45 Weeks Out – 3 Day Weekend! And “When Do I Start My Cut, Coach?”

Labor Day!  One of the most loved holidays by American teachers who’s school year starts before Sept 1.  That’s the weekend you get the extra rest you need after most energy is drained managing the chaos that is called “back-to-school”.  I’ve heard teachers talk about opening a year and comparing it other years just like the elders back in my home state of Minnesota talk about the “great blizzard of 19-whatever”.  Opening a school year is always hard.  I expected it to be harder for me, personally, just because this time around many things are new to me,  and it has met, if not exceeded, my expectations for difficulty.

So I’m chillaxin at least a day this weekend and blogging.  If you look closely, you can see the “L” key on my laptop has broken off.  I use “L” a lot – Love, Lift, Live…  Luckily, it still works.  Just a little awkward.

Joining the gym closer to my house was a smart move.   I’m not in love with the equipment (a bar weighed 40lbs, not the standard 45 lbs – glad I checked), but the gym’s location and  24-hr access make my life work better.  I’m able to get started earlier in the morning so I can actually finish my planned workout and have time to warm up, cool down, and shower before I want to arrive at school at 6 am.  I need to workout uber-early anyway.  I’m deadlifting at least twice a week now (YAY!!!!!!!) and this is one of those gyms that has a posted rule about loud noises.  It’s all good.  The eccentric part of my deads is a little harder now that I’m trying to be as quiet as possible.

I started the week wrong.  The plan was to get a lift done first thing Monday morning.   Alarm was set for 3 am.  A second one for 3:15 am.  Slept through both.  I woke up with the sun at 6:15, so I still had enough time to throw on clothes, grab food, and get to work with enough time to prepare for first period at 7:30.  Didn’t throw off more than that one day.

Sleep is OK.  I’m averaging about 6 hours a night, which is normal.  Not great, but if I have to get up at 3 am to make this all work, I’m grateful for 6 hours.  That’s the minimum I can do and feel human.  My goal for this 3-day weekend is an accumulated 24+ hours of sleep.  I treat sleep like some people treat cardio.  I have to – it’s my main strategy for controlling cortisol.  When I get enough sleep, I will drop water weight, too.  Two days in and I’m on track.  Check out  THESE numbers, baby.  BOOM!  Type-A-Overachiever Status!!!  It was a little tough this morning when I woke up early, but I put my head down and grinded out another TWO HOURS!

At the gym, things are moving along as they are supposed to now that I’m feeling better.  The program I was given a the beginning of August is unlike anything I’ve done before.  Since I’m working with a coach, I can’t divulge details, but it’s a daily undulating periodization program.  The exercises don’t vary, but the number of sets, reps, and loads do change from workout to workout.  Some days I’m training for hypertrophy, other days for strength.  I haven’t done a traditional bodybuilder body part split for months.  I like it!  Yesterday was the first time I did “singles” – many sets of 1 rep.  That was weird and fun.  And I’m deadlifting and squatting 2-3 times a week.  Sweet!  But squats are that exercise I don’t do well technically – which is why I’ve been doing overhead squats as a warm up for months.  My squats are still not great and not heavy, but they feel more solid.  Let’s check video…

This video was from last November.  (Advance it to 1:08 to see a similar weight on the bar.)

This video was recorded yesterday…

 

As of yesterday, I am 45 weeks out from my next competition.  Could be 41 weeks if I decide to do another local show instead.  I think I have about 25 pounds to lose and I’m anxious to get started.  Probably more anxious than my coach. The directive from our last Skype session when we went over my latest DEXA results and this new program was “stay the course”.   I am anxious to do a mini-cut, though.  My clothes are getting tight and I’m uncomfortable.  I’ve gained about 7 pounds since last November – that’s pretty decent for an “off-season”, I guess.  And I’m burning more and eating more.  Carb intake is up from an average of 160 grams per day last November to 270 grams a day now.   Some days I’m up around 320 grams.  But I want to lose weight as  s    l    o    w   l   y   as possible.   Starting soon would be awesome.  I think I need to start my prep at 40 weeks and will need to be convinced otherwise.

Competing is what keeps me motivated, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.  Living this way is how I stay balanced.  I need this to keep from losing myself trying to meet expectations of others.  Especially now that I’m working in a building where I have observed that the unspoken expectation is that teachers will work 10-12 hours a day.  At each staff meeting, there is a “thank you” ceremony for someone who has “gone above and beyond”  (which is secret code for “volunteered to work more than the 7.5 hours a day we are paid” – most of us do, but I’ve managed to cut my hours down from 70 a week to 40-45 a week, until now).  The rewards have included candy.   It’s an unhealthy expectation/reward combo.  I’m a bit flexible with my diet, sure, but because I train how I train, I can be flexible right now.  Not sure if/when I’m going to point out that they are rewarding stress with sugar.  I can see the effects of long term stress in my new colleagues.  Long term elevated cortisol will change how the body stores fat.   I’m not judging – I’m worried for them.  So much younger than me and on the same path I was on.  So, do I say anything?  Maybe, but it usually doesn’t work.   Rather just do my thing and let people ask when they are ready to know.   But this is why I need to re-establish my boundaries and stick with the program.  I’m surrounded by new people who didn’t know me before.  A few have seen my pics, but they didn’t watch me do it.  They have no idea and aren’t going to be as supportive as my friends at my old school.

These boundaries ultimately have made me a better wife and teacher.  This recharges me.  This prepares me to handle the stress each day.  Always working toward a goal helps me keep the day in perspective.  It makes me happy.

 

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46 Weeks Out: Surviving Middle School…Barely

Please excuse typos – I’m writing fast because I have no time to be writing at all.  

First two weeks of teaching done and they were rough.  I have five classes each day and four of them are different preps.  This is a harder teaching assignment than what I was told about last spring.  I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days six days a week.  I’m taking a break from lesson planning on this Sunday morning to write this update.  I don’t want the blog to fall too far behind.  It’s my journal and it looks like this year is going to be a roller coaster.

I worked through a cold last week that took my voice on Thursday and Friday.  Luckily, our rooms have “audio enhancement” so I could whisper into this mic and still teach.  I’m frustrated.  I’ve cried a bit.  But I’m learning.  The kids are great and the staff is supportive.  I’m slowly adjusting to having all my daily routines changed.  This school has a LOT of staff meetings – so prep periods and after school time isn’t always an option, so I’ve been arriving at 6 am to have four different classes ready to go by 7:30.  Last year, I had first period planning period, so I could arrive at 7 am and be ready by my first class at 8:30.

The new job has made training a challenge.  I live about 20 minutes away from my gym, which wasn’t too much of an issue when I worked at my old high school because it was on the way.  But my new school is only 4 minutes from home by car.  The gym doesn’t open until 4 am, I now have an extra 40 minutes of travel time, and the workout with a longer warm-up, made it really hard to get to work by 6 am.  I’ve been able to lift on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Problem is that I’m on a 4-day split right now.  It has taken me almost three weeks to get through two week’s worth of lifts.  That’s no good.  There is an Anytime Fitness about 5 miles from home, so I joined my third gym a couple days ago.  Not only is it closer, I don’t have to work around gym hours.  Hubby and I are sharing a car and he needed it today, so this morning, I got my lift done and was home an hour before my regular gym opens on the weekend.  (I have one of those rare uber-cheap lifetime memberships to 24 Hour Fitness, too.  But because their clubs here are way across town, I don’t go there much.)

Good news is that I’m burning calories like crazy, so I’m not too stressed about eating more to keep up my energy.  Even on days I don’t workout or bike to work, if I’m teaching, my daily burn is around 2700.  That’s about 500 calories more a day than it was on a non-workout day at my old school.  I suppose my body will acclimate to middle schoolers and start to be more calorie efficient at some point. Hope not.  When it’s time to cut, it will be just that much easier.

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I wear this mic around my neck and there are speakers in the ceiling of my room. I love it.

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48 Weeks Out – Quick Update

It’s been a very busy week of faculty meetings and prepping for school to start next week.  I have a lot to do this weekend and don’t think I’ll have time to write again.  I’m overwhelmed as I prepare to teach three new classes in a new school to kids younger than I’ve ever taught.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to teach routines and procedures.  Or behavior skills, for that matter.  It’s also quite invigorating.  I’m excited to be nervous again.

Met with my coach on Monday.  Always energized by those conversations.  He sent me a new lifting program, which looks like it will be as challenging as the others he’s given me, but in a different way.  I thought for sure he’d want to start a cut, but no.  No change.  Continue to keep protein and fats the same everyday and eat more carbs each day to bring intake up to match burn, give or take a couple hundred.  He said we might increase food later.  That was unexpected.  Increase?  Cool.  Guess my progress pictures are OK.

I started the new lifting program on Wednesday.  Took yesterday and today off from lifting. One was a planned rest day, but today was an extra day off because I strained my low back that day. I did very light squats, but I haven’t done them in months, so the body rebelled a bit.

At 7:15 pm this evening, I syched my BodyBugg and saw that I’ve already burned more calories today than I do on a regular rest day.  The projected burn is going to be close to 3000 and that’s a new high for me. Biking to work, on my feet all day setting up my room, and then biked home.  I wonder how a ‘regular’ teaching day is going to go next week?

Heading back to the kitchen for more food.   :)

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49 Weeks Out – Progress Pics of Room and Me

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Jump start last week was fun.  I only had four 7th-graders.  It was a nice way to ease back into the routine.  I was able to make some progress getting the room pulled together.  I was too fixated on getting two bulletin boards recovered – the pink and red one.  This is likely not my final form for this board, but it’s OK.

My teacher meetings start tomorrow with my new colleagues.  I should be more ambitious – food needs to be prepped, laundry folded – but I’m writing and watching Hulu.  Holding onto my relaxed self while I still can.  Tomorrow is a rest day, so I have some time in the morning to pull meals together for the day.  We have meetings almost every day, meet and greet with parents one evening, I have to finish setting up the room, and do some lesson planning.  I’m starting from scratch with everything at this new school.  I’m sure I will be overwhelmed.  Yeah – chillin’ right now.  Calm before the storm, I suppose.

I got some good news last Friday!  Or at least I’m happy about it.  Got another DXA scan a couple days ago.  The last one was done back  in February after a mini-cut phase.  Two days after that DXA, my husband had his car accident.  (He is doing great, but there were a lot of life and financial complications that are on-going.)  And then I had to change jobs.  The last six months have been the most stressful period of my life since my mother died in 1990.  It was truly a test of my new life as a bodybuilder.  There were plenty of days when I didn’t want to workout.  I’ve only been at this for five years, so it would have been easy to slip back into my old ways.  I know I have a cortisol issue, so stress isn’t something I can take for granted.  I’ve had these DXAs done a couple times a year since 2011.  When under stress before, I’ve lost muscle and gained fat while lifting and doing cardio.  This time around, I’ve been avoiding cardio since that can be a cortisol trigger for me.  My plan was to eat enough to keep the muscle growing, but not so much that I would gain a ton, but I knew I’d gain some fat.  That’s how I work.  But I was still not sure what to expect.  It was entirely possible that I would gain fat and lose muscle again.

It looks like I’ve gained about a pound of lean mass and six pounds of fat since February.  I’m thrilled to have gained any lean mass at all considering the stress.  I expected about 5 pounds of fat, so that wasn’t a shock.  Not concerned.  I started biking to work this last week.  Between the biking and teaching on my feet all day, I should be able to create a sufficient caloric deficit without having to cut much food.  Meeting with my coach tomorrow – hoping for some big changes in the program.  Because I’m a bit fluffy, I’d like to start a cut and I really need a new lifting program.  Some things have worked very well, but other things are just frustrating and it would be nice to do something else.

Progress pics – this should be my most “fluffy” phase.  My picture from May is first, then today’s.  I am about 3 pounds heavier today than in the May pics.  I don’t see much difference, but I’m not good at judging my own progress.  I gained grams most places – that’s hard to see right now.  I only know that from the DXA scan.  I can’t flex fluff.

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May 2014 / Aug 2014

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Top: May / Bottom: August

Pictures like these stir up negative thoughts like mud from the bottom of a clear pond.  The best way for me to deal with it is to share the pics and move past it.  As uncomfortable as I feel physically, I believe I only need to lose 20-25 pounds over the next 11 months – and that’s not extreme at all.   I’m working with a coach who has the experience and perspective about making prep work with life that I need right now.  Just anxious to get started.

 

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50 Weeks Out

The goal this week was to get my new classroom pulled together just enough so that I can start working with kids next week.  My new school is doing a summer jump start program for kids who might need a little refresher to get off to a good start.  It’s just a couple hours in the mornings for four days.  The actual school year doesn’t start until August 11th.  I’m not finished, but there is room for kids to sit down, I can use my desk, and I have a pretty good idea where things are at.  I’ll deal with the rest – recover bulletin boards, unpack more boxes, organize my desk – next week after the munchkins go home.

The fun part of going through all this stuff I’ve saved for so many years is that I’m finding things I can use in middle school.  I found a baggie full of laminated fraction cards!  No use for those in calculus, but I will be able to use them in 7th grade math.  I found old games and activities I haven’t used in years.  I’m excited.  I’m certain there will be challenges.  I’ll handle them as they come up.

Started using my new wheels!  I don’t have far to go – a couple miles.  If I take the shortest route, the ride is uphill for the first mile.  It is a HIIT for the first 15 min and easy going for the last 5 min.  Perfect on days I want a HIIT.  If I go the longer route to avoid the steep climb, there is still an incline, but it is longer and not as steep.  That route takes me about 25 min.  Coming home is a breeze – all down hill!

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Lifting is… uneventful.  I was able to do what needed to be done.  To be honest, I’m really, really bored with this program.  There is only a week of it left assuming my coach has the next phase ready to go shortly after we talk.   I’ve made the workout with push-ups more interesting by changing the variations.  This is what I did today after nine sets of bench press…

This was part of an upper body volume workout.  Afterwards, I snapped a pic of my arms and decided to compare them to my last two shows.  2012, 2013, 2014 in that order.  It’s so hard for me to see anything with that layer of fluff on me, but I have to believe there is progress here.  It’s been two years, after all.

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My moods continue to swing.  (I wonder if I should track this?)  It’s been like this most of the summer.  Pretty blue today.  I don’t think it’s due to one thing.  There have been some pretty nasty real-life stressors in our lives since February.  Hubby and I keep each other going by reminding each other to live in the moment.  Our “normal” has changed and it’s just a matter of getting acclimated to it.  I always get a little anxious as a new school year approaches.  This one is a big one – new school, new level, new everything.  I have a steep learning curve that will last all year.   I’ve been told that I can’t have a fridge in my room, which is a drag.  I used to cook a week’s worth of stuff and store it in my room.  That simplified my food prep a lot because I didn’t have to deal with bringing food each day.  So now my food prep routine will need to change, too.

So the new stressors, the new school – all weighs on me when I’m in the world dealing with life.  At the gym, I can forget for a bit.  Yesterday, Hubby and I drove an hour, took a short hike up a mountain in high desert terrain, turned a corner and found this waterfall oasis…

It was an amazing thing to find because we are having a severe drought this summer.  Secluded and peaceful.  We both felt rejuvenated.  We will need to find a quiet spot with trees and water that is closer to home.  We have a plan for exactly where that will be.  There is a lovely, large park not far from us.  Hubby likes to do photography there.

I’ve been thinking about ways to simplify my life again.  Changing schools was one big change to make life simpler.  Now, I’m looking at how I use social media.   I want to keep blogging.  It’s how I process things and how I document my journey.  I think I will do less direct posting on the LMS facebook page.  Most days, I just don’t feel I have anything to offer.  In real life, I am a wife and a teacher and both of those things have always been more important, and both require more of my time now.  Anyone who has a page knows it’s more work than people expect and there is a certain amount of drama.  I can’t handle either right now.   I expect learning how to be a middle school teacher is going to take a lot of energy.

 

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51 Weeks Out

We’ve been having a bit of a heat spell here this week.  I’ve had a hard time getting sleep.  My body is holding a bunch of water.   A “bunch” = weight jumped 4 lbs in one day.  Last night, I took a couple OTC sleep aides and managed to get a fitful 7 hours of sleep laying in bed for 9 hours.  Weight dropped a pound because of that.  Need that sleep to keep the cortisol levels normal so the body won’t be stressed.

There seems to be something going on with my right shoulder – nothing serious.  Feels a little inflamed, not injured.  I have pain in my right forearm that feels like nerve pain.  I rarely take anything, but I just took some ibuprofen to see if that helps.  Right hip has been tender for a couple weeks now, too.  I suppose the extra water I’m holding isn’t helping things.  When I get to the gym this afternoon, I’ll do some extra stretching.  I need to do more mobility work anyway.  A tight budget has cut out massages and my scoliosis and deformed feet cause a lot of aches and pains in general.

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A few things are going well.

I did get a bench PR this week!

 

Not an epic lift in the big picture, but this lift was going no where for the longest time.

I bought a couple new tank tops to wear to the gym.  I needed larger ones because mine are getting tight across the upper chest.  That’s really awesome!  Means my chest and/or my back are growing.  I don’t think I’m growing evenly though.  The left pec is larger than the right, just like the left lat is bigger than the right one.  My left side compensates on barbell work because of the nagging impingement pain I’ve always had in the right shoulder.

I meet with my coach again at the beginning next month.  I am hoping I will get to start the “cut before the cut” we have talked about.  I’m not too heavy, but I’m fluffy enough.  For this next show, I want my conditioning to be better.  However, I am nervous about what my formerly-obese-50-something-post-menopausal body will allow to happen with fat loss.  That’s why I’ve been trying to eat more without doing any cardio.  I’m trying to set up for a long, gentle, efficient contest prep that gets me on stage leaner than I’ve ever been in my life.

I’ve lost my enthusiasm for food prep and logging.  I’ve felt myself wanting to rebel.  So I’m taking a break from logging for a couple weeks before the cut starts.   I can get a little OCD about macros, which is why the break is needed, but I will have to be mindful about getting enough protein when I’m not measuring and logging everything.  I’ve done this before and know that the issue will be eating enough, instead of eating too much as you might expect.  I’ll start logging again as soon as it bugs me or when I get new macros, whichever comes first.

Since I’m holding water, I expect that today I’m at the heaviest weight I will be at during this off season.  So I took a picture.   And video of my latest battle with overhead squats.  I’ve worked  up to 10 pounds now!  I bench 120 lbs, but can only do 10 lbs on an overhead squat?  I think I’m being conservative.  I bet I can handle 20 pounds.  Hahahaha!

No thigh gap on this gal!  Hoping there has been some quad growth under that layer of fluff.  I’ve done a LOT of occlusion work on the quads and glutes these last few months.  There isn’t much I dislike about what I do at the gym, but single leg hip thrusts with blood-flow restriction – well, that’s not fun.  No ma’am.  Not fun at all.  It better be working, that’s all I can say.

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Have There Been Improvements During My “Improvement” Season?

I still haven’t picked a specific show, but the plan is to compete somewhere in mid July 2015.  There have been so many changes in my life this year (Hubby’s accident, new job) that I cannot assume everything will go as planned for the rest of 2014.  I’m taking each day as it comes, but I need a goal.  So  “July 2015″ is the target and I will begin the first cutting phase in August or September. (Coach calls it “the cut before the cut”.   I’ll tell you about it when I know more.)  I have about a month or two left before I have to switch gears.

Am I making any progress???

Body Composition

I’m feel like a marshmallow covered rock.  Very solid on the inside, more so than I’ve ever felt.  But I’m a tad fluffy on the outside.  I haven’t been “bulking”.  I watch my burn and eat as much as I’m using, plus an extra 100 calories  most days.  My current weight has been fluctuating between 151 and 155 pounds for the last two months.  My body weight at the end of last November was 153.  The last time I was on stage was a year ago, June.  It was around 135 then, but it wasn’t what I would call a ‘healthy’ 135.  I did a traditional water depletion for that show, so once I was rehydrated, my weight jumped up to 140.  I don’t ever want to do a water depletion again, so 140 should be considered my last ‘stage weight’, in my opinion, when considering how much over ‘stage weight’ I am right now.  (I wasn’t lean enough at that show.  To avoid water depletion, I need to be leaner. )

I kept my weight under 145 from June until the Strongman competition last September so I could compete in the smaller weight class.  After that competition, I let it creep up to the low 150’s.  Last winter, I did a very gradual cut and dropped as low as 149, but gained a couple pounds back when the cut was over at the end of February.   I’ve maintained in the low 150’s since then.  I feel good in the low 150’s.  I had a DEXA scan done last October and my bodyfat percentage was 26%.  I bought one of those handheld impedence monitors a few days later so I could check it at home.  It’s reading was 27%.  Close enough for me to keep an eye on it.  That number hasn’t changed, so it’s hard to tell from the scale and that device if I’ve improved my body composition much.  I feel like there is more muscle.  But I know from years of DEXA scans that when I’m anabolic, I gain everything – muscle, fat, and bone density.  My bodyfat will always be calculated higher than it appears because I’m older and have more visceral fat around my organs.  Mirror is more important than the number, but I care about the percentage.  If I’m gaining fat, I better be gaining muscle, too.  I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep things fairly consistent.  But is that an “improvement”?

So I looked at other data.

Food

I use a Bodybugg and the website has the capability to generate reports.  This is interesting data.  I compared the month of December 2013 to June 2014.   The reports I ran calculate averages for 28 days.  Remember, my body weight has stayed within a couple pounds of 153 for the last seven months…

Average Daily Calorie Burn Average Daily Calorie Intake Average Daily Carb Intake
Dec 2013 2147 1864 156 g
June 2014 2254 2391 249 g

 

I’m encouraged by these numbers.  I haven’t been cycling carbs according to a plan, but rather I cycle them up and down depending on my calorie burn for the day.  My hope is that I’m setting myself up for an effective contest prep.

Lifting

The programming I’ve been given has been solid, but I haven’t done the big three lifts (bench press, squat, deadlift) consistently.  One of those lifts has always been there, but not all three at the same time.  I’ve been doing a LOT of rowing to bring up my mid back.  I’ve been doing occlusion training to bring up my quads and glutes without having to do heavy squats because I suck at squats.  I use my back too much on deadlifts, so I’ve been doing partial deadlifts since May.  To be honest, I’m not really in love with the current program, but  I’m going to stick it out until August.  I’ve been doing a lot of stuff to address weaknesses, which is why I’m not loving it.  It’s frustrating and I feel like I suck at it.  I record my form all the time and look for problems.  I find plenty.  Good stuff to do.  Just not fun.

Again I ask…how do I know if I’m making progress?

I use an app on my iPad called Gym Buddy to record my workouts.  Not a lot of bells and whistles in this app, but there is some good data.  Check out these screen shots about how my lifts have changed…

 

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Since I’m not doing the big three lifts consistently, I picked few things that I’ve been doing and looked at that data…

Some Upper Body Lift Stats

  • Hammer Smith Row: up 115%
  • Seal Row: up 19.1%
  • One Arm Dumbell Row: up 58.5%
  • Bench Press: up 22%
  • Kettlebell Overhead Press: up 5.7%
  • DB Curls: up 25%
  • Tricep Rope Pushdowns: down 19.4%

Some Lower Body Lift Stats 

  • DB Split Squats: up 29.9%
  • Partial Deadlifts: down 4.1%
  • Hex Bar Deadlift: up 45.8%
  • Calf Raise: up 101.1%

These stats are a tiny bit misleading.  The program uses all the data, no matter how long I’ve been doing the exercise.   Some of these are new to my program.  You can see how many times I’ve done that exercise on the screenshots.  (I may not have included all the screenshots – just wanted to give you an idea of where the data comes from.)  I don’t think my triceps have become weaker – it’s just that I do that exercise at the end of a workout that starts with bench presses.  They are toasted!  I am having a hard time with partial deadlifts.  I don’t like them.  Decided to bring the weight down and work on technique.

Seal Rows

 

Mental Game

Overall, I should be pleased with how things are going with the lifts, but I’m not.  Nothing exciting, just putting in work.  I might just be a frustrated powerlifter-wanna-be.  I want to deadlift 250 pounds!  I know it’s there, but when I tried a couple weeks ago, the bar didn’t budge.  Squats were removed from this phase of my program, so I have no idea what I can do with that lift.  Bench is coming up very slowly.  I’m at the point where I’m not adding weight, but trying to add reps.  Heck, I feel like a wanna-be all the time.  Too old.  Too weak for my size.  Maybe this is just “off season blues” of an intermediate lifter?

So I’m struggling.  Like I said at the beginning, I’m just focused on what I have to do each day.  Small, daily goals to keep progressing.  I feel like I’m just crawling.   After my husband’s accident in February, a lot of things changed.  I’m a little overwhelmed dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, processing the crazy crap at work, the decision to transfer schools, and adjusting to the reality of all these changes.  The thought of competing seems frivolous today.  There is a show next weekend a couple hours from home.  It is one that I might do next year.  I’m going to make the drive to watch and hope it snaps me out of this funk.

And while I’m going through what is the most challenging period of my training life do date, I feel pressure to continue to be ‘inspirational’.  I’m sure anyone who has been following can tell I’ve been off my game.  I haven’t been able to write as much as I used to.  I haven’t been posting as many little pep-talks as I used to.  I’m stalled out.  It hasn’t been easy to be transparent with my program .  I post something meaningful to me on the page, or a current picture, and the ‘likes’ drop.  I am not looking for approval and I’m not interested in being a fitness personality.  I’m awkward and fluffy and OK with that.  I’m an introvert and my inclination is to NOT post.  I’d like to hide, do my thing, and post pictures from my next show.  But that’s not an honest way to document the process, which I want people to see.  I do it because I’m a teacher.  Health is more important than bodybuilding.  And by ‘health’ I also mean self-acceptance.  I like my fluffy self – she’s big and strong and healthy.  I’m not concerned at all about not being stage lean.  It’s not time for that.

I’ve got my daily routines and I love to lift.  No matter what else is going on, I’m grateful to be able to do this.  I know many of my peers cannot.

This is the grind.  I’ve been here before.  It will pay off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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