A Dainty Diary of Lifting

6 week PNLE update + deadlifting

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After max testing last week, this week was pretty quiet. While max testing, I managed to drop a 45lb plate on my left foot, so I’ve working around some discomfort all week. Even if I hadn’t managed to injure myself, I think max testing would have left me feeling wiped on its own. And work has really been killing me. 

I am supposed to travel for work next week and I am really excited for the trip: I have worked for an Arctic research program for over three years and I’ve never been up North. Well, now I’m finally going. But I’ve been concious of the fact that getting ready for the trip has been incredibly stressful and my recovery has suffered as a result. Friday, I worked late, went to the gym for an hour and then came home only to fall asleep at 7:30, before I could find the energy to cook some dinner.

And squatting on Friday was hard. A single set of 275×3 looked so measly on paper, but I really struggled. The second rep had a huge pause because I got down into the hole, and then had to find the energy to stand back up.  

Yesterday was probably my best session of the week: I pulled 335×2. When I tried for 335 four weeks ago, all I got was one really shaky rep and that left me feeling like shit.

While I was doubtful about my ability to pull 335×2 and happy to prove myself wrong, watching the video is kind of frustrating. My deadlift has two very distinct and separate phases: Phase 1 is the pull and Phase 2 is the lockout. And man, that lockout is painful. This is not a new discovery by any means, but I swear it’s getting worse. And if I miss a competition PR because I can’t lockout, or get called for hitching because I have to think about pulling my hips through then I might lose my god damn mind. 

I know that I struggle with glute activation on all of my lifts and this is where it really starts to become a factor. It is a mystery to me that my glutes can be so huge and yet so useless. I am debating hitting the gym this afternoon, just to punish my glutes with approximately 1 million angry hip thrusts.

On the other hand, there are several parts of my body saying that recovery would be a good idea, especially since I’m already running a recovery deficit and anticipating that this week will be even crazier than last week.

Lifting and recovery aside: this weekend was my 6-week check-in for PNLE. I was absolutely shocked by my progress pictures. Even though I don’t feel like I’ve really been restricting myself or “dieting” and I don’t really notice any changes in my body day to day, those pictures showed quite unmistakable proof that my stomach is shrinking. *Fist pump*

Crazy statistic: I’ve lost more weight in the past 4 weeks than I lost in 7 months of following the program last year. This is honestly the difference between 80% compliance and 90% compliance, which has come from trying to be more engaged in the program.

One of the coaches also proposed a strategy that has really resonated with me: the idea of setting a minimum. For me, that minimum has been to avoid overeating. So instead of fixating on how I didn’t meet an overly ambitious goal on any given day or week, I have felt like I am successful and on track because I’m able to easily meet that minimum, even if other circumstances were less than ideal. It’s been 6 weeks since I’ve had a true binge eating episode, which I consider a bigger accomplishment than any lifting goal.

I’m still a bit nervous about how travelling will affect my food choices, but I think I can cope. I know that I can eat to 80% full regardless of where I am or what food options I have available. I think that I’m anticipating the situation enough that I won’t use it as an excuse to eat chicken fingers and fries at every meal. I’ve got some good momentum built up so I want to keep moving forward. Right after I get some rest.


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