Random Personal Update

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday? I know, who says that.

Apparently, ladies who just gave birth.

I'm pretty low on sleep and have about a million work things to do before the next set of relatives join us for the rest of the week (t-minus 30-min, not looking good for me getting everything done).

So, I'm just going to do a short round-up of some miscellaneous posts and a personal update:

  • Alex Hutchinson has the breakdown of an interesting study regarding diet and hydration relating to workload at Sweatscience. It's title says it all: Nutrition and Hydration: Science 1, Experience 0. Pretty cool info, especially if you think your body operates on some different plane than everyone else (it doesn't).
  • This morning I received a link from Brian Levenson directing me to a Ted talk called Philippe Petit: The journey across the high wire. If you've got about 20-minutes to spare check it out, the main points are about magic (yes, like magic tricks), pursuing your passion, and doing the impossible.
  • My new favorite equipment supplier for both commercial and home applications is Rogue Fitness. Their stuff is made is the USA, comes at very reasonable prices, and - best of all - they don't "bend you over" on shipping rates. Sorry for the imagery. I just ordered a few things for our backyard and anticipate using them heavily for SAPT orders in the future.

Personal update: I know most people who read Saptstrength.com also frequent Stronggirlswin.com, so you're probably aware of the "self-experiment" I've been running on myself throughout this pregnancy.

Now, that the birth is over, I'm beginning a new self-experiment that will last from Duke's birthday of May 23rd through the beginning of the fall semester at Mason (August 27th). That's just short of 15-weeks.

My personal goal is pretty darn simple:see if I can get myself into a BodPod measured and confirmed 14-16% body fat level. Why? Well, over the last 3-years I've been pregnant for a total of 20-months and spent the other non-pregnant 16-months learning how to balance being a mom with work.

But, another EXTREMELYimportant goal for me is to provide proof of success and, eventually, a framework for other new moms to gain motivation and direction from.

I simply don't agree with the idea that once you have kids you have to accept a body that you don't really want.

I'm quite excited and anxious to spend some serious and focused time working on ME. I'll be documenting this process and progress over at Stronggirlswin.com.

Whoooo Hoooo, Happy Tuesday!

2012 USAPL Richmond Open: Meet Results

I competed in the 2012 USAPL Richmond Open this past weekend and it was a huge success for me.  I hit a PR in the squat and deadlift as well as my meet total!  I competed at 181 and weighed in Saturday morning at 180.9 after cutting about 10lbs (first time I’ve had to cut weight).  For anyone who read my post last week you know that I was very unsure going into the meet so for me to come out with PRs and meeting my goal of an 1100lbs total (finished with 1136lbs)is a huge deal for me.  So without wasting any more time here is the video compilation of my attempts...

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The only thing that even remotely ruffled my feathers as far as judging went was on my squat.  On my first attempt I got red lighted for my depth even though I felt I was below parallel.  Then on my second I got a white light but the judge still told me I was almost high.  So for good measure on my third attempt I decided to hang out in the bottom so there wouldn’t be any question.

Bench press went alright.  I was hoping to get around 325 but after my second attempt I only took a little jump.  After all the trouble I’d been having with my shirt I was just glad to get on the board.  After watching the videos I noticed a bunch of problems.  My arch wasn’t as big as it could have been, I tucked my elbows too much then I didn’t flare them on the way up (this causes a loss in leverage), and for the position I started in I hit to low on my chest which threw off my whole stroke.

My deadlift went a lot better than expected.  I actually feel like I could have gone much heavier on my last one but whatever I got the weight and the total. I still need to sit back into my heels more and pull back more as opposed to standing straight up which is very evident on my last attempt.

Right now my upcoming goals are to get stronger and continue to refine my technique on my lifts.  I don’t like saying that I have to work on my weak points because as far as I’m concerned everything is weak and it all needs to be worked on.  Is this the wrong attitude to have? Absolutely not, as I’ve stated before I don’t like feeling content.  The moment I feel content and that I’m strong is the moment that I stop working hard and I don’t ever want to stop working hard.

I want to congratulate Carson on his first meet, he did a great job and we are all very proud of him.  I also want to thank everyone who came out to support me and who helped me out with my training and everything else.  Thanks to Gabe Naspinski who did my programming and also congratulations to him as well for totaling 2100 pounds at his meet in Tampa! Sean was a great training partner and it was a shame he couldn’t attend but he had some very important things to do in New York but thanks again man!  My friend and current SAPT intern Tadashi was my handler for the whole thing and did an awesome job taking the stress off me, wrapping my knees, picking weights, etc. so thanks a lot man I couldn’t have done it without you.  Steve was there to handle Carson but helped me out as well, he is a great friend and I’m glad he came down.

Tim Henriques was in attendance with his powerlifting team as well.  Tim is someone that I look up to in this industry and for him to help out and lend his support like he did was a huge deal for me so thanks Tim!

SAPT’s longtime client and friend Ron came down, which was awesome that he would take a whole Saturday to support Carson and I, thanks Ron!  Two of my buddies who I’ve been friends with for as long as I can remember came out as well which was cool for me to share this experience with them, thanks guys.  Part of my family made the trek to Richmond too.  This meant the world to me so thanks to my sisters, Sissy and Stephanie and to my nephew Trevor who is one of my best friends so that was doubly awesome that he came out.

Last but certainly not least I really want to thank my girlfriend Shannon for everything she did, has done, and will do.  She learned very quickly how important competing in powerlifting is for me and she jumped right on board. Without any hint of boredom or annoyance she listens to me day in and day out talk about my training successes and struggles which very few people can pull off.  She watches my videos and reads my articles and doesn’t think twice about it.  She made the trip with me to Philadelphia to spend two days watching a powerlifting meet that I wasn’t even in!  She even drove Tadashi and me to this meet and spent 7 hours waiting to film me and support me for only the 3 total minutes that I was on the platform.  I am truly lucky to have her in my life so thank you Shannon, I love you very much!

2012 USAPL Richmond Open: Opening Attempts

The 2012 USAPL Richmond Open is a couple days away and I’ve officially switched into competition mode.  This has been a very up and down training cycle.  I’m attributing this to trying to get used to my gear and my own impatience.  This is my first geared competition (single-ply) and I spent FAR too much time trying to get a lot of weight out of my gear.  I rushed into trying to get a lot of support out of my gear which in hindsight was the worst thing I could have done, why?  People spend years trying to figure out and use their equipment correctly; I tried to figure it all out in about 11 weeks.  This took all of my energy and focus off the NUMBER ONE thing…. Getting stronger!  Instead of spending those 11 weeks trying to get the most weight out of my equipment I should have just been trying to get stronger.  After all this time I’ve gotten VERY little help out of my equipment and didn’t get much stronger at all.  It was extremely impatient and immature of me to do that and trust me when I say I have learned from my mistakes.  I know now that learning the gear will come I just need to focus on getting strong.  With all that said I’ve sat down and examined everything that has gone on and what I hope to accomplish out of the meet and it’s quite simple…. Perform to the best of my abilities and get at least an 1100 pound total. I put all of this behind me a couple days ago and am now completely focused on the positive.  I can tell everyone one thing, no one will compete as hard as me and no one will leave it all on the platform like I will.

Opening Attempts...

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  

-Theodore Roosevelt

Another Sugary Experience

I have to expand on a portion of my post on StrongGirlsWin.com from yesterday: the 3-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test. So, the test is screening for Gestational Diabetes and you only have to take this version if you fail the 1-Hour Tolerance Test (which I did).

There are, of course, strict rules to follow to keep the test valid:

  1. Eat a diet containing at least 150g of carbohydrates per day for 3 days prior to testing.
  2. Fast for 8-hours before consuming glucose solution.
  3. Drink solution containing 100g of glucose within 5-minutes. Think throwing back about 4 shots in 5-minutes… maybe not the best idea.

Then you sit for 3-hours that are interspersed with blood drawing every hour.

Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

Well, for me, this is about as bad as it gets in terms of medical testing. I have strong dislike for fasting, having my blood drawn, being forced to drink huge amounts of sugar, and sitting still for long periods of time. I’m not trying to exaggerate or be funny, I really don’t like any of those things.

In fact, I almost didn’t get the test done at all. After all, I’ve “been there, done that” with my first pregnancy. So, why should I put myself through this hellish experience again?

Aside from simply “getting over myself” and acting like an adult, I pulled up some research to educate myself on the risk factors associated with babies who are born to women with gestational diabetes and decided I did, in fact, need to get over myself.

A couple of the most notable risk factors for the child that I didn’t know include: increased likelihood of becoming diabetic at some point in their future life and falling into a coma if the doctors don’t know they need to monitor the newborn’s blood sugar levels. Those were the two points that resonated with me.

Well, anyway, this got me thinking about how absurd it is to consume so much sugar in one sitting, much less in one single day. But, that’s exactly what people do ALL the time!

Here are a number of popular beverages you or a loved one probably consumes regularly. All have around 100g of sugar:

You may think I'm being a bit dramatic about this whole thing. It's just a standard test, after all. But diabetes has a history in my family and I recognize my body's own regulation of its blood sugar levels as a natural challenge - pregnant or not. I've actively been trying to provide myself the best quality foods for about 10 years now and the idea of failing any sort of glucose test is frightening for me!

The good news is I passed my second test and the doctor assured me failing the first version is NOT a sign of things to come... not sure if I totally believe her. I think I'll just keep my head down, focused on continuing to consume high-quality whole foods and will have to enjoy Shamrock Shake commercials instead of indulging in the real thing:

Complete and Utter Randomness

Just a few random thoughts that have been running around my mind and some training videos for everyone out there. Random Thoughts:

  • I’ve been struggling as of late when it comes to high school weight training either as a class or after school for sports.  It seems to be very few and far between that you have sport coaches/weight training teachers who know what they’re doing in the weight room (I’m not saying all of them).  Just talking to athletes about what they do in there blows my mind such as maxing every three weeks with terrible form, crumpling under the barbell during a squat or rounding their back and hitching a deadlift just to get the weight up.  Most of these kids can’t do a bodyweight squat correctly, why are they maxing with a barbell on their back?  I’m not trying to make people angry but it just seems ignorant when there is so much good/free information everywhere that would help these coaches and their athletes immensely.  I attribute this to one of two things, they are to prideful to admit they don’t know what they are doing or they just don’t care to find out that what they are doing is wrong and harmful.  Either way it’s unacceptable.
  • The previous thought kind of led into the idea of being average. I’ve heard people for as long as I can remember talk about how they are better than “average” or that they don’t want to be just “average”.  I always thought that thinking like that was arrogant, or that they felt they were superior.  I used to be of the mindset that in order to be above average you had to be something like an astronaut, sports superstar, movie star, bill gates, you know things along those lines.  I’m assuming I thought that way because from the time I was in elementary school to the end of high school that’s what I felt I was, just average.  Why? Because I was led to believe that’s what I was by OTHER people. It wasn’t until college when I started taking my physical education and exercise science classes that I started to realize that I wasn’t “average” and that I never want to be “average”.  I started becoming more confident in my intelligence and through weight training I became more physically confident, and most importantly I stopped listening to negative people.  This all lead to me understanding that it’s OK to NOT want to be average.  Nobody should want that.  Whatever it is that you are currently doing you shouldn’t be satisfied with being average at it.  Whether you are a student, strength coach, teacher, sport coach, attorney, grounds keeper, etc. you should STRIVE to be better so you can look back when it’s all said and done and be able to say you left your mark.  Anyways the reason why this all got sparked was because I’ve been hoping this is the message that I am instilling in the athletes I work with.  There is enough negativity in the world and I REFUSE to be a negative influence when it comes to working with these kids.
  • My last thought as of late is that I want to buy a truck. Really not for any other reason than to buy a Prowler to leave in the bed of the truck just so I can always have it on hand in case the mood strikes to push it.  Weird right?


And without further delay, here are some videos to take your mind off the incoherent rant you just read….

Here are two of our female high school volleyball athletes.  I think they are just realizing that they are really strong.  SAPT is really proud of all their progress…

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The next video is of one of my training partners and GMU’s S&C graduate assistant John Delgado.  He’s currently doing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 and he decided to get real squirrely with this 315 deadlift for what I believe is 13 reps…

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The last video is of me getting in some work for my upcoming powerlifting competition.  My training is going really well and my squats and pulls feel really fast and smooth (bench is still feeling a bit weird and wild).  I’m about 7 weeks out from the Richmond Open and I am getting all sorts of jacked up about it.

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Mid-Point Goals

I want to give a few personal updates on my training these days. I am just over the half-way point with this pregnancy (21 weeks) and last week we found out we're having a boy (yay!). Since I've already been through this process once before I know that the next 20 or so weeks can become quite physically trying. So, I've reassessed my progress to this point and have created some new goals.

First 20-weeks goals:

  1. Build a solid aerobic base ahead of time - ACCOMPLISHED. With Arabella I had NO IDEA how important aerobic exercise would be for my day-to-day tasks. I ended up having to play "catch-up." You'd think this would happen late in the pregnancy when you've gained a bunch of weight... surprise! It doesn't! It happens very quickly as the result of increased blood volume. The aerobic training helps your body adapt more quickly. For Baby #2 I began a conditioning program (geared towards 800m runners) about 1 month before we started trying to "get pregnant" - it has worked wonders. Weight gain has been slower and I've felt much better.
  2. Address my body's areas of breakdown ahead of time - ACCOMPLISHED. I've learned that, while pregnant, I need to take special care of my lower back via simple strength movements like the bird-dog, address calf weakness and overall foot health, and can train with more vigor than I did with Arabella (again, I realized this about half-way through with her). The result is that while my back flares up from time-to-time, it is under control and overall I feel much more like myself in terms of strength and health. Regarding foot health, I won't know if I've been successful until after the baby is born.

Second 20-week Goals:

  1. Continue to prioritize low- to moderate-level conditioning but without laying the foundation for wicked plantar fasciitis. I'm shifting towards Prowler sled pushes 2x/week, stepper or bike or smililar low impact activity 2x/week, and 1 or 2x/week of actual running. Believe it or not, with Arabella I ran 3-4x/week (with low impact on off days) up until I was 38 weeks pregnant. For my Prowler pushes I will do a "trip" for every week pregnant I am - today I did 21. Took about 30 min.
  2. Keep up with lower leg pre-hab to keep my feet and calves strong enough to safely continue to propel my heavy(er) body when I'm running.
  3. Maintain pullups and chinups in my training regime. Sadly, these will not be body weight. BUT, on the upside, they can be called "Banded + 25lbs Pullups" by the due date - I'm sure somewhere in there things even out. With Arabella the stretch placed on my torso from the hang position was too uncomfortable/borderline painful to keep in (even banded). So, I'm hoping to keep them in throughout, if possible. Same approach as the Prowler: 1 rep for every week pregnant.
  4. Lastly - and, okay, I recognize this borders on the ridiculous - but, if everything goes smoothly and all the variables line up in the best possible way. Then my goal is to beat my time in "active" labor. Arabella took 55 minutes. I'm after a PR with this little guy.

One final note is that I'm not entirely a crazy person, I do certainly understand the limits of my body and the safety of the baby comes first. So, as with #1, I know when to dial things down if my body isn't feeling quite right. And, the above is by NO MEANS my recommendation to pregnant women looking to stay active throughout their pregnancies. Rather, this is the by-product of a body (mine) which has been trained consistently at a very high level for about a decade.

I categorized this post under "Awesome" and "Chest Thumping" because, well, staying active throughout a pregnancy is really, really tough. So, anyone who manages that feat should feel it is both awesome and a serious point of pride!