Tag Archives: social media

2017 Prep Update: Day 100

Day 100 was last Sunday.


An interesting, unsettling, and maybe a bit impulsive decision was made on Day 100…

Facebook deactivation.

I know – so what?  Who cares? (Is it ego to wonder if anyone noticed?  Probably.  Is it ego to write about it?  Definitely.)  It’s not a statement about social media – I’m obviously still involved since I’m writing this blog post.   I had to find a work-around to keep the Lifting My Spirits page up and plan to keep posting there. Thought about taking a hiatus from that page, too, but it has a purpose and the people who comment there are amazing. They inspire me.

I think I’ve been getting ready for this for some time.  Had a privacy violation a couple years ago that bled into real life.  I stopped accepting friend requests from people I didn’t know and have been posting less.  I’ve been more careful.  I’ve “unliked” or “unfollowed” pages that posted things that yanked my chain.  Deactivating for a time could be the next step in that process.

I like how it has forced some changes in my head the last couple of days.  It’s quiet in here.   I love my job, love the kids, but I am an introvert and working with full classes of teenagers all day drains me a bit.  I’m working about 55 hours a week, training, and I’m working on earning some CEU credits I need to renew my teaching license next year.   My plate is always too full.  (Figuratively, not literally.)  I started paying attention to things I did away from work that recharged my batteries and what cause my brain to spin.  I deactivated Instagram last year.  It took a few days to get out of that habit, but it felt good to share less.  I’ve been on Facebook a lot longer and this feels like I just fell off the planet.  It’s going to be a hard habit to break, but a good thing for me to have less external input in my day.

It’s hard, though.  I don’t want to lose touch with people, so I need to make a new habit to stay in contact.  Learned that Messenger still works and that’s a relief.  Fits my personality better to have private conversations, anyway.  This may be a temporary decision – when my prep is done and I have a little less on my figurative plate and more on my real one, I’ll probably activate it.  It does feel weird.  How did we do this before??  We didn’t even have email growing up.  Were we just…quiet?  The fact that it feels like I’m in withdrawal just confirms that it’s a good thing for me to do.

Whatever…what about bodybuilding??

Training went well this last week.  Got a PR on leg extension this morning.  Coming off the deload week, my loads were scheduled to increase.  Hamstring feels better, but the ankle below it is still tight.  Seems like the hamstring healing up might be pulling on everything below it.  I plan to do more stretching in that area.

Less walking needs to happen since my feet are feeling beat up.  We have a 20-year old recumbent bike at home.  Most years, it was out in the patio.  It’s weathered and a bit beat up.  This adorable puppy has used a pedal as a chew toy when she was working through separation anxiety.  It still pedals, so it’s all good.  Jump on there for a bit on days when my normal activity was low.  We’ve had many of those days here the last few weeks thanks to some winter weather.

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Oh, and weight is still dropping, but not fast.  Much more scale bouncing these days, which is expected.  So far, over the last 100 days I’ve lost about 12 pounds, give or take a daily bounce.  Stage weight goal is in another 13 pounds.  If I make it, this stage will be 4 lbs lighter than last one.  It probably won’t be easy to get there, but it’s part of the game.  The reverse diet out of this one will be just as hard.

So that’s my update for Day 100.

Recap…

  • Training is good.
  • I’m now a hermit.

 

 

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Filed under Contest Prep, Life

Hey Tammy! Pay Attention!!!

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to pay attention when strange, random, seemingly unrelated events start happening.  Here’s a list of the really odd things that happened this last week…

Sunday was my birthday.  Hubby made it really nice.  Humbled and grateful for the hundreds of birthday wishes I received on Facebook and Instagram.  On my personal page, I “liked” and thanked each one.   The next day, I realized that no one from my bodybuilding team wished me a happy birthday.  (I’m friends with about two dozen on Facebook and I’ve met a few in real life.)  That’s OK.  I guess I’m not such a good friend – a little used to that since I’m an introvert and I suck at being a good friend to a lot of people.  My time online is usually spent uploading content and managing the pages.  I don’t interact with people personally very often.  But on Facebook, birthdays aren’t something we have to remember – it tells us.  So no one from my team?  Really?  That stuck out as a thing.  Why is that something I noticed?  Why is it important?  A sign to reflect.

On the LMS FB page this week, I had to delete and ban a couple of guys.  One who LOVES me (he capitalized it, not me), but started to lecture me on why I shouldn’t have muscles.  Definitely putting out the vibe that I should care that he would love me more if I were locked in a basement.  The other appears to be using pictures of my feet for his personal porn.  Just add it to the list.  There is a guy in the middle east somewhere who wants me to carry him around like a baby.  No.  No.  NO.

More signs.

I have a general habit of unfollowing pages on FB and IG occasionally when I don’t like what they are posting at that time.  It’s not my business to tell them how to do things.  I expect people unfollow me for the same reasons – again – none of my business.  But this particular “unfollow” click  de-evolved into an unpleasant confrontation with two young women on my own IG page.  Under my “it’s my birthday” post even.  Not getting into the details of it.  Nothing about it made me think less of these ladies.  It was just a thing.  And it was just another sign.

My last blog post was about feeling old.  By Friday of this week, I felt older and more out of place in the social media fitness world.  Super weirdness – the clocks at school this week weren’t working properly.  At least once a day, the minute hand would start sweeping like the second hand.  Feeling old, watching time sweep by like that…I couldn’t help but see it as a metaphor for how life is passing by so much faster now.  You seriously have to admit that was weird – had to be a sign.

Yesterday morning, when I felt confused/sad/beat up/tired on the inside, I was standing in the hall outside my classroom smiling and greeting students.  Three former students walked over to say hello and a couple wanted hugs.  Over the course of the day, I heard from many former students.  Randomly.  That’s a big sign.

So what is going on?  Not sure yet.  But here are  my thoughts about these signs this morning…

  1. It would seem like I’m supposed to shift focus from social media to something else.  I would rather write. And Hubby and I have talked about other projects that we want to do, but I haven’t made time.
  2. The birthday thing is the most petty, but it does bug me. I could just be feeling “introvert-weird” at the moment.  Need more time to sort that out.
  3. The part of my social media involvement that I don’t want to give up is the part that appeals to me as a teacher.  It’s this blog.  I’ve neglected it, but I think it’s time to do this thing how I started – just document on the blog.  I never set out to be a public figure.  You’d be hard pressed to find anything I’ve ever posted where I said “I want to inspire people”.  However, I’m humbled when I hear that has happened.  I see it as a blessing.  Perhaps something I posted was someone else’s sign.  That feels a bit bigger than me and I’m not taking that for granted.  I know what you might be thinking – I started it.  I know.  I started it when I sent my before/after picture to Siouxcountry back in Dec 2012, but I never expected what has happened since.  Remember – I’m an introvert and the attention is NOT comfortable.  It’s amazing, I don’t understand it, I’m grateful, but it’s not comfortable.
  4. My trust in the basic decency of humans has been violated one too many times – thanks to Mr. Bunion Fetish Guy.  (You’re creepy and weird, btw.)  I know many people are going to think that this is just part of being online.  Yes.  Absolutely right.  But I control my life.  My real life right here. right now, in real time where I breathe air and do stuff.  I decide how I’m going to be treated.  I don’t WANT to grow a thicker skin.  I’m not even sure I’m capable of doing that, considering how my brain is wired as a highly-sensitive introvert.  I don’t like being distracted.  I’m too old to waste time with BS.  (Some of the weird love/hate thrown at me has caused my husband and I to worry about my personal safety at times.)   If this is something that is part of the online experience, I can fix it easily – I won’t be online.
  5. What is constant, what I can control, is my work ethic.  Training is going well.  I’m recovering well even though I’m doing a minicut.  My plan is to compete again summer 2017 and my trajectory appears to be for an improved, more competitive physique at that time.  That’s my goal.  That’s my motivation.  How I share this process is the question, isn’t it?

First thing this morning, I deactivated my Instagram account.  Didn’t delete it.  Just put it away for now.  Everything posted there is on the LMS Facebook page anyway.

Not sure what’s next.  Just want the time to figure that out.

None of this changes what’s important.  I’m a wife.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a bodybuilder.  So I’ll do what I do anytime signs are flying at me like this – I put my head down and lean into it.  Home.  Teach.  Train.  Take care of what’s important.

I need to write a funny blog pretty soon. Too damn serious around here lately.

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Filed under Life, Opinions, Venting, Ranting

26 Weeks Out: Monsters in My Head

The mental game is the hardest part of bodybuilding for me.  Probably for most competitors.  I haven’t wanted to write because I didn’t want to give the “monsters in my head”, as my coach called them, attention.  I would also prefer to write about successes instead of struggles.  But they aren’t going away, so I better address them.  But first…

Food Update

For about a month now, I’ve been cutting calories.  My daily deficit has been between 400 and 500 calories a day.  During most of that time, I’ve been packing, moving, and setting up a new classroom so the calorie burns have been high enough that I could still eat a decent amount of food and have that deficit.  Once the room was set up and I needed to spend a little time writing lessons plans, the calorie burn dropped off by about 600 calories – felt that.  I go back to work tomorrow and I expect the daily activity level to jump back up to normal, but to get through these last few days of vacation, I have split my workouts into 2-a-days.  That bought me an extra couple hundred calories to eat.

I have been on some kind of calorie cut since September.  Started pretty slow – 100 to 200 calories a day at first and a little more aggressive lately.  I just looked back on my logs and I have lost around 8 pounds since summer just from a little calorie restriction.  Slow and steady.

Lifting Update

Since last summer, all my training blocks have been based on Daily Undulating Periodization protocol with alternating hypertrophy days and strength days.  (If you want to know more about it, here is a nice place to to start.  There are a lot of resources that come up with a search on “What is DUP training?”  I did not design my own program, so I’m not a good resource.)

There are three main lifts and three secondary lifts.  This isn’t a ‘body part’ split.  Exercises change, but I’m usually working chest, legs, back, and shoulders every  other day.  Rep ranges and weights vary.  I like it.  It’s fascinating to me that my body has adapted to handle the frequency.  My capacity for work has increased.  When I can get sleep, I recover well.  So when I wasn’t sleeping – job stress – I wasn’t recovering and I started feeling it in my knees.  And then there was that quad pull.

For the last four weeks, coach had me working a program he named “Tammy’s Healing Block”.  I had a quad pull that needed time to heal.  My knees needed a break from squats, but I believe it was standing all day at work that was killing them.  I’m done with the healing block and I’m happy about that.  I’m bored with it.  It was nice to have a little back-off time to work on my Sumo dead lift technique.  After a couple weeks of form check videos and coaching, I think I’m on the right track.

Monsters in My Head

Before I wrote about these things, I waited to see if I would work through some of it so I could write about how I got around it.  Or just wait to see if it passed as I rested and healed up.  The negative thoughts do get worse when I’m tired, but they haven’t been going away, either.  It’s worse now than it’s been in a long time.

I can’t dismiss the possibility that I might be working through a mild depression because of some circumstances.  2014 was an incredibly difficult year.  I can’t write about everything because some things are private, but I have shared a couple things…

  • husband’s car accident (He’s OK, but we had to change our daily routines quite a bit.)
  • not one, but two, job changes (Moving a classroom is very much like moving an apartment.) If you haven’t seen it, here is my new room’s transformation.

The stress of these things have taken a toll.  I’m probably feeling it.   The structure of my training and having a goal for next summer help me quite a bit.  (Fingers crossed that this new teaching position is going to be a smooth transition and a nice place for me to be.)

The thing that is really hard for me lately is that I feel like a misfit.  I don’t really belong anywhere.  Most women I know don’t train or have different goals for their training.   Most people I know my age are busy being parents and grandparents.  Most bodybuilders I know are male, younger, and are in a different life stage.  People in general just look at me funny when they find out I’m a bodybuilder.  (One kid even said “You don’t look like a bodybuilder.”  Ouch. But that is what I tell myself almost every morning, too.)

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I don’t toot my horn that much, but  I am an award-winning, accomplished, educator with a degree in mathematics, 19 years in the classroom – I’ve got some skills and damn near killed myself to get them.    I am just a few years away from retirement.  I’m at a certain point in my life that is different than many people I interact with in bodybuilding.  I say this because when I look at what is posted on social media by fitness people, I cringe.  There are very few things out there worth following.  Too many egos, too much soft porn, too much fat-phobia… not much intellect, grace, poise, or reflective thought.  A few exist, but not many.  But more often than not, they are social idiots.  Smart, but their arrogance or  makes them boring.  (There was one guy, highly respected and referenced, who I followed for a few days.  Didn’t take long for an argument to break out in the feed and his comments quickly deteriorated to using female genitalia in a derogatory way.  Boys posturing in the gym.  Not much different than what I deal with in the classroom, so in my mind, I see kids, not grown-ups.)

I haven’t written much about this feeling of isolation, but I think I should.   It’s hard to set goals and go after them because that separates you from the crowd.  There is a psychological need to “belong”, so pushing yourself out of the pack can be hard.  This year, I’ve had a couple of split-second moments where I thought about setting competing aside.  Pretty sure I’d get a lot of support for that decision, too.  It would make some people more comfortable.  But I can’t do that.  This is important to me. So I rely on my coach to keep things on track.  If I had to do the thinking and planning on my own, I would fall away.  Whatever is working is working because I’m just following directions.  There are weeks when that is a struggle, too.  (Like this week.  I felt like a slacker all week.)

The “You’re-Too-Old-What-Are-You-Thinking Monster” never goes away.  If I were 20 years younger, my story wouldn’t be the novelty in social media that it is now.  You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog if I were 35.   In a month, I will be 53 years old.     I struggle hard for every ounce of muscle now because I’m an intermediate lifter and have moved past the phase of “newbie gains”, but in my mind, I wonder if I’m struggling because of my age.   I have a meno-pot that is slowing converting to loose skin as I lose weight.  It will show up on stage in certain poses and I wonder about how that is going to hurt me in judging.

I feel a sense of urgency about chasing this bodybuilding dream because I don’t know how long my 53-year-old body will allow me to train this way.  The younger ones I follow online talk about how they can be patient because they will be able to compete into their 50’s.  (Yeah.  Until they are that old.  Wow.)  When I read comments like that, the more I feel like I’m working against the clock as someone who is just getting started in her 50’s.

Will I have time to build the physique I see in my mind?

Will I ever be competitive or will I always be the “Good-For-Her-Getting-Up-There” last place competitor?

And that’s the biggest monster in my mind – the one that comes out and tells me repeatedly that this is folly.  This is some kind of mid-life crisis.  It is a mid-life transformation, that’s for sure.  A course-correction.  But am I too late?  Am I a silly, female version of Don Quixote?  Having the phrase “World’s Oldest Bodybuilder” after my name is NOT the goal.

So that’s where my head is at.  Fighting it does no good.  Denying it doesn’t help.  I will find a way to snuggle up with the monsters in my head to quiet them down, I guess.  I’m going to keep my focus on the goal and train.  Lifting helps everything.

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Filed under Competing, Life, Motivation, My Lifting Log, Teaching, Videos

Bodybuilding Trolls

This sport is weird – it’s competitive, but you aren’t really competing against anyone.  You compete with yourself.  I’ve only been lifting for four years now, but only two years when I first stepped on stage.  I had hopes, but as soon as I was backstage and saw the other competitors, I knew I should not place well.   In the two shows I’ve done, my class was small, so no matter what, I was guaranteed a top three finish and a trophy.  The reality is that I didn’t have to work at all to get one of those trophies.  “Old” me could have paid to play and brought one home.

I’m proud of my girls, though.  I may not have been competitive, but I wasn’t out of shape.  I worked very hard, was disciplined, and spent a lot of $$$ on training/coaching to get ready.  I took it seriously and I followed through.  I just hadn’t done it long enough.

But despite my small size, when the picture went viral, there were nasty things said.  I thought they were funny, actually, but I paid attention to which page administrators where monitoring and which weren’t.  I don’t self-promote outside of my own corner of the Internet.  That just invites trolls and their drama.

Had a quick conversation with a male pro I respect today at the gym.   Great guy – very smart and generous.  And like many who have a large presence in social media, he’s been getting hit a lot by trolls.

Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl//ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I read negative, critical comments made about a competitor’s progress, methodology, whatever.  These people take cheap shots when they really have no intellectual ammunition to spare.  I want to tell these trolls to “put your butt in posing suit and get up on stage, have your physique judged, and THEN let’s discuss your lame point”.

If you train to compete, your ego takes a beating regularly.  If I’m going to be honest, that’s one of the reasons I love this sport.  It forces me to do things I’m afraid to do.  After I lost the first 40 pounds badly (diet and cardio only) because I was too afraid to do anything else, I found my courage, declared the intention to compete, and hired a trainer.  When I told him I wanted to compete in two years, he replied “Two years? Yes.  Not in one.”  Honesty is what I needed and respected.   From that point on, I’ve done everything I’ve been told to do to the best of my ability.  I’ve screwed up.  I’ve been tired.  I’ve been sore.  I’ve gotten hurt.  But I never quit.  I won’t quit.

And that is the attitude of every competitor I know.

I’m going to assume the trolls are taking shots because their egos are just too fragile.

 

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Filed under Competing, Opinions, Venting, Ranting