Monthly Archives: March 2014

Competition prep: week 3, day 2 (ish)

I skipped the gym on Thursday; the physio warned that after treatment my back would probably hurt more, and it did, so I decided to give myself a rest. But I went in today, intending to bench, then try squatting to see if it hurt or not.

  • Lots of stretching!
  • Bench: worked up to 5 sets of 5 @ 35kg
  • Dumbbell floor press: 3 sets of 10 @ 12.5kg
  • Squats: worked up to 5 sets of 5 @ 60kg
  • Good mornings: 3 sets of 7 @ 20kg

I took it all very slowly & carefully. I could feel the injured part of my back when I was squatting, but it didn’t hurt per se. I guess the proof will be in whether or not I can get out of bed tomorrow morning.

In terms of making weight, not eating much food has made me a bit miserable over the last couple of days. Last night I had a horrible dream in which I was weighing myself over & over, and never getting the same weight twice (thanks brain!).

I intended to weigh myself at the gym today and to be frank, I was dreading it. But, I got on the scales post-workout and was pleasantly surprised. It’s only the first week, so things may change, but for now it’s OK.

I’m finding this all a massive headfuck at the moment, though. To go from someone who has no issues with food & is happy with her weight, to someone who frets over every mouthful & has nightmares about scales, seems to be the opposite of everyone else’s experience of lifting. And I won’t deny I find it annoying to read exhortations to throw away the scale (literally everywhere in the fitness/lifting sphere) and embrace gaining weight when… well, I can’t (and I’m the “wrong” kind of heavy for those articles, anyhow – the verboten fat kind).

But meh, I’ve ranted about that before.

It’s only 4 weeks until the Farm Open now and I guess it’s 50:50 if I will make it there. I’ve no doubt my back will be better by then, but I’ve already missed a week of training. I suppose all I can do is cross my fingers.


Physio & food

I went to see a physiotherapist on Tuesday about my back. After a bit of poking and prodding, he things I’ve pulled a muscle in my erector spinae, which probably tensed up around my sciatic nerve & gave me the sciatic pain. The good news is that it’s not serious (despite hurting like f*ck!) and he reckons with treatment I’ll be back deadlifting in 2 weeks. So there’s still hope I can lift on April 26th!

On Tuesday he gave me some treatment using a sort of TENS machine on steroids (which felt like having a swarm of angry wasps buzzing on my back). I’m going back for 3 more sessions of massage & acupuncture over the next week. Fingers crossed!

In food news, I’m on day 4 of my eating plan to get to competition weight and… well, it’s OK. I admit, I haven’t stuck to it 100% – I’m still having a cheeky dash of contraband milk in one of my hot drinks a day; a contraband banana a day; and (sigh) contraband pizza at Codebar last night. I’ll be honest – I’m not enjoying it. I miss milk and oats, and I’m finding savoury breakfasts scoffed quickly before I leave for work are much harder to stomach than the sweet Total Breakfast shake I was having on the train before. Still, I’m willing to stick with it (as much as I can!) for the next month.

The only thing I’m slightly worried about is, well, I’m not eating that many calories (<2000 per day) and what with everyone talking about how you need to EAT MOAR & all that, I'm worried I'm not eating enough. Who knows.

I intend to weigh myself on Saturday morning at BGWLC for the first time in nearly 2 weeks. I'm not hopeful that I'll be any closer to 72kg, though. A couple of people have suggested I use MHP Xpel if I get desperate, which I might… Apparently it's IPF legal & everything. Still, would rather get myself down via natural means!!

Competition prep: week 3, day 1

I went down to BGWLC last night to talk to my coach & decide if I should train or not. My back is still sore, but not as sore as Friday & Saturday’s tear-fest. Last night’s scheduled workout was 5 x 5 squats @ 80%, 5 x 5 bench @ 70% + accessory work. That basically was not going to happen. So we decided to do just the upper body portion of Thursday’s workout, and forget any leg/back work.

  • Bench press: worked up to 5 sets of 5 @ 40kg (80%), then singles at 45kg & 50kg (equal pb)
  • Bench press pullups: 5 sets of 3; and (for a change!) not bad sets!
  • Chin-ups: 3 sets of 5 with the largest assistance band (and a bit of a helping hand on the last 2 of each set!)
  • Lots & lots of sciatica stretching

I’m pretty pleased with how the workout went – my bench is feeling pretty strong at the moment. I’m only letting myself hope I’ll get an equal pb bench at my next competition, though, as benching seems to be where it all goes wrong for me on competition day!

I have an appointment with the physio at 3pm today to find out what exactly I’ve done to my back; fingers crossed it’s nothing too serious.

Competition prep: week 2 day 2; and an injury

This entry is a bit delayed because, well, things have gone awry. On Thursday I lifted at BGWLC as usual; then on Friday I did my usual Saturday workout at Urban Kings, because I had two family events this weekend so couldn’t make it to BGWLC. So I did my deadlifts on Friday lunchtime, went back to work and… my back went. Seriously went.

I toughed it out through Friday afternoon, but by the time I got home in the evening I was in so much pain that I couldn’t take my own shoes off. On Saturday morning I couldn’t get out of bed without assistance.

It feels like sciatica, although obviously it being a weekend I haven’t consulted anyone about it. The pain starts in my lower back & goes through my butt into my hamstring. I saw a pharmacist on Saturday who sold me some codeine, which has taken the edge off the pain. I doubt I’ll be seeing my GP about this (at least not yet) because appointments with him are virtually impossible to get; but if I’m still in pain by the middle of the week I will go see a physio privately.

I spoke to my coach on the phone yesterday who told me to do some sciatica stretches & just see how I get on; I really doubt I’ll be doing my 5 x 5 squats @ 80% tomorrow, though!

So, what does this all mean? Well, my uneducated (medically) but educated (I know my body) guess is that I will miss a week of training – or at least, definitely deadlift & squat training; I can probably still bench. With so little time until April 26th, I guess I will have to wait & see if this means I will miss the competition. Which sucks but argh, what can you do?!

In the meantime, I spent around 8 hours in the car this weekend at various family events, which won’t have done my back any good at all. Right now I’m covered in Deep Heat & codeined up to the eyeballs. I also am meant to be starting my healthy eating plan tomorrow & have done no prep at all (I only got home at 8pm!)

Oh well. Fingers crossed this isn’t a long-term issue, eh?

I got my eating plan from Derry Temple today, with the intention that it’ll help me get down to <72kg for April 26th. I was worried it'd be massively restrictive but it's not too awful-looking – the main things I need to change are reducing my dairy intake; quitting the Total Breakfast (…I hardly knew you!) in favour of protein & fat; and reducing my daily fruit portions to one. I guess the breakfast thing means I need to get out of bed earlier so I can cook & eat at home. HORRORS.

He also measured my bodyfat % (with calipers). I haven’t had this done since I was working at the BBC & before I started lifting (just over 5 years ago). Back then I was 76kg & 42% bodyfat (age 32). Today I was 74.5kg & 30% bodyfat (age 37). So if my crappy calculations are correct, that’s around 9.5kg of fat lost & 8kg of muscle gained in 5 years, without any significant changes to my diet.

(I’m also taller than I thought – 159cm instead of 158! I’m a giant!!)

I admit, I’m pleasantly surprised – I had estimated I was maybe 32-35% bodyfat, judging from how big I am & how I look (not that I’m much of a judge of these things!). I do feel like a bit of a traitor for being pleased, though – I’m not as fat as I thought, am I a big fakey faker in the FA world? I definitely feel I belong more in the HAES & FA sphere than in any fitness community; after all, I am still nowhere near “socially acceptable” body parameters, and I have no intention of slimming to a size 12 or 20% bodyfat or whatever it is we’re meant to have for “health”. Plus, let’s face it, the fitness world can be full of sniping, put-downs & douchebaggery, and I don’t want to be associated with that.

Competition prep: Week 2, day 1

I admit, I was not looking forward to last night’s scheduled squats. I’d say I was crapping myself, but that’s an unfortunate analogy with squatting, you know?

  • Squats: worked up to 4 sets of 5 @ 75kg (80%)
  • Good mornings: 3 sets of 7 @ 40kg
  • Glute & ham raises
  • Bench: worked up to 4 sets of 5 @ 35kg + chains (70%)
  • Bench press pullups: one miserable set of 5 rubbish attempts
  • Seated dumbbell shoulder press: 3 sets of 10 with 10kg dumbbells
  • Front raise: 3 sets of 10 with 10kg plate
  • Tate press: 3 sets of 10 with 5kg dumbbells
  • Side bends, landmines, spiders (3 sets each)

This all took me freaking ages and I didn’t finish until after 8.30pm.

The squats weren’t as terrifying as I thought they would be, in the end. Last week’s 3 x 5 at the same weight were pretty awful, but this week’s were better (I won’t say easier…)

Yesterday I also had a 1-hour consultation with a nutritionist at Urban Kings. I have yet to receive his plan (he has about 40 pages of printouts of my diet from MyPlate to go through!) but I’ll be interested to see what he says. I’ve seen him specifically for advice on getting down to <72kg for April 26th, and not for long-term fat/weight loss or anything. I'm just finding the whole process of making weight to be terribly stressful this time round, and it feels easier to hand the hard (thinking) work over to someone else.

I will definitely update when I have a plan. I suspect that I'm going to be told to drink less milk (I currently have about half a litre a day) and eat less fruit. Ah well. It's only for a few weeks.

Competition prep: week 1 day 3, plus a video!

Today was finally deadlift day, and to be honest my legs are little bit worse for wear from Friday’s conditioning. Possibly not my best idea, to still be going to conditioning, but I sort of feel obligated to go (or maybe I’m just addicted).

  • Deadlifts: worked up to 5 sets of 4 @ 95kg (80%)
  • Seated good mornings: 3 sets of 12 @ 50kg
  • Machine rows: 5 sets of 5 @ 20kg (each hand)
  • Glute & ham raises; pullthroughs; 3 sets of 12 each
  • Cable crunches

As you may recall, I have an existing issue with hitching my deadlifts, so I asked one of the guys to video me doing my first set. And sure enough – the first 2 reps are fine, but on the 3rd & 4th, a tiny hitch creeps in. It’s not very obvious, but it’s there, and a good referee will see it.

Meh. So this still needs a LOT of work. 5 sets of 4 at 80% were really hard, and by the last set my form was all over the place. Still, I guess I managed them all, although no ref on the planet would have allowed the last 3 reps of the last set!!

I will try to recover decently tomorrow, before Monday’s monster squat session *sob*