Posts Tagged ‘lifting’

Sprints

Posted: July 31, 2015 in Running Blogging
Tags: , , ,

Tonight was another run after lifting day. OHP today- I feel like it only works if it’s after a bench or OHP workout because it’s different muscles and bench and OHP don’t typically leave me as overall tired after as squats or deadlifts.

Though I took some time to rest between so it wasn’t all together.

This week it feel like I’ve ever had a “whoo I can do all the things today!” feeling, or been too ill to get out of bed at all, with no in between. Not that my “do all the things!” days have even been remarkably productive, but… this happens from time to time and it’s really frustrating. Even though I’ve been up since early morning, I’m still up and it’s early morning now because after doing random errands and job applications today, I felt like I could totally still get in OHP and sprints before bed. And it’s hard to not want to take advantage of that feeling while it lasts, but then it’s not really great long term since it throws me off for tomorrow.

Anyways… sprints. Well before sprints I headed outside to deal with some wasps in my yard while it was dark. After that I did a little bit of stretching outside, while Blake watched me from the window.

Runkeep annoys me a lot- I started it off and after a few minutes of walking looked at the time and realized it was counting my distance but not time! So I stopped and restarted it, meaning I did a longer warmup walk than planned. My first sprint felt awkward because my feet were hurting a lot today before the run but I decided to go anyways, but after a bit I got used to it. By the second sprint I felt like my form was much better than usual for sprints, it felt much more natural and I felt like I was going faster than normal for me. Third sprint I was a bit distracted by the fact that I got a notification for the sprint right after walking pasted a police car and started to worry the officer was going to chase me down for being suspicious for breaking into a run right after walking past their car lol. That did not happen though. 4th sprint I was starting to get tired and my walking interval after was more of a crawl pace. 5th sprint was much slower as I was still tired, and I was thinking 6 sprints is 2 too many. 6th sprint went better than 5 though since it’s easier when I can remind myself it’s the last one. The sprints are actually supposed to be faster each time but I suck at judging % effort for running so I end up going all out for the first several and having almost nothing left in the tank for the ending ones.

I got back home did some quick stretching outside again. After coming in and shocking runkeeper though, I realized that it totally messed up on recording my pace for sprints and walks- it had my sprints as the pacing of slow walking and my walks at the pace of slow jogging. I never feel like I can trust it since the time shown on the app and the audio notifications are always a few seconds off, but I don’t feel like that alone would account for such a huge mismatch in my paces. So I have no objective way of measuring my relative speed during the sprints, as usual actually.

Though one thing I do like about runkeeper is I was able to listen to audible instead of music which was nice.

Next up, zombies 5K week 5.

I have a whole lot of drafts on this blog- partial posts I started writing and never finished. Trying to go back and actually finish and post some of them, starting with this one.

Awhile back I read: Lifting Weights Doesn’t Make You Badass. This is the second time I’d seen someone post this article but the first time I read the whole thing. The first time I saw it I read just a little ways in and rolled my eyes thinking why should it matter to anyone else if someone feels badass about lifting weights? Whatever motivates you and makes it enjoyable.

But after I got past the beginning of the article, turns out I actually really like the message of it.

Lifting weights doesn’t make you anything if that’s the only thing you care about. It’s what you do for you outside the gym that makes you something.

Ok, so I love this message- lifting is a part of what you do, but it isn’t everything in life. There needs to be balance in our lives. And lifting can be a positive thing and a positive influence on other areas of one’s life.

the really unfortunate thing about this is that it overshadows all the positive aspects that accompany lifting.

While I might have the most fun with specialized movement athletes, by and large, I’ve worked with regular people and I’m proud of the fact. Most human beings want confidence. They want capability. They want to feel strong and empowered.

I consider a truly healthy “training mentality” to be one in which strength is a devotion to the process. I’m not trying to impress upon anyone that lifting weights makes them a badass because it doesn’t. But it can give them the physical and mental fortitude to be stronger and more confident in their life outside the gym, and for 99 percent of people, that’s what keeps them coming back.

My initial reaction to the article was based on the idea that it shouldn’t matter to anyone else if lifting makes you feel badass, and lifting does make me feel a bit badass sometimes- I still think that, and I still think there is nothing wrong with feeling badass about it. I do agree with the author though that is shouldn’t be the only thing in your life that makes you feel strong or feel good about. When I think about my own strengths, and things that make me badass, lifting weights does not come out at the top of the list. I’m a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor and that took strength, to get through, to heal from, to let go of and forgive, and using that experience as motivation to help other people. And fighting depression has taken far more strength that lifting a barbell ever has. I do feel badass when I’m lifting, but I also feel badass when I’m able to help other people and make a real difference in their lives.

What makes you feel strong or badass might be different for you, but in the end I think the biggest take away is this:

In the words of Harry Selkow, “Strong people make other people stronger. They don’t put them down.” But that isn’t what I see on a daily basis. I see the opposite. I see people using lifting weights as a tool to insult people and make up for all the other things they lack in life.

Feel badass about anything you do in life, there is nothing wrong with that (assuming there is nothing harmful about what you are doing), but feeling strong or badass should be about lifting yourself up, and idealing helping lift others up as well- NOT about tearing others down. Not about making yourself out to be better than anyone else.

I feel badass when I hit a PR with the barbell, even though the weight I’m lifting is much less than many other people lift. It’s not about being better than anyone else- it’s about pushing myself.

If feeling badass for you means being better than other people, or needing to prove that you are better than other people, that’s when there is a problem.

So someone mentioned a website proteinpow.com online and I decided to check it out. It’s a website with a bunch of recipes using protein powder. Pretty cool. At the bottom on the home page they have some links to recipes of theirs with one titled “Are you beach body ready?” And I’m sad to admit that I was nervous clicking it- is this going to be a body positive piece or more advice on losing weight to look good at the beach?

Fat hate trolls like to act like they have an exclusive claim on fitness. And seeing them a bit too much on instagram recently, that mentality starts to seep into my brain, and I become weary of fitness spaces/websites.

The stupid thing is, this isn’t really my experience with fitness sites and people involved in fitness. Women especially who are very interested in fitness still understand the negative, impossible to win standards women are taught to hate ourselves if we fail to meet. Body positivity then is very much accepted and supported by many fit women.

And the article on proteinpow was actually good! I quite liked it! It actually reminded me quite a lot of Laura’s post about the Protein World ad. From the proteinpow article:

NO ONE is attacking health and fitness. On the contrary, they’re seeking to reclaim the true meaning of what health and fitness actually means.

. . .

It’s a lie to think that fit bodies only look a certain way. How can they? When they’ve all been designed so differently? How can we – and more important – why SHOULD we all fit a singular mold?

I would argue that, either directly or indirectly, the reason we’re sold this lie is so that we feel unhappy with ourselves – unhappy enough to feel the need to buy weight loss supplements when we don’t need them. Unhappy enough to push beyond our breaking point when we exercise and lose sight of why we started on our fitness journey to begin with. Reminder: it wasn’t just for a six-pack – it was for our fitness, it was for our performance, and it was for our health.

. . .

That’s why I think it’s important to push body-accepting discourse. Because it’s only when we love our bodies that we treat them well. That we feed them well. That we exercise them well and use them to the best of their capacity. It’s out of love for our bodies – no matter how ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ they may seem to someone else – that we treat them their best, fuel them as we should, and exercise them with gusto. And we use them as the tools that they are for living healthy, happy, and full-to-the-brim lives!
So we need to work together to underscore the fact that a ‘beach ready body’ or a ‘bikini body’ isn’t ONE KIND of body – let alone one that requires weight loss to be ‘ready’. You know what a a bikini body is? It’s ANY body. All someone needs to get a bikini body is a body. And a bikini.

It’s not perfect from the perspective of many size acceptance activists of course, but I’m ok with that. From a fitness focused perspective, I think it’s a pretty good article!

And it does remind me of some of the amusing things fat hate trolls thing they can tell about me from my body size. Like that I obviously have never even touched a barbell. That I wouldn’t use protein supplements or other supplements often used to help facilitate muscle growth and recovery (like creatine). This coming from the same folks though who think lifting = bodybuilding. Powerlifting? Olympic weightlifting? Strongman? What’s any of that? Obviously the only people who pick up weights are bodybuilders. Certainly makes me suspect they are not in any place to be judging other people’s knowledge regarding lifting heavy things.

It is funny to me both because it’s so not true to me and my life (obviously I enjoy lifting, and I have protein powder I use for shakes primarily but also other recipes (I love some peanut butter chocolate chip protein balls! Great homemade alternative to protein bars imo). I also take creatine. Aside from my personal experience though, it also amuses because fat women lifting is not some really unheard of thing. There are a lot of fat or otherwise just not thin or bodybuilder looking women who do powerlifting, olympic weightlifting, and strong(wo)man style lifting. This shouldn’t be news to anyone familiar with lifting.

So a little something about me, I tend to mentally freak out and worry about things, expecting the worst possible scenario.

Despite all my experience with it, ever time I have to give a presentation for school I have to fight the urge to literally just get up and run away. And that’s with something I do often! This is often far worse then with things where I’m out of my element and not sure what to expect.

I’ve always wanted to try some strongman training but don’t have access to a place/the equipment to do it. So when I saw a facebook friend post that he got some strongman equipment and inviting local folks over to check it out, I was excited for the opportunity. And also terrified of all the scenarios in my head about how awful this was going to go.

I might be too weak for any of the equipment even without added weights! And I have never done this before and don’t know what I’m doing. And my form is probably terrible even at stuff I do have experience with. Long story short- my mind was racing with all the ways this would go terribly wrong.

The whole drive over I was fighting that “just turn around and go home” urge.

But I didn’t. And I got to try out some strongman stuff with two very nice guys. It was fun and exciting and absolutely nothing terrible happened! It left me just all the more excited to do more strongman stuff, and excited about lifting in general. And as much as I love my home gym and working out alone, it was actually fun to lift with some other folks for once. And I was so sore after in all the best ways.

I know for lots of folks fitness activities that are new can be intimidating. Whether it be the first time in a gym, first time trying a new sort of activity or something else- people get nervous and intimidated (I sure do!)

But there are good things to come out of pushing past all that and trying something new anyways.

And I know I, for one, am definitely working on doing that more often. Getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things!

Confession: if I mention that I lift to you and you ask what I curl, I’m totally judging you.
Why is it some dudes think the only thing you can do with weights is curl them? Or maybe curl and bench.
Deadlift? What’s that?
Squat? Why?

It does seriously crack me up though. This topic always makes me think of a former friend who actually tried to argue with me that men never train legs. He went so far as to seriously argue with me that male bodybuilders don’t ever train legs, only upper body. Only girls squat or deadlift.

Sorry this still cracks me up when I’m reminded of it, so I just had to share.

Edit: Swapping out my original photo for this video, because it’s funny 🙂

So despite the fact that I have a blog where I talk about fitness and lifting this is not even close to what I most identify myself by. Neither is being fat for that matter.
And the truth is it is weird to me when this seems so central to other people’s identities. But for the most part I feel that falls under “to each there own”. The one part of my blog title that I would say is very central to who I am is that I am a feminist. And who am I to say that me putting great emphasis on that aspect of myself is somehow more valid than someone placing great value on the fact that they liked lifting shit up and putting it down?
But I was thinking about this in the context of certain men who get on my nerves with how they talk about lifting. I’ve run across a few men who just make me want to scream at them “building muscle and having a low body fat percentage does not make up for a shitty personality!” It’s like the lifting version of nice guys I guess. These are men who complain about how despite their lifting and low body fat women dont want to date them, meanwhile they act like misogynistic assholes. And then inevitably some girl they like ends up dating some guy who “doesn’t even lift” and they whine about how could she be with him and not them because they lift!
Well, shockingly, for many folks, like myself, personality matters more than muscle when it comes to dating! Whether or not a girl lifts or works out at all really doesn’t have much impact in my interest in her. I mean cool if she does, cool of its something we could enjoy together, but if not that’s totally fine. Women I date don’t need to share all my interests. But what very much does matter is her personality, and in particular that she not be some woman hating asshole.
So how about instead of whining that women aren’t interested in you even though you lift heavy shit, you stop and consider that maybe she likes that dude who doesn’t even lift because he’s actually a decent person who doesn’t treat her like an object he’s entitled to for lifting heavy shit?

This is one of those things that is said all the time in fitness forums, articles, and books, and it usually makes me want to scream.

Usually it comes in the form of reassuring women that weight lifting will not make them “bulky”. But it can take other forms as well, and regardless of the reasoning it still annoys the hell out of me.

A lot of women who lift and want to build noticeable muscle do find this to be true. But not all women are the same.

The reasoning behind this is that women don’t have enough testosterone so building any muscle for us, all of us, takes a long more work and takes a lot longer. But fun fact, “hormone levels” aren’t actually exactly equal among all women. In fact, they can vary quite a lot from woman to woman. We are not actually all clones.

Sometimes I wish that I could see muscle growth more quickly, but overall I don’t usually feel like I have a very hard time building muscle. And never have. It’s always seemed like I could see more muscle growth more quickly than this well known fitness fact seems to imply I should.

I mentioned recently some changes I’ve seen with my body from weight lifting. Which is also what got me thinking about this topic today. Because according to many folks, what I notice is just not possible because I’m a woman.

Besides being fairly intimately familiar with what my body looks like and feels like, I take measurements semi-regularly, and noticed first awhile back that my arms (measured around my bicep) were getting surprisingly bigger (especially surprising given I don’t specifically train biceps) meanwhile my arms look and feel more ‘toned’, more recently my thighs have increased in size at the same time I can notice that my hamstrings look and feel much larger.

Which I’ve actually been told by random dudes (actually all men- which makes sense because clearly they are the experts on women)  even though they don’t know me, that this is just not possible. As a woman, I have not been lifting long enough to build enough muscle for me to have that significant muscle growth. Clearly I’m just getting fatter and lying to myself about it.

I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it because unlike them I know my body.

And to be clear, it’s not that I need to prove to anyone that I’m not getting fatter or that it would be any of their business if I were. That’s not what this is about. What this is about is that it’s really annoying to get excited about building muscle (because I get excited about that!) and being told that I obviously just don’t know my own body and can’t tell the difference between fat and muscle because women just can’t build muscle like that (source: everyone just knows that).

This whole idea that all women’s bodies work exactly the same such that we can make this universal claim that women don’t build muscle easily just needs to die already.

I’ve seen a few discussions lately on how things like cultivating a positive body image tend to require really retraining how you think.

And I was thinking of that today. I’ve been feeling rather negative about my appearance lately. And yet have had a number of positive comments on my appearance. Including a few people who have commented lately that they think I have a nice figure. And in my mind all I’m thinking is “how could you actually think that,  can’t you see how huge I am?” (Because yes, this is always a work in progress and sometimes I’m more happy and comfortable with my body than others.)

I’ve mentioned before I’m sure though how I have a number of full length mirrors in my house. And caught my reflection in one today and the first thing that came to mind was not all the things I dislike but actually that I do like my overall shape. I like my curves. I like the changes I see on my body from weight lifting. Recently the changes that are most noticeable to me are that hamstrings seem huge to me. Also I seem to have a lot more muscle in my lower back, and I have more shape in that area. I have more of a curve at the top of my ass than ever before in my life. (Now I just need to do more stuff that targets my upper back and get some more muscle up there!)

But it really got me thinking about how positive body image is an ongoing process with ups and downs, and how it is also work. How it really is an issue of retraining your mind to focus on positives over negatives. And it won’t happen overnight.

Which I hope is helpful if anyone reads this who is just starting on the path to loving their body, and feeling discouraged that they aren’t there yet. It does get better and easier with time, but it takes time, and it’s not linear, and I think all of us- even people who blog a lot about body love, are works in progress who have our own struggles and bad days, and that’s ok.

I’ve been extra sick recently. I think due to a combination of factors- first up I had a lack of sleep from finals followed by lack of sleep from holidays and then lack of sleep from a family vacation, which tends to make me more ill and also more susceptible to catching things, and I think I have caught some sort of virus, which is also combined with running out of my medications and not being able to get the refilled yet which causes me to feel crappy in a number of ways. Combine all of this together, I’m pretty miserable.

I’ve also been stressing about being sick because I was supposed to take a qualifying exam today and had to not due to being sick but I was really hoping to get better in time to take it, and if not stressed about it throwing off my plans and my timeline for stuff for school, and I already am not where I should be with so many other things i don’t need to be behind on exams as well- stress, stress, stress (which really doesn’t help the being ill thing).

Monday morning I did deadlifts. I got through the main working sets and to the assistance sets (5 sets of 10 reps at a lighter weight) and was just too sick to get them in. Which technically is “allowed” with the program, but I feel like I did nothing and was feeling crappy about it.

I haven’t tried lifting or running or much of anything sense then. Mostly actually I’ve been spending all my time in bed since then.

And then I feel bad about that. Because I didn’t get as much done over finals as I wanted, and then not  much over holidays, and now not much because of being so sick. And I feel like I’m just totally screwing this all up.

So I had to remind myself of what I’ve said before about this- everyone gets sick sometimes but having times when things get bad (whether it be partly catching something, or just a flare up of a chronic condition) is a more regular occurrence for me. It’s life, I have to work around it best I can. Also I know that lifting is no, cannot be, my top priority (I was just reminding myself not long ago that I’m allowed the time for it at all, that taking care of myself is a valid use of my time), sometimes other things in life will get in the way.

These things happen, and so me the important part is that I just keep moving forward. Maybe it’s at a slower pace than I want, maybe it’s a slower pace than others are at, but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I keep at it. So I can’t lift right now until I’m feeling a bit better. Ok. So I’m going to rest and when I feel I can do it safely I will be lifting again.

I’ve in the past let this get me down to where I feel “why even bother if I can’t stay on track?” But things going exactly as I plan or hope doesn’t really matter that much, and it’s not really a realistic goal. What is a realistic goal is doing as much as I can and keeping at it.

(Random thoughts on my training post.)

So onto cycle 2 my weights still seems so much lower than I feel they should be. So trying to remind myself that they will keep getting heavier each cycle, so I’m moving in the right direction. And it means I can focus more on form.

Still feel frustrated though when I know I could be going heavier on certain lifts though.

Still no fractional plates though, so I have to round everything to the closest 5lbs. It’s really only OHP that this is a big issue with since it’s my lightest lift.

Just finished my deload week. Which ended up being basically a whole week off while I worked on finals and then one workout with all 4 lifts at deload weights.

One thing that stands out to me in training is how much lifting makes me aware of my eating and my need to eat better- and eat. The day I did my deload workout all I’d eaten all day were some veggies and wine at a holiday lunch get together. Not a lot of food period, and no protein. And I could feel it, because even lifting light weights was a struggle.

I don’t know how other folks can lift fasted (other than the obvious different people are different). I actually am working on going back to intermittent fasting- I tried it on purpose years ago, then decided it wasn’t for me, then last year realized I was essentially doing it without trying just due to my schedule. I’m not a morning person so on days I worked and had class most of the time I would wake up (so there is however many hours of not eating while I was sleeping), go to work with no breakfast, be busy at work and don’t eat, then go straight to class, then come home and eat dinner- by which time it would typically be 24 hrs or longer since I’d eaten last. After I left my job it stopped being just natural for my routine though. I’m also getting to were I’m extremely hungry if I go awhile without eating which bugs me. Aside from benefits of fasting for short periods, I just like not feeling hungry if I go without eating for a bit because I’m busy! So I’m starting with shorter fasts for now, and going to work my back to doing fasts that are 24 hrs or longer again. But I need to plan fasts around lifting days. I can do other stuff fasted- I suck too much at running to know if it changes my performance but I can run fasted, but lifting? I can feel such a massive difference when I don’t eat, don’t eat enough, or eat the wrong stuff (high carb, no protein).

Anyways, hope this cycle goes well. Looking forward to the weights getting much more challenging than they are right now.