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.

.                            motivation

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.

 

Advertisements

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!

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.

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!

wpid-imag0948_1.jpg

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 😉

wpid-imag0934.jpg

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

wpid-imag0930.jpg

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!

 

 

47.5kg Bench

For your enjoyment; a few pictures of my opener on bench.

ImageImage

Currently sat at home feeling hungry and dehydrated. As my weight is still frustratingly above 53kg I am testing out my ‘true’ morning weight by restricting food and water intake after 6pm, as I would the day before a competition. It’s not fun at all!

No training today as I am resting in preparation for my competition this Sunday, but I did go out to meet up with the members of our new Health and Fitness society to discuss ideas for potential meetings and activities next year. A good selection of ideas discussed, we’re definitely headed in the right direction. Now all we need is to be accepted by the university, and we’ll be well on our way!