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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

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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On Tuesday we found out our real estate agent had scheduled an open house for tomorrow (Saturday). We panicked. We wrote up a to do list to prove to her we couldn’t be ready. Our list was 3 pages long & this was after a week of solid work (by ourselves & anyone we could convince to help).

Well, tomorrow morning I have to run back to the house to put a last coat on the bathroom trim & pass a mop over a few of the floors. Everything on the list is done! Ok, I lie, we still need to finish up the deck outside of the kitchen but that was a task we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish in time.

Without the motivation of the deadline I’m not sure we would be at this point right now but I’m pretty damn proud of us.

We bought this house a little more than 5 years ago. At 140 years old it needed a LOT of work. I big task for a couple who could do little more than paint a wall & change a lightbulb, but with (a LOT) of help from friends & family & a can- do attitude we have made changes, some of them major, in every single room of the house.

People keep commenting that we must want to move back in now that everything looks so good & is finally finished (well, with an older house “finished” is kind of a loosely used word) but really we don’t. We are pretty darn proud of what we’ve accomplished, we’ve learned a lot & we’ve grown a lot.

We added a lot of blood, sweat & tears to the memories in those walls but we’ve also added laughter & good times. One of my favourite things about those drafty old walls was the sense of time & memory that breathed through it. Knowing that others were born & died, wept & laughed, cozied up through winter storms & threw windows open to warm breezes made me feel part of something more.

I will post some before & after pics but the after pics have yet to be taken & I’m too tired tonight to wait for them to upload anyway!

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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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We are moving in one month’s time to our dream. All sorts of changes to come from the mundane – we will no longer have roadside pick up of garbage, a first for both of us – to the exciting – 88 acres for all of us to roam!

I think we are all looking forward to the changes but at the same time change is always a little uncomfortable, things often are not as we think they will be & so we are also approaching it with some nervousness.

Right now we’re busy with all the preparatory details, arranging financing, packing boxes, finishing up projects on this house (which still needs to be prepped to go on the market), booking movers, shopping for appliances & many other new things we need like a lawn tractor & chainsaw.

Of course we’re also planning the ways in which our lives will change & dreaming of the opportunities this will give us all. I am SO excited that Mr. Magoo & the new one to come will have so much space to run & jump & dig & explore. And I am excited to finally have a proper laundry line. Grumpy Bear is excited to have a proper workshop for all his tools.

So for now this still just seems like a dream.

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It’s been almost 2 weeks since the powerlifting competition I entered in Toronto. It was a good weekend overall, decent driving weather, a well behaved 2 year old, visiting with good friends & of course the meet.

Me! At the end of a very long day.

The day started off with, what for me is, a very early rise of 6:00 as I wanted to be on the road by 6:30. We had an hour drive in the snow to be there in time for weigh-in at 8:00.

After weigh-in we got settled & waited for the games to begin. Powerlifting competitions run with three lifts; squat, benchpress & deadlift. For each lift you get 3 attempts & to move on you must successfully make at least one of these attempts. Once you chose a weight you can go up on the next lift but you cannot go down.

Starting with squat was not a confidence booster for me. I struggle with hitting depth on squat (your thighs must break parallel with the floor at the bottom end of the lift). It took me a year to be able to get anywhere near deep enough & every training session it takes a lot of dynamic warm-up & couple warm-up sets of squats before I started reliably hitting depth. As well, the squat is what makes this a first meet for me (I had previously competed in 3 push/pulls – therefore no squat).

We had worked out my starting weight in advance & I felt confident with my opener of 170lbs but when I got on the platform I failed to meet depth. This left me nervous & I requested 170lbs for my 2nd attempt only to have the same problem which brought a landslide of advice from one of the judges & other competitors (it’s really a very supportive sport) which really just made me more nervous. Interestingly half of the women were in my position – first two attempts unsuccessful. The third lift had to be it or my day was over. It was with a giant sigh of relief that I saw those 3 white lights.

There are 3 judges & each gives either a white light for a good lift or a red light for no lift. You need at least 2 white lights for the lift to count.

Here I am getting set up for my first (unsuccessful) squat attempt. (I will have you know I debated a LONG time as to whether or not to post these pics of me in my little stretchy suit.)

The second lift of the day was the benchpress. This was the one that took the most time as along with the 5 flights of lifters there was an additional 6 flights of lifters who were competing in bench only.

My first attempt was 105lbs which I missed due to impatience. The judge gives you commands, when to begin, when to lift & when to rack. This means there is a pause with the bar touching your chest to ensure you have good control. The pause was much longer than I anticipated & I started to press before the command. My second attempt I took 115lbs for a solid press. My third attempt was 120lbs & didn’t leave my chest. I thought it was interesting that every single female lifter missed their last attempt.

Huh! I guess that 120lbs did come a little ways off my chest!

The final lift of the day (& my favourite!) was deadlift. I started with 270lbs then moved onto 290lbs & finished up with 310lbs. I was excited for the 310lbs as I had attempted this weight at the push/pull back in December & missed it thanks to my lousy grip. I’ve been working on my grip & felt confident about this number.

It was ugly - but I got up.

The end results of the day: I finished my first full meet successfully, I brought home a shiny first place medal for my weight class (guess how many in my class?) & pulled the biggest deadlift of all the women (that’s the part I’m most proud of).

Oh, all this while 8 weeks pregnant!

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Tonight I was beyond grumpy when I left the house for my training session at the gym. As I passed the movie theatre it was so VERY tempting to ditch the gym & go drown myself in a bucket of buttery popcorn & a bad movie.

But I didn’t. I did vow to skip my cardio afterwards.

I started off with a little bit of time on the treadmill but it kicked me off & I will admit to crying a few tears of frustration.

Then I walked into the back room where bootcamp was finishing up to start my warm-up. A woman I used to train with immediately remarked that I looked “fabulous” & then another woman whom I only know in passing remarked that she had to do a double take when I came down the hallway because of my weightloss. What a boost!

After a good, sweaty, challenging workout with Sarah I felt great.

I even finished off with my cardio on the bike!

Sometimes getting to the gym is truly the hardest part —- but it is SO worth it.

As for the weightloss: I am now down 28lbs, not so shabby.

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I write a LOT of posts for this blog – in my head. As I’m driving, while lying in bed waiting for sleep (mine or Mr. Magoo’s) & lately on the treadmill. Unfortunately I’ve been doing a terrible job lately of getting those posts typed up.

For Christmas Grumpy Bear got me a gift that is actually at the top of lists of gifts not to get your wife for any occasion, but it was an appropriate gift. I will admit my reaction was very mixed at first. To be honest it took me a good couple weeks to really feel good about this gift.

What was this horrifying terrific gift?

12 weeks with Shelby Starnes, a highly recommended nutritionist (our trainers have been with him for almost 2.5 years). 12 weeks which, as long as I follow his advice, will guarantee I’ll lose weight.

What are my reservations?

The diet is pretty strict – probably the strictest I’ve ever tried (& oh, how I’ve tried different things). I just wasn’t sure I was prepared for it, but Sarah said “you’ll never really be prepared – you just have to do it.” Wise woman.

So I’m now almost 2 weeks in to my 12. I’ve lost 8lbs so far. I don’t expect to continue to lose at that rate but it is exciting to see such a great result right off.

Along with a very specific diet plan (which is carb rotation diet with very specific amounts of protein, carbohydrates & fat per meal) he has also prescribed the supplements I need each day & the timing for these & additional cardio workouts pretty much daily.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

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