Checking in

I haven’t been great about checking in lately.  I’m still plugging along on my diet, and training is going really well.  In fact, I hit PRs in ALL my major lifts this week – while in a deficit! :)  My weight loss is consistent – about 1.5 pounds a week.  Jeb has started following the same cycling program and lifting program as me, which makes things nice – and makes it easier to stick to my low days when I’m at home!  I’m jealous, though – he is SO good with diet consistency.

 

I’m pleased to announce (or terrified…you pick) that I will be running the Ras na hEirann on March 13 with some people from work.

I’m a little nervous.  Not only do I shy away from running if the temperature drops below 30, but this will mark a big change in my work identity.  No one at work thinks of me as an athlete -and I’m not…really.  But, I train like one.  I’ll keep training and hope for the best – not going for any lifelong PRs here (but I’ll probably get an adulthood PR).  Honestly, what more can I expect from myself?  I am really working on respecting my body enough not to hate on it when it isn’t progressing fast enough.  It took 8 years to get me to my “rock bottom” moment, so I can’t expect to get back to where I want to be in 2.

“Your Poor Spine!” (and other head-bashing news)

I don’t like to complain, but sometimes it is HARD to be a female in a weight room.  I’ve posted previously about some of my experiences here, but overall I don’t have too many issues.  I normally work out on weekday mornings.  The trainers and most of the other members know me, and they respect my space, need for certain equipment, etc.  No one’s kicking me out of a squat rack or grabbing my kettlebells between sets (often).  With my new cycling program, sometimes I need to lift on the weekends.  No big deal – I’m not about to miss a workout, and lifting always starts my days off right!  The last TWO weekends, I have had issues.  Both sets of issues involve Overhead Squats.  Before I begin my tales of woe, let me first say that my mobility is good, my form is on-target, and I have been performing this exercise consistently and effectively on and off for about 18 months (including using it as accessory work for 5/3/1).

Two Weeks Ago..

During my second set of Overhead Squats, I felt fantastic.  I was feeling ready to add some weight, but since I was pretty depleted from eating low calories the day before, I decided to save that for the next workout.  As I finish the set, I saw a little skinny guy and a couple girls head over to a bench.  The guy loaded 135 on the bar and proceeded to ALMOST DROP IT.  I was seriously considering running over to help him when one of the girls with him lifted the bar off his chest and helped him rack it.  He then sat on the bench and…I don’t know what he was doing…nursing his ego??

Anyway, I start getting ready for my final set.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have a bunch of little preparations I do before any set – making sure the weights are loaded tightly, double-checking that my hands are positioned evenly, chalking up (when necessary), a couple deep breaths…you get the idea.  I unracked the weight, pressed it overhead, and started my set.  After my third rep, I notice him coming over toward my rack.  As I start to descend on my 4th, he DUCKED UNDER THE BAR! I almost smashed him in the face with the bar, but, fortunately, was under control enough to be able to keep both of us safe.  He then gave ME a dirty look (and I bet he would’ve totally blamed me if he had gotten hurt!) and walked away.  Thank goodness I was using the rack with a mirror or I never would have seen him coming!  A bit shaken, I re-racked the weight, did my preparations and began again.  Fortunately, I was a bit more aware of him, so I saw him coming when he tried to do it again!

I’m not sure where this guy’s survival instinct was – he definitely was upset with me for almost hurting him, but I think he was risking his own safety…all to grab some 10# plates off my rack.

 

Last Weekend…

I felt great.  I was NOT depleted and had increased the weight on all my exercises so far.  I had been complimented by 2 other gym members during my first couple exercises.  As I finished my set of heavy single-leg RDLs (20kg – a new best for me at that volume), I noticed a guy working out kind of near the rack (we’ll call him the Pastor, since I later found out that he is, in fact, a pastor).  He seemed to vaguely know what he was doing, though he focused on the “mirror muscles.”  My husband was at the gym with me, but doing his own workout.  I went to the rack, set up, and did my first set of Overhead Squats.  It felt great, and I was contemplating whether I should increase the weight by 5 or 10 pounds for the next set.  As I turn, I notice the Pastor standing directly behind me.  He gestures for me to take off my headphones, and I expected a compliment, support, or at least something positive – I had just rocked my set, and had gotten 2 other compliments already (guess my self-esteem was SOARING!).  I was wrong.

Pastor:  “Your poor spine!”

Me:  (confused look on my face)

Pastor:  (in a patronizing tone)  “The most DANGEROUS thing you can do in a gym is put weight over your head when you’re not sitting with your back against a bench.  I’ve seen guys blow their spines apart trying to do that.”

Me:  “Well, this…”

Pastor:  (interrupting) “That other thing you were doing” (demonstrates a 1/4 squat) “is great, but it’s really important to put the bar on your shoulders so your spine doesn’t have to work so hard.  Then, try to do the squatting motion.”

Me:  “I’m actually..” (as the Pastor interrupts again, I am able to catch my husband’s eye, who comes over)

Pastor:  “Please, please don’t do that again.  I’m a pastor and I care about people.  I just don’t want to see you get hurt and putting weight over your head is SO dangerous.”  (Looks at my husband)  “I was just telling her that she is doing some really dangerous stuff over here and I don’t want her to get hurt.  You should show her some other things she can do so she’s not trying to push things over her head while squatting.  I’ve seen guys blow their spines apart – her poor back!  That’s not something just anyone should be doing…”

Husband:  “You’re right – it’s not something just anyone should be doing.  In fact, I don’t have the mobility to do it correctly so I don’t do it at all.  SHE has really great mobility and is able to keep her spine stable and in alignment while doing the exercise.  It’s actually a fairly common, though advanced, exercise.”

Pastor:  “Really?  People squat that way?”

Husband:  “Yes.  I bet you can find lots of videos on YouTube to show how to do it, but it’s used in CrossFit and several fitness professionals recommend it.  The program she’s doing is by Alwyn Cosgrove, who writes for Men’s Health sometimes.”

Pastor:  “Oh…well, I guess I’m no expert.  I just didn’t want her to get hurt.  Maybe I’ll try it sometime.”

Me:  “I appreciate your concern, but I take the time to make sure I’m safe in the weight room.  If you do try it, make sure to drop the weight.  I can back squat significantly more than I can overhead squat.”

Pastor:  (eyes widening)  “Really??”  (looks at my husband)  “Sorry, Man.  Didn’t mean to interrupt.”

 

He then proceeded to do TERRIBLE bent-over rows.  Terrible.  With the same amount of weight I use with GOOD form.

 

The whole situation sucked.  My husband said I should just fluff it off, but when people are that condescending and make it SO clear that they don’t think I belong in the weight room, I definitely lose some wind in my sails.  I did finish the workout, but I didn’t add as much weight as I probably could have.  I didn’t want to struggle for reps and have this guy on my case again.  He probably wouldn’t have come back over, especially since my husband stayed with me while I finished up, but the whole thing was ridiculous.  If my husband hadn’t been there, I probably would have just left.  I know I don’t “look” the part, but I’m just not clear why people think they can make these kinds of comments. The guy clearly had most of his fitness information from 1995, but still…

It also really bothers me that the guy felt it was totally ok to mess with my workout, but wouldn’t even let me get a word in to explain what I was doing.  Once another MAN was there, suddenly he’s open for discussion.  And then to imply that my husband should “teach” me how to lift??  I actually taught HIM how to make his lifts safer!  Ugh.

On Track

After a not-so-great week last week, I am back on track.  At first, I was pretty frustrated with myself for last week.  However, with terrible driving conditions and not feeling well (plus some craziness at work that threw off my WHOLE schedule), I was easily able to get back on track over the weekend.  Yesterday was a low day, and today is a lowER day, and I’m handling it well.  The way my cycling program works, I can go as low as I want on these two days.  Yesterday, I was under my calorie range by 175-300 calories (🙂 ).  It was tough, but manageable.  Today, I’m going for less.  When I feel hungry, I try to remember that tomorrow is a maintenance day.  I think I’m going to make a really yummy chicken sandwich or homemade pizza – with PopChips!

 

Training is also back on track.  Since we had some really bad storms, I had to miss a couple structured workouts.  I think I made up for them with shoveling and treacherous walking conditions while at work.  I just couldn’t justify the extra driving when the conditions were so bad.

 

My recipe for this week is from Ask Georgie – Creamed Spinach. Not only is this recipe a low-ish calorie side dish, it also makes an amazing substitute for Spinach Dip!  My husband and I enjoyed this with some PopChips (can you tell I **heart** PopChips??) while watching a football game this weekend.  Jeb’s not much of a veggie person, but he loves this recipe, and I love anything that gets some greens into his body!  I follow the recipe pretty exactly, though I sometimes add a bit more garlic.  Since discovering this, I’ve made it 3 times!  Yum!

Heck, yes! I’m committed!

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Off to the gym!

Not clicking

Things are NOT clicking right now.  I started Cycle 3 in a good place, but on Monday (TMI ALERT) starting having issues with my TOM.  Between the bloating, cramping, nausea, etc., I decided to try to hit a deficit, but to DEFINITELY not go into a surplus.  I’m ok with maintenance.  Once my hormones settle, I know I will be fine and can easily get back in the swing of things, so I’m trying not to sweat it. My schedule is kind of funky this week too – my facility is being inspected/audited for our license (this happens every 2 years) and I will be at a training conference on Thursday and Friday.

 

For training, I’ve done some light cardio but missed my lift last night because of a bad storm.  I was really torn about it, but the conditions were icy so I decided not to take the risk.  I’m wondering if that counts as losing my 100% compliance on training.  On one hand, I feel confident that it is an isolated incident and am not worried about getting back on track (it’s just one miss, right?).  On the other hand, choosing to not endanger myself on icy roads is actually a choice toward better health – even if I missed a lift.  Thoughts?

 

Yesterday was my niece’s 2nd birthday.  We had a great time celebrating with her!  During cake, she looked at me and said:
T:   Knock Knock!

Me:  Who’s there?

T:  FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!

Me:  Frosty the Snowman who?

T:  FROSTY THE SNOOOOWMAANNN! 🙂

It was awesome! :)  Happy hump day!

Update on progress

I’m a couple days late on my “Update” post, but I had a bit of a family situation and a very sick husband to deal with this weekend! (Goals described here)

Progress in Cycle 2:

  • Lost a total of 8.2 pounds.  Not a dramatic loss this cycle, but I’m also suffering the effects of my TOM, so I’m not sweating it.
  • Had a much more successful maintenance day on Friday (and high day on Saturday).  I planned my meals with some good, healthy foods and only had a small treat – rather than filling my calorie allotment with junk.  I felt much better too.  I was also better with pre- and post-workout nutrition, which I described in more detail in this post.
  • My sleep has been good.  I’ve been making it a priority and shutting off electronics about a half-hour before I settle into bed.  I’ve been falling asleep fairly easily and waking up on my own most days.  This week will be a challenge, though, since my work schedule will be all over the place.
  • Still working on the emotional attachments with food.  I think this one will require a LOT of repetition.  I caught myself grabbing some unhealthy food this weekend when I became overwhelmed.
  • Self-care is a work in progress, but I’m getting better.  I had some really lazy moments this weekend, which would normally make me feel guilty, but I was careful not to judge myself and just understand that sometimes I need to slow down and rest.

Objectives:

  • I’m still following the cycling program accurately.  I did accidentally mix up a couple of the days, but it resulted in an increased deficit, so I didn’t really worry about it.
  • I still have 100% compliance with training.  One of my cardio workouts became snow-shoveling instead of my planned KB workout, but I still got the desired result.
  • I prepared a new recipe – Kale Chips – and it was HORRIBLE.  I didn’t even bother blogging about them.  There are about a million blog posts about them out there, so if you’re interested in them, hit up google.  (Why do people love these so much, by the way??  I’m a total veggie person and I could barely get them down!)  I will NOT be making them again, which is sad – Kale is so healthy!  I actually made an amazing new recipe yesterday, which will be part of my Cycle 3 check in, so stay tuned! :)  I’m not feeling bored with the diet – with the cycling, I’m actually able to eat a variety of foods – I just have to pay attention.  This isn’t like other diets I’ve followed that have required me to have a bunch of pre-planned meals that I just repeat every. single. day.
  • For fun, Jeb and I went to the movies.  We saw “The King’s Speech” which was really good.  We also watched some football.  Low key, but nice.

Plugging along

Cycle 2 is almost in the history books!  I’m consistently losing weight – after a big water drop last week, it looks like I’m in the range of 1.75-2 pounds per week.  Works for me!  It would be amazing to lose weight faster than that, but I think it would negative impact my training – which, as I’ve mentioned, is super important to me for reasons above and beyond caloric burn.

 

Last week on day 6 of the cycle (a maintenance day), I had a terrible workout!  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely took the time to grind out every rep of every set, but it didn’t feel good and I wasn’t able to increase the weight on any exercise.  I think I was really depleted from low intake the day before, and only had a cheese stick before hitting the gym.  My workout was later than usual (since it was a weekend), so it had been a LONG time since I put some serious calories in my body.  All week, I’ve been trying to decide how to avoid this result and even considered NOT lifting on a maintenance day and either using it for rest or cardio.  It didn’t make sense, though – training is supposed to go hand in hand with eating, so if I’m eating at maintenance, I should be LIFTING.

Not going to lie – I was more than a little apprehensive this morning.  I took forever to get out the door to the gym (unusual for me) and tried to bargain with myself.  But, I finally reached this conclusion:

If I don’t have a better plan, I should stick to the one I already made.

I think this could be a tiny little turning point for me.  I didn’t overthink things, and trusted the time and energy I put into creating a plan.  Instead of completely changing things on the fly, I decided to just adjust on a smaller level.  Since my issue is primarily around my workout – both energy level and performanceI figured I would adjust my pre-workout nutrition.  That’s a challenge for me – I don’t like having a lot of food in my stomach when I lift, so it had to be something dense but easily digestible.  I ended up having a small banana with my cheese stick. 

The workout went well.  I increased the weight on my exercises, and kept my rest times appropriate.  I’ve also made some good choices with my food today – getting some good, healthy calories in early so I don’t end up trying to stuff myself later.

 

Tomorrow, I will post my weekly progress update toward my goals.  Tonight, Jeb and I are having a date night and going to see “The King’s Speech.”  I’m excited to see it, but suspect that Jeb doesn’t share my enthusiasm!  :)  Guess it will make up for all the hours I listen to him playing video games (to the extent that I sometimes have dreams taking place in the Halo universe or with Call of Duty characters – he’s so jealous!).

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