becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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achievement unlocked.

yesterday began Phase 2 of my STV training cycle. i did some measurements in the morning to see what changed and what didn’t over the past four weeks/Phase 1. in a nutshell: shoulders grew an inch. body weight and body fat went down. pretty much everything else stayed the same/only shifted marginally.

then at around 8am yesterday i got a text from my coach: “we’re moving heavy weight today. get ur mind right, if everything goes as planned we walk away very happy.”

i walked into the gym that afternoon mostly excited, and a little nervous. maxing always makes me jittery. we warmed up and got in the rack. did some open bar work, then a triple at 95, double at 135. from then on, singles: 165, 185, 205. my PR is 215, which i squat at the georgetown classic last month.

so then this happened: i bring you, my first two-plate (225#) squat!

after that we did another single at 225, then one at 235. that one was definitely a max effort/grind, but my favorite part is my dorky laugh at the end because it really did feel like the longest lift on the planet.

after that he stripped off the 5 and one 45 from each side and said, “now we’re gonna prove a point. you’re gonna squat this for a set of 20.” and i wish we had video of it because when i racked it i literally melted to the ground and laid there panting and laughing and unable to undo my belt but not caring because what just happened.

in summation, yesterday i:

  • squat two plates
  • officially hit the 100# mark on my back squat, in under a year (in july 2013 my max was 135#)
  • proceeded to squat my july 2013 max for a set of 20
  • went home and ate an entire pizza

watching the videos i can definitely see where my bar placement and form still need work, but i’m pleased with my improved ability to squat into the bar, keep my knees driving out, and just my increased mid-back strength overall. plus i’m not tapered and have no knee wraps or even sleeves on. tapered and wrapped i should have a 250 in me somewhere!

while i was laying on the floor laughing and gasping my coach was sitting on the box next to me grinning like a fool. when i finally started moving he goes, “i’m not even gonna strip the bar. we’re just gonna leave that there, i don’t care. you own this gym right now.”

i was literally in a haze the rest of the evening. partially because my legs were stunned and i was anticipating debilitating soreness, but mostly because i was so dang excited and proud i could barely function.

and now i have my STV Phase 2 plan…today was a rest day, and tomorrow is a “beach body” day (aka “do whatever makes ya feel good”) and then i kick into Phase 2 on monday.

in a nutshell…life is good.

 

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there’s no crying in powerlifting!

i’m currently sitting in the airport, waiting to catch a 7am flight for a speedy day trip. since friday is the day i usually squat with my coach, we moved my session up to last night. which meant skipping wednesday’s rest day and doing thursday’s double instead.

even with my right quad still a little rough around the edges (i’m unbelievably thankful that our boss at the gym bought one of these for the trainers to use/me to sneak when the trainers aren’t using it) Week 3 of STV had me feeling great. my body fat is dropping and im putting on noticeable size in my shoulders and width to my back.

last night i showed up at 8pm to squat. we had been doing sticking point/1.25 squats for the past three weeks. to start Week 4 of STV we were going back to, as my coach calls it, “R.A.S.” – Regular-Ass Squats.

warm-ups felt good and we jumped from open bar to 95# to 135# without a problem. less than a year ago my max squat was 130# – i was waiting for the day when i could squat wheels (the 45s). now that’s my second warm-up after open bar work.

we hit 165# for a triple and it felt super, super solid. i belted up and we hit five triples at 185#. everything felt light and fast, i’m getting much better at driving into the bar and keeping my chest up, and i’m actually (finally!) getting some decent bounce out of the hole.

i looked up and caught myself in the mirror as i was getting under the bar and had to squint for a second. i look so different from the person i’m used to. my shoulders are significant, my quads are the kind you grow when you move heavy weight regularly – aka, feet apart, thighs together! – and my arms don’t hang at my sides any more because of the width of my lats.

never in a million years did i think i could look like this. never in a million years would i have imagined i would be standing in a fancy gym on a thursday evening putting almost 200# on my back and moving it around for easy triples.

and i am so grateful. sometimes i think about this sports and how much it has brought me and i get that little flutter in my chest and hitch in my throat like i’m about to cry out of sheer happiness.

five years ago, yoga saved me from myself when i was grasping at straws to finally get my eating disorder under control and out of my life.

two and a half years ago, running saved me from the avalanche of grief after my mom died.

and now…i don’t know what powerlifting is saving me from, but it’s sure doing something.


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one week down: STV induction.

i successfully completed the first week of my coach’s new programming. and by “successfully” i mean “didn’t keel over or feel like Alpo despite the Shit Ton of Volume.”

actually, my body is digging the volume and i felt great all week. some initial thoughts:

  • 9 workouts a week isn’t as time-consuming as one might think. the morning session of my 2-a-days is SUPER short. like, i was in and out in 35 minutes yesterday. there’s one afternoon session that’s a little on the longer because it’s about eight different high-rep accessory lifts, but other than that, every session easily fits in an hour.
  • and speaking of short sessions, 2 of my 9 each week are sprint cycles. including warm-up and cool-down, these go maybe 25 minutes. on the day i run, that’s literally all i do besides copious amounts of foam rolling and mobility; the day i spin/row, i add in a little bit of body weight strength work too, since the those sprints don’t beat me up as badly as the running ones do.
  • i love the volume. love it. i feel great, my sessions are fun, and i anticipate putting on some good size in the next few months.
  • the new bar placement on my squat is making a huge difference. i’m finally feeling what it means to drive into the bar and keep my hips under.

it’s exciting to think about getting stronger, making progress in my lifts. the only competition lift i’m actually doing right now is my squat – i have snatch-grip deadlifts as an accessory once a week, and no flat benching as of right now.

i will say this: i was sore as shit all week. not debilitating soreness, but enough to know it was there – especially in my hamstrings. and since my posterior chain is what we’re aiming to grow the most, that’s what we want. : )

happy happy weekend, all!


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turning the tables: what i’m excited about.

like i mentioned in my previous post, i’m just beginning a new training cycle, and i’m ridiculously excited about it. i’m excited to get stronger. i’m excited to work on my weaknesses. and i’m excited to get bigger.

this is a revelation for me. i took measurements on saturday as a “pre-STV” baseline. body weight, body fat percentage, and waist, hips, chest, shoulders, and each quad. the prediction is that the first three will go down, and everything else will go up.

in layman’s terms, i’m going to get bigger.

and i am so excited.

this paradigm shift has occurred gradually over the past less-than-year that i’ve been lifting seriously. you wanna squat big? grow quads and hamstrings. pull heavy? grow more hamstrings, some glutes, and upper and middle back. want a big bench? getcha some pecs, delts, and triceps.

basically, you have to grow in order to…well, grow.

i go to bed dreaming of 40″ hips. every day in the gym i’m working toward broader shoulders and a wider back. my thighs touch and i don’t give two shits about it. after spending two decades wishing and willing myself smaller, frailer, more delicate, waif-like…it’s so liberating to finally say, “ya know what? i take up space and that’s okay. and i’m going to take up more space tomorrow than i do today because that’s what i want to do. because getting bigger and stronger is what makes me happy right now.”

i have put on a lot of muscle in the past year. and i plan to keep putting it on as long as it makes me happy to do so. right now, the gym is my happy place. lifting is my therapy, my drug. and i am 100% ready to get big to lift big.


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catch-up and blog re-vamp!

the semester is nearly over and i’m finally starting to feel like myself again! this semester was a killer, and i spent most of it feeling decidedly “off.” but just in the past week, knowing that the end is near, i’ve felt myself relaxing back to my normal self. which is by no means “normal,” but we all know that already.

the next four weeks are going to be a bit of an experiment, and i think i’ll use this blog to document it. here’s the deal:

my body responds really well to high-volume training. in a meet prep cycle that’s not really an advisable method – aka you need to be working under heavy workloads getting towards your 1RM – but i’m in my off-season now so my coach and i are experimenting with my training.

i have three major weaknesses, physically: my middle back, my hamstrings, and my anterior delts/shoulders overall. i also have a summer schedule looming, which means no class, studying for quals, and teaching yoga at the gym 5 times a week.

which led to the development of my next training cycle: Shit Ton of Volume (STV), Phase 1.

the general gist is this: i’ll lift 4 days a week. one of those days will be a single session with my coach; the other 3 will be double sessions – major lift (squat, push press, or bench) in the morning with one or two accessory movements, and then opposite muscle group accessory work in the afternoon. (i.e. if i push pressĀ  in the morning i’ll do lower body accessory work in the afternoon). on top of that, twice a week i’ll be getting in a sprint cycle – 4-6 round of 30 seconds max effort followed by 2 minutes of rest. it doesn’t always have to be running sprints, but i’d like them to be at least once a week.

the goals are to increase my posterior chain strength and power, grow my quads some more, and grow some caps (shoulders), all while hopefully leaning me out a bit too.

i took a bunch of measurements this morning as a baseline, and at the end of 4 weeks/Phase 1, i’ll re-measure and see how everything shook out!

also, yes i competed a few weeks ago. i’ll spare you a long update; my PL page is updated with numbers, and here’s a picture to tide you over!

Georgetown 215gotta love dat lifting face!