Top 5 things I dislike about being a Powerlifter

6 Feb
My gym bag can't handle the weight!

My gym bag can’t handle the weight!

Most of us don’t really care much about these things but you know when you have a few things happen in the same week you kind of get that fed up feeling. These 5 things probably aren’t really that big of a deal and most likely would not affect a guy. So I will say this is a girly post and I am sure most powerlifters would agree to at least one of these. Disclaimer: I love Powerlifting, this is supposed to be funny ha ha.

#5 – Gym Bag Fail. Powerlifters have to lug around so much heavy equipment that my gym bag can’t even handle the weight. My strap clips always pull open and I have to buy a new one. Im my bag: heavy belt, fractional plates, heavy shoes, training bands, wraps, rumble stick, etc. Most girls: the heaviest thing they have in their bag is some tennis shoes.

#4 – Singlets. Need I say more. (because I am single) people always say “well I’m surprised you don’t meet a nice guy that powerlifts” The reason is because you are wearing an outfit that makes you look like a stuffed sausage and then you put on a belt that makes everything squeeze out the sides. Singlets are not dood magnet outfits. On top of that, no girl looks good lifting a crap load of weight.

#3 – Having to explain the difference between Olympic lifting and Power lifting and why PL is not in the olympics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are not a powerlifter.

#2 – EIUL=Exercise Induced Urinary Leakage. This is no secret in PL for women, and most of us it really doesn’t faze us. Most of the general public doesn’t even know it happens to us because we all prepare our sausage outfits with special protective gear. But ya know it just sucks sometimes. I tell new PL’ers if you haven’t peed your pants then you are not lifting enough plain and simple.

#1 – Calluses. This is something I have to manage daily. Not only does if give me man hands but if I don’t manage them properly they become a problem. I will find myself unconsciously picking at my calluses so much that I will be in a meeting and when I get up to leave I realize half my hand skin is in my lap. Another thing that will happen is my hands will get really dry and when I try to get them off they take good skin with it and then my liquid chalk burns when I put it on the raw skin. Its totally a full time job managing these.

I have tried to figure out how to solve all 5 of these issues but they have been with me since I started and are still around now. I’m still waiting for an updated outfit rule but I don’t see a light at the end of that tunnel. If anyone agrees with even one of these things then just feel humbled that you are alone.

Happy Lifting!

Friday Fav’s!

30 Jan

BirchboxJan Birchbox

I don’t get a lot of time to read blogs or surf the internet but every Friday I spend a little time reading some of my favorite blogs. I can’t resist sharing my favorite things from the week with you. Here are just a handful:

  • I don’t “pin” many things but I just loved the outdoor fire pit with sand! What’s your favorite?
  • For years I waited for her to write this book and not its on my night stand. She really is inspiring, after everything she went through she is so positive!
  • Oh my gosh…….. this little discovery!
  • How I learned about my little discovery^^ and where I am picking up all my latest hair up do’s. Even tho I don’t have a baby I love reading her blog!
  • I discovered this site somehow and I get sucked in by the great stories. If you are a writer even better, here is a great place to be heard!

The Rough Road to a Dream

28 Jan
Right Patella

The back of the patella should be smooth not look like a jelly fish, picture taken before surgery.

Three weeks after Nationals in July I was just starting a new cycle and on my third set of squats I felt something in my knee go. On September 13th I had knee surgery to repair the cartilage on my patella. My doctor said no one my age should have a knee like that. The cartilage on my knee was damaged from years of wear and tear. 10 years of riding horses, 15+ years of riding motorcycles and 10+ years of running and riding bicycles then a few years of lifting finally did it in. Surgery was the easy part. I was walking the next day and back to work on Monday. I was very optimistic and knew I would be back to lifting in time to compete at the Nov state meet. Ya……not so much.

It’s been 4 months since surgery and I am just now able to squat 2 plates where normally I would be squatting 250+ lbs a couple times a week. The last 4 months have been very tough mentally. Normally I never miss a workout, I always do all my lifts on my cycle and never leave the gym because I just wasn’t feeling good. The last 4 months I have missed several lifts, skipped workouts because I just didn’t have anything to give, and cried because I thought I would probably never be able to compete again. A lot of powerlifters have written articles and have talked about dealing with injury but you never really know until you face it yourself. It puts things into perspective for me. I watched Lindsay Vonn on TV this morning who is the top downhill skier and was predicted to get gold in Sochi. I had tears for her just thinking how hard it must be to go through what she is going through with a knee injury and not going to the Olympics. But she will compete again and so will I.

I take one day at a time. Last week was a bad week, but this week has been great so far so I focus on the good. I tell myself every day in the gym, “Give it your best, thats all I can do. Tomorrow is a new day.” I thank God every day that he has given me another day to do things that I love and I promise him to take care of myself. Which means I listen to my body and I push when I can and rest when I can’t. I have learned how important recovery can be and use it more now than I ever have with much reward.

In December I received an invitation to compete on the USAPL Masters World Team at the 2014 Classic Worlds in South Africa. A dream come true! Since I started powerlifting my ultimate goal was to have the opportunity to compete at the World Level and here I am. Its really so amazing to me to be in the company of so many amazing lifters. I know this will be the toughest meet I have ever trained for and after just coming off my injury I will really need to dig deep for the strength to finish each training day. I will continue to take one day at a time and enjoy the journey.

I will leave you with this little inspiration. My biggest inspiration always has and continues to be everyone who steps on the platform, novice or veteran. The last state meet I was a ref at some people took a ton of pictures capturing me in the background judging the lifts. And in EVERY picture I have this crazy face. The reason my facial expressions were so funny is because when I watch a lifter I actually feel what they are feeling and I make the appropriate face. When they struggle, I make the painful struggle face. When they get the lift or I know they are going to get it I make the giddy happy face. When I see people do there crazy rituals on the platform that non-lifters would commit us for; I smile big knowing that I have my crazy rituals too and without those the bar would be twice as heavy! Every person that goes out there I share their passion and I love to feel what they feel, every lesson learned, every achievement, and every moment of passion. They inspire me every day.

And if for one second you are too old to do something or have some sort of excuse, Diana Nyad said, “You can chase your dreams at any age!”

The Unicorn Squat

19 Aug

2013 USAPL Raw Nationals

I’m finally sitting down to recap my 2013 season ending with USAPL Raw Nationals on July 20th. This year has been a great one with two strong finishes nationally and even some personal records on the platform and off. After 2012 Nationals my main focus was get back to basics, build a foundation and get my lost confidence back, all while having fun. Powerlifters put a lot of time in the gym training for one day and if you don’t like the training part then it hardly seems worth all the trouble for a few hours in competition. I was able to speak to Matt Gary from SSPT at Nationals about working with me the next year. We exchanged information and so the journey begins.

Going into the Arnold I had humble expectations. My training went very well with lots of new things to work on, and building up that foundation  of strength which resulted in some gym PR’s. My squat has been on par to lift over 300, I was going to PR in the bench, and because I have a good deadlift I predicted to pull around 360-370ish.  I just missed my 303 squat, which was a bummer but it’s right there, soooo close. I PR’d in the bench by 5lbs. When we got to the deadlift I think we had 363lbs as my third lift and I was jockeying for second place. The girl before me did her final deadlift with success so we dropped my deadlift to 2.5kg over what she did to secure second place. It wasn’t worth risking the position for a bigger total when I came there to place so I pulled 357.5lbs and finished second in the open and first in the masters division. I was very happy with that finish and I knew that goal of squatting over 300 would be met at Nationals in July (well at least I thought I did).

After the Arnold I was ready to hit the ground running. Training for Nationals started right away. We looked at things I needed to work on and Matt made some great suggestions for my programming. He also suggested I get my lifts analyzed by Mike Tuchscherer at RTS. Mike was amazing, he broke down all my lifts from video and gave me a detailed analysis of my weaknesses with suggested homework to fix them. I sent my report to Matt and he added it to my program. My main goal and biggest hurdle was the squat. I needed everything to fall into place to get over 300lbs and I also was struggling with some fear. To help get over some of my fear we planned some max effort sessions with the squat so I could get that weight on my back get comfortable squatting it so Nationals wouldn’t be such a shock for me. I ended up squatting 310, 312 and 315lbs in the gym! I felt like a million bucks and was confident 300+ would be no problem at Nationals. The roster came out and I almost died! There were over 21 girls in my weight class! Just to put that into perspective-last year there were 6! I knew without even looking anyone up that I would need that 300+ squat and all my bests in the other lifts to make top 5. I felt great on competition day. My weight was perfect and I didn’t have to cut weight at the last minute. Right away I missed my third squat. It was the first time I cried at a meet. I knew this would probably hurt my placing and most of all it has been my goal for so long, I wanted it so bad! Matt knew how bummed I was, he came over and told me exactly what went wrong and that it was ok to have a moment to be emotional. Then he told me that I have a meet to finish so I need to get past this. I got back in the game. I finished the bench with a 5lb meet PR with some left in the tank. Coming into the deadlift I was in the same situation I was in at the Arnold except we were jockeying for third this time. I pulled the same lift as I did at the Arnold to secure third place in the open and first place in the masters. I really thought I would be out of the running for a medal after I missed that squat but it just goes to show that you never know what can happen.  National meets are very strict and the competition was brutal!!

Looking at the last year I couldn’t be happier with the way things went. I learned a lot this year and made some great progress. I PR’d 2 of my lifts this year by more than 15lbs each and there is still more to come. I’m looking forward to this year. I owe everything to my coach Matt Gary. Matt has been more than a coach he has been a true friend. He knows things about me before I even know them and somehow he knows when I need a supportive text or an inspiring word. During Nationals Matt competed the day after me so taking his place running numbers for I don’t know how many lifters his wife Sioux-z took his place. It was so awesome to have her helping me. She is an amazing lifter and just like Matt an amazing person. I’m very grateful for them.

Watch my Nationals recap video here.

Connection is why we are here.

2 Jan

Wow 2013 is here. I can’t remember what year the movie Back to the Future took place in but I am sure we are well past it and skate boards still have wheels. Everyone this time of year reflects on life past and starts thinking about goals and things they want to work toward in the future. New Years Resolutions usually last til about Feb and then back to real life of work, kids, commitments, TV and cell phones. Last year is when I started thinking about this year. Things I wanted to do different and things I wanted to add. Places to see and ways I want to make my life easier. Lastly I think about how I want to live and the person I want to be.

TED.com is one of my favorite sites and I found this great video about Vulnerability that I wanted to share. One of the first things Brene says is that connection is why we are here, it gives meaning to our lives. She adds that in order for connection to happen you need to really been seen, which means the courage to be imperfect, have compassion – for yourself and others, connection, and fully embrace vulnerability. Off and on we all struggle with vulnerability, I know I do more often now then I ever did before. I think as I get older I start to worry more what people think and more of my fears seem to slow me down.

So I am adding a few things to my goal list this year: Let myself be really seen, love with my whole heart, practice gratitude and joy, and know that I am enough.

Happy New Year!

The Scale

4 Oct

The scale is always in my head. It’s not like the regular weight scale. This scale is just a straight line with light at one end and heavy at the other. Each lift has its own scale. This scale represents how the weight feels when I lift it and what I need to prepare for. I usually start thinking about the scale first thing in the morning on days that I have to lift that night. There is a “green” zone that represents the area in which the weight is lighter and doesn’t feel heavy, usually these are warm up weights. Then there is a “yellow” zone. On days I’m not feeling it, the yellow zone can feel like the red zone but most of the time the yellow zone is moderate to heavy but I’m not usually worried about missing weight in this zone. The “red” zone is heavy. This is the zone I need to prepare for all day. I have to eat well and sleep well when I am lifting in the red zone and I usually have to do a lot of mental preparing for the red zone. I also start to sweat when I think about the red zone.

Yesterday was a red zone day. I woke up knowing I had to squat 90%, which is about 270lbs. Now I know what 270 feels like on my back…..heavy. I know when I lift that everything needs to be right. There is no room for error because I can’t muscle out of this. I basically sweat all day thinking about it. On the other hand I was optimistic, lately I have felt really strong. On Monday my squats felt really heavy but it was a sauna in the gym that night and I also felt tired. So I headed to the gym ready for whatever was going to happen. I started in with my warm ups and those felt pretty good. I also had some mental stimulation because there was a guy in the rack next to me who was going plate for plate with me. Every time he put a plate on I kept thinking “Oh NO he dinnit!”. And he had good form, so I needed to represent! It came time for the 270lbs. I put the weight on an sat down for a couple mins. Everything goes through my head “I hope it feels light” “if I don’t get it it’s ok” “perfect form, perfect form” “if its heavy just keep going” “should I ask someone to spot me?” “down up” “you got this”. Then it was time to lift. Hands on the bar, squeeze, head under, pinch shoulders, squeeze hands, squeeze everything, drill feet, deep breath, chest up, stand (ok, doesn’t feel too bad), wait, step back, side, side, deep breath, squeeze hands as tight as possible, down, up………EASY! Wha? Check weight, yup 270! The weight felt like 80% not 90% All 3 sets went well! The last set felt heavier but I think my form was a little off on that one, in all, I could have done more.

Having confidence is huge in weightlifting. I consider myself confident but when it comes to the red zone, I have to earn that confidence. It’s a daily struggle, hence the scale. But once I hit those big numbers and my form is good and I wasn’t fighting like crazy for it, my confidence is almost like a drug. Of course the scale will come out next week when I have to lift more but for today I have a big smile on my face and my confidence got a little boost.

Everyone has their “scale”. Its personal. It’s my way of putting things into perspective. I don’t beat myself up over it and I don’t ignore it when the numbers change. And sometimes I have a little party with it in the corner at Gold’s in the rack. Just me and my scale. :)

PS – The guy next to me went up to 3 plates and when he was done I told him I was super impressed with his strength and form. It’s not too often I see a guy at Gold’s go below parallel and lift heavy like that.

2012 USAPL Raw Nationals

24 Sep

I’m sure it’s a little late for a Nationals recap but since I haven’t updated my blog in so long I felt it was necessary to at least catch everyone up. I am hoping to find more time and words to update regularly now. USAPL Raw Nationals was in August in Texas. After the Arnold in March I made a decision to take a step back from my training. I was working a lot at my job and was working toward a promotion which was very demanding on my schedule and stress level. I was also burning the candle from both ends when it came to my overall health so I wanted to just rest and take some time to decide what I really wanted to do and how I wanted to go about achieving that. I cut my time in the gym in half, ate what I wanted, worked out when I wanted to and took rest days when I wanted them.

My training consisted of progressive strength over time and some extra focus on the bench which has been the weakest of the three lifts for me and has never increased in strength. I played around with different things that has worked in the past for me and added lots of work with Mark Bell’s Sling Shot. I also used bands in all three lifts every week. I had a lot of fun with my training and I started looking forward to going to the gym again.

My goal going into Nationals was simple, maintain my current strength level and play my numbers safe. I knew going into it there were several girls that are lifting numbers close to or better than my numbers and I had to get the most out of my lifts. Which for me meant lifting numbers I knew I could get and not miss any. My goal was 9 for 9. There was one thing I was going to push and that was the bench. My focus on the bench in my training paid off and I knew I was going to lift more than I usually do in that lift so I did plan to take a risk there on my last bench lift.

The Squat went exactly as planned I felt good in the warm up room and each lift felt great. I planned my last lift at 297lbs which is a weight I have lifted a few times in competition and figured I could probably get and I did. I was especially happy to make this lift because I had been struggling with my squat for a while. Moving on to the bench I have been stronger than ever in the gym so I was going to go for a 5lb PR on my last lift. I benched 155lbs on my second lift and went for 165lbs and missed. Actually I was struggling with the weight and the spotters must have thought I was going to drop it because they lifted it out of my hands. The head judge gave me a re-lift but there wasn’t any more in the tank after that. Going into the deadlift I felt pretty spent and I knew my strength wasn’t going to be where I wanted it. Chelsea was looking strong and she was right on my heals. I knew I had to get at least my second lift and hopefully my third to hold on to second place. On my second lift I pulled 363lbs but it was super heavy and I looked like a turtle. I knew I wasn’t getting my next planned lift at 380lbs so we dropped it to 370lbs and I couldn’t even budge it from the floor. In the end I held on to second place and took home first in the Master Division also.

I managed to get 7 lifts out of 9 which was 2 less than my goal and I couldn’t have been happier with that. I really wanted to get second which was one place better than last year, so I am moving up.

Nationals was extra special this year because my good friends Jill and Nichole came out to support me. Jill offered to be my handler for the meet and I was so grateful to her for that. It’s really hard to do a meet by yourself because you need to watch your numbers if there is a close race, not to mention have someone load all your warm up weights and run your lift numbers. I loved doing this meet because I was able to see my friends who are also my competitors but first they are my friends. We always have a good time and cheer each other on. Im so proud of everyone and can’t wait to do it again in March at the Arnold!

 

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