becoming infinite

always learning. always growing. always lifting heavy things.


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meet prep: 11 weeks out.

we’re nearing the end of our first block of training. yesterday marked the beginning of Week 3; after Week 4 we’ll switch to a new block. since the reemergence of my appetite i’ve been feeling more comfortable with bigger weights (imagine that!) and not as frustrated.

monday we had 12×1 of our final bench warm-up. i hit 120# for all of my singles and they were smoke city. ideally i would like to open at 60kg (132#) on meet day, but i’m okay with opening at 57.5kg (126#) as well. we’re still far enough out that i can continue to plan and strategize!

but then we had 3×10 pause squats. my training partner is a former collegiate soccer player who then started CrossFit after graduation. she owns me in anything high-rep. i, on the other hand, am a tubby powerlifter who considers sets of five cardio conditioning.

we both did 135# for all of our working sets and i was straight f*cked up for three days. i literally got on my yoga mat at 5am on tuesday and thought to myself, “i can’t bend my knees so maybe i can just…freefall down to the floor…”

then yesterday we got to do something i’ve been waiting for for quite some time: we got to pull heavy! i worked up to my approximate opener weight (275# in the photo; will open at either 125kg/276# or 127.5kg/281#) for three speedy singles, then did 225# 3×3 with pauses at the knee. it was great to pull heavy again, and to be back pulling conventional too. i had good bar speed – especially for me, the world’s slowest lifter – and just need to focus on cranking my shoulders down.

275 pull january 2015

and then for fun we did a widowmaker on bench – video here! 75% of final competition warm-up, which had me right at 95#. the final rep was so long i wasn’t sure i would come out of it. and inb4 CHEATER ARCH. don’t hate on lumbar flexibility. brandon lilly even complimented it. so there.

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today we did accessory work, and i teach yoga for 2.5 hours tomorrow for some good ole active recovery. things feel good; a little beat up, but strong. excited to smoke the end of this training block and get going on the next one!

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we’re always all right

I win all the awards for worst blogger ever. Except that now that I have the WordPress app I’ll probably come around a lot more often. Sad but true.

Since acquiring the elusive and sought after status of Doctoral Candidate (Extraordinaire) I have managed to…do pretty much nothing productive. Unless you count copious amounts of cross-stitching, reading four books, and watching lots of Homeland and The L Word with my girlfriend as “productive.”

I spent winter break in Florida with my dad, at his new house right on the inlet:

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and my girlfriend joined me a few days after Christmas. The holidays without mom and now my grandmother too are still hard, but they’re getting more manageable every year. I had a really nice time, and as always am struggling with the whole “back to the grind” thing now.

Before I left I squat 185# for a set of 20. So that was something.

And now, here we are. I have a goal to have my dissertation proposal in a full draft form by spring break. One of my papers got accepted to a regional conference that will bring me to El Paso next month. And I’m competing in April.

Life is crazy. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but most of the time it’s great. Maybe I’ll come back here more often. Until then:

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Smile and laugh, guys.


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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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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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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!


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hi hello i didn’t forget you!

spring break has finally arrived!! and with it will come posts and updates…just not tonight.

i have a very special post in the works right now, and i’m excited to share it with you all as it’s off my usual topical trend…but it’s not quite finished yet so you’ll have to sit in suspense!

but to tide you over, here are some highlights of life since i disappeared:

  • TEXAS WAS AWESOME. my paper was very well-received. i met amazing people. i ate my weight in fajitas. and i drank some killer margaritas. (hey that rhymed!)
  • we’re on spring break – did i mention that?! because we are. and it’s awesome.
  • i’m <4 weeks out from my meet. recent training in a nutshell:
    • squat 200# for a triple
    • squat 215# for three clean singles, belt no wraps
    • did my circuit max squat and got 315# with wraps and reverse bands!!
    • benched 125# for a triple
    • pulled 275# for a (very ugly) triple
    • feeling good about my numbers and my prep!
  • school is eating my soul. it’s my last semester of coursework and i am just riding the struggle bus right on into struggletown.
  • i’m visiting my dad and his new house next month!
  • i filed my taxes today and for the first time in my adult life i’m going to spend my tax return money. my computer is old and decrepit and breaks down more and more frequently, so i’m finally biting the bullet and getting a new one. so i’m not exactly blowing my tax return on something frivolous, but…my inner frugal queen is screaming.

there ya have it. bear with me as i get my feet back under me in the glorious span of 9 school-less days. i have three papers to write (finished one today) and then i’ll feel much more in control of my life!


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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. : )