Well, the six weeks is over and I am back at work! woohoo...
So success in my bulking, feeling good and hitting just over 75kgs, this has been done with good whole foods, Mass Attack Heavyweight and Juggernaut and of course the cookie dough ice cream timed perfectly around my workout and sometimes for breakfast.
Thinking about the competitions coming up and how far my strength has developed over the last 8 months since training again, thanks to a great training partner and a bit more focus on what I want to do it seems to be coming together.
I do regret that it has taken this long to get to where I am - I don't mean what I have achieved or the job I have but how comfortable I feel just being myself and deciding what I want from life. We had a chat in the shop about what we would tell our younger selves.
I had a long think and I would say don’t limit your self, don’t feel limited to what other people expect from you or the way they want to lead their lives. For years I tried to fix in a box for my “friends”, I let myself down doing this and I realised at the end of the day you are the only one who can make yourself happy in what ever way that means.
Also it helps to lift heavy, I may not be the strongest but I dam well enjoy it and will carry on until I don't anymore.
Recently I had the honour of attending Britain's strongest disabled man man in the Northwood stadium.
This event was run by Gary Clarke who also participated! It was fantastic watching these men battle it out for the title. They all poured every ounce of effort into each event and despite different and sometimes difficult circumstances performed brilliantly. I was able to be amongst the competitors and watched as they supported each other and cheered yeah other on.
The competition was run well and the legend that is Magnus Ver Magnusson was reffing for the day.
To say I was excited was an understatement, I remember watching clips of his performances and just being in awe.
However like at body power I tend to embarrass myself in any situation invovling and famous person, Mr Magnusson had asked us to help sell his T shirts during the competition as he was busy reffing. Very happy to do so but had to keep the money in a bucket as we didn't have anything else to use. Upon his arrival back to the stand he enquired “what is this” (imagine an icelandic accent) pointing at said bucket. Not realising he probably was trying to find out where the money was being kept i replied rather unknowingly in a sarcastic tone “a bucket”. he did not look impressed and proceeded to walk off to carry on reffing. I turned around and Sarah ( my partner in crime for the day) was wetting herself as my idiocy strikes again... O joy, at least he may remember who I am, though probably not kindly.
One thing I was surprised to see was the lack of nutrition occurring during the event, it was the first of its kind in the UK but a lot of the competitors were old hats at competing. Don't get me wrong there were sweets and flapjacks galore but very little uptake.
This has been the biggest change in my competitions, using different nutrition to fuel my lifts and improve my performance. I will alway maintain intracell ( http://www.sportsfuel.org/products/boditronics-intracell-amino-explosion?variant=1114425665 ) is essential to improving not just my performance in competitions but during workouts and even during the workday.
During the competition I mentioned that my partner was a nutritionist to a gentlemen, at a later point whilst drinking a lucazade I was asked if I am allowed to drink it due to it having sugar. I understand that the general publics view of sugar is very negative, but as we were training I was getting carbs in to improve my gym session.
Nutirtion is key in all sports but especially in strength and bodybuilding and basic understanding of this seems to be missing or misconstrued from information from the internet.
Personally I either discuss with my partner or use academic articles online, avoiding sites that anyone can write information on and definitely try to research around anything someone tells me is “good advice”.
So I had my first federation powerlifting comp organised by the Tania George and the GPC. The comp was called “no dumbelles”, a glorious pun for a female only lifting competition. I have done a few push and pulls, which have been conducted to a powerlifting standard of lifting but not a whole day, especially with the strict regulations in place.
Luckily I had filled my pro stack with many goodies including my Boditronics RedMist - Intracell and Recover EX
It was a great day and a fantastic experience, I love strong women and I think that is what I will always want to compete in but seeing the amazing quality of the lifting from the different ladies I want to incorporate that into my lifting. So I can lift 170 from the floor, now I want to learn how to do it cleanly. Unfortunately I didn’t get the numbers that reflect my actual strength in the competition due to bad habits I have picked up over the years. I try and see this as a positive, a new challenge, not just chasing the numbers but also chasing the quality.
What struck me about strong women and powerlifting is the support given from other competitors, support workers and even other coaches! People were offering me equipment, food, drink and more importantly tips. I didn’t go to the comp to win as I knew I didn’t have the technique to reflect my strength… yet… so it was a relaxed day for me. Other ladies did an amazing job, a lady I met a few years ago got numerous British records and is competing in the worlds competition in a few short months. She is bear strong and a normal everyday lady!
Its good to be a part of these competitions and recognise that actually there are women like Tania George who are pushing women’s strength to be recognised and encouraging it to be picked up by the normal everyday lady.
Though lifting weights should come with a warning- lifting leads to numerous side effects; confidence, knowledge, connections, a way to deal with stress, experience and happiness that can seep into your everyday life.
Rick suggested that as my training is going well and that I have a short period off work perhaps trying to improve performance by using effective nutrition might be the next step.
In my head I eat quite well but I do enjoy chocolate every now and again and have said that I would rather eat a chocolate bar than worry about abs. However the temptation of improving my lifts by eating at specific times seemed like an achievable option.
Rick managed to design a diet that utilised food items I eat regularly but split it two five different timings everyday.
I have never felt so hungry! I am eating 2600 calories each day, for a lean bulk, which is probably more than I usually eat.
From my limited understanding of it, as I am eating regularly through the day instead of larger portions at irregular times my metabolism is having a mini kick up the butt and it is working harder, though it seems to be working I had no idea how hard it could be, food has never been something I have given much thought other than getting some carbs and protein in post workout.
I don't know how Rick has managed to diet so long, he does become grumpy and my usual come back is “ you have chosen to do this”..
But I think this have given me a better perspective on just how hard this is for people and maybe I can be more understanding next time he is grumpy as he is hungry.
I am enjoying this mini excursion into nutrition and so far I feel good in my training from it, achieving a double at 150 in deads on Wednesday. I think I will carry it on when I return to work supplementing my second meal for a mass attack to get those calories in quickly, I have even got my self a six pack bag so I can take my gym stuff, food, shaker and laptop to work with me, much to Ricks amusement as I have constantly teased him about his!
I have always said that I don't have the determination for a diet, though thinking about those gains is keeping me off the chocolate so far…
In other news, Boditronics (A company who have been very supportive of Rick and who's products I have been a fan of for some time) have agreed to support me in my efforts in powerlifting and strongwoman over the next few months.
The products I have been using from them up until this point are as follows:
Mass Attack Juggernaut - a Lean all in one strength and mass gainer, hugely convenient in my role as a teacher when getting meals in isn't always possible!
Intracell - Intraworkout with BCAA's, Electrolights and other goodies, helps me train longer and harder, the biggest benefit I get from this is a huge reduction in 'DOMS' post work out soreness which is crucial when you have only limited chances to workout and often haven't had 'proper' recover time.
And finally Recovery EX - Fast acting carbs and whey Isolate, I notice a huge increase in recovery when using this over just a protein shake and as its more of a juice than a milk shake I find it more refreshing