Monthly Archives: May 2015

GBPF London divisional – 16th May 2015

I’ve been meaning to sit down & do a competition report for a while but as usual I’ve been too busy. But! It’s a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK so I have some time today.

I did… OK. All I wanted at the competition was a >100kg squat and… I didn’t get one. And honestly, I very nearly gave up on the whole competition at that point. I opened my squats with 92.5kg which should, in theory, be easyish for me, but to my horror I got red-lighted on it for depth. Argh. There is, seriously, NO WORSE FEELING than getting a no-lift on your first lift in a competition – it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

102.5kg squat attempt

I had intended to take 100kg for my second squat but given I’d just failed my first, I decided to take 97.5kg instead. A bit of a risk, but I was really careful to hit depth and I got it. Phew. Then for my third I thought, to hell with it, let’s go with 102.5kg. And I stood up with it! But I got red-lighted for depth again. Argh.

At least I now know I can stand up from a 102.5kg squat, I just need to get a couple of inches lower.

I was pretty miserable after my squats; I just wanted to go home & not bother with the rest of the competition to be honest. But I had to stick around as I was refereeing in the afternoon, plus leaving would have been silly. I’m too hard on myself at competitions (actually most of the time…) and luckily one of the other lifters taking part talked me round.

There was nothing very exciting to report on bench – I took 50kg for my opener & 52.5kg for my second, for an equal pb. I went for 55kg for my third & couldn’t get it off my chest, but I expected that, I haven’t got close to a bench pb for ages.

On to the deadlifts! I did an easy opener of 112.5kg, followed by an equal pb of 120kg which was hard but OK. I decided to go for 122.5kg for my third, in the hope I might get a new pb in something. My coach wanted me to take 125kg but I decided to play it safe & take a tiny nibble. I’m glad I did, to be honest, as I’m not sure I’d have got 125kg, but 122.5kg went up (just!)

So in the end I went 97.5kg / 52.5kg / 122.5kg for a total (5kg increase on my pb total) at 70.7kg bodyweight. Not a bad show, all in all. But obviously I’m still disappointed I didn’t get that squat!

My squat depth is definitely a serious problem right now, and I’ve seen this coming for ages – people have commented in the gym that my squats look shallow. So it seems I’m going to be doing work on getting deeper & staying more upright when squatting. First up: lots of squatting with the safety bar 😦


Comp – (less than) 1 week

Well this week has been a crap one at Laura Lifts HQ; in case anyone failed to notice, we had a general election here in the UK and the fucking Tories got in. I know I don’t normally talk about regular government-type politics on here, but I’m devastated and I’m not ashamed to admit I had a little cry. Repeatedly. On the train to work. What a disaster (the Tories, not me crying).

One of the main outcomes of this will be that the government will begin dismantling the NHS and welfare systems, which is terrifying. And kind of on-theme for me, as over the last 10 days I’ve had trial sessions with two new therapists in an attempt to get my mental health back on track. I’m supremely lucky that I can do this privately, but if I was reliant on the NHS’s mental health services I’d be up shit creek (figuratively, but it might as well be literally). But of course, my being able to afford it out of my own money doesn’t help the millions of people who can’t. Not that the Tories or right-wingers care – as long as they’re alright, stuff the rest eh?

God the next 5 years are going to be terrible.

Luckily I got all my training done this week before I began the last 72 hours of horrified fury. I only went to any gym twice this week, which is highly irregular but I guess to be expected given how close I am to competing, plus the usual round of work stresses meant I couldn’t go to Pilates on Thursday.

On both Tuesday & Thursday I had squats & bench. I hit a difficult-feeling but deep enough 100kg squat on Tuesday, then benched 50kg for a few singles. On Thursday I benched 50kg for 3 doubles – touch & go for the first rep, paused for the second – then squatted 70kg for 3 sets of 4.

Today I went to weigh myself at home only to discover that my scales are out of battery & I don’t have the right batteries to replace them. Part of me wants to not bother weighing myself at home, but the other part of me thinks that’s ridiculous – I am going to want to know how much I weigh during the week so that I’m not in a mad panic on Saturday morning. I was 100g under on Thursday evening but I went to a wedding yesterday and ate 6 types of cake, so all bets are off.

This week I will be setting bench & squat openers on Monday, but probably not working out otherwise; definitely no spin or conditioning but maybe some Pilates if I can get away from work. I’m thinking of opening my squat with 90 (as usual) or 92.5kg; bench with 50kg (as usual). Deadlift I have no idea. Actually I know what I want all my second lifts to be (100/52.5/120) but not my openers. I guess I’ll have to see how I feel on the day.

Comp -2 weeks

Only two weeks to go now until my competition and I’ve dialled my non-lifting activities right back. I skipped conditioning again on Friday because I had heavy deadlifts for the second Saturday in a row. I also missed Pilates on Thursday thanks to work stress, but I don’t feel any worse for it.

On Monday I had squats – 3 doubles at 90kg, then a single at 95kg & a single at 100kg. The 90s felt like nothing, the 95kg was a dream & the 100kg also felt great! Honestly I’m pretty surprised. Apart from dropping most of my cardio workouts I’ve not really done anything to prep myself for this competition (apart from lifting 3x per week, obviously!) so it feels great that my squats are going well.

On Thursday I had bench – I’d hoped for 3 doubles at 52.5kg (touch & go, no pausing) and while I got one double, it was messy as hell & my bottom came off the bench. So we got out the fractional plates & I did 2 doubles at 51kg, as well as a double at 50kg. I’m not so confident that my bench is going to increase at this competition – 52.5kg with a pause is still something I can only get 50% of the time. Still, if I can get an equal pb I will be super-happy.

Then on Saturday we had deadlifts – another 3 doubles at 110kg, and a single at 115kg. My hand has still not healed up from where I tore it last week, and I was very worried I’d tear it again – I’m not convinced at 2 weeks is enough time for my hands to heal. So I taped my hand with micropore before every set and somehow, thankfully, my hand didn’t tear any more.

Next week I just have two workouts – just squat & bench, I’m definitely not deadlifting again before the competition. It’s been really unusual to do so much deadlifting in the run-up to a competition – normally I just sort of train around the lift, doing accessory work. So do two heavy deadlift sessions a week apart is unusual. I guess I’ll see if it makes a difference to my performance on competition day. I like that my coach has me running up to a competition in a different way every time, it’s interesting to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

Going back to saying that I feel I haven’t really prepped myself for this competition: normally 4-6 weeks before comp I get really tight with my food and my alcohol intake (and I fret about my weight). This time I really, seriously have done nothing. I’m still drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine every evening, I’m eating more cake/pastries/sweets than usual and I’m not trying to get any extra protein. And my weight is (currently) fairly spot on – 72.4kg yesterday morning (after a breakfast of fried egg bagels). I normally want to be 70-71kg for a competition but I think this time I’ll aim for 72kg on the nose.

I’ve been thinking recently how good my powerlifting performance would be if I actually “did nutrition”. You know: tried to get lots of protein, ate vegetables more than once a day etc. As it is, I have maybe 3 single-scoop protein shakes a week as a cursory nod to protein intake. I’ve been getting eggs in the house in an attempt to eat them every day and….mostly failing.

And yet my squats feel great and I’m repping 110kg deadlifts for the first time; and I’m happy with that! Maybe I’m being complacent – if I ate 150g of protein every day and wasn’t carrying round ~35% body fat, maybe I’d be squatting 120kg and deadlifting double bodyweight. But you know, I don’t mind – I think I’m doing pretty damn good for me. Maybe we don’t all need to have that “winner’s mentality”, you know. I feel I have a nice balance right now.