29 Weeks Out: Dear Santa, Please Bring Delts

delts

Full Disclosure: This photo has been altered. LOL!

 

I’ve always said that if I were to have implants inserted, they would go in my shoulders.

But no.  Not gonna happen.  I’m doing it the old-fashioned way.

I have other lagging parts, addressing them, but I also know posing can be adjusted to de-emphasize them on stage.  But not delts.  I need them for that V taper I want.

Last year, they started to grow a bit during the strongman training.  Between the log press and keg carry training, those delts were getting worked a lot.  It seems they like volume.  Coach has me doing something with shoulders every workout.  The reps and weights vary – not always heavy.  They are recovering well and feel healthy.  If I need to, I give them a break.

I like these lateral raises with kettlebells against a high incline bench to isolate the delts.  I had to modify it to a one-arm version because the little gym by my house doesn’t have pairs of kettlebells (lame), but I think that turned out to be a happy accident.  It’s easier for me to focus on form and try to keep the traps from working too much during this movement.

I received my new training block from coach this week.  It’s called “Tammy’s Healing Block”.  Perfect!  Four weeks with new exercises which will give my joints a break.  This semester has been been so stressful.  I’ve been training through sleep deprivation and distraction.   We are on Christmas break from school for the next three weeks and the timing is wonderful for this new block.  Squats have been replaced with leg press for a few weeks.  I am supposed to do sumo deadlifts instead of conventional – so I’ll have to bring the weight down since sumo is basically a new technique for me.  I’ve played around with it, but wasn’t serious about it.  This will be fun.

About Teaching…

My last week as a middle school teacher was a roller-coaster.  My algebra kids took the high school final exam on Wednesday.  Our calendar is a little different than high school, so I had less instructional time to prepare them.  We got through it, but it’s been at a brutal pace.  Grades were lower than they are used to.  Kids and parents were worried.  The district policy is that 8th graders have to earn a 70% on that exam for it to be considered a “passed” exam.  (High school kids only need a 60%.)  After so many years as a calculus teacher getting kids ready for an AP exam, I used the same strategies on 8th graders – so it was a level of academic stress they haven’t had before.  We had fun, but they worked HARD.   I gave a practice exam the week before and predicted that 65% of my kids might earn a 70% on the actual exam.  That number of kids passing would be impressive and would be a big growth from previous years’ scores.  But it didn’t work out that way.  I ran those scantrons THREE times to verify what I saw – 72% of them passed!!!  If they were 9th graders, 82% of them would have passed!!!!!   I hoped they would do well, but I didn’t expect that.  I’m so proud of them for not cracking under the pressure and not giving up.  That’s really all I asked them to do in the minutes before the exam – don’t quit.  No matter what.  Push.  Can you even imagine how a success like that will impact a kid who puts it all together and hits an academic goal that big before entering high school? I’m so excited for them!

algebra pic

Look at the future – no need to worry. They got this.

 

I planned to wait until the last day to tell my students that I was leaving.  That was Thursday.  I knew it was going to be an emotional day, but it turned out to be one of the saddest days in my career as a teacher.  Early Wednesday evening a student from our school was hit by a car in a crosswalk.  She survived and is in the hospital – I cannot share details.  I honestly don’t know exactly what is happening with her, but it’s serious.  I’m assuming that “no news is good news” in this case.  Thursday morning, some kids knew already and the rest were told.  It was also the last day before Christmas vacation, which is always emotional.  I’ve done this for 19 years and I know that three weeks at home with family is not always a happy time.  I debated about whether to tell my classes that it was also my last day, but if I didn’t tell them, they would come back in January and I’d be gone with no explanation.  I wanted them to know that I will be teaching at the high school most of them would be attending in the fall.  (Mental note to self – I need to go to freshman orientation next summer.)

I went over to the new school yesterday to pick up keys and books.  It’s huge.  This will take some getting used to.  The teacher I’m replacing was a veteran who realized that it was time to leave.  It happens.  It’s a hard, but good decision to leave the classroom when you hit that point and I applaud her for her strength to do it.  I suppose that’s what I just did, too, but what saves me to fight another day is that it’s never been about kids. The education system is more oppressive now than it’s ever been since I started.  I am hopeful that this new spot is the right spot.  Everyone is telling me what I want to hear – let’s hope it’s true.  I’m a good teacher – damn good.  I’m effective if I’m allowed to use my energy to be a teacher and not a civil servant.  The last few years have been rough.  Those 8th grade algebra kids gave me an amazing gift – validation with data that every principal will understand.  After telling 105 kids that I needed to leave to protect my health, crying with those boys and girls,  hugging almost all of them, I decided that I will NEVER allow anything to distract me from the heart of my practice again.  Principals need to be stronger.  The best ones protect their non-compliant, highly effective teachers from the system.   There aren’t many administrators like that because the good ones won’t be hired by weak superintendents chosen by school boards of non-educators elected by the public.  (Yup – I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to use it.)  Fingers crossed that I’ve landed in the right building this time.

 

The next three weeks of break will be spent hanging with hubby, resting, lifting, packing, moving, setting up a new room, and lesson planning for new classes.  It feels like I’m getting my life back.  I’ve learned a lot.  Risks sometimes don’t work out.  Or – this was the path all along.  Time will tell.

 

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30 Weeks Out: God Wrecks Your Plans When…

Some big news about work, life, stress… but first, the fun stuff.

My training program is really interesting to me.  It’s has some power lifting elements that I love – like max-testing. This week was a max-testing/deload week.  (I deload every 4 weeks and max-test every 8 weeks.)  I had four workouts this week, and for each one, I tested a lift or two, but backed off the other lifts that day.  I cut back a set and brought the weight down about 10%.

Here are the results…

Bench:  No change.  This is actually a good result.  Over the summer, my upper body responded very well to the program I was doing, but my legs didn’t grow as much.  So coach brought the bench volume down and increased volume on legs.

Squat: Increased 16% in 8 weeks!  (But I did pull a quad two days later and that rattled me a bit.  More about that later…)

Barbell Row: Increased 10%.

Overhead Kettlebell Press: Decreased 12% – but I suspect that’s not accurate.  Tested it after the quad pull and I was distracted by things happening in life at the end of this week.  I chose not to push my body under the circumstances.

Dead Lift: No change.  I tested that lift this afternoon.  It felt better than a week ago, but I was still overly cautious considering the quad pull and the mental distractions.

Ok, so about that quad pull

I ordered these shoe lifts online and they arrived in time for me to use when testing my squat.  liftsI didn’t think I would use them for the heavy set, but the warm up sets felt great, so I kept them on.  They stayed tight on my shoes and the extra heel height helped me get decent depth.  I noticed that I tipped forward a little on the bottom, which I’m told is normal when a person starts wearing lifting shoes.  I felt strong, but I had set a goal, and quit testing when I hit it.  I might have had more, but because of the new lifts, I decided not to push it.  The change in geometry could cause a problem with heavier weight.  I’ll be testing again in a couple months, so that gives me time to adjust form to the lifts.

Two days later, after I tested my barbell row, I was supposed to do three sets of light squats.  Warm up sets went well.  First rep of the working set with a weight that was 70 lbs less than what I what I lifted two days earlier – BOING!  Pulled a quad on the right side.  At first, it felt like something happened with the IT band, but after I walked on it a couple minutes and the nerves settled a bit, I could tell it was muscle, probably a part of the vastus lateralis that I hit differently  using those shoe lifts.

Well, that’s my theory, anyway.  And with that, quad work ended for the week.  Left quad is already bigger than the right, so I don’t want to work it alone.  It’s OK.  Rest is good, too.  The pull felt better the next day, and three days later, it’s just tender.  I’ve been icing it every evening.  Took ibuprofen a couple times.  I expect it to heal soon.

 

I took a rest day after this workout.  The next time I was at the gym, I tested kettlebell overhead press.  I can’t lie – I didn’t really try.  Over the years, I’ve had problems with both shoulders.  I’m usually a little sleep deprived by Thursday each week, and there was more stress this week than usual. (I know right?  How can I have even MORE stress?  You all must think I’m a drama queen by now, but I’ll explain in a minute.)   I was supposed to use the 35 lb kettlebell, and while I stared at it, I did a little inventory.  Left knee has tendinitis, right quad is pulled, but right now, both shoulders are healthy – and that’s rare.  I grabbed the 30 lb kettlebell instead.  Thought I would just go for reps, but I only got 5 when last week, I did 8 with this weight.  Know what?  I don’t care.  It’s not important.  The 1 rep max is used to set up spreadsheet numbers for the next cycle.  I can always pick up a heavier weight if I feel good.  This was not that day because I just couldn’t risk another injury this week.  I still wanted to do something heavy with delts, so I headed over to a Hammer Smith delt raise machine and knocked out a couple sets of 40 lbs for 5 reps.  That’s a safer option because the weight can’t fall backwards on a machine and rip up my shoulder.  That weight isn’t even a PR.  I’ve done 50 lbs on it before, but that was about a year ago.

And why I was mentally distracted

My knees have been hurting  and now this new pull?  I’m not getting enough rest to recover from my training.   I wake up too early with a “to do” list running through my head.   I can feel my that cortisol levels have been higher more often lately.  Hubby has expressed his concern a few times in the last couple months.  So the quad pull was the ‘last straw’ with respect to how far I’m going to allow work stress to impact my health.  I hate having to do it, but I will leave my current position after this semester and return to the high school level, even though it will be a high school I haven’t worked at before.  I know several people there, and I understand how high school works, so it should be an easy transition.  I love middle school kids and I think I’ve been a pretty good middle school teacher, but my life is not working well with the demands on energy and the long days.  That makes it a little dangerous considering how I train.  Husband’s worries are justified.

Once the decision was made, I contacted a vice principal at the high school most of my 8th graders will attend next year.  I used to work with her a few years ago and she knows how I operate as a teacher better than most.   I was asked to come over for a visit the next day.  Turns out that they have a mid-year opening in the their math department – which is very unusual.  I know things can change and usually do, but the teaching assignment they asked me to take will be easier to manage than the one I have now.    I spoke with my current principal the next morning and she was understanding and supportive.  She didn’t hesitate to agree to the transfer, even though she could have said “no”.  This is not a voluntary transfer period and there aren’t math teachers floating around without jobs in December.  Even though it took  me a long time for me to accept that this wasn’t working, once I did, the transfer happened in less than a day – yesterday.  Our district has one more week of school before a three week Christmas break. During that break, I will be packing and moving again.

I feel horrible about leaving my kids. This kind of change can be so disruptive to their learning.  It was painfully hard to leave my high school kids last June and here I am doing it again.  My decisions impact too many kids and  I lose sleep over that, too.  I am praying that the person who takes my position will know that it’s going to be hard on the kids and will be patient with them.    In 5 months, a few of these puppies have become pretty special to me.  It helps to remind myself that 8th grade is one year – they will be in high school for four years (I hope).  It’s a much bigger place and they will find all kinds of cracks to fall into without someone looking out for them.   Maybe this is the way things were supposed to happen?  I did not want to transfer to this high school last spring.  I wanted to change levels. It wasn’t a mistake.  I needed to do it.   I learned a lot and I reconnected with a passion for teaching that I haven’t felt in a long time.  When my kids get there, they will already have a “home room” and a friendly face waiting for them.  And hugs.  And pep talks.  And butt-kicks. And more pep talks.    I will find them on day 1 so they will know I’ve got their back.

 

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31 Weeks Out: And Now It’s Getting Serious

This was a tough week.  I suspected it would be since it was the first week after Thanksgiving break.  Other things made it harder to navigate.  There was an hour long staff meeting each day, Monday through Wednesday.  That’s three hours of lesson planning that needed to happen at different times those days.  My daily schedule is already tight, so losing those hours hurt.  I ended up shortening a couple lifts by skipping some exercises and I lost some sleep.  Really no where else to find the time.  There was one unplanned rest day where I decided to sleep in and lift after work, but Hubby needed the car that afternoon, so I didn’t make it to the gym.

Lifting, when I got to do it, was OK most days, but there was one really disappointing day.  I had some heavy deadlifts to do, so I split them off into their own workout.  I was supposed to do 5 sets of 3 reps at 220 lbs.  That morning, I could only handle 2 sets at that weight.  I had to drop the weight – twice – to finish 5 sets.  Another day, I was doing a couple sets of bench press with 105 lbs.  That weight should not have felt heavy, but it did.  Ugh.

Both knees have been sore the last couple of days.  Mood has been blue.  As always, lack of sleep is the major reason.  During the week, I have to go to bed at 6 pm to get enough sleep with a 3 am alarm.  That’s pretty early.  It’s hard for me to give up that time with Hubby.  I also realized this week that I don’t get much daylight or fresh air anymore.  That’s probably a problem, too.

I haven’t been at this bodybuilding thing that long, just 4 1/2 years, I suppose, but it’s the same as any hard thing I’ve done.  There will be mostly good days and a few bad ones.  The things I’ve accomplished in my life that I’m most proud of have been HARD things.  I draw a lot of discipline from my past.  All big things were done in small steps.  This year will be no different.

So what’s changed?  Why are things “getting serious” now?  I’ve been working with a coach online for the last year and we had consultations every three months.  He sent me a training protocol and the nutrition plan he wanted me to follow.  But now, we are stepping things up and I’ll be doing weekly check-in’s.  I’m excited to move into this phase, but also a little stressed about the increased level of oversight.  I have to stay current on my spreadsheet data input every week, instead of just getting it caught up every couple of months.  I use other apps to track things and then have to transfer that information over to the spreadsheet my coach uses.  I also have to be a little more precise about logging food.  I’m pretty good at that already, but I want to make sure it’s accurate.  It’s just a matter to adjusting my habits.

But I’m not going to lie – I’m a little afraid.  I’m not 100% sure I’ll be able to do what I’m supposed to do in the gym, keep food prep on point, and do this job.  I’m worried about how the lack of sleep is going to affect me.  But I’m going forward anyway.  The job is so demanding that having a goal to compete and a coach to do the thinking for me are strategies to keep my health a priority.  Otherwise, I’m afraid the job would suck everything away from me – again.

I don’t like being this busy.  I don’t thrive on it.  But this is my situation now and I’ll make the best of it.  And I have help – grateful for that.

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33 Weeks Out – Pain, Progress, and Art

I miss being able to write each week.  It’s just not possible right now.  I’m working 10-12 hours a day, need another couple hours to workout and get ready for work.  By the time I get home, I eat, pack food and gym bag for the next day, and spend a couple hours watching Netflix  or reading to unwind enough to be able to fall asleep.

The Pain

Lack of sleep is still a problem.   I need to get up at 3 am to get my workout in before getting to school by 6 am.  I’ve been averaging about 5 hours a night.  By Thursday, I’m pretty loopy.  Even though I feel like I’m recovering from the lifts, I’m having issues with my left knee.  Pain keeps moving around it, so I suspect that it is a recovery problem.  I’m also cutting weight and that doesn’t work as well when I’m not getting enough sleep.  The solution is to go to bed at 6 pm.  That’s going to be tough to do, but I am going to try.   We have Thanksgiving break this week, so I’m looking forward to a lot of sleep.

The knee is annoying.  I didn’t hurt it at the gym, as you might expect.  The pain started about a month after I started teaching at this new school.  I’m on my feet most of the day and my room is on the second floor.  I got a knee sleeve to wear at the gym and a brace to wear at work.  A couple weeks ago, I brought a stool to my room so I can get weight off that leg sometimes while teaching.  I’ve had to adjust exercises to avoid making it worse.  It’s not serious – tendinitis, but it’s healing slowly.  This week, I didn’t wear the brace every day because it felt better.  And then yesterday afternoon the pain came back.  Awesome.  I thought I was going to have problems doing squats today, but once I had the sleeve on, it was fine.  Squats and dead lifts went fine.  But seated leg curl hurt, so that didn’t happen.

Another source of pain – occlusion training.  I’m using it to bring up a lagging left hamstring and right quad.  Four times a week, I wrap up and do single leg extensions and seated leg curls with blood flow restriction.  Well, seated leg curls until today – they aggrevated the knee.  Instead, I did laying leg curls with one leg wrapped.   Occlusion training hurts.  Each time I do it, I have to visualize why I’m doing it to finish those sets.  And then it’s done.  The wraps come off and I feel good.  I like the results but it is uncomfortable.

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The stress has taken a toll, too.  My husband is worried.  He told me the other morning that the new job has changed me.  I know what he means.  I haven’t felt like this in many years.  I do believe that most of this stress is “first year in a new school” stress.  Since they changed my teaching schedule, things have been getting easier.  Slowly.  I’m trying to make my workflow efficient like it used to be.  I knew the learning curve would be steep.  Until I can get organized and efficient, I need to work on my attitude about it.   Teaching is an important job, and it’s important to me to be a good teacher, but it has been interfering with my peace of mind.   And it’s not important enough to cause my husband to worry.

The Progress

Since the beginning of September, I’ve lost almost 6 pounds.  It’s coming off slow because my daily deficit is only 200-400 calories.   Weight zig zags up and down, but trends downward over time.  A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty low.  Weight loss stalled and my mood was blue.  One day I decided to raise my calories to match my burn (the Bodybugg makes that possible without guessing).  The next day, I dropped a couple pounds.  I wouldn’t call it a “refeed” exactly, but I’ve been able to keep things progressing by having a day or two a week without a deficit.   Carbs are still over 200 g most days.  Gets up around 300 g on those days I eat at maintenance.  It’s important to me to keep those carbs as high as possible.

I have been able to follow the program given to me, which was designed by my coach using daily undulating periodization (DUP).  That means I’ve been progressing as planned without loss of strength during the cut – I think.  I test max lifts again in a couple weeks.  That will be telling.  Some of the workouts can get a bit long, so I need to split them up into a morning and afternoon session, or over two days if I can’t get back to the gym in the afternoon.  There have been a couple of weeks when an exercise or two just doesn’t happen, but considering how busy I am, I consider it a win that I’m getting it done almost every week.

The Art

This school year has been challenging.  The training keeps me grounded.  It helps me deal with the stress.  But I can’t lie – some of those early mornings have caused me to question my resolve – especially now that it’s colder and I’m scraping the windshield at 3:15 am.  Last weekend there was a big natural bodybuilding show in Boston.  I was glued to FB looking for pictures to be posted of the pro female bodybuilders.  I was in awe.  To me, they are living sculptures.  Every workout, every meal, every hour I sleep – it’s all part of my art.  The discipline, the consistency, the science – it’s how I create my sculpture from the inside out.  I’m as passionate about this as an artist is about the art they create.  Lately, I’ve noticed that when I think about the “show”, I don’t think about competition.  I think about presenting my work.  I think about the routine as if it was a dance recital.  And then I get excited.  I love being strong.  I want to be stronger.  But what gets my heart racing is the art in bodybuilding.

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Lost 3.2 pounds. Might be wishful thinking, but I think it looks like more than 3 pounds. That works.

 

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37 Weeks Out: Starting to Wonder if I Can Pull This Off

The blog is supposed to document my journey – but I’ve been too busy to write.  Or too tired to write.  Or too negative to write.

It’s a Saturday morning and there are about a half dozen things I should be doing right now.  But I need to document what’s been going on for two reasons.  First, this is my accountability – if you’re reading this YOU are my accountability.  That’s why I started this blog.  I wanted to do this thing publicly so I wouldn’t quit when it got hard.  It’s hard right now.  It would be fair to compare the difficulty now to the difficulty I had when I first started.  In the beginning, it was hard to find the time to get to the gym, to do the food prep, and to organize my work life so that I could find that time.  That’s exactly what’s happening again with my new job.

Second, next summer, I want to revisit the posts from this time so I remember what I had to do to get back on stage.

It feels like all the routines I had established to make this work have been blown to hell.  Food prep had to be changed.  Work schedule is different.  Hubby and I are sharing a car, so I work around that.  I had to join a different gym because it was closer and has 24 hour access, but it has some different equipment, so that has changed my program a bit.

At work, I’m still struggling to be time-efficient in an inefficient system*.  I’ve observed that many people who work there put in 10-12 hour days regularly.  So much so that it is the unspoken norm.  Well, I can’t do that.  I’ve been working 9 hour days and not keeping up.  The admin offered and followed through on changing my schedule so I teach 3 different classes instead of 4 – that happened this week and I can see how that’s going to help.  I’m trying to find workarounds.  Someone suggested I set up my quizzes online using a program that will grade them for me.  However, even though our school has four computer labs, none of them have enough machines for my largest class.  But we do have iPads that will work.  I reserved them two weeks ago, spent an hour to learn the program and set up the quiz, and yesterday morning when I went to pick up the iPads, they were locked in a room and no one around had the key. (Lesson learned – break the rule that says the carts have to be locked up in that room and get them the night before.)

*Most of what’s draining teachers right now comes from mandates from educational leaders who have never been teachers.  Oh, but I digress…

The reason I’m documenting this work stuff is that it is effecting my training in a significantly negative way.  I didn’t realize just how much until I looked at my lifting log yesterday morning.  It took me 11 days to complete a 7-day cycle of lifts.  WTF???  I shouldn’t have looked at that before work yesterday.  I was not a happy person.  I tried to ignore the bubbly new intern in the workroom yesterday, but she really felt the need to introduce herself to me.  But seriously, she’s just way too perky and bubbly anyway. She’s like a big piece of bubble wrap and it’s going to be an effort for me to not burst her bubbles, even on a good day.

The problem is that I haven’t had time in the mornings to finish my lifts because I need to be at work by 6 am this year, when I used to be able to arrive an hour later.   I can’t rely on having a planning period every day.  This building has a LOT of staff meetings.  I really can’t get up much earlier – I am getting up at 3 am now.   When I don’t get it all done, I go back the next morning to finish.  It should have worked, because I’m only supposed to lift 4 days a week and I thought that giving up the rest day between to do assistance work would be OK.  But then there was at least one or two nights a week I didn’t sleep well, so I didn’t lift well, or I didn’t lift at all because it felt a little unsafe on 3 hours of sleep. (Two evenings of parent conferences this past week.)

So it looks like I need to pay closer attention to what’s getting done and isn’t getting done.  I may have to do 2-a-day workouts on some days instead of waiting until the next morning.  I’m not excited about that.  I’m pretty drained at the end of the day after being on my feet all day.  8th graders require more energy to teach than 12th graders.  I’m wearing a knee brace now because I’ve developed tendinitis in my left knee from standing most of the day.

So many variables.  I can’t lie – there are days I feel like giving up.  But it takes less than a half second to remember what happened to me when I let my “obligations” control my life.  No.  That’s not happening again.  My mood yesterday morning when I realized how much the job has screwed up my training is how I would feel all the time.  No.  Not going there.

Something practical…

I also have pain from a bit of bicep tendinitis in my left arm.   Developed it over the last couple months.  I only feel it while pressing. The angle from decline pressing isn’t as painful, so I benched using a decline bench the other day.  I adjusted it to be as close to flat as possible.  It worked OK because the weight was light.  I didn’t like not being able to use my feet to stabilize.

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Tahoe – A Walk Among Trees

Lake Tahoe is less than an hour’s drive from our house.  Today, we headed up there hoping to see some fall colors.  I wanted to hike to Chickadee Ridge to feed the birds.  We’ve done it before during the winter.  It didn’t really work so well today – birds aren’t as hungry right now, I guess.

We didn’t hike far – just a couple miles.  Hubby had knee surgery last February.  I didn’t mention it, but my left knee has been hurting, too.  We took it easy and took a lot of pictures.  Hubby is a professional photographer, but I just snapped some with my phone to share with you.

 

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40 Weeks Out: It’s Fall Break!!!

I haven’t had time to write.  Our school district is on fall break now, so I have time to catch my breath, catch up on sleep, and document what’s been going on.  To be honest, I haven’t wanted to write, either.  I haven’t felt like sharing.  Most people are encouraging and supportive, and I’m grateful for that.  I could use it right now.  But sometimes, thoughtless and rude things are said.  I’m getting up at 3 am to get the lifts in, I don’t have weekend afternoons to do food prep anymore, and laundry is barely getting done.  So I just don’t have the time to even think about social media drama when undies get bunched about my life as a bodybuilder.

In my last post, “A Snapshot of My Day“, I described what a typical day looks like.  Hubby is worried – he knows what happens when I have too much stress for too long.  So I promised to make some changes and I did.  My days are still long, but I’ve done a pretty good job of not working past 3 pm during the week so I can be headed towards bed by 7 pm.   About two nights a week, I’m waking up too soon (between 1:30 -2 am) and not falling back to sleep.  That makes for a rough day, but I usually sleep very soundly the next night.  I spend one weekend day doing chores, working out, and food shopping.  The other day also has a lift, but then it’s all grading and lesson planning.    Cooking is happening every day, or every other day now, instead of on Sunday afternoons.  I’m trying to not worry about how this stress and sleep pattern is mucking up my hormones because worrying about it doesn’t help me control it at all.

Lifting has been going according to plan most of the time.   I skipped dead lifts one morning just because I didn’t have enough sleep, low back was already sore, and it seemed like a stupid idea to do deads that morning.  I intended to do them the next day, but something came up.  Hubby and I are sharing a car, so every day things need to be choreographed.  It’s working pretty well.  Getting the lifts done super early helps.

For Thursday’s dead lifts, I used a sumo stance again.  I haven’t used that stance for about six months because it felt very wobbly.  I felt stronger, but also noticed I wasn’t pulling evenly.  Looked at the video in slow motion and found the problem – I’m straightening my right leg sooner than my left.  Went back and looked at old video of my conventional dead lifts and saw it then, too.  I spent a few minutes researching it online and never saw anything referring to that form issue.  So I guess this is my next problem to fix.  Glad I found it.  Might explain the pain I get in my right low back and it might be a muscle imbalance from the pulled hip flexor a few years ago.  It could also be caused by the scoliosis – one leg is longer than the other.  A friend suggested I try a lift on the short leg.

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Tried the sumo stance again yesterday.  You’ll see the near disaster as it occurred in this video:

I’ve been on a very slow cut for the last month.  Sleep determines how well that works.  It looked like progressed stalled, but I knew that wasn’t the case – I just needed sleep.  The last two nights I’ve gotten a decent amount of sleep (7.5 and 8 hours), so the scale responded.  I’ve lost about 2 pounds in a month with a small calorie deficit and about one additional cardio a week.  No, that’s not fast enough.  But considering the amount of stress I’ve been working under the last month, I’m grateful for it.

Did I mention that work has been unbelievably stressful?   The amount of energy on my part to teach 8th graders is crazy high.  I’m on my feet all day.  I have great kids, but there are thirty 13-year-olds in a room at a time, some with typical behaviors. (I’m completely fascinated boys and with their sociology regarding pencils.  They either don’t have one, someone took theirs and they are arguing about it, or they broke it.  So much pencil drama.  It’s fascinating.)  Lesson plans have to be tight.  There is no winging-it.  I teach 5 periods a day, but 4 different levels of math.  Trying to prepare 20 engaging, activity-based lessons a week for new classes in a new school, well, it’s been a challenge. (Most of my colleagues only have to prep 5, but not more than 10 lessons a week.  Not sure why anyone thought the new teacher would be able to handle this schedule.)  Every minute of my day has been about prepping the next class.  Then, toss in grading… lots of stress related to finding time to get this all done.

I’m not working too late, but if my lessons aren’t ready for the next day, I don’t sleep well.  I’ve been told that a change to my schedule will be made after break to reduce the number of different classes I teach from 4 to 3, but we’ll see.  This same change was proposed to me the first week of school, but it didn’t happen.  Principal said it’s a go.  I’ll wait and see.

Well, that’s where I’m at.  Pushing through.  I’m really looking forward to this week off when I can get some rest, time at home, some time in nature, and some lifting in daylight.

 

 

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