Tag Archives: abs

Compete to better yourself vs train to be ready to compete

 

In the past few months, in between living my life, working and my weightlifting training I was also exposed to competitive weightlifting from both athlete’s perspective (competing myself) and from organisational aspect such as putting a team of athletes together to compete and hosting a competition in my home club (Battersea Weightlifting Club).snatch

This experience opened up a dialogue with fellow lifters and club’s athletes. What I’ve learnt as an athlete myself is that there are many good lifters, new lifters who don’t want to compete or represent the club for quiet a strange reason which I would refer to as misunderstanding, misconception or even missing the point.

There are many weightlifting competitions taking place throughout the year in the UK and while majority of competitions are only for registered athletes [under British Weightlifting Federation] they allowathletes of all abilities (new and professional) to compete in front of the referees on the platform and more than likely with very good and supportive audience.

I only took part in two competitions this year thus far under British Weighltifting and on behalf of my club; however competed in others such as lifting league for South-East of the UK.

First competition took place in January 2015 and it was a great experience. Out of 6 lifts I’ve hit 5 good lifts which was great and then I’ve missed two competitions due to travelling and competed again at the end of May.

Many of my fellow lifters ask me if I am ready to compete? My answer is simple: as ready as I can be!

So, why are there athletes, lifters, males and females who are scared of weightlifting and when invited to compete they decline with usual excuse: “I am not ready, I need to train more to be able to compete!”

My coach once told me that competing to get experience as a new lifter is what I should focus on. Get as many times on the platform as you can – was his view.

So I did! Once registered for the competition my competitive spirit then started to get concerned about making weight category (ie. dropping into category I would like to compete instead of just getting as many good lifts as possible). I was also getting too concerned about being the weakest lifter on the platform with very low opening attempts.

My fears were well-managed and consequently eliminated by my fellow lifter and training partner and coach. All of the worries about body weight and other lifters were irrelevant to me as a new lifter.

The moment I stepped on to the platform I hit new PBs; both in snatch and clean&jerk.

The difference between training and lifting at the competition was that I couldn’t hit those numbers in the training and struggled to get over my comfortable numbers. When I was encouraged to compete the work I’ve put into the preparation has paid off on the platform. For me it was the adrenalin, the coach, the audience and ambience which made a difference.

Why should you aim to compete and enter the competitive weightlifting at any stage?

1. Competitive weightlifting gives lifters different experience from ambience, warm up and build up to your first lift through to your best lift

2. Adrenalin levels often than not run much higher in the competitive environment over training environment which means that your PBs are likely to be hit and new PBs made

3. Learning from other lifters of similar weight, body composition which you might not normally see lifting with you or next to you in the warm up room will give you new perspective

4. Relationship with your coach changes and improves every time you prepare for competition, compete and even after competition. You will get to know your coach from different angle. You will see a different person and not just somebody who writes a programme and shouts clues at you during training.

5. Finally, entering competitive weightlifting gives those who train hard, have a strict routine a reason to celebrate and reflect on the progress made; I treat myself to a few days off from training and enjoy good food treats.

By believe that you are not good enough or ready enough to compete you are holding back from facing the referees, the platform and most importantly yourself from your true athletic and physical potential and new PBs.

Getting involved with competitive weightlifting is simple:

1. register with British Weightlifting by registering as unattached athlete or attached (by joining a club)

2. find out about your local competitions and clubs and maybe start with club competitions

3. ensure you have a good coach who understands weightlifting and supports you in competition

4. get involved!

I am a girl and I lift heavy

More references can be found here:

http://britishweightlifting.org/

https://www.facebook.com/batterseaweightlifting

 

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Injuries, setbacks and how to cope with them

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My amazing holidays on Bali came to an end with ruptured tendon on my right hand wrist.

Initial emotions which filled my head when I sat in the hospital in Kuta (Bali) amongst many tourists with “Bali belly”, broken legs and arms and green faces, were anger, frustration, setback, pain, upset, anxiety and disbelief.

I was angry with myself, with the world, with the sport, with my holidays, with everyone and everything who might have contributed to this situation. X-ray scans arrived and showed no fractures, MRI scans showed the most feared for injury – tendon/ligaments tears. I was in need of an operation which would reconstruct my tendon for a proper healing and to grow back, however I was advised to do it in the UK and take a flight home as scheduled – 3 days later.

As the nurse immobilised my wrist and forearm with a temporary brace, the reality of the situation dawn at me. I will not be able to train for 2 months and longer, I will miss my first crossfit and weightlifting competition and my progress will turn into regress. Sad moment.

When you arrive at the point of realising that your injury is for a long-term and you won’t be able to continue to train, you’ve actually arrived at the crossroad.  From here you must make a choice of how you react to this situation. Your choice is either reacting as majority would – feeling sorry for yourself and letting the weight of the situation drag you down; or you can react as a true athlete in an athlete spirit where setbacks are viewed as opportunities to come back stronger.

Choice no. 1 – feeling sorry for yourself

This choice is made by us humans too often. We choose to feel sorry and dwell on the situations from a very negative angle. It is applicable to any setbacks, break ups, job losses, injuries and other emotionally heavy impacts on our lives. The surroundings we live in, work in and are influenced by will play a big role in this choice being made.

Firstly, majority of your friends and families and colleagues will feel sorry for you and no doubt they will express it in calls, texts and their behaviour, they will encourage thoughts about your injury being “bad”, “painful” and with long-term consequences.

Secondly, all you know and are coded with from a very young age is the information about injuries – they need rest and they are a setback. Doctors will tell you “no training for 6 weeks”, they put you through operation and stick a cast on (in my case), they immobilise your injured part of the body, prescribe painkillers, drugs and suggest no exercise for a long period of time.

Thirdly, your own perception of the situation is influenced by both surroundings and professional diagnosis and treatment. It is therefore very easy and almost understandable to make a choice no. 1. It’s the obvious one anyway and you are almost pre-coded to make this choice, so don’t despair if you find yourself in this article. You can learn from it for the next time.

Sadly the consequences of making a choice no. 1 are going to mean that your setback is going to be a true setback which will impact your fitness even more than the injury alone would have. It often means that you abandon your healthy lifestyle, find excuses to eat junk and comfort foods and prolong your recovery time not only through poor nutrition intake but often alcohol intake too.

Choice no 2 – if you eat like an athlete, train like one YOU SHOULD react to setbacks like an athlete would

This choice is the one which you are not told or taught how to make. It is a choice you need to learn to make as you get older, wiser and it becomes a result of disciplined life as well as the result of making the RIGHT choices through the messages sent from the RIGHT surroundings. This choice can only be made if you love your body, understand it, listen to it and you are in a complete equilibrium with it.

Luckily athletes have their coaches and professional sports doctors who when treating them, whether surgical or non-surgical way, create just the right surrounding for the athlete and his/her recovery. In addition, family of athletes also know what kind of words/messages need to be sent to injured athlete. This type of surrounding doesn’t encourage athlete to make a choice no.1.

Sad reality is that majority of us amateur athletes, fitness crazy, don’t have the surrounding which is that powerful. We don’t have doctors who understand the underlying issue of the injury. Our families are supportive of us, but they are not trained or told how to help us to make a choice no. 2. Our friends and colleagues see you as a crazy fitness enthusiast who probably overtrained and deserved this injury.

 

Making THE choice no. 2 – amateurs manual to turning Setbacks into Comebacks

1. Arriving at the “crossroad” I knew I had to make a choice – you must realise and firstly be aware (many ARE NOT) that you have a choice. They are simple: Injury will be a setback for long OR injury will become a comeback in disguise – all you need to do is make the choice no. 2, BUT it starts with realisation that you have the said choices

2. Surround yourself with the right people and accept the fact that there will be friends and family who will try to influence your thoughts, but you MUST talk to your coaches, fellow athletes or even read information on sports injuries and how to cope with them. There is a lot of right information out there, but also a lot of information which conflicts with making choice no. 2

3. Accept the injury as part of the long-term goal which you probably set and keep reviewing as you progress. My goal is set for 2 years and I chose to accept this setback as part of getting closer to my goal. It might be hard to believe that injury will get you closer to it as it might seem like this is getting you further away from your fitness goals, but in a long-term it is only 2 months out of 24 which you will be out of the REAL ACTION. 2 months are less than 10%!!!

4. Don’t take it word for word when your doctor says “NO TRAINING or EXERCISE” – this is one of the biggest mistakes we all make when injured. I injured my right hand wrist and tendon. Yes, life with this injury is not particularly easy and I am uncertain about when the pain will stop, when will the operation take place and the real consequences of it, but I chose not to accept NO TRAINING or EXERCISE comment from doctors. Nothing is stopping me from exercising my core and abs, doing crunches, leg raises (on the floor) and many other exercises which will keep my form going and in fact will improve the most needed part of my body for weightlifting moves – abs and core.

Also, my legs – they are not injured! Why shouldn’t I try to work on my legs? Squats are the best way to keep training when upper body is injured. I started with air-squats and body weight lunges but I am sure during my recovery when my grip improves I will hit my back squats with supervision of my coach.

5. Avoid junk food and boozing as much as possible. When your body is injured all it needs is a lot of healthy nutrients to heal. I was also given a window of roughly 2 months before I am back on track and training. I made a choice that I will do another Whole 30 in that period and offer my body a lot of healthy nutrients in form of clean eating.

As it is joint/muscle injury I also upped intake of fish oils and other natural sources of nutrients.

Keeping your body fueled when it is injured is the key to speedy recovery.

6. Socialise wisely – time out of the gym means a lot of free time. As I now won’t be training with my fellow crossfiters and weightlifters I won’t be spending evenings in the gym for some time, there will be a reduction in my usual physical activities at the weekend, so I am faced with a lot of free time. It is going to be hard to fill, but I chose to use this time to self-educate myself and use it to improve in other areas of life. My work requires my full attention and committment as well, so I will spend more time here and get ahead of the game. My blog and writing will also get more attention and finally I will write my papers for weightlifting coaching certificate and prepare for exams.

7. Find a new goal while injured and deliver on it – I’ve decided that my goal is to perfect my abs and core along with my bum, so when I finally return to training I will be stronger and turn injury into comeback!

 

I am a girl and I lift heavy, so what’s your excuse?

Article credits go to: Rich Kite – my weightlifting coach, Kim – my training partner and a friend, my family – my dad particularly who is my long distance coach and other friends and athletes. Thank you for helping me turn setback into comeback.

“All in One” long term measuring of your weightlifting performance, body weight, clothes size and major lifts… conclusions which will shock most weightloss theories

Past few days I spent collating information and data jotted down in various diaries and notepads I had started and never finished since October 2012 and searching for email conversations with my coaches related to my progress and data.

Putting together a table and chart which covers a lot of (at times) random information was a big ask on myself, but I have finally finished it and my own findings and statements below are the result of a long-term (22 months) data and information recorded in a simple excel format.

The graph 1 which I produced from this data is somewhat less easy to read so I decided to break it down to main comparables in a series of graph for example “body weight” vs “clothes size” to prove that the myth of” weight loss diets mean smaller clothes” is just a myth!

What was I recording:

Body Weight / dress size / front squat / back squat / dead lift/ snatch (lift) / clean and jerk (lift) / injuries

main chart

A few conclusions from my initial graph are as follows:

* The most body weight (in kg) I’ve lost in the measured period of 22 months was staggering 17kg!!!

* My average body weight in those 22 months was 62.18 kg

* The longest injury free period was 4 months at the very beginning of the measured period where I weight 70kg and lifted a very small % of my body weight. Another 4 months of injury free period was early this year Feb – May 2014, the time I was hitting heavier weights and started crossfit (April 2014)

* I had over two months off from training due to my broken foot which is the injury incurred during Tough Mudder 2013

* My lifts started to improve this year significantly after joining crossfit box in London and I also dedicated a lot of time to weightlifting and became coached by Rich Kite

* My body weight is creeping up slightly, however my dress size dropped to UK 6 even though I am 5 kg heavier than my lightest 54kg when I was size UK8

 

Graph2: Body Weight vs Clothes size

When I was at my heaviest 71 kg my dress size was UK14. This was not due to my whole body being fat, but predominantly my body shape being “pear shape” which meant my hips were very wide and I carried a lot of fat on my hips, tummy and on my back.

After 18 months I was weighing 54kg but my dress size was UK8. Today I weigh 58-59kg and my dress size is UK6. Muscles weigh more than fat!

graph 1

Graph 3: Clean and Jerk and Front Squat have direct correlation

The below indicates a few key points for my training. Front squats are important in your clean and jerk olympic lift. There is a direct correlation between the weight squatted and the weight cleaned. No wonder that part of my weightlifting training session is front squat.

Muscle memory: You can see that I had no lifts recorded last summer (2013). It is because I was injured and couldn’t lift or train. Though muscle memory remained pretty strong and my return to lifting was pretty strong too. More on muscle memory can be read here: http://www.dna-sports-performance.com/coaches-zone/muscle-memory-a-coaches-perspective/

c&J and front squat

As I dig deeper into my analysis of my figures I will be publishing more articles on my form and performance over 22 months period.

I am a girl and I lift heavy x

7 days Ab Challenge

After completing the whole30 and commencing re-introductory stage while on business in Spain, I have set myself another little challenge. The Ab Challenge.

As I have my first ever photo shoot for women’s health magazine in less than 12 days I decided that apart from training (which is very hard to keep up while I am travelling and working relentlessly on a completion of my biggest project) I will also work on my abs and strength of my core.

Abs are important (not solely aesthetically) to me as I need my core strength for my weightlifting performance and crossfit.

I spent a few days browsing the Internet looking for the challenge that’s different but will bring results.

I found this one http://m.skinnyms.com/7-day-ab-challenge/

Let the ab party commence!

Before and after update on my abs to come in 7 days!
Note: this is not the only exercise I will be doing and my food intake during upcoming 7 days will also be strictly controlled ! I want that photo shoot to turn out darn good!!!

With any challenge I ever do I always ensure that:
– timeframe (days) are realistic – always review your calendar and activity i.e if it falls on longer holidays then it is probably not a good idea to start
– I understand all the moves and moves so that I don’t injure myself
– my objectives as to why am doing it are clear
– my food matches the objectives and training output – don’t starve yourself it is not going to make you stronger!
– my mind is ready for the challenge
– I am committee to it 100%
– my training partner knows about this extra training taking place AND involve her too
– ALLOW for a REST day and recovery
– I can finish the challenge
– take before and after pictures to compare the results and progress

And to keep me going in my mission, training and challenges I will be looking at a lot of motivational quotes. A few good ones are to be found on Popsugar.com http://www.fitsugar.com

I am a girl and I lift heavy! What’s your excuse?

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