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On Lifting and Body Confidence

kettlebells

When I discovered Powerlifting, I started following a bunch of women powerlifters on Instagram (I’ll link to them at the end of the post).  I also discovered two groups dedicated to supporting women in the sport, Girls Who Power Lift and GRRRL.  Both are amazing groups and are all about lifting women up and being positive in all aspects of your life.  Being proud of who you are and what you can do.

One side affect to lifting and surrounding yourself with people who are supportive is that you also become more positive and confident.  About yourself, life, and your body.

Lifting is a very empowering thing, especially for women.  Knowing that, yes you can pick up that heavy thing off the floor with no problem is a freeing feeling.

This was something that I really didn’t give much thought to until lately.  I have found myself being more confident in myself, my body, and my personality.

Body confidence is one of my biggest improvements.  Am I where I need to be weight-wise? Nope, not even close. I’m still a work in progress and have a long way to go.  However, lifting has given me a confidence that running never did. Sure I gained confidence with running, once I lost 60lbs and didn’t have to worry about jeans being tight. But not until that point and even then, I was not fully confident in myself.

With lifting, I’m confident now, even though I still have a ways to go in my journey.  I might still be Chubby Andrea but Chubby Andrea can pick up 100+ lbs off the floor without blinking an eye.  And she can do a lot of things now that she has never done before or been able to do.

I wore a tank top to workout the other day.  I’ve never done this. Ever.  Even after losing 60lbs and running in the midwest summer heat, my most revealing shirt was a sleeveless tee-shirt.  I never ran in a tank or worked out in a tank.  Too self-conscious.

Now? Now I don’t give a fuck.  It’s hot, the gym is hot, screw it, I’m wearing a tank.  The best part, when I was working out, that’s all I was focused on.  I wasn’t worried about the tank top, or my arms, or my belly. My workout and getting through it had my complete focus.

I’m sure that part of it also stems from getting older and not really giving a shit about how others view me.  But lifting and doing Crossfit have ignited that confidence.  I’m happy with where I’m at and that is a freeing and awesome feeling.

Fabulous accounts to follow on Instagram:

Girls Who Power Lift

GRRRL

Spunky Canuk

Confidence1091

 

Status

Fitness Friday: Back On Track

Weight Day

Last week was a rough one. I went to a new chiropractor who was a little too aggressive in his adjustments and it took me out of working out for the week.  That’s all I’m saying because I’m still so annoyed about it.  Plus I’m back to looking for a new chiro.  Meh.

This week though I’m back on track!

Monday:

The main workout was AMRAP for 15 of 7 power cleans, 7 burpees, and 200m run.  I’m off running right now because of my right hip flexor so instead I rowed 200m.

I got in 4 rounds plus 7. I felt pretty good about that!

Tuesday:

150 wall balls.  UGH  We do break it up, so it’s 25 wall balls then 6 jumping lunges (or regular if you can’t jump) for 6 rounds.  Still getting in that 150 marker but breaking it up like that makes it a lot easier to get through mentally.  It doesn’t seem so daunting and overwhelming. Instead you’re focusing on just getting through each round.

Wednesday:

AMRAP

  • 400M Run (Row)
  • 20 Hang Squat Cleans
  • 30 Double Unders or 60 Singles

I was able to get in two rounds + 400m + 20.  So close to getting three rounds in!  I don’t have solid double unders just yet so I did singles.  I can do double unders but not steady enough to add them to the workout.

Strength training after class, since it had been over a week since doing strength, I took it easy with weights.  I did squat, over head press, and deadlifts.

For squats, I went to 85 pounds and it was tough. I did not make it through 3×5 but completed 2×5 and that last rep I almost didn’t make it up.  My legs were so tired from the squats we had done this week.

Press is my weakest move (bench being my second) and I did 2×5 at 47 pounds.  Right now 46 pounds is my cleanest rep.

Deadlift, I did my working set at 125 which felt lovely.  I love deadlifts so much! It’s my strongest move and always puts me in a much better mood.

Thursday:

This workout was a tough one and I’m so glad we only had to go through it for 1 round!

  • Handstand Pushups (mine are modified)
  • Barbell Sumo Deadlift High Pull
  • Overhead Squat
  • Pushups
  • Snatch High Pulls
  • Pistols

2 minutes on with a 1 min rest between moves.

I did the high pulls at 55lbs but did the overhead squats at 15lb with the baby bar.  Overhead squats are so freaking hard for me and my shoulders and wrists are not very strong.  Someday I’ll at least make it up to 35lbs!

Friday:

30 min workout today, ugh.  Or I should say that it was supposed to be done in 30 minutes but I finished at just over in 30:23.

  • 30 Squat Cleans
  • 30 Pull Ups
  • 800m Run

For three rounds.  I rowed which proved to be challenging because my grip didn’t get a break so going back to squat cleans and pull ups was challenging.

I’m still working on my squat clean and getting that move down.  Part of it is that it’s awkward, the other part is a confidence issue.  Falling under the bar and catching it is a little intimidating to me.  Will I fall? What if I can’t get back up?  Those are the thoughts that run through my head.

I’ll get there, it’s just going to take me some time.

I’m feeling pretty good about this week.  I do think that I could have pushed myself a little bit more and next week that’s going to be my goal along with more weight sessions.  Overall I’m happy with training this week!

Status

Hip Issues Round Two

Trail running

Back when I was a runner, I dealt with some hip issues.  My right hip flexor getting over worked because my right side isn’t as strong as my left side.  For some reason, I do most things on my left side which causes my right side to become lazy.

My right hip flexor would be very sore after my runs to the point that I couldn’t even run a mile with out my hip hurting afterwards.  I did PT for a while and slowly got back on target. (If you want more nitty gritty, you can read about this hip issue, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Then we moved here, I stopped running because I was having difficulty with the elevation which caused depression which caused me to spiral down into a blob.  I finally picked running back up last year but had to stop because my right hip was being an issue again.

Instead I put running on the back burner and started doing CrossFit.  I fell in love with my gym and the workouts and didn’t give running a second thought until now.  Sometimes runs are part of our workout and I want to be able to do them.

I would like to be able to add in running to my routine however this stupid hip issue is back but a little more intense. Now it hurts during runs (as opposed to just after a run) and lasts for a long time.  I tried running 800m when my hip flexor tightened up, swelled, and then was painful for about a week and a half afterwards.

Ouch and GRRRR

So I’m going through PT again so that I can get back to being healthy and using both sides of my body equally.

My current therapist has been the most thorough person so far!  She spent an hour with me during my first visit and had me do a bunch of different moves and exercises to determine just how weak my right side is.

Turns out it’s crazy weak.  I knew that but was surprised by just how weak it is!  After that visit, I started paying more attention to how I sit, walk, stand, and handle myself.  It’s a little mind blowing to see how much I favor my left side over my right.  And yes, I am right handed.  I basically don’t use my right side unless I have to and am making an effort to use it.

WHAT? I don’t even know how I started doing that and why I do it.  I always thought my left side was my weaker side just because it’s non-dominate but nope. My right side just cruises through life.

I can also feel it during squats, as the weight gets heavier, I can tell that I’m relying on my left side to get me up and out of the squat.

So it’s time to focus on getting balanced so I can run and continue with heavy lifting.

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Fitness Friday: PRs and Fatigue

barbell and legs

Monday:

Was rough.  I was tired when I hit the gym and felt like maybe I didn’t eat enough (I talked about fueling for lifting earlier this week.) to get me through a workout + strength training.  Then during the workout cramps hit me hard.  Lady cramps.  This is my space to talk about and record my training so get used to the nitty gritty.  I needed to go home and eat something so I could take some ibuprofen.  No strength for me. The workout was push press + pull up ladder.  Start at 5 reps then keep increasing by 5 until the time runs out.  I was able to do the presses at 50lb which is a big deal to me.  All shoulder work is super challenging and my weakest area.

Tuesday:

Felt much better! The workout was hard, it was “Randy” which is 75 snatches. Snatches being part of shoulder work are intense for me and I’m still at a low weight.  I completed it at 35lbs which by the end was becoming very hard to do BUT I made it through.

I was able to get in a strength workout and focused on squats and deadlifts.  I was able to complete 90lb squat for my working set and felt really good with that.  The squats felt clean though on the last set they were much harder.

I also did 135lb for my working set for deadlifts today which is a HUGE PR moment! Previously 135 was my 1 rep max and today I busted it out for 2×5.  BOOM!  Feeling like a badass.

Wednesday:

Whew! Was I tired!  Strength part of the workout focused on sumo deadlifts.  I felt strong with these today! The first time I did them, I felt uncoordinated and awkward since the mechanics are different than regular deadlifts.  Today I felt much more comfortable with the movement.  I worked up to 125lb, since I just did really heavy deadlifts yesterday, I didn’t want to go too heavy today.

The workout was 30 box jumps and 30 wall balls with some tuck jumps tossed in at different times.  My legs were jello today.  My box jump is currently at 16 inches and I’m chasing that 20 inch box jump.

Thursday:

Having an, “Everything Hurts and I Feel Like Dying” day.  I got through my workouts but they were rough.  My legs and shoulders are just effing fatigued.

The workout today consisted of front squats, doing as many as you can at a prescribed weight. I haven’t done front squats in forever so my weights for those aren’t that high.  I started off at 75lb and squeaked out 5 reps, 10 reps at 65lb, and 15 reps at 55lb.  I could have done more reps at 55lb but my wrists gave out before my legs did.  Still getting used to that front rack position which is awkward.  My wrists aren’t super flexible so it’s a challenging position for me.

I moved on to strength training and did what I could.  Squats weren’t happening.  I did a 70lb warm up rep and my body was like, nope.  There’s a difference between pushing through fatigue and needing to listen to your body. Today I listened and cut the squats short.  I did manage to work up to a 75lb power clean.  It wasn’t pretty but I got it done.

Friday:

Stations at the gym today:

  • Row for calories
  • KB Swings
  • EB Thursters
  • Burpee Box Jumps
  • Reverse Wall Balls

 

1 min at each station, going through all of those is 1 round and we did 3 rounds today. UMPH

I don’t know what it is about this week but I’ve just been wiped out.  Not enough food? Not enough sleep? Both? No idea but man my body is tired AF.  I can’t wait to get in my jammies today and sleep in tomorrow.  Bliss!

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Fueling For Lifting

Lemon parmesan shrimp and zoodles

One of the biggest elements to weight lifting that I’m still learning about is fueling properly for the workouts.  Eating to preform with lifting is much different than eating to preform with running.  At least for me, there’s a HUGE difference.

When I was a full time runner, if the day before my eats were a little off or I didn’t eat as much as I should have, I could still bust out a run the next day.  Maybe my pace would be a tad slower but nothing super noticeable or concerning.  I still got through my workouts just fine.

For me personally, this is not the case with lifting.  At all.  If I don’t eat well that day my workout the next day will suffer big time.

I’ll have low energy, my muscles won’t be as responsive and willing, and the workout will be so much more challenging both mentally and physically.

Carbs + Protein are the two main items I have found that I need in order to feel strong during my workouts.  I’ve been adding more carbs into rotation so there has been more potatoes and sweet potatoes as part of my meals.  Occasionally I’ll have a slice of sprouted bread or some granola.

Junk needs to be kept to a minimum and a focus on real food a priority.  I have found that if I eat something junky, say like takeout or pizza, not only do I feel gross but my performance suuucckkksss.

Which is a given, I mean this sounds like pretty basic info but life happens and you gotta roll with it.

Slowly I’m learning more about how to properly fuel myself for workouts.  My diet is changing for the better because I want to be the best I can be while working out.  Plus I just want to be the best me all around.

Food + sleep are my priorities right now as I build up strength and endurance.

How do you fuel yourself for workouts? What have you found that works and what does not?