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Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

I left my gym bag out in the rain the other night. Everything was drenched including my training log. I was reaching the end of the book anyway but this officially killed it. It’s been sitting on my table drying ever since & it is finally dry enough to carefully peel the pages apart & do a little analysis of my progress.

I started this log book on April 22nd, 2010 making me 18 months post-partum & weighing in at more than I am comfortable sharing (let’s just say NONE of the baby weight had left me).

Ending this log book on July 15th, 2011 I was 30lbs lighter & 28 weeks pregnant. I’m still not telling you my weight ’cause I suspect you can do the math.

Squatting has long been the most difficult lift for me. I started with box squats (squatting to a box with mats underneath it – as I progressed we removed mats until I the box was low enough that I was hitting depth) & 95lbs on the bar. I will admit right now that squatting brought me to tears more than once out of pure frustration at how slow my progress was.

We finally lost the box on November 2nd! That is over 6 months of weekly workouts to get my squat deep enough (the goal is hips below the knees or at least bringing the thigh parallel to the floor).

Last week my top set (heaviest of the day) was 175lbs for 6 reps.

We have found that I very much need to have some weight on the bar to help me getting to depth. With an empty bar I very much struggle to get deep enough. Interestingly the pregnancy has seemed to really help me in this respect because it has helped my hip flexibility in conjunction with attention to stretching. In February I competed & almost missed all 3 of my squat attempts due to depth but now most of my squats while training are deep enough.

Deadlift has long been my favourite lift ’cause it is my best one (how can you not like something you are good at?!).

At the start of this logbook I pulled 185lbs for 5 reps as my top set. Last week I pulled 220 for 5 reps on my top set. My form has improved here too with the improvements in my hip flexibility making it easier to get into a good starting position & to keep my hips down therefore not rounding my back so much.

Bench press has progressed from a lift I didn’t enjoy to one I look forward to. My first bench session had me pushing 100lbs for 3 reps. Last week I hit 105lbs for 10 reps. The numbers here don’t look very impressive but my form has improved significantly. It took many months to find my arch (in my back) & utilize my legs in the lift. This spring we backed my numbers off twice because of form issues but I’m pleased that I am working back up.

I have not tested one rep maxes for any of my lifts recently so currently my known one rep maxes are: Squat – 190lbs, Deadlift – 320lbs & Bench – 115lbs. I must admit I am anxious to be able to test these after our baby arrives as I think it will be interesting.

Lessons learned over the past 14 months:

1. Progress doesn’t tend to happen in nice, predictable, evenly-spaced steps. It’s more likely to be seen in leaps, plateaus & back-steps.

2. Perseverance takes concerted effort at times. It is SO much easier to stop & the world is happy to accept your excuses, in fact sometimes it seems the excuses are constantly being given to you.

3. Sometimes it is necessary to ignore those around you. This has become especially true since I found out I was pregnant. Everyone agrees that if you were doing it before you were pregnant you can continue it while pregnant – in theory. In practice very few actually believe this & I have spent the past 28 weeks fielding questions & concerns & doubts about whether or not I should be lifting at all.

4. It’s ok to cry in the gym, as long as you keep going. I haven’t shed tears there in some time but when I am pushing through a tough set & feeling like I cannot finish I can remember those times I cried but continued & pulled through & it gives me the strength to keep going. Those memories also remind me why it is important to stick with the workouts – I never want to go back to that out of shape place.

5. Building confidence in one area of your life really helps build it elsewhere. I think I hold myself taller & present with more confidence & life overall. I know there is something I am working hard at & getting results in. It boosts my morale.

I am excited to see what results the new logbook will reveal when I reach it’s end. It is interesting to see the numbers grow but it’s the memories of those workouts that are a big part of the progress. I can look at some of the numbers & see that there has been little improvement but I know that now I power through those accessory sets with strength & stamina where the first few months were painful & slow. I can feel twinges in my legs or back or shoulders the day after a workout now whereas a year ago I was aching for days from a similar workout – my recovery has improved so significantly.

On a related note I developed gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy. It was an incredibly stressful time & required not only the use of insulin (despite my best efforts at the time with my diet & exercise) but a short hospitalization to get that insulin adjusted properly. Not surprisingly I have once again been challenged with gestational diabetes but am able to keep my numbers within range through my diet & exercise alone.

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This is what one of my training partner said to me as words of encouragement while I grunted through a set of leg press yesterday morning. By the way, laughing doesn’t improve your strength in the moment.

The BIG thing I learned with my pregnancy with my Little Man is that I backed off my workouts way too much, way too soon. I worked out throughout but by the end was really not doing very much comparatively. And we make mistakes to learn from them, right?

So far I am pretty pleased with how my training sessions are going. Despite being tired all. the. time. I am making it for all my planned sessions & pushing hard through them. We’ve had to drop my weights slightly in a few things but for the most part I’m holding my own which feels good.

With bench press we had to drop my weight, twice. The suspicion is that this is due to the body fat loss I’ve had more than anything but it is giving me a really good opportunity to really focus on form, which can be more difficult with more weight.

My squat is REALLY making me happy. I’ve struggled so much with squatting, I just can’t hit proper depth with much ease but the relaxing of my ligaments & such with the pregnancy is really helping in this regard. I still need to have a good warm-up & focus but I’m much more consistently hitting depth.

It’s interesting how you can not know something about your body until you start pushing it a little. A few years ago I would not have been able to tell you that I had particularly tight hips, I likely would have just blamed my weight.

Deadlift has always been my favourite & strongest lift. I pulled 255lbs x 3 yesterday. I had been aiming for 5 but the 3 I got were solid so I can’t be unhappy with that.

My baby may not actually be stronger for all my efforts but his/her mommy sure will be! And we’ll both be healthier.

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