More accidental gym PRs

I did it again!

Squat – 2x215lb, 185lbx(5,2)
Deadlift – 2x215lb
Leg press – 3x10x300lb
Glute bridge – 3x10x115lb
Leg extension – 3x10x95
Leg curl – 3x10x95

Remember how last leg day I was musing how putting 45lb and 35lb plates on the bar was no joke? Well, I put that on the bar this morning, stared at it for like 5 minutes, did 2 reps, nearly failed the second (first time I’ve come close to failing squats! didn’t think I was gonna get up) racked the bar and went "wtf was that?" And then realized that’s how I load deadlifts… that was 215lb. And I had a good laugh, unloaded it, and did a set at 185, realized my back was toast, did 2 more and decided that was enough. Of course, then I put more weight on leg press too so this workout was all extra extra.

It’s reassuring, both in the gym and in my life, that I am stronger than I think. If I can set aside fear, I can handle a lot more than I’d ever imagined.

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Finding strength

Push day today, with a notable lack of enthusiasm. Lack of enthusiasm has been plaguing me lately.

Bench – 2x140lb, 4x5x130lb
OHP – 4x5x65lb
Tricep – 3x10x45lb
Shrug – 3x10x30lb
Lateral raise – 3x10x45
Rope pushdown – 3x10x100
Pecs (machine) – 3x10x100

I was math-challenged when loading bench, and put an extra 10lb on and didn’t realize it. I reluctantly started lifting it, thought to myself, damn this is hard today! and racked it after 2 reps, and started berating myself for being weaksauce. (Wasn’t in a good mood this morning.) Then I started counting plates… and realized my mistake. And was kind of shocked, because 2 months ago at the comp I failed at my 135lb tries, and here I am putting 140lb up for 2 reps without too much trouble. Moral of the story, I can lift more if you don’t tell me how much I’m lifting, I guess?

Right now I’m facing… some challenges… around the wedding. My partner and I chose a great officiant to perform our secular wedding ceremony, and she happens to be a lesbian. Well, over the weekend I was talking about the rehearsal dinner with my very religious mom (who was already upset about the lack of God in the ceremony) and mentioned that the officiant and her wife would be invited and apparently that was the last straw for my mom. She cut that conversation off very abruptly, then called me back in tears and said how could I do this to them, why do I have to rub everything in her face, didn’t they raise me to be a good Christian girl, how could I do this… and then hung up on me. My mom has never hung up on me…

It’s been a stressful few days. I haven’t contacted her, figuring that she needs time to cool off and process and that she might call me when she’s ready, but in the meanwhile my brain has been doing a lot of risk analysis and contingency planning. (Like, what might I do if the person who’s handling the caterer and cake and tent and flowers decides they’re not going to do that anymore? Pizza seems to be a good solution.) I don’t like uncertainty at the best of times, and definitely not when it’s time to do the finishing touches and cruise into the wedding.

And of course I’m deeply disappointed that, of all the things that could go wrong before my wedding, it would be my parents’ homophobia that caused the biggest rift. I knew that getting married would force them to come to terms with my non-belief, which is one of the reasons I wasn’t in a big hurry. But I’m determined to have this wedding on my terms, in all its secular, feminist, pro-same sex marriage glory. I’ll compromise a million times on the reception, but the ceremony is for me and my fiancee and this is how we want to do it.

So now I just have to keep moving forward and not get too distracted by all this, and ignore the ball of sadness and disappointment and anxiety that lives in the pit of my stomach.

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Flip turns, whaaaaaaaat?!

I ran some errands this morning and got back just about when the pool opened, so I put on my suit and went down to swim laps before anyone else showed up. Unfortunately, someone else had the same idea and arrived before me, so I had to wait my turn.

But then I had the bright idea that this would be the perfect time to finally try doing flip turns in a low-pressure environment– I wasn’t actually swimming laps, so I could just take my time and experiment. A few days ago I watched this video, which was really helpful in breaking down the turn, so I followed those steps.

Well, the first thing that happened was I got the entire pool of water up my nose. I’m usually fine with breathing out through my nose but I couldn’t quite get it. After several unpleasant bouts of sputtering I remembered that my partner always uses a nose clip– so I ran home to borrow it. And it worked! (I hate not being able to breathe through my nose, though. Hopefully I can figure that out.)

As it started to gel, I put the steps together and swam across the short deep end a few times, flipped, swam back, flipped. Biggest problem was, with a 3stroke pattern, I kept getting out of breath– the short lengths didn’t give me a lot of time to catch my breath after the flip. Switching to 2 strokes/breath helped a little. It was hard to determine where to start the flip– too close and I got all tangled up, too far and I couldn’t kick off. And gauging my depth when I was gliding on my back was tough; I kept angling down and having a much longer time than I wanted getting back to the surface (not helping with the out of breath!)

I practiced for nearly an hour (that other person kept swimming laps on and off the whole time, too) and now I’m exhausted! It was so tiring. But I think I’ve kind of got it. I’m going to watch that video again now and see how to get better.

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Shut up, brain

I was the first person in the pool today after it opened, getting my workout in before the kids showed up. I felt like everything just gelled today– I had strong laps and finished the set of 20 a minute faster than usual. Not that I really time myself accurately, but a whole minute out of ~30, that’s pretty cool. I focused on keeping up a nice strong kick and imitating a swimmer I watched in a video recently, who sliced the water like a hot knife through butter, with barely a splash. I finished up with a little breath work– a lap of 4 strokes per breath and a lap of 5 strokes per breath (agh!)

It is known that I can never get my brain to shut up. This is probably 85% of my sleep issues– it just keeps going on, despite all the tricks I try (asking my monkey brain to watch breath? counting backwards from 1000 by 7s? nope!) But somehow, when I’m in the pool, I can focus in a really unique way. For a little while, the only thing on my brain is counting strokes and laps. It promotes this kind of meditative, relaxing state, despite working fairly hard physically. It’s lovely.

Maybe I’m just not meant to be a land creature. I’m so much happier in the water.

I have a lot of fun with scuba diving, but it’s not as… carefree? as I’d like. I have to keep an eye on my buddy, watch my air, monitor my buoyancy, navigate. Maybe as I gain skill it’ll become less work. (Mostly I worry about losing the boat! I get lost easily.) But there are plenty of moments of joy and wonder, when I just get to hang out and watch the ocean go by. Can’t wait to get back…

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can’t recover if I can’t sleep

Pull day started with a 15 minute run at a leisurely pace on sore, sore legs. "What’s good after leg day? I know, let’s go for a run!" Oooh, it was a drag. Then I started in on the rest:

Barbell row – 4x5x95lb
Bicep curl – 3x10x25lb
Bent-over row – 3x10x30lb
Lat pulldown – 3x10x37
Face pull – 3x10x90
Seated row – 3x10x70

Someday I’d like to be able to bump the weight up on barbell rows. Someday.. Don’t know why this is such a tough one for me! It’s time to put more weight on the bent-over row, and another 10 on seated row was hard. I did make it through all 3 sets of bicep curls at the new, higher weight, this time– yay!

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. A few months ago, I started taking a little 3mg melatonin before bed, and it seemed to help a lot– I could finally fall asleep in a timely fashion! That bottle ran out, and I couldn’t find the same kind, so I went to 5mg– and I swear it doesn’t work. I ought to just wean myself off it altogether; I’m pretty sure it’s not meant for everyday use.

Usually, if I can’t sleep in the bedroom with my partner for whatever reason, I take my pillow and blankets to the guest bedroom and fall asleep promptly after that. Not lately! I toss and turn for hours more.

We go to bed at 10:30pm and I’m realizing that, if I can’t get to sleep until 2am, I’m wasting 3 hours that I could be using for something productive. That’s probably not the best attitude to take.

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Hungry workout

I was sitting in my cubicle today dreading leg day, just feeling like I should skip it. I’m tired. I’m sore! But I got called downstairs anyway, so I figured I might as well take my gym bag with me when I headed down. So I kind of just fell into my workout today.

Squat – 2x5x175lb, 5x185lb, 5x190lb
Deadlift – 2x5x215lb
Leg press – 3x10x275lb
Glute bridge – 3x10x135lb
Leg extension – 3x10x95
Leg curl – 3x10x95

I was excited for big squats again– next time I’m going to have to start at 185lb maybe? That just looks intimidating – a 45lb plate and a 35lb plate on the bar ain’t no joke. I was using smaller plates since I started at 175. I also went heavier with the glute bridges, which ironically made it easier– using the 45lb plates means I can easily scoot the bar over my legs– I had to lift the bar and wriggle under it with the 35lb plates. And it’s time to put more weight on leg press, too.

So I’ve shifted over to doing all my lifting workouts fasted– I have some protes after, and shortly after that, eat lunch. I’m usually fine in the morning, but mid-workout I’m ravenous! I wonder if that has something to do with my lack of energy in the morning? I’m not sure what I can do for a light breakfast with 0 work that meets my nutrition needs. I’ve been waking up 20 minutes before I have to leave, which is enough time to throw coffee into my face (I’ve been putting ice in it so I can drink it faster), get dressed, gather my things and get out the door. I was looking at bars but they all have a zillion carbs.

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Weird muscle gendering

I’m still tired and crunky-feeling, and I went to the gym all like ‘meh’. I was tempted to just stay on the treadmill and warmup forever (I ran for 15 minutes instead of 10). But after I got started I felt a little better. (But really hungry!)

Bench press – 4x5x130lb
Overhead press – 4x5x75lb
Triceps – 3x10x45lb
Shrug – 3x10x30lb each hand
Lateral raise – 3x10x45
Rope pushdown – 3x10x100
Machine pec fly – 10x(80,100,100)

Bench went well today– I finally made 5 reps in my last set! Took me long enough, eh? Now I’ll sit there for a week or two before going up to 135lb. Which is kind of daunting! I failed hardcore at my 135lb attempts in the comp. I’ve been having issues with OHP, though– I’m feeling the load in my lower back in a way that I don’t like. I suspect I’m overarching my back to try to help with the lift. It might be time to back off the weight on that one a little…

The lateral raise machine faces the wall where there are two posters of muscle anatomy, one for men and one for women. The men’s poster has front, back and side views holding a barbell, and each muscle group is labeled and has relevant exercises. The women’s poster has a front and 3/4 side view where the woman has flowing hair and is contorted into some unnatural not-quite-pigeon pose position holding tiny dumbbells. Half the muscle groups are missing and there are very few "heavy" exercises (but did you know "bicycle exercises", whatever those are, work the abs?) Oh, and did I mention her pecs are shaped like boobs?

Occasionally I have to explain to men that, for the most part aside from some ROM shortening with exercises that bring the bar to the chest, women do their lifts just the same way as men do. We have the same muscles and they’re in the same places. You’d never know from looking at those posters, though.

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