Training log; and, I hate powerlifting

I managed to get to BGWLC last night, despite the tube strike (London Underground workers are striking at the moment; I support them 100%, up the workers etc).

  • Narrow bench press: worked up to 5 sets of 3 @ 40kg, with a pause on each last rep
  • Dumbbell floor press: 12.5kg dumbbells, 10 reps x 3
  • Inverted row/bench press pullup: something x 6. I was even worse at these than last time ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • Single-arm shoulder press: 10.5kg dumbbell, 7 reps x 3
  • Hammer curl: 8kg dumbbells, 10 reps x 3
  • Incline sit-ups: 10 reps x 3
  • Spiders: 2 sets

…And then I went home & burst into tears, because I feel utterly shit at the moment. The new year has brought lots of new people to the gym, which is great; but a sizeable proportion of them are already planning to qualify for the British championships this year, and it just reminds me of how long it took me to qualify & how relatively crap I am at powerlifting still.

I’m all too aware of the mantra that you should only concentrate on your own performance, but doing that is hard when you compete; and also when you train at a small gym like BGWLC where we’re a team. There’s talk of us forming an actual ladies’ squad, which is exciting, but I feel dejected when I think about how I will be the “worst” lifter on it despite most likely being the lifter with the most experience.

I feel sad that I can’t be 100% supportive of the other lifters at the gym without being a bit jealous. It’s hard for me to be supportive, to help people learn how to compete, to admire them for their efforts, when they’re trouncing me in every lift.

I also feel really jealous when people talk about setting records & stuff like it’s just a thing they do. I will never set any sort of record, I’ve accepted that – I know my limitations. So to say things like “If you just believe in yourself, it’ll happen!” is trite and irritating (e.g. someone was trying to make me feel better by suggesting I compete in the BDFPA as opposed to the GBPF, as apparently their records are “fairer” – however I’m even further away from qualifying to British standard in the BDFPA than I am in the GBPF! So I feel even more inadequate! Yay!)

And while I’m at it – people assuming I’ve not been lifting very long, because they’ve only seen me at one British. No, I’ve been lifting for a long time – I’m just not very good. Sob.

Urgh. I’m reminded of Lift Big Eat Big saying on their Facebook page, a while ago, that if you’re not squatting 200lbs (90.7kg) after a year of training, there’s something wrong with your coach or your programming. Who does that help, really? I only squatted 90kg in October 2013, after more than 4 years of training. There’s nothing wrong with my coach or my programming – it’s just the limitations of who I am. Needless to say, I do not wear my LBEB hoodie any more, nor read their stuff. I have no time for that sort of snobbery.

This all ties up with how I’m feeling about my work at the moment. I’ve been working in development for 14 years, and it’s in the last couple of years that a lot of “let’s get women into tech!” initiative has spring up. And it makes me feel a bit sad, because where was all that when I was a tech newbie? When people list “influential women in tech” who are, say, 10 years my junior, I feel inadequate. How have I managed to be a developer for 14 years yet not influenced anyone or done anything outstanding? Just like powerlifting, heh. I’m in it for the long haul, yet completely average.

Sorry, this is all very self-pitying. I think i’ve been quite honest in the past as to how hard I find powerlifting mentally, though. Last time I felt like this I had a 2 week break from it all, and that helped; but that was only back in December and I can’t take another break again so soon! What to do? I’ve already taken a step back from competing. Bleh.

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12 thoughts on “Training log; and, I hate powerlifting

  1. Alis

    *hugs* I don’t have much to say other than that I hear you and I understand the feelings. Just remember that bodies and minds are all different. Records are set when a number of variables are optimal, ranging from mood, how much sleep you had, temperature, when/what you last ate, life circumstances, stress, what you’ve already done that day, etc. And then of coure there’s the factors you can’t change – the number of fast twitch fibres, your limb length, your flexibility and mobility, bone structure etc.

    RE: “If youโ€™re not squatting 200lbs (90.7kg) after a year of training, thereโ€™s something wrong with your coach or your programming.” This hurts me too. I did not squat 90.7kg after a year of training and I worked VERY hard. I find this comment more offensive rather than encouraging.

    Stay positive. I’ll say it again, you are a great role model for women like me who genuinely work hard and do the best we can and are more in it for fun and strength rather than to look ripped or win medals every competition.

    Hope that helps. x

    1. lozette Post author

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who found that LBEB thing offensive! I really REALLY hate that douchey “bro” attitude you get in strength sports. Ugh.

      I try to remind myself that most of the people who start lifting, go straight to the British, set records etc are usually either fitness pros or people who have done sports/strength sports before (and also usually about 10 years younger than me!), but it doesn’t help! I am super-hard on myself at the best of times!

      I almost wish I could just retreat back, not offer to help anyone prepare to compete, not have any training partners or anything like that; but it’s not in the spirit of BGWLC and not how I want to be ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  2. jh

    Wow, I didn’t know LBEB would post something like that; but are they directing this to men? Cause most dudes should be able to squat that.. but I’ve been doing squats for hm, two full years now and not near 200#.. Get that thought out of your head.

    I can’t give much advice on NOT falling into the comparison trap. I live there often.. we just have to keep focusing on what we CAN do and our PROGRESS, and even adding 1# is still progress.

    Keep lifting, lady. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. lozette Post author

      I think even *if* it was aimed at men, it’s still a douchey thing to say. I don’t think anyone’s obligated to reach a certain standard by a certain time, and they shouldn’t be made to feel a failure if they don’t! (In fact, I think ‘dudebro’ lifting culture is harsher on men sometimes!)

      I know what you mean about the comparison trap, it’s just so hard to be supportive & happy for the new ladies when they’re achieving stuff relatively easily that I struggled for. It might be easier if I just kept myself to myself & trained alone, but I don’t do that ๐Ÿ˜ฆ MEH!

  3. Helen

    Sorry you are having a little bit of a rough time at the moment. Is there any chance you could talk to your coach about what you are thinking? or will he just tell you to (unhelpfully) man up? is there too much going on in your life at the moment that it’s worth taking a step back for a moment and trying to prioritize?
    Who cares if you took a break in December! You are not a professional, this isn’t your life, it’s something you do because you enjoy it, if you stop enjoying it then stop doing it for a while. Go to your other gym, kettlebell swing and downward dog to your hearts content without worrying what your coach will think. Try and rediscover your enthusiasm, take a detour on your fitness journey (stop rolling your eyes). Think of YOU.

    (and fuck what LBEB think)

    1. lozette Post author

      Thanks… I have talked to him about it before, and he knows about my insecurities. I don’t know what he could do about it, though – nothing will let me go back in time and be a better lifter faster!

      I don’t want to stop lifting at the moment… I guess what I want is to stop seeing people be better than me at the gym! And for people to stop giving me platitudes like “If you believe it’ll happen, it will!” (what is “it”?) And for people to stop thinking I’m a novice lifter because they haven’t seen me at many national competitions. Etc! All nebulous things, sadly! ๐Ÿ™‚

      And yeah, I already say fuck LBEB, which is why I will never read their stuff again.

  4. Helen

    Well sorry there are always going to be people stronger than you, I can understand why it annoys you (oh boy I can understand) but you will have to be content knowing at least you put yourself out there and try which is one up on most people. However I understand the need to rant about, I hope you now feel a bit better. Even if my replies have been unhelpful!
    What are your weights like compared to the over 40s masters division? Can you hold on a few more years!!!

    1. lozette Post author

      Yeah, I realise that, I wasn’t upset about people being stronger (maybe my writing is worse than I thought!). I make absolutely no secret of the fact that I’m jealous! I always have been. I’m not jealous so much of their strength but of the length of time, IYSWIM? People walking into the gym on their first day, being show the qualification totals and what they will need to win a class. I feel jealous that they’re aiming for that from day 1, winning their class.

      As for masters – yeah, as I say on my info page, I can’t wait for masters! I will never win a masters class, though. But I should (in theory) qualify OK. The records are 130/80/145 in M1 and that’s a long way off where I am now, let alone when I’m over 40.

      Like I say, I’m not jealous of people GETTING the records, but it being an achievable thing for them. Sorry I’m not more clear!

  5. Helen

    I haven’t really looked into records for powerlifting. Do you think it really is achievable for most people to get records? It seems a goal to aim for but I would be surprised if I lot of people could get them. Your writing is fine (jeez you are being hard on yourself at the moment!) it’s more likely me misunderstanding ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. lozette Post author

      I guess it’s not achievable for most, but I was kinda being told it was a thing last night. By someone who was well-meaning but I guess a bit blinkered.

  6. Randomly Typing

    I think it’s impossible not to compare yourself to others, and be a little jealous in turn when you don’t stack up in some measure. Those who claim not to do so are as full of it as those who think ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ will move the bar. Mindset is definitely important, but positive thinking doesn’t make you stronger; getting stronger makes you stronger, and we *all* progress at our own pace.

    Not sure I can say anything that won’t come across as either trite or less than authentic, since I’ve been struggling with many of the same issues. Though I will say that being a little more selfish lately when it comes to lifting has helped, part of which includes stepping away (physically and virtually) from those sources of jealousy. Constantly being a cheerleader or ‘coach’ is draining, and right now I’d rather spend my limited energy reserves on me.

    Thanks for your candor, Laura, it’s appreciated. Keep lifting and I hope you find your love again soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. lozette Post author

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles like this… I really enjoy training with others, but yes, it’s hard to keep positive at the moment. Although after my big rant I *do* feel better!!!

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