becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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12 weeks out – meet prep life.

i’ve decided to compete in another full power meet, on April 18th. even more exciting is that for the first time, i have a training partner! she’s also a grad student here, and we’ve been lifting together for about two months now on and off. she decided she wants to compete, so we’re running this meet prep cycle together. our pulls are almost exactly the same; i have a bigger squat but hers is way prettier than mine; and she never really benched regularly so while mine is bigger, hers will shoot up in the next few weeks.

this prep cycle is way lower volume than i’m used to – only four days of lifting per week, and big lifts on only two of those days. i wondered if having three “off” days would make me anxious or antsy, but so far i love it – the training days tax me so much i’m more then ready to take an entire day to recover before the next one!

mobility is a huge priority for me right now. it helps that i’m teaching yoga 5-6 days a week. plus i force my sorry butt to get up and do some spinal and hip work every morning before i go to the office. my back unlocked over break; now we’re just trying to keep it there!

my squat continues to plague me; my bench is growing slowly but steadily. we pull heavy on friday for the first time in ages, and that will determine openers. i’m shooting for 231/126/281. i hit 120 for twelve really fast singles on bench today so that bodes well. 126 was my second attempt last meet so it would be nice to open there or even 132 if i get some good training reps in these next few months.

i had lost my appetite – and a good deal of body weight – due to some crazy stress and anxiety earlier this month. everything is slowly getting back to normal, and my metabolic furnace is back to its usual spastic and speedy self.

and in other, less gym-y news, if you don’t follow me on instagram (@jenncanliftyou) already, go do that so you can watch videos of my girlfriend and i playing the ukulele and singing. it’s so cute i swear you’ll fall in love with us.

and i’m going to el paso next month for a conference. so there’s that too.


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full circle.

probably the most-read post i have ever written was about my first experience with cutting weight for a meet. at the time, i had been lifting with my coach for 3 1/2 months and had yet to reach my pre-op weight after almost a year and a half of rehab. 56kg is the low end of normal for me, but since 24-hour weigh-ins allow you to manipulate your “true” weight, it wasn’t a big deal to pee myself into my weight class.

then came my off-season. i ramped up both my eating and my training as we worked on technique, form, and building mass. and build mass i did, in the for of both lean muscle and body fat. this:

august 2013

turned into this:

may 2014

in less than nine months. i’m now squatting what my summer 2013 max deadlift was. and in the process i have, almost necessarily i would think, put on weight.

the struggle for the past few months has been deciding on a weight class. at the georgetown classic i weighed in at 57.0kg – a kilo over for the 56kg class, and that was after a nasty, gnarly cut that i never want to relive. it was frustrating, especially knowing that i still had some body fat i could have pulled, and potentially could have made weight.

i have nationally competitive numbers as a 56kg lifter. as a 60kg lifter – which also happens to be a much more common weight class, for whatever reason – i am a bebe fish in a very large and strong pond. so of course the competitive and stubborn side of me wants to remain in the 56kg class.

my coach and i have spent a lot of time talking about this. STV has caused me to build a startling amount of lean mass in just over a month’s time. and i’m also dropping body fat. yet my weight remains around 62-63kg.

so yesterday i did something i had assumed i would never need to do again in my adult life: i went to a nutritionist.

nutritionist appointments were a part of my regular treatment team/schedule for years. there were times in my treatment history i actually had a better relationship with my nutritionist than my therapist. i have sat in those offices and screamed, argued, cried, cursed, and flat-out refused to do things like eat full-fat cheese or not break my bagel into meticulous, tiny pieces before eating it.

i have also sat in those offices and said things like, “i no longer need 12 cups of coffee to get through my day,” or “i don’t get dizzy every time i stand up any more.” those offices, the arguments and meltdowns and revelations, played a huge role in me healing my relationship with food and my body.

and i never thought i would find myself in one again, after all these years! but yet yesterday, there i was. i had been put into contact with a sports nutrition professor who specializes in part with athletes who compete in weight-classed sports.

it was strange to be in one of those offices and not boiling over with anxiety. it was strange to have no stipulations beyond “i’ll eat anything but olives.” it was strange to be in that position as a healthy person with a comfortable relationship to food and their body.

maybe we can never escape our pasts, but we can look back at them and, when a situation presents itself that shows us how much we have changed, how much we have grown, we can appreciate them and how they molded us.


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breaking up with keto.

i had a really easy transition into ketosis. like…weirdly easy. few to no cravings. no fatigue. no debilitating DOMS.

after two months, then, it would stand to reason that i should have been far, far out of the woods.

i had mentioned to my doctor that the past few weeks i hadn’t felt quite right. not necessarily in a physical sense; just really on edge, snappy, unfocused, tired all the time even though i’ve been really good about getting my usual amount of rest…nothing life-threatening but everything annoying.

she took one look at me on thursday and said simply, “cut it. it’s not worth it.”

now to be clear, the caveat with me going keto as a means of seizure control was that if it made me feel like shit, i was done. my seizures are not (as of right now) life threatening, or even really lifestyle threatening. they are just a pain in the ass, and one that won’t go away.

but a strange thing happened once i went on keto. the longer i was on it, the more anxious it made me. i didn’t like feeling like i “couldn’t” eat or drink certain things. i didn’t like feeling backed into a corner. and i fucking missed being able to eat bananas, dammit.

but in all seriousness – it was starting to wear me out, mentally and emotionally. i’m long into recovery from my eating disorder, but that doesn’t mean that certain things still don’t reek of the “old” jenn. and keto was one of them. not that i think it’s a bad lifestyle choice for anyone else; but for me, it wasn’t going to work. because, as i’m coming to learn through trial and error, any sort of restrictive diet is just not acceptable for me any more. as soon as i feel like i “can’t” or “shouldn’t” eat something, the old crevice of my brain gets revved up.

keto forced me to start tracking macros again, watching little columns add up and turn green or red depending on if i was over or under my predicted intake. it was starting to drive me crazy.

my body is not a calculator, it is not a skin and muscle and bone abacus of nutrients. on any given day i am going to want or need or require different things, and i don’t feel comfortable in a lifestyle that tells me that, no, i can’t have some of those things.

so after eight weeks, keto and i have officially broken up. i feel the same physically, but the mental and emotional weight that has been lifted is astronomical. i feel much more at ease now. we’ll deal with the seizures if and as they come. i made a valiant attempt; it just wasn’t for me.

but after i ate some carbs yesterday i went ahead and squat 215# for three singles – so all has not been lost. : )


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we had a 48-hour spring.

and now it’s cold again. kentucky weather is exhausting.

i can’t believe february is nearly over. i leave for san antonio in just over a week (AHH!), and spring break is breathing down my neck. not that spring break is a bad thing – it just usually is synonymous with “write all of my papers now since i haven’t been working on them throughout the semester like i should have.”

i have this week and next of training – Weeks 7 & 8 of my cycle – and then i start my deload the day i leave for texas. convenient how coach mapped it out that way, right? i take that week easy and we do a circuit max beginning on Week 9. then as we taper off my squat and pull, we start playing with my bench to figure out openers and attempts.

the deload will be nice – i’ve felt great this entire training cycle as far as strength gains and technique, but holy shit am i sore lately. i think the fatigue is just starting to catch up to me, and maybe the switch to keto has effected my muscle recovery a bit, who knows.

once we do my circuit max we’ll have a plan for openers, and some options for second and third attempts. i’m trying to not get my heart too set on a 700 total, but it’s definitely within reach if i keep my head in the game. (and keep my butt from kicking out from under me when i squat…)

keto-livin’ continues on. i’m planning on making cauliflower “mashed potatoes” tomorrow night so stay tuned – my next post will either include a recipe or a story about how gross it was! march means i need to get my body weight down to 60kg…wah. i’ll worry about that after i go to san antonio and eat a burrito the size of my face (keto or not, this may be my only time ever in texas and i’m having all of the tex-mex my little self can handle!)

hopefully the weather starts to warm up again – we had two reeeeeally nice days and i’ve been spoiled and would like them back, please!!

 


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the whirlwind of semester four.

we’re only in Week 6 of the semester and i am already 100% worn out. teaching, grading, coursework, a pending conference, and all the while the lurking knowledge that this is my last semester of coursework and that qualifying exams are thus looming…it’s been crazy.

i’m also in Week 6 of meet prep, and there have been some awesome highlights since i posted last!

i squat 185# for a couple of triples not too far back, and then last week i got 200# for two solid singles! as we all know, my squat is my weakest lift, so this is all good news. at my last meet i opened at 171# and then failed 198# twice. the fact that i tripled 185 means that it’s a good candidate for a conservative opener, and knowing that i can bury 200 will make it easier to hit my second attempt, which will probably be 210ish.

i’m also pulling conventional for this four-week training block, to force me to engage my lats more. it has also meant that my posterior chain DOMS is out. of. control.

bench training has been great, too, after a few weeks of technique feeling weird. i had 6×6 on saturday and hit 110 for four of the sets and 115 for the other two. i opened at 110 in october and got red-lighted on technicals at 120 (twice). needless to say, since i can nail 115 for 6s, i’ll be opening probably in the 120-125 range.

i’m definitely getting stronger and that’s an amazing feeling.

as for Project: Going Keto – we decided that, since my body was NOT handling carb-loading well, to take it on a day-to-day basis. i skipped my friday carb-up last week, and then last night had a carb-y meal rather than devoting an entire day to it. 10-14 days between carb cycles seems to agree with my body better, and a single meal rather than several hours of carb-ageddon suits me better, as well.

i’m also currently scraping the last remnants of my cream cheese – sour cream – peanut butter frosting out of the blender. i didn’t put it on anything…just ate it with a spoon. also known as “i’m lazy and needed a shit-ton of fat to meet my macros.”

i miss blogging. i shall try and come back more often!!


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a week in review.

this week was Week 3 of our semester, but it was our first full, 5-day week.

mine began with somebody smashing the rear window of my car, in attempt to break in, at 4:45 monday morning. 213$ and some very lovely gentlemen at Safelite later, i had a new window that now bears a sign:

WAIT
if you’re planning on breaking into my car – and you would be the third person who has tried in six months – there are a few things you should know.
(1) i am a BROKE ASS grad student
(2) there is nothing cool in my car
(3) in fact, here’s a list of what’s inside:
     – protein bar wrappers
     – a book of clementi piano sonatas
     -crumpled receipts
     – one ice scraper (broken)
if, after reading this, you have decided that you still want something from inside my car, please COME FIND ME AND ASK. i will gladly let you in so that i don’t have to pay for yet another car window.

in all seriousness though – i was so angry. like, i realize i live in a shitty area, but really, people??

and when something like this happens, i get what i call an “anger spiral:” i get pissed at the asshole who damaged my property, but then i get angry at the person i lived with before who shit all over my roommate and i and left us scrambling for a place to live, leading to me ending up in this dump in the first place; i get mad at k for breaking my heart and leaving me feeling like i might as well stay in lexington since i had no reason to go anywhere else; and then i just get sad because none of this – my break-up, subsequently staying in lexington, ending up at the last living situation which landed me in the current living situation which resulted in my shattered car window – would have ever happened if my mom hadn’t died.

how’s that for a cognitive pathway??

besides that though – training was a little bleh this week. my bench has felt like crap lately and i don’t know why. i’m in the process of my weekly carb-up right now. last week’s made me feel kind of sick – my belly did NOT respond well to the reintroduction of carbohydrate! – so i’m trying different foods this week to see how it feels.

and for today’s Project: Going Keto revelation: keto pancakes. these are especially great if you’re craving carbs or something bread-like and sweet.

soften some cream cheese to room temperature. for every ounce of cream cheese, you’ll need one egg. put the cream cheese and eggs in a blender or magic bullet. add some cinnamon, and stevia/splenda/sweetener if you like, as well. blend away. what you get will look a whole lot like pancake batter. make them as you would pancakes! they’ll be more like crepes – thin, and they cook quickly – but they are 100% delicious and wonderful.

welp that was a bit of a lame “week in review,” but it hit the salient points! car got injured, found a new yummy recipe, and currently i’m happily guzzling milk and eating rice cakes. february is almost here!

 

 


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thoughts on my first keto carb-up.

a lot of people carb cycle with keto. my coach and i decided that, after i had been solidly in ketosis for a few weeks, i should probably do so as well.

i also decided that, after 3 weeks of livin’ the keto life, my first carb-up was going to be lenient in terms of “cleanliness”. because sometimes, a girl just needs some damn golden grahams.

here’s what i have to say about keto, participating in a weight-controlled sport, carb cycling, and everything in between: they test your commitment to recovery, 157%. if i wasn’t soundly and solidly sure of my place in recovery, i would have gone off the rails a long time ago. but that doesn’t mean that i don’t see the dangers inherent to this life.

and as i was cruising through the aisles at kroger on thursday – center aisles i hadn’t pushed a cart through in three weeks, since eating keto pretty much means you live on the outer edges of the grocery store – i suddenly remembered all of those times in college that i would go to the “grocery store” on campus and buy 40$ worth of junk food – food i never “allowed” myself to eat otherwise – and cart it back to my dorm, curl up in my desk chair, and inhale it all in under an hour, pausing only to slip to the bathroom to purge, make room, eat more, throw up again and again until my eyes were so swollen i could barely see and my low back would seize up and spasm continuously for the rest of the night.

this sent panicked warning bells off in my head. and it did make me pause, somewhere in the cereal aisle as i had second thoughts about the golden grahams in light of lucky charms, and think:

a big step in accepting this ketogenic diet as a diet, not a “diet,” has been reconciling the notion that it is not the same as disordered eating. and i know there are people out there who knew me when and are giving me side-eye through the computer screen, and that’s just fine; you just keep on side-eyeing. and i’ll just keep not having seizures.

the important part is that i would not be able to do this if my relationship with food was still fucked up. when i was sick, as soon as i mentally made a food “off-limits” that food would instantly rise to the top of my “to binge on and throw up” list. and rest assured, that was a LONG ASS LIST.

so how is this any different?

as i shuttled my cart around kroger, i didn’t feel any rising panic or intense anxiety. i knew what i wanted, and i knew that, for that 24-hour window, my muscles were going to have a damn field day filling up on glycogen they hadn’t seen in almost a month. i was looking forward to it, sure, but it was serving a purpose.

what it wasn’t was a tornado of frenzied bulimic shopping where i would quite literally grab anything i could get my hands on and throw money at the cashier, not even waiting for change, just so i could get the hell away from people so i could start eating right fucking now in the car on the walk back to my dorm in the bathroom stall at the mall.

and before i go i will say one last thing about my glorious carb-up that helped me squat 5×5 @ 155# on friday: when your body hasn’t had more than trace carbohydrates for three weeks…that initial carb bomb is gonna be a doozy. although coach was unimpressed by my 3.3kg gain, i thought it was pretty laudable. eat all the carbs; retain all the water!

this has been a long-ass post.