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.

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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!

 

Preparation is Key

23 Feb

The 2012 USAPL Raw Challenge at the Arnold Sports Festival is a little over a week away. I am really looking forward to this meet and not just because its “The Arnold” but because we have been working hard to prep for this meet.

Diet Prep: At the first of the year Max put me on the “Slow Carb” diet, which is really a modified Anabolic Diet. I have been losing lean mass and gaining weight so it was time to make my body more efficient. The goal is to increase lean mass and decrease body fat while remaining within my weight class. Within 30 days I lost 4% body fat and gained 2 pounds of lean mass. I was feeling great and my spirits are high because I am looking leaner too.

Strength Prep: Training has been going great. I have been working hard on my form in the Squat and Bench. I’m really concentrating on training the pause at the bottom of the bench and that has been helping a lot. The diet has helped with my strength as well.

Meet Prep: In the past our strategy at meets have been to get big numbers on my individual lifts and try to break my current records. This time going into the Arnold our goal is to get the highest total. We have spent some time planning my warm ups and lifts for the meet in order to achieve the highest total. When you go for a high total you may sacrifice going for a new personal record because you are “playing it safe” by not risking any lifts. Getting a high total means taking lifts you most likely will get.

Now we are less than 2 weeks away and I am tapering my weights down. This week we work up to my opening lifts and practice the warmup I will do at the meet. Here is a sample of my workout last Saturday.

3, 2, 1 GO!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gDOzdYQAXc&feature=g-upl&context=G2f74ed2AUAAAAAAAAAA

 

Sometimes you just get the Funk!

11 Jan

Most people at some point have felt like they were in a funk. You know that feeling when you are not sick, not tired, but more like you are just off. Your motivation is sub par, you can’t do your normal workout that you have practically done in your sleep. And the worst thing about the funk is that you don’t know what it is. Most of the time the funk goes away and you don’t think about it until it happens again.  Once in a while it stays for a few days, then a week, and when it gets to two weeks I think its time to evaluate. I have recently had some experience with this and have some pointers for you.

  1. Know your body. If you are like me and a product of routine then you will know when something is wrong if you sneeze at the wrong time of the day. Well not really but take a look at changes in you that are not normal. Change in body, appetite, skin changes like dryness or acne, maybe a change in sleep pattern and mood changes. If you notice there is a change that might be a good place to start.
  2. See your doctor. It never hurts to get a check up. Mention to your doc any changes you may have noticed. Have some blood work done. You should rule out any medical conditions especially if it’s lasted more than 2 weeks. And Doc knows best.
  3. Change your diet. Sometimes your body is telling you something like “Hello, you are eating too much sugar and we are working overtime in here!” Maybe you have been abusing caffeine, alcohol, or fatty foods. All of which I have been guilty of. OR maybe you are under eating. Sometimes if you work out regularly over time you have added more lean mass and you haven’t increased your calories to support that. I have gone to the gym and felt funky because I hadn’t eaten in 4 hours and I am depleted of energy. If you are having mood swings your diet could be off. Changes in hormone levels can affect your mood (right ladies??). Hormones change when diet changes.
  4. Check your stress levels. I have been noticing as I get older that I am affected more by stress. I never used to get stressed out and usually was pretty laid back. Now I have to do a head check and make sure I watch my stress levels. If you have been going to the gym with your head somewhere else then maybe its time to find ways to eliminate stress. Certain kinds of stress require action. You may hate your job, then maybe its time to move on. You may have people in your life that are negative and abusive, then maybe its time to unfriend them on FB. Maybe you are buried in debt, it may be time to make some sacrifices. Whatever it may be, there is a ton of suggestions on how to eliminate stress on the internet. Just Google it!
  5. Set new goals. I always set my short-term goals as well as long-term goals. Short term goals are important because you have little milestones along the way. If you set your goals too far out you might feel after several months that the goals are unachievable. Make goals leading up to that big one so you have things to get happy about at each step of the way. It’s ok to change goals, just make sure you have them!
  6. Get a partner in crime! When I get the funk I talk to my buddies. They usually have ideas on how to get out of it or can provide some insight on why you may be in it. It’s true that your friends may know you better than you know yourself.
  7. NOT FOR EVERYONE, but get a swift kick in the butt! I just recently needed an attitude adjustment. I have been powerlifting for 2 years and I was feeling like I needed to back off a bit because I was a little burnt out. I started eating bad food, not working as hard in the gym and feeling a little like “I will do what I want to do!” This might be ok for some but this is not going to help me reach my goals. Not one bit. My choices were, change the goals or get back in the game. My coach and I had a talk and I was able to get my motivation back and a whole new outlook on my training.

It’s definitely normal to get in the funk but it’s not good if it lingers over you like a heavy fog for more than 2 weeks. So follow my advice and lets crush some goals!!!

If you need some additional inspiration there are several inspirational websites out there but one of my favorites is Crossfit Lisbeth.

Healthy diet, lifting heavy, and having a blast!

2012 Welcome!

2 Jan

2011 is now over and I have to say it was a great year! But I am looking forward to 2012 and all the new challenges it will bring. I ended 2011 with the addition of a new boy in my life. He is amazing and I love him with all my heart!

Meet Axel Foley named after Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. He is 4 months old now and a French Bulldog. It’s all his fault that I have neglected my blog in so long, he had required more attention than time that is available to me. Now that he is a little older and more independent I am getting my life back. He does love going to the gym and watching all the action.

So starting 2012 lets just take a quick look at the things that are on the agenda. I’m starting the year in March at the Arnold Raw Challenge to defend my title. I love this event! I met so many amazing women last year that I have kept in touch with on FB and I am looking forward to meeting more. Also there are some girls I met at Nationals that will be coming this year that I am excited to hang out with. The Arnold is so big and so much is going on in addition to the powerlifting….can’t wait! Somewhere in all that I would like to get in some gear this year and see how that goes. My goals for 2013 is to have the opportunity to go to a world event and I think if I go equipped I will have a better chance at that goal. Of course Raw Nationals at the end of summer is on the calendar and that will be in Texas. I have some PL friends in TX that I would like to see while I am there so I am excited about that event. I also have some numbers I would like to hit this year as well as working on balancing personal life with lifting life. There is always room for improvement.

I am going to try to blog every week this year. Not saying its a resolution but just a personal goal. With that I will leave you with some PL info. I am always checking www.powerliftingwatch.com and this week I found some info from www.rawpowerlifting.com they revised the lifter classifications recently and its very cool to see where you stand as a lifter. I also learned that the strict curl was originally part of powerlifting (who knew?). So check out where you fit in the classifications and use it as a goal to shoot for! Click here for the classification.

Happy New Year!!

Liffit!

Rules are Rules

6 Oct

 

 

 

 

I knew absolutely nothing about Powerlifting when I started competing. There are lots of competitions out there you can go to and many different Federations that govern those competitions. I am fortunate to have raced motorcycles for many years and know a little about the rules and regulations that are involved in Federations. There are however some special rules that apply that may not be well-known when you start competing. This year my goals were geared toward competing in the USAPL, so I quickly starting gathering all the info I could to make sure I was following all the rules. One thing I learned right away was that the IPF has a particular rules about competing in other federations against banned lifters. So needless to say with my goals in mind I am only competing USAPL right now. Today I read the minutes of the annual meeting for the USAPL and here clearly is proof the rule is inforced. You can find the minutes here.

IPF 14.9/14.10

 

During the past year, several notable referees and lifters from USA Powerlifting took part in several unsanctioned and non-drug-tested international championships taking place in the United States, which were in direct competition with USA Powerlifting. Several of these lifters and international and national referees knowingly participated in competitions where suspended lifters were taking part. As a result, several athletes and referees, after receiving a clear word of caution from USA Powerlifting were ruled ineligible for international competition with the NAPF and IPF, which also includes the Arnold Sports Festival. So once more, I am sending out another reminder to both the athletes and officials that by participating in non-drug tested and international competitions, with suspended lifters taking part, you‘re at risk of being ruled ineligible by USA Powerlifting and sanctioned by the International Powerlifting Federation [IPF Constitution – 14.9/14.10]. Please proceed with prudence and caution when venturing out USA Powerlifting.

Rules are rules!

Happy Lifting!

For Sure Add To The Library!!!!

8 Sep

I am a total victim to routine and I eat the same thing pretty much every week. And then I get sick of it and go out for meals. I end up at El Pollo Loco, Del Taco, Five Guys (2 burgers with cheese in-between YUM!) or Panera Bread. Anyway it goes bad. I was looking on one of my favorite sites Everyday Paleo and right there at the top was this new book!!! OMG I am so excited to get this book. Paleo food that hits the spot when you want that not so good for you food.

Paleo Comfort Foods is going to be available in a few days but you can order it now. Also go to their website and check out other info.

But I did accomplish my mission to find a new lunch item. I found this great little shrimp dish. I will make it and let you know what I think.

Liffit!

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