Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sometimes (quite often, actually) I think my blog is dead boring because all I really do is talk about my training and occasionally (quite often, actually) get insecure about my abilities/my size etc. I do actually have lots & lots of ideas for far more interesting blog posts, but to be frank I’m not much of a writer and I don’t think I’d do the subject justice.

For a few examples, I really wish I had the chops to effectively write about:

– Sexism in powerlifting & other strength sports. Hoo boy.

– Dating a non-lifter, which IME is great.

– Time management; you all know I love a bit of scheduling!

– The fact that, despite loving exercise myself, I do not think anyone is obligated to exercise or even be healthy.

I know many other bloggers carefully curate their posts, spend loads of time over them, sit on them & post them at opportune times. I don’t, I just bash them out (often in a quieter moment at work) and post them up. And then I have to come back & re-jig them, fix spelling mistakes etc. All in all, much like I used to use LiveJournal.

Maybe one day I’ll find the time to write something a bit more interesting – and actually write it in a coherent manner! Or maybe I won’t 😉

Saturday: deadlifts at BGWLC

Today I decided to max out my Sumo deadlifts, to see just how much I can pull Sumo vs regular. I’ve only been pulling Sumo for a few weeks, and I still haven’t nailed the technique – and to be frank it feels horrible. My hip flexibility is crap!

  • Light good mornings to warm up
  • Deadlifts (Sumo): 60kg x 3 x 2; 70kg x 3; 80kg x 2; 90kg x 2; 100kg x 2; 105kg x 1; 110kg x 1
  • Squats: worked up to 3 sets of 5 @ 70kg
  • Dimel deadlifts: 2 sets of 20 @ 30kg
  • Hyperextensions with 12.5kg bar: 3 sets of 5
  • Glute & ham raises: 5 sets of 10
  • Band legs curls: 5 sets of 10

After the deadlifts my legs were like jelly, so the squats felt awful. Add the Dimels, and my walk home from the station was torture (“Leg day parking“? Puh-leeze). I think I’m going to ache tomorrow 😦


Tuck that belly in

Right now I have two reoccuring thoughts about my body:

  1. Wow, I feel really strong at the moment
  2. Wow, my belly is seriously enormous, I can actually tuck it into my jeans

(As I write this, I’m eating a custard doughnut – so I can’t really be that upset about point two, can I?!)

At BGWLC last night, coach said that obviously being ~2-3kg heavier than usual suits me well, since my training is going well (touch wood I don’t jinx anything by saying that!). I do feel back to the strength levels I had before I cut weight for my April competition (and then injured my back).

I keep wanting to bash myself for being flabby at the moment, but I’m trying not to. In fact I took a pic at the gym earlier with the intention of posting it on my blog as some sort of catalyst to get myself slimmer; but I thought, Why? If that belly was on anyone else I’d be saying it’s fine, it’s beautiful, bellies are OK. Sometimes these things are harder to apply to ourselves.

(I do find it harder to get round the fact that my jeans are too damn tight right now, mostly because jeans are expensive!!)

Two-workout Thursday

Afternoon: Pilates at Urban Kings. I’m really enjoying this class, and kinda kicking myself for not taking it up when I joined Urban Kings a year ago. Yesterday we did Pilates with a ring, or “magic circle”, and it was hard. Everyone else looked so serene & graceful, and I felt like a turtle stranded on my back. Still, I got a good stretch out of it, and I’m already feeling the benefits in my core.

Actual picture of me at Pilates

Evening: bench at BGWLC

  • Bench press: 42.5kg x 3, all with pauses; 45kg, 3 sets of 3, all with pauses

Pretty pleased with these, as my 1RM is still only 50kg, so 45kg x 3 x 3 with pauses is pretty huge in comparison.

  • Dumbbell floor press: 15kg, 5 sets of 5
  • Lying tricep kickbacks: 5kg, 3 sets of 10
  • “Dips” (my rather pathetic attempts): 3 sets of 5
  • Machine rows: 15kg x 8; 17.5kg x 6; 20kg x 4; 22.5kg x 2 x 2
  • Hammer curls: 8kg x 5; 9kg, 2 sets of 5
  • Weighted sit-ups: 10kg, 3 sets of 10

Friday – conditioning

OH EMM GEE I was so hyped for conditioning today, and it didn’t disappoint. What have I become?!

  • Warm-up; then 30 tuck jumps + 30 situps, followed 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 ibid
  • 2 rounds of (1m 30s on each activity)
    – 12kg double kettlebell cleans
    – 20″ box jumps (first round I only did step-ups, second round I did 6 jumps!!)
    – 10kg ball slams
    – 5kg wall balls
    – 20kg barbell thrusters
    – dummy flips
    – 12kg single-arm dumbbell snatch

You know that saying about the best-laid plans etc? Well, today was the day I was going to take that long lunchbreak & go to kettlebells; except my brain had other ideas and I totally failed to sleep last night. I slept through my alarm, crawled into work late and am frankly too pooped to contemplate 60 minutes of conditioning this afternoon. I still plan to go to Pilates after work – that shouldn’t be too strenuous.

So much for sleeping like a log, eh? I used to suffer from insomnia all the time, I guess my brain likes to remind me sometimes…

Monday – legs @ BGWLC

I was completely not expecting to have heavy squats – I thought I was due a volume bench session. As it’s less than 5 weeks until my next competition (eek!) we’re back on the Ed Coan-style percentages. Normally you’d work off percentages of your 1RM, but I’m working off percentages of my desired 1RM – which for squat is 100kg. The board said 3 sets of 4 @ 80%, and frankly I was a bit doubtful I’d get more than one set of 4 @ 80kg. But… I gave it a go.

  • Squats: worked up to 3 sets of 4 @ 80kg. Yep, I did it! 3 x 4 @ my British Classic 2013 squat opener!!
  • Romanian deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 @ 40kg
  • Sumo deadlifts: 4 sets of 4 @ 60kg. Still working on technique; so far I’m not very impressed with sumo – I don’t feel built for it, despite being short with short limbs.
  • Reverse hyperextensions: 3 sets of 10
  • Glute & ham raises: 5kg plate, 3 sets of 10
  • Pullthroughs: 3 sets of 10
  • Cable crunch: 35kg, 2 sets of 10
  • Stretching etc

And so endeth another week. It’s been a bit of a crap one in terms of life outside the gym, but a good one for training. I worked out 6 times in 5 days (one Pilates, two conditioning, three lifting) and I’ve felt pretty energetic. I practically skipped to conditioning on Friday.

….And so, of course, I’ve been told to dial back the conditioning if I want my 100kg squat. I agree, of course (I need to keep myself fresh), but also… WAH, I’ve been really enjoying conditioning and I want to be fitter 😦

I weighed myself at the gym and was 75kg, so I’m back to OH NOES OBESITY!!1! again. I had expected to stay around 73-74, to be honest, so seeing 75 on there was a bit of a moment. Plus my tummy is hyooge right now. On the upside: I feel strong, fit, energetic and I’m sleeping like your proverbial log.

Friday – conditioning

  • Sprints
  • 4 rounds (with no rest in between) of:
    – 10 sandbag snatches
    – 50 skips
    – 10 burpees
    – 10 kettlebell cleans
    – 10 wall balls
    – 10 tucks on a Swiss ball
  • Sprints

Everyone else did 5 rounds, but the instructor paired me with a new guy and we only did 4 in the same time it took everyone else to do 5. I think he realised that the new guy would be slow and I’m slow, so we were the perfect pairing 😉

Still, it was probably the hardest conditioning class I’ve done yet. I was grateful for the cheeky Macdonalds breakfast I had in the morning, as I really needed those calories! (And so many for £3.49 – thanks Macdonalds!!)

Saturday – volume at BGWLC

  • High-bar, narrow-stance squats: 20kg, 2 sets of 8; 40kg, 2 sets of 8; 50kg, 2 sets of 8

Seriously WTF. I’m not sure I’ve ever done high-bar, narrow-stance squats (except maybe the very first time I tried to squat) and these are ridic. How does anyone get any weight on the bar?!

  • Good mornings: 50kg, 3 sets of 5
  • Romanian deadlifts: 40kg, 3 sets of 10
  • Farmers walks with dumbbells: 4 rounds with 17.5kg dumbbells. I’m so bad at these 😦
  • Hyperextensions with bar: 12.5kg, 3 sets of 8
  • Planks: 3 x 60s

I finished yesterday feeling quite cross, once again due to my nemesis scheduling and the fact that next Wednesday – a day when I should be going to Yoga-lates – I’ve been booked into an all-day meeting. Meaning I’d have to miss Yoga-lates 3 weeks in a row. WAH.

I had a mini-conniption and went through my work calendar, blocking out not only the Yoga-lates class but all of Urban Kings’ holistic classes, marking myself as Out of the office instead of Busy. I’m willing to let next week go, but from now on I hope people will stop booking me into quite so many meetings that clash. Or, if they don’t (I concede that meetings are part of my job & I have to earn a crust!), then the reminders will remind me to go to the gym at other times when I’m free.

I mean, there are so many good classes at UK and at the moment I only go to two! I should stop being so nervous about taking long(er) lunchbreaks & just make up the time elsewhere (as others have suggested).

Last night I had my second evening at home in a row, and despite not doing much (watching the football, cooking & eating dinner with my boyfriend) it was glorious, and I think I need more evenings like that. So, I’m going to dial back the tech advocacy stuff. It makes me sad to do so, but on the other hand, the events I go to aren’t undersubscribed so they’ll manage without me. I’m just too damn tired to go to everything 😦

Two-workout Thursday

Lunchtime: Pilates. First time i’ve done this class and damn it was pretty tough. You know how many people describe Yoga & Pilates as “recovery day” activities? I must be going to some hardcore classes, because the ones I do leave me hot & sweaty (and it’s not just me – the MMA guys too!)

Evening: lifting

  • Narrow-grip bench press to 4 boards: 45kg, 5 x 5
  • Dumbbell floor press: 15kg, 10 reps x 3
  • Seated barbell press: 20kg, 8 reps x 3
  • Narrow push-up (on my knees 😦 ): 5 x 3
  • Leg raises: 15 x 3
  • Dumbbell side bends: 15kg, 15 x 3
  • Spiders: 3 sets

I’ve been feeling this a bit lately. I do appreciate all the body positive posts you see on fitness-type blogs, but at the same time they can feel…exclusionary? As if body positivity is only reserved for those who work out, who fit a certain mould (between certain size parameters, meeting certain shape standards), or who even meet certain health criteria. Body positivity should have no exceptions.

I won’t deny that going up a weight class is proving a bit of a mindfuck. I feel like I’ve swapped angst about losing weight for angst about the size of my tummy & increased overall jiggle levels. Yesterday when I was doing my sandbag clean & presses in front of a mirror, I was more focused on my chins & the loose skin on my arms, than on the fact I was pressing a sandbag over my head 50 times. Body positivity is hard, no doubt.

Today I would be going to Yoga-lates if it wasn’t for my bi-weekly lunch meeting. I feel a bit distraught about it, TBH (which is kinda pathetic). The meeting will be interesting, but I’d much rather be working on my core strength – I need it for my squats! And I resent having to give up my lunch hour for work. Meh.

Edited to add: oh, and now I’ve had another meeting scheduled in to the intervening Wednesday lunchtime. Argh, why even is work?!

Scheduling? My favourite!

No, not really. I hate scheduling.

So I was thinking, after my lacklustre performance after the strongwoman day, that i need to go more conditioning-type workouts, but since then I’ve been puzzling over where to fit them in. Ideally, I’d like to do another conditioning class at Urban Kings, because I prefer the class format (on my own, I don’t tend to push myself as hard). But they don’t work with my schedule. I think what I actually need is an exercise PA who can work all this stuff out for me.

Right now I do:

  • Monday evening: lifting
  • Tuesday: nothing
  • Wednesday lunchtime: Yoga-lates (alternate Wednesdays due to meetings at work)
  • Thursday evening: lifting
  • Friday lunchtime: conditioning class
  • Saturday lunchtime: lifting
  • Sunday: nothing

(On all days I except Sunday also walk ~2 miles)

There are other conditioning classes at Urban Kings on Monday, Tuesday & Friday at 7am; and Monday at 12.10pm. The 7am ones are out – I’d have to leave the house at 5.45am (urgh), and I’d be kicking my heels for an hour afterwards because I don’t start work until 9.30am. Monday lunchtime… well, it could be done, but I’d have no energy for lifting in the evening. So I could move my lifting to Tuesday evening… but my boyfriend has arranged to work late on Mondays & Thursdays to coincide with my lifting.

There is a kettlebells class on Tuesday from 12-1pm, but it’s a whole 60 minutes, which means a 90 minute lunchbreak (for travel & showering etc). I could probably get away with that at work but I’m still pretty new in this role so I don’t want to take the piss, you know?

Today I had the idea to leave the house early (early for me – like, 7.15ish) get to Urban Kings for 8.15am & do an hour’s conditioning by myself before work. Did it happen? Of course not. I was all prepared, lunch & bag packed etc, but I just couldn’t drag my lazy butt out of bed. I will go today at lunchtime, but the gym will be busy – part of the appeal of going before work was that that place is generally deserted between 8-9am.

I had also been considering going to Foundry:East (the place where I did the strongwoman day) on Saturdays for their modified strongman training. But (there’s always a but) that means not going to BGWLC on Saturdays, and Saturdays are my favourite day (it’s when Ernie Parkes comes down; plus training is just more relaxed that day).

In short:

  1. Scheduling is hard
  2. I would like more days in the week, please
  3. Scheduling is hard
  4. This post is just a bit of an extended whinge, isn’t it?

I’m a bit cross with myself for not getting out of bed this morning. It wasn’t even a big ask – I normally wake up at 6.45am, so I just needed to hop out of bed ASAP instead of sitting there reading my emails. I will try again next week.

Monday – BGWLC

I thought I was going to have deadlift run-ups today, but no; instead I had a “light workout”. 6 weeks until my next competition.

  • Squats: worked up to 3 sets of 6 @ 60kg
  • Sumo deadlifts: lots @ 70kg. I don’t normally pull Sumo style, so this was an exercise in trying it out. Painful.
  • “Chin-ups”: my usual weaksauce attempts with the heaviest band. 3 sets of 5
  • Shrugs: 20kg dumbbells, 10 reps x 2; 25kg, 5 reps
  • Cable crunch: 30kg, 10 reps x 3
  • Glute & ham raises: 5kg plate, 10 reps x 3


A bit of conditioning on my own at lunchtime.

  • Warm-up: 50 air squats, 40 jumping jacks, 30 burpees, 20 sit-ups, 10 push-ups
  • 5 rounds of: 10 sandbag clean & press; 10 kettlebell swings
  • 20 sit-ups; stretching