Mega bench

Video

Left my phone in the back of my coach’s car last night so had no way of setting an alarm this morning. Got 11 hours sleep, probably more than I needed but I doubt it’s done me any harm.
Training tonight worked me hard. Started with a little weight lifting, some cleans, front squats, back squats, presses and jerks to get me sweating and loosened up after last night’s deadlifts. Definitely got me nice and hot!
Next warmed up on the bench, and started with my 6 sets of 4 reps. Went 45, 47.5, 45, 47.5. First 47.5 was a mission, but was given the tip to keep my breath in until the bar is half way up, and the second 47.5 set went up a lot easier. Next set was 50 x1 quickly followed by 45 x 3, then 52.5 for one, followed by 47.5 for one, 45 for one then 40 to failure. Tough!
Finished the session with some work in a bench shirt, a lot looser than other shirts I’ve tried but seems to fit me a lot better. Got 50kg down onto my chest on first try, shirt working better for me already at this stage. Went 60, 65 then a PB paused 70kg as seen in the video above. Couldn’t be happier, considering how easy it was, how new I am to the bench shirt, and how hard I’d already worked.

Feeling a bit podgy at the moment, we shall see what the scale says tomorrow though! May have taken my increased carb diet a little overboard, but at least my training hasn’t suffered. Going to southampton for pancake day on tuesday, then after that I’m going to nip my carbs in a little bit and really make an effort to do my fasted walking in the morning. Then 2-3 weeks before comp switch back to the high-fat and hopefully drop back into my weight class!
Feeling frustrated that in November my end of day weight was 53kg with a similar diet and exercise routine to now. Obviously I have a lot more muscle now but I wonder what I was doing differently then because I really can’t pinpoint it!

Bikram

First session of Bikram yoga yesterday was a new and exciting experience. I knew I was going to sweat and I prepared myself both mentally and physically, but I had no idea what it would actually feel like to drip sweat from every inch of my body for 90 minutes. Right from the start I didn’t even bother wiping the sweat as I knew it would just keep on coming. The session itself was more fast-paced than I was expecting and more focused on stretching further into the poses than relaxing into them, which was unexpected but a nice change from other yoga classes I’ve been to.
The feeling in my body throughout is only comparable to having a too-hot bath, in that I felt a little dizzy at times (less than expected though), I was hot and flustered and I could feel my heartbeat quite prominently throughout. There was only one point that I felt like I wanted to leave and that was in a moment of rest between poses. When I was concentrating on the poses it was easy to almost forget the raging heat.

I drank about a litre of water throughout and this was just enough, think I will be taking more next time. At times I felt a little hungry but I think this might have been dehydration as after I’d rehydrated post-session I felt a lot less hungry. Cycling home was a mission, I wasn’t muscularly tired, but just generally fatigued. After lunch and a short chill on the sofa I had a little nap, which only helped a little to relieve my feeling of fatigue.

Went to training which I maybe shouldn’t have done after my first session, but I want to get my body used to this added stressor. Coach had me deadlifting which was tough on my tired body. Though as he pointed out, sometimes sessions where you’re not fresh and have to work really hard are often more important than those where you feel great and get the work done easy. Deadlifting in my suit, warmed up to 90kg then did several sets of 3 reps between 90kg and 105kg. Very tough and made me very weary. I even failed a few of the lifts and had to drop the weight down for the next rep.

Finished up the session with a go in a bench shirt donated to the club by a previous member. Possibly the same shirt as the one I’d tried previously, but being used it was a little looser. It seemed to suit me better as I was able to get correct positioning better, and managed to get 65kg down onto my chest with a little more ease than the other shirt. Trying a slightly looser shirt today, but I think the one I tried yesterday may be the one I compete in.

Sunny

wpid-IMAG0798.jpg

Enjoyed a lovely hour-long stroll along the beach today after my lecture, the first time I’ve ever actually been down to the beach by myself. Definitely going to make it a regular occurrence, it was so nice just to enjoy the sunshine and have some time to myself in the great outdoors. I miss living in the countryside, sometimes just being alone in the wild is enough to simplify your problems and really keep you grounded.

MMA training tonight was sweaty but good fun; working on take down reversals, guard-passing, take downs from a guard-pass attempt and finishing off with some striking; 1-2s and knees, with some hooks and spins thrown in there too. Some new stuff and some stuff I already knew, so overall a good session.

On the chiropractor’s suggestion I am going to start doing Bikram yoga tomorrow, I’ve found an introductory offer that gives you 10 sessions over 6 weeks for only £30. This takes me up to my first and second competitions of april so should be useful to keep me in check until then. I’m very much looking forward to it, it’s something I’ve always been interested to try. I will post my experience tomorrow!
I’m hoping it will help to give me some release from my upper back stiffness which has been driving me crazy today! No amount of foam rolling and clicking is seeming to help, so I’ve booked a chiropractor appointment for next friday to get it all sorted.

Progress

Training in the dungeon again today, unfortunately the bench shirt wasn’t given to my coach last night so I didn’t get to try it, but got a successful bench session in nonetheless. Warmed up to 40kg then started the 6 working sets of 4 reps. Went 40, 42.5, 45, 47.5 then a huge PB of 50 for two, rack, then another. Then back down to 45 for another two sets.

Amidst these sets the chiropractor came a-visiting so I had a little session with him about some stiffness I’ve been having in my upper back. Sometimes when I go for a walk in the morning I’m able to make my back click just by breathing deeply and this has been happening for over a month now. Foam rolling offers some relief but not the extent needed. He lay me down, pressed on me and I clicked in multiple places. It was glorious. This has helped a little, but after some discussion with him about various other tight areas I think I might need to start seeing him for more regular and structured sessions. If only the student bank balance would comply!

Ended the session with a coach’s special; a 47.5kg long-paused bench (this is comp PB, and was meant to be 3 second pause but he was distracted!) followed by an actual 3second pause 47.5kg. Both were tough, but after the amount of work I’d done I’m pleased.

Grazing

Image

Grazing

Had the same issue today that I had last week after heavy squats: inability to stay vertical and intense desire to eat all the food. So, today I have listened to my body, spent the majority of my day in bed, and eaten whenever I felt I needed to. No junk though! Filled up on porridge, oatcakes, sweet potato and roast veg, plenty of lean protein and some delicious BBQ corn and cashew snacks that arrived in the post from the lovely people over at Graze. I’ve started getting their packages once a month, I always forget they’re coming and am always pleasantly surprised when they do! The snacks aren’t necessarily as clean as the rest of my diet is normally, but they’re a far sight better for me and tastier than anything I’d get from a local supermarket. Yum!
So after my immensely lazy day I managed to drag myself over to Bulldog for MMA grappling, the warm-up was not a pleasant ordeal on these squat-tired legs, gentle jogging was a mission, but bodyweight squats were killer!
A fun and varied session, working on various take-downs from standing. I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to lift the guys fairly easily, guess my powerlifting pays off in other areas too! Finished the session working on the guillotine; still trying to convince the guys they don’t need to be gentle with me… I might need to be a bit more gentle on myself though! In the end-of-session rolling time, I tried to escape an arm bar but ended up head butting the floor full throttle, whoops! Lost my ability to think and speak for a few moments but recovered quite quickly and got stuck in once more. A really enjoyable session!
Back to powerlifting tomorrow, hoping to try out a slightly looser bench shirt and looking forward to it.

Sunday in the dungeon

Video

No training yesterday as I was at work, and unfortunately my gym doesn’t open early enough for me to get a session in beforehand. I guess it is positive that it does force me to have a rest day, as I have been known to go 10 days in a row without pause!
Kept my calories quite low to accommodate the lower activity level, but did treat myself to a little tub of wheyhey ice cream, high in protein with no sucrose. With 22g of protein per tub and sweetened with xylitol, it’s the perfect treat for weight-conscious ice-cream lovers like myself. Considering how clean it is compared with standard ice-cream, the consistency was pretty spot-on and the vanilla flavour was delicious. A little on the expensive side, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a guilt-free treat.
Training today was squats at one of our training facilities we call the ‘dungeon’. It’s small but functional. Warmed up to a single at 70kg raw, then into the squat suit. Worked with sets of 3, started at 80kg with no straps and no wraps, moving up to 105kg in 5kg increments, gradually adding and tightening wraps then adding straps and belt. Finished up the session with a PB squat of 112.5kg (see video above). Didn’t feel nice, rounded my back a little on the way up, but at the end of the day I got it up and that’s the aim of the game!
Missing my brother at the moment, he who introduced me to the ways of the iron. We talk online everyday and discuss training, nutrition and achievements but it would be nice to train with him again soon!

Pressure

Video

Woke up with a burst blood vessel in my eye from the pressure of the bench shirt last night, along with bruising that looks like freckles on my shoulders, and various unsightly pressure marks on my chest and arms. Almost feeling lucky to be single, don’t know any men that would be attracted to such a mess on my skin haha. Have to say I’m quite proud of the burst blood vessel in my eye, shows I’m trying! Though I have had to ask on my mum’s behalf whether my eyeballs risk explosion, but my coach assures me they don’t, but we do need to be careful.
Hard deadlift session tonight, warmed up to 70kg raw then put the wide-stance squat suit on for 80kg+. 10 singles at 85kg with 20 seconds maximum rest between lifts, followed by 8 at 90kg and 7 at 95kg with the same protocol.
All throughout I worked with my coach and another experienced lifter on rotating my scapula back during my setup, to minimise the amount I need to do so at the top of the lift (ideally none). Managed to substantially improve on this throughout the session, still not perfect yet though. Next on the improvement list is potentially setting my hips a little higher before the lift, but that’s work for another day.
Finished up the session with singles; 100kg, 105kg, 110kg and finally a PB deadlift of 115kg. Can’t beat a 5kg PB. See video above. Definitely got more in me, seeing as this was at the end of a tough session. Looking forward to seeing what I can achieve next.
Throughout the session I’ve developed some sort of tender bruised lump inside my right knee, which I think may be another pressure injury and I’ve got some more attractive bruising on my thighs where the leg of the suit was. Less bruising in my hip crease than normal, so maybe the suit is getting too loose!

Coach has started talking more and more about getting me onto an international platform, and in particular going to the Worlds in Hungary in the autumn. Doing my first equipped competition mid-april at the GBPF south-west divisional, where we’re hoping that I’ll be seen and selected. The pressure is mounting, but I’m prepared!