GIRLS CAN LIFT

A Dainty Diary of Lifting


2 Comments

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


Leave a comment

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


2 Comments

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


1 Comment

Three good things

Good things that happened today:

  1. I finally tightened my lever belt because it had been feeling too loose all week. One notch tighter and it was the perfect fit.
  2. I deadlifted 335×2. I wanted three and there was some insane thoracic rounding (enough for Cam to ask if I was working on a special kind of deadlift) but I am still pleased with myself. The upper back issue is nothing new, I’ve never pulled a triple at this weight and this is my heaviest pull in competition.
  3. I ate more borscht.
IMG_0917

Breakfast:
Cottage cheese with beets and apples, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts

Food Log

8:50 – Breakfast

  • 1 cupped handful of chopped beets
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 palm-sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1 thumb of toasted pine nuts
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup of black coffee

13:00 – Shake

  • 1 scoop of whey
  • 1 thumb of PB2
  • 1 thumb of cocoa powder
  • aprx 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 2 mini cucumbers

16:15 – Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 palm of celeriac puree
  • 1 palm of ground beef
  • ~1 palm of peas & carrots
  • 1/5 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 thumb of almond butter

19:20 – Post-workout

  • 1 1/2 c. borscht = broth & beef & bacon&  cabbage & beans & beats & tomatoes & potatoes & apple & mushrooms & onion & carrot & peppers & paprika & vinegar & sugar & parsley, oh my!
  • 1 palm-sized serving of 0% greek yogurt
  • 30 g 72% dark chocolate


1 Comment

Skating, celeriac and borscht

Today was somewhat stressful. I finally got a call back from a temp agency, and I had to go meet one of the recruiters this afternoon. Nevermind that I’ve never interviewed well, I actually think I’ve been unemployed for so long now that I forget how to work.

This is the type of situation where I’m prone to feeling stressed and then binge eating. The thought did cross my mind, today: as I was walking to my appointment, I considered stopping in at the grocery store to stock up on Reese’s PB ice cream cups. Except that before it could happen, I just said no. Instead, I realized that I’d already been coping with stress by distracting myself with cooking all day.

This morning, I made a Shepherd’s Pie, with a celeriac mash in place of the potatoes. I always consider it an achievement when I incorporate a new vegetable into one of my meals, and this one was a huge success. Using celeriac seemed somewhat intimidating: how do you cook a vegetable that looks like brains? But I made it work and in the end, the whole dish seemed so much more grown-up. It was very sumptuous.

More importantly: I made borscht!

Even though my father is Mr. “I don’t eat vegetables”, both my sister and I somehow came to love borscht when we were younger. We are not Russian. We are just from Saskatchewan, where everyone else happens to be Ukrainian.

When I was in college, my mom used to send me a dried soup mix that I would mix with beets and water in the slow cooker. At the time, I considered this one of my more accomplished home-cooked meals, and I would subsist off a vegetarian version of split pea and beet soup (with lots and lots of sour cream on top) from December through March.

Then, earlier this week I happened across a recipe for Dad’s Uber Borscht in my blog feed. I knew right away that even though this version was a heck of a lot more labor intensive, I was going to make it. First of all, it was PNLE-friendly, because apparently Russian peasants don’t have the luxury of eating junk food. And if I’m not eating like my grandmother would, well at least I’m eating like someone‘s Baboushka. Second of all, this version of borscht (love!) included a green apple. I don’t know what it is, but for the past 6 months, I’ve become convinced that any recipes is automatically improved by the inclusion of a granny smith apple (See for example: Homemade ketchup). And so this morning I set off on a full-day culinary adventure, which included making the beef stock, rehydrating fancy mushrooms, baking and grating beets and chopping a fuck ton of vegetables.

Oh. My. God. This was totally worth it. Have I mentioned how much I love borscht? This was frickin’ delicious. There is nothing more that needs to be said, really. Except maybe that the best part was not in fact the green apple, but the crispy bacon. It will be a while before I undertake to make this recipe again, but I know what I’ll be eating until the end of March…. Otherwise, everyone is invited to my house for dinner. And if you come for dinner, then we must go skating.

Today was my active recovery day, and for the first time all week, the canal was open so it was obvious I had to get on the ice. I started off kind of shaky, but there was a little girl who she didn’t look old enough to walk, let alone skate and still her mom was chasing after her. At that point, I had to say to myself, “Look. If that little kid isn’t afraid of skating, you shouldn’t be either.” And then I managed a 35 minute skate without falling. I’m basically a professional, at this point.

I did fall my ass once I’d changed into my boots, but that totally doesn’t count. That’s just my normal state of existence.

After skating and borscht, I rounded out the day with some squatting and benching. My quads are le tired! If I plan to go skating tomorrow,  need to do it in the morning so I have the rest of the day to recuperate before hitting the gym. I am really happy that benching went well, though. I hit 125x2x3 without any pain, so Tuesday must’ve been a small glitch. Then I did some seated rows because I am trying to avoid becoming a hunchback. Overall, I kept it pretty light in anticipation of deadlifts tomorrow.

After I lifted, I opened my locker only to be overtaken by the smell of borscht. My winter coat is giving off beet fumes. I really do want to share my beet soup with the world.

Food Log

9:20 – Breakfast

  • 1 cupped handful of steel-cut oats with blueberries & walnuts
  • 1 palm-sized serving of greek yogurt
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup black coffee

12:15 – Shake

  • 1 scoop of whey
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 thumb PB2
  • 1/2 thumb of cocoa powder
  • splash of vanilla

15:30 – Shepherd’s pie

  • 1 palm sized serving of ground beef with carrots
  • 1 cupped handful of celeriac puree and green peas
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 3 thumbs of “sugar-free” homemade ketchup

19:10 – Post-skating

  • 1 1/2 cups of borscht = cabbage and beets and beef and beans and potatoes, oh my!
  • 1 palm-sized serving of greek yogurt
  • 2 green onions


Leave a comment

Dreaming of oysters & rack pulls

One of the things I had to do for PNLE was start keeping a journal next to my bed. Before I go to sleep, I write whatever is floating around my brain and usually plan out what I’m going to eat tomorrow. Last night I woke up at 2 am and felt restless. Apparently I was restless enough to leave myself this message to discover in the morning:

Can’t sleep. Upsetting dream. At home [my parent's house] and H [my sister] has been missing for months. Seems like she is still in high school. Mom took a picture of me in the basement and H’s ghost turned up in the background. (Looked like the girl from The Ring.) Knew this was a clue, but too scared to go into the basement anymore. While watching Lizzie McGuire, I realized that the moth balls in the basement were from an oyster. Internet research confirmed. Then we found a giant oyster in the basement closet and started trying to smash it open with a shovel. I knew that H was trapped inside.

Woke up. Not sure if H was rescued. Should be a movie.

Apparently I’m a mental case even when I’m asleep and that will be the last time that I eat cottage cheese before bed.

Anyway, as a follow up to yesterday’s post: yes, I know that I need muscle to be strong. And yes, I know that BMI is skewed for people who are muscular or athletic. But… I don’t particularly think of myself as athletic. Going to the gym regularly does not make a person an athlete. I still suck at running and swimming and team sports, and I have no visible muscle definition. So sometimes I feel like I’m just plain fat. I know it’s largely a mental problem… and sometimes I just need to write down my meandering train of thought to sort it all out. What I know rationally does not always jive with what I’ve been conditioned to believe.

Back in reality, I did not sleep well last night and I am still feeling kind of drained today. I  think my uterus is a bit messed up from having my IUD yanked out last week. My body is all like, “You should be having your period this week! But you had your period last week! And you gave birth to a Mirena, so after 4 years I’m no longer being dosed with hormones every day! I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now, so I’ll just make you feel like shit.” (I am not a qualified doctor, obviously. But I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what’s happening.)

Surprisingly, I felt alright once I started lifting. At the gym, I squatted up to 255×3 which I feel pretty good about. Then I did my PNLE routine as accessory work. After yesterday’s shoulder pain, I figured I should skip benching, especially since I knew the PNLE workout would be shoulder intensive, with push-ups, OHP and inverted rows. I got through the whole thing without incident, so that’s a good sign. And I admit that maybe I’m overly paranoid, but I’ve heard of two female lifters with ribs popped out of place over the past two days, and I don’t want that to happen to me. So live to lift another day, etc.

One of my PNLE circuits included “heavy” rack pulls. I only managed 225x4x3 because I was unbelted and didn’t bother to warm-up. By the third set, these felt too easy, so that’s a good sign. Today is not a regular deadlift day for me and I’ll be interested to see what my deadlifts feel like on Friday. I usually need a full week of recovery for heavy deadlifting. But I still intend to pull +3 plates on Friday – rack pulls, shoulder, and uterus be damned.

Food Log

10:00 – Breakfast

  • 1 cupped handful of steel cut oats with blueberries and walnuts
  • 1 palm-sized serving of greek yogurt
  • 1 fist-sized serving of baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup of black coffee

13:30 – Lunch

  • 1 fist-sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1 thumb of PB2
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots
  • 1 thumb of almonds
  • 1 oz 65% dark chocolate with maca

18:10 – Dinner

  • 1 fist-sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 thumb of PB2
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 thumb of almond butter
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots


5 Comments

Intervals, BMI and Cottage cheese

I woke up today with ab DOMS and glute DOMS, but only on the right side. These two factors did not make for a good squat session today. It was supposed to be a light day, but I made sure I wouldn’t push myself too far by leaving my belt at home. I worked up to 205×6 and on the last rep I let out the strangest sound ever – like, a high-pitched and wheezy “eeeeee” all the way up.

I tried to do some bench volume, too, but after a couple of sets of 95×10, I stopped. I had a mild pain in my shoulder, almost like a cramp but under the scapula. It’s not bothering me now, and since I’m feeling kind of run down, my “aim to do better” for the day is simply to foam roll before bed.

The main goal for me today was to get into the gym and do my PNLE interval workout, which I did. I know my coach says that this is what really makes a difference in getting leaner, but fuck. I swear the only thing cardio does is make me hungry.

I feel like I have been having a weird internal struggle over my weight recently. I am looking better these days, I swear! And my body fat assessment with the calipers put me at 21%, which I know is a good number for a woman. But then I just step on the scale and I feel like it’s downright disgusting for a short little woman like myself to weight 166lbs. All of my friends are taller and weigh less! My BMI is 30.4 – which means I am obese and it’s a well accepted truth in the age of the internet that fat women are gross and they would be so much hotter and more dateable if they just started taking care of themselves and lost some goddamn weight.

I wish someone had told me, way back when I read New Rules of Lifting for Women, that there is a big difference between being strong and looking strong. And even that’s a joke, because even women who want to look strong really just want to do a bikini competition, because they don’t want to be “too muscular”. Well, I’m not sure I want to be too muscular, either.

I just want to say that our society is fucked. I know the mental gymnastics that take place in my head are largely the result of cultural brainwashing: I am obese and whether my body has to carry around 166lbs of fat or 166lbs of muscle, that’s still a lot of weight for my heart to carry around. I should really lose some weight. Okay, but I also wear size 10 pants and I’m not so sure that many obese women can say that. I’m probably doing okay if I just focus on eating when I’m hungry. So fuck the scale. But I still think that my friends who are skinnier are hotter. I wonder what their body fat percentages are.

Whatever. Here’s how it should have gone down: I got hungry. I ate some cottage cheese. My hunger was gone. I didn’t spare a single thought to the scale for the rest of my days. Everyone lifted lots of weights and lived happily ever after. The end.

Food Log

7:55 – Breakfast

  • 1 palm sized serving of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cupped handful of steel cut oats, baked with walnuts & blueberries
  • 1/4 c frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup black coffee

11:50 – Lunch

  • 4 small beets, chopped and baked (~2 cupped handfuls)
  • 1 fist-sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1 thumb of toasted pine nuts

15:15 – Snack

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice of bacon
  • 1 fist-sized potato
  • 1 cupped handful of sauerkraut

19:00 – Supper

  • 1 bison sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 c primevera
  • 1/2 large green cabbage, steamed

21:00 – Snack

  • 1 fist sized serving of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 thumb of PB2
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 thumb of almond butter
  • 1 oz 75% dark chocolate w/ cocoa nibs
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers