GIRLS CAN LIFT

A Dainty Diary of Lifting


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Bench PR – 145×1

Update on yesterday: no binge eating episodes. I had ham with a honey mustard glaze, roasted new potatoes and green beans for dinner (delicious) and then in the evening I was feeling a bit peckish, so I had two bananas each with a smear of sunflower seed butter. I am open to change.

Today: Feeling kind of really anxious about work stuff. Wanted to go home and watch Netflix and hide. Didn’t want to lift. Didn’t want to pay $10 to Pactapp to skip my workout, so my workout won.

And guess what?

After my volume squats, I managed to PR my bench!

I hit 130×4 which was easily a PR. My previous PR was 127.5×5, which I only managed to set last Friday. I tried for a fifth rep and couldn’t get it. This means I’m going to have to take a reset which is fine, but I wanted to go a bit heavier instead of just counting the session as a write-off. I hit 135×3 which basically means I can call it quits, because I’ve accomplished my lifetime lifting goal of repping 1-plate. Then I hit 145×1 – which I totally had to fight for, but I did get it in the end. I was secretly optimistic that I might hit 135 in North Bay – which would be a huge improvement of 121lbs at my last meet. Now I’m kind of hoping I can hit this with a pause in 11 weeks time.

For a very, very, very, very long time I was convinced my bench would never progress past 135×1 (on a good day). Turns out that I when eat enough because I’m not obsessed with losing weight and I take the time to rest and recover my hip injury, my bench can progress just fine.

The excitement of hitting these PRs did take the edge off of some of my anxiety. I also feel marginally better about my shitty deadlifting session on Saturday. At least progress on my bench makes up for some of the weight I’ve lost off my deadlift.

Speaking of my deadlift, I read something (for a source I’d prefer not to admit to reading), that suggested my inability to engage my glutes at lockout is a result of having my feet pointed directly ahead. I am going to try turning my feet out slightly. I also found a 6-week program that I might try running for my deadlift.

While I was finishing off my workout, I was thinking I should go to Herb ‘n Spice and buy chocolate covered pretzels. I didn’t think I had $5 to spend on chocolate covered pretzels, but somehow I managed to conjure $5 when the need arose. Except today is supposed to be George Costanza “Opposite Day” on PNLE, where I do the opposite of all the things that don’t work for me. I put $5 in my savings account, ate chicken stir fry for dinner and now I’m chilling out to Fleetwood Mac. Maybe it’s not the most luxurious or extravagant celebration I’ve ever had, but I’m still super psyched about all of those bench press PRs.


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Deadlifts and binge eating

I am writing this blog entry in an explicit attempt to get a binge eating episode out of my system without actually binge eating.

I really want an ice cream sandwich – the kind with two chocolate chip cookies on either side. I had one yesterday. I went grocery shopping and I bought one ice cream sandwich and ate it after my afternoon snack. 

I thought about buying apple turnovers or croissants, but I told myself I didn’t need them and I avoided the bakery altogether. I considered buying the family-sized bag of m&ms, and I went to the candy aisle and I saw the fuzzy peaches and I thought, “Man, those would both be good together – but you know what I really, really want? Ice cream.” At the end of the day, it’s always fucking ice cream. So I went to the dairy case, I considered all of my options – a pint of cookie dough ice cream or the box of ice cream sandwiches – with vanilla ice cream and 12 chocolate chip cookies that were on sale. Except, I keep trying to open myself up to change, and the change I need is to stop eating junk food until I’m in a coma just because it’s Saturday – which is exactly what will happen if I buy this box of ice cream sandwiches. So I bought 1 ice cream sandwich along with the rest of my groceries.

Then I came home, unpacked my groceries and ate the ice cream sandwich. Oh man, it was delicious. I could;ve eaten about 5 more, even though I was sort of full. And I keep telling myself that I didn’t totally blow it, that I didn’t fuck up by enjoying one, single, lonely ice cream sandwich. But here I am, writing in my blog because a much larger part of me, doesn’t actually believe it. It feels like a fuck up because I couldn’t enjoy it without wanting more.

I need to go to the bank tp get a roll of quarters so I can do laundry. I have to walk by the grocery store on the way there, and again on the way back. I could just pop in and buy the damn box of ice cream sandwiches. They’re on sale!!! And you know, I could just pop in to the burger joint on the way and get a combo with fries. I haven’t had to do any measurements for PNLE, so technically I’m not even tracking my progress. Who’s going to know? And so what if I make myself sick before they give me a nutritional habit? It’s not like they’ve told me to stop eating junk food.

Except, I am an adult – the idea that I need to be told not to eat an entire box of ice cream sandwiches is fucking ridiculous. Just like it’s ridiculous that I am obsessing over the ice cream sandwich that I ate yesterday. I don’t want to be insane. I want to feel like I am healthy and in control of my diet. What is wrong with me?

And even when the adult voice inside of me is screaming at me that I don’t need another ice cream sandwich or m&ms or popcorn, there is this much quieter and much more powerful voice that says it doesn’t matter. Even if I avoid binge eating this weekend, I’m just postponing the inevitable. Eventually I will find myself back at the grocery store, reaching for the sugar high that will fuel my self-loathing.

I am open to change. (Am I?)

Actually, this is all a moot point. I think I out-smarted myself this morning. You see, yesterday I did the groceries – I bought yogurt and chicken and rice and protein bars and bananas. I went to the farmer’s market and I bought cherries and beans and peas and cucumbers and shishito peppers. I went to the little shop down the road and bought potatoes and ham to have for dinner tonight, and duck with rice pilaf for later in the week. I have enough healthy food to last me until I get paid. And so if I think I have money to burn on junk food, why don’t I put that money into things that actually matter to me, like paying off my student debt. So that’s what I did. I only had $50 in my chequings account, but I guess that’s $50 off my debt. I guess I won’t be doing laundry today, but that’s okay because I won’t be buying ice cream sandwiches, either. And I’m pretty that if I died suddenly, there would still be a dozen loads of laundry waiting for me in the after life.

I am open to change. I am open to change. I am open to change. I am open to change.

Maybe if I say it often enough, it will become true. Or maybe it will become true because I’m not giving myself a choice in the matter. 

Speaking of change: let’s talk about another area of my life where I need a change because I’m feeling a bit lost. I deadlifted yesterday, and I accidentally found my 1RM. It’s 335lbs. Remember when I pulled 370? I kind of feel like that might never happen again.

I need some sort of deadlift programming. Doing 5s is not how I’ve made progress beyong 300lbs in the past. I don’t want to do mag/ort because repetitions don’t tend to help my DL max. I don’t want to do Coan/Phillipi because even though it did get me to a 370lb pull in the past, I felt like I lost 20lbs off my max the minute it was over. There is no reason for me to be peaking for my meet in October, if I can safely qualify for provincials that are only 5 weeks later. So…. what the hell do I do? I’ve never felt like my squat and bench were progressing when my deadlift was faltering. Deadlifting is the whole reason I’m interested in powerlifting!

This sucks.

I am going to keep looking for a deadlift progression that appeals to me. It’s not like I can afford to do anything else today. 


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Squat PR and goal setting

I feel like today has been a bit of a whirlwind. I start off the day with a job interview, boring but exhausting work stuff happened, and then I finished with an all-time squat PR.

I actually can’t believe that happened. The last time I got a 5RM squat PR was the day I turned 24. One of my coworkers guessed my age to be 32 today, and it hasn’t quite been 8 years since my last squat PR today, but damned if it doesn’t feel like it. Best of all: no hip pain. And they didn’t even look that difficult (despite how they may have felt). 

I also benched 127.5 x5 which was another all-time PR… and I did it three times… and that’s another PR that seems kind of impossible. For about the first time ever, I feel like my bench is actually progressing. I haven’t been recording it because I don’t want to jinx myself, but I probably should take a video to make sure my heels are fully down and my butt isn’t popping up.

The one area where I am not feeling so hot is my deadlift. I pulled 315×3 last Saturday and could not have got a fourth. Not entirely sure what sort of programming I want to do leading up to meet, but historically 5s and 3s are not where I make my best deadlift progress, so I need to figure that out.

Anyway, this was a good way to start off my workouts for my first week of PNLE. My coach wrote to me and said proper eating would support my powerlifting, so I do feel like she gets it, and I feel better having set up a routine that actually motivates me to get into the gym. (Okay, so I dragged my feet a bit at the possibility of failing 275×5, but that still beats glute bridge intervals on a bosu ball any day.)

Of course, in the spirit of PNLE, my diet has not been completely revamped in the first week. I still ate a smore sandwich cookie at lunch today. And I may have eaten an entire box of muesli breakfast pitas on Tuesday…. but at least now I know now to bring them into the house again? I can consume sprouted grain English muffins responsibly, instead.

 Last year, my first PNLE habit was to take fish oil. I’m trying to re-adopt that habit, although it’s not my first habit in the program this time around. I am supposed to pick one 5-10 minutes “healthy” action and implement it each day. On Monday I bought a water bottle for my apartment. Several days this week I’ve committed to packing my lunch for the next day at 8 am and then procrastinated on it as long as humanly possible in the evenings – but at least it got done. Tomorrow I am going to the farmer’s market, which I’ve been meaning to do all summer. And today I am writing this blog post.

The idea behind these actions and the accompanying actions is to evaluate and increase my current capacity for change. As much as I feel like I am ready to lose weight, I am not sure I’m ready for the actual change that will take in my life. Quite simply: I gained a lot of weight out of sheer laziness, and even if I don’t feel good about it, it seems a lot easier than the alternatives.

So where do I want to be in a year from now? I want to be under 150lbs without feeling fat. I want to feel like I am in control of my diet, without feeling restricted. I want to be lifting consistently and focusing on my lifts and not the scale, which I have always done in the past. I want to be cooking more for myself, doing meal prep and spending less on groceries. The things is… I kind of want that last one to just happen magically overnight. Aren’t there fairies that can do that for me in my sleep? Am I really willing to put in the effort to change if those fairies don’t exist? Because some of those things seem like a lot of work, if they’re even possible. I mean, I’ve been under 150lbs and I still felt like a landwhale. I still saw myself as being fat. And I know I shouldn’t eat past the point of fullness, but it’s so reassuring when I’m feeling down! Overall, this all seems really hard.

But here’s the thing: I really didn’t feel like packing my lunch any night this week, and yet I still managed to do it. When it was done, I felt so much better AND I felt better the next day because I had satisfying meals and I didn’t have to run to the grocery store for a bunch of impulse buys. I can put in the work, I just need to take it one small step at a time. And maybe by the time I’m actually 32, I’ll have everything figured out – and maybe I’ll be squatting the moon. Is that an unrealistic goal?

 


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Resurrection of my blog

Hi.

Long time no update.

Life… just kind of happened. And now here I am. I signed up for Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating Program. Again. 

Let me explain what happened:

I can pretty much pinpoint when I started spiralling out of control. It was not when I lost my job. It was not when I moved. It was not when I visited my family for Christmas. It was in January. I was walking to the gym and I decided that I just didn’t care about PNLE’s workouts. It was too cold to be walking to the gym, anyway. So instead I went to the drugstore and bought junk food. The next day, I didn’t go to the gym either. I stopped logging on to the PNLE lessons. I basically didn’t leave my house. I just stayed curled up in bed all day, trying to avoid reality.

Not-so-coincidentally, my unemployment insurance ended in January. I had no job, no job prospects and a dwindling bank account.Every time I made plans with friends, the conversation always opened with, “So have you found a job yet?” and inevitably led to me admitting what a lazy and useless failure of a human being I was. Going out with friends involved spending money that I didn’t have, and that just stressed me out. So all in all, avoiding my life entirely really did seem like the best course of action at the time.I was quite literally crippled by stress,

Therefore, I can’t say I was surprised when my monthly credit card payment for PNLE bounced in January… five times. I asked to drop the program. I hadn’t logged in for 4 weeks and I hadn’t gone to the gym during that time. Even if I had been following the program, I couldn’t justify the expense when I couldn’t even afford to buy groceries. I borrowed money from my parents because I had to eat, and then I spent the money on junk food because at least that seemed like a pleasure in the black hole of my existence. Rationally, I could see that I was gaining weight and felt like crap, but I still couldn’t stop. I was acting like a drug addict, except I was addicted to sugar and binge eating.

In my busy schedule of napping and eating junk food for days on end, I did find the time to send out approximately one bajillion job applications, which I considered a plus. I went to four job interviews in January, which I consider to be among my greatest achievements, given my state of mind. That was a really big deal, except I didn’t seem to be any nearer to a job.

Eventually, I got a job offer for a six month contract doing admin work. It sounded like a minimum wage job, and also like the best thing that could ever happen to me because at least I’d have some sort of income. Of course, 12 hours later I received a call asking me to come back to my old student job for a few months. Long story short, by the end of March I was back with my old team on a 5-year contract and a livable salary. . 

I really thought that at that point my gym mojo would just magically re-appear. I had income and a reason to get out of bed in the mornings! Except that going to work and dealing with people all day was a bit of a shock to my system. I had a whole bunch of new team mates all at once, and I’d gotten a promotion, which meant higher pay – but also a lot more responsibility. It was just a total system overload, and for the first couple of weeks, I would leave work in the evening, pick up fast food and then come home and go to bed. The idea of going back to the gym, where I would be weak and fat just seemed totally unappealing now that I could afford to almost anything else.

A friend of mine suggested the Pact app to get back into the routine of going to the gym. I’ve been back for 12 weeks, and I’m still using the app. It charges my credit card $10/day for every day I miss. I haven’t missed a day.The part of me that couldn’t afford to buy groceries cannot fathom spending $10 to miss a workout. Oh, and I signed up for a Powerlifting meet in October, with the same friend.

Slowly, I am getting my strength back.  It’s hard for me to compare my current numbers with my previous maxes, because I’ve gained almost 50lbs. (What can I say? I have an eating disorder and it was a long winter.)

Now that I’ve re-established my gym routine, I feel like I can finally tackle my diet, which is no longer the biggest mess in my life (The biggest mess in my life is actually my non-existant self-esteem, so dealing with my diet actually seems like a walk in the part). Of course, being who I am, I tried to do a bunch of things that I knew wouldn’t work. First, I tried to count calories but that didn’t even last a full day. Second, I tried to do an extreme keto-esque cut. That lasted about 3 days. Then I went to World Pride and ate Eggs Benedict all weekend, and came back 10lbs heavier. There has to be a better way

Oh wait, I seem to recall doing part of a program that taught me how to lose weight without going crazy. And it taught me a lot of stuff. I mean, I sort of feel like a giant failure because I didn’t lose any weight at the time, and then I dropped out of the program. But neither of those facts prevents me from applying what I learned – so that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks. Miraculously, it seems to have be working.

But what will I do when my weight loss slows down and I don’t feel motivated to plan my meals for the week? I seriously debated whether to sign-up for PNLE again. I wanted some accountability and consistency. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish the program. I really struggled to decide whether I should sign up again. I looked back at what went wrong last time. I hated the workouts. I was broke. I never developed a strong connection with my coach or my team. I didn’t always ask for help when I needed it. 

Except I still fully believe in the habits the program teaches, and I know exactly what I need to do to fix all of the issues that I had last time. I have a steady job for the next year: I was able to pre-pay for the whole program, which I can afford to do now , and it means I can’t drop out in February if money’s tight. I sent an e-mail to the PN team and I requested a different coach. They were accommodating (and so supportive!). I am going to be working with a coach who has powerlifting experience, so hopefully she will understand as I continue to train for my meet in October. And I can be brave enough to ask for help when I need it… though I admit that I’m still working on that one. 

The program doesn’t start for a few days, which doesn’t really matter. I went to the gym today and did my Texas Method Light Day. I am still trying to eat PNLE-friendly meals. And I am feeling pretty zen about going through this whole process. Again. 

Which brings me back to my blog. Blogging has been helpful to me in the past, and I want to get into it again. If no one ever read my blog that would be fine, because it acts as a sort of “brain dump” for me. I am a very emotional person, which I don’t always like about myself, but at least this gives me a way to sort through all of my feelings and deal with them. At the same time, I am posting this on the internet and anyone can read all of my lame excuses – which makes me incredibly conscious of things I might not recognize in my own behaviour otherwise. Like, it was cold outside so I stopped eating healthy for 6 months? Lame. I can’t believe anyone would ever admit to that. Oh wait, I just did. 


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More squats, more bench

Today’s gym session: squats and bench. Brought to you by Groundhog Day.

I worked up to 135×1 on bench. I think I’ve figured out exactly where I’m losing tightness in my set-up. First, my hand position was too wide. Second, I need to focus on pushing my heels down without allowing my feet to slide forward. It’s uncomfortable but it gets me tight. I backed off to 125 to try and focus on setting up consistently, but I was suffering from some upper arm tightness, so I moved on to squats. Came back at the end of my workout and managed 105x5x3 without any issues.

For squats, I worked up to 250×3. This felt easy, but I came too far forward on my second rep, felt like I got stuck and then that kind of messed with my head. Also, I got a phone call midway through my warmups. I have a job interview on Thursday. I am insanely nervous and spent most of my workout in a state of distraction after that point. As much as I enjoy being able to dick around endlessly at the gym every day of the week, I really, really miss working and getting a paycheque. I think may try for a single tomorrow, or at least something heavy when I am less distracted.

Assistance work: I did my PNLE routine. I’m really liking this cycle as assistance work. I did sub out push-ups for some DB bench because I feel like that’s more useful for my strength goals. This was the rack pull/lateral lunge/OHP day, and it ended with curls for AMRAP in 60 seconds. I just feel obligated to say that I do not enjoy the feeling of a bicep pump. It’s just plain uncomfortable and it doesn’t even look good because my biceps are already so disproportionate to my triceps. But I also feel like this opinion is blasphemy according the doctrine of the gym.

Diet-wise: I just want to eat all of the chocolate in sight…. and actually, that’s about what I’ve done today.

I’ve been feeling kind of emo all weekend about my body image, and I think it’s for a whole bunch of different reasons. Now that I am back hovering around the 72kg mark, I feel like trying to get down to 63 kg is an exercise in futility. That’s a long, long way to go, and if I have to suffer to get there, I probably won’t stay there for long. So I might as well just focus on hanging out where I am. And I was feeling good about my progress until someone I went to high school with posted her “28lbs lost this month!” progress photos on Facebook, and then I just felt inadequate. And sometimes I just plain miss eating with abandon. I miss the feeling of being 110% full because I ate too much ice cream. It was comforting. And I know that sounds kind of dumb, but it’s true nonetheless.

Oh, and this weekend I accidentally stumbled across one of those “This is what xx bodyfat % looks like” and I do not look like the model for 21% body fat. I look like the girl with 35% body fat, but with less boobage. Except she probably isn’t the least bit worried about how much chocolate she ate today. The internet lies. And all of this “fitspiration” is not motivating, it just makes my best effort feel like shit. Maybe some more chocolate will cast a positive light on the situation.

Food Log

8:50 – Breakfast -

  • 1 fist-sized serving of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cupped handful of mixed berries
  • 1 palm-sized serving of cranberry, cashew, honey granola
  • 3 mini peppers
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup of coffee

12:30 – Lunch

  • 1 1/2 c. borscht
  • 1 palm-sized serving of greek yogurt
  • Aprx. 35 grams dark chocolate

16:10 – Post-workout

  • 1 cupped handful ground beef
  • 1/5 tbsp butter
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 cupped handful of celeriac puree

19:10 -

  • 1 fist-sized serving greek yogurt
  • 1 thumb PB2
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieceas
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 35 g dark chocolate


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Bench singles and squatting

Guess what I did today? The same things I do every day: squat and bench.

I got 5 heavy singles at 130lbs, but that took 7 attempts.  Here’s the thing: the attempts that I did make were relatively easy, with good speed and no sticking. But I still failed twice. I know that what I to work on my setup; I don’t always start in the right groove and when I’m doing volume work, I find it doesn’t really matter because I can still muscle it up. When I start getting closer to my 1RM, it really makes a big difference.

Then I squatted – 265×2. Wanted three and went back for an extra single. I feel like I could squat the moon if I only had to rely on my legs and not my upper back. There was a sick squat morning at one point. Whatever. This was good week because I’m now back up to where I was when I did my last meet in December 2012, which is important for my mindset. I’m not longer trying to recover the strength I’ve lost, but now I can focus on actually moving forward.

Then I played some candy crush and did seated rows. When I ran out of lives, I came home and took a nap. It’s Sunday.

I’ve felt like I’m about 2 seconds from gnawing off my own arm all weekend. I’ve been feeling very level-headed for a couple of weeks now, and eating well without feeling deprived. And it seems to be working, because I’ve dropped 9lbs since having my IUD removed and I don’t feel like I’m “on a diet”. But for some reason I’ve been thinking about ice cream and fries and chocolate all weekend. Instead of going crazy, I decided to have a piece of dark chocolate and a yogurt parfait made with granola, vanilla greek yogurt and mixed berries. I had to buy all of those things just so I could eat them, because I don’t even keep those things in the house at this point. The part of me that would have bought just bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s is kind of shocked at how much of a treat that was.

Food Log

8:20 – Breakfast

  • 1 bison sausage
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 thumb of almond butter
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup of black coffee

12:10 – Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 cupped handful celeriac puree
  • 1 cupped handful of ground beef
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 palm sized serving of peas and carrots
  • 1/5 tbsp butter
  • 3 thumbs of homemade ketchup

15:00 – Post-lifting

  • 1 fist-sized serving of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cupped handful of blueberries
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieces

17:30 -

  • 3 strips of bison jerky

18:15 – Baked apple

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 thumbs of coconut oil
  • cinnamon
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieces
  • lemon juice

21:00 – Snack -

  • 1 fist sized serving of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 palm of honey, cashew & cranberry granola
  • 1 cupped handful of fruit
  • Aprx. 35 grams of dark chocolate


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Bench PR and my ass joins the mile high club

Being forced to deadlift before squatting a few weeks ago really opened a whole new world of possibilities for me. Since I deadlifted heavy last night, I knew I would have to scale back my squats somewhat today. As a result, I decided to bench first, while I was still fresh, and then tackle a lighter set of squats. I am back at a stage where I feel like my bench is my weak-link, and I take that as a very good sign that I am getting back to my pre-break strength levels.

And by that, I mean I benched 140lbs today, which is the first all-time PR I’ve had in almost a year. Unpaused, but still a PR.

I tried to repeat myself on camera, but all I got this was this:

Lifts that probably would have been red lighted

“Lifts that probably would have been red lighted”

Whatever. As Dan said, “At least you got it up. I didn’t have to come rescue you from the roll of shame this week.” True.

It seems like my “Squat everyday and then do whatever you feel like” programming is working. I’m going to keep doing it. And who knows? Maybe next week I’ll feel like benching 145 with my ass down.

Food Log

8:35 – Breakfast

  • 1 fist-sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 thumb of PB2
  • 1 thumb of almond butter
  • 1 green apple
  • 2 mini cucumber
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup of black coffee

11:55 – Shepherd’s pie

  • 1 cupped handful celeriac puree
  • 1 cupped handful of ground beef
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 palm sized serving of peas and carrots
  • 1/5 tbsp butter
  • 3 thumbs of homemade ketchup

15:50 – Post workout

  • 1 Italian bison sausage
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots
  • 1 cupped handful of chocolate covered pretzels

19:15 – Dinner

  • 1 c. of borscht
  • 1 palm-sized serving of greek yogurt

23:15 – Midnight snack

  • 1 bison sausage
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 thumbs of almond butter
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