In order to get into writing this post, I need to rewind my brain to before the morale-crushing meeting I just led. (I have Great Old Ones in my ears, very loud, because that’s just how today is going. Also channeling Aggretsuko.)

Okay. Earlier today, before my soul was destroyed, I went to the gym for a bench workout and some accessory work. My dudes, I am tired. I had a squat/DL workout yesterday, and in the evening I went out on a run with my husband and tackled 3 miles of hills. Then I slept poorly and when I got to the gym I was already wiped out. (I should’ve had a rest day in between, but I’m taking tomorrow off and therefore no gym to do bench in.) The 5x5A workout also has squat and row, but I opted to just bench today.

Bench – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x95lb, (2×3)x125lb, 2x125lb, 3x5x120lb
Bonus: Back extensions, biceps, triceps, B/O dumbbell row, kettlebell side bends, plank, foam rolling

Bench didn’t go very well. I had hoped to add weight and do some strong sets at 125lb, but it just wasn’t happening for me today. I gutted out as long as I felt safe, and then took some weight off and finished the 5 sets. I was disappointed; my last bench session went so well and I was sure I’d be able to add 5lb without a problem. Oh well, next time I’ll try again.

It was nice to have time to do the accessory work I’ve been neglecting and spend some time with the foam roller (brutal but so good).

Back to work, and comforting myself somewhat with no matter how stupid today is going, I have tomorrow off. (And I’m painting a bedroom again, but not thinking about that right now…)

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Upper limit problem?

I wedged in exactly 1 hour of lifting this morning before starting my day. The lifts are getting pretty heavy now and, although my ultimate goal is to continue getting stronger and adding weight to the bar, I’m starting to feel like … at what cost progress?

Squat – 5x45lb, 2x5x135lb, 5x5x180lb
OHP – 5x45lb, 5x5x75lb
Deadlift – 5x135lb, 5x205lb, fail@245lb, 5x235lb

Squats were belted again and 180lb went up with some effort. I don’t mind grinding reps with a belt on; I can isolate doing the work with my legs better and not worry about my back. On the other hand I should be careful to continue the core work to support the weight (which I haven’t been as diligent with).

OHP was still hard but not as super hard as last time. If I could add like 2lb not 5lb it might be okay. I guess we’ll see how I feel next week.

Deadlifts though– a mess. I opted to go up 10lb from last week’s hot mess, but that bar was stuck to the dang floor. Too soon! So I dropped it back to 235lb and did 5. So remember Angry QL? That was on the right side. Today my left QL is making its presence known– not a strain or anything, just saying "wtf u doin?" My back has been super crunky as it is (being hunched over painting will do that) so I think I just need some rest and mebs a massage. I’m debating skipping squats in my next workout and just doing bench and rows to get some extra rest.

Tonight my husband wants to go for a run. Which is yay– but it’s gonna be on tired legs…

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So much going on

It’s been a while since I updated! I’ve been pretty light on workouts lately; life has been busy. Big win though: my husband is going running with me a couple times a week now! They’re not fast or long runs but I’m okay with that (okay, mostly). On Saturday we went out for just about 3 miles, and he wasn’t sore the next day, which is a good sign.

This weekend was pretty intense. My friend was in town and since she loves to eat that meant going out for dinner Friday and Saturday (sushi, sausage and snow crab for me, it works!) We also went to an open house Saturday– the house was just up the road from my inlaws, and I think that was a no-go for both of us, really. On Sunday the real estate agents we’re hiring to list the condo came to visit and see the place, and they suggested that we should have all the prep work done in a month and get it listed as early as we can. This is going to be interesting; we have a ton to do. They were also a bit more optimistic than we are about the market in our area, so that was nice to hear even if I’m not sure I believe them.

So after all that I was motivated to get started and since I had Monday off it became paint-a-bedroom day. I cleared out all the stuff from the spare bedroom and spent from 9am to 8pm painting (ceiling, trim, walls). It was a very long day, but I’m glad to have a sense of how much I can do in one person-day. (Especially since we’ve got 2 more bedrooms and the sprawling main area to do yet.)

Today I’m body tired with sore hands from all the rollering and it was supposed to be a squat/OHP/deadlift day but I noped that and did 30 light minutes on the elliptical with a stretch instead. I’ll lift tomorrow.

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Dragging; lifting

Feeling pretty beat down today, and glad this is my last lifting session of the week, I need a rest. Yesterday I had 2 little cardio sessions– I went and elliptical’d and stretched in the late morning, and then my husband wanted to go for a run when we got home from work. (Running with my valentine!) Neither of them was very strenuous, but maybe it’s cumulative because I feel tired today.

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x135lb, 5x5x175lb
Bench – 10x45lb, 2x5x95lb, 5x5x120lb
Row – 5x5x90lb (still heavy)

I’m starting to love squatting with a belt on. I just worry so much less about my back, and I can focus in on my legs doing what they’re supposed to. Not that my back is less sore or anything– it’s just not sore/hurting when I’m lifting. Bench was a little grindy but thanks to some velocity and careful set up all the sets went up fine. I’m glad to have some confidence back! And rows, well, they were crappy and 90lb is probably too heavy because my form is suffering a little but I’m not taking weight off darnit, my muscles can catch up.

I have potentially a 4 day weekend, or at least 3.5 if I need to work a little tomorrow. This weekend my good friend is back in town for Chinese New Year and she wants to go out for dinner Friday and Saturday so I’m looking forward to that. Other things on the agenda include: tidying up the house for the realtor’s visit and inspection on Sunday (YESSSSS it’s finally happening) and probably a long run at some point. And some sleep… sweet blessed sleep…

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Trying on a belt

Today is a weird day– I drove in to work super early, since I have to drive folks to a coworker’s funeral today. I’m glad we can carpool, it kind of encourages people to go too– the family might appreciate our little contingent paying our respects and sharing some nice memories.

Since I was in by 6:30am, I went straight to the gym and got started with my 5x5B workout. It was crowded in the weight room, but no one was using the barbells, it was a bunch of dudes doing dips and curls. This made it easy for me; I could have 2 racks set up at a time and get my warmups going between work sets.

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x115lb, 5x5x170lb
OHP – 2x5x45lb, 5x5x75lb
Deadlift – 5x135lb, 5x205lb, (2,3)x235lb

I did my first set of squats and my lower back just felt crunky (it usually does). Then I had a brainwave: put a belt on! I’ve never lifted with a belt before (cue debate about building core strength vs lifting more), but now that these are getting heavy it’s probably not a bad idea. I grabbed one from the wall (note to self, get own belt), put it on nice and tight, did my Valsalva against it and banged out 4 more sets without much problem and, most importantly, without my lower back hurting. Belt works! And I liked it so much I kept it on for OHP and deadlift too.

OHP@75lb was really hard and grind-y, so I’m stuck there for another week or two. Deadlift might be getting towards the top of what I want to rep. My set of 5 was a set of 3, a short break, and 2 more, though it went okay. I was drinking coffee during my workout and I remembered why I don’t do that when I had some pee come out :-/ And my pants were light enough that it showed quite clearly (no puddle at least!) So after DL I called it a day and skipped accessory lifts.

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2 more runs in the books

Once again, I’m behind logging my runs. I’m putting this down to the fact that I’m doing such a good job fitting them into busy days that I don’t have time to write about them…

On Saturday my husband suggested– suggested!— we go out for a run, a little bit shorter this time (he was pretty hobble-y after the first 3 miler). So we ran 1.5 miles, I let him set the pace and I think he may have learned what going out too hard feels like– the first run was like 13’00” and this one was 11’30” and he was pretty pooped. And then we went to the mall with friends and walked all over the place and he was all tired out with sore feet.
Today I crammed a run into my afternoon since the weather turned nice (solo, this time)– got out for a 5k around the neighborhood before the sun set. I surprised myself; I didn’t feel like I was going very fast but I was only off my PR 5k pace by a few seconds/mile and wrapped it up in 33:34. I guess I’m continuing to get faster, despite running a lot less these days. That’s cool.
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Confidence building

tl;dr/BLUF: Bench is going up, life is good.

Thanks to more work junk, I got to the gym late so my time there was significantly compressed. Today was squat/bench/row day, but after my warmup squat sets I decided that my hips were not quite ready for 165lbs and deferred that workout to tomorrow. (Jen Thompson, I blame you and your one heavy squat workout every 8 days for that decision… jkjk I love you) But this did give me time to get the other two lifts done.

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 5x135lb (warmup)
Bench – 10x45lb, 10x95lb (warmup), 5x5x115lb, 1x120lb, 1x125lb, 1x130lb
Row – 5x5x90lb (heavyyyyyy)

Last week I was struggling hard with bench@115lb, missing reps, dropping weight off the bar and just feeling terrible. This week all 5 sets went up without a problem, I didn’t even feel like I needed a spot for the 5th. Since it went so well, I was feeling super confident and asked J to spot me for some singles. Those all went up easy too, even 130lb! So now I’m feeling much better about bench. (Might have done a happy dance in the weight room…)

My mind was in a tough place the past couple weeks; I was comparing my 1RM at 50lb heavier to what I was trying to rep recently and 115lb felt a long way away from my old 160lb 1RM. But the singles today were just what I needed to start feeling like I was making progress on bench again. I’ve got my form dialed in, I’m building strength in my chest to support the adjustments, and I’m ready to get to work.

And tomorrow, time to hit those 165lb squats! Plus all the accessory work I haven’t been able to fit in this week.

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