Change of Plan

It is with disappointment that I am posting this, as I have unfortunately not been selected for the World Junior Championships in Hungary for which I had been nominated. I’m not sure why I was not selected but perhaps that is a question for another time.

Of course I am upset, I’ve worked my butt off in the last few months and was so excited to even be nominated, but as with other aspects of the whole training process sometimes being able to adapt to any situation, however positive or negative is key.

In this particular situation the prevailing positive is that although I was not selected for the World Championships, following my recent nomination I have been selected for the Western European Women’s Championships held in Torino, Italy in September.

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Although I’m sure there are still some nominations to come in, and the lifters in my category will have improved come competition time (as I hope to), I seem to be in good stead to make my mark in this particular competition.

I am still getting my head round this whole situation, but one thing I know for sure is this doesn’t change anything apart from the date of the competition I am training for! Feeling a little lacklustre at the moment, but in the next few days I’m sure I’ll be able to throw myself back into my training with my usual enthusiasm… bring on Italy!

 

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Sweet Spot

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Having experimented a lot with my diet over the last year or so, at the moment I seem to have found a sweet-spot where I’m able to eat a variety of foods, including some carbohydrates, and stay full while losing/maintaining weight and keeping up my performance in the gym. Although I’ve only been keeping this diet for just over a week, I can already feel its benefits in my energy and satiety levels, the number on the scale and my overall satisfaction with my diet.

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An example of my day’s food at the moment is as follows:

8am: black coffee with tbsp coconut oil

10am: 3 tbsp low-fat fromage frais with fruit and seeds

11:30am: portion of shepherdess pie (recipe to follow)

2:30pm: mackerel salad (recipe to follow)

5pm: banana pancake (banana, 2 eggs, 1/2 scoop casein)

8pm: (post-training) baked potato with tin of tuna, low-fat cream cheese and asparagus

I’ve found that having my coffee then waiting a few hours to eat to be better than getting up and eating straight away, as I’m able to do my fasted low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio (walking in the park) and work up a small appetite for my first meal, which is still only small. Low fat fromage frais has been a god-send find, as it is cheap (£1 for 500g) and boasts better macros than other low-fat yoghurts, beaten only by 0% greek yoghurt in my opinion. Perfect as a scrimper’s alternative. Having banished fruit (bar bananas) from my diet for months, it’s nice to have something sweet in my diet once more, though I do feel like a classic white-girl dieter having fruit and yoghurt for breakfast!

I’ve successfully made my way down to sub 53kg, with a few weeks to go and still eating carbs. If I continue in the same vein I’ll be comfortably into my category and still be able to maintain my strength. I attribute this weight loss (over a kilo in just over a week) to consistently walking in the morning, a clean and consistent diet, and an increase in my fluid intake.

With the added benefit of being LISS cardio, I’ve found walking in the park to be a great way to start the day, as it gives me time to enjoy the greenery, organise my thoughts and wake up a bit before I start the day. `I cannot recommend it enough to anyone that gets a bit frazzled and bogged down with their to-do list, and it’s been suggested that it can help lift your spirits too. I’ve also been working on a small personal goal, which I’m not going to divulge now (because of this TED video), but which I will hopefully be able to showcase sometime in the near future!

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As it’s getting rather hot down here in Bournemouth at the moment, I’ve needed to increase my fluid intake, which has probably also helped with my weight management. Water is such a vital part of our health, yet I was almost surprised to find it in my 200 super foods book. It’s the most absolutely essential part of our diet, but some of us still walk around unknowingly dehydrated on a daily basis. Even mild dehydration can impair both physical and mental performance, so make sure you’re getting enough water. I try and aim for at least 3 litres per day, and increase this in the warm weather.

Although I’ve reduced the amount I’ve been posting recently, this is hopefully for the better. I’m trying to make sure I post more quality rather than quantity, as even I found reading my regular training updates a little tedious. So hopefully the quality of my blog will improve and I can continue to regale you with the life of a 20 year old powerlifter without boring your socks off  🙂

 

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!

 

Rest 2

I was feeling marginally less achey yesterday, so decided to go back to training just for a short session to try and slowly get back into things. I was pleasantly surprised when I managed a warm-up of 10 reps on empty bar, but then continued to surpass my own expectations throughout the session. We planned to go up to a single rep max and call it a day. Considering how feeble I felt I was expecting maybe 45-47.5kg but I ended up absolutely smashing my PB of a shaky 52.5kg, by managing an easy 55kg! Paused! Attempted a 57.5kg but the pause was a little long and I didn’t keep my tension, but it’s definitely a potential max for competition.

Amazing what a little time off can do 🙂 I plan do deadlift for a short while again tonight, as it’s probably the last session when I can deadlift before next Saturday, so need to try and at least do something even if I’m feeling rubbish. Weight is on its way down after a couple of days of very low carbohydrate, so things seem to be improving.

Rest

Unfortunately I haven’t trained since Friday due to this mystery illness, went in for blood tests on Monday but still awaiting the results. Doctor reckons some sort of virus, but checking blood just to be safe. A few teammates have also suggested it could be CNS fatigue from the large amount of training I’ve been doing, but I sure am taking a long time to recover from it if that’s the case! Tried an ice bath today just in case it is CNS fatigue, nothing to lose apart from the feeling in my extremities… I managed 5-6 minutes, but had to get out when I started uncontrollably shaking. Certainly refreshing though!

Another setback is my weight; I’ve somehow managed to put on half a kilo since starting my high-fat diet, I think I got a bit cheese-happy. So after some consultation with a more experienced and nutrition-savvy member of the club I have readjusted my diet to include a little less fat and carbs and a lot more green veg to fill me up. Take 2!

So here’s what my meal plan is going to look like:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, salmon and pak choi

Lunch: Chicken legs and baked broccoli

Afternoon snack: avocado chocolate pudding, garlic green beans

Pre-training: Tuna salad with feta, walnut oil and asparagus

Post-training: Whey protein, creamy pesto pork with courgette ‘pasta’

Evening snack: Low fat cottage cheese and casein

Again, I will post any recipes that I deem worthy for your viewing! Hopefully the reduction in carbs will help me to cut the little bit of weight to lose. I need to be under 53kg for my first competition which seems achievable, but to be under 52kg by mid-April seems a little too much of an ask. At the moment my health is the most important, so if I don’t get there I will just have to compete in the weight class above, and use the competition as experience. It’ll be my first equipped competition, so won’t be looking for an outstanding performance.

Now to continue to rest up and hopefully get back to training within the next few days, I’m getting antsy sat at home!

 

Bodyweight

Like most women, my weight fluctuates. Unlike the majority of women, I compete in a sport with weight classes”

I was reading this article on bodyweight this morning and found it particularly pertinent to my life at the moment. Weighing in at 54.3kg this morning I’m a little frustrated with my bodyweight at the moment to say the least.

At my first competition back in November I weighed 51.8kg after breakfast and just under a litre of water, so I was probably more like 50.8kg. How I long to be that small again; with visible abs and shoulder muscles. Now, at 54kg I feel like a whale in comparison and it’s hard to remind myself that I have a lot more muscle now and I can also lift a hell of a lot more.

“I have to remind myself the extra weight makes me stronger.”

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so invested in powerlifting; I could reduce my calorie intake, up my cardio and get back to the leanness I enjoyed previously. But with performance in mind, I can’t afford to reduce my calories to any significant extent else I risk losing muscle and thus reducing the amount of weight I can handle on the bar.

“I fantasize daily about not caring what I weigh, that I could just train and eat and live without stress.”

Powerlifting has definitely helped me to love my body, it may be marginally larger or wobblier in areas than the ideal I dream of, and the lean body I achieved in the summer, but I’m strong and powerful. This body can do so many things that it couldn’t do previously.

However, with this in mind I do need to lose just over a kilo to get into my weight class! As the weight isn’t shifting as quickly as I’d like (or at all….), and with no guarantee of how much weight I’ll drop when I stop creatine, I’m thinking of switching my diet up a little sooner than planned, I will see how my weight is faring on the weekend/beginning of next week, and if I’m not on track I’ll start my high-fat plan. We shall see!