Riding high

Today is Thursday, which is my Friday and every one of my weekends is a 4-day weekend. Yeah I know, must be nice huh? It is nice.

Damn it was nice to be back into some good ol’ regular programming this week. Although, I did a little bit of extra work Sunday and Monday, which is what I’m going to tell you about first. By the time Sunday rolled around, I couldn’t sit still any longer. Most of last week I was sick and when that is combined with a deload week, it turns out to be the perfect recipe for heavy barbell withdrawal. On Sunday I worked up to a moderately heavy Squat single and did some not-super-crazy airdyne intervals. Here are my Squats from the little extra credit sesh (not super eventful) where I worked up to a single at 280-lbs and then did some EMOM (every minute on the minute) Squats at 255-lbs:

Ok, so now for Monday. I’m going to begin with some background information. Last Christmas, I received my first pair of real-deal weightlifting shoes (Nike Romaleos 2) along with Rehband knee sleeves. On my first or second day in the gym after getting these toys, I PRed my Squat by like 40-pounds or something obscene like that.. I think it went from 265 to 305. I didn’t take video of the 305, so I have no idea what it looked like, besides that I do know it was to full-depth. But honestly, even when I watch videos of myself squatting from the last 6 months, I can tell that I’ve made leaps in my technique. Anyway, that was about 9 months ago. Since then, I had never squatted more than 300-pounds. In fact, I had never even gotten that big 3-0-0 again. This spring, 295-pounds went up once or twice pretty comfortably, and I tried to sneak up on 300 with fractional plates a time or two with no success. There were a few weeks before CrossFit Regionals and Raw Nationals that I maxed my Squat every Friday with the purpose of getting me more Time Under Tension (TUT) and boosting my confidence… That didn’t happen. I continually failed to get that magical 300, let alone 305, so we changed things up. In April at the Alaska State Powerlifting Championship, I put up a 297-pound squat and that was the closest I ever got. Until Monday.

My coach programmed a 5×5 Squat at 70% (210-lbs), 8×1 Deadlift at 80% (280-lbs), and accessory work. I did all of that stuff between 3 and 5 PM and then coached from 5 until 8 PM. After coaching, I decided to Squat more – my plan: work up to a heavy single. Maybe, just MAYBE, go for 302-lbs. When I stood up with 302-pounds on my back and it felt like something I do on a daily basis, I knew I had more in me. Here’s the wonderful 307-pound PR video:

I feel really good about how that Squat looks. Obviously it isn’t perfect, but I know that lift is absolutely repeatable and that, most importantly, I have more in me.

Lastly, here is my training session from yesterday (again, really nothing exciting).

“Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.” – Ovid

Next move

Top of the World Recap

Well, I’m indifferent about my performance at the Top of the World PL Challenge in Fairbanks. Going into it I felt great – weighed in at 74.1 kg (about 2.2-lbs under weight) – and felt strong. Squat warm-ups went exactly as I wanted them.. I was able to stay focused on exactly what I needed to do. My opener and 2nd attempt were great, even could consider them easy. On the third attempt is where I had an opportunity to chip my current Junior American Record of 297-lbs. “Chipping” a record is only something I can do, because I am the record holder. Most people just have the option to make 2.5-kg increases, but my advantage is that I can make 0.5-kg increases if I’m going to bump up my record. I had several options, my coach advised me to attempt anything UP TO 303-lbs (137.5-kg), but I took a more conservative route and went for 299.8-lbs/136-kg. It was like butta:

Now, the rest of the day was unspectacular. I am attributing it to a few things: meet-day nutrition (I need to eat more carbs), adrenal fatigue , and regaining focus after a monumental moment (like setting an American Record). It does seem crazy for me to say that I’m not satisfied with my performance, considering I set an American Record, but I had certain expectations for myself and I failed to meet them. The take-away is that I had yet another great learning experience and it taught me more about myself as a competitor – I’m happy with that.

Next Up

This week was an easy week training-wise. I came down with a head cold and sinus infection type of thing for a few days, but trained anyway. Today I did some extra work after my 6×3 Squat at 225-lbs (75%) because I finally felt good. Next week I’m starting the bulk of my next 6-week cycle before the Bench & Deadlift Invitational at AFX (Alaska Fitness Expo) on October 26th.

Experimenting with nutrition is something I enjoy doing. Therefore, I am now doing carb backloading, as described in this article by Caitlyn Trout of Juggernaut Training Systems (JTS). I really just got started today. I’ve been looking for guidance and advice from other female powerlifters who have to watch their weight while they do strength training, so this article had perfect timing.

Another piece of news in my fitness life this week is that I got business cards! I am going to have them printed in the next couple of weeks and when I get a high-quality image, I’ll post it on here. Let me just say, they are pretty bad ass, with a custom-made logo by House 8 Graphics.

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Here is the crew from the Top of the World PL Challenge in Fairbanks, AK.

Pre-Meet Post: Top of the World

After Raw Nationals, I committed myself 100% to powerlifting training in preparation for the Arnold Sports Festival Powerlifting meet in February 2014. Not only am I focused on just powerlifting, but I am also working on becoming a better competitor. All my life I played team sports and powerlifting is essentially the first time I have been a competitive individual athlete. Knowing myself mentally and emotionally around training and competition is an essential part of becoming competitive at the level that I am striving for.

This fall/winter I am lifting in 3 meets that are basically back-to-back, with approximately just 6 weeks between each one. That tight schedule has benefits, but also has some downfalls. It is going to get me in touch with myself as a competitor, but it also means I will be peaking my lifts every 6 weeks which is not ideal.

Tomorrow is Meet 1 of 3 before the Arnold next February. My goal is to make lifts that I missed at Raw Nationals and to grow mentally as an individual athlete. I spoke recently in a post about tunnel vision in training. Tomorrow I am going to use that tunnel vision because I know that all I can do is what I have prepared for. There will be no surprises.

Execute, execute, execute.

A member of CrossFit Alaska told me recently that he thought I looked robotic, machine-like when I lift. In my opinion, that is one of the best things I could have heard. Every single time I get under the bar, I strive to make it look the same as the lift before. Consistency is key in making progress.

Tonight I will be eating a lemon. I am going to post a video to prove that it really is not as bad as many make it out to be. I consider it to be one way to exercise mental toughness.

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Raw Nationals 2nd place in the Junior (20-23) division
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Blame it on the a-a-a-a… Chocolate covered bacon

My apologies if you aren’t familiar with the song I was referencing in the title.

The theme for today is FOCUS.

I very rarely leave the gym unsatisfied with my training session, but today was an exception. My nightly sleep has improved a little bit, compared to a couple of weeks ago, but there is definitely a lot of improvement needed if I am going to be on my A-game in 2 weeks at the Top of the World Powerlifting Meet in Fairbanks. Another factor that likely affected my training session today was the 4+ hours I spent at the Alaska State Fair yesterday.. Being on my feet walking around for that long wore me out more than I realized until I put the barbell on my back today. I don’t actually think it’s because of the two pieces of [delicious] chocolate covered bacon I ate… Or the entire turkey leg, or the tamale. As hard as it is to leave the gym unsatisfied, I need to remember that every training session can’t be perfect. I will grow from it and learn a lesson.

The next two weeks, I’m going to focus on maximizing my sleep – not only at night, but also during the day when I have free time, along with improving my tunnel vision at the gym during my training sessions. Because I am both a coach and an athlete at CrossFit Alaska, sometimes the line is blurred and I get distracted during training to help out as a coach. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about it, I just know I need to be better about forcing myself to focus on the task at hand. It’s crunch time and I do not have room to be letting myself slip up. When I am in the gym to train, that is what I will do. When I am there to coach, I will coach. It’s as simple as that.

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Training video catch up

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of Earth. Life got crazy really quickly, and is now slowing back down. I quit my job, moved into my new house, and started classes in my graduate program all in less than a week while I was housesitting. As I have mentioned before, training is where I find peace within myself, so my workouts took priority and remained consistent throughout the chaos of life over the last week. Here are some videos to recap my training from last Saturday (August 17th) until yesterday (August 26th):

 

Bear with me, I’ll be back at this regular posting thing soon. Countdown to the Top of the World Powerlifting Competition: 18 days!

“You are fearfully & wonderfully made.” Ps 139:14

4 weeks until the Top of the World

Week 2 of 349283 (approximately) weeks until the Arnold is almost done. Life has been crazy (resigning from my job, starting graduate school, moving into a new house – just to name a few), but through all the twists, turns, ups, and downs I find myself best when I’m training. It is a time when I can focus on me and forget about everything that is going on outside the walls of the gym for a couple of hours.

I’ve been trying to be diligent about recording my work sets. Some of this week’s training can be seen below… Don’t worry, I won’t post videos of my arm accessory work 😉


*Clearly I made a typo in iMovie – this is a 6×4, not 6×3!

Today marks 4 weeks until the Top of the World PL meet in Fairbanks, AK.

Lipstick-inspired spiel

“‘Lipstick-wearing Powerlifter’ does not have to be a contradiction. We can get strong without leaving our feminism in the dust!” is what I posted as my Facebook status last night. It came after a comment someone made to me yesterday, and I haven’t been able to shake it.

I’ll start with a story from few months back: I was in the middle of a long training session at my gym (CF Alaska) and over the course of an hour or two my ponytail had gotten tousled. When I stood in front of one of the mirrors to fix my hair, someone (a male) said to me, “Do you have to look good to workout or something?” I thought some really sassy things to myself, but just replied with a laugh and said, “Yup, you nailed it!” But obviously the comment resonated with me, because I remember it to this day.

Most people know, and I would bet that there are scientific studies about this somewhere, that self-confidence has a huge influence on athletic performance. You’re not going to get a Clean & Jerk personal record if you are not confident in yourself and your ability to lift the weight. In my opinion, this can go all the way back to how an individual feels when they step into the gym.. If I feel good about myself when I arrive, I will perform better. So yes, that may mean that I wear make-up to the gym.. And I may even leave my lipstick on from earlier in the day. Does that make my 200-pound Clean & Jerk worth less? No. Yesterday I told a friend at the gym that I was going to do squat and bench and her response was, “In lipstick?” Yes, in lipstick. And I might even have my nails painted. *gasp*

I’m on a mission to destroy stereotypes and to defy societal norms. Anyone is welcome to join me. Keep your nose to the grind stone, train hard, set & achieve goals, and always embrace your femininity.

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Training to stay sane

This week was like 7 days on a roller coaster so I am really glad to be recuperating this weekend.

I followed some trusty free spirit programming all week.. Basically made up training sessions as they unfolded depending on how I felt. Monday I start my next 6 week PL cycle and I wanted to be sure to start it feeling good.

Weighted pistols are hard! I am pretty good at regular pistols, but I added a 20# dumbbell and WOAH. The WOD was 21-15-9-7-5 push press (105-lbs), weighted pistols, and Kettlebell swings (53-lbs). That WOD was preceded by hang clean work.. I hang cleaned 165 for a double, which is more than I have ever hang cleaned even for a single!

Yesterday I ran my favorite benchmark workout: Diane. That WOD is 21-15-9 reps of deadlifts (155-lbs) and handstand push-ups. My time was 5:30, which was a PR by 1:06! Tonight I worked up to a 1 rep max front squat (255-lbs, which was a 10-lb PR). Then I worked up to a 1 rep max hang snatch and got 140-lbs, followed by some every minute on the minute (EMOM) snatch work.

So training-wise this week was mellow and I used it to keep me sane. Monday begins competition mode and I am excited.

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Day 1 in Orlando

Well, it’s a damn good thing I have a coach. And a great coach at that. I had workouts and other weight-cutting plans all lined out for today and tomorrow, but Matt put a quick nix to that. His advice: keep drinking water, eat lean protein and veggies (normal for me), and CHILL. I was 5-lbs over this morning when we landed in Orlando after about 11 hours of flying and airports. He says I am fine and, of course, I trust that. So it will be an early night to sleep for me after finishing off the rest of my 2 gallons of water. This is my first coach shout-out of probably many more, bear with me!

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