Monday, March 19, 2012
Since I began weight training there has been one thing that makes me insanely happy and high on life. I like to call it “getting a new heavy.” Whether it was when I worked up to 40 lb dumbbells for overhead db shoulder presses or when I got all amped and crazy and managed a 65 lb dumbbell for single arm bent over db rows or my new squat PR of 195 lbs for 5 reps set just 3 days ago – these are the moments that make me fly. Getting stronger and racking up the numbers to prove it is my biggest love in lifting. It doesn’t matter how much stress I am under or even if I have a throbbing headache – getting in there and going for it always makes me better.
What could I lift in one year? Two years? Three years? I have no idea other than that it would be more than I can lift now.
I only started lifting weights at all 1 year and 7 months ago – and the first 4 months all I did was Body Pump classes. It wasn’t until I found Laura (my wonderful former PT turned friend) that I got out of the group fitness room and starting playing with the free weights. She taught me a lot and then I had enough of a base to teach myself more. I’ve been addicted ever since.
That's me in July 2010 - the month I moved to a town with a Gold's Gym, joined up, and took up with Body Pump. That's my favorite pair of jeans right there. I haven't been able to get them on in over a year - not even the week of Emerald Cup. I'll take the super quads I've built over denim though! Aren't I cute - all proud of my tiny bicep? ;)
There's my bicep again, today actually, 1 year and 7 months after the first picture. Looks a little different with all the free weights in it's life ;)
I’m pretty strong, but I have not trained for strength. I’ve trained for Figure. I’ve trained my shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, chest, legs, and abs for size, balance and definition focusing on sets of 8-12 reps, and in some cases 16-20 reps, of 3-4 exercises per muscle group on a 6 day split.
What haven’t I done? Focused on low rep maximum weight training. I haven’t had a weekly squat day, weekly deadlift day, and weekly bench press day with other days filled in working auxiliary muscle groups.
The powerlifters I have met aren’t just awe-inspiring and inspirational in their personal bests – they’re all around great people. I haven’t sought extensive advice on getting into the sport and I haven’t talked to anyone about coaching me on my form. I haven’t joined any of the many powerlifting federations.
I have internet stalked the shit out of most of them though =)
What else have I done?
1) Deadlifted 250 lbs for 1 rep – my form was far from great and it was a bad lift because I false-started just prior.
2) Deadlifted 240 lbs “legally” in competition.
3) Benched 120 lbs in competition.
4) Benched 125 lbs with a spotter for 3 reps in the gym since the competition.
5) Squatted 190 lbs in competition.
6) Squatted 195 lbs for 5 reps in the gym
7) Taken up with rack pulls – the improve my DL form tip given to me by my queen of the deadlift friend. The woman is a brick house ;) I was doing sets of 6 @ 185 lbs and sets of 2-3 @ 205 lbs today.
8) Purchased a rich royal purple Inzer lever belt for protection as I get stronger =)
What will I do now?
1) Seek advice from the experienced.
2) Create a training plan.
3) Set short and long term goals.
4) Ideally, get a training buddy.
5) Find and compete in one or two small powerlifting meets before 2012 comes to a close.
What’s the expectation?
Not to place, but to beat my own records.
What’s the fantasy?
That’s the national contest qualifying total for a competitor in the open women’s 148 lb weight class. Your squat, bench press, and deadlift have to total 760 or higher. This must happen on record at a meet. The one thing I’m not clear on is if that’s raw or in gear. If your total meets or exceeds that number you can go compete at the Women’s Nationals.
The current Washington State women’s open record holder for raw lifts in the 148 lb class has a total of 788.1 lbs (286.6 lb Squat 170.9 lb Bench and 330.7 lb Deadlift). I weigh in at 142 right now. My “happy weight” is 138 and 134 looks like crap on me – too skinny, blech. The next weight class down is 132 or under so I will firmly be in the 148 class – there’s even room for a few more lbs of muscle ;)
Could I be that strong one day? Maybe someday or maybe never. I know new PRs are coming in my future and while they may never qualify me for a national level they will be my own and I will love them. I smile at the sight of the calluses on my hands and I’d expect to sleep like a baby should I ever have the chance to cuddle up with iron. This sport enthralls me – it is who I am – and that’s what makes me giddy =)
Posted by Reverse at 11:12 AM
Saturday, March 10, 2012
I’m one of those people who needs to funnel their energy somewhere. Lately, I keep issuing mini mid-workout challenges to myself. Last week on leg day I didn’t feel inspired to wrap up with cardio so I decided to go a little lunge crazy. The most I’d ever done before was an even 300 (10 sets of 30 walking lunges with a 40 lb barbell on my shoulders) so I thought I’d aim for 400 for the hell of it. I was only going to carry lightweight (12.5 lbs each) dumbbells so I started out alternating sets of 50 and 60 reps on an indoor track with 30-60 seconds rest between sets. My last set I went to failure and my grand total reps came in at 463. I’ve also had some really great upper body workouts lately where I’ve maximized the benefits of super sets to work really hard and comprehensively hit two muscle groups on very limited time. Being the accounting nerd / lifter combo that I am I tallied up my lift total after a recent biceps and shoulder session for kicks. My total was 12,645 pounds, 8,950 pounds of which was biceps and 3,695 pounds of which were shoulders, in less than 40 minutes. Silly quantitative moments like that make me smile =)
(click to enlarge)
I've been implementing HIIT (high intensity interval training) lately and it’s led me to start enjoying cardio again. Shhhhhhh ;) I made a bet with my mom a month ago about healthing up our respective diets and I’ve lost 4.5 lbs since then. I’m even enjoying eating clean (well +/- 90% clean) again. I pass by the Starbucks treat case almost daily and the rice krispy treats and vanilla bean scones lack the siren call they had a few months back.
So, WHY AM I NOT COMPETING??! =)
I don’t know – I feel like I should be.
There aren’t any figure competitions in Washington State on my timeline, unfortunately. The Washington Natural was in Seattle in July last year, but moved up to April this year :( Unless I want to travel out of state, that leaves Ironman in October. If I do it I won’t go it alone again. I would join a team, likely Tanji Johnson’s Save Fitness. Having the support of a team would protect me from the pitfalls of my first attempt: namely the post-competition crash and improper posing.
There’s also power-lifting, which I loved trying. I think it’s an amazing sport, but my form for both deadlifts and bench would need A LOT of work, preferably with a trainer.
Then there are the competitions designed solely to get your thrill on: The Survivor Mud Run, Warrior Dash, and Tough Mudder, to name a few. They consist of courses anywhere from 3.5-12 miles long fraught with 11-25 obstacles, and lots of mud of course!
My max pull-ups right now are 8 with an overhand medium grip. I want to be able to do that many or more with the challenging, but lat-loving wide grip. That’s a great mini goal, but I NEED a big training goal in my life again. Figure, powerlifting, and thrill-seeking all appeal. Regardless of if I’m dropping body fat for a stage tan or building strength to master obstacles and coat myself in mud I will be training for something by the start of spring quarter. The only question is, what?
Posted by Reverse at 6:20 PM