All England Powerlifting Championships

The run up to the All England was quite smooth; I’d recently hit a PB deadlift, felt confident with all my openers and didn’t have weight as an issue. I also found out it wasn’t going to be my last chance for my 130kg deadlift as I had thought, so this took some stress off (although this was in some ways mistaken – will come onto this later!). However, the week prior was full of travelling, life-sorting and trying to find someone to wrap my knees on the Sunday. All of this along with the stress of managing my mum at her 2nd competition on the Saturday meant I didn’t have much time to feel nervous, which I guess is a good thing! 

I’m still not sure whether the distraction of coaching my mum the day before the competition was a help or a hindrance to me in the long run; all I know is that it was stressful, exciting and a completely new experience! I’ve never fully appreciated the amount of energy that goes into managing a lifter at a competition, and it has made me all the more grateful for the support we receive as a club. Keeping a close eye on the clock, carefully selecting next lifts and making sure the lifter has everything they want and need is definitely not an easy job. Thankfully the stress paid off and my mum had a great competition, she managed 7/9 lifts and finished with a 200kg total (10kg above her aim) with a 75kg squat, 37.5kg bench and PB 87.5kg deadlift. I’m a very proud daughter. The whole experience completely drained me, but I used this to my advantage to get a solid 9 hour sleep the night before my competition, quite the feat as I’m sure many lifters will agree!

Another new experience for me was a 3pm weigh-in; I’ve only ever had an 8 or 9am weigh-in which makes it easier to restrict food and drink beforehand in order to make weight. Thankfully due to the success of carb-backloading making weight wasn’t going to be an issue. Hovering at around 51.7kg while still backloading, I was able to drop to around 51kg after dropping carbs for my rest days, allowing me a backload the night before the competition and to eat and drink as normal before weigh in. I weighed in at 51.3kg, the lightest I’ve ever weighed in a competition, in the middle of the day, and on creatine which can make you hold water. Result!

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Lifting was delayed due to the groups before us going on longer than intended, so we were unsure as to when we would actually start lifting. Although a minor hindrance, this meant that our final warm-up lifts for squats were a little rushed! Unfortunately our coach couldn’t be with us on the day so were relying on another coach (who will be coaching when I go to Italy) to help us out with timings and warm-ups. I was very grateful and reassured to be introduced to him the day before, as it meant I had someone to do my wraps for me, and also gave me experience being managed by him before my first international in Turin. 

The warm-up itself wasn’t the smoothest, as I think I had forgotten how to squat with my new technique a bit, and wasn’t taking as much time as I maybe should have to set up for the warm-up lifts. However, my final warm-up of 110kg was fine and deep enough which gave me the confidence to open with a very easy 115kg. Comp nerves and feeling a bit out of practice from rest days meant my form was not completely up to scratch, but still miles better than it had previously been. I then went on to do my second lift of 122.5kg which is shown in the video, setting a new u20 British Record. As this was somewhat tough and I had broken my record I made the tactical decision not to do a third lift as I wanted to save my energy for deadlifts. 

10514410_246741888869786_1518619450639784693_o We had the same issue with bench of not knowing the exact lift-off time until part-way through the warm-up. This meant I actually only did one lift in my bench shirt before stepping out onto the platform to do my opener of 62.5kg which absolutely flew up. My second lift was 67.5kg which was tougher than I had liked as I think I had my belt on a little high making it harder for the bar to come down to my chest which threw me a bit. Still got it up. Decided on 71kg for my 3rd lift attempt, as the record I hold is 70kg and felt 72.5kg was a little out of reach on the day. Unfortunately I missed this lift; lack of strength, wrong line, shirt on wrong…. who knows. I wasn’t deterred as I already held the record and had two good lifts in. Onto deadlift!

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Deadlift warm-ups ran smoothly, despite feeling a little tiredness in my hips and a minor twinge in my left calf, my suit felt tight and I still had buckets of energy. I was also very excited to try for the 130kg I had been striving for. My final warm-up was 110kg which shot up, so I stepped onto the platform to do an easy 120kg. Next was the lift I had been waiting for; 130kg on the bar. Unfortunately I didn’t get it captured on video but as you can see in the picture above I got it up! It wasn’t easy but it definitely wasn’t a massive fight. Pleased I had got this and with nothing to lose, I tried 135kg but my foot slipped a fraction and I narrowly missed it. Definitely got it in me! This left me with a PB total of 320kg. With the slipped foot and slight twinge before the deadlifts had even began, my left calf is now a little more than twinged so there is a lot of stretching and some rest on the cards for me at the moment. I am still walking and it only feels like a small pull so I should be back training in no time.  

Now is probably the time to mention my slight mishap. For months I have (somehow) mistakenly thought that the British Standard for deadlift is 130kg so have been striving to get it in a national competition for around 2 months. Thinking I had achieved this, I checked the records on the way home to see if I had managed to set a total record too. Turns out the deadlift standard is 140kg so I am actually 10kg off, but the total record is 322.5kg so I was only 2.5kg off which would have been easily achievable in the competition with another squat or a lighter third attempt deadlift. I was surprised at myself in that I’m not upset and am actually pleased I had the (mistaken) motivation to achieve the 130kg in the last few weeks. It also means I now have the 140kg to strive for at the Western Europeans, and having big goals definitely spurs me on. Operation add 10kg to my deadlift in 3 weeks starts now!!

I had great fun at the competition with my family, friends and fellow club members, and really enjoyed meeting some new faces. Some very strong ladies on the powerlifting scene at the moment. For such a massive competition it was run incredibly smoothly and as ever the referees, spotters and commentators were fantastic. My thanks in particular go to Arun who helped me in a time of coachlessness (although we did stay in contact throughout the competition) and without him I probably wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did and maintain my composure. I’m very much looking forward to being coached by him at the Western European Cup in September and am very excited for the coming weeks of training! 

Another reminder of my fundraising page where I am hoping to raise a bit of money towards my upcoming international debut in Italy! Anything you can spare would be a big help 🙂 

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GBPF British Senior and Junior Powerlifting Championships

The evening before and morning of the competition were relatively stress-free for me. Despite the pressure that I’d put on myself to perform I knew I’d make weight, I knew I’d done as much preparation as I could and I was in good company.

The morning of the competition came and we arrived literally about a minute after I’d been called for weigh-in so I had to wait around for half an hour before I could be weighed in, which was not too bad as I’d been able to drink a little, but I did start to get quite hungry! Although I didn’t feel nervous in myself, I did notice that I was a little shaky and breathing a little more quickly than normal so I tried my best to calm myself down. I weighed in at 51.55kg, the lightest I’ve ever been, and sat down for a short while to refuel and rehydrate.

Warm up for squats went entirely to plan, just hitting depth on my last warm-up of 110kg. Again, I didn’t necessarily feel nervous but I must have been quite nervous as I was sweating so much more than everyone else in the warm-up room! I hit my opener of 115kg with ease, though this was unfortunately my only good lift of the squats. My next lift of 122.5kg was not to the referees’ satisfaction depth-wise, and I rounded my back more than usual on the way up, tiring out my core. I re-took the same weight but it was again not deep enough. This upset me quite a lot, as hitting depth had been my main concern for squats, rather than having the strength to do the lifts.

10501676_1501249470109963_6698146270993292179_nAlthough I had previously managed to hit 130kg in training doing my own wraps, I think I possibly didn’t have enough confidence in my own wrapping on the day of the competition as there was a lot of time pressure, and my hands had been shaking (leading to a small sliver of my finger being removed at some point during the wrapping process!). I have invested in some tougher wraps, and in future I will either hopefully have someone there with me to wrap, or have built on my own wrapping skills. I have kept the videos of my failed 122.5kg lifts, as in the next few weeks I really want to work on my squatting technique, and will be able to use them for comparison purposes.

After a short break to gather my thoughts and calm down a bit, we moved onto bench warm-up. This went really well, as the warm-up weights felt light, particularly a 50kg paused raw press which is usually a bit of a struggle! My shirt went on and felt nice and tight, and I hit 60kg twice to prepare for my opener of 62.5kg. This went up nice and easy, so I went on to do 67.5kg for my next lift, beating my own British record (though this was not mentioned by the commentators despite my telling them). This also went up a treat, so after some consultation with my coach I went on to do 70kg for my next lift, as I knew I would definitely get it and wanted to beat my own record again! This was definitely the right choice of number as there was a little struggle on the way up, and any heavier might have made for a failed lift.

Although I have done a little heavier in previous competitions, I am still happy with my bench performance as I managed to beat my own British record and somehow stay composed after being quite upset about my squats. I think it is time to move onto a slightly tighter bench shirt, as while my current shirt has served me well, I think I have possibly reached its limits.

Warm-up for deadlifts were not as I had planned, but I had anticipated some difficulty after tiring out my core from the squats. After reaching 110kg in the warm-up room and finding it quite a challenge my coach and I made the decision to move my opener down to 115kg (we had previously planned 120kg). Although I knew this would make my coveted 130kg a little out of reach, based on how my body felt I knew it was the right decision. I got my opener easily enough, but knew my body positioning wasn’t quite right, so really concentrated on setting my scapula back for my second lift of 120kg. This went up with a little struggle near the top, so went for 125kg for my third lift as I was never realistically going to get 130kg. I think by this point I was just ready to stop so didn’t go into the lift with as much composure as normal, and got it half way up before failing. I didn’t mind though, as I had hit an equal comp PB for deadlift and had at least one good attempt for each lift.

After my final deadlift I was completely drained, struggling to even put food in my mouth! I was glad the competition was over, and although a little disappointed with my performance, excited for the coming months of training having pinpointed lots of areas to work on. In the few hours after my last lift it was nice to sit with my family and watch the rest of the competition and have a much-needed catch-up session. In this time my coach informed me that along with my nomination for the Junior Worlds, I’ve also been nominated for the Western European championships, which is the following week! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend due to University commitments, but it is still very exciting news, especially as I have been nominated as a senior!

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In the prize-giving I placed first in the Junior 52kg category, placing above a girl who lifted raw. She managed to achieve (and smash!) the records that I was hoping to set at the All England in August, so I have decided to do that competition equipped, to give me more experience and have another chance at some records! An experienced equipped lifter won the Senior category, and it was lovely to finally meet her as we had only ever spoken online. I have had the privilege of being handed down one of her old squat suits, which is tiny compared to my current suit, and I just can’t wait to use it!

As ever with GBPF the competition was smoothly run, with fantastic referees, spotters and loaders making for a fantastic day. Now to get back in the gym and make some more gains!

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  🙂

 

Motivation

Despite having a great deadlift session on Friday, and achieving a set of 3 on my previous comp PB of 120kg, my lack of motivation from the previous week persisted throughout the weekend. A night out, work, and an exhausting trek around the new forest probably didn’t help, but Monday came about and I felt exhausted, overwhelmed and unmotivated. I made the decision to take the day off from work and training and just take some time to recuperate.

I took a couple of naps, did some cooking, watched some mindless TV and just generally chilled out. On top of this I did some perusing about the internet to try and find some coping techniques for when you’re burning the candle at both ends, and struggling with motivation. My friend recently introduced me to TED talks, so listening to a few of those about motivation and happiness really helped, but most of all a couple of articles on Pat Reeves’ website, sent to me by my mother, really helped me feel more focused.

An article about anxiety in lifting really helped, in that it reminded me to recall things I had previously used as coping methods, not necessarily just in lifting but in day to day life. Things like taking time out to just relax and listen to music, saying no to social events if I’m feeling swamped, and writing down everything I needed to do to de-clutter my mind.

Next was an article about achieving goals which really helped me re-focus. My main goal at the moment is to be selected for Hungary, but unfortunately I don’t have a definite time-scale or much detail about this. So I worked with what I had and wrote down all the things I’d need to do to achieve this; stay consistent with my training, stay at 52kg, try and incorporate some assistance work and most importantly stay excited about this amazing opportunity.

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From this, I decided to update my goals board and turn it into a motivation/goals wall. I’m quite a visual person so hopefully having these reminders in a very prominent place will help me to stay focused, and get me to where I want to be.

Taking the day off everything was definitely a good idea, as I had a great 12 hour sleep last night and woke up feeling more able to deal with current pressures. I’ve had a very productive yet enjoyable day today, and feel a bit more like myself.

Training this evening was a bench session, although I did some light squatting to warm up. I worked raw up to 50kg then put my shirt on for 60kg, moving up in 5kg increments to 75kg. Through some fault of my weight, or the way my shirt was put on me, I wasn’t able to get the bar down to my chest, even at 75kg. Although a little disheartening, with not long until the British I’ve decided to go back into my old shirt and work with that. My numbers might not be as high as I’d like, but it’ll be more productive and rewarding training in the short time we have left before my next competition.

 

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

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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!