Posts Tagged ‘rambling’

“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!

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!

2011 – The Best Year Yet | Alwyn Cosgrove

2011 – The Best Year Yet | Alwyn Cosgrove.

 

There are so many different blogs and articles floating around right now to inspire us all to achieve new heights in 2011.  Some have been generic, some have been overly wordy (or even preachy), but this guest post by Todd Durkin on Alwyn Cosgrove’s site hits the right note for me.  The majority of the post is a list of 83 action steps that you (or I) can choose to take to make 2011 your best year.

 

Since today is a super-low calorie day and I’m surrounded by temptations (cheesy bread?  Yes, please!…oh, wait – not today), I found this post particularly helpful as motivation since, as I mentioned yesterday, this cycle is definitely harder than the last one.

Some of my favorite action steps (Some of which are also prominently featured in the Impact Body Plan):

  • Be the most positive person you know.  This is always a work-in-progress for me.  It’s hard to strike a balance between processing some of the struggles of my professional and personal life and remaining positive.  I am generally able to stay positive (or at least neutral), but I have to work harder at it when I’m in a deficit.
  • Do something that scares you everyday.  I’m not sure how to do this one yet, but I want to learn.  Life’s all about adventure, right?
  • Remember – no one has ever regretted a great workout.  This one, I’ve mastered!  Whenever I’m not feeling particularly jazzed about going to the gym, I remind myself that I’m only one workout away from a good mood!
  • Be obsessed with learning.  Check!
  • Be careful with whom you surround yourself.  Just as much as the right people can pull you up, the wrong people can pull you down.
  • If you want more, GIVE more.
  • Do or do not, there is no try.  Isn’t this one from Star Wars or something?  Anyway, I think this is going to be one of my mantras this year.  I am tired of trying to lose weight.  Now, I’m just doing it. 🙂
  • Slow down in order to speed up.  This is HUGE.  When I learned to slow down and create boundaries between my personal and professional lives, my entire outlook improved!  Taking time to just “be” is so important in trying to find satisfaction and direction in life.
  • Do more of what you love to do!  So simple, so important.

There are some real gems in the list – some for personal growth, some for running a business, and some for adding some adventure into life.  There is even a recommendation for a dream vacation every year (sigh – I wish!).  I will probably revisit the list every once in awhile to see what I can add to my life.  It’s worth a look, even as food for thought!

Much tougher this week

I’m REALLY feeling my deficit this week – cranky, tired, and achy with all kinds of cravings.  I’m really hoping I settle into a good routine soon and am able to maintain at this level of a deficit.  I’m going to give it a couple weeks and if I still feel like this, I will adjust.  Maybe I’ll cut out a cardio workout, or maybe I’ll have a smaller deficit.  I don’t want to do that, but I also don’t want to feel so crappy that I start struggling with compliance.  The giant snowstorm (and subsequent shoveling) that we are having is probably not helping matters.  One more low day tomorrow, then I can eat again on Friday. 🙂

Maintenance vs. “Cheat Days”

Over the weekend, I had some higher calorie days, including one day of eating at maintenance.  This was REALLY tough – much more difficult than I had anticipated.  On Saturday, the maintenance day, I had done some planning and we had a delicious, healthy, and calorie dense meal early in the day with the option of leftovers later.  I was able to get within 200 calories of maintenance (I was under), but it was vastly better than my efforts yesterday.  Yesterday, I was in a small deficit, but still had to eat at a higher calorie level.  I tried to eat consistently throughout the day, but ended up still scrambling at the end of the day to get all my calories.  Because of this, my choices weren’t all nutritious foods and my protein was low.  Clearly this is poor planning on my part, and a big part of the work I need to do to meet my goal of really understanding what maintenance feels like.

 

About a year ago, I tried a nutrition plan that cycled carbs and included one cheat day every week.  On this cheat day, I had carte blanche to eat whatever I wanted, with the only restriction being that I couldn’t stuff myself.  I probably don’t have to even say this, but my results sucked because I undid my deficit on every cheat day.

 

When I went to bed last night, I felt like I had on those cheat days – bloated, sluggish, etc.  I had eaten carb-rich junk foods late in the day and I definitely paid for it.  So, how do I make the distinction?  I get full fairly quickly (a blessing on a “low” day), so it’s hard for me to eat large quantities of “healthy” food to make my calories.  Maybe I need to eat more cashews or something?  Calorie dense, but with nutritional value?

 

This is really important for me to sort out, since someday I hope to live in maintenance and not worry constantly about what I’m eating!

Resolutions

Here we are again at the New Year!  I’m not normally one to come up with New Year’s Resolutions, but this year is different.  I’ve been doing this “weight loss thing” for a couple years now, and it is TIME to be done.  Starting today, I am participating in Leigh Peele’s Resolution Solution challenge.  I will be following a calorie cycling program with a new training program, but won’t get into the diet details during the course of the challenge (due to copyright rules).  A big portion of the challenge is a focus on the mental aspect of fat loss.  I am embracing the full challenge and, for the first time, making my goals concrete.  So far in this journey, I’ve simply wanted to lose weight.  I’ve never really bothered to set concrete goals or figure out my true motivations.

 

What do I want? I want my body to be healthier, and to convey the amount of work I have already put into living a healthier lifestyle.  I need to lose more fat (though I’m not sure how much – maybe 40-50 pounds), and I want to maintain the muscle that I have now.  I also want my body to be stronger and more able to handle any challenge that comes along. External rewards are also important to me – I want the people around me to assume I live a healthy lifestyle, rather than the opposite.

 

Why do I want these things? Aside from the obvious health benefits,  I want to feel completely confident for the first time in my life.  I want to be able to shop in more than one or two stores for clothes – and I want to ROCK whatever styles I choose.  I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite anymore – I have to encourage healthy lifestyle choices to the kids I work with, and it doesn’t feel right encouraging them to be mindful of their food choices when it is obvious that I have not done the same.  I really want to have more adventure in my life.  Sometimes, though less often than a few years ago, I shy away from things that I could really enjoy because I am embarrassed or worried that I am not capable.  This needs to stop.  Today.

 

What will it mean to finally have the body I want? It will mean that I have succeeded.  At that point, I will be 100% in control.  My past trauma and fear will be in the past forever, and I will have learned to separate the emotional issues I have from my physical needs.  It also means that I have persevered and kept the promise I made to myself – that I would live the lifestyle of a healthy person and not give in to momentary pleasures at the expense of my greater goals.

 

What does it mean to train on a regular basis? This is the easy part for me.  I love to train.  It helps with my general energy level, my self esteem, and my general happiness.  I love seeing progress in the gym and knowing I am getting stronger, fitter, and healthier.  Choosing to train is choosing to be happy.

 

What is the hardest part of losing fat? I struggle with the diet.  When life gets stressful, it is hard to remember that food is fuel, not a reward or comfort.  I’ve been working on eating more intuitively and stopping when I get full.  I’m not always successful, but I’m glad I recognize that I struggle in this area.  Removing the emotional attachments I have to food is one of my primary objectives during this challenge.  Additionally, I have PCOS, and struggle with losing weight anyway.  It’s hard for me to trust the process and know I am getting results even if the scale doesn’t always say so.

 

Who am I trying to please? Myself, of course, but probably not as much as I should be!  Right now, I’m more focused on pleasing others – my husband, my family, my coworkers, etc.  I want the people in my life to look at me and think of me as a fit and healthy person.  Once others see me that way, it will be easier for me to see it too.  I’ve never had a ton of encouragement in my physical appearance or body composition, so even when I see results, it’s hard to truly embrace them and be satisfied.  This self-esteem aspect will also be huge for me over the next 3 months.  I need to be satisfied without the external support.

 

How will attaining physical goals change my life? Moving toward my physical goals has already changed my life.  I’m amazed at the improvement in my energy levels and my confidence.  Attaining my goals will allow me to push my body in athletic ways – competing in local events, trying new sports, or just plain feeling normal when I’m out jogging or playing with my niece.  I look forward to hiking in the summer without worrying that I might not be able to handle the trek, and wearing a bathing suit without feeling embarrassed.

 

Final thoughts:

I’m doing this challenge through the leighpeele.com membership site.  I’m taking a completely different approach than I have in the past and am hoping to see some big and lasting results.  My husband is also trying to lose fat, and I am helping him.  I hope that helping him will also help me stay on track.  Our lives can only get better by us both doing the work now and being successful!  For me, though, self-identity is playing a big part in this.  I am training myself to stop thinking of myself as the “fat friend” or the “lazy one” and instead start thinking of myself as an athlete or at least a fit woman.  This will be an even bigger part of the picture for my husband, but I’m not sure he knows this yet.  I’m going to help him, but I also need to not let helping him reach his goals affect me reaching mine (he would never want this, but I have tendency to get into a “caretaker” role that sacrifices my own needs).  This is the year that we lose our excess weight and embrace our real identities!