Work

Again, I can only apologise for my lack of posts, but with my second year of uni drawing to a close, and my final big assessment due in tomorrow my focus has understandably needed to be elsewhere.

Training in the last few days has been a little different. Got back into training on Thursday with a bench session. I tried out a different bench shirt, a lot tighter than the one I currently wear, so worked on getting the bar down as low as possible. Worked up to 70kg but didn’t get the bar anywhere near my chest, which suggests I could get some big numbers out of it! It’s a very different experience than the other shirt, as the neck of it tends to press on my neck when bringing the bar down, making it a lot more uncomfortable. Something I will have to get used to, I am sure. Finished the session with 6 sets of 8 reps, 3 sets at 40kg and 3 sets at 42.5kg. Doing 8 reps on my best lift in my first competition is a great feeling.

Friday was interesting, as I decided to do some olympic lifting. It had been months since I’d done any and really fancied getting a sweat on. I was absolutely soaked after my ‘warm-up’ (work-out) of power clean, front squat, jerk, back squat, jerk behind neck for 8 sets of 3 with only 10 seconds rest between sets. 10 seconds is really not long at all! The rest of the session involved working up to a clean and jerk max (managed to get my previous PB of 40kg, though it was very rough) and complexes focusing on front squats, finishing with a complex of 3 clean and jerks followed by a power clean and 10 front squats. Tough but super fun.

I had planned a rest day on Saturday, but after working all day then coming home to do uni work I was itching to get outdoors. I ran to the park for some hill sprints, sprinting up the hill, doing 10 pushups or decline sit-ups (alternated) then walking back down. Did this 10 times, then I did the sprint, 20 decline sit-ups, run back down, 25 decline bicycle crunches, sprint back up, 20 pushups, run back down and a plank to failure. Then a slow run home, feeling pretty darn great. It really helped to boost my productivity too, I got loads of work done afterwards.

Somehow still able to move after weightlifting and sprints, training on sunday in the dungeon consisted of another 6 sets of 8 reps but this time on squats. As I knew I was tired I started on 60kg for 2 sets, but then did 2 sets at each of 62.5kg, 65kg and 67.5kg which was tough. I was super surprised that I managed it considering how shot my legs were. Then moved onto a little kit lifting, without wraps, just to work on keeping upright at the bottom of the lift.

My legs have been surprisingly ok until this morning, where even walking is difficult! Thankfully I have a day of rest ahead, working in the library preparing for my big presentation tomorrow. Then off to MMA, where I am unlikely to be asked to squat!

After last week’s competition I have changed my diet up to include more carbs, though I’m not sure how much I’m enjoying it. Basing meals on sweet potato, brown rice and oats may be filling but is a lot less flavoursome than a high fat diet. Also, I feel fat already, and am noticing a lot more bloating than when I’m on keto. As I want to be at least a little toned for Summer Ball where I’m going to dress up as a UFC fighter, I am going to get through this lot of carbs in my fridge and go back to keto for the 9 days before. After that I will reconsider and see how my body feels best. I think the low-medium carb diet I did in January might be the best bet for me to follow on a day to day basis, with full keto for competition prep. It’s all about experimenting and seeing what works best for me.

GBPF South West Classic

Video

I can only apologise for my lack of posts over the last few weeks; with the third term rapidly drawing to a close I’ve had to put a lot of my time and energy into my university work so haven’t been training as much as I would like and haven’t really had the time or motivation to post! With just under a week to go of my second year, hopefully I’ll be back to posting regularly soon.

Competition prep for the GBPF South West Classic was a bit more relaxed than it had been for previous competitions. As it was a small friendly competition on home ground, and as I was lifting equipped as a guest it was more for experience and to show what I can achieve in kit. With my birthday two days before the competition it was a little frustrating to say the least to still be hovering on the edge of the 52kg class, and not be able to indulge in any celebratory food or drink on my actual birthday. I ended up having a really productive day in the library, and more than made up for it after the competition so no harm done!

It was really great to have my family come down to visit, see me lift and most importantly to compete! My brave mum successfully competed in her first powerlifting competition after I very sneakily entered her without her knowledge. It was a bit of a gamble as to whether she would or not, but it’s something we’ve been talking about getting her to do for ages. Getting her out of her comfort zone and showing her how fun it can be was the aim, and I think I succeeded!

The morning of the competition I weighed 52.0kg on my own scales, so decided to have a hot bath to cut a couple of hundred grams to be safe. I ended up going up to 52.1kg, whoops, so had to go about the rest of my morning wearing thermals and a woolly hat! Got to the venue and weighed in 52kg on the dot. I hadn’t really cut down food or drink the evening before so this was probably the reason for the near-mishap. A nice little break before squats was welcome, to refuel, rehydrate and talk my mum through how the day would go. I think having my mum there to look after, along with being in a familiar place, really helped my nerves, as I wasn’t nervous at all.
Warm-up for squats went well, wearing my normal squat suit (a borrowed smaller suit didn’t work too well for me) I managed to hit parallel depth at 100kg, then actual depth at 110kg before going on to do 112.5kg for my opener. My suit was ever so slightly looser than normal but I had an absolutely brutal wrapper helping me out so the wraps helped more than the suit I think. My next lift of 120kg felt slightly tough and I rounded my back on the way up a little bit, but I got it up and that’s all that counts! I think I got one red light for depth, though. My next lift of 125kg was tough to walk out, but very comfortable to actually lift. As you can see in the video above it’s definitely not a maximum effort! But at 7.5kg more than my previous comp PB I can’t complain really. With all the stress of kit lifting, 3 good lifts and a comp PB was brilliant.

Warm-up for bench also went well, managing to get up to 60kg easily. My pecs did feel tired for some reason while I was warming up but this didn’t seem to affect my lifting at all. With some slight confusion as to when the ladies would be starting, I ended up warming up a little early so had to do 60kg a few times before my opener of 62.5kg. My opener went well, but my technique was possibly not ideal. Still got the bar up! My next lift was 67.5kg and my form was a lot better. I already had my comp PB of 67.5kg so there was less pressure on me for my third lift of 72.5kg. But I went out, set up perfectly and got the lift! It was tough at the top, but I anticipated the ‘second hit’ and pushed through it. As this is a lift I had only done a few times before in training, and relied heavily on me getting my form right, it was a great feeling to get it in competition.

Warm-up for deadlifts could have gone better, but with my results I don’t think it mattered too much. Again I had a little confusion as to when we would be starting so I think I had a little too much of a leisurely lunch, and ended up putting my deadlift suit on a little late. I was almost too relaxed about deadlifts, as with the lifts I had got so far I would only need to get my opener of 105kg to surpass my desired total of 300kg. But I think this might have helped, as there was a lot less pressure on me. I got my opener easily, and went on to 112.5kg for my second lift. As I had only got 110kg in my last competition I just wanted to surpass that and I would be happy. I didn’t straighten my back enough at the bottom of the lift so it took a little longer to lock out than I would have liked but I got it. Next, after a little consultation with my coach I opted for 120kg for my third lift! I have only ever lifted 115kg, but wasn’t far off 117.5kg at my previous comp, so 120kg would be a big PB. As I was already past my desired total there was nothing to lose. I went out, I set up, I straightened my back and I got the lift, almost easily! Now the British standard of 130kg doesn’t seem that far off at all!

I couldn’t have been happier with my final lift, to get a massive PB like that and get a 317.5kg total when I was only aiming for 300kg was just amazing. I think the relaxed and friendly atmosphere really helped me, along with the distraction of helping my mum. She got all white lights on all her lifts, which is a tremendous achievement for someone who doesn’t even train in a powerlifting gym, and has never properly been refereed! I’m very proud of her. A big thank you to my coach and all the lifters for supporting her and making her feel so welcome.

After a short presentation, myself and my family headed out to a pub for a well-earned beer and burger in the sun. To have such a successful day of lifting and then to spend a lovely evening with my family really made for a great belated birthday celebration.

My next competition won’t be until July, so I have had a few days off lifting this week. It’s time to start the cycle over again and make some raw strength gains before I get back into kit. I’m hoping to find some smaller kit to lift in, which should hopefully get my numbers up even higher. Exciting times ahead. Just need to get this uni year over and done with and I can properly concentrate on lifting again, as I’m just a little distracted at the moment!

Switch-up

After the competition at the weekend, and a lot of body and CNS fatigue, my diet training this week has been a little different out of necessity more than anything. I think it would have been very unwise to continue with my low-carb diet and equipped lifting directly after the competition.

Training on Tuesday spurred this temporary change, the program for the session was various sets of differing reps on the bench, but after struggling with what I would consider relatively easy weights we realised my body was probably telling me something. I did what I could on the bench (which wasn’t much) then moved onto some strict overhead press with the barbell, which was tougher than I would have liked but enjoyable to switch things up a little. Had a little consultation with the chiropractor and he cracked me and poked me leaving me feeling a little looser, but still rather stiff from the weekend.

Jujitsu yesterday was very enjoyable, drilling arm bars, triangles, omoplata and a combination of all three. I’ve worked on all of these before, so was quite comfortable, but challenged myself to work on using the other side of my body to complete the movements, which is easier said than done! I find it so strange that doing a triangle with one leg is so much easier than the other. Finished off the session with some rolling, I felt like it was about a 50/50 fight with two of the guys I rolled with, and managed to submit them both, but my normal rolling partner has improved loads in the last month so it wasn’t quite so even! Still held my own quite well though.

Unfortunately no powerlifting training now until Sunday as my coach’s daughter is getting married so he is busy with those arrangements. Took the opportunity today to venture into the commercial gym and actually had a really great time. It was really nice to get my blood pumping, which is a rare phenomenon with powerlifting training. Decided to jog down to the gym to really shake things up, and started off with some conventional deadlifts. It was quite an ego boost to approach a man who was deadlifting, ask if I could work in then stop him when he went to strip off the bar because I was going to be using the same weight as him.

Worked with 70kg for my conventional deadlifts, doing 5 sets of 5 (after a warm up set at 60kg). Watching myself in the mirror, I noticed my knees pushing in a little when struggling with the last few reps so I tried to adjust this throughout, thinking about pushing my knees out. Next onto some front squats, got a little enthusiastic with my first rep and smashed into the fixed safeties, so made sure not to go too deep on my next ones (which pained me). Did 4 sets of 6 at 45kg which was tough but enjoyable. Next onto some pull-ups, going to max reps (which ended up being about 3 lol) and finishing up with a hold. Definitely need to work on my pull-ups, time to get my home bar out again! Used the cable machine to do low-to-high wood chop type things (I’m sure there is a proper term for this), to work on my core rotation as my rotational stability has been an issue for my back in the past. Next a few dips with a drop set, followed by some ab work with a swiss ball. It felt so good to just blast music and get on with a session like I did all summer, sweat dripping and heart pumping. Then had to run home, which was a little less enjoyable than the way there, but I felt so accomplished when I arrived home.

Got home and had a banana pancake with a slice of bacon, which leads me onto my next change this week; my diet. I’ve decided to stay relatively low-carb this week, but not quite as strict as previously. I’m allowing myself carbs in the form of a banana and a tablespoon or so of oats after training, and some more carby fruits and vegetables. I think it will probably marginally hinder my ability to maintain my weight, though I am hovering around 53kg at the moment so I’m not too far off the mark. More than anything I think I need a week of change for sanity’s sake before I had back to my diet of protein, green veg and more green veg!

A little insight into my diet for this week:

Breakfast: Salmon with fried broccoli

Meal 1: 
Chicken, bacon, asparagus, tomato, LF mozzarella and mixed rocket salad

Snack: LF cottage cheese, casein and peanut butter mix with some strawberrys

Meal 2: Garlic mushrooms and aubergine with a steak

Meal 3: (Post-training) Banana pancake with a slice of bacon

(Snack: handful of nuts or LF greek yoghurt)

Eating strawberries for the first time in months was an absolute delight, and I am thoroughly enjoying the variety of colours I’ve had on my plate this last week! I plan to continue this until Tuesday, assess my weight and then decide whether or not to go back to keto. If I stay consistent I might not need to go back to keto so early, but with a few social occasions planned (and a very lovely lunch out today) this may be a challenge. This week is for recovery, and part of this is definitely being a little more lenient with my diet and allowing myself to enjoy food and social occasions. Had a little more indulgence this evening, baked with my housemate this great recipe from Paleomg for her sweet potato brownies. Truly delicious and taste almost like the real thing, and not too naughty either! I think this week of switch-up will do me good!