 mile run. We went to the Farmer's Market and the grocery store and got a shit ton of amazingly fresh and beautiful looking produce! After that we pretty much spent the day prepping stuff! Hah!

Tomorrow I'm pretty excited that Lori and Laura (plus her husband and 1yo son) will be coming up in the afternoon for 4th/birthday cookout fun :) Mom and I will spend the morning over visiting the old folks first though.

Monday it's back home for fireworks and good times.