Friday, May 31, 2013

An Annoying Day of Training

Well, as the title says, I had a rather annoying day of training yesterday. So annoying, in fact, that it took yesterday and today for me to complete. Now, this is because the YMCA has a daycare that closes at a very specific time. Not only that, you can only leave your child in the day care for 2 hours. So, I ended up meeting with some time constraints.

Now, my training normally takes about an hour and a half on average, it's rare that the time constraints are an issue. Yesterday, though, I actually ran out of time. I was only able to do two of my lifts before we had to leave. I had to go to the gym today and finish them, because it wasn't even my inability to do them that prevented me from finishing.

I described some of the changes happening with my stomach in my last blog. Well, those changes have caused my stomach to be temporarily thicker then it was. So, now my weight belt doesn't fit right. Every time I went down on my squats, the belt popped off. It was so distracting that I would hesitate for to long at the bottom, and lose my momentum, so I wouldn't be able to get back up. I drained a lot of my energy having to bail on the weights, and a lot of time. I managed to do three sets before I realized that I just didn't have time for it.

When it came time for me to do my weighted sit ups, I just didn't have time for it. So, it was a pretty frustrating day. I was angry, and annoyed, but I went back in there today and finished my sets. I just had to take one of the belts the YMCA has. Unfortunately, they only have one good belt. Hopefully I'll manage to get that belt whenever I need it for my lifts.

Now, on my squats I did manage to do two sets at 225 pounds before I had to drop the weight down to 220 pounds. Looks like both my Dead Lifts and Back Squats are down to 5 pound jumps. That's alright, though, it's still progression. So, without further ado, here are my numbers:

Squats: 220x2x8
Bench: 120x2x8
Row: 100x5x3
Weighted Sit Ups: 35x5x3

Oh, you will see that my weighted sit ups dropped to 35 pounds. Apparently the lack of proper support on my feet was not the only issue I was having. I'll get it back up there soon, though. I may have to do this amount again, though, before I increase the weight.

Also, I was able to coach a lady to do back squats, though she didn't add any weight to it. At least I managed to keep her from using the Smith Machine. When she picked the bar up with her hands she said that it was to heavy. I convinced her that it wouldn't feel as heavy when she put it across her shoulders, though, and so she tried it and did a couple of sets before she moved on to something else. She even thanked me when we left, which was nice.

Thank you again for reading!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Need for Hand Care

Hand care while doing any heavy lifting of any sort with your hands is extremely important. It's important to make sure that calluses don't grow to large, and that you keep your hands properly moisturized. These are things that I have neglected and, on two occasions now, has come back to bite me in the rear. Both of these times were during dead lifts.

Twice, now, I have torn a callus on my hand. Actually, it's been calluses in the exact same place on the same hand. Both times it's been on my second to last pull that I've done it. This time, however, I worked through the pain and pulled the last one anyway. So, I'm fairly happy with that. I mean, I wont get to stop if I'm competing. Not if I want to place, at least.

I also made a rather grave error when doing my front squats. I was looking at the numbers for my back squats and ended up warming up for more then my actual set was. I did 185 lbs twice. It did not, however, have an adverse effect on what my actual work sets were, so I'm happy about it. It also shows just how crazy strong my legs are since I could make an error like that and still do my work sets.

A gentleman also asked if I was going to shame him while I was doing my dead lifts. All I could say was that I was about to pull 260, and I'm fairly sure he said that I was shaming him. He was doing 270 or 275, I don't remember. Unfortunately, I was only able to pull the 260 twice before I had to drop down to 255.

Anyway, I've got a few videos to go along with my numbers. I've had a few people asking for it, so here you go. The videos only show one set each, and the dead lift video actually only shows one rep of the 260 lbs. Well, one and a half. I had to bail on the weights the second time I pulled because I did something wrong. The only video you wont see if of the Lat Pull Downs. Once I'm able to do pull ups I'll likely include those.

I will say that I hate how weight belts make my stomach look, but they are highly necessary. In reality, I should be using a weight belt for my dead lifts, but every time I try to it messes me up. Eventually, I wont have a choice. For now, though, I've been able to pull without them. I'll go as long as I can before I start trying to figure out how to do them with the belt.

Front Squats: 145x2x8

Overhead Press: 80x2x8

Dead Lift: 255x5x1

Lat Pull Downs: 100x5x3

I do also want to add, as a final thought, that there are more changes happening with my stomach. Some of you know of the issues I've had since my son was born. Well, the muscles are tightening and changing the shape of it. Unfortunately, it's going to cause me to look a bit heavier then general because of the subcutaneous fat that is still there. Though it's hard to see it this way, it is a good sign. With any luck I'll be able to avoid undergoing surgery to tighten the skin up.

As always, thank you all for reading. I greatly appreciate it.

P.S. I very nearly chickened out before I posted these videos.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Anybody Need Help With Their Car?!

My training today went fairly well. We did discover that the weighted sit ups were being done wrong, so I had to alter that and discover what the right weight was again. It's not far off from what I had last time, though. I'm happy about that.

The only trouble I faced was that I couldn't get anyone to hold my feet. I absolutely cannot do a sit up if someone doesn't anchor my feet down. In lieu of someone holding them, though, I will try to use furniture. I used to use an entertainment center because the opening at the bottom was just big enough for my feet. Unfortunately, there isn't really anything at the YMCA that is as stable as that.

I managed to get one person to do it for one set, but that I had three. I ended up having to us a stand alone bench and I put a weight on top of it to help keep it down. Unfortunately, the opening at the bottom was larger then what I needed, so it still wasn't really stable. I think if I had been able to get someone to hold my feet that I could have done more weight. We'll see how it goes next time.

I also tried another 10 pound jump on my rows. They were a bit rough, though, so I'll probably end up doing the weight again to be on the safe side. No need to get greedy about my numbers and injure myself for it, right? Everything else went very well though.

After I got home it was time to help my husband with his training a bit. He has started to do Strong Man training, so it's diverged from my own. We can still get into the gym together, but on Saturdays the work he does is all stuff that he can do at home. Like pushing the car, or walking with a bag full of sand. It's rather brutal. I'm very proud of him for what he's doing, though.

Now, after he pushed the car down the road I got curious and decided to see if I could do it. Being as I had already trained before that, though, I didn't get as far as he did. I managed to sprint while pushing the car with him in it for 50 meters. I'm fairly proud of myself for that.

That's really all I have to say. Here's the numbers now. I'm more proud of the bench then anything else. This is the most I've ever pushed on a bench press, and I don't think I'll be slowing down anytime soon.

Squats: 215x2x8
Bench: 115x2x8
Row: 100x5x3
Weighted Sit Ups: 40x5x3

Thank you all for reading again! I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

What Happens When You Don't Do Your Mobility Work

Right, so yesterday was a bit rough. I made most of my lifts, except for my overhead press. It wasn't because I couldn't push the weight, I did 3 sets at 80 pounds. No, it's because my arm started to hurt very badly. The good thing about that is, however, that it's not an injury. It's because I forgot to do something that is extremely important when you are lifting heavy weights; mobility work.

Mobility work is something that helps your flexibility. Some of what you do is almost like a simpler form of yoga, but other things you have to get someone else to do for you, or to help you with. There are mobility work outs that help you open up your hip, increase your shoulders range of motion, and a lot of other things. The one that we failed to do that was detrimental to being able to do the overhead press was my shoulder mobility.

We know that it was the lack of mobility work because my husband grabbed a mat and did it right there in the gym. This caused a bit of concern from a few people that were up there. Apparently they went so far as to ask if they needed to call for an ambulance. Obviously, that was unnecessary. The mobility work did help me push the weight, but I still ended up missing on the last rep. So my press isn't changing from what it was last time.

Really, we need to be doing the work on all our off days for a while. That will make it less detrimental if, for some reason, we do miss a day. It will also help our mobility a lot more in the long run. Some of them I don't look forward to doing regularly, but it's necessary. If I really want this, if I really want to compete, then I have to do what's necessary.

Anyway, on to the numbers now! Again, on the overhead press I missed the last rep. I also failed to state that after I did the 3 sets at 80 pounds I had to drop the weight back down to 77.5 pounds. I see no reason, however, that I should not be able to go back up next time I do these. I also think I'll need to do that lat pull downs one more time at 100 before I can make the next jump.

Front Squats: 135x2x8
Overhead Press: 77.5x2x8
Dead Lift: 240x5x1
Lat Pull Down: 100x5x3

That's about it for now. Thank you all for reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Good Days Training

Training yesterday went really well for me. I made some jumps that I wasn't really sure I would be able to make, but I'm glad that I attempted them now. The one that surprised me the most was my bench press. I went up 5 lbs from where I was last time, and with my history of struggling with them I really expected to miss. The key, apparently, is eating like it's my job. Of course, sleep is something else I need quite a bit of too.

Nothing really all that spectacular happened. I don't have any observations or realizations to really add to this post. I suppose all there really is to do now is to post my numbers. So, here goes!

Squats: 205x2x8
Bench: 110x2x8
Row: 90x5x3
Weighted Sit Up: 50x5x3

That's about it for today. Thank you all for reading, even though it was sort of a short post today. ^_^ As always, it's appreciated.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Surprising Realization

After noticing something rather surprising in the mirror the other day something really hit me. I am likely not going to loose weight but, for once, I don't think it's a bad thing. What I noticed was the hint of 4 pack abs. There are actually subtle lines showing that they will develops as I continue to train. I've also noticed just how hard my body, overall, has become. There is very little fat on my body any longer.

I am going to end up being 190 pounds with good body composition. I think that the training will lead me towards having a low body fat percentage, judging by the changes that have taken place already. All it took was seeing the definition in my stomach to accept what is obviously going to be true. In that moment I stopped aiming for a number and truly just started thinking of how my body composition is going to change over the next few months.

This is obviously what I'm suppose to be doing. My food intake, which would seem like a lot to more then a few of you, is perfect for what I'm doing and my body is responding beautifully. It's even better because I enjoy the training immensely. Can it get any better then that? I don't think so.

I've tried other programs before, but I saw very minimal change. Even then, it was only my weight and it decreased very slowly. To make it worse, I didn't enjoy it. Sure, I could trick myself into thinking that I liked it for a few weeks, but that quickly wore off. I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: You should find something that you enjoy doing for fitness or training. In the end it just depends on what your goal is.

Now, with that rambling done it's time to move on to the numbers. My lat pull downs probably aren't going to increase next time I train. It was fairly difficult moving the amount that I did, and the next jump that it has is  15 pounds more. I should be able to make that before much longer though. When I get around 130 pounds with the lat pull downs I should be able to move to doing assisted pull ups. I think that's all that I have to note about my numbers, though.

Front Squats: 125x2x8
Overhead Press: 77.5x2x8
Dead Lift: 230x5x1
Lat Pull Down: 100x5x3

Thank you again for reading. I appreciate it very much.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Good Day

Training today went very well. I was able to make good jumps on most of my lifts, and I made my bench this time so I'm happy. This training regiment is working out rather well for me, but ultimately I look forward to working under a proper coach. I cannot wait until I'm able to do Clean and Jerks and Snatches, but that's some time off. I have to increase my upper body strength a bit more before I can get to that point. It's a work in progress and I'm loving every minute of it.

I do want to say that a body builder we see in there regularly had a woman with him. She was doing pretty well, clearly a beginner but her squat form was good. He had her doing something that was like dead lifts. She was not using the Olympic bar for it, so the bar itself weighed next to nothing, and she also wasn't setting the bar back down and resetting. Here's my thing, though, she had around 50 pounds on it. Why wasn't she using the Olympic bar? She could clearly pick it up since the bar weights 45 pounds. As soon as you can move that weight you need to be using the Olympic bar. That's just my two cents though.

He also suggested using the free weight benches instead of doing a real bench press if they weren't free by the time we were ready for them. That's not the sort of training we are doing at this time, though it may become an accessory workout in time. Which I told him. He's a nice enough guy, but he's a body builder and clearly doesn't really understand what we are doing. That's okay, though, he's honestly just trying to help and I have no problem with that so long as he doesn't start talking down to me.

Anyway, on to my numbers! I'm particularly proud of my squat and weighted sit ups since they were both 10 pound jumps. The bench, again, was the same as last time because I missed by one rep. Next time I do them, though, I'll be able to go up. I may have been able to do more on the rows, but I didn't want to push it to far since I had to change my stance on them.

Back Squat: 195x2x8
Bench Press: 105x2x8
Row: 80x5x3
Weighted Sit Ups: 40x5x3

Thank you for reading again!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strength is Beauty

I have recently started visiting a website called Lift Big Eat Big and, I have to say, that they are fantastic. There are a lot of very strong men and women there. There are also a lot of good articles there. Some of those articles deal specifically with strength training for women or issues that women may have while training. The articles are written by both men and women so we actually get a woman's perspective, instead of seeing article after article written by men that just talk at women, instead of to women.

I bring this website up because it's also introduced me to a lot of very powerful looking women. Women that are likely exceptional athletes but often get horrific comments because of the muscles that they carry. To all the men who think a strong looking woman is 'manish': YOU DON'T GET TO DECIDE IF A STRONG WOMAN IS ATTRACTIVE. Yes, you have your preferences. You are free to it. You have absolutely no right, however, to bring that woman down just because you don't think she's attractive or that she should be strong.

A lot of men seem to be intimidated by strong women, though. It's always been this way so it shouldn't be much of a surprise. Facebook tends to be a cesspool of the type of men that will eagerly tear a woman down because she doesn't fit their perception of beauty. Guess what? Strength is beauty. I thank the people at LBEB for that slogan, by the way.

The image above is linked from the LBEB Facebook page. The very powerful looking woman above is Melina. Now, all I can think is that she must be one hell of an athlete and, like my husband, I wonder how much she squats. There were comments that criticized her for how well developed her muscles are, though. I will not quote them because they have since been deleted by the LBEB people. Needless to say, though, they were the same caliber of comments you find all over the internet.

One thing that really impressed me about them, though, is that they not only deleted the comments but made a post in response to people that may visit their page and summarily try to tear down athletes like the woman above. This is how we should all be. Supportive of men and women that pursue different goals in their lives. Not everyone as the same goal, not everyone wants to look like a super model. It's very important to keep that in mind. It's very important to understand that beauty comes from more then just a couple of body types. 

Anyway, I think that's about it for my rant there. Thank you for reading.

Compliments Are Nice

It's always nice when someone compliments your form, or the numbers your able to pick up. It's even nicer when someone tells you that you are a natural weight lifter. Well, at least to me it is. Which is exactly what happened when we trained yesterday.

I was doing my dead lifts and a guy I had seen up there a few times came up to give me some pointers. Well, really one pointer but still. It was something that I knew I should be doing, and that my husband had told me to do as well, but I just couldn't really get the hang of it. When you are dead lifting you should be squeezing the weight up. The issue I was having is that I didn't really know when you were suppose to thrust your hips forward and pull your shoulders back. That's exactly what this guy told me.

After he told me that I thanked him and he went back off to what he was doing. He watched me pull the weight, though, and when I had it up gave me a thumbs up and that's when he said I had good form and that I'm a natural. So, two awesome compliments in one. My husband went over to talk to him after he finished his last pull and was told the same thing. The guy complimented my squat form and all. So, that's always a good day.

Other then that I did have a good day of training. We have, however, discovered that when we did our rows we were doing the wrong version of them. We did the body builder version which has you standing with your back at a slight angle. Apparently, the version that we are suppose to be doing would have you standing with your back parallel to the floor. So, my numbers on that may change when we do them tomorrow, or maybe stay the same. We'll just have to see how it goes. Anyway, here are my numbers for what we did yesterday.

Front Squats: 115x2x8
Overhead Press: 75x2x8
Dead Lift: 220x5x1
Lat Pull Downs: 85x5x3

So, everything went up, and that's always a good day. The lat pull downs made a rather large jump because of the way the machine is set up. There was no way to make a smaller jump then that, but it was easy. I probably could have done more then 85, but it's probably best that I just stayed there. I don't know what the next jump will be, I forgot to check.

Anyway, thank you for reading again!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Change of Plan

Before you even think it: No, I'm not giving up strength training. However, after a chance meeting my husband made, and a call to an Olympic trainer here there has been a change in our training regiment. He told the trainer my numbers and how quickly I had gained them, and of course the response was that I have to lose weight. I know that. The other part of the response was that we need to get me into meets.

The Olympic lifts look amazingly fun to me, I don't really know why. So having an Olympic trainer say something like that, and by this I mean someone that teaches those lifts, has put the spark back into my training. I was getting a little down trodden about it, though I can't really explain why. I'm sure that some of you who have read my blogs, however, know.

Anyway, the training we are doing now is pure strength training. It includes front and back squats, overhead press, dead lifts, Pull ups (or lat pull downs for me until I strengthen those muscles, weighted sit ups, rows, and benches. Most of these sets are done differently then before. Instead of 3 sets of 5 reps we are doing 8 sets of 2 reps. So I'll list what all my numbers are here. Some of them will be higher then others. One of them I missed because I should of been a little lighter. My lat pull downs are the same as my previous post, but that's because I had done them just a couple of days before and we decided it was best to rest those muscles for now.

Front Squat: 105x2x8
Overhead Press: 70x2x8
Lat Pull Down: 70x5x3
Deadlift: 210x5x1
Squats: 185x2x8
Bench: 105x2x8*
Rows: 75x5x3
Weighted Sit Up: 30x5x3

*The bench press is the one I missed. I should have been a little lower then 105, but I only missed it by one rep. It was exceedingly frustrating because it was the last rep that I missed. So I'll be doing that number again and I should get it with no trouble.

Anyway, that's about it. I'm going to try to drop a little weight while I job hunt, and get my numbers back up there. When I have a job I'll be trying to get some training with that coach. So, wish me luck. Hopefully, in a relatively short amount of time, I'll be going to meets and competing.

Thank you for reading again!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Still Re-finding My Weight

As the title suggests, when I went to train on Tuesday it was another day to find my weight, though for different pulls. It went well overall. Yes, I lost on my bench and power clean, but not as badly as I had feared. Definitely not as badly as I had on the squats or dead lifts. I also added in lat pull downs, which'll help strengthen muscles used in a few of the other pulls.

Anyway, I left the squats at 185 lbs, but I think I was still high on a couple of them. I may drop back to 180 lbs to be on the safe side. We'll see. I've not fully decided on that yet. My bench was 80 lbs on five reps for three sets. My Cleans were 75 lbs on three reps for five sets. When I did my lat pull downs it was 70 lbsx5x3. So, things aren't as bad as they could be.

The good thing about this is that I really should be able to regain what I lost quickly enough, especially if I make sure that I'm getting enough of the protein I need. Lots of fish will be the key for me, I think. It's lean, delicious, has a lot of protein, and I don't ever seem to get sick of eating it. So, yeah. That'll be what my lunches are.

That's about it, though. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back in the Game

So the husband and I had a bit of an unintended break. I ended up not lifting for about 3 weeks. I had a pain in one of my legs that would have made squatting impossible, but I did not mean to be out for as long as I was. Still, I'm back in the game and going to be working on my lifts once again.

I did lose quite a bit of the weight that I would normally be pushing, but I should regain my numbers quickly. I just need to get back into the swing of things. As it stands my squats are around 185 lbs. A couple of them were high, though, so I'll have to do it again before I can move up to 190. My overhead press would actually be 60, but I got so close to making it with 65lbs that I'll just do it again and I should get it next time. And my deadlift is 200lbs. I'm not that far off, but they are much lower then I would like them to be.

I'll be finding my weight again for my bench and powercleans tomorrow. I'm sure the powercleans will be laughable...and the bench. My arms are my weakest area after all. I have to double check but I think I'll be including lat pull downs as well to help make the other lifts stronger. I'll get back to you all on that when I make the next blog post.

Thanks for reading. <3

P.S. Maybe the break will prove to be a good thing for my morale in the long run. I was getting fairly frustrated with the apparent stagnation of my lifts. This may help to pull me out of that, though. Sometimes you do have to reset the lifts, after all, to get past a bump in the road.