Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Staying Focused....Or Maybe Not

Working backwards here....this morning I trained shoulders before work because I have dim light qualifications tonight. I always worry that my early morning workouts are going to be crap simply because I'm not used to having to be very focused at 5am (I'm a complete zombie when I'm doing my cardio). Plus, I tend to not eat before I train that early because the thought of food at 5am makes me want to lose the chow. This morning went rather well, though. I missed 110 on standing presses again, ony getting 3 reps. But when I dropped back down to 105, I got 5 and solidified, mentally, that I can handle that weight. I didn't intend for it to go this way, but the remainder of the workout turned out to be all supersets. I got a crazy pump and started to see some vascularity in my shoulders...love it! It's funny, shoulders have always been a body part that's been tough for me to really hammer at and get good and sore, but the past few weeks I've managed to hit 'em good. And I can definitely see some changes in them.

Last night's leg workout was rather interesting. To make a long story short, we trained early and were rushed because I was trying to get home in time for a late furniture delivery that I wound up missing anyway. We cut out some stuff that we normally do, but having a small window of time in which to train forced me to turn it up and make the most out of the little bit that we did do. I guess you could say that I got 230 for 5, but I didn't count it in my log book. I did do 5 reps, but they weren't all the way down, and my training partner had to offer a little assistance on the 5th rep. So, looks like I'll try for 230 again next week. I wasn't as sore today as I was last Tuesday, but all things considered, it was a decent workout.

Sunday's arm workout was also another good one, leaving my bi's AND tri's hurting. Usually, I can only get one to be sore and not the other. Got 'em both this week. After training, my partner and I did a little bit of cardio, and I got some good insight on my own training (even though that wasn't his intention). We talked about how people can easily lose the enjoyment of just hammering away on the weights with only one intention--get sore. When you introduce certain goals, you can become tunnel visioned and things become muddled (at least for me). You start to lose sight of why you're training in the first place....because you love it. I am trying to keep that in the back of my mind, as I can see my own vision becoming restricted. I know I need to stay focused on November and my goals for switching to bodybuilding. But if I lose sight of why I train and forget how to go in and just train to get sore, I know I my time in this sport will end as quickly as it started. So for now, yes, I'm still trying to hit new maxes (so I ensure I'm making progress), but I'm going to make a conscious effort to not worry about what weight I'm using and really just train to get sore....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Max and a Weight Update

Yesterday's chest workout yeilded a new max and then some! I trained by myself since my partner was away racing for the weekend. But I sucked it up and did 5x5 on incline bench. Good thing I did. I got 130 for 5 without a problem. So, I thought, "eh, what the f, I'll try 135." I got it for 3, easy breezy. Guess I kinda sold myself a little short yesterday, but at least I got over the fear of the weight (for now at least).

This morning I weighed 148.8, up 1.2...just right. I did eat some extra calories this week outside of my original plan. Trained back today and had a pretty damn good workout. I only got 315 for 3, but it's a start. For whatever reason, those three plates scare the crap out of me, so I'm ok with how things went. Plus, it was a 10 lb jump. Maybe I'll try for 310 instead next week. The rest of the workout went well. I added some different stuff in to mix it up a bit and got a great pump. Already my back's starting to feel sore. In fact, I think a good little nap would be a great idea to help with my recovery right now. Sweet dreams :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Can't Hear You!

Ok, this doesn't have anything to do with training, per se, but I just had to write about it. On a good day, I could best be described as moody. Now, take me at 5:30am, at the gym, huffing my 150 pound tank ass up the stepmill....NOT a recipe for a friendly person. All I wanted to do this morning was finish listening to the rest of the Muscle Girls, Inc. radio show from this past Tuesday, and a girl who is regularly at the gym in the mornings gets on the stepmill next to me and specifically said that she was glad I was there because she wanted someone to talk to (while she does her 3 hours of morning cardio). Why me? I mean, really, why? Every time she starts talking to me I purposely keep my headphones in my ears in hopes that she'll get the point that I want to listen to my IPOD, not her. But it doesn't work. Don't get me wrong, she's very nice, and she often has some good drama from her own life to fill me in on. The thing is, I actually kind of enjoy my morning cardio during the offseason. I only have to do 45 minutes, so it's just enough time to wake up and start to feel good about the day ahead. I want to be able to enjoy it, and that usually means getting caught up on the radio shows or watching the morning news. I don't want to talk. Now, during contest prep, when I'm doing hours on end of cardio, I don't mind talking because anything will do to help pass the time.

I think the biggest reason I don't care to talk is that it's 5:30 in the morning.....that should universally be known as Quiet Time. In fact, there should be no talking allowed until after 7:00am. Ironically, I would consider myself a morning person (I love the sunrise and the PEACEFUL early morning hours)....I'm just not a talkative morning person.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just Another Week...

Here’s a little recap of my week so far. Sunday was arms at the ass-crack of dawn, which was actually a really nice little workout. I trained at a gym a little closer to my house because I had to meet up with some friends at 11am to drive out to the shower. While I typically don’t like the atmosphere in this gym, this time of day was quiet and free from obnoxious douchebags (at least until I started nearing the end of my workout). The shower turned out to be a good time too. I sat at a table with about 8 other women that I work with, and we had some good laughs. Plus, it was cool that we managed to surprise the bride-to-be since she’s a nosy little thing and known for ruining surprises.

I was dreading Monday night’s leg workout. I am a complete slave to routine and when things get switched around, as they did with this new training split, I have a hard time adjusting. It’s really quite a problem. I struggled during squats, getting 235 for 2 (barely) then dropped down to 230 and barely got 4. I had no power and couldn’t explode out of the rep. I apparently managed to hammer the rest of the workout pretty well since my quads were STILL sore yesterday.

Tuesday night was shoulders, which has been going well overall lately. I don’t seem to be making consistent progress on standing presses, but I’m trying not to get too hung up on that. Ironically, I have found that when I pull the meathead move of posing in between sets, I seem to be able to work out some kinks in my posing. During a chest workout a couple months ago, I figured out how to really hit a front lat. And I was messing around with my side tri pose during this shoulder workout, a pose I’ve always had trouble with. And I somehow figured out how to hit it the right way. I got my rear delt and tri to pop….something just clicked. So that was pretty cool.

Last night was hams, and let me tell you, I need more than one day between my quad and ham workouts. I hate to say it, but I had a shitty attitude heading into the workout in the first place, so I was doomed before I even began. I was tired and just didn’t feel like training in the first place. Once I got going and was halfway through the first exercise, I started to feel better and was able to get into the workout. But that came to a grinding halt when I tried to do stiff leg dead lifts. I have somehow managed to tweak my body so that they hurt my lower back more so than my actual hamstrings in an effort to protect my injured left ham….go me. I was in so much pain after doing them that I contemplated bailing on the rest of the workout. But I figured the guilt I’d feel for bailing would feel far worse than the pain if I continued. So I decided that I officially cannot do them anymore until I get my hamstring looked at. Needless to say, I was Captain Crankypants after that workout.

Like I’d mentioned before, I am truly a slave to routine, and breaking that routine creates so much anxiety for me. I had a bad feeling about this new split, and it seems I might have been right to some extent. I know I need more than 1 day between quads and hams, so I’ve decided that I’m going to try to take Wednesday nights off and train hams Thursday mornings before work. We’ll see how that goes. Also, I realized that training legs at night lends itself to lots of leg-day anxiety. I spend all day at work worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to make it through the leg workout that night. It’s silly, I know, because I inevitably make it through and often have a great workout. There is only one other person I know of that gets that kind of anxiety about a workout, and I’ve always wondered if we were the only ones. Granted, we’re both a little nutso, but I really do wonder if anyone else gets a little anxious during the day before training legs. I have yet to meet anyone who is as bothered by change in routine as I am….

By the way, I weighed myself this morning (not that this weigh-in counts) and I was 148.8….just where I should be. Of course, Saturday’s number is really what matters.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Little of This and a Little of That

Surprisingly, my hams were pleasantly sore after Wednesday's workout...so I guess, my little change-up helped. The rest of the day was great, and it was good to spend some time with one of my girls. We just got lunch, shopped, and gossiped....total chick day. Plus, on the more vain side, I was pleasantly surprised with her reaction to my new look. Of course friends are always biased when talking about eachother, but she was definitely a little impressed with the obvious changes I had made, which was good for my ego. Thursday was off from the gym as usual. Unfortunately, since I started working this new position, even though I don't train on Thursdays, I still get home just as late and just as tired. Thursdays are my reporting days where I have people scheduled all day to come in and see me up until at 7pm. Of course, the past several Thursdays have resulted in some work-related crisis that has led me out of the office and tied up at work later than I want....NOT a very restful day away from the gym.

Anyway, last night was shoulders, and I missed 110 for 5 on standing presses. But considering that I've never even touched that much weight, I was happy with the 3 reps I did get out of it because they were good solid ones. Again, I moved through the rest of the workout quick and got a great pump. I've been trying to incorporate some ideas that were given to me by my friend who visited a couple weeks ago and "reintroduced" me to this type of training. I have to say, as much as I enjoy training by myself at times, I can't wait for my training partner to come back. He's always good at helping pull me out of my head when I get down, since he's just a big goof ball.

At this morning's weigh-in, I was 147.6...down 2.4. Which says to me that the weight I put on last week was ALL mother nature....WTF? To any guy who doubts the effects of PMS on a woman's body and the complaints of feeling/being bloated, here's proof that it does happen. I knew at least some of that 2.6 pounds that I had put on was from my period, but I thought for sure that I'd be at least 148.5 or even 149. Looks like I need to get to eating. I trained back this morning and had another great breakthrough dead lifting 305 for 5. That was awesome (well, I guess hitting any new max is awesome). The set felt great. The 5th rep was a little shaky but only because I was scared, not because I couldn't physically get it. It's funny, it seems like I don't know how that 5th set is going to go until I get to my 4th set. Usually, if the 4th set goes up ok, I know I'll hit the max on number 5, which was exactly the case today. Since I was feeling all cocky, I put 335 on to try and get that for 1....HA! Who the hell do I think I am? I couldn't even get that shit up off the floor. So I backed it off to 225 and pulled 8. I did a couple supersets in the rest of the workout and tried to move as quick as my huffin and puffin fat ass could, and it turned out to be a good workout.

Yesterday's back workout marked the first day of the new split, so we'll see how it goes. I think it'll work out ok. I wanted to put certain body parts during the week when my training partner is around since he's now away every weekend for the racing season. Tomorrow morning is arms, but there will be no sleeping in for me. Wedding mania starts tomorrow with the first of a few bridal showers/bachelorette parties. I swear, if I ever make it to the point of getting married, I don't think I want to put my friends through a shower and force them to watch me open presents for 3 hours. Hell, that would just get in the way of my own training/napping on a Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Geting Caught Up: A Random Training Partner, Seeing Vascularity, and Half-Assed Hams

As usual, Monday night was back, and I wasn't feeling it going into the gym. I still can't seem to pull my head out of my ass with all the issues going on in my personal life. Focusing on anything these days is a rarity. Anyway, I went in and started plugging along on dead lifts and missed 305 again. I have no doubt that, had my training partner been there, I would have got it. After finishing deads, a guy I know from the gym through my training partner and my ex (they all went to hs together) showed up and was training back, too. So we hooked up and finished the workout together. Now he and I have never trained together and rarely talk about anything more than training, but for whatever reason, we put together a pretty good back workout. And training with someone I didn't know very well was a good way to distract me from my psycho thoughts and focus on the training. I was still sore this morning.

Last night was arms, which I have come to dread because of pain I have been getting in both of my forearms. The pain is in the same spot, so I'm apt to think that maybe it's tendonitis? I don't know. I just put a shitload of Tiger Balm on it and move on. Well, last night's workout turned out to be a really good one. Similar to last week's arm workout, I moved quick and got a crazy pump. Seems that's going to be the plan of attack now with arms, as the quick supersets pump some serious blood to the muscles. It makes fixing my ponytail very difficult....not that I ever really do my hair before the gym anyway (insert brick comment here). My big excitement for that workout, though, was the vascularity that's starting to creep out in my bi's. Being vascular was never a strong point for me. I rarely had any vascularity (at least how I would want it) until the day or two before a show. And you can sure as hell forget seeing any vein during an offseason....until now! So, yes, in my own dorky world I was pretty excited. Now don't get me wrong, they were, by no means, popping out everywhere, but damnit, they were there!

On to this morning....half-assed was exactly what this workout felt like on a lot of levels. In case you haven't figured it out, I have a tendency to like to throw around heavy weight, and it's hard for me to pull back and really focus on the full range of motion, pausing at the top of the rep, and really creating deep cuts and lines. So, I tried to do that today, but I always end up feeling like it was a crappy workout. I was definitely huffing and puffing today, and my hams and glutes were burning, but I know I won't have that soreness tomorrow. Half-assed could also apply to the fact that I feel like I'm only training half my ass.....my left hamstring was especially bothersome today, and I was in a lot of pain. But I will say this, I did at least go see my doctor to get a referral for a physical therapist. So, I'm one step closer to actually dealing with this problem.

Today, I'm off from work (hence the morning ham workout) and am headed down to get a checkup on the twins and then I'm meeting a good friend for lunch who I haven't seen in forever. It'll be good to see her, as there's clearly lots to catch up on. Plus, like I said before, I could use a break from my head lately.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Getting Nothing Done

Pretty much the theme of my weekend. Friday started out ok, and I had a really good workout...finally got 105 for 5 on standing presses. But it was pretty much all downhill after that. I had intentions of doing laundry Friday night so that I could go to the mall and purchase more fat pants Saturday before going into work Saturday night. So, I put my laundry in the trunk of my car and headed home from the laundrymat (I know, an exciting life I live). When I get home, the hood of my trunk won't open. After messing with it several times and calling everyone and their mother, I drove across town and met up with a friend who was at work but thought he might be able to figure it out or at least break it open without causing too much damage. He and his partner both tried messing with the cable, but we still couldn't get in. And by now, it's nearly 11:30pm, and I just wanted to go to bed. So, I head home with the plan to get it fixed in the morning at Honda. Now, I wasn't comlpetely worried about getting to all my clean clothes in there. Nope, not me. I was worried about how I was going to get to my belt for my morning leg workout.

So I get up and head to Honda as soon as they opened (but not before I weighed myself in at 150....fuck!) and wind up sitting there for 2 and a half hours for them to look at my car and tell me the trunk latch is broken and they don't have the part. Then they tell me how much it's going to cost (part and labor), and it's f'ing rediculous. But they tell me, it's ok because they got my rear seat down by drilling into the side of it so that I could get the stuff out of my trunk. Awesome, thanks Honda for that great service. So by the time I get to the gym on Saturday, it's almost noon, I'm by myself in a near empty gym, and I'm in no frame of mind to train legs. But I do them anyway. Not surprisingly, I missed 235 and only got it for 3....and 3 shitty ones at that. I tried to move quick through the rest of the workout and wound up feeling pretty sick. Not a stellar workout but certainly nothing to write home about.

Then I worked Saturday night (see, like I said, I live a rock star life here) and then was out much later than planned. This morning's chest workout was pathetic. I didn't even do 5x5's because I was training by myself and figured I'd probably miss my max, so why bother frustrating myself. The workout itself had good intentions, but, again, I wasn't in a good frame of mind to get in a good workout. I'm nervous that the rest of the week will progress like this since I'll be by myself. The thing is, I usually kind of like to train by myself, but apparently the last two days it's been a bit of a hindrance. Keep your fingers crossed that this theme doesn't coneinue through the week....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fatty McFatstein

That exactly what I feel like the past few days. Hell, I'm so damn bloated that my WATCH is practically cutting off the circulation in my wrist. And I have a muffin top today because I now own no pants that fit around my fat gut....awesome. Who needs a belt? Muffin tops and fat asses hold everything in place...I find that it's very economical considering that we're now in a recession. As you can see, I'm clearly in a good place regarding my offseason. I'm sure if I went back and read my posts, I would be enlightened to my rediculous biopolar nature...one day I'm strong and feeling great about my progress and how I look and the next day I'm a fat slob. Ah yes, the joys of the sport (and perhaps a mild eating disorder).

Moving along....Tuesday night was arms, and I had a great workout. We moved a lot quicker than we usually do, which helped create a sick pump that I don't often get from training slower (my training partner could rightfully be described as a slow poke sometimes). Naturally I wasn't moving some of the weight that I typically do, but it was still a good workout. Wednesday night was hams, and went ok until I got to squats. My lower back was SO sore and my stomach was rediculously bloated (yay mother nature), that I couldn't control my breathing and support the weight I knew I could. So that sucked.

I swear, I wish we could design our bodies like you can design a Dell computer....I'll have this hardware system. I don't want that software option. I could use that program, and oh, a DVD burner would be nice too. I have no intention of using my Baby Makin' program, so why did it have to be installed as undeletable hardware? Sure, I could spend lots of money rewiring the system, but WTF? I already spent several thousand dollars for an additional optional program (or rather, 2, I guess). But THEY were definitely worth it!

Ok, back on track here....last night, I worked late and was off as usual from training. Tonight's shoulders. I'll unfortunately be by myself because my training partner is in South Carolina for spring break Marist Crew style. So I'll be training solo for the next 10 days or so....probably NOT a good thing right now. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't quit sometime during the next week....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Can't Think of a Good Title

They say after a breakup, time is your best friend, but I have yet to develop that "best-friend" relationship with time so far. I know, I know, I promise I won't fill my post up with whiney post-break up bs, but I will say this. There is one thing I have found to be more difficult than I would have ever imagined about this....and that is that feel like I've lost the one person who puts more effort and concern into my progress in this sport than I do (if that was ever possible). Right now, I don't have him to call up and tell that I hit new maxes over the weekend, or that I got 305 for 5 dead lifting tonight. He's not there to listen to me question my decision to switch to bb or tell me that it's ok that I'm putting this weight on. Don't get me wrong, I have great friends who I know would listen to me and even get excited about my progress and tell me that my ass isn't fat (even though it is kinda fat right now). But it's not the same. They just don't share that same passion and understanding for this as he did. He told me at the beginning of my prep last year that everything would be ok because we were a team and he'd back me up until I decided my days with this sport were done. Guess people are right, this truly is an individual's sport.

Anyway, enough blubbering....on to tonight's workout, which actually was a damn good workout. I wound up training by myself, as my training partner was very sick AGAIN. If I didn't know better, I might think he's got a new chick he's hanging out with and skipping the gym for. Unfortunately for him, I probably know more about him than he knows about himself, so I know he's legitimately sick. So, I started off with the usual, and tried to move through the warm up sets a little quicker. I know I probably should have shot for 300 (since I got 295 last week), but I was feeling particularly angry before my workout and my 4th set felt strong. My lower back was feeling a little achy though, but I have a distinct feeling that it's due to my upcoming visitor. Anyway, I was totally ready for 305, and the first 3 reps went right up. Number 4 was a little slower, and for the first time ever, I threw up in my mouth a little at the top of the rep. And I knew I was done. Even though I missed it, I was still happy. I was nervous to make that 10 lb jump in one week considering that I was stuck for so long at 285/290. I moved quickly through the rest of the workout trying to imitate some of the faster paced supersets from this weekend. I got a great up, and felt strong overall.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I always seem to skip my posts about my chest workouts. Probably because I dislike training chest, and I never seem to progress. However, yesterday morning, I finally managed to hit a new max. I got 125 for 5 on the incline bb press. And they were 5 good ones too. I seem to have an especially hard time feeling the connection and getting a good squeeze when I train chest. Wish I knew a good way to fix this....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Training With a Twist

Last night and this morning's workouts were a little different for me. A family friend, who also happens to be a personal trainer, was home visiting for the weekend, and I had the opportunity to train with shoulders with him last night and legs with him this morning. While his approaches to training were rather different than what I have been used to as of late, they were welcomed (sort of) changes. I had to have a little trust in him, after all, he did help Yaz Boyum to a respectable 6th place finish at the Arnold several years ago. My only stipulation was that I keep my 5x5, and he was given free range for the rest of the workouts. I missed 105 again on military presses, but we moved through them much quicker than I'm used to. I did 105 for 3 twice, so had I just worked hard the first time, I might have squeaked out 5 reps...blah. The rest of the workout continued with the fast pace and included some supersets. It was a good workout overall, and I got a sick pump that I rarely ever get when training shoulders.

This morning's leg workout was the big deal here. My goal with this round of 5x5 was to reach 225 for 5 within the next month or so....well, I managed that a little ahead of schedule. I was on track to try for 220 today, but 195 went up very well on my 4th set. So I figured, what the hell, let me at least just feel 225, maybe I'll get 2 or 3 ok reps, but at least I'll feel the weight. Well, apparently it felt better than I anticipated because I managed 4 solid reps and a shaky 5th one. The rest of the workout was fast paced again and included more supersets (AGAIN! aarrggg). Overall, another good workout for the weekend. At least this sort of makes up for the fact that I'm missing the weekend at the Arnold. Of course, I'm sure tomorrow morning's chest workout will be pathetic as usual.

Anyway, my weight went up to 147.8 (up 1.4 from last week). So far, good steady progress. I'd like to gain no more than 1.5 per week and would be happier with 1. I have a feeling I'll be up to 155 in no time, ugh. I swear, this better pay off come November!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


As in 295 for 5 deadlifting....freaking finally! I don't know what the hell happened last night, but there was some kind of fire burning and that weight went up so smooth. I struggled with the 5th rep, but not beacause of my hamstring or any other pain, simply because the weight was f'in heavy. And, unfortunately for me (and I guess the others around), I totally let out a douchebag grunt when I dropped the weight after my 5th rep. I couldn't help it. It was completely an egotistical, guy-type moment, but I didn't give a rat's ass. I was so pumped that I got it, that it took a minute for the heavy breathing and achiness to set in....until then, I was pretty much dancing around the back of the gym and flipping off the weight.

I was so nervous about this workout because of the past 4 or 5 weeks of NO progress. But I was armed with new wrist straps and a truly "I don't give a fuck if I get it or not" attitude. It was like I was free from my crazy mind for a few minutes to just pull whatever weight was on the bar instead of fighting my brain and body. This isn't exactly an uncommon issue for me. I remember when I was trying to qualify to carry a firearm for my job...the first 3 or 4 times I went out on the range I just missed the qualification percentage by one or two. I was so frustrated. I HATED going out to the range, and I got so caught up in my frustration that I continued to just barely miss qualifying. Then, during night qualifications (which is significantly harder than trying to qualify during the day because you have a flashlight in one hand and your firearm in the other), something clicked, and I just got it. In fact, I didn't even just barely make it, I shot a 38 out of 40. And once I qualified (especially the first time being at night), I had no problems when I tried to qualify during the day. Hell, once I got out of my head, I was shooting so well that my department suggested I get trained to be a firearm instructor. So, it seems that if I can work on not getting caught up in my f'ed up mind games, I could probably do ok.

Speaking of which, I was told just last night that I could do exceptionally well this year if only I don't hold myself back. But after last night's workout, I'm in a really good place about the next several months before prep starts, and I'm gunning for a class win (and the "stretch goal" of the overall title) at Eastern USA's. Not only was last night's workout great, but I woke up early this morning and trained arms first thing, which is often a recipe for a shitty workout. But since I have to work late tonight, I needed to get it in, and it went well. I was definitely riding on the high from last night's workout. For now, here's to some serious progress for the next few months...