Meeting My First Goals

When I officially started lifting weights on the regular in June of this year, I was able to squat 100lbs, bench press 60lbs, and deadlift 100lbs, each for 3 sets of five reps the first time I tried to. Sometime in July I decided I wanted to compete in a powerlifting meet close to home, and I set my sights on one in January 2017. I decided my goal opening weights simply needed to be double what I was able to lift for reps the very first time I tried. That would mean 200lbs for the squat, 120lbs, for the bench press, and 200lbs for the deadlift. These seemed like distant but attainable goals to me, and I felt like surely I could hit those in the roughly six months between starting and the meet.

Now it’s late August, and I just hit 200lbs 3 x 5 squats and 210lb 1 x 5 deadlifts a couple days ago. My bench press has progressed to 100lbs for a 3 x 5, though I had to reeeeeeally grind out the last rep of it (hilariously growling video below). I think by the end of September, however, I will have progressed to 120lbs for reps as well. That entire workout was a PR for all three lifts, and boy did it kick my ass. Needless to say, I need some new goals!

I keep having life curveballs thrown my way that threaten to derail my training by consuming what little free time I have to workout, and since I am a realist I don’t want to set any huge goals knowing what I have ahead of me. That said, I do still want a strong set of opening numbers. I know enough not to compare myself with anyone else, and I also know that I’m not going to be competitive for my weightclass anytime soon. In fact, I’d probably have to drop a class if I wanted to have more than a snowball’s chance in Hades at actually breaking any kind of record. Nope, instead I simply want to establish my first competition total to become a bona fide powerlifter!

Since my training to date has more or less been following the Starting Strength method where I go up 5-10lbs per lift (especially on the squat and deadlift; working up the bench a bit slower) each workout, I could actually calculate roughly what I’d be lifting for reps should my workouts and actual progress remain steady. Instead, though, I’m going to aim low both to be realistic considering the outside challenges I’m facing and also to not stress myself out mentally trying to reach a ginormous number in a relatively short period of time. After all, eventually the n00b gains will wear off, and I’ll be forced to refocus all facets in order to continue to move up in the lifts.

So, as of now, my goal openers will be:

  1. 275lb/125kg squat
  2. 135lb/62kg bench
  3. 300lb/136kg dead

You’ll notice that except for the squat, the weights in kilos aren’t exact translations to the numbers I’ve listed in pounds. We own pound plates, but competitions are typically in kilos from what I’ve found. From what I’ve read on the USAPL and USPA websites, the competitions will round up or down in 2.5kg increments (or thereabouts), so what I actually lift on competition day will be based on how they translate the numbers. For sake of ease I’ve made them all round numbers, and I’m only focusing on the pounds for now since that’s what I have to work with.

Here lately I’ve had to take more days off in between workouts because of job-related schedule conflicts, but I’m hopeful I can stay on track to continue making gains steadily even if the actual workout schedule is more scattered than I’d like it to be. Thinking about all that makes me wish I’d found a love of exercise and lifting at a much younger age – it’s hard as hell to balance two jobs, a kiddo, a hubby, pets, bills, and life in general with workouts and competition goals in my mid-30s. I don’t know how folks with loads of kids find time to do it at any age! 😜

So, I’ll be back at it tonight when the hubby gets home from work. I’m thinking today will be a technique and volume day vs. going up on the weight load. Depends on how much energy I have by then!

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

Watching My First Meet

We planned an entire vacation to the Gulf Coast in order to accommodate watching a USPA meet at Southern Elite Fitness. So far we’ve seen 7 women lift, including two who had well over 400lbs on their 3rd attempt just absolutely rock it out. The final male lifter of the first group squatted 633lbs like. a. boss. on his third attempt. Color me impressed!

The meet is flying through the second batch of lifters doing the squat now (apologies for not knowing the set up/divisions – it really is all ages/classes following each other), and I’ve already concluded the little one will have to stay home with his Poppy for the meet I compete in. He baaaarely hung on through the first batch before declaring he was ready to go home. lol Kids! Now dada and the spudlet are checking out the gym until the deadlift, which is what the hubby really wants to see. 

There are some impressively strong folks here, including a young lady still in high school who went 2 of 3 for what had to be more than double her body weight. We happened to meet her bagger motorcycle riding uncle in the parking lot (my kid has never met a stranger and luuuurves all vehicles, so of course he had to stop and talk to the guy on the yellow bike lol), so we were definitely willing to help cheer his niece on. 

Anyway, back to it. So glad we came – it’s been very educational, inspiring, and all around bad ass to watch!! 💪🏻

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

P.S. The highest successful squat we saw was 711lbs! Awesome!

P.P.S. We bailed for what we thought would be the duration of all three groups of lifters doing the bench press to give the kid time to chill, but when we got back the first group was just finishing up. The kiddo just wasn’t having any of it (not like there’s much to do for an almost 5yr old, so we don’t blame him), so we bailed again with the plan to kill another hour or so and return for the deads. One epic baby meltdown later, however, and we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a MUCH needed nap. It sucks we missed the deadlifts (I’m dying to know what the guy who squatted 711lbs pulled!), but we got the general idea of the flow and learned a few important lessons along the way. 

  1. As fast as the squats went, the bench took forever by comparison. Be prepared for a LONG wait, which will mean working on staying mentally motivated and warmed up for when the time comes. I see why the wireless Beats headphones are popular – the easier to blast motivational tunes into your ear holes while waiting around nearby for the next chance on the platform.
  2. For the love of all that’s holy and good in the world, don’t bomb the first attempt! I see why everyone says your first lift should be stupid light compared to your 1RM. My heart broke watching a guy fail his very first squat. He did get to keep going, though, so I’m guessing it’s different for different federations. More research needed!
  3. Depth, depth, depth! There was an older gentleman that was doing his damnedest to squat deep, but apparently he was missing depth. He got three whites from the center judge, but the two on the sides only gave reds. 😕 I was particularly shocked on the 2nd attempt – it looked rock solid compared to the first and third lift. Is there such a thing as too-tight knee wraps?! 
  4. Be bench press bold, but be ready to bomb. Only 2 lifters of the first group hit all 3 of their bench presses, and those that missed the 3rd all looked pretty pissed about it. Can’t blame them!
  5. Now go find a USAPL meet to watch, since that’s the first one I’m doing. I’m super grateful I found this USPA one to watch for a general overview, but I can already tell there will be important differences between the two federations in how they run their meets. A bunch of the specific no-nos about singlets, t-shirts, knee wraps, wrist wraps (i.e. sizing, logos, etc), and even form differences (i.e. raising your head when benching) that the IPF lists were definitely present, but they’re either a) not an issue with USPA or b) cared less about at the local level. Either way, I know I’ll have to follow the more stringent IPF rules in a USAPL meet, so hopefully I can find one of their meets closer to home between now and January. 

So, that’s that. I definitely would have loved to have stayed from start to finish, but this is still a vacation after all. No sense making the kiddo miserable just so mama can watch strong people pick up heavy shit all day long. 😜 ~M

The Shoes Make The Lady

While I’m a typical girl who definitely appreciates a fine pair of shoes, I’ve never been one to spend the big buck$ on them. No Manolos. No Jimmy Choos. Not even a pair of Louboutins.

Do I wish I owned even one pair of those? Hell. Yes. But the reality is I’ve never had a need for nor been able to justify more than double digit cost for a pair of shoes in my life. In fact, I think the most expensive single pair of shoes I’ve ever owned were my custom English field boots back when I competed on horseback as a teen, and those broke the bank at $350. I still remember the sticker shock – that was almost a month’s feed & board for my horse! 😬 There’s no way I could justify that kind of cash on shoes I *might* wear twice a year. I’m just not in a career that requires heels (I practically wear pajamas to work… Nursing rocks! 🏥💉💊), and my friends and I went to dance clubs more than bars when we were young and single (even met my hubby at a dance club). I’d have broken my neck along with my ankle! 😂

I’ve realized now that the only shoes worth spending a little extra on (for me anyway) are the functional ones; not the pretty ones. These beauties (and another colorful pair I wear daily for work) are not only funky and/or colorful – prerequisites for anything I put on my feet these days – but they all serve very specific functions for my favorite physical activities. From top clockwise:

1) My newest pair of Altra Running Torin 2.0s for #running . My first pair were so comfy I wear them daily for work, so I needed some dedicated running shoes again. Yay for clearance on my fave color! $88 @altrarunning in IG

2) My sweet new Inov-8 #fastlift335 weightlifting shoes, recommended to me by fellow #girlswhopowerlift – thanks for the tip, ladies! 👍🏻 $95 (different colors and sizes cost different amounts on Amazon FYI) @inov8eliteperformance on IG

3) My custom Converse All-Star low tops I had made a few years ago to match with the hubby, and we both wear ours for the #deadlift. $75 @converse on IG

It’s really no wonder my previous attempts at running and regular fitness failed before 2014 – I never bothered to buy quality shoes. I remember doing my one and only mud run 5K in 2010 with my hubby and was ready to amputate my feet by the time it was done – my blisters had blisters!! We were encouraged to donate our shoes after the run, and I threw them into the pile like I was throwing a plague doll away! lol Years later when I started getting serious about fitness, though, my Camp Gladiator instructor at the time suggested Luke’s Locker to me for a custom fitting. That’s how I ended up with my first pair of proper running shoes: some sweet New Balance ones (that’s them on the top left corner of the header pic) that carried me from couch-to-half-marathon in six months!! I was so spoiled by that experience I went straight back to Luke’s after my orthopedist cleared me to start running again 12/2015. I had them refit me because I knew my right foot was still wonky from the break, and that’s how I found the #altrarunning shoes. Better? My ortho doc even recommends them! While Luke’s is strictly a Texas thing, I cannot stress enough how beneficial I found having my gait analyzed and multiple shoes tested before buying. Get fitted somewhere local if you can!!

On that note, however, I was sooooo nervous about buying the #inov8fastlift335 shoes online without trying them on. Once again, though, some of the awesome #ladieswholift helped me more accurately guesstimate the sizing before I committed. My feet have always been funky (short, wide, low arches), so I wear everything from a 7.5 up to a 9 depending on the shoe. Now I wear 8.5s in the Altras, 9s in the FastLifts, and a men’s 6 in the Converse. Like I said… funky!

I’m so thrilled to have the right gear for the right job, and I’m counting down the hot, humid days until the weather in TX cools enough for me to start running again. For now, though, I’m loving #powerlifting and all the trial, error, and growth that comes with it. I noticed an immediate difference in my stability when I changed from squats in my Altras to my Converse and now to my FastLifts, and I’m looking forward to continued steady progression now that my shoes all fit their respective duties. Will I eventually upgrade from the Converse to proper powerlifting shoes/boots? Probably one day, but since I see truly elite powerlifters of both genders and all weight classes deadlifting in their Chucks at competitions, I figure I can’t be in too poor of company. 😜

And just because I had fun taking photos of my shoes the other day (and before I realized I should throw in my Converse since those are part of my fitness repertoire) here’s another artsy fartsy image that shows my size 9 Altra Torin 2.0s, the ones that helped me rehab my busted foot and are now my daily shoes. So. Comfortable. 👍🏻


Bye-bye 155lbs! After three days of rest (we added an extra due to our conflicting work schedules limiting our time together otherwise), I took out all three 5-reps sets of 155lb squats Like. A. Boss! Yay me!

The weight was light and the reps were fast, but I did make a concession on my grip to accommodate my right shoulder acting up from the frequent switch between rain and dry over the preceding few days. As such, the left lean the bar takes (only the bar, not me physically) was amplified, and I think I’ve confirmed my suspicions about my right shoulder mobility (or lack thereof) being the culprit.

I normally only have the hubby film my sets from behind so I can watch my depth, knees, and heels especially, but for the 3rd set I had him walk around in front of me instead. Part of it was because I wanted to see if my squat face was as ridiculous as my deadlift face (it isn’t… /le sigh), but I was also curious how I look in general from the front when I squat. The combination of the different angle combined with the better lighting having the camera itself our from under our covered porch highlighted my arms and their different positions while I’m gripping the bar.

Here’s the 3rd set video. Pay close attention to how my elbows look in comparison to each other and in relation to my body:

See the difference? The right elbow sticks out and back from my body with a wider angle, whereas the left one tucks in tighter and more forward by comparison. Now, you can plainly see the difference in the video, especially the effect it has on the bar, but >>I<< don’t feel any difference either in the way my arms feel or the effects of the bar leaning to the left so dramatically. Again, my grip was intentionally widened for these sets, and I definitely think the narrower grip I’ve used lately (still too wide, but constantly improving) has reduced the leftward lean a bit as well. It looks far more exaggerated here, but I swear to you I do NOT feel in anyway unbalanced because of it.

At least not yet. I suspect that difference will eventually catch up to me the heavier the bar gets, so I’m going to start trying to make a conscious effort to adjust my right arm as much as I can (well, both arms actually) to correct the imbalance. I’ve tried mostly unsuccessfully simply pulling down on the bar with my right hand a bit more to see if that fixes the bar’s level, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Since I had already committed this entire week to 155lb squats more than half expecting it to take more than just the one session to overcome them (amazing what 3 full days of rest and proper nutrition can do!!), I think I’ll stick with that weight and attempt to find a more lasting solution to the bar positioning problem. I’m also going to research some shoulder exercises like those used for folks post-op from rotator cuff repairs to see if that helps increase the mobility on my right side over time as well.

Anyway, the hubby is home now, so it’s time to rev up for today’s session!

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

P.S. I didn’t listen to my gut, and look what I did…

160lb 2×5 squats!!


If at first you don’t succeed…

…drop the weight 20lbs and do the last 10 reps anyway! >_<

Yup, I had my first squat failure today (right side of video above), but it wasn’t a total loss. I got 5 reps at 155lbs (video to follow) in and could tell right away this might be that magic number that makes me have to repeat it a few times before I can move up. After a break for the hubby to do his set, I tried to really pump myself up for the 2nd set with a couple quick slaps on my cheeks. Coming back up from the hole had me leaning quite left, however, and I re-racked the bar rather than finish that set (left side of video above). Could I have gone on and finished the other 4 reps right then? I think so, but I also know I’ve tweaked my back to the point of needing days of steroids on little things such as installing cedar shingles on the porch wall of our tiny house (if you’d seen the install, you’d understand how that happened) and when picking up a 3lb lobster from the floor incorrectly. Yes, you read that right.

A 3lb lobster sent me to the emergency room when I was 20 years old having (stupidly) swept my right leg back (aka poor body mechanics) to pick it up off the floor after I’d let him and his pals out of their shipping box at the restaurant where I worked in the back office. I felt a burning twinge in my back immediately, had trouble getting back up, spent the rest of the day scooting myself around the office in a rolling chair, and decided I could just take some ibuprofen and a hot bath when I got home later that day and I’d be fine. Instead, I had to hobble up a sloped parking garage to street level and cross another parking lot to my car using an umbrella as a cane, and I’m pretty sure I screamed louder than the DART train that was passing by as I forced myself into my Corolla’s low-to-the-ground seat. I’m also sure the ER nurses thought I was totally FOS (honestly, as an ER nurse myself now, I’d probably raise an eyebrow at my story, too lol), but that was my second encounter with the NSAID wonder drug Toradol, and in 20 minutes all was right with the world again. I spent a couple days on steroids just to be safe, and it was like it never happened.

That was 16 years and about 40lbs of body weight ago, however. Yes, I’m much stronger now than I was back then (i.e. I can lift way more weight), but I’m still 16 years older and way less bendy. My last back spasm that resulted in a visit to my own ER where I work (namely because I tried to work my shift anyway and nearly got stuck trying to stand up from a chair) was only about a year ago, and seeing as how I’m the primary money maker in our household… yeah, I can’t afford to be laid up. I actually didn’t feel bad during the lifts beyond them feeling heavy, but when I got to the bottom of that second rep of the 2nd set my brain just said, “NOPE!” Thankfully our custom squat rack has “oh shit” bars that are pretty high, so I just set the bar down and scooted out from under it. It was bound to happen eventually, and I’m much happier having had it happen at a relatively low weight than when I’m squatting more than my body weight. I wasn’t going to quit right there, however, so I did two full sets of 5 reps at 135lbs just to get back on the horse, as they say. Even then I could tell my right sciatic nerve was pissed off and not wanting to let me get below parallel in the bottom of the squat, so I didn’t push it beyond that. I got the reps, and that’s what counts for me.

Here’s the full set of 155lb squats. See the 4th one where I didn’t drop below parallel with my butt? That’s how I knew something was off:

Now, the post-fail analysis says there could be many factors that played a part in this event. My list of suspects includes in no particular order:

  1. The fact I usually lift after working all night instead of waking up and lifting first thing in the morning, meaning I’m well warmed up already usually
  2. Drinking a heavy protein shake before the workout instead of after, which I only did because I didn’t want to lift on an empty stomach after sleeping all night
  3. Doing one of my HIIT routines the night before that had me moving in some odd angles, potentially straining or irritating muscles and nerves
  4. Particularly hot and humid weather affecting my joints and breathing
  5. Deficient protein intake (or fat, or carbs, etc)
  6. Not taking real 100% rest days between lifting days
  7. Poor sleep quality/amount over the last few days
  8. The psychological factor of squatting over 150lbs for the first time ever (??)

I’d say that there is no one specific reason I couldn’t finish the full 3 x 5 today, and I’m also willing to bet some or all of the aforementioned possibilities could have played their part. Oddly, my bench press and dead lifts progressed on target (increased the bench by 5lbs and the dead by 10lbs as planned), but then again the squat just uses more muscle groups than the latter lifts. In fact, the hubby and I had that very conversation – about why the squat comes first in the meet of the three lifts – while we were warming up, and we both agreed it takes the most out of you than the others. Perhaps my subconscious took that to heart when my right sciatic nerve starting poking me in the rear, leaving my right butt cheek and hip to feel heavy, for lack of a better way of describing the sensation, compared to the left side. I really had to work through that first set, which I’m actually happy about, but I also know enough to quit while I’m ahead. I could have tried to grind out the remaining reps at the 155lbs, but I also knew not to run the risk of a real failure – one while coming up from the hole with no truly safe way to bail – at what was otherwise a new personal record lift. Even the two complete sets at 135lbs were tough, with my right hip feeling too tight to consistently squat below parallel with each rep as I usually do.

Nope, today was just not my day for squats, and I can definitely take the hint my body was trying to drop. As such, I’m taking a full two days off from any kind of workout (though I may walk some laps around the nurse’s station at work the next 3 nights just to keep from getting stiff), and Monday morning after work I’ll try to hit the 155lb squat again. I might even change up the reps to triples as I’d planned to today after that wobbly 6th rep had me rethinking my usual plan. Even if it takes me two+ sessions to conquer the weight, I will complete the full 15 reps in one session of 155lbs by the end of next week. Maybe that means ditching my #FortyDayFablete Challenge completely in favor of true rest days between lifting; I don’t yet know. Either way, though, I’m smart enough to listen to my body and let it dictate when I need to back off and when maybe I can just push through to complete a new goal. All I know is I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve got to take good care of myself to keep taking good care of my family.

And on that note, have a great weekend!

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

P.S. Here’s my two redemption sets at 135lbs. Even here I had to work hard, and again I’m not dipping below parallel in every rep. Glad I stopped when I did!

Who am I?

Quite a leading question of course.

Snowball Express 5k – September 2014

The shortest answer is that I’m a 36 year old wife (11 years this August), a mother (our son will be five in October), and a Registered Nurse (9 years now, 4 as a paramedic before that) who is on a mission to become the best version of myself through proper nutrition and exercise. Pretty basic stuff there that I think most anyone – currently fat or fit – can relate to. The more detailed/accurate answer is a bit more complex. Bear with me.

Bold in the Cold 5k – January 2015

I’ve been one degree or another of fat my whole life despite being a very active kid in many sports and activities, including multiple years in ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, soccer, softball, swim team, track (just 1yr here), competitive hunter/jumper horseback riding, colorguard/marching band (loads of jazz running!), and I also rode my bike 5-10mi daily for about 5-6 years. Despite all that running around when I was young, I fell into the typical too-busy-working-to-exercise habit so many adults do, and only in the last few years have I really made a conscious effort to do anything about that. Still, lack of physical activity (well, beyond the running around I do as an ER nurse and chasing a young child around) isn’t the only contributor to my physical size, and I’m VERY firm in saying that despite my size I have ZERO HEALTH ISSUES that often accompany obesity. No high blood pressure (I run low actually). Better than perfect cholesterol. Resting heart rate in the 40-50s when sleeping. Definitely no diabetes here, though I do have an endocrine disorder that absolutely plays a big part in my body size and the extra tough time I have losing weight vs. gaining it.

Hypnotic Donut Dash 5k – January 2015

I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which jacks with my hormones significantly and causes both weight gain and infertility. It’s a damn miracle I have the one kid after 6 years of trying and years of failed fertility treatments, and I’ve given up hope that I’ll have a second child at this point as age 36 has always been my hard-stop age for trying for a number of both physiological and personal reasons. Ironically, though, my PCOS is unusual, because while I have all the classic symptoms and definitely suffer from the insulin-resistance that creates issues with ovulation, the #1 medication that is supposed to help (Metformin/glucophage) causes me to become hypoglycemic. As in waking up with blood sugars in the 50s vs. the 80-110mg/dL that’s considered normal for non-diabetics. As such, I pretty much just have to deal with the PCOS and all its glorious side effects (obesity, hirsutism, amenorrhea, and acanthosis nigricans to name a few) or be on birth control for life and deal with all the potentially dangerous side effects that can come from that as well (blood clots being the biggest baddie). No easy decision, but it’s what I’ve got to work with.

Hot Chocolate 15k – February 2015

I’ve also got the crappy obesity genetic factors at least from one side of my biological family, though I don’t know my bio-dad. My bio-mom died at age 68 in 2013 (more to do with her hard lifestyle when she was young, but still), and my alleged bio-dad seems to have also died young (around age 55) based on the research I’ve done. My mother who raised me (I’m adopted, so no genes shared) also died in 2013 at age 71 from cancer, and I despise being in my thirties and motherless. I don’t want that for my son, so while their particular deaths were specific to them and, in the case of my bio-mom, not necessarily due to any kind of genetic factors I may have inherited (unsure on bio-dad at this time), I’m not willing to risk another minute of being in any way “out of shape,” even though I have NEVER been prevented from doing any activity because of my size. That doesn’t mean I excelled at all the activities I ever tried, but other than never being a prima ballerina as I’d wanted to as a child, the only limitations my size ever created are the ones I’ve imposed on myself.

Cowtown Half Marathon – March 2015

I’ve never been an overeater – quite the opposite, actually – but I have to work really, really hard to remember to eat more than once or twice a day. It took me the better part of a decade to start taking in calories in the morning (whether it was real AM or my “morning” since I’ve worked night shift for so long), and left to my own devices I often go all day without eating until the late evening when the hubby gets home. I’ve been MUCH better with that since we had our son only because making food for him triggers the, “hey, you should eat, too,” thought. I don’t EVER intentionally not eat – I’m usually just too busy doing other things to think of it. So, I get fat from the opposite reason those who binge do: my body often thinks it’s starving and holds on to every. single. calorie. I put in. I admit freely that I’ve often thought to myself, “I wish I was an overeater. To me that seems like a comparatively easy thing to fix,” though I know the psychology behind overeating is FAR too complex for such a flippant point of view. I can only do me, and I know my issue is just as complex and frustrating for very different reasons.

July 4, 2016 – 145lb Squat 3 x 5

I also admit to having a chip on my shoulder about why some people just “ARE” thin &/or fit while I’ll have to bust my ass (literally!) to be even close to the size/weight/fitness level I wish to be. I get pissed off just like every other non-thin/fit woman/man (or anyone, really) that sees some celebrity who can afford chefs and trainers touting the newest BS diet craze/gadget they SWEAR is their secret to looking as fab as they do, when really a quick google search shows they’ve always been thin, their parents are thin, their siblings are thin, etc. Not everyone is fortunate enough to win the body size genetic lottery, however, and those of us on the short end of that stick will just have to do the old “suck it up buttercup” bit and do it for ourselves. Period. Loving yourself no matter your size is of course an important piece of both your mental and physical wellbeing, but realizing that sometimes you MUST change your physical body in order to actually be HEALTHY is even more important. No, I don’t want to look like a typical model, and I never expect to even be as fit looking as an athlete, but I do know I’m sick and tired of not loving what I see in the mirror, especially with the knowledge that it does NOT reflect how I physically and mentally feel inside. I am a fit person trapped in a fat body, and it’s time that body matched my mind’s image.

July 4, 2016 – 80lb Bench Press 3 x 5

I officially started my fitness journey in September 2014 with Camp Gladiator bootcamps. Then I picked up running shortly afterward because I got pissed off I couldn’t run the 1-mile warmup at one of the CG camps I attended but was able to rock out the sprints in that same workout. Short burst running has never been an issue for me (see the list of sports I’ve played? Lots of short burst running there…), but the one cross country meet I was forced to do in 7th grade had me come in dead last of 5 different schools. Endurance running, clearly, was not my thing. Since that day in 2014, though, I have completed 3-5Ks, 1-10K, 2-15Ks, and one half marathon. I shattered my right 1st metatarsal on my maiden motorcycle voyage (anyone want to buy a Harley Street 750?!) 5/28/15, and I’ve spent the last year rehabbing from that. Since running had become my primary form of exercise, I had dropped from the 240-245lbs my body got stuck at after having my son in 2013 down to about 219-223lb range, but being laid up with the busted foot (and a TON of job related and moving stress) caused me to creep back up to about 238-240lbs by January 2016. I did a run/walk of that 2nd 15K in February 2016, and since then we’ve moved back to Texas from Colorado. The summers here are too damn hot for consistent outdoor running (and I neither have a treadmill – hate them anyway – nor want to pay for a gym membership to use one), so I’ve decided to spend my summer powerlifting instead.

July 4, 2016 – 150lb  Dead Lift 2 x 5 #deadliftface 😛

My husband has been lifting for almost 6 years now, though not nearly as consistently as he’d like. Now that I’ve taken it up, however, we’ve dramatically improved the quality/quantity of equipment we have for the task and are both working versions of Starting Strength and the Texas Method, both by Mark Rippetoe. Since I’m the type that needs a set goal to reach, preferably one I have to pay for to stick with it, I’m signing up for my first powerlifting meet with the USA Powerlifting Federation in January 2017. I’m hoping to double my current (as of 6/26/16) 1-rep-max in the three lifts by then: squat 145lbs, bench 80lbs, and deadlift 155lbs. I’m also going to start running consistently again in the fall to train for my 2nd half marathon, which is at the end of February 2017. I absolutely could have run the entire first one, but I got spooked by the huge hill at mile 9 and stopped to pee. I never quite got my momentum back after that, so this time I’m determined to go all 13.1mi at a solid run no matter how slow that may be. In between now and the fall, though, I’m also currently doing my own little HIIT-type program I’ve created using some exercise demo clips I found on the Fabletics Instagram account. I haven’t been as consistent with them as I had planned and have already shifted them to only being on the days I don’t lift, but since life (aka work and family) obligations keep messing with my lifting schedule, the #FortyDayFablete Challenge I created is shifting as well. It’s all good – I’ve got no one to please but myself, and I’m just happy I’m sticking with it at all!

The other piece of my fitness puzzle is my diet, which as I mentioned has always been a tough thing for me. Thankfully, the types of food I eat have never been a problem as I MUCH prefer healthy food to junk foods, and if I can see fat on my foot (grease, fat on meat, etc) I just can’t bring myself to eat it. Yuck! As such, I will never do a proper Keto diet because the very thought of eating that much fat – healthy fats or otherwise – makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. I did do my own bastardized version of Atkins way back in 2004 that worked well for me at the time (really, it was mostly just salads is why lol), but I gained weight the last time I attempted a truly low-carb diet. As such, I prefer plant-heavy meals with lean meats for protein (simply because they’re the easiest form), and I currently use Portion Perfect Meal Kits for my work lunches (2cups protein, 1.5cups veggies, 1cup fruit or fruit/veggie mix). I usually just have a protein shake for breakfast (that’s how I started taking in AM calories a decade ago, and it’s still the best method for me), and I’ve been using My Fitness Pal more frequently to stay around 1800cal daily. I have my macros set to 40% protein, 35% carbs, and 25% fat, but I’m always tinkering with that formula and don’t beat myself up too much if I don’t get it just right. From the research I’ve done, about the only time a powerlifter can cut weight and still gain muscle strength is at the very beginning of their powerlifting career, so I’m taking advantage of those “n00b gainz” and trying to do just that. It’s important to me that my body doesn’t just get stronger; I want the aesthetics to improve as well.

I use these Portion Perfect meal kits for work lunches.

 >(:::) So, here I go. (:::)<<

P.S. I want to send a shout out to the creator of the Girls Who Powerlift website, Ivy. Her story of finally finding her passion inspired me to write about my own journey into powerlifting, and her inspirational t-shirts are epic. My own collection is steadily growing! ❤