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Progress?

Okay, so this might not be the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve decided to share some of my progress photos today.  My fiance is a very smart man, if I haven’t mentioned that enough yet.  He has been taking progress photos since I met him.  At first I thought it was crazy.  Why the heck are you taking another photo of yourself in your underwear???  That is until I realized that it’s actually a fantastic way to see the progress you’ve made.  I took my first pictures back in 2009, and have continued to take at least one a year since then.  If you’ve never done it, I’d highly suggest giving it a shot.  Yes, it’s embarassing and sometimes very depressing, but it serves it’s purpose.  And maybe some day you’ll be crazy like me and decide to post them on the internet.

The reason that I wanted to share these photos was so that you could actually see some of the changes that have occurred in my body over the last few years.  Most recently, my 14 pound weight loss, but also the general transformation that has occurred since I became a power lifter.  I will admit that the changes are mostly subtle, but they are there.

(Click the photo to see a life size version of me and my love handles)

The first photo was taken in the fall of 2009.  I had spent the first half of that year training for Grandma’s Half Marathon.  I was nursing a nagging IT band injury, but managed to limp through the most intense and dedicated half marathon training round that I had ever done.  The result….a measly 4 minutes off the time I had gotten the year before with very minimal training.  That, combined with the fact that it was the hottest, most miserable race I had ever run sent me in a new direction.  I started doing more circuit based weight training in May of 2009 and backed off the running completely.  I wasn’t lifting heavy yet, and I was still only getting 1 hard weight training workout once a week.  The rest of the week was more cardio based spin classes and “boot camp” type stuff.  You’ll notice, I look the softest in this photo.  Yet another reason why cardio is not the answer.

The second photo was taken in May of 2010 just before my first powerlifting meet.  I had started to train diligently for the powerlifting meet in February of that year.  I had about 3 months of workouts under my belt- 6 days a week lifting heavy.  This is when I noticed the biggest change in my body.  I had a lot more muscle mass, my metabolism sped up, it was great.  Unfortunately, I didn’t test my body fat at that point, but I can assure you that it was much better.

The third photo was taken the morning of my meet this past Saturday.  You may have been able to see some more dramatic changes if I had taken another comparison shot before I started my weight loss journey back in February, but I didn’t.  I know I had a few extra pounds on me though, definitely at least 3 or 4 more than the shot taken in 2010.  Try not to be distracted by the fact that I’m wearing different clothes or that I actually have make up on (note to self, always put make up on before the progress photos).  I wish that I could just post the photo and the difference would be enough for it to speak for itself, but that’s not the case.  If you look closely though….there is progress.  My shoulders are actually wider than my hips in the last shot  when they were about the same in the other photos.  My abs are a tiny bit more visible, as are my clavicles.  My waist and my love handles are smaller.  My face is a bit thinner, and my legs maybe look a tiny bit thinner???  That last one might be a stretch, but I’m taking it.

So there you have it.  Now you have a full picture of where I started and where I am today.  It’s not perfect. I’m sure a figure competitor would have a much more impressive end result (and they’d be flexing), but I’m happy with it.  Hopefully this will further convince anyone that still thinks that weight lifting will bulk you up and make you look less feminine.  Personally, I’m much more comfortable in a bathing suit today than I was back in 2009 when I was on a steady diet of cardio and more cardio.

Do you take progess photos?  Have you ever showed them to anyone?  When have you looked/felt the best in your life and what did you do to get there?

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Lunch n Learn

So another meet is said and done.  This year’s Twin Ports Raw Open was my fourth meet and my one year anniversary of participating in the great sport of powerlifting.  To say this meet was a roller coaster would honestly be an understatement.  I prepared for this meet for months, both in and out of the gym.  I poured every ounce of effort I had into either dieting or training.  I was in the gym twice a day most days, but at least once every day for months.  I was admittedly running around like a crazy person.  Was it worth it??  Sure, I’m glad I did it.  I will say right up front though, I really wish the meet would have gone better.  I am doing my very best to focus on the positive and extract every possible lesson out of this experience that I can, but it’s definitely a forced effort.  Maybe sharing my experience will help me process things even more?  So here’s the play by play.

I got up early after waking up about a dozen times throughout the night.  I showered and packed myself a most delicious lunch.  I had a few energy drinks to ensure a thoroughly cracked out state of existence while lifting.  My breakfast which was making my mouth water all morning!  I had 2 GIANT PB&J’s and a protein shake.  First bread in months!!  I also had a few bananas, oranges, and some candy for after the meet….yum!!

Twix…my all time favorite candy bar.

 

The much anticipated weigh in went great.  I stepped on the scale with my hoping to see something in the 131 range, but quickly realized that the scale was reading in Kilograms.  My official weight was 59.4 Kg (130.68 pounds).  Fantastic.  I beat my goal by almost 2 pounds, I was thrilled.  Next stop…..FOOD.  I ate my PB&J, protein shake, and a banana.  Carbohydrates good.

Before I knew it, it was time to start warming up for my squat.  There was a great group of women that came out for this meet.  I got to warm up with Annette Powell, a fantastic lifter from Winnipeg.  She had a glute injury that was plaguing her warm ups, but she’s so experienced that she was doing a great job of just powering through it.  She also gave me a great compliment on my squat.  She told me that I had great depth and that every rep was hitting in the same spot and looked really consitent.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve struggled with that so I was very pleased to hear that!!  I finished warming up with 155 lbs and headed out for the main event.

My first squat attempt was 176 lbs.  As always, I was nervous in an almost life threatening way.  I felt like my heart was in my throat, and I kept having to talk myself down off the edge. “It’s only 176, you can do this in your sleep so suck it up Sally!!”  And that’s exactly what I proceeded to do.  It was an easy 176, followed by an easy 198.  Finally, my 3rd attempt was at 215.  I could not believe how light it felt.  As soon as I stood up, I felt instant regret.  I could have gotten at least 10 more pounds.  Feel free to check out the video of my studly performance (for me anyway).

It’s scientifically proven that looking cross eyed makes you twice as strong…..

 

At this point, I was on top of the world. I had expected to have much lower lifts, but my stellar squat performance definitely turned things around in my mind.  Maybe I wasn’t going to struggel with the weight.  Maybe my total is going to be closer to my last meet total???

Bench was next up.  I started out at 132 lbs and had no problems.  I hadn’t been able to bench heavy in the last few weeks leading up to the meet due to an achy shoulder.  I was a bit concerned with how much weight I was going to be able to put up.  My second attempt was at 143 lbs which also went up fairly easily.  Since things were looking pretty good, I decided to go for a PR on bench and try 154 lbs.  Eek.  Enter my headcase of nerves and my lack of practice benching with a pause.  All I can say is….Fail.  154 didn’t go anywhere.  As soon as I got the start command, I dropped the bar on my chest and that’s where it stayed.  So sad.  (sorry, no pics of the bench…you’ll have to use your imagination)

With my confidence rattled a bit, I dove head first into the deadlift.  I warmed up in a bit of a rush…apparently I was having too much fun in the stands and forgot that I actually had to finish lifting.  I went up to 245 lbs and then headed out to do my 259 lb opener.  Considering that I deadlifted 300 lbs at my last meet in October, I wasn’t expecting 259 to feel overly heavy.

Um…..yeah.  See how crooked the bar is?  It’s not supposed to be like that.  See all the veins popping out of my neck?  Also not supposed to be there on the first attempt.  See my rounded shoulders as I struggle to lock it out?  Also not a good sign at all.  When my coached asked if it felt as heavy as it looked, I said “yes, yes it did.”  I still decided to go up to 281 though. I  think this was a mistake. I would liken it to a person who hasn’t drank alcohol in a long time.  There was, perhaps, a time that you could go out and have 27 drinks and still wake up the next day feeling like a million bucks.  But now, you’re completely out of practice and have absolutely no business trying to drink that much.  You’re bound to end up passed out in booth somewhere, but does that stop you?  No, it does not deter you in the slightest. Down the hatch!!  So this is pretty much how that turned out.  I strained every muscle fiber in my entire body, but could not manage to move that bar one stinkin milimeter.

This was my first go at it.

Then I spent 10 minutes praying to the lifting gods before trying it again.

And…you can see how that turned out.  Once again….Fail.

 

When everything was said and done, despite being about 50 pounds under my last total, I came in 3rd place behind to amazingly talented and experienced lifters.  That is definitely something to be proud of. Having lost 15 pounds, putting up a bit less weight is okay.  The greatest part of it all is that by formula (wilks) my total at the Hudon meet in October 2010 was 315.32 while my total for this meet by formula was 315.11.  So even though it felt like I just went out and took a big duker on the platform, I actually maintained.  No PRs, nothing amazing, but I really didn’t lose anything and that’s great.  And you know what you get for a job well done?????

PIZZA!!!!!!!

Pizza, breadsticks, and Pepsi….every girls dream!! 

 

Thanks so much for all your support in this journey.  I couldn’t have done it without tons of help from my coach, my family and friends, and of course my future husband of the year.  Let me know what your next mission is and I’ll do my best to return the favor!!!

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It’s official.  I met my goal weight this morning and was even a little under.  It was surprisingly anticlimactic.  I blame that on the fact that is was 6:30 am, and I’ve been in dieting hell for the last 2 months.  Nonetheless, I started this journey at about 147 pounds back in February (after gaining at least 2 fruit cakes worth of holiday weight).  This morning I weighed in at 131.6 pounds, 0.6 pounds under my official goal weight.  Fantastic.  It would be nice if that meant that I could finally exhale, but it doesn’t.  As much as I wish I could have taken a quick photo of the scale and emailed it to the meet director to prove that I made it, I do actually have to maintain this weight until next Saturdays weigh in.  That means another whole week of no pizza, no DQ peanut buster parfait, no PB snickers.  I’m sure I’ll survive though…I’ve been doing it this long.

Because meeting my goal weight wasn’t quite enough (for some crazy reason), I also got my body fat tested this morning. I’m not sure why I decided that it was necessary for me to know my current body weight, but I did.  I saw a caliper set in the gym owner’s office the other day so I conned him into testing me this morning.  I’ve had my body fat tested once before by a weakling at the hospital cardiac rehab gym.  I don’t remember it being at all eventful…just a test.  So you can imagine my surprise when I felt a softball sized chunk of my thigh being ripped off this morning!  The gym own came in with ice cold hands and zero intension of taking any sort of mercy on me and my poor little fat rolls.  He grabbed a fistful of fat on the front of my thigh, my stomach, and the back of my arm (tricep area)…TWICE.  OMFG…..did it hurt.  I was doing deep breathing exercises and everything.  I could not believe the fight that my thigh fat put up when it got tugged on.  Apparently, it truly enjoys hanging out in its snuggly little home…tightly cuddled against my other thigh.  My stomach wasn’t too bad, but the back of my arm also similar to chewing glass.  Not a great experience.  I would not recommend doing it just for fun.  Yet another bit of evidence that I have completely lost my mind.

 

See….doesn’t look pleasant does it?

I’ve also gotten a couple of good workouts in this week.  I benched Wednesday night.  It was not my best bench workout, but I did it.  For the first time, I had a serious issue with keeping the bar straight.  Hopefully it was just due to some serious tightness that has developed from my building workouts.  I got a massage (another uber painful experience) last night hoping to remedy the problem.  I won’t know if it helped until I bench again on Monday, but I’m just going to say that it did.  This morning I did an odd combination of high box squats, close grip bench, and deadlifts.  I left the gym feeling like a rickety old lady….same way I feel on the last week of training for every meet.  Beat down, tired, exhausted, only now I can add crabby and HUNGRY to the list!!

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Hot Legs

I still cringe every time I hear that Rod Stewart song.  I can’t believe that was actually a hit.  What were people thinking?  However, maybe the reason that I really can’t stand that song is because I don’t have hot legs?  I’m sure it has something to do with my deeply suppressed jealousy of women (and men) with nice legs.  I’ve mentioned the dichotomy of thigh-rubbers versus non-thigh-rubbers.  I’d say that those two groups could also be classified as nice legs and….not so nice legs.  There are, of course, exceptions to every rule.

 

Serena’s got some hot legs, but I’d be willing to bet those thighs have a high affinity for one another.

Some women are just born with great legs.  They’re long, and skinny to go along with the rest of their perfect looks.

 

Gisele…..nuff said.

 

Even Jessica Simpson…despite tons of claims that her looks are quickly diminishing….has some hot legs!!

And this brings back to my whole pre-determined destiny theory.  Legs….you either have ‘em or you don’t.  Anyone who’s picked up a magazine….Glamour, Shape, Cosmo….has seen the well defined shapes that women are supposed to fit into.  If you’re petite, wear super tight clothes that make you look hot.  If you’re apple shaped, chose one of the 10 bazillion tops that are currently in stores to flatter your shape and expertly hide your muffin top.  If you’re pear shaped, go to the nearest sporting goods store and buy a tent to wrap yourself in because there is absolutely no hope for you.  (Can you tell what category I’m in ; )  It kills me!  Yet another aspect of life that is just not fair.

Those apple shapes, I tell ya they’ve got it made.  Even when things get really out of control on top, they still have rockin hot legs!

 

Look…she’s got magical disappearing legs!!!

A pear shape, on the other hand, is screwed.  When you’re a pair and you start gaining weight…..this is the effect is has on your body.

 

Affectionately referred to as the donkey booty.

There is no camouflage or frilly, cute top that will hide exploding thighs and a donkey booty.  And the worst part is, even when you get things under control, there is still a strong chance that your legs still won’t be suitable for public.  Enter…..ugly knee syndrome.

 

The horror!

 

Oh god….make it stop.

This is the boat I’m in- Pear shaped with deformed knees.  Good thing they make really cute jeans!!  And my summer staple…capris (specially formulated for ugly kneed pears)!!  So there you have it, my rant on my effed genetics.  I’m sure you wouldn’t have to look to hard to find an apple out there that would trade her pinky toe to be in my pear shaped shoes, but that really doesn’t make me feel any better.  So for now I will just sick back and quietly think evil thoughts whenever I see skinny legged girls in their short shorts and mini skirts.

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Human Sand Paper

I’m not sure what it is about me.  There are multiple theories floating around out there.  Maybe it’s the look on my face.  Take Britney for example. I bet you a million dollars she’s going for sexy in this shot…..but that’s not at all how it turned out. 

She looks like a demon is about to burst from the depths of her soul at any moment.  Maybe that’s how I look?  Maybe when I’m going for kind and understanding, I’m really coming up with “one false move and I will gut you!”  Could be.

Or maybe it’s more like these little guys.  I just can’t hide the inner doubt/disgust/shock/horror that I’m actually experiencing while talking with the cashier at the grocery store.

OMG…..Is that back fat hanging out of her tube top????

I honestly have no idea, but it never fails.  Where ever I go, inevitably some one ends up angry.  It could be as simple as a trip to the mall with my mom and my maid of honor.  Shopping for wedding shoes, a girls dream.  After pouring through every isle in the store, we finally came up with a pair that we thought would work.  After trying them, I took said pair up to the cashier to check out.  When the cashier checked the shoes, turns out they were two different sizes.

            Cashier: Do you want the 6 or the 6.5?

Me:  I’m not sure. I tried them on and booth shoes fit fine.  (Pause while gazing upward in an obvious “I’m thinking” pose.)

Cashier: Well, it’s a mismatch and I can’t sell them that way so you’re gonna have to Pick One. (Said with and evil and condescending tone.)

            Me: ever so politely slid the shoe box across the counter and walked out.

Really?  Did she really think that I was deviously trying to buy two different shoes?  And that I was arguing with her to let me take home two different shoes?  Holy smokes.  Needless to say, my quest for wedding shoes continues.  Send suggestions my way!!

My magical gift continued on a pit stop at Wendy’s. I’m a fan of their tasty salads when I’m in a pinch for lunch.  I usually get the cobb salad minus the cobb (read lettuce and chicken).  I’ve ordered it multiple times, but I had yet to encounter the red headed clerk of doom.

            Me: Hi, I’d like a cobb salad with just lettuce and chicken.

            Cashier: Um….they come, like, premade.

            Me: Oh….I’ve ordered them different before and they just make me a new one.

Cashier: Fine….hey (salad girl who’s name I’ve forgotten) can you make me a cobb salad?

            Salad Girl: Sure, what do you want on it?

            Cashier: Nothing.

            Me: Just Chicken please (to the very nice salad girl).

You see, the cashier wasn’t even the one that had to make the salad.  And the woman that had to make the salad was totally cool with it.  WTF? 

I’m crossing my finger that the whole bad things come in three’s in true because I had a third run in this weekend at GNC.  I don’t typically enjoy going in to that store because of their sometimes pushy sales approach, but I was out of protein powder and decided to make a quick stop since I was at the mall anyway.  I went in for my usual and was immediately intercepted by @sshole sales guy of the month, Andrew.

            Andrew: Can I help you find something.

            Me: Nope, I’m just here for my usual.

            Andrew: Have you tried out insanely over priced brand over here on this shelf?

            Me: Yes, I tried it last time, but it’s just too expensive for me.

Andrew:  Well, the stuff you’re buying only allows half of the protein to actually absorb in your body because it’s such a low quality protein (direct quote).

Me: Okay, but I still can’t afford the other stuff and I think this product gives me what I need.

Andrew: Fine, but that stuff is loaded with fat and cholesterol. (and walks away)

Uh…..jeez.  I didn’t realize GNC sold heart attack in a powered, chocolate flavored format.  So, I compared the fat and cholesterol to other containers and was not horrified by what I saw.  Just as I planned, I grabbed my usual and went to check out.

Andrew: (grabs my crappy protein powder choice and starts ringing me up in total silence sans all eye contact.)

Me: (I couldn’t let it go) Wow, you’re pretty crabby.  Is that your sale technique or something?

Andrew: No.

Me: Well, you understand that people’s price points are different, right?

Andrew: Yeah, but I didn’t want to get cut off again.  And I was going to tell you about another product that’s better than what you’re getting, but a lot cheaper.  But now I’m not going to because I don’t want to get cut off again.

So please, let me know if you guys figure out what the super secret and magical protein powder is at GNC.  Apparently I wasn’t deserving of knowing.  So maybe I cut the guy off, but not every one is up for the full blown sales pitch.  And when you’re in customer service, it’s your job to back off when the customer says they’re not interested. Or at least take a different approach.  I’m now convinced that GNC trains their staff to be degrading and insulting in order to bully their customers in to buying more expensive products.  My solution…I’m never going back.  I’m going to buy lead enhanced black market protein powder fromChinafrom now on.  I’ll show them!!!

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Yet another classic!  If only going from the mail room to a corner office was that easy!!

 

Have you ever gotten a new pair of shoes only to discover the very next day that everyone on the planet is sporting the exact same shoes?  You never saw a single person wearing those shoes before you bought them.  The instant you swiped your credit card, however, and entire truckload was apparently unloaded in the middle of town and now every single person you see is wearing your shoes.  This happens to me over and over, shoes, clothes, cars, electronics, you name it.  I never even notice that particular brand/style/color until I own it, and then I see it everywhere.  I’m convinced that the same thing is happening to me with this diet.  I never really noticed who was gaining weight/losing weight or needed to lose weight until my entire life started revolving around it.  Now everything I do and see is some how tied to that little four letter word….diet.

A lot of people talk about losing weight.  They look for new workout plans, new diet plans, they get gym memberships, they buy goal weight jeans, the post pictures of how they want to look in a bathing suit on the cupboard doors, they do a lot of things…..but not always the right things.  I’m no expert, believe me. I’ve only tried to lose weight twice a few times in my life.  The first few tries ended badly with me losing too much weight.  This time around, I feel like I’ve found a pretty good balance of losing weight while preserving muscle mass, feeling better, and looking better.  So I thought it might be a good idea to throw out some quick tips just in case you might be one of the 47 thousand people that are dieting right now.  If not….please, for the love of god, go eat a king size Twix and some Reese’s peanut butter cups for me and wash it down with the most gigantic coke you can get your hands on.  Thanks!

  1. Quit eating.  Okay…don’t quit eating everything, but quit eating junk.  Can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Think more carrots, less cake.
  2. Start Drinking….ALOT.  Copious amounts in fact.  I wish I meant booze because that would surely make things a lot more interesting, but I don’t.  I mean unsweetened beverages.  Water is of course the best, but I drink a lot of Crystal Light.  Those little single serve guys keep me in business.
  3. Quit Drinking….completely.  Alcohol is not your friend when it comes to weight loss.  Drinks have a lot of empty calories, but it’s not just about the drinks themselves.  It’s also about the crappy food you eat while you’re buzzed or hung over, and it’s about the workouts you miss the next day.
  4. Eliminate all carbs except fruits and vegetables.  It helped me drop multiple pounds per week for several weeks in a row.  It’s not permanent, it’s not perfect, but it works.
  5. Go to the gas station and buy 10 packs of Extra Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream sugar free gum.  It will change your life.  They also have Strawberry Shortcake, Keylime Pie, and Tropical Fruit.  They are all fabulous.
  6. Chew gum or brush your teeth after you eat.  I find myself craving sweets after I eat a nice, salty (read pasty), hunk of chicken.  In order to nix the craving, change the taste in your mouth with minty toothpaste or tasty gum!
  7. Keep track!!  This is the one that I get the most eye rolls about.  Yes, it’s work.  But seriously, do you think the weight is just going to fall off without you having to put some effort into it?  Of course not.  Use an online calorie tracker.  There are tons of free options out there. I use MyFoodDiary.com because it works the best for me.  It’s not free ($9/month), but it has lots of great features that make it worthwhile.
  8. Keep your goals in mind.  Why are you losing weight?  I’ve always found having a very concrete and specific goal was a vital part of the process.  Pick one and stick to it.  Tell everyone about it so they will all hold you accountable.  Hopefully they will be there for you when you’re ready to sh*t can the whole process and belly up to an Anchor Burger.
  9. Don’t weigh yourself too often. It’s good to keep tabs on your progress, but don’t get too bogged down by the numbers.  I found that I was on too much of a roller coaster weighing myself every day.  Now I check in every few days just to make sure things are on track.  And if they’re not, I simply engage in a little blood letting in order to even things out.
  10. Quit eating.  Again, not everything, just anything that tastes good.

 

There you have it, my sure fire method for weight loss.  Enjoy!

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I think some where in every family there is “that kid”.  You know, the one that you have to love, but love to hate.  They run around pulling people’s hair, kicking you in the shins, and beating you over the heard with their toys.  To the parents they’re just “cute little Jimmy….so rambunctious”.  But to you…..they are the devil!  My tolerance for those types is pretty much non-existent (okay, so I know I’m going to end up with one of those kids just because I said that).  It also means that I never really got too far as a baby sitter.  Parents could spot me a mile away, “never going to leave my kid alone with that girl.”  Fine by me!  The down side was that all the baby sitting duties would get passed on to other family members, like my mom.  I remember asking her one day how the little devil behaved after a sleep over.  She said, “just fine.”  Hmmmmm, very confusing.  “How did you manage that?”, I inquired.  That’s when she tossed me the most perfect little pearl of wisdom.  “I just didn’t give him a choice.”  What?  Really?  It’s that easy?  Why yes, yes it is.  If you eliminate the option of screwing around and getting in to trouble, then they have no choice but to be perfect little angels ; ) 

Turns out the exact same theory is true with dieting.  There are endless items of juicy deliciousness staring you in the face all day long- layered, crispy nutty bars, Reese’s pieces,   Cadbury cream eggs,  kit kats, Twix bars, DQ, granola bars, Pizza, Peanut Butter Snickers!!!!  Oh my.  The list goes on and on.  If you have to think about each and every one of the options, there is no possible way that you’ll be able to fight them all off.  So it’s simple, don’t give yourself the choice.  Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way.  I had been clipping along in my diet for several weeks with great success.  Then I spent one weekend working way too much and not quite eating enough, and I ended up in a slump. I was crabby, tired, and hungry.  I thought the very best thing I could do would be to just give myself a treat. I had some pizza and granola bars…lots of carby goodness.  I thought I could just “cheat” one day and then get right back on track.  Wrong.  Once I opened the door and allowed myself to see and sample all my options, it was almost impossible to slam that door shut again. I felt like I was fighting off a tidal wave of cookies and cake and ice cream.  Food was calling to me everywhere I went.  It took me a solid 3 days to finally get to the point where I felt comfortable leaving the house without borrowing the dogs muzzle, just in case I came across the dreaded box of doughnuts in the break room at work.  So, that’s my reality.  There simply are no other options when it comes to food. I plan my meals out for the day, and if it’s not in the plan, I DO NOT EAT IT. I don’t even look at it, and I especially don’t touch it or smell it.  Dieting….it’s not rocket science.

In an effort to continue my punishment for my cheat fest earlier in the week, I did some deficit dead lifting last night.  It’s an awkward lift, but I don’t hate it nearly as much as I hate dead lifting in the rack!  The idea is that you elevate yourself a few inches so that you have to pull that much farther.  I did some reps at lower weight and then worked my way up to heavy singles.  The last rep I did was at 245, and it was hard and incredibly ugly.  The good news is that my back isn’t sore today!  Next week will be a different story though. It will be my last heavy deadlift workout before the meet…yikes!

This morning was an early morning bench workout.  I’m still having some minor pain in my left shoulder.  For some reason, adding in a second bench workout is just enough to make it protest.  Close grip bench, on the other hand, seems to be working well.  So I did 3×3 at 105 pounds for close grip, pull ups, skull crushers, and dreaded dumbbell rows.  The best part of the workout was getting another pull up PR.  The goal was to do a total of 20 pull ups.  I figured it would take me 3 or 4 sets, but I ended up doing 13 reps on my first set!  Sweet.  That only left 7 for the second set and that was no problem!  I can now officially do more pull ups than half of the 13 year old hockey players at the gym.

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