GBPF Welsh Championships

The run up to the Welsh champs was a lot more positive than previous competitions this month; more certainty of making weight, more kit-lifting preparation and more people coming to the competition for support.
Spent the Saturday morning and early afternoon packing and preparing food, in particular a rather delightful lemon and raspberry cheesecake ready for consumption right after my last deadlift. It was quite tough preparing and baking the whole thing without tasting any of it; weighing in at 51.7kg that morning I wasn’t taking any chances.

Left Bournemouth around 4pm, arriving in Wales about 3 hours later to an amazing choice of food laid out by our teammate’s mother who we were staying with. I weighed myself to ascertain whether or not I could eat, at 52.1kg I figured I could indulge just a little. She’s well versed with the powerlifting world, so we were spoiled with a choice of roast chickens, tikka chicken breast, an amazing green salad, fennel cauliflower, sweet potatoes and roast mixed vegetables. To play it safe I had some salad, cauliflower and chicken, but as there was so much left over we all packed ourselves a little something extra for competition day. Such a delightful dinner!

Didn’t sleep as well as I normally do, but that’s to be expected before a competition. I got about 7 hours on and off, which I’ve found to be just the right amount. Enough to function properly, but with a little lack of sleep stress to fuel the day of lifting. Weighed myself at 51.4kg but again I wasn’t taking any chances so only had a few sips of water and a couple of nuts to tide me over until weigh-in.
Weighed in at 9am on the dot, desperate for some food. Didn’t even need to strip down, I was 51.8kg with my shorts and t-shirt on, so I was right into my class. Rehydrated with a carton of coconut water and some water, and ate a banana pancake slowly so as not to shock my body. Then for a nice sit down for a while until warm up for squats.

It was nice to have my coach, a few other Bournemouth Barbell lifters and a non-competitor in the warm up room with me for support and help. Warmed up to 70kg as per usual, then put my suit on. With my weight loss it was a lot looser than it had been earlier in the week, but knew my wraps would help me out. Warmed up to 110kg just slightly above depth, but felt good about my opener of 112.5kg, which I got with ease. For my second lift of 117.5kg we wrapped a little too soon, and then there was some confusion as to whether  I would need 117.5 or 118 to set a British standard so I was left standing around for longer than is comfortable in tight wraps, but then completed my lift and got it with ease though I rounded my back a little on the way up. Went to 122.5 kg for my third lift but unfortunately missed it narrowly on depth. I didn’t mind too much as I had got my record, so definitely a minimum target for my next competition.

Bench warm up was a little disheartening, with different equipment from what we were used to it was difficult to feel comfortable, especially with the added stress of a bench shirt, but we managed. I had planned to open at 62.5kg, but it felt a bit like a bad shirt day so went down to 60kg as it wasn’t going to influence my second lift and thought it best to make it a sure lift. So I got my opener of 60kg with ease, then 65kg for a British record. At first the spotters unloaded it a little high and pulled my out of shape slightly. I swore, which I will not be doing again as it could get me a failed lift, and got them to rerack so I could shape up again. Managed the lift with ease, so went to 70kg but unfortunately failed it as it descended ever so slightly on the way up. I got it up though so again another minimum aim for next competition.

Warm up for deadlift was a little tough as well, slightly fatter bars and a slightly slippy floor made things difficult, but again we managed. Warmed up to 100kg then tried my opener of 105kg, as I was considering moving it up to 107.5kg. It felt a little tough so stuck with 105kg, which I got with ease on the platform. Next lift was 110kg which was tough but not too difficult. Decided with my coach to attempt 117.5kg for my third lift, to aim for a 300kg total. There was nothing to lose as I was nowhere near a deadlift or total record, so I tried it and got it off the floor easily but had a little trouble locking out so unfortunately missed it.

I will post a video of my failed lifts at a later date, as they were all near misses I still feel like I have achieved them. While the referee’s decision is what counts in the end, with near misses it’s encouraging to know I could probably get them in future competitions.

It was a truly exhausting day, with all flights competing successively there was at least an hour between each lift. I even had to have a coffee before my deadlifts! It was great to have fellow Bournemouth Barbell lifters there to support and encourage each other, though it did mean I didn’t really speak to many of the other lifters. I especially extend my thanks to my coach as it was great to have his wisdom and support throughout the day. Finished up with a 292.5kg total, just a little way off my target of 300kg. Came first in my weight class, so my competitions this month have gone 3,2,1!

Pretty soon after finishing I tucked into my cheesecake, and shared it around. It was honestly one of the nicest things I’ve ever eaten, and I was so proud that I made it. It was nice to indulge as I am back to maintaining weight today for another competition in a few weeks.

Overall it was a great day, well organised with lots of impressive lifters, fantastic spotters, loaders and referees and a supportive crowd. It went a lot better for me than the South West competition, as I managed more of my squats, stayed relatively calm and I’m absolutely delighted that I managed to set some British records. I’m definitely hoping to break my own records at another competition sometime this year. Woke up with a fresh sense of motivation and determination this morning, but unfortunately no energy to go with it. We got back about midnight last night, and I’ve spent much of today horizontal as a consequence.  With a little more experience in kit lifting, I feel I can only go up from here, and I’m very much looking forward to the next few months of lifting and competition.

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Tough

Although training this week has just been competition prep, which is normally not too taxing, it has been really tough for a number of reasons.

Monday’s bench session was frustrating as while I’d had a really good bench session on Friday and even hit some PB’s, it just wasn’t working for me. I was struggling with weights around 60kg which I’m looking to open with. Apparently when lifting off my chest I was pushing slightly away from me, making the lift harder. Frustratingly I couldn’t feel what I was doing wrong, so didn’t know what to do to rectify it. The session left me feeling frustrated and under-prepared but I was happy with the knowledge that I still had Wednesday’s session to sort things.

Tuesday’s session was final squat preparation. The fact that I’d recently washed my suit in a lot of sugar made it a lot harder to get down to depth than it had ever been before. I struggled with having the straps down, due to the tightness of the suit, so I had to put straps up before I normally would. I was seeing stars at mid-depth, and it felt like I was right down deep. Finally managed to get to depth with 115kg, it felt like I was literally folding myself in half to get down, but I got there. Coach was being very tough on me and not taking any excuses I had as to why I wasn’t getting to depth. It was a difficult session but I know it was for my own good. Worked up to 125kg and decided on 112.5kg as my opener, just to make sure I can hit depth. Got some pretty hefty bruises from the session, the picture below just doesn’t do them justice. Ended up with some speckled bruising up my face from the pressure too, which was new!

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With my squat suit being that tight, and having just washed it again, I’m slightly concerned how it will work for deadlift on the weekend, but we shall have to see.

Yesterday’s bench session went a lot better, managing to get up to 67.5kg with ease and deciding on my opener of 62.5kg. Attempted 72.5kg again, didn’t quite get it but it’s definitely an option for competition. Though I need to hit 65kg for a British standard first! It was a bit strange just doing 4 lifts or so and heading home, but I was happy to as I’d been at work all day and just wanted a cup of tea and the sofa! Actually savoured a day off today rather than itching to get out and do something, Kit lifting can be brutal…

Bodyweight is fluctuating around 52.6kg at the moment, hoping I’ll be able to drop in during the next few days. Testing my true morning weight again tomorrow morning, so no food or drink for me at the moment. Not too bothered though as I’ll be going to bed pretty soon, getting up early for a work training day tomorrow. I’m hoping to have time to post another recipe tomorrow, watch this space!

Easter Sunday: the bar has risen!

With the competition one week away today, training was working on competition lift rehearsals and routine practice for squats; rolling, wrapping, squatting and unwrapping. Currently suffering from squat death right now for the first time in ages, so I apologise for any upcoming errors or nonsense.

Warmed up to 70kg raw which felt a little tough, my thighs are still a little sore from the week’s work. Then put my newly crispy squat suit on, but with my weight on its way down it still felt a little too loose. Did 80kg and 90kg with suit bottom and no wraps and then 100kg with suit and loose wraps. With the suit still feeling a little loose, decided to turn it around which is how I’ve been tightening it for deadlifts. This seemed to work a treat as I did 100kg again and it seemed to be a little easier. Psychosomatic or not, it worked. Next squats were 107.5kg, 112.5kg and 117.5kg, with tight wraps. All quite easy but not quite to depth, and inch or so to go. For my next lifts I recruited an even tighter wrapper, for a PB attempt of 120kg. Managed this with ease but apparently only hit parallel, so kept on moving up! Starting to learn to relax into the pain of being wrapped, I’ve found plastering an angelic smile on my face does the trick.

Next were the big lifts of the day; 125kg to parallel, followed by a whopping 12.5kg PB of 130kg, which felt easy and was to depth too! Couldn’t ask for anything more out of a Sunday in the dungeon. Well, I guess 130kg+ but we’ll see 😉

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Now back home with horrendously painful legs; bruises around the wrapping site which I’ve not had before, and raw skin. The picture doesn’t do it justice! Going to have a bath then slather a bucket full of Savlon on them and see if that helps anything. A few cups of tea are in order too as a fair bit of noisy growling was necessary during my session today; firstly due to the pain of being wrapped, and secondly due to the pain of pushing down into the wraps to get to depth! So now my throat is a little raw to say the least…

Made the executive decision (with some help from a friend) that some carbs were allowed after my gruelling session, so I’ve had a small banana and one chocolate. I know how to treat myself on Easter Sunday! I have to say it’s been nice to treat my housemates to a mini egg hunt that they didn’t expect, and I’d rather have that pleasure over the nausea of eating too much chocolate. I feel really positive about my weight and the competition next week, so I savoured my 1 chocolate and small banana in the knowledge that I was doing everything I could today to better myself for tomorrow. A little motivation to conclude my 50th post 🙂

Sneaky

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Such a weirdly proud feeling hanging out my freshly sugar-washed kit to get nice and crispy in the sun! Managing to get my weight down slowly slowly so need my kit as tight as possible. It would seem my bench shirt is doing its job already though; managed a cheeky PB yesterday morning…

Training was in the morning as it was Good Friday, had a really tough bench session down at the track. Warmed up to 45kg raw then put my shirt on for more warm ups at 50kg, 55kg, 60kg and some toughies at 65kg and 67.5kg. My coach really had me working hard under stress, with 70kg the bar I did a strict press, then immediately shaped up and did 65kg, and again for 60kg and 55kg. One after the other; immediate. More than anything my quads were on fire after the tough conditioning and deadlift sessions earlier in the week. Never have I known my legs so much in a bench session!

Next my coach was so so sneaky, he had be ready to do the same thing again which I completed with a lot of effort and some weird noises, but he’d sneakily got the loaders to put 72.5kg on the bar! Just goes to show it’s all in the head…I had no idea it was a PB attempt so I just went in same as normal and I got it, and more!

Finished the session with a couple more strict presses, attempting 75kg but only getting it with a little help from my coach. All of this was with a super tired body, so I think I’ve definitely got more in the bag. Really exhausting session, left me needing a nap which I’ve never needed after bench before. Was definitely happy to have a rest day today!

Been a little bit sneaky today myself and hidden some chocolate eggs around my housemate’s rooms… Unfortunately I can’t have any myself as I’m really determined to get into the 52kg class, but I love to treat other people so hopefully they appreciate the work of the house Easter bunny… 🙂 Happy Easter everyone! I’m hoping Easter Sunday will bring me some big squats!

 

 

Chocolate Nut Butter Drops

This is a recipe from a fellow Bournemouth Barbell lifter, a third year nutrition student who’s heading to the IPF World Championships in July.  He’s been a massive help with my diet in recent weeks, and this is one of his recipes I’ve tried out for when I fancy something sweet. Check out his page here.

I’ll warn you now, these are addictive….

Chocolate Nut Butter Drops

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  • 3 table spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 table spoons of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener
  • A bunch of any natural nut butter of your choice!
  • Silicone ice cube tray (I used a penguin mould 🙂 )


1) Melt the coconut oil down and add the sweetener and cocoa.

2) Fill the ice cube tray 1/3 of the way. Freeze for 5 minutes.

3) Add a teaspoon of the nut butter into each cube. Freeze for a further 5 minutes

4) Fill the rest of the ice cube tray sections with the remaining cocoa and coconut oil mixture. Freeze and leave in the freezer until they are needed. Simply pop one out and enjoy!

These may be low-carb, but they are still high in calories so don’t go mad (advice that I need to take too haha)

Can’t wait to finish writing this post and have one of these as a treat after my deadlift session tonight. Got into my newly sugar-washed squat suit, which didn’t seem too much tighter so I may have to wash it again, and did minimal warm ups; singles at 60kg, 80kg, 90kg and 95kg. Next onto more singles at 100kg, 110kg and then an attempted 115kg. Quite easy off the floor but didn’t quite have the adrenaline necessary to lock out. Felt good though, so looking forward to seeing what I can do next. Went back down to 100kg for doubles working on pulling my shoulder blades right back and straightening out my back so I have less work to do locking out at the top of the lift.

Finished off the session with some easy squatting, tried another member’s suit one size smaller than the one I normally use and it worked quite well for me. Unfortunately I won’t be able to use it for the Welsh, but my coach is looking into finding me a smaller one. Warmed up with a few at 60kg and 75kg. Then put my wraps on for 90kg, and straps and tighter wraps for 105kg for two. Working on unracking and setting up with confidence so I don’t have another fiasco in comp. I think doing unequipped comp so close to the equipped comp left me a bit out of practice with equipped lifting, so I have more confidence that with the next few days of practice the next comp will go a bit better for me.

 

Success!

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First success of the evening: bit of a dark photo, but after literally years of working on my flexibility I’m finally able to put my hands flat on the floor with my legs straight. I was actually really surprised when I managed it as I’m quite stiff still from the weekend and conditioning last night, I ran to my housemate to get her to take a picture!

Second success of the evening: I’ve been selected to represent England in the BDFPA Four Nations in August. This was another surprise as I didn’t think my performance at the British Full Power would have qualified me for selection, but apparently so!

If I’m selected for the IPF Junior World Equipped in Hungary (there’s a small chance!), I may have to pull out of the BDFPA, but I have provisionally said yes to the invite. Exciting times….

Back on track

Current mood:

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Training on Monday was just an easy deadlift session, working between 50-80kg testing out wearing my squat suit back to front for deadlifts. It made it infinitely harder to get down to the bar, but gave me a massive bang at the bottom of the lift, so looks like this is the way to go! Looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with this piece of kit. Had a well-needed day off yesterday, my body was in pieces from the weekend so I just took it easy. 

Back to MMA for the first time in a few weeks. I was worried that with all my time off I would have completely forgotten what I was doing, lost all my CV fitness and just ended up crumpled on the floor in despair. It didn’t quite go like that thankfully, but there was a bit  of crumpling after the ‘warm-up’. This consisted of 4 sets of: a short sprint, 10 push-ups/sit-ups/burpees, a short sprint back and a too-short rest waiting for 3 other people to do their sprint. This was followed by squat bounding across the room and back 4 times and a lot of pained expressions. I don’t think my legs have burnt quite like it in a fair while!

This difficult little activity meant that the rest of the drills we did were absolutely exhausting, when normally they would only have been a little exerting. We worked on arm bars from mount, arm bars from side control (popping up to knee on stomach and going from there) and finally a choke from side control. Ended the session with a short roll where I managed to get a few sweeps and finished it with an arm bar! Turns out my fitness isn’t so bad after all…. 

Making a few tweaks to my diet and training in the next few days to make sure I’m well within weight for the Welsh. Weighed 53kg this morning so got about 1.5kg to go to be well in (around 3 pounds hence the picture above ha). First of which is to start my morning walks back up again, I find it makes a definite difference to my positivity, productivity and energy throughout the day, so definitely not something to be missed. Next is to keep an eye on my portion sizes, I find when I start a diet my portions are fine to start with then they creep up and up as time goes on. Going to be super strict on myself, there are records to be set in the 52kg class after all. And lastly is to make sure I drink enough water. Not being at uni somehow means I’m drinking less, so need to keep an eye on that.

Not in work tomorrow so I will hopefully have time to post a recipe or two, but for now it’s bed time for me. MMA has well and truly whooped my ass tonight!