Jess's Spot

The Aftermath and negative energy! Posted on 29 Jun 11:05 , 0 comments

The day after the competition ( http://www.sportsfuel.org/blogs/jesss-spot/29535169-bodypower-deadlifts-tans-and-icecream ) I was lucky enough to help out at the strongman/woman competitions for the rest of the weekend, I got to rub shoulders with some of the best strongmen in the world (I don't want to name drop... Terry Hollands, Rob Frampton, Brian Shaw...) and watch some flipping strong women compete!
It really amazed me the amount of support and thought everyone put in, everyone was there to win  but they did their damnedest to ensure everyone tried their hardest. 
This was a really positive experience for me, not only did I get to meet some like minded individuals it helped my training partner spot my weakness's and being the extremely clever lady she is, she used this information to make me stronger and less likely to break, good news!
With the support of my every knowing partner Mr Rick I have tried to maintain a slightly healthy more lifter style diet with the occasional ice cream to make me stronger.
The constancy in my diet has been down to my use of mass attack juggarnaught to bring up my calories in the morning, it is an all in one lean mass gainer, containing protein, carbs from oats and barely, creatine, bcaa's and lots of other stuff to help me recover as best I can.
Drinking calories might not be optimal but it fits into my lifestyle as practically as possible, rick made me the same amount of calories in food one morning and I simply couldn't get it down!
What I have got better at is implementing a little more structure to my nutrition around my training.
I find that if I have not eaten well close to training it directly impacts on my training and leading to me having minimal gains and a pants session leaving me bummed out for the rest of the day! 
What I have noticed with my nutrition and training being more purposeful is the change to my body as I have said before I now slightly resemble someone who lifts, although I am small compared to my partner in crime Sarah and in everyday clothes I think I look pretty “average” to the passer by.
However stood in front of the mirror, to me, there is a massive difference to how I looked a year ago, I can see my lats and back growing, my biceps and triceps are bigger and I have serrates and the beginnings of a lower back christmas tress! I didn't even know what they were a year ago. 
As a result of this I have people asking me questions about the lifting and nutrition and I always say I am not qualified but I can say what has worked for me, though it may not work for you. People always seem disappointed like I have a secret drink that makes you stronger.
I often hear “ I don’t have time for the gym” but in the same conversation they tell me about the new series of breaking bad or games of thrones they have watched. No judgement, everyone has things in their life that makes them happy but what ever you do especially any sport do it with commitment and passion if you want to achieve anything worthwhile. 
I say this all the time to Sarah  that I would never dream of giving out any specific advice or training anyone, I will always send them to someone I think is more knowledgable.
Not everyone seems to think like this and unfortunately it is women I have seen suffer on more than one occasion, I have seen women being taught to squat in the most terrible ways and they just look confused at how uncomfortable the movement is.
If you want advice realise that any knowledge is attainable just be careful who you ask, for example choose someone who has years of training and living in it (this person may or may not look especially lean or big) not someone who has a piece of paper after a two day course( who could be shredded but not have a clue). 
Rant over, think I need to hit the gym to dispel all this negative energy 

Bodypower - Deadlifts, tans and icecream Posted on 25 May 11:16 , 0 comments

The competition:

Finally body power arrived in all it's very tanned skin showing glory.
I was nervous to say the least, staying quiet in the car as rick and Sarah chatted about everything fitness.
We got there in good time and did the dreaded weigh in, having weighed myself the day before at 66kg I had carbed up with epic pizza and Ben and Jerrys (if you call it functional then Rick and Sarah assure me it's not junk food)

I hit 70kg on the scale- lucky as the strongwoman comp was under 70s this is biggest I have been for a few years but strangely nearly the leanest. So I started the day feeling ready and heavy enough to move some weights multiple times.

People often say this and it has been my personal experience that strongman/woman is the friendliest sport out there, prehaps made more noticeable as it would be assumed to the outside person to be a very intense competitive sport.
most competitors help each other or cheer each other on, if you haven't got a piece of equipment someone will always lend it too you. Strongmen want to compete on an equal footing so the best wins. The ladies I competed against were fantastic, there was some newbies and veterans, all shouted and helped each other out.


I am probably a little bit too enthusiastic with my shouting, a way to deal with the nerves and not think about my performance.



For the first time I was actually happy with what I did at a comp, how I competed and how I pushed myself, I was nervous but buzzed off the atmosphere.
The team organising it did a fantastic job the only disappointing thing was the lack of interest from the general public, whilst the weights might not have been the heaviest it would be good for strong woman to have an audience and hopefully capture a few people interested in giving it a go.

I can second over all, one point from first! A result that I am very very pleased with! 



A new challenge and a new focus:

The focus for me now is a powerlifting comp in July, this means I have to raise the quality of my heavy lifts.
I will be happy to lift what I do in the gym but cleanly to get a green light. My gains have been steady and supported by the diet from rick and supplementation kindly provided by boditronics, my training has been intense as ever! Hopefully I can keep on making steady progress.

As someone competing I would recommend anyone to give it a go, it definitely made bodypower for me, an event that holds little interest for me as a member of the public as in terms of supplements I know what works for me and am not currently seeking any magic beans, redmist, intracell and mass ATTACK are plenty enough for me at the moment!

A special thank to Sarah who had to share a room with me and put up with my terrible lack of knowledge of pro athletes and embarrassing her on many occasions. Who are Neil Hill & Steve Cook anyway?



And of course to Mr foster who has been endlessly patiently supportive and loving over the past few weeks x


Perspective Posted on 05 May 08:26 , 0 comments

Its crazy how your perspective can change in such a short amount of time, In less than two years my perspective on a healthy body, my body has radically changed.
I feel like that's a positive thing as whilst I have never been a larger person ,my weight has fluctuated with life but I have never felt "fit" or "healthy".
I feel strong at the moment and I think my outward appearance is beginning to show that, I realised that whilst I am working out, people look, veins suddenly appear and my muscles seem to get pumped at the slightest encouragement.
I was working shoulders and looked at myself closely, do I want to look like this, will I be judged as being less feminine for retaining muscle and what would my family think? 
Well it took me a few days to really think about what I find important, life is short and lots of people look how they think they should, how they think society wants them to look, to be acceptable. 
Am I really bothered if people choose to judge me for what I choose to look like?
The fact is I judge people for what they look like, often because they have chosen not to look after themselves or have decided that they simply can't change because of this or that reason. 
I am working hard to drop these judgements and assumptions, something we all know we should do but often struggle with and I'm trying to just focus on my own choices.
Following on from one of my previous blogs though, I have found a training partner! Another lady who lifts much heavier and who looks like she lifts, so much so I look positively lacking in any muscle, it also helps that she is one of the top prep female prep coaches in the country, I won't name drop but I have never been more fired up for and focused on training.
What I found very beneficial in gaining this very small amount of muscle is recovery, rest days and lots of sleep. I have found that if i “overtrain” and do not get any type of rest days actually my growth seem limited as well as feeling completely knackered.
As I train late at night, after work I can sometimes feel quite wired from the gym, though I try to get a bath or shower in to help me to relax to aid sleep it doesn't always work. 
I have gone through stages of ‘borrowing’ without ricks knowledge many of his sleep aids as its been a continual issue for him, including the RC Signature series products and Ricks own concoction, While they all work, they leave me feeling a little drowsy in the morning and working with kids doesn't leave much room for a sleepy brain!
My training partner suggested taking ZMA supplements, I had no idea what they were but thought they were worth a go, Zinc Magnesium complex with Vitamin B6 which Boditronics very kindly provided me with.
So far its helped me have a nice sleep and wake up with refreshed rather than a groggy mess until 11am this means not so much sleepy brain for the children but also more gains for the jess! 
I am just over ten days out from body power and my current supplementation regime is as follows:
On waking - 1 Serving Boditronics Mass Attack Evo, 5g Creatine on rest days.
PreWorkout - 1 Serving RedMistv2
IntraWorkout - 1 Serving Intracell
PostWorkout - 1 Scoop Recover EX
PreBed - 1 Serving ZMA, 1 scoop Express whey in some low fat yogurt.

Dieting, Discipline and Deadlifts! Posted on 04 Apr 09:09 , 1 comment

I have started a dreaded diet; kind of….
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!
http://www.sportsfuel.org/collections/weight-gainers/products/mass-attack-juggernaut 
Red Mist v2 Preworkout - Properly doses, not overly 'Buzzy' great for hard sessions after a long week!
http://www.sportsfuel.org/collections/preworkouts/products/red-mist-v2-320g
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.
http://www.sportsfuel.org/collections/intraworkouts-aminos/products/boditronics-intracell-amino-explosion
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
http://www.sportsfuel.org/collections/recovery-cell-volumisers-and-creatine-products/products/boditronics-recovery-ex-limited-stock


A strangely factual post about my routine... Posted on 01 Apr 18:18 , 0 comments

A few people have asked so..

So thought I would upload my workout programme, it is not something I stick to religiously, I may vary what I do according to how my body feels on the day but its useful to have a guide or idea of what needs to be covered in a session.
It helps when my mind goes blank and I don’t want to look uncool so I surreptitiously look at my phone and voila I look competent again. 
It was designed by my partner the Rickster based on a variation of his old programme, a modified cube method. 
I am also two days in to a new diet also written by Rick, seeing as everyone in our house is food prep mad at the moment I thought being the easter holidays I would give it a go for a few weeks to see if I feel the benefits, right now I don't enjoy the restrictive feeling of having the same set of meals repeatedly, but I did have a good session, this may just be down to having a good nights sleep though!
I cant claim to be hugely interested, but the diet is based around 2450 calories on training days with a balance of 30% protein 40% Carbs and 30% fats mostly from fish nuts and coconut oil as well as my usual base of supplements, Red Mist, Intracell and Recover EX by Boditronics, Greens Freak by Pharma Freak and Dr Zaks Protein bread
WEEK ONE.
Day one, Pull - volume:
Deadlifts 60% 6 sets of 12.
Pull ups three sets to failure.
Bent over rows (tbar or dumbbell) 3 sets of 8.
Lat pull down or row machine 4 sets of 10.
Light good mornings 3x8.
One bicep exercise 4x8.
Day two, push - heavys chest bias. 
Flat bench. 1 set of 12 light, 1 set of 8 moderate, 1 set 5 heavy, 5 sets of 2-3 heavy as able.
Chest press 4 sets of 5
Cable flys 3 sets of 12
Dumbbell press 4 sets of 5
Tricep extensions cable 4 sets of 8 
Day three, legs - max.
Squats, as many warm up reps as required, up to a PB attempt.
Heavy lunges, 3 sets of 4
Heavy leg press 5 by 5 
Leg extension 3 by 15 
Leg curl 3 by 15
Day Four. Events training or conditioning/cardio and bits wanted to catch up on.
WEEK TWO
Day one, Pull - heavy:
Deadlifts 80% 6 sets of 5.
Pull ups three sets to failure.
Bent over rows (tbar or dumbbell) 3 sets of 5.
Lat pull down or row machine 4 sets of 10.
Moderate sldl 3x5.
One bicep exercise 4x8.
Day two, push - heavys shoulder bias. 
Seated shoulder press or standing if required. 1 set of 12 light, 1 set of 8 moderate, 1 set 5 heavy, 5 sets of 2-3 heavy as able.
Incline press 4 sets of 5
Dumbell lateral raises 3 sets of 12
Dumbbell shoulder press 4 sets of 5
Tricep extensions cable 4 sets of 8 
Day three, legs - volume.
Squats, 2 sets of 12, 2 sets of 8, 2 sets of 6, 2 sets of 4. All A2G
Lunges 4 sets of 12
leg press 5 by 12
Leg extension 3 by 10
Leg curl 3 by 10
Day Four. Events training or conditioning/cardio and bits wanted to catch up on.
WEEK THREE
Day one, Pull - heavy:
Deadlifts warm up to test max then 3 sets of 2 as heavy as possible.
Pull ups three sets to failure.
Bent over rows (tbar or dumbbell) 3 sets of 5.
Lat pull down or row machine 4 sets of 6
Rack pulls or shrugs on the smith. 
One bicep exercise 4x12.
Day two, push - volume. 
Flat bench 6 sets of 12
Incline press 4 sets of 10
Seated shoulder press 3 sets of 8
Dumbell front raises 3 sets of 10
Dumbbell shoulder press 4 sets of 5
Tricep dumbell extension 4 sets of 8
Day three, legs - triples.
Squats, warm ups to 85% 6 sets of 3 A2G
Front squats, 3 sets of 8
leg press 5 by 10
Leg extension 3 by 10
Leg curl 3 by 10
Day Four. Events training or conditioning/cardio and bits wanted to catch up on.
Return to week one. 

Perception Posted on 31 Mar 19:04 , 0 comments

Over the past few months of training I have looked occasionally in the mirror and seen small changes in the way I look, I have concentrated on strength gains and not focused on how that changes my physique, as I said to Rick last night I would rather eat a tub of ice cream and be strong then have abs.  
But as much as I think and believe in this statement, I look at myself in the mirror; my arms are bigger; my waist more defined; my quads and calves bigger (only slightly) I look like I lift heavy weight occasionally. This makes me happy, I can cope with losing a cup size if it means I can lift 20 kg heavier, to me this seems like a fair trade off. 
The sense of empowerment I get from walking into a gym, lifting a weight that no one expected me too is immense, I am sure it can be linked to some psychological need developed in childhood but who cares! 
Yesterday I noticed people looking at me in the weights room, normally I feel like this happens as being female sets off a small alarm only men can hear but as soon as I am plodding along with my own workout no one pays any attention.
Yesterday was different, people were watching at different stages of my workout, is this because I look like I lift now?
I am not saying people were thinking gosh I want to look like her, or phaw I like the look of that. It was more like curiosity or looking at something you find freakish ( I was in a commercial gym at the time, so a little bit of muscle is considered a lot)  In one woman’s case I am pretty sure she hadn't realised that mirrors are reflective and pointing to me and laughing is a rather big give away to what you are thinking. 
Did this bother me?
I spoke to Rick about it after, I have never been a person to want to stand out or get attention; much safer to hide in the back.
When I wear normal clothes I look very average but in gym clothes people can see how much hard work I have put into my body to make it as strong as possible, I am proud to lift iron not as a fad or as a way to get attention but because of the empowerment and clarity it provides for me.
Life is not easy, by making my self strong I am making sure I can survive and if it makes me look different to how I am expected to look, well I can live with that!

Who needs a dingle anyway? Posted on 15 Mar 10:44 , 0 comments

I have always felt like a strong female but had never tested it, I felt that the gym was not for me, I felt uncomfortable when going near any machine let alone the free weights.

I then met Rick, who was a strong man at the time, he introduced me to how to use different weights to get different results, my competitive nature took over.
I felt more powerful and self assured in the gym domain, who cares if i don't have a dingle? if i can lift then I have a right to be there!

Lots of interesting things have been going on in my training.I have managed to get my training days in around my busy work schedule; nothing beats training after a hard day at work, working out all the stress and negatives through lifting some iron.

My nutrition has been more consistent though trying to balance eating meals on time with working as a teacher can feel like an impossible task at times, however I managed a PB of 160kg without straps at 64 kgs BW. I don't always follow exactly what I am told or read but try to find what is comfortable for me and so far it’s paying off.

Now I just to need to get rid of the hitch!


Being pushed - Boulder Shoulders and making the most of what you have Posted on 17 Feb 11:39 , 0 comments

Training for four days a week, though tough to balance with work seems to be getting me to gainzville, slowly but surely.  

 

My lifts are progressing back up to where they need to be and my muscle memory is helping my body return to looking how it did last year, prehaps even a little bit better dare I say? 

 

I have stepped up my supplement and nutritional regime, its hard to ignore the results the boys have been getting recently from nailing everything down!

Im using Boditronics Isowhey through the day to help hit my protein macros and splash recovery post workout to make sure I'm not too sore the next day at work, the quick hit of carbs aminos and protein helps prevent me from crashing to hard after a big session too. I am also using Redmist pre workout to help me get over any tiredness before my workout and to help chase that 'pump' (which I still strongly dislike for the record!) this combined with doing a little meal prep to ensure I'm getting a good balance of nutrients through out the day has helped me progress well despite a busy schedule!

With this in mind and after an extremely hectic week I had the best ever shoulder session on Saturday night, I did the usual pre workout, one scoop of redmist with 150 mL of water. I made sure I had my Intra-workout as I always feel like I do better when using a intra-workout (currently Intracell by boditronics again but i do chop and change this) to keep my energy up during the session and unlike a bottle of Lucozade actually supports muscle recovery, bonus!

What made this session especially good was being pushed on by someone who knows my capabilities, I happened to be at the gym with fellow Strom monkey Mr Fox, who is a powerlifter and focuses on strength and conditioning.

Under Mr Fox's Guidance I couldn't get away with just doing my normal 3/4 sets of 8-10. I was made to pause the weights and lower them slowly, I was made to squeeze out that extra rep, there were drop sets, super sets and all sorts of horridness, but i cant deny it was effective!

It wasn't a heavy session but it felt like I had worked harder then I had before in my normal shoulder routine, I learnt new ways to activate the muscle group and as it’s not a particularly strong area I learnt how to push my muscles using pause reps.

Massive thank you to the fox, hopefully my upper body strength is well on the way to matching my lower body and I'm also hoping to put some of the principles in to practice in my other sessions!


Deadlifts and douches. Posted on 10 Feb 13:18 , 0 comments

Good news!

Strom is now fully open, the day was incredible, lots of motivated people packed into one room and I got to lift my atlas stone twice with the help from the Nic polley- getting the competitive juices flowing! Such fun!

I got to train with two very strong ladies in a local gym, and despite the gym telling us we should not wear work clothes (strom labelled gym clothes)it was a great session, swapping ideas and trying out new ways to workout.

Both ladies got many reps at 60 kg, a pb for one of the ladies who managed 26 reps. Very inspiring and helped drive my own training. With such heavy training sessions over the past four days I sought out a fav recovery product- the recovery ex splash from bodytronics. I do like protein shakes but can find after a good session a protein shake can lead me to feel bloated, the recovery product is like a squash and feels refreshing.

Apart from getting to wear some awesome new gym gear courtesy of Strom I was able to out fellow team mate Ben the badger Brunning at the Chinese in a plate challenge! I am feeling good and fueled up to keep on the steady progress I have been making to reaching and surpassing my previous bests.

Gym perspectives and interactions

What a strange place a gym is, you can interact and socialise with anybody from numerous walks of life and talk about something that though the goals are different, can be unifying. But can I say that whilst I welcome any advice and new perspectives from any person who lifts and a decent conversation about technique is always useful please don't assume that because I do not have male parts it means I need your poor advice that could lead to damage to my body in new and painful ways.

 


If someone's training and looks comfortable and happy, as long as they aren't going to immediately hurt themselves and if they are cracking on with determination, leave them alone, even if they have a lady garden... Especially if they have bigger muscles then you because they might actually know what they are doing. Rant over.


Stinky Mackerel Posted on 26 Jan 06:11 , 0 comments

It’s been a while…
Trying to balance the workload of an NQT and fit in the gym has been a massive struggle.

Whilst I get into the rhythm of my job the gym and diet has had to take a back burner.
Is this a common issue, fitting in the gym alongside a "normal non fitness orientated" job?

The lunch time stares as I whack out my protein shaker and stinky mackerel have not gone unnoticed, however i’ll ignore the quips of “if you drink that stuff you get big and bulky”
I wish it worked that way I tell them with a sardonic smile.

Life is never going to be less busy, lets face it so its priority time, whilst my job is fantastic and fulfilling I love lifting and I want to achieve and progress physically as well as professionally.

The word balance gets thrown around but I think it’s a case of spinning plates and accepting that sometimes the plates will come off and you just have to pop them back on and try again.

So I have jumped on the bandwagon that team strom seemed to leading, after all I can't be the only person not on the gainz train!
Whilst I work five days a week from half 7 to six I will be trying to eat cleaner and make healthier choices though I'm sure a choccy bar might accidentally fall into my prepared meals for the day ( theres nothing like a bit of chocolate to make teaching a bit easier).

As a result of scheduling my training will fall on four consecutive days a week (Friday through Monday) with a workout twice on a Saturday.

Bed will be calling my name early most nights and I might not have the most thrilling social calendar but at this point in my life I think I'm okay with that as long as my deadlift improves!

Is it possible to progress on this kind of regime? I see no reason why not! I'm planning on some one rep max attempts in around four weeks to watch this space!