Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Film for Myself


I have something in common with Erin Stern and Nicole Wilkins Lee. I know I'm nowhere near their level, but it pleases me to know I share a commonality with them. They both have history as track athletes. I never made it farther than tri-district, but I was all about track in high school. I did hurdles, sprints, and the long jump. Today’s jump filled plyos had me thinking about track and I decided to go digging around my nostalgia box in my basement to see if I could find this pic, and look! I did. That's me about 11-12 years ago, yeah, not to date myself or anything ;)

Day 4 Ironman Prep

I film for myself. It sounds funny, but the root reason behind my filming sets at the gym is threefold. I find that by watching myself after the fact I can spot and correct errors in form (and consequently long term results) that I wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of. Secondly, stockpiling these 30-40 second clips keeps me motivated and also reminds me of things I haven’t done in awhile and should do again because they’re fun (hang snatch is a prime example here). The third reason is that I have fun making this blog a multimedia one and making amateur mini movies to post on it.



I’m completely in the zone with the diet now and I really like not counting. I did my own nutrition for Emerald and got downright neurotic the last two months tallying up my cals and macros and maintaining my desired protein/carbs/fat ratio. While I still ran a deficit I was taking in too many calories for figure, feeling starved all the time, and getting buried in the details. Being told what to eat is great. I’m given a week of dietary recommendations at a time and literally just eat what he tells me to at the frequency I’m told. I think 70% of the battle of a competition prep diet is all the time spent contemplating it and questioning what you’re doing. Are my cals too high? Is my protein too high? My carbs are on track, but I ate half of them at night, shit. That kind of thinking. I also have a background as a sous chef so I got creative when I did it myself. That actually was a hindrance. You’d think it would be great to cook up something delicious and interesting, but still clean. Nope! The less interesting your food is the better. If you make something craving worthy you start craving more and viewing food as something delicious. To be successful on a prep diet you must train yourself to view food as fuel and nothing more. It has a purpose to fulfill, changing your body composition for competition.

My boyfriend happens to make REALLY great waffles from scratch that he then smothers with peanut butter and drizzles with maple syrup. I know this because he made them on Mother’s Day and brought me a plate before I’d made it out of bed (he’s pretty wonderful like that :) and I’ve had them a few times since then. Those waffles represent loving food for the enjoyment it can bring. Tomorrow morning my Kashi 7 grain waffles are up on the breakfast rotation. I’ll be having two of them with 22 grams of protein powder in water. I won’t need a plate as there will be no butter, no syrup, they will be plain. I can walk around and treat them like frisbees if I want to ;) That may sound boring, but I’m looking forward to it because those waffles represent one of many tiny steps of progress towards my goal :)

Today I had my 30 minutes of am cardio and 3 sets of bicycles (30 reps/set) and 3 sets of mini crunches (20 reps/set) done by 7:15 am. I hit Gold’s at 11:30 for some lower body plyos and a back session. The last plyo exercise was doing a long jump off a bench. My coach had told me to make sure to use a bolted down bench or it would go flying. I had no clue where I’d find one and Laura said there were none at The Rec and then, helpful fitness genius that she is, suggested using a cable seated row bench, so I did. They were 3rd up after 4 sets each of lateral bounds and bench jumps. I’ve had a quad session and a separate hamstrings session within the last few days that already have me noticing substantial muscle soreness each time I walk, sit down, bend…so I’m really excited at how I’ll feel by tomorrow. I love being sore because then I know my session was really effective. My body got used to my old training style so I got to a point where I’d only get sore if I lifted really heavy. Doing new things keep my muscles guessing (and sore ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shoulders, Quads, and Cheap Protein!


The "upside down" leg press which presumably has another name beyond that which I've made up ;)

Day 3 Ironman Prep

I’m feeling good about being back on the diet. It takes about three days to get in the swing of it and I’m there now. I had 30 minutes on my elliptical and 10 minutes of abs (3 sets of dumbbell side bends (30 lbs) superset with 45, 45, and a 60 second plank) behind me by 7 am. That is the best feeling to start the day with. It makes me energetic and can do vs. sluggish and wondering when I’m going to get my sweat on.

Today I trained my quads and shoulders. I again found myself doing things completely differently than I would on my own. I am quite liking it actually. It almost feels like it’s making the gym new again. One of my tasks today was four sets on the leg press, but the reps per set were 18, 20, 30, and 40 for the last. Unfortunately the traditional leg press at The Rec was out of order so I used the sort of upside down one upstairs and managed 130 lbs for the 18 and 20 rep sets, 115 for the 30, and 100 for the 40. The rest between sets was only 40 seconds. I’d like to know what weight I’ll manage when I do it again next week on the traditional leg press machine (translation: I’ll plan ahead and go to Gold’s).

I have honestly hated lateral and front raises for shoulders for months. They strain me easily and you have to use the weeny (10-12 lb) dumbbells for them so some twists on the standard versions were very welcome. I was to do my laterals leaning which I found I really actually liked a lot. Yay! The front raises were with a barbell instead of the usual dumbbells, also an improvement.



I popped by GNC after my workout to acquire some pure Casein powder. I’m a longstanding MyoFusion lover as it has the best texture / taste hands down amongst protein powders, but it’s a mix of whey, casein, and egg albumin. I also have some Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey that I’m happy with. When it comes to dairy derived protein you have whey and casein. The whey digests quickly and thus is good for before and/or after workouts when you’re seeking to feed your muscles promptly. Casein is a slow digesting protein and thus ideal as a last mini meal before bedtime as it will feed your muscles through the night as it slowly digests.

As anyone with a bodybuilding habit knows protein powders and other supplements can start to add up quickly. That is why I always comparison shop before buying. I have the Amazon mobile app on my phone so if I see a product I want while at GNC I pull it up on Amazon on my phone to compare the price and also so if reviews are positive or negative. I was looking at a 2 pounder of Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Chocolate Supreme for $44.99 at GNC and Amazon had that exact one for $25.52 and a 4 pounder of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Chocolate Cr√®me for $46.29. The 4 pounder will be here Friday to the tune of saving almost $20 or 48% of the sale price. That being said GNC had a lower price by about $12 on another product I eyeballed while there. It pays to shop around! The only flaw being that I can’t start on Casein until then.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Positive Stubbornness




Bedtime snack aka 6th meal of the day





This is what happens when you try and photograph an elliptical while using it. Can you make out the 202 on the right? That's strides per minute. I averaged 179 over the 30 minute span.




Ironman Prep Day 2

Stubbornness


I was proud of myself today. I woke up at 3:23 am with a splitting full skull and neck headache, realized my Advil were out in the car and stumbled to the kitchen for 3 aspirin and then back to sleep. I’d hoped by the time my alarm sounded at 6:15 that the headache would be hidden. Nope! But I got up anyway and logged 30 minutes on my elliptical followed up by 3 sets each of shoulder crunches, reverse crunches, and mini crunches. Then I went and got the Advil and took 3 which I never do, always only 2. Didn’t work! I ran behind schedule, dropped C off late and arrived at my service appointment late too. Getting out of the car at the dealership I promptly realized my carefully packed cooler bag with my 3 out of the house meals was still sitting at home 40 minutes away.

I could have rolled over and kept sleeping this morning, but I’m stubborn about my goals and commitments so I did my cardio anyways. I could have gotten frustrated when I forgot my cooler and eaten something regrettable, but I didn’t. I scrounged up a single serving pack of raw almonds and some protein powder from my purse to bridge the gap till I could retrieve my cooler. When I got back to school I still had my headache and tried for 2 more Advil, no dice. Actually, I still have that headache now as I’m typing this. I still went to class and I still went to The Rec immediately after to try my first workout from my new coach/nutritionist. I’m proud that I choose to be positive when I could have easily gone the opposite route.

When I first saw the workouts from my coach I got hung up on how different they were than my own. I’m ALWAYS doing something in the “man cave” at The Rec, always in need of a rack, the Smith, or free weights. Today doing hamstrings I did not set foot in there once, I began with a quick warm-up, 7 min on an elliptical and then went straight to the “giant set.” It was comprised of dumbbell push-ups, wood chopper deep medicine ball squats, and side planks. Sounds innocent enough right? Haha, no. You do them all back to back no rest and repeat the whole shebang 3 times. Now that will get you warmed up ;) I ALWAYS involve some form of walking lunge in my leg days, usually a 40 or 50 lb barbell on my shoulders. Nope! I was only holding 10 lb dumbbells today, but I was lunging differently, really stretching and focusing on the hip flexors. Plus, the reps per set were high. I then moved on to high rep sets of hamstring curls, wide medicine ball squats, a final set of walking lunges, and 30 more minutes on the elliptical.

This workout seriously kicked my ass despite being so different from what I usually do. I knew it early on because I normally think while I work out, not today. I wound up having the same song on repeat for my entire resistance set (Technotronic Pump the Jam) and the same song on repeat for my entire cardio set (Cascada Everytime We Touch). I am very much a music person for training. I need a song that meets my mood and artificially jacks up my energy level when it isn’t really there. What that song is varies day to day and I normally do listen to more variety in a session, but today I was so focused on just hitting it hard that repeat it was. I started smiling when I bent down to position myself over the dumbbells to start the giant set with 25 push-ups and the throbbing loud beat of Pump the Jam came on in tandem with my headache pulse. Odd as it sounds, it hit the spot and did the trick ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Waffles Say it All ;)








1. The waffle "competitors"

2. Their drastically differing stats. Note the composition of the fat. Kashi is primarily the "good" fats (polyunsaturated & monounsaturated) while Smuckers is, uh, not.

3. My new food scale! (and 4 oz. of chicken) I eyeballed last contest...I suspect eyeballs get bigger when one's diet gets tougher. I'll trust the scale for round 2.

4. My "support team." They took their duties very seriously last night: flavor selection for my last hurrah, aka the last gelato outing. We went with the toasted almond and the pineapple, aka the BEST flavors ;)

5. Me yesterday being silly and frosting my son's birthday cake. I've accumulated bigger triceps and biceps since Emerald, which is great, but I have much trimming to do, I'm at least 18% body fat right now, likely higher.


Day 1 Ironman Prep

Here we go again!


The waffles say it all.

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My son is a super skinny guy who is hard to put fat on. I am beginning my 12 week lean out for my second figure competition. It is fully accurate to say we have precisely polar dietary needs. This makes for some funny looking grocery shopping. I can generally be spotted afoot in the store with a small Spider-man, Fireman, or regularly clothed boy in my cart and opposing food selections. I buy a combination of the most calorically dense foods for him and the least caloric highest protein ones for me.

This evening waffles for each of us were on the grocery list. I am only allowed a rare breed of waffle right now: a low carb high fiber waffle. I’ve heard Special K makes one, but I’ve never seen it. I did, however, track down the Kashi 7 Grain ones at Target of all places. The stats, I must say, are fantastic:

Serving Size: 2 waffles, yes 2!
(72 grams)

150 Calories
5 g Fat
25 g Carbohydrates
4 g Protein

Let’s have a comparison shall we?

For Charlie and his polar dietary needs I acquired a box of Smuckers Snack’n Waffles. The average frozen waffle is around 110 calories so I was pleased to find these fatty ones. The stats are:

Serving size:
1 waffle, only 1!
(57 grams)
 smaller volume than Kashi too

220 calories
8 g Fat
32 g Carbohydrates
5 g Protein

If you divide those stats out on a per gram of food basis you find that my waffles have a mere 2.09 cals per gram while C’s have 3.86 cals per gram, nearly double. When you’re looking to cut body fat minimizing carbs is a major issue (while upping protein) and my waffles are only 35% comprised of carbs while C’s are 57% carb comprised.

Whatever your physique goal may be: muscle gain, fat loss, weight loss, or even weight gain you can make food work for you. You can find variations in the basics that meet your needs and goals.

The waffles say it all ;)

Today’s muscle group was back and that mostly boils down to trying to do my best to tease my lats into some legitimate wings. I was short on time so I just super set with minimal rest. I started with 4 sets of 12 reps each wide grip lat pulldowns s/s with 4 sets of 10-12 reps seated cable rows. That was followed up by 4 sets of 8-10 reps T-bar rows, loaded heavier than my usual, superset with 4 sets of cable straight bar pushdowns at 12 reps per set. My back is my weakness on stage so I am really focusing on quality over quantity here. That is a reasonable amount to do and call a back session, but I’m going 5-10 lbs lighter than I’m capable of to focus on improving my form. If you don’t have proper form you can wind up bearing some of the load unintentionally on other muscle groups and thus defeating your purpose.

Getting back to strict clean eating is hardest the first three days; I think any diet change takes about that long to not want to fight it. I feel like I’m off to a good start though. I’ve had 1,430 cals today disbursed across six meals: an English muffin turkey sausage egg white breakfast sandwich, ½ scoop of MyoFusion and ½ grapefruit, 4 oz. chicken with black olives cucumber & bell peppers, a 200 cal pack of raw almonds, 1 cup cheerios with ½ cup 1% milk, and another 4 oz. chicken with black olives, snap peas, and bell peppers. I don’t intend to keep my intake that low daily until the last month, but I’m doing it for the first three days to “break” myself of my munchity munch eat all I want off season habits.

My goal for my second show is very simple, to improve over my first. What does “improve” really mean?

To me it means that I will get on stage with real wings, leaner than last time, and more practiced at posing. I also aim to learn how to apply fake eyelashes myself before then ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nowhere to go, but Up!






Decline Push Crunches with a 10 lb Plate

Super sweaty me fresh off the elliptical and a 517 cal kill
(Darene! This one is for you! Remember harassing me for that other gym pic with perfect hair etc.? This is what sweaty me fresh off the machine looks like ;)

A killer 45 min on the elliptical: 4.7 miles and 517 cals burned res 5 gluteal 2 routine, woop woop!


My new playlist! =)


Nowhere to go but up


We are on a brief break from college / preschool right now until summer quarter starts up on Tuesday. It’s nice to be all about the gym! I took advantage of the opportunity and went to two today. The Rec on campus this morning as I didn’t have C and I avoid doing glutes at Gold’s if I can help it. Then, in the afternoon, Gold’s with C for cardio and abs. I prefer glutes at The Rec because Gold’s is ill-equipped for two of my fave glutes exercises: cable kickbacks and unilateral standing leg presses. For a cable kickback you simply need a cable station with a pulley on the lowest setting and the ankle straps. The Rec has top of the line padded leather ones with metal buckles and Gold’s just has some old black cloth Velcro ones that are smelly and I can’t find half the time lately anyway. The unilateral (single) standing leg press is done on an assisted pull-ups/dips machine. At The Rec there are two and they both have coated metal bars for standing on while Gold’s has a big pad for kneeling on instead that I’m guessing I’ll eventually get in trouble for standing on. Thus, The Rec’s glutes set-up “wins.” My access to The Rec will, sniff sniff, be heavily curtailed in August and most of September with C out of preschool. I plan to take any/every opportunity that I’m not in possession of him to go do glutes at The Rec, hopefully that will amount to at least 2X a week, or Gold’s it will be!

I’ve been easing myself into competition prep mode / mindset. I don’t feel like I can successfully go from zero to sixty with it. If starting tomorrow morning I was setting the 6 am alarm for empty stomached am cardio daily, eating tiny meals 6X daily with no cheats and strict cals/macros, and having a daily pm weights/cardio session I don’t know if I’d be fully vested in it. Not being fully committed equals being ripe for quitting, and we don’t want that! So I’m easing in. Starting with little bits. I ate well today, small quantities of clean foods, but I haven’t started counting cals yet. I worked out twice today, woot woot, but none of it was at 6 am. I think easing in will work.

During my cardio today at Gold’s I was spacing out to my playlist as usual and got to thinking about how truly fearless I ought to be about my next competition. I have nowhere to go but up! With other pet projects or ambitions that I’ve deemed to be my “thing” over time I have often shot out of the gate high and truly only been able to either maintain or fall from grace. Well, with bodybuilding I did not hire a nutritionist; I made it up myself. I cannot yet say that I’ve been lifting weights for a year. I took up with Body Pump classes late last July after moving here and didn’t take up with free weights outside of that until November. The Emerald Cup (unless I’m grossly misinformed) is pretty much the biggest figure competition in the state. Go big or go home! When I got there I did kind of freak out realizing: I’m such a newbie! Look at these women, what am I doing amongst them?? Eek! I didn’t go home though, nope I went big, and in my own heart and mind I failed big too. I don’t know that I’m entirely over that yet to be truthful. I’m getting there and my mindset today, while maxing out on the elliptical, was simple and beautiful: I have nowhere to go but up. There’s no GPA to suffer a hit, no former placing to come in under, or any other perceived lessening of achievement to be had. Nope! My posing will get better, I will come in leaner than last time, and my weak areas (primarily my “wings”) will be stronger and more prominent than their first showing.

I got to see Laura when I was at The Rec earlier and found out our schedules will be matching up summer quarter: yay! She is so great at mentally pumping you up and making you believe in yourself, I don’t even know if she does it intentionally or just exudes that quality. I’m not the only person I’ve heard it from either =) For my glutes I warmed up on an AMT and then did 4 sets of hack squats (drop it to the floor! Ala T-pain hehe) superset with 4 sets of Smith lunges, then 6 sets of waking barbell lunges, 5 sets of cable kickbacks, and 5 sets of standing unilateral leg presses. Yes, a shorty I know, by the time I got there I only had 50 minutes until I had to depart to pick up C and was equal parts distracted by being social and trying not to want to puke. Hah, yeah. I tried a sample pack of Advocare Muscle Fuel (creatine, caffeine, some other stuff). I took it about 2 hours after eating breakfast so a theoretically “empty stomach.” I will definitely use it again, just likely on a less empty stomach. It had me all jacked up and powering through things that would normally cause me to quit at fewer reps or take longer between set breaks. I like the energy of that supplement, it’s super hyper; it’s just a tad rough on an empty stomach. Then I took off down I-5 munching my raw almonds, drinking my 100 cals of Pure Protein shake and happily munching my super sweet delicious plain red bell pepper slices. Those things are the candy of competition prep! I have a serious bell pepper weakness, mmmm.

I meant to eat again before gym round two, but instead we stopped on by Costco and I dined on samples. I tried to balance it into a legitimate fuel source, sneaking back for seconds on the panko sweet chili shrimps and Korean style bbq chicken. Both of those are so tasty and both of those are things I can’t even dream of buying much less eating during contest prep. Sure, they sound like innocent protein, nope! They are protein, yes, but coated in sugary carbs and lots of bad fats! No wonder they’re so yummy, haha. We hit the freeway home and thankfully C didn’t fall asleep. I had been going to stop at home first, but feared if I didn’t we might not make it out again so straight off the freeway to Gold’s we went. I hit the cardio hard and then, go figure, saw C’s best friend from preschool walk in with his mom. I didn’t even know we shared a gym, yay! I knew C wouldn’t want to leave right away with his buddy there so I hit abs too. They have the best benches for decline weighted push crunches at Gold’s. I usually do no more than 20 reps per set, but I was all hopped up on cardio and made myself do 4 sets at 30 reps each with a 10 lb plate superset with 4 sets of side bends at 12 reps per side with a 35 lb plate. It was good.

When we first got home I was starved so I had a TJ’s chicken nitrate free hot dog (60 measly cals 1 g carbs 1 g fat 9 g protein) with a little ketchup wrapped in a toasted Dave’s Killer Bread sprouted wheat slice. Dinner was only an hour later, it was chicken breast based and also had a small amount of yam and a large amount of kale. If I was in competition prep that would have been overeating, blowing a budget. Actually, I’m sitting here guilt-tripping myself about that and I shouldn’t be, haha. For my bedtime snack I had a Kashi 7 grain waffle (75 cals only 12.5 g carbs) smeared with my kryptonite, I mean Bees Knees peanut butter. If you have not tried it, don’t start! Well, unless you aren’t a bodybuilder, in which case, DO IT!!! Hehe. The uh kryptonite was accompanied by ¾ of a scoop of Optimum Gold Standard Whey with 6 oz. REAL milk. I must tell you, I will be MISSING dairy when it is gone again. I LOVE my dairy. I feel good about my whole grain and my protein, if I was in contest prep it would have been whey in water, no waffle, and 1 teaspoon of the pb on a spoon for a treat, maybe, depending on how many weeks in. I’m working up to that though, and I’m actually excited to be. Yay! =)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stern-spiration




C "doing pull-ups" I love that he loves the idea of training =)

Stern-spiration ;)

I’ve been pretty directionless lately. I should tell you that nothing bothers me more than not having my mind set on something: be it a near future goal, project, or long term plan. So when I’m without any of the above I STRESS OUT. The nicest way to describe how my quarter has been going is “less than stellar” a more accurate depiction would be “shitty.” I can be really great when I want to be, but if my goal is questionable at best and the going gets rough I get stubborn and shutdown. You would think being fully aware of it would be enough to right it, but nope. I have to have a purpose, a “thing” if you will to motivate and excel. I had this great float going up until now where all the coursework had a lot of direct relation to my work experience and I hadn’t particularly expected that trend to end. Then, boom, this quarter 2/3 of my classes were all brand new crap I’d never seen before, AT ALL. Stuff that’s hard to memorize, less than intuitive, and well shit I’ll use that word that I usually leave out of my vocabulary: HARD. I dropped one class a month ago in an attempt to save the other. It didn’t work; I fared even worse on the second midterm. Thankfully I have one class that still relates to what I know; one small point of success for the quarter. I’ve been having a hard time even studying for that final though. Why? The whole goal (become a CPA) I set in motion 3 years ago is faltering. Being a CPA in 10 years is practical when my son will hit his teens and no longer think it’s cool to hang out with mom, but until then he has a right to a present parent. I’m the one he’s got, sporadic hit and miss contributions from the other half of his genome aside. I need a good job that only asks for 40 hours a week. Personally, 60+ doesn’t put me off, but I’m obligated to shorty first and that would set him up to be raised by babysitters. Child or career, child or career? Many women do both, but that is far more fair in two parent households. I’m going to finish my B.A. in Accounting. I only have a year left so it would be silly not to. Does it make any sense to do a fifth year now to cover my CPA exam eligibility anyways? Who knows, the only certain selling factor I can list for that is it would keep C in the college preschool (which btw is the best preschool ever!) until he hits kindergarten. I’m trying my best to try something new: to be guided rather than to plan. I’m going to just say I’m a college student for the next year, not that I’m “working towards getting my CPA” as I’ve been saying for the last 3 years.

I’m going to be something else too though. I’m a BODYBUILDER and I’m going to own that and embrace it. I’ve been waffling since Emerald as to whether or not I ever wanted to compete again. Yes, publicly I’ve been saying I should do Ironman, but I didn't believe in it. I wanted to try competing outside of the NPC too and had my eye on an NANBF competition late this month. After Emerald I’d gotten setup with a nutritionist and trainer I met at Emerald and had planned to prep for the June competition. A week in I realized that I was still burnt out and my classes were kicking my ass (translation: shitty ass grades on midterms in two classes) so I dropped the plan to compete in favor of focusing on school. Surprise! It didn’t work.
Winter quarter I had 16 credits, was training 15+ hours a week for Emerald, spending 7 or so hours weekly on this blog, and January is what I fondly refer to as “bookkeeper’s hell month” (W-2s, year end, etc. on top of the usual grind). Yet despite all that going on I pulled out a 3.4 GPA, at the time I thought it crappy as I’d somehow managed a 4.0 till then, but looking back that 3.4 was GREAT. Now here I am not training, not blogging (well at the moment I am haha), not in the busy season, and I may not even come in high enough in a class to get credit on my degree for it. How can one explain that?

Here's how. I NEED BODYBUILDING. Training doesn’t just give me big muscles, take my body fat into the cool sub-normal person realm, and pump me full of endorphin highs. It does so much more. I love that it keeps me sane in times of maximum stress. I love the amazing friends it has allowed me to meet in the weight room. I love that my sweet and caring boyfriend kept giving me his number after watching me drip sweat squatting my bodyweight or curling 20s at his gym when I visited home (and that thankfully I eventually gave him a chance ;) I love that weight-lifting can be sexy and feminine. I love that my barely 4-year-old son loves going to the gym, plays with dumbbells at home, imitates Rich doing pull-ups, and bossily told me to “do it just like that momma” after watching a video of Erin Stern doing hang snatches last night. I love that I feel good when I sweat. I love that I’m better at all of life when I’m in training. I love bodybuilding.



How a pro does it :



At long last that lengthy lead up brings me to the Stern-spiration. Erin Stern is one of the top three figure pros right now, actually her and Nicole Wilkins-Lee have been duking it out lately for the top spot and it varies competition to competition which one is number one. On Facebook I have all three in my “likes” (Erin, Nicole, and Ava Cowan) so what posts on their pages shows up in my feed. Last night I happened to click on one of Erin’s videos. She may be HUGE in the figure world, but I felt like we could relate because she goes and props up her camera and walks off to start what she’s filming just like I have been for this blog. I also find her relatable because she started in track (a high jumper) and she still integrates hurdles into her workouts. I did track in high school and loved it so I can’t help but respect that. Last night I was watching her video on hang snatches and also one on cleans. I’d never done either, but it’s finals week and I’ve been wanting to throw a barbell from the frustration so it looked far too fun to not try.

I went to The Rec first thing this morning and ran smack into my friend / trainer Laura (yay!) then immediately into my friend Rachael (totally amazing power-lifter woman who can deadlift 395 lbs!) who showed me how to do a hang snatch. In a case of perfect timing there was a guy doing cleans in the next rack over so I got to see both, but we focused on the hang snatch. The bar weighs 45 lbs and we did that first for form. In the video there are some 10 lb plates thrown on and the cuffs are 2.5 lbs each bringing the bar to 70 lbs. Weanie! I know, as it turns out these ARE NOT something you just go throwing weight on (ya know, like squats ;) it takes a long time to get good form and build that strength up to roll heavy in Olympic lifting. I’m now doubly impressed / inspired that Erin Stern has a vid of herself doing 3 reps at 135 lbs. That’s hardcore! Especially while on a competition diet. Damn.

I’m going to start “officially” training for Ironman on the 24th of this month. It’s taking place September 24th. I’m going to shake up my routines and try some more crazy barbell throwing moves. For the moment we’ll call the hang snatch my new favorite move (replacing such former top hits as push-ups to failure, real pull-ups, and single arm bent over dumbbell rows). I also one upped my triceps bench dips today. I’ve done them at body weight to failure as the end move on my triceps circuit for a good while now, but Erin throws weight on and I’d been meaning to start. So today I did them with a 35 lb and a 10 lb plate on my lap (the 45 lb plate is just too big for my lap haha). Good fun =)

When in doubt, hit the weights!