A Dainty Diary of Lifting

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May 24th: Food log


For anyone that’s wondering how my plan to eat more is working out: I’ve lost 3.0 lbs in the past week. I’ve generally been feeling pretty good, although I did get a serious hankering for some chocolate this afternoon. My deficit is a bit smaller today, but I’m really not worried, since I’m starting to believe I have some wiggle room in my diet. The thought of aiming for a larger deficit has crossed my mind a few times this week, but I remind myself to take a deep breath: slow and steady wins the race. Which is probably good advice for someone running 10K tomorrow…

Food Diary


  • 2 apple streusel egg muffins
  • 2 sausage patties
  • Organic applesauce
  • Large coffee

AM Snack: Green apple

Lunch: Spaghetti bolognese

PM Snack: Banana uber Larabar

Dinner: 2 Greek turkey fillets with butternut squash

Evening Snack: Large square of dark chocolate, Kombucha


Calories consumed: 2048

Calories burned: 2760


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May 23: Lifting and tree-hugging

I lifted today! Which given my mood lately, seems like a huge accomplishment and I’m trying to focus on the positive, because the actual lifting sucked.

I tried to work up to 130×2 on bench. All I got was a god awful ugly single.

Apart from feeling deconditioned after taking a week off, I was also wearing my flat soled shoes and I still struggle to set-up in those. I did some dumbbell bench after deadlifting to make up for the otherwise shitty bench day, and I’ll see how my bench is feeling with my lifting shoes on Sunday.

In the meantime, I also had to deadlift for the first time in over 2 weeks. My callouses had basically disappeared, so I knew this was going to be bad. I’d also been avoiding putting on my belt because I’ve been feeling so fat, but then it was too loose and I had trouble pushing against it. I did manage 10 singles at 335 with 1 minute rest – that’s about 90% of my last tested 1RM. Unfortunately they all felt slow and were lacking in fluidity. Blerg. If you find my mojo, please return it to me.

As a finisher, I did 100 kettlebell swings which I count as deadlift accessory work and conditioning work. But I used a 12kg KB, which is just sad.

Hey, did you see this article about how no one wants to listen to me talk about lifting all of the time? Well, I don’t want to talk about lifting, because it’s just bringing me down, man.

Instead, let’s talk about something else I really love: the environment. In fact, when I was younger, I paid a lot of money to a certain university to become an expert in tree hugging. Now I’m always on the look-out for interesting topics that examine the intersection of health and the environment – which is how I happened to notice an article in my Google Reader , yesterday, that later appeared in my Facebook feed.

Apparently, all of the whey being generated as a byproduct of Greek yogurt production is leading to eutrophication in certain water bodies. Huh.

I have to say, even when I knew dairy was making me sick, I really struggled to give up Greek yogurt. Now, I mentioned a couple of days ago that I’ve been listening to the archives of the Balanced Bites podcasts, and one of the recurring themes is that “Greek” yogurt is marketed as “healthy” yogurt, despite the fact that we are basically removing all of the fat and replacing it with sweeteners and skim milk powder. Between feeling duped by a marketing scheme and feeling a bit sad over how a “health food” can be so environmentally destructive, I have to say I’m happy to be off the white stuff.

Greek turkey breast fillets with butternut squash

Food Diary


  • 2 apple streusel muffins
  • 2 sausage patties
  • Green apple
  • Large coffee

Lunch: 2 Indian turkey burgers with carrot pancake buns

PM Snack: Sugar snap peas

Emergency muscle meal: Quest PB protein bar

Dinner: Greek turkey breast fillets with butternut squash

Calories consumed: 1945

Calories burned: 2760


Training Log: April 8

Some thoughts:

– No training log last Friday even though I lifted, mostly because I had a lifting date with some friends and then by the time I got home I was just too wiped to blog about it. But it was good. I like being social. Sometimes.

-I’m liking what I’ve done on my first week of Sheiko. I feel like there is a huge paradox in the program: each rep and set feels easy, but at the end of the day I just want to come home and pass out. It is exhausting, but it’s a productive exhaustion that I’ve been missing. I am really enthusiastic about running the full 16 weeks right now and seeing what happens. I’m even considering dropping my C/P modification, though I can’t bring myself to pull the trigger just yet. C/P is just so magical!

-My lats are always DOMSing lately.

-I am fucking starving. All of the time. And I am kind of pissed off with myself, because I had my diet under control for a couple of months after Christmas and now I seem to have reversed all of my progress by falling apart. Given that I currently weigh about as much as a baby elephant, I might not make it down to 63 kg for my July meet. So I’ve been beating myself up for failing to starve myself. Why don’t I have more willpower? Then I realized that maybe my body was trying to tell me something. Like maybe I need to eat more than 1350 cal, which is not unreasonable. So I’m going to try eating 1800/1500 for the next couple of weeks and see what happens. More than making weight, I need to figure out how to maintain some stable eating patterns in the long term.

– Suspecting that my exhaustion has been at least partially due to anemia, I took my iron supplement and then I remembered why I stopped taking them in the first place as I was throwing up my breakfast on Sunday morning. Not sure what to do about that.

-One potential solution would be to eat more red meat:

Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce

-I ran 10K for the first time ever yesterday! Race weekend in May is looking more manageable, and at least I know that if I’m eating more, I’m making those calories count. My time was 72:59 which is not exactly fast, but the part of me that is forever a powerlifter, and the very large part of me that used to weigh 252lbs is pretty pleased.

-I smashed the living daylights out of my iPhone while I was at the gym on Friday. Since I have exactly $4.75 in my bank account, I can’t afford to get it fixed right now. No training videos for a while unfortunately, and I had to write out my Sheiko routine in my notebook like some sort of uncivilized cavewoman.

-Since there are no videos of me lifting, please accept this picture of my friend’s cat Chloe with her new lever belt as a peace offering:

Someone should start a tumblr of cats using lifting gear. I’d be all over that shit.


Training Log: April 3

I’ve been lifting late on Wednesday nights all semester because I had a research seminar to attend until 9. Luckily, the course finished last week. I aced it, so I’m pretty pleased with myself. Even better is the fact that now I can get to the gym a bit earlier, instead of stumbling home at midnight.

That said, Wednesday remains a lighter day for me, despite switching to Sheiko for my squat and bench. After my first sheiko session on Monday and heavy deadlifting yesterday, I need to make sure I’m allowing myself enough recovery. That said, I do find that a lighter day has its advantages, since it prevents me from getting too creaky without impairing my recovery.

So I went and did “the Sheiko routine”, which is to say that I was supposed to do mostly rack pulls and pulls to the knee. Instead, I did some OHP and the accessory work:

  • Incline Bench Press 4×6
  • Dip 5×5
  • Lunge 5×5
  • Abs 3×10

Basically my equivalent of a vanity workout. Overall kind of a boring day.

Instead, let’s talk about something that’s kind of old news but I keep meaning to mention it on my blog and now I am.Voila!

I received my copy of the OPA newsletter in the mail a couple of weeks ago now. I was skimming through it when I saw my name! I was momentarily confused because most of my interactions with the OPA involve me being totally clueless.Then I saw that the author was Craig, who’d been such a tremendous help to me at the meet and everything made a lot more sense. THANKS CRAIG!!!


I even got a text message from someone saying, “Nice shout out in the newsletter.” So thanks to everyone for stroking my ego, I really enjoy feeling like I’m almost famous.

Re-reading this article is getting me totally stoked for Provincials which will be held in town in November. With CPU Nationals being held so nearby, I suspect that Provincials will be a much bigger affair than last year and I am anxious to see how far I can get on a year’s worth of serious training. In fact, I realized that it was almost a year ago that I had my first Powerlifting session and Corey asked me “So… Do any of you compete?” And I said, “Ha. No. I just want you to teach me how to deadlift so I can do NRL4W.” Then 5 weeks later, I remember pulling 260, failling 265 and being SO EXCITED.

I went back to find the video of that pull and it looks like that was on June 24th, which if even later than I’d realized. I need to chill the fuck out. I feel like my lifts never go anywhere, but somehow I’ve added 110lbs to my deadlift in under a year? Clearly my progress is going somewhere. And that’s to say nothing about how fat I look that video.

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs

Food Diary

The only thing I had hanging around from my Good Food Box was a massive sweet potato, so I needed to find a use for it. I decided to try a recipe for Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs with some bacon added in. I really love fried eggs, though they’re a bit pathetic without some bread to mop up the yolk at the end. As a substitute for bread, the hash was a little bit soggier than I expected  and I think I pre-exhausted my triceps grating the potato by hand. But this is like breakfast for supper and it was so good that I demolished my entire plate in approximately 6.2 seconds… so I guess it was a pretty successful meal.

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Training Log: April 2

Did I say Sheiko was easy yesterday? Apparently my quads are protesting that sentiment and I’ve been forced to hobble around all day.

Since I’m trying to run Sheiko for squat and bench while continuing with Coan/Philippi, I decided to pull today as written in C/P, including accessory work. Tomorrow I’ll go in and OHP with the prescribed Sheiko accessory work, skipping the dealift partials. It’s going to be a bit of a different story every week, so I’m just going to play it by ear.

And if this sounds like overtraining, don’t worry! The internet has taught me that anyone who thinks they’re overtraining probably isn’t. Since the thought has crossed my mind, I’m basically immune.

Anyway, adjusted my belt back down from fat size and got through today:

Speed sets felt light and I PR’ed on a couple of the accessory lifts, which is nice coming off that awful circuit. Seriously! What kind of powerlifter designs a program with a circuit done for time?

But mostly this was just an amazing workout because I spent the whole time gawking at Dave the Rugby Player’s beautiful thighs and drooling.


Leftover turkey scramble

Food Diary

In my on-going attempt to eat without spending money, I made more slop. Last night I whipped up my first recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods, which I’d ordered from Indigo on a co-worker’s recommendation.  Though to say I followed the recipe is a bit of a stretch. I mostly just ad-libbed, throwing in:

  • 3 shallots
  • Broccoli slaw
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1lb shredded turkey breast
  • Garlic, cayenne & black pepper

Pretty tasty; will make again. Though I have to say that I spent an ungodly amount of time contemplating how such a large volume of food could contain so few calories. After worrying that my frying pan was going to overflow, I had to pack it in a Jethro-sized container so that I could eat it in class as pre-deadlifting noms. I struggled to finish the entire serving. How come I never feel that way about ice cream?

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Training Log: March 20th

I spent a better part of yesterday watching the women’s CPU Nationals. At first, I felt all motivated to kill my lifts and I went to the gym and pull 345×2 which was a rep PR.

Then I came home and just felt melancholy.

I thought I was okay with skipping Nationals. I think I still am. But my lifts have been progressing well and it would have been a good experience. I’ll go next year. But what if I’m still broke? What if I get injured before then? What if I go and bomb out or fail to make weight?

If worrying about myself wasn’t enough, the women’s qualifying standards were raised and that’s bumming me out. I’m still qualified and I understand on some level why the change was made. More women are getting interested in lifting and competing and as that continues, the standards will continue to rise. Good. I don’t want to ever feel comfortable with my lifts. But… on a more personal note, I was really hoping that some of my friends would qualify to go with me, and that seems a lot less obtainable for some of them now.

Lifting is very much a social activity for me, and I want the people in my life to succeed. That’s especially true when I know how much hard work goes into improving the Big Three.  And while more women are qualifying for CPU Nationals, there were still only 2.5 flights of women, compared with 5.5 flights of men. So we aren’t quite equal, yet. And with those numbers, I should probably go back to focusing on my plan to snag myself a powerlifting boyfriend.

I do think it says something that most of my friends who were looking at qualifying seem to have taken the news better than I did. I’m still bummed out. And I’m a little bit jealous because I know I’m going to stress right the fuck out trying to make weight and wanting to put up superhuman lifts. Why do I put myself through that? How do I give myself permission to take the pressure off? I mean, I had an anxiety attack on the city bus this afternoon just thinking about my rent, my job, and my bank account. I’m a mess. A sensible person would cancel their gym membership and forget about lifting until they get their life sorted out.

Well, let’s just say that 24 year olds are not known for their good sense. And this is supposed to be my training log, so I should maybe talk about lifting instead of how I’m so depressed that I want to crawl under the covers and cry and maybe never re-emerge. Good thing I decided the best way to turn off my brain is to do some heavy front squats, focusing on trying to get my elbows up this week:

I continued my 10lb progression on these and got 165x5x3 easily. Front squats have been a good addition to my programming: they’re heavy enough to be a challenge but still light enough that I can get a quick workout that doesn’t totally mess up my recovery.

But let’s talk about accessory work because on the one hand: I had a giant bro workout by doing light bench, dips, curls and flyes. On the other hand, I’m pretty satisfied. First of all, if you haven’t noticed, I wasn’t really in the mood to workout. But I clocked in, anyway. I believe pretty seriously that showing up and working out when I’d rather be elsewhere is one of the biggest factors in long term success. Arguably these days, and the consistency they bring to my training, are a lot more important than the ones where I show up in a great mood, ready to crush it.

Secondly, my attitude towards accessory work has changed in the past few months, partially as a result of my success on Coan/Phillipi and partially as a result of training with the Hostyle crew. The old me, who benched 100lbs in competition, liked to skive off on accessory work. But lately I’ve noticed that doing accessory work has increased my work capacity in general and of course my lifts are progressing. There’s also a sense of accomplishment on days like today, when I show up and do dips and manage to see tangible signs of progress.

That’s right: I got 2 sets of 5 of  body weight dips today and it’s a big freakin’ deal. The first time my coach made me do dips, I had about 80lbs of resistance in bands. I flopped around like a fish. I struggled to get 5. I wanted to kick and scream and cry and give up on lifting. But I’m progressing and hopefully that translates into a bigger bench down the line. Life’s not all bad.


Food Diary

At least I knew I was going to be scraping by this month and I had the foresight to order a Good Food Box, which I picked up today.  I know my life has hit rock bottom wen I’m excited to pick up $10 worth of produce so that I have something to eat until pay day. Actually, the artichoke & lemon chicken from Practical Paleo that I made this weekend was pretty good and I’ve been eating the leftovers slowly, so I just needed a side dish. The broccoli is already gone.

I’m glad I’ve figured out how to fuel myself properly even when I’m feeling down. That’s in stark contrast to whatever I was doing the last time I felt this depressed and weighed +230lbs. And it’s just  nice to know that at least I can come home to a decent meal at the end of the day. 


Training log: March18th

I have never felt so naked at the gym.

You see, I had a gift card for lululemon and I used it to buy a sports bra this weekend. I’d never bought anything from there before because I knew it was overpriced. But I don’t think I fully understood just how expensive it really was until I bought this bra off the clearance rack and it was still $39 + tax. That’s more than I spent on groceries this week. In fact, that’s more money than I have in my bank account right now. So maybe if I show it off a little and maybe if I use the bag as a lunch box for the next 6 months, I’ll be able to assuage the feelings of guilt that are consuming me.


Actually, looking at these pictures I realize that I am more covered up than a lot of girls at the gym. But this outfit is downright skanky compared to what I normally wear and I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate for someone of my size to wear this outfit. Plus, I’ve noticed that even though my gym is often crowded in the evenings, I am frequently the only woman in the entire building and then I start to feel uncomfortable. What if the guys don’t think I’m hot enough to pull off this look?

Perhaps it’s all a moot point because as you can see, this bra was so expensive that I couldn’t afford to buy a new shirt and so I resorted to cutting up more of my old fat clothes.

Seriously though, money is stressing me out. I am running away from my problems both figuratively and literally. I’m avoiding my landlord and I ran 5 miles yesterday – or at least I did whatever it is that powerlifters do that resembles running. As a result, I ended up skipping my lateral lunges in favour of foam rolling since my IT bands feel tighter than skinny jeans on a hipster. But I still had to squat, unfortunately.

I feel like I haven’t quite recovered from last week’s volume day so I altered my progression a bit and used more of a ramp-up style, which I think is one of the recommendations when you aren’t recovering enough on the 70s Big Texas Method. By the time I got to my 265 triples, I was worried that I wasn’t hitting depth. So I recorded myself. Depth looked okay. And there was a beautiful squat morning!

I was supposed to OHP tonight, too. But I can only seem to have a decent OHP session every other week and that happened to be last week. I ended up just push pressing, which I might start doing intentionally on alternate weeks just to avoid the feelings of anger and annoyance that I experience every time I fail my OHP. The other thing I’m considering trying is taking a page from Greyskull LP and pressing before the squats, which really do tucker me out.

After push presses, I did assisted pull-ups, DB rows and tricep pushdowns as my accessory work tonight, mostly just working with what was free. I was feeling kind of lazy, but I’m glad I stuck around. Two of the dudes working out ended up providing ample entertainment by loudly discussing how they want to look like The Rock. In 4 months. While OHPing 65lbs. And doing a 5-day arms/shoulders/chest/back/abs split. Ya, good luck with that. And I suddenly feel a lot less worried about who might be judging me at the gym.

Swirly crustless quiche

Food Diary

I did a ton of batch cooking this weekend – enough to cover all of my meals until Wednesday.

I needed something other than grainless granola and scrambled eggs, so for breakfast I decided to try yet another meal from Practical Paleo. I was a bit hesitant to try this recipe because it seemed so stupidly simple that it could not possibly taste good. And it contains carrots, which are technically on my list of “Top 3 disgusting vegetables that I will not eat”. But like all of the recipes in this book, the accompanying picture was gorgeous and I really need an easy breakfast option during the week. So I gave it a try. Luckily, a dozen eggs are no match for a couple of measly carrots! I’m pretty impressed with how delicious this tastes. My only qualm is that I’m pretty sure a “crustless quiche” is actually called a frittata.