You can do more than you think you can

A few weeks ago, my grandboss left for a new job. I was pretty sad about it– she really helped me to grow in my career. So at her going-away gathering, I stood up and shared how much I appreciated that she always encouraged me to take on new things and helped me when I floundered doing those new things– and her response was so wondeful: "You can do more than you think you can." Which is a great mindset to take into every part of my life.

So using that as a frame for my workout the last couple days, I feel like I went above and beyond my own expectations, even when it was tough. I wound up splitting the 5x5A workout over 2 sessions for time reasons, but it was good because I could really focus in on its pieces.

Thursday was rough, I was short on sleep and Tuesday’s squats were brutal and I was still sore. Thought about skipping squats, doing fewer sets, doing lighter sets. Instead, I put another 5lb on the bar and crushed it. Then I farted around trying to get the power rack set up to bench with safety bars, but never really got it settled and ran out of time. I hate benching with yoga blocks under my feet.

Squat – 5x2x45lb, 5x115lb, 5x135lb (warmup), 5x5x155lb
Bench – warmup, lots of trying to configure the power rack, a couple reps at 115lb

Friday– short on sleep again, surprise surprise. It’s hard to recover when I can’t get to sleep. But I showed up ready to get my bench workout done, wasn’t sure how it would turn out because bench has been really tough and humbling for me lately.

Bench – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x65lb, 5x95lb (warmup), 5x5x115lb, 2x5x95lb (narrow grip)
Row – 5x5x85lb
Bonus: Biceps, mucho triceps, lats, pecs, shoulders

The bench sets were ugly. I hard failed twice– there was another bench sitting next to me, and I could drop the bar onto it, slide it down to my lap, and wriggle out, but I got J to spot my last set (which was good because I failed). 2 of the 5 had a little rest between reps 1-3 and 4-5. It was a mess but I feel good about the progress today, it’s an improvement from last week. And then I did rows and a mass of accessory work to hit my weak triceps and some other stuff. Gonna be sore tomorrow.

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Recovery Wednesday

Hustled to the gym first thing this morning for a short workout: 20 min elliptical, then some yoga and foam rolling. I’m lightly all over sore after yesterday’s workout– except for my lower back, which is feeling more sore. Hopefully this little bit of activity gets some blood flowing.

My boss and I have a little check-in meeting every Wednesday, and I don’t have a lot to report out this week so I want to take some time and pick his brain on time management strategies. My productivity needs to be higher because I’m having a hard time keeping up with my workload, but doing things like working all evening at home both sucks from a work-life point of view and is non-helpful because I’m too tired to make good progress. Plus I feel like I’m not spending quality time with my husband and that’s really detrimental.

Well, it’s time to set up for the first meeting of many today… wish me luck smashing the rest of my day.

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I can see the top from here

5x5B today: squats, OHP and deadlift. It was a tough workout today, and I suspect that I’m getting closer to the weights where I’ll start failing reps. I hate failing reps; I hate being close to failing. At that point it becomes a mental game and I start spending more time staring at the bar than lifting it (it doesn’t get lighter the longer you look at it) and my jaw hurts from gritting my teeth. And then I start worrying about injury when I’m grinding out reps. It’s just no fun.

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 5x95lb (warmup), 5x5x150lb
OHP – 2x5x45lb (warmup), 5x5x70lb
Deadlift – 5x185lb (warmup), 5x215lb
Bonus: back extensions, KB side bends, ball crunches, jackknifes, plank, farmers walk

Squat was something of a surprise. The first set was gawdawful and I was tempted to take some weight off. But after that it got easier, I think my hips and ankles were stretched out some and the force vector was back where it needed to be and the next 4 sets were all right. OHP at 70lb was a grind; don’t know if that’s ready for another 5lb next time. I think I can add to deadlift for a little while longer, but it’s getting challenging. I wound up with a long pause after rep 4, psyching myself up for the 5th, and the 5th went up with a barbaric yawp. I try not to make too much noise in the gym, but c’mon, rep 5, it happens. Also, thank goodness for Liquid Grip.

(weight loss junk ahead; feel free to skip) So just for some context here, and to explain why all my lifts have gotten lighter and my runs have gotten faster: I’ve lost about 50lb (doing that low carb thing, if you’re curious). I’m living in a body with a much different configuration these days, and coming back to lifting has been tough and humbling. My (probably unrealistic) goal is to get my lifts back to where they were before the big cut. Lots of work ahead if I want to get there. This blog is less accurately named these days, too… don’t know if I should change it, or let it stay as a record of my journey so far…

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Catching up

Yeah, this blog seems to have fallen towards the bottom of my list of priorities. Thankfully workouts have not. I’ll gladly post less if I have more time to run. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Friday: treadmill 5k. My dumb tracker said it was the fastest 5k I’d ever done. I think it lies, the speed on the treadmill was different and it doesn’t really count anyway because flat. Regardless, it was a good run.

Saturday: omg guess what happened! I asked my husband if he wanted to go for a run and he said yes! So we put on our shoes and headed out, I coaxed him into a slow and steady pace (he’s the type of person who would rather sprint, he’s actually really fast but only for a very short time) and he powered through an entire 3 miles with only one walking break after a big hill. I was amazed. It took me months to be able to run a damn mile. I’m just super proud of him. :) Now the question is, will he ever run again? He’s so sore right now, he’s been hobbling around for a couple days…

Today (Monday): Short on time, hurried out for 30 minutes between meetings (called into my after meeting still in my running clothes with sweaty face). Fit in 2.72mi so that’s not half bad.

That’s about all. Back in the weight room tomorrow.

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Struggles and weaknesses

Today’s workout was a put-my-head-down-and-get-to-work-stravaganza. It’s been a while since I was this physically and emotionally tired after a lifting session. Ironically, I made a point to get really good sleep last night– so no idea how much of a mess it would’ve been if I’d shown up tired at the start.

Squat was good, weights still going up without too much fuss (but still a fair bit of effort). Bench, though– not so good. I added 5lb for 115lb and struggled to get to 4, then recruited a spotter so I could continue without worrying about getting pinned. Made another set of 5, then started failing, dropped some weight off, got 5, put a little bit back on, got 4– and called it a day. My spotter (one of the gym staff) called out a weakness on my right side; my left side was leading.

Once I got to the accessory work today it became obvious that the weakness was my right tricep– doing skullcrushers with a plate I realized that my left arm was doing most of the work. This is really useful information to have, so I can put a little extra work in and even it out. I also want to shift my bench away from heavy dependence on triceps, so need more chest work too.

Squat – 5x45lb, 2x5x95lb (warmup), 5x5x145lb
Bench – 2x4x45lb (warmup), 4x115lb, 5x115lb, 3x115lb, 5x105lb, 4x110lb
Row – 5x5x80lb
Bonus: biceps, triceps, b/o one arm row, lat PD, delt fly (wanted to do more, but I was exhausted and running short on time!)

My husband’s made a commitment to getting to bed an entire hour earlier. I can definitely use more sleep, and even if I go to bed first his flailing around getting ready for bed will wake me up. Yesterday I was in bed just after 9, but he was late and woke me up again at 10. It’ll get better if he sticks with it.

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Two long workouts

Phew. Yesterday’s first: since I had an unplanned day off (glad to be back in the office today!) and excellent weather, I took advantage of that and went for a long run. Initially I dialed in 5 miles, but by the time I got to 3.5 I was like "why not 6?" and then I was like "why not an even 10k?" and then I was like "why not the fastest 10k I’ve ever run?" So… that’s what I wound up doing. 6.26 miles in 1:10:35. I was pretty pleased to improve on previous 10k paces by around a minute per mile, and it felt luxurious to be able to do a long run on a weekday, too.

Today I was back in the weight room for a 5×5 B workout. My hip flexors are a little tired from all the running, but it worked out fine and all my lifts felt strong and good. The accessory work today was harder than the big lifts!

Squat – 2x5x45lb, 2x5x95lb (warmup), 5x5x140lb
OHP – 2x5x45lb (warmup), 5x5x65lb (same as last time, will bump next week)
Deadlift – 5x135lb (warmup), 5x205lb
Bonus: back extensions, farmers walk, planks, weighted ball crunches, weighted side bends – all the good core stuff

I’m definitely looking forward to eating lunch in a few minutes…

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Friday in the weight room

TGIF and it’s bench day to boot. *tired happy dance*

Squat, bench and OHP on the agenda for today. Bench and OHP are not supposed to be on the same day, but I swapped OHP and rows last time so I get double presses today. My arms and chest are toast. Squat went better than I expected, though I didn’t bump the weight up from last time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do 5×5 either, but it turned out okay and I powered through.

I tried to do my bench warmups like Jen Thompson, with a little somethin’ under my lower back to stretch out the spine and get more arch. All I could find was a small medicine ball and it was really too big and my lower back feels a little crunchy now. This workout also took approximately forever, despite half-assing my warmups.

Squat – 2x5x45lb (warmup), 5x5x135lb
Bench – 2x5x45lb (warmup), 5x5x110lb
OHP – 5x5x65lb
Bonus – biceps, delt raises, lat PDs (no triceps, thanks double presses)

I didn’t blog yesterday due to work crazy but I did a very easy 30 minutes on the elliptical just to justify taking a shower at the gym. That’s a good portion of my motivation to work out most days…

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