Tag Archives: health

Progress videos of heavy lifts (more to come!)

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Date: September 27. Video is of a conventional deadlift single rep of 260lbs…no belt! Here is a link to the actual video online 

Date: November 25, 2013. Sumo squat training, 210lbs for working sets! Here is a link to the actual video online

 Date: December 13, 2013. Sumo deadlift AMRAP (as many reps as possible) for 10 at 245lbs. *Never mind my embarrassing Sharapova exertion screams…Here is a link to the actual video online

Week 6 Measurements & Training Progress

It’s been about a month since I posted progress images. This is just about week 6 of my training program for power-lifting, and as promised, I’ve been maintaining measurements to dispel the notion that women bulk when they lift heavy weights. 

As can be seen below, I’ve made little change in the way of measurements, and this image was made after my heaviest carb-meal and after an hour of circuit strength training cardio. 

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Compared to Week 1’s measurements I’ve had…

Growth:

  • 1/4 of an inch across my shoulders
  • 1/2 of an inch for my biceps
  • 1/2 of an inch for my biceps flexed
  • 1/2 an inch around my hips

Loss:

  • 1/2 inch in my waist
  • 1/2 an inch in my quads/thighs (primarily inner thigh, I know muscle growth has increased)

 

Training Progress

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So, dear ladies, I hope this information has thus far confirmed that we won’t, indeed, bulk up if we lift heavier. The progression has been tremendous and empowering but calculated and completely within my body’s capability for adjusting and maintaining the weight. I’m still only participating in up to THREE 45-minute cardio sessions a week, which are usually circuit based and focus on strength building via kettle bells,  marine ropes, TRX, and some compound movement cardio exercises. 

Super shout-out to my knowledgable trainer, Mike Peltz and his gym: Revolution Training System in Tempe, AZ!

TSC: Tactical Strength Challenge

Last Saturday, October 5th, my gym (Revolution Training System) hosted a Tactical Strength Challenge event through the StrongFirst company (which has its origins in military and tactical training.) Many of the gym-regulars showed up to participate, or just cheer everyone else on, which made the day spectacularly fun and supportive despite the pressure of pushing for new Personal Records (PRs), and competing against gyms from across the nation.

The main “events” or challenges in which participants were expected to compete were: max-weight Deadlift, 5 minutes of varied weight Snatches with kettle bells, and (depending on designated class) either a flexed hang from a bar (only women’s Novice group) or pull ups…

TSC "events"

 

For whatever reason, I wasn’t feeling my best that day, and it was more of a mental issue than anything else. I was just foggy in the brain and couldn’t maintain a lot of clear focus and determination. I also hadn’t had my “come-to-Jesus” realizations about putting all my trust in Mike’s recommendations or trusting my own body, so I was nervous about pulling weight for deadlifts that I already had…sitting in that type of doubt was not a good place to be in. As a result, I had some nerves and hesitation, which influenced lighter pulls than Mike and I had previously talked about, and my first deadlift pull was a little shaky, but still successful.

235lbs

I began by deadlifting 235lbs, then 250lbs, the I used a belt for the first time and pulled 265lbs which was a new PR for me! (Mike and I had discussed attempting 275lbs, but I’ll take the 5lbs!) Having entered the gym with almost no kettle bell experience, I entered the “Novice” category so I could use the 26lb kettle bell for the snatch portion of the challenge. I knew I was going to bruise on my wrist/forearms, but the load of the next level (around 36lbs) would’ve been too much at this point. I was able to manage 117 snatches–which was way more than my previous personal record of 90! Lastly, I pulled a flexed arm-hang for 1 minute 6 seconds, and later repped out 10 pull ups (even though they didn’t count). Next Spring, I’m definitely entering the Women’s Open level!

That being said…as far as the results go, guess who placed #1 against all the other women in ALL the other gyms across the nation for the Women’s Novice group?? This girl.

http://tacticalstrengthchallenge.com/result/list   (Click: TSC Women’s Novice> VIew Results to see my listing)

First place! My gym prepped us so well.

First place! My gym prepped us so well; looking forward to maintaining the title!

Moments from the event…

Power, strength and fun

Power, strength and fun

Everyone’s so excited to compete next year…we had a blast!

Revolution Training System<—-click for an inside look into our community…

“Intro & Building Structure” Week

Last week was a really important week to the beginning of my training for powerlifting. Mostly it was explorative in determining some of my current capacities for weight, form, and adaptation to a new routine. Man, I was in for a rude awakening when I signed up to be trained as a heavy-weight-lifting athlete! We didn’t necessarily begin my program, but we went through the motions to “norm” me to the structure, and to provide critical data to Mike Peltz, my trainer. This is a review of my week:

Accidents happen...buck-up and move on.

Accidents happen…buck-up and move on.

Having reflected on this embarrassing moment all week, I’ve come to the conclusion that “dumping” the weight is inevitable for everyone. Seriously, if you don’t push yourself to new levels, and fail…then you probably aren’t lifting enough. …This was my first time, and while it scared the piss out of everyone who witnessed it, I know it will happen again. Now we know to be better prepared, I know to listen to my body when I’m nearing capacity, and I know to humble myself enough to tell Mike when I might lose the weight. Trust is more important than I realized.

Let me be honest...

Let me be honest…

I am writing this post at the beginning of official Week 1 of my training. In trusting Mike, I’ve been getting my suggested 7-8 hours of sleep, I’ve been drinking a ton more water (1-2 gallons minimum), and stretching throughout the day to stay “loose” and ready to lift. Compromising my body by not having planned out my week better really cheated my experience last week. I was anxious to squat again after dumping the weight, and that never should’ve happened in the first place. I learned my lesson, hard, and embarrassingly. I also had to take some time, in a few moments of self-conscious doubt, to realize how much I want this. What I realized? That I really, really do.

In my attempt to track visual progress, this was a series of progress-pics I took on a particularly lean day. In the past few weeks I’ve been averaging 117lbs, but that depends on the last meal I ate the night before, the amount of water I drank, the amount of sleep I got (the longer I sleep, the lighter I wake up scaling-in,) etc. While I think I look muscular, I definitely don’t think I look like the Hulk’s kid-sister!

Intro Week progress images

 

I am so excited that it’s Official Week 1! I’m ready to continue adding volume, adjusting my nutritional plan to add more carbs before squat or deadlift day (haven’t decided,) and just enjoying releasing the strength that I know is within me. It’s a crazy cool experience, and I think I’m really lucky.

P.S. If you’re in the Tempe, AZ area, come visit and train with me/us!

Good people, good laughs, train hard, make progress, get fitness-educated, be part of a great community. What more could you want?

Good people, good laughs, train hard, make progress, get fitness-educated, be part of a great community. What more could you want?

Week 1 Measurements

In the name of debunking the myths that women “bulk up” when powerlifting, I am endeavoring to track visual progress of my body’s changes over the course of this training program, and likely, the entire next year. I’ve included basic data about my physique and current measurements. I’m hoping to continue tracking fluctuations and growth, while also providing information about my nutritional changes, meal content information, and cardio schedule (which is currently 2x a week).

WK1_measurements

From Then to Now: my fitness journey

My journey into fitness started at the beginning of 2012.

I had gained a significant amount of weight during a post-bachelor’s program in preparation for becoming a middle school teacher. When I did start teaching, bad habits continued: eating fast-food on the go, eating while grading papers, spending free time designing curriculum, minimal sleeping, no time for exercise, relaxing in the form of long bouts of sleeping or tv-marthoning, etc. After a year of giving everything I had/was to these children, I realized that I was exhausted, unhealthy (5’1 at 160lbs and a size 14 pant size), and needed the summer to heal from my first year of teaching. I also realized that I had become sick of how I felt, of what I saw, of my inability to be active without feeling miserable.

The worst realization: I didn’t know what to do about my health. I knew better than to follow the advice of my innocently ignorant friends and family: just run on the treadmill and eat salad (which is also a huge cultural misconception we believe as Americans, but that’s a whole separate discussion). At this point in my life, I had on a few cycles followed those rules with minimal success because it wasn’t sustainable or in anyway the best form of exercise. I decided to go a different direction by utilizing professionals and hiring a personal trainer to coach me on how to maximize fitness nutrition designed just for me.

Luckily, I found a really bad gym with bad trainers. I say “luckily” because I learned fast and first what a bad gyms looks like, functions like, what not to buy into, what to avoid, how to listen to my body, what a bad trainer is like, how to be intuitive about exercises that do/don’t benefit me, and the value of research-based coaching. I learned all this in 3 months, then transferred to a fantastic gym in another part of Denver, Colorado.

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At the new gym, Bodies by Perseverance (http://www.mybbp.com/), I had a custom-designed “meal plan” with stages made and macroed-out (although I didn’t know about all that yet) according to my body’s data. I was able to have my personal training sessions twice a week, take unlimited classes (like body sculpting with barbells, kickboxing, boxing, yoga, etc.) and was able to socialize with others like me, and build a community. And I did. Within a few weeks I had lost a significant amount of weight, was moving through several phases of my nutritional plan to see what my body responded well to, and kept making progress while having fun and building really strong and supportive relationships with fitness-friends.

I stayed at Bodies by Perseverance for about a year and a half, and saw an amazing transformation. I had dropped about 30lbs, pant sizes from 14 to 4, built an incredible amount of endurance, stamina, and strength from the training sessions and cardio classes. I owe everything to that gym for its guidance and positive community, because I know it helped fuel my motivation to persevere and continue making “gains” and progress. I even became inspired to work toward figure competition from working closely with other competitors and pushing to maximize progress to be the best I could be. This was an important shift in my fitness journey, the movement from just “losing weight” to “I want my body to be the best it can be“.

Then I got into graduate school at ASU, and I had to move. I can’t and won’t describe the devastating anxiety I suffered in worrying about my progress (and whether or not it was maintainable) and leaving my fitness community, but “devastating” is definitely the best word to use. I began doing ridiculous amounts of research on local gyms, trainers, and iconic individuals who help prep competitors. It was through the owner and Master Trainer of Bodies by Perseverance that I learned about Tyler Mayer’s Nutritional Training (http://www.teamtnt.info/) here in Phoenix, Arizona, which specialized in nutritional training for weight loss and for competition (ding!) I was also following Bret Contreras’ blog (aka “the glute guy” http://bretcontreras.com/), which had featured Revolution Training Systems gym (http://revolutiontrainingsystem.com/) right after its opening with Bret saying it was one of the best gyms he’d found in the area (ding, ding!) And as fate would have it, Tyler of TNT also trained at RTS (ding, ding ding!)…hook, line, and sinker. I had found my new gym.

What I didn’t really know at the time, was the RTS is a powerlifting gym. I thought I could just ignore that and utilize the cardio/weight lifting classes like at my old gym (stick to what you know, that always works, right?)

Yeah, not so much.

When I reflect on my transition to AZ, I realize I came into this new gym as more of a cardio-bunny: hungry always for a high-intensity workout, high heart rates, and burning lots of calories…and that’s also not totally sustainable, as I found out from Tyler who has been helping me rebuild my metabolism from low-carb + extreme cardio dieting. Under the direction of Tyler, I was told to “chill-out on the cardio” so my metabolism could heal and do the work…which left heavy lifting. Once I started to do that I gained recognition for my strength and received encouragement not just from the owners, Matt and Mike Peltz, but also from other gym-goers, to continue to push harder when weight-lifting and consider powerlifting. It’s been through my own research and experience, research provided by Mike and Matt, Bret Contreras, and Tyler Mayer that I realize the benefits. I’ve only been lifting this heavy for a month, but I’ve already seen physique progress I wasn’t seeing when maxing-out on cardio. I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that there’s something to this lifting-heavy-makes-sexy-bodies philosophy. Which leads me to today…embarking on a powerlifting journey because I figure, why not? If I’ve got the potential, I should push for some level of greatness, because that would be awesome. I have a community of friends and professionals who believe in my ability, so I should go for it, right? And truthfully, the most important part: I’m having a blast doing something new, pushing for great goals, and seeing progress in the direction I want.