A Dainty Diary of Lifting

General Update on Life and Lifting


Hello to everyone who reads my blog, or rather everyone who would read my blog if I ever bothered to update it.

Simply put, I don’t have much to say about lifting and certainly nothing worth putting down on paper. I am lifting three days every week but it’s always on autopilot: I just go in, lift a moderately heavy weight and get on with my life. I’m nowhere near PRing but nowhere near failure, either. I’m just showing up and clocking in for my workouts, basically.

I’ve been doing some roller derby, although my Crash Course is finished in a couple of weeks and I’m not sure that I want to continue down that path. On the one hand, I’ve really liked some of the girls I’ve met and it’s a fun activity. But we were informed that joining the league includes mandatory off-ice training. I am not interested in doing a bodyweight bootcamp twice a week, especially with instructors who say things like, “The best way to get a bowling ball butt is to do lots of squats and go really low.” Not my jam.

And I will never commit to a bootcamp class, I cancelled my gym membership, yesterday. This was actually a really big deal to me, because I’d been lifting at the Downtown YMCA here in Ottawa for almost 2 years and it was my first  real gym membership. Unfortunately, over the past few months I’ve been annoyed with the fact that the washroom is always dirty when I’m there. The staff are not very friendly. They don’t acknowledge me or say goodbye when I’m leaving. And ever since I started lifting, I’ve felt that some of the younger guys at the gym cannot deal with a woman in the weight room. Typically it was just subtle things, like saying hello to every guy in the weight room but avoiding eye contact with me. I could live with that, and either way the situation improved somewhat when I befriended Gary.

Unfortunately, Gary has skipped town for greener pastures (Toronto). Only a couple of days after he left, I was involved in a confrontation with one of the other members. While I admit that I could have handled the situation in a more professional manner, I maintain that no one requires the use of 3 separate barbells to bench, especially when other people are waiting to use the equipment. The next time I returned to the gym, the same guy was back and no matter where I went in the gym, I had to listen to his breathing. Apparently even tricep kickbacks require such intensely laboured inhalations that everyone in the building thinks you are having a sustained heart attack for two hours straight. Congratulations bro, you fucked up breathing. Anyway, I did get a bit of petty revenge by refusing to share the platform with this guy, but when he got into a huff and stormed off, I decided it was finally time for a change of scenery.

After I cancelled my YMCA membership, I did have a bit of an anxiety attack. Being without a gym membership is almost akin to being homeless! Where would I go if I needed an emergency pump?

Luckily, within hours I had rectified the situation and I am now a member of Trueform. It’s a smaller independent gym in my neighborhood that I’d lifted at once before. The locker rooms are clean and the staff and clientele seem a lot friendlier. I deadlifted there yesterday and I really feel like this is a good change for me. I feel very calm and at peace – unlike some of the other shifts in my life recently, which have been somewhat disorienting.

Anyway, now that I’ve signed up for a new gym, I’ve decided to take a step back from powerlifting, retroactively beginning from the point when school ended a couple of months ago and I lost control of my life. And yes, you read that correctly: signing up for a new gym was part of my plan to put lifting on the back burner for the foreseeable future.

I mentioned in one of my posts a few weeks back that I was considering doing Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating Program. If you’re not familiar with Lean Eating, the short version is that it’s a fat loss coaching program. They provide suggested workouts, nutrition education and habit-based strategies for eating. There is no strict diet protocol, but working with a group of peers and an online coach, you’re supposed to be able to learn long-term, sustainable eating habits – something I’ve really struggled to do on my own.

When I originally mentioned doing the program, I also stated that I had some reservations. The marketing material these guys have put together for this program is intense. It’s hard to know what’s smoke and mirrors and what’s legitimate. Undoubtedly, I have a lot of respect for the people involved, such as Krista Scott-Dixon, and I realize that these guys are trying to compete with programs that promise dramatic results, fast. When given the choice between a year-long program of small changes and P90X, I feel like most people in my life would opt for P90x. So I went out of my way to try and find some reviews from dissatisfied customers – and they do exist.

While PN does a great job of showcasing their success stories, there are people who have achieved more moderate results, or who didn’t quite get what they were bargaining for. In reading these critiques, I began to question whether I really wanted to commit myself to endeavour for an entire year. After all, I’ve been failing to lose weight for the past year; why should this program be any different? And what if I don’t lean out and I lose all of my strength? I’m terrified. And I still want to give it a shot.

Reading the more negative reviews gave me the insight that in order to succeed, I need to commit myself fully. I admit that I am lacking some crucial tool to implement a successful action plan on my own, so I should just trust the experts fully! For me, this will include doing the recommended exercise routine, which includes stuff like mobility work and cardio. I won’t be giving up strength training entirely, but my focus will be shifting in a big way as I work to correct some other weaknesses. I’m actually kind of glad that I’ll finally have a kick in the pants to do those things, since those are precisely the things I know I should be doing.

Having just switched gyms, I really am giving myself a totally fresh start for the program which begins in 12 days. Those past failures are in the past and hopefully a year from now I will feel glad that I threw myself into this adventure. Maybe then I’ll feel more comfortable with myself and I can think about doing a PL meet or a bikini contest. Who knows. A year is a long time.


2 thoughts on “General Update on Life and Lifting

  1. Congrats on taking a bunch of big steps! I hope that PN’s LE program provides you what you’re looking for, and a new gym is always exciting. I considered signing up for the LE year, but ended up going with a different nutrition coach, but with some of the same goals it sounds like you have – namely learn to eat sanely in a way that fuels training but also allows/encourages fat loss. Good luck to us both? 🙂 I’ll be interested to hear how you like LE!

  2. Finding the right gym is such a difficult task, but when you walk in and you feel like you’re home, you know things are just going to work out, no matter what program you’re following. As long as you are happy to be there and the environment is supportive, your time will be spent productively.

    I took a look at the PN site. I don’t think you should be worried about it at all — the theories it is based on are entirely reasonable and supported by behavioral weight loss literature. The pace is very similar to the pace we use for clinical trials. It doesn’t seem gimmicky to me, and I think you’ll have a lot of success with something that is structured, but also flexible and allows you to learn more about yourself.

    Keep in mind, also, that this whole fitness thing is life-long. You’ll be able to lift heavy a year from now. You have your whole life to be strong. Take your time and do whatever you need to do for yourself now.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

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