Aside

I’ve been busy and partially forgot to post these past few days. Monday concluded my Max Effort days, and it went really well! It was a legs and bicep day, and I reached my goal on back squats and hack squats which I’m very pleased with. 

The rest of the week was lighter weights, high reps to give my body a little break from the beat down I just gave it! I made sure I really pushed myself and focused on my form. Today’s leg day was KILLER. Speed squats, hack squats, leg curls, leg extensions, deadlifts, calf raises, leg press.. you name it, I did it! And I left the gym hardly able to walk… which in my eyes means a very successful day!!

This next week I’m moving back up to UConn so I’ll have to adjust to doing my workouts in a different gym. I’m ready for the chance of pace though!

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Max Lifts: Day 2

Today was my power clean max day. I learned a lot about myself while being in the gym this morning. I failed at all 3 of the max chances I had. I cleaned 105 lbs, but kept failing at 110.. my goal was 120 lbs. I did not reach my goal. I was more than bummed. I was frustrated, mad, angry, and felt defeated and like a failure. All completely unacceptable. After completing my workout, I left the gym in tears. TEARS? Yes.

I got in the way of myself today. I allowed my negativity to over power any bit of confidence that I had. I know what I should have done: I should have said, “F*ck, I didn’t get it, but next time I will. Now go kill the rest of your workout.” But I didn’t do that at all.

I learned from today that this whole training process isn’t about getting stronger, lifting heavier, and sculpting my body… it’s about taking every day as it comes, dealing with issues in the present (not harping on them), and really trying to improve my attitude. It’s about growing MENTALLY tougher. I will continue to feel defeated unless I change my mentality. Some days I have a great mentality and have a phenomenal workout, but that needs to change to EVERY day. I’m not saying I need to have a great workout every day, because that’s just not realistic, but I need to work on understanding that nobody is perfect, I will fail lifts, I will have off days, but I will also get right back up and move the F on because I’ll never progress if I don’t.

I went back to my moms house after the gym, still clearly upset. She sent me this e-mail a few hours later:

Lauren,
I thought about what you said earlier about failing at your workout…… You are not a failure or a quitter and never have been in the 20 years you have been my daughter.  Who would have thought that you could start training for a half marathon and 2 months later run it in record time your first time out.
When you set your mind on a goal you are tenacious and you don’t give up until you reach your goal. You may have set backs along the way, but you will get right back on track and succeed. I have no doubt about that. Pace yourself and never ever doubt what you are capable of. Isn’t that what you always tell your clients? That they are capable of more than they think they are.
Love you,
Mom

Moral of THAT story: always listen to your mother.

Max lifts: Day 1

So yesterday was the start to my max week. I met my friend at the gym so he could spot me on bench press and deadlifts. I was pumped and ready to go! I did my warm up sets and then started my max chances on the bench. I put up 85 lbs, put up 95, and after two attempts I failed at 105 lbs. I was extremely disappointed in myself but I went down to 100 and got that up with a bit if struggle. I let it get to me and it killed my adrenaline buzz. Im very competitive with myself so when I don’t succeed at a goal I beat myself up over it. After a few hours I accepted it and decided to use it as motivation to get it (and surpass it) next time. I’ve come a long way as it is and am happy with the 100 that I did.

Next I had deadlifts. I was already upset about not maxing out at 105 for bench, but I tried really hard to put it behind me for now and keep focus on what I had next. My goal was to deadlift 205 lbs. I recently purchased wrist straps at dicks sporting goods to help with gripping the bar. They work wonders! The grips really allow me to focus on my form rather than gripping the bar tight. I got up to 205 with little struggle, so I went up to 215 and after failing once, I got it up! My back arched a bit but I still smoothly finished the lift. I stopped there but looking back at the videos I could have increased the weight once more.
All in all I’m happy with the numbers I put up. It’s a huge step in the right direction and a big improvement in where I was a few months ago. I now have baseline numbers to improve on.
Today I have max power cleans. Bring it! Goal: 120 lbs

The Big Day

Tomorrow starts my Max/PR Week! I feel strong and ready. I’m meeting a friend tomorrow morning at the gym so he can spot me during my heavy lifts. Tomorrow I am going for my max in the Bench Press and Deadlift. I’m so pumped! Today was my rest day, so with a full day of rest and a good night of sleep I should be putting up some good numbers tomorrow. Off to bed!

Max Week!!

So today marked the end of my 2-week deload routine. It felt good to get in and out of the gym everyday in less than an hour, and be able to really focus of FORM and FEELING each and every rep of a squat, curl, etc because of the light weight. These two weeks is just what I needed to gain some self confidence. I’ve honestly never been this motivated before, and it’s actually perfect timing because next week is my Max week.. where I’m looking to PR on all my big lifts! At first I was SO scared seeing the numbers my coach wanted me to put up, but I know my body is ready. And mentally I feel ready. I realized if I go into it with any doubt, I’ve already lost the battle and I will fail those lifts. I need to go in with confidence. I’ve been on my bulk diet, so my body is feeling stronger than every, and my energy is sky rocketing. No mid day naps for this girl anymore. Tomorrow is my rest day, then Saturday is Day 1 of PR week!! I’m so ready!

Feeling tight!

I’m absolutely loving this week’s workouts. It’s a deload week so I am lifting much lighter weights for more reps. This is preparing me for my max efforts next week! I’m hoping to set some good PRs.

Today was a chest and back day, and I was in and out within 45 minutes. It felt great. I was so zoned into my music and my focus was on point. I took no more than 45 seconds between sets so my heart rate was up the whole time.. basically I felt awesome! When I was done, my skin felt tight, my muscles felt swole and I was totally on cloud 9. One of the best workouts I’ve had. My new mentality is definitely playing a positive factor as well.

OH and even more exciting- I ate my first sandwich in over 2 years today! I’m allowed to substitute different foods into my diet as long as I stay true to my macro count. So, I had a chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread, half a sweet potato, and broccoli for lunch! Then, for dinner I experimented with my macros again and made a little mix of brown rice, salmon and chick peas. So good!

Motivation and Arnold

I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend really trying to figure out the ‘mind-body’ connection. I know when I go into the gym feeling confident like I’m going to destroy a workout or exercise, 99.9% of the time I do just that. And I feel great afterwards. But, when I get under the bar for a squat (like today) and go in feeling nervous, I never get the same result. I either don’t go full depth, or even worse, I sike myself out completely.  It’s all mental. I KNEW I could easily have squatted 135 for 3 today, because I’ve done it so many times before. But for some reason there was just the ONE little voice inside my head saying, ‘I hope I can get this weight back up..’ and right then is when all that confidence vanished. I completely the squat set, but I wasn’t happy with my execution. BELIEVING in myself is what is going to get me results. Not being timid when it comes to lifting heavy and going for new PRs is what is going to get me to my goal.

This weekend I watched several motivational videos, listened to clips of famous speeches, and did some research on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold’s outlook on training and the mind is incredible. He’s such a smart man and I agree 100% with his mentality.

One of my favorite quotes of his: “The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.” This couldn’t be written any better. The mind really is the limit.. but in order to achieve what you’re striving for, you need to believe.

I need to start believing in this because come next week I have max sets and I know the ONLY way I am going to accomplish them is if I get my mind right.

Day 1: The bulk begins

I could hardly sleep last night. It was a mix of nerves and excitement of starting my new diet and exercise routine for the month.

Over the past few months I had been eating roughly 1800 calories a day, doing no more than 10 minutes of cardio a day, and lifting 6x a week for about 45 minutes. I began leaning out and building noticeable muscle, especially in my upper body. My downfall: legs and butt. I’ve always been a tall girl, 5’8″ to be exact, and I’ve always ‘lacked’ in those areas. Well, if I want to compete, I need to build them up, right? Muscles need fuel to grow, so that’s what I’m doing- increasing my calories to give my muscles the proper fuel to get those glutes and hamstrings I want!! Squats, deadlifts, etc. alone would not do the job, or at least not in a timely manner.

Ready for my new diet? From 1800 calories to a whopping 2400 CALORIES. Oh…My….Gosh is right. (I almost had a panick attack at work when I saw those number that my coach sent me).

The diet is broken up like this: 300 g Carbs, 175 g Protein, and 50 g Fat.

Seem like a lot? It should, because it is. But I need to gain weight and put on more muscle. Eventually after this ‘bulking’ phase, I will cut back down, lean out again, but still retain the muscle I have put on during the bulk. This is the glory of having so long before my competition! I get to experiment and do some things most girls can’t because they jump right in and decide to compete in a show a few months away. I, potentially have a little less than a year to sculpt my body.

So, todays breakfast: 3 whole eggs, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup pineapple.

This filled me up BIG time- didn’t even have room for my morning coffee! It was delicious, though. After heading to work for a few hours I went to the gym to get my workout in. This first week is a ‘deloading’ week, to prepare me for heavy lifts next week. I was in and out within an hour and got a VERY good workout in! It was chest and back today. Light weight, high reps. It’s nice to mix it up a little!

After my workout I had to eat a banana, an apple, and drink my protein and creatine. SO. MUCH. FOOD. and. LIQUID. But i’m not gonna give up!! I know it’ll benefit me later.

My decision to compete

I needed a change. A goal. Something different. My life was too routine. It bored me. I was bored with my own life. Wake-Eat-Work-Gym-Eat-Work-Eat-Sleep. Everyday. All day.

Well, there’s more to my life than that, but that’s all it seemed like sometimes. So, with MUCH thought, I decided to choose a goal that would challenge me and push me to my limits. I talked about different options with a fellow personal trainer, and he mentioned competing in a bikini competition next spring or summer. I’ve always looked at these competitors with such fascination on how much hard work, discipline and dedication they must have gone through. The other side of me hated the idea of getting on stage in front of thousands of people, half naked, strutting my stuff in heels.. only to be judged (mainly) on how fit, toned, tan, sexy, and favorable my body is.

But, I looked past that. Like I mentioned before.. I wanted to accomplish something. And this time, something I have always thought I could NEVER do. I want to prove to myself that I truly can do ANYTHING I set my mind to. This seemed like the perfect chance. I get to take my body to extreme measures, both mentally and physically, and that really excited me.

Working out and living a healthy lifestyle has ALWAYS been a huge part of my life. For as long as I can remember I have worked out 6x a week, and ate a very, very clean diet. I can’t imagine life any other way. So i knew I wanted me goal to be something fitness related.

Over the past few months I have greatly changed my mentality and routine in both the gym and the kitchen. I’ve seen incredible gains in muscle and I couldn’t be happier in the direction I’m headed. Although.. I’ve never been more scared and anxious in my entire life. I’m ready though. And more motivated than ever.