Bench press PR “with the pause”

Today I benched 125 with Bull spotting and “Mailman” (actually Austin — a guy on the team) calling out the meet commands — Start, Press, Rack. I’m no longer freaked out by the requirement to hold the barbell at the bottom and wait for the Press command. Bull said, “You’re ready!” To Austin he said, “She’s tough!” It is a nice compliment that sinks in, but on the other hand, the fact is I’m not particularly tough. It’s more that lifting is one thing I’m well-trained at, and I’m lucky to be able to do that.

Bull was telling stories about other competitions, high-school coaches who encourage their athletes to use gear like bench shirts when it’s counterproductive, athletes who have had to be removed from teams because of the use of anabolics (which can disqualify a whole team, he said), and more. I’m thankful to have learned to lift from good teachers and to be confident and skilled to lift correctly and strongly without accessories. Nothing wrong with some of the gear if you need it, but it’s good to feel that so far all I’ve needed is a belt, and that rarely. I’ll use it for the squat and deadlift at the meet.

This meet is going to be really fun.

Going to compete

I’ve been working out at Columbia City Fitness – Jackson Street location with Bull Stewart and co. Their enthusiasm for strength training, and for the strength I’ve developed after all the lifting I’ve done, inspired me to join their powerlifting team. Most recent heavy lifts:

squat 220 x 3 x 3 today with a belt;
deadlift 235 x 3 and 245 x 1 on May 12;
bench press to 120 x 1 with a pause (the pause is so hard!).

What I know so far about competing on June 3:
I’ll wear a belt for the squat and deadlift.
Opening squat will be 230 (105 kg). I’ll warm up to 205 most likely (93 kg).
Opening bench will be 95 (43 kg) unless I can get a really confident 100 (45 kg) with a pause “right when I roll out the bed,” as Bull puts it.
Opening deadlift will be 245 (111 kg).

Bull says I’m going to have fun at the meet because I’m competitive. Dave and Nancy used to tell me I was competitive. I must not have good self-awareness around that, because I’ve always described myself as not competitive (and Dave and Nancy would laugh at this). Why? For example at CrossFit, I work out without looking to see what my peers had done — that is, I forget to try to beat them. It didn’t even occur to me until I was done, almost every time. If I work out *with* someone, I look at them as inspiration to keep moving, not as someone to try and beat. (Am I being honest?) For another example, I decide what to do in a lifting workout by picking a challenge that I believe I can do, not by thinking about what others my size did.

In what way *am* I competitive? Maybe just the fact that once I decided to go to the meet, my approach was that I want to do well and challenge myself, both, not just go and lift easy to get the experience and have fun. I take it seriously. I don’t know, is that competitive?

Notes from the Microsoft Band 2 today

I had two exercise sessions today: weights at Bull’s place, and then a walk. I wore the band for the first time in months. Below are notes I wrote in Evernote by looking at the band itself while trying to get it to sync.

4/14/17
Band won’t sync, so I may have to reset and lose this data.
Workout 1 at Bull’s place:
Duration 1:15
I ran the watch from just before class started until 15 minutes after it ended.
calories 431
peak HR 155
Avg HR 115
Duration in heart ranges:
17 seconds at 90-100% (so let’s say my peak of 155 = 90%, and max HR = 172 — one flaw in this device is that it doesn’t know my real max heart rage. How does it calculate it? “The Band app predicts your maximum heart rate based on your age and uses it to generate personalized heart-rate training zones. Your max heart-rate value adapts to you. If you consistently exceed your predicted value, your max heart rate will increase.”)
4 minutes at 80-90%
20 minutes at 70-80%
The band has now synced. It says during the workout, I burned a virtually equal number of fat and glucose calories.
Workout 2, walk from Jackson and 26th down to Leschi Mkt and back:
Duration 1:02 (2.5 miles, ~400ft elev gain)
Calories 310
peak HR 141
avg HR 108
Duration in HR ranges is not shown
“The fat-burning range will lie between 50 and 75 percent of your heart-rate reserve.” (from Active dot com — I have pretty much known nothing about the “zones”. I’m more interested in them now, because without all the hours of daily activity of zinging around in the gym, I’m concerned about staying active enough to burn what I eat. Most of the daily burn is not from a “hard workout” of short duration, but from the entire day’s low-intensity activity.)
My resting heart rate in October was 50
Heart rate reserve (Max minus resting) = 122
50% of 122 is 61
75% of 122 is 92
add the resting heart rate to both numbers:
“Fat burning zone”: 111-142 bpm
65% to 83% of max 172
During my walk, I was in this zone all the time.
During my workout, I was in this zone most of the time.
The band has now synced. It says on the walk I burned a virtually equal number of fat and glucose calories.

April 2017

Recent benchmarks:
1 rep max bench press two days ago, 135 lbs.
Squat, 2 sets of 5 at 200 lbs last month; 215 1-rep max in December 2016.
Deadlift, 205 x 5 last month.

I’ve been having a lot of fun since I closed the gym. I work out sometimes at CrossFit RE and (for the past two weeks) mostly at Columbia City Fitness Jackson St. The thing I wish I could change about the Columbia City Fitness class is that I’d like to have a lot more systematic, methodical weight lifting progression. I like the coach (Bull Stewart) and the other trainers a lot. They are high energy, always positive and glad to see us it seems, and they are fit, competitive weightlifters who practice what they teach.

The barbell lifting, though, is just treated as the first “hard” part of a “hard” workout. Sometimes it’s relatively heavy, sometimes it’s high volume. I feel that I’m generally in better shape than I was in for, say, the year 2016, because I am working out on a real and frequent routine, and I’m very active on days when I don’t do a hard workout. I’m really, really happy to find that I’ve gotten a bit fitter instead of softer without owning the gym any more. And I’m happy to feel confident and to be having fun. And on top of that I’m happy to be training with several of my Fitness Within Reach trainees (who I taught to lift and do CrossFit style hard circuit workouts) and with new, fun, inspiring trainers. I am so grateful to have found this place for all those reasons and because it’s always refreshing to try something that isn’t CrossFit. CrossFit will always be there for me. What I’d really like is to keep going to Columbia City Jackson and be more systematic to improve my lifts a little bit. I may be entering a meet, and especially because of that, I feel I really need a system and a plan. Of course I can do this on my own — but if I’m going there to work out, the activity there would thwart my doing it on my own. But for now, whatever, I’m having a lot of fun!

I’m also outside a ton now that it’s a bit nicer out and the days are a lot longer in the evening. I go for at least an hour walk every day that I don’t work out hard.

February 2017

I feel like I’m in a really fun period of my life in some ways (ie, selfishly). At CrossFit 206, as the owner and a trainer, I worked hard not to judge myself for being definitely not the fittest person in the gym. I would have been miserable if I’d felt I needed to compete with my customers.

While not wanting to beat myself up, I also didn’t want to get too far out of shape. I did reasonably well. I maintained the discipline to work out several days a week with either barbells, CrossFit, or both. Despite being the gym owner, it would have been incredibly easy to fall off the habit of working out. What helped me maintain the discipline? Wanting to do what my customers did; wanting to be one of their peers; wanting to be able to talk about CrossFit from the inside and mean it; wanting to be a good example and an inspiration if I could be. I often literally pretended I was among a group of my trainees when I worked out by myself.

Deciding to close the gym, I started to worry about really getting soft. As easy as it would have been to fall off the workout wagon while I owned a gym, it seemed it would be even easier not to work out once I was really on my own.

On the very first Monday after I closed, Feb. 13, I went at noon to another local CrossFit and worked out with them. It was so much fun! I was SO thankful I wasn’t the teacher. One week later, I’ve now had three workouts at other people’s gyms:  two at CrossFit RE and one at Columbia City Fitness/Jackson. I now see. Working out is nothing to be scared of. The trainer’s job is to tell you what to do. You just have to make an effort to do it. It’s up to you whether to try hard or slack off. That’s all. One thing at a time, one moment at a time. Then you’re done.

I am now a lot less worried about getting soft. In fact, I think I have a good chance of getting into better shape than I’ve been since 2010 when we opened!

Today at Bull Stewart’s Columbia City Fitness/Jackson, the workout class was as follows, with just me and Bill in attendance. It will be fun on Wednesday when the others are there.

Back squat 2 sets 5 at 200

Have to get used to someone RIGHT BEHIND ME yelling (“easy weight! Easy weight! Piece of cake! Yeah girl!”) and ready to spot me. Disconcerting at first!

25 to 30 lb dumbbell muscle cleans to push press onto toes

10 lb dumbbell triceps kickbacks

Something else with dumbbells

Upstairs on floor or machines:

Three rounds

Side plank cable pulls, rowing style unilateral

Two arm supine cable pulls with leg raise, similar to toes to bar

Three rounds

Triceps pull downs with handle and with rope

Machine shoulder presses two positions

Leg press

Three or four floor abs things

Stretching

This was a lot of fun because the trainers who worked with us — Bull’s son Hakeem, teammate Asuba, and Bull — were so engaged and nice and positive. They always are.

Recent stuff

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve been working out and I re-took the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate course a couple of weeks ago. Erin N went with me and it was really fun! I still love CrossFit after 11 years and even after learning that not all of its precepts are strictly correct. It is fun, and it’s so interesting to see it as a system that has developed out of one person’s experimentation on a few clients.

This week I did some hard workouts. On Tuesday I deadlifted to a 3-rep max of 225. Technically my 3-rep max is higher, because I actually did 3 sets of 3. Before that I also had done several 30-second row sprints to see the fastest pace I could attain and how long I could keep it (1:41 and 6 seconds). After the deadlifts I did the day’s Tabata: row for calories, box jump, rings push-ups, barbell row.

Yesterday I didn’t do much, just went for a 40-minute walk to Martha Washington Park and stretched.

Today at 6:30 AM I did the day’s WOD with Carroll: run 800m, 40 6-inch target burpees, 20 box jump-overs, 3 rounds for time… in the time available (32:10), I got through two rounds, the run, and half the burpees. The time included a bathroom break. I used a 12-inch box. I had already planned to test this Saturday’s workout, and had not planned to do the WOD, so I went “easy” (it wasn’t easy).

The WOD coming up for Saturday is a barbell complex that I was afraid would be too hard, but scaled to a lighter weight it was no harder than other barbell WODs. So today I did two WODs. Tomorrow I get to sleep in.

Press, barbell complex WOD

Today: shoulder press trying to improve my calculated 1-rep max. I don’t think I improved it, because I didn’t get five reps. I finished with a set of 4 and then a set of 3 at 82 lbs. If I had gotten five reps unbroken I would have had a new 1-rep max. Oh well, maybe next week.

Workout of the day — from what we did in the gym yesterday:
6 deadlifts
4 power cleans
2 push jerks
10 toes to bar
10 minutes AMRAP with 75 lb bar

My toes to bar were just high knee raises some of the time. My first set of 10 was two “warm-up/cheater” knee raises followed by 8 strung-together toes to bar. It degenerated after that. With the barbell complex and that, in 10 minutes I got five rounds, 17 reps.

20150827_110702 20150827_113005

Front squat, burpee, KB swings

Today: Several sets of pistols on each side with weights up to 16 kg, in my Reeboks (very slight heel lift, which I can’t do pistols without).

Then, front squat to a set of 4 and a set of 2 at 170 lbs. This was hard and was based on my calculated 1-rep max from when I did three at 175 recently.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 burpees and kettlebell swings at 24 kg for time: 6:25. I worked hard on that.

“Fran’s Fave” revisited

Today’s strength workout was back squats and I got 4 at 190 lbs. I’ve now done a 3-rep max or close enough on all the basic lifts, so I can work out based on an estimated 1-rep max and try to make progress again for a while.

Today’s WOD: a kettlebell complex from a long time ago at CrossFit North. I had done this one several times and named it Fran’s Fave, and also used it on my kettlebell class at CrossFit Seattle. When I did this one in 2007 my finish time was 15:25. Eight years later I’m slower at 17:42 with 16 kg.

“Fran’s Fave”:
kettlebell 1-hand swing, clean, squat complex x 10 reps
10 squat-jumps with no weight
10 rounds for time.

I *think* my faster time so long ago was also with 16 kg, because I remember the first time we did this in Dave’s class, I had the 16 and the 12 kg kettlebells out because I thought I would not be able to do it with the 16 — but then I did. So it was memorable.