Happy New Year!

Hey guys – it’s been a while! Hoping everyone has had a lovely christmas and new year, I know I have. I had such a nice time being at home with my parents and cats having not been home since August. There really is no better place than home – though it was odd not having my big brother around!

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Anyway I’m being a bit of a hipster and not doing my new year’s post on new year’s day – mainly because I wasn’t functioning too well after two late, alcohol fuelled but very fun nights with my friends rolling in the new year. I’m not usually one for resolutions as I’ve always thought why wait for a socially constructed time to set yourself some goals? Just go for it! But this year I’ve made some resolutions of sorts – or maybe just continuations of goals that I thought might make an interesting blog post ūüėõ

So here we are; my new years resolutions!

1. Be kinder to my body

In 2014 my weight fluctuated a fair bit ¬†and when my weight went up it generally wasn’t in a good way. Competition prep meant dieting and breaks from competing meant putting the weight back on after enjoying the ‘forbidden fruits’ a little too much. Of course this didn’t happen every time, and I did find a good balance when I implemented Carb Backloading however I feel I did put my body under a lot of stress. In April for example, what I then thought was a mystery virus, is now clearly a manifestation of overtraining combined with a caloric deficit. I went up to 56kg after a particularly stressful week in January and didn’t do much about it until around March. Then inexperience with dieting and losing weight meant quite a battle to get back under 52kg which led me to feel horrible for about 10 days or so with aching muscles and horrendous fatigue. I now recognise those tell tale muscular pains as a time to back off training and eat more – I’ve discovered that particular type of pain has no other cause. So in that respect I’m already working towards my goal. I’ve also made the decision to go up a weight class which I think will help me no end in the long run. Around the same time I chose to stop MMA which will also probably be better for me too – less minor injury and more rest from intensive exercise. I do miss it sometimes though.

Anyway this year I’m hoping to find – and stick to – a way of eating that gives me everything I need without compromising my health. I very much enjoyed Carb Backloading and am interested in trying CarbNite – or seeing if I can find the best of the two, as I found the strength gain on Carb Backloading to be unparalleled by any other diet. This is still quite a restrictive way of eating so I will have to weigh up my options.

Another way I need to look after my body is all the extra stuff that needs to be done outside of the gym – I’m talking lacrosse balling, foam rolling, doing yoga, assistance exercises and stretching. In the last few months I’ve become particularly lax with this – but like I said before, these are goals that I’m already working on. It doesn’t help that I haven’t had any major competitions to work towards, which usually motivate me to be a little better with these things. To reduce day to day niggles this is unfortunately something that needs to be done and if I want to be the best I need to get on it! I must mention though that having started doing assistance stuff in the last few months (though maybe not as regularly as I’d like) I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my lifts – particularly working on the smaller and weaker muscles. I have my wonderful physio to thank for these improvements and hope to continue in the same vein.

2. Be kinder to my mind

The previous point brings me on to this – something I have struggled with for pretty much my whole life. As quite a perfectionist personality I can be quite hard on myself when I don’t meet my own high standards and this is something that has contributed to some pretty difficult times in previous years. Thankfully that period of my life seems to be over and I’m happier now than I’ve ever been – however there is still a part of me that expects too much.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given is to be your own best friend. If your best friend didn’t achieve all they set out to that day would you be disappointed?¬†Or would you tell them there’s always tomorrow? I work damn hard a lot of the time and I’ve got so much better at appreciating my own efforts, but I imagine this will be a continuous process for years to come. So every time I can’t be bothered to foam roll, miss a bench, leave the library an hour earlier than planned or stay in bed til 3pm I’ll tell myself there’s always tomorrow. And if I don’t manage to tell myself that then oh well, I’m only human! ūüôā (see, I’m doing it already haha)

This will be particularly necessary in the coming few months as I wrap up my degree – there’s going to be a lot of hard work involved! I originally aimed to get a 1st as I have been a high achiever my whole life, but I am currently sitting on an average of a high 2:2. I’m still going to aim to get the highest grade that I can but I’m not going to compromise my mental health to achieve a certification, after all I feel I bring so much more to the table than just a degree.


3. Be more helpful

Some of the people I admire the most are those that continuously help others, and I often find myself taking a back seat as I let others do the hard work. This year as well as continuing to improve my own life, I strive to help others as much as I can. Hopefully in terms of my goals this resolution won’t need to take a back seat, but this year will be the year of my own personal achievements and I’m not going to let anything get in the way. In the meantime though, I’ll be the one clearing up the weights at the end of the session.

4. Explore my potential

I know I said early that I work hard a lot of the time, but a lot of the time I don’t. I’ve been known to ‘coast’ and do the bare minimum that I can do to achieve. Maybe this is my self-critical mind coming into play a bit here, but there’s no harm in wanting to better yourself right? It seems finding the fine balance between this point and number 2 will be tough.

There’s so much out there that I can do. Every time I pick up a paint brush (which isn’t often!) I astound myself and I always wonder what I could create if I spent more time practicing and honing my skills. Similarly I wonder how much better I would lift if I managed to do all of my assistance exercise, keep to a healthy diet and train to the best of my ability. ¬†This may also be true for my degree, though I feel I do work very hard already and I don’t want to fall behind on other areas of my life which are helping keep me sane. There are a few other things that this relates to as well so hopefully 2015 will be the year of achievement.

5
. Grow a big fat butt 

Self explanatory. This year will be the year that I grow out of my white-girl butt and grow into my powerlifters butt that I know is there somewhere!

2014 was hands down the best year of my life – I made new friendships and strengthened old ones, continued to enjoy and compete in a sport that I love and just generally had a blast. I have every faith that 2015 will be just as great – particularly as I have two of the best lifting partners to share it with ( @amyyspencer and @shax2 on Insta – go check them out!)

Starting the year on a PB at my first training session of 2015 wasn’t bad – managed a 90kg paused squat after achieving this weight as a new PB at a fun comp in mid-December! I’m hoping 2015 will bring me even more gains and I haven’t peaked early haha.

As has been the case for some time now I probably won’t be able to post as much as I would like to in the coming months due to that pesky little thing called a degree – but you can get more regular updates on my lifting, nutrition, and day to day antics on my Instagram which is @susiebboo

Happy 2015!

Peace and love x

Sitting back

Although I handed in my last assignment for my 2nd year of uni a couple of weeks ago, the last few weeks have been some of the busiest weeks of the year! Nights out with the course mates and house mates, summer ball, visiting friends, working and trying to find time to sit back and relax in the sun have all once more meant I haven’t found the time to post as much as I would have liked.¬†

As the weather has turned a lot nicer, and I’ve found myself with a bit more free time and money I have found myself feeling a little restricted by the lifestyle required to be a successful powerlifter. Being invited to barbecues that I can’t attend because of training, dietary restrictions because of my weight and other such circumstances can all feel a little overbearing, especially as I am only 20 and don’t really have any other commitments. I’m trying my hardest not to feel like I am missing out, and reminding myself of the excitement I felt when I first started out and began to love powerlifting.¬†

Within this struggle is the struggle with my weight. Although I have been a little lax with my eating in the last week or so, I feel and look fine and am still performing well in the gym. In an ideal world this would be all that mattered to me. I weighed 54kg this morning which is non-representative of my normal weight I’d say, but it ¬†is frustrating that I still need to keep an eye on this in the coming weeks of summer. No more seaside ice creams for me!¬†

Training in the last few weeks has been focusing once more on kit lifting in preparation for the British Open in July, with hypertrophy and strength training combined with kit practice. I’m into a smaller bench shirt, which is so tight that I’m still struggling to get the bar down to my chest. Although very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with at the moment, it’ll hopefully bring me some big numbers.¬†

With my squats I have been working on a different position; slightly wider stance, sitting back into the suit and keeping my chest up to try and avoid the crumpling that was going on at heavier weights before. With about a month before my next competition, I’m confident that I’ll be able to sort this issue but it might mean my numbers don’t climb as much as I’d like.¬†

Again, with deadlfts I am working on my form. Not a position change, but really focusing on pulling my scapula back at the bottom of the lift so I have minimal straightening to do upon lockout. I can feel an improvement already, so I’m hoping the British record of 130kg isn’t too far out of my reach now!

MMA and jujitsu have been a little disheartening over the last few weeks, having been inconsistent during the competition period, I came back and felt so far behind everyone again, but I’m sure if I keep going every week I’ll be back on form again in no time.¬†

A little while ago a new friend of mine worked on a ¬†radio package to do with health and fitness, in which she interviewed me about my healthy lifestyle. You can have a listen to it here. I have included it as I think now is a particularly good time to remind myself of my own advice to other people with regards to motivation and drive, as I feel a bit lacking in both. One of the things I mentioned during the interviews, and above, but that didn’t appear in the package is trying to keep the excitement of when you first started out, which is something I need to keep in mind at the moment; stay stoked!¬†

 

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‚Ķ.¬†

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!

 

Aside

Busy busy busy last few days; couldn’t get to training on Tuesday as I went to Southampton to see a pal, so I went to my back-up gym to train. Had a deadlift session planned but a niggly lower back directed me toward a generic back session of pull-ups, lat pull-downs, seated rows, high rows and pull-up holds. Nothing too taxing which was probably wise considering how hard I’d worked the previous two days.

Had a fantastic time in Southampton, I laughed more than I have in months and just had a generally fun time eating pancakes, chatting, watching films and laughing. Couldn’t have asked for a better escape. It also marked the start of my weight-control month; these next two weeks will be continuing with my carb-based diet then the following two weeks I will be going into my fat-based diet in order to cut a little weight for competition. Haven’t weighed myself this week but I definitely feel on track and like I won’t have too much to lose. The main thing for this month will be no alcohol, which will be easy enough for me.¬†

Back in Bournemouth on Wednesday for a tough but not insane MMA session working around mount; getting into mount from standing, getting out of mount from the ground and finishing the session with a short roll. Very proud of being able to get a few submissions!

Training last night in the dungeon after 6 hours of lectures, worked with 8 sets of 3 on the bench, getting up to 50kg on my top sets, a PB! Ended the session with some strict bench, which I haven’t done in ages. Got 50kg paused easy, another PB, which I was pleased with. Missed 52.5kg twice, getting it off my chest but stalling, which was expected at the end of a session,¬†frustrating but also motivating. I need that bodyweight bench!

Tried an early bikram session this morning, getting up at 5:30 for a 6:30 session. Haven’t been up that early in months, but I’d had an early night so it wasn’t too hard to get out of my warm bed. I didn’t want to eat a full meal so close to the session, but didn’t want to do it on an empty stomach for fear of passing out, so I had half an avocado, a spoonful of cashew butter and a ryvita. Staved off the hunger pangs and fuelled my session, and I was still nice and hungry afterwards for my porridge and fruit. The session itself was my best one yet, I was able to move deeper into every pose and left me feeling energised and relaxed. Looking forward to going again! Definitely noticing improvements in my back, but the tightness is still there, so I’m off to the chiro now to get it all checked out.¬†

 

Sweat

Bikram yoga this morning was more uncomfortable than my first session. I think because I remembered my first session not being too bad, I didn’t mentally prepare myself as well as I did before my first session, where I expected it to be horrendous. It took me about 30-40 minutes to relax into it and concentrate on the poses rather than wanting to leave, but when I did get into it it worked me hard and left me feeling invigorated.¬†

I think I sweated more in this session, I had sweat in my eyes and mouth and it was just¬†everywhere.¬†I took a larger bottle of water in with me but there’s so little time available to drink I didn’t get through all of it, like I felt I needed to. I’ve stayed hydrated for the rest of the day though, so no harm there. The sweating is seeming to have a lovely effect on my skin, in the few hours afterwards the pores on my face are a lot less noticeable and my skin looks smooth, clean and glowing. Hopefully if I keep up the sessions twice a week I’ll see some more sustained differences.

Jujitsu this evening was insane. A short warm-up, a 5-minute continuous roll, and then 50 minutes of rolling with 1 minute breaks in between bouts. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in one day, my shirt was soaked through and I was literally steaming. I’m finally starting to piece things together and be able to see opportunities for submissions, which is a nice confidence boost. I held my own against much much larger guys, my main difficulty being when they get into mount, but I was able to resist a multitude of submission attempts (though I did tap out a few times). I didn’t manage to get any submissions myself but I think within a few months I might stand a chance!