I am in rather joyous spirits! :D I managed to convince myself to get my ass to the gym yesterday (this is somewhat of an ordeal at times, because, much as I do love working out, school can be pretty draining), and it was a good thing I went! (I happened upon a whole lot of ego boosters.)
I’m basically the only girl that ever ventures into the free weights portion of our gym, and there was shit everywhere today (a lot of the kids here are apparently incapable of re-racking their weights). I saw one of the guys in my class at the bench press and asked if he’d been in between sets on the squat rack or anything (he was not). He helped me move stuff out of the way so it would expedite the process of me being able to use it. He’s a good soul. I liked his story on how he “lost a high school cheerleader” (aka 100 pounds) when he first decided to start lifting/eating healthy.
I do not have such an inspirational story because I’ve always been pretty scrawny (I’ve only really gained around 52-ish pounds and 4 inches in the past 13 years; I weighed 68 pounds and was 4’11” in 6th grade, so go figure). Aside from not wanting to disgrace my major, my goal when I first started lifting was to look small and unthreatening, but to be really effing strong, so people would be in for a surprise if they ever tried to mess with me. While that still remains a goal, it has expanded to basically encompass my desire to be able to do half a billion moves on the pole and on silks that requires a crapload of strength, flexibility, or both.
I’ve taken to just doing abs in between sets of heavy lifting for maximum time efficiency, so during one of those “breaks,” aforementioned guy (I can’t exactly call him a friend because we haven’t had too many conversations in weeks’/months’ past–he forgot his ID, so I let him into the gym a couple weeks ago and that’s basically how we met) turned to me and said, “You’re a beast, Farrah!” (I’d been doing squats.)
F: Why thank you, good sir! (Yes, I really do talk like this to people in real life. :X )
S: You’re really strong. Did you used to compete or anything?
F: hahaha, no, I’m not that hardcore. I just do this for fun. One of my goals is to be able to deadlift twice my body weight. (Since previous goal of 1.5x my body weight has been achieved. :D!)
S: Really? I’m surprised you can’t do that already.
I explained to him my slight apprehensions of adding too much more weight on even though I know I could do more because I was afraid of effing over my already somewhat-misaligned spine. To me, it’s really saddening because deadlifts are actually my favorite lift. (Although these days, because of my wariness, squats have been fast catching up on my list of favorites.) The breaks I’ve had from lifting have been due to stupid shit like effing over my spine in late 2009-early 2010 and late 2011-early 2012, as well as the lack of a gym with free weights from fall of 2010-early 2011 and…let’s face it, it’s also because I fell in love with pole dancing and spent over half of 2011 basically living at Bel’s studio. I was like a piece of furniture that moved around there.
So if you take all that into account and then backtrack to when I first started lifting (last day of March in 2009), my deadlift started at 70 and (so far) has peaked at 185. I started squats at 65 and am currently at 155. Progress has been pretty slow-going though, because I’ve honestly only improved 65 and 45 lbs, respectively, since early May of 2009. Suffice to say, my weight lifting awesomeness was a lot better when I first started (which is typical due to a whole lot of physiology that I will not go into). I still partially attribute this progress to my ex, since he’s the one who started me up on it, partly because he saw the potential greatness in me (haw haw :O ), but also because my living habits at the time frightened him. (Let’s just say that he met me shortly after I’d climbed out of ochem hell, where I would often have a billion cups of jasmine green tea and Nature Valley Oats & Honey granola bars. I ate over 500 of those and the Fruit & Nut ones that school year, so really, I can’t blame him for being horrified. It was a dark and terrible time.)
Unfortunately, I have since acquired a couple stupid habits and my form for deadlifts has apparently gone to partial shit since then, which would also explain the effing up of my lower back. I started out with Romanian deadlifts and I’m not sure I ever actually learned the proper way to do a regular one. After I did one rep, guy-in-my-class (Steve) asked if I’d mind if he gave me a few tips. (Nope. It was nice of him to ask though; tip guys at the gym are usually the worst.) It was like magic. :O What I’d been forgetting to do = flexing my butt, which was putting all kinds of strain in my lower back. He alerted me of this by poking me at where my piriformis would be located (this attests to the comfort level our class basically has with each other; after OPP and anterior L5 counterstrain, this kinda thing doesn’t faze you anymore) and demonstrated its effectiveness by having me poke him while he was doing one without flexing vs. flexing. I also haven’t been driving the bar straight up. Mysteries solved! I’m not all apprehensive of doing deadlifts anymore! :D!
He also showed me a super easy way to drag the weights off the barbell (easily my least favorite part of lifting, especially when assholes decide not to put their shit away–can you tell that’s one of my pet peeves? >_>), and got me to simultaneously realize and kick the habit I apparently had (I seriously never noticed ._.) of looking at the bar/shifting my weight around while I was picking up the bar to do squats, and the weird shifty one-side-at-a-time sort of deal I’ve been doing (and will never do again, because I just realized how terrible it was for my back, holy shit no wonder it would hurt ._.) when I’m putting the bar back into the rack.
Load up the bar, pick it up, take a good step back with one foot and then the other. Don’t move em’ anymore. Do your thing. Step forward until the bar hits the rack on both sides–you don’t need to look at it while you’re doing that because it’s not like it moved or anything while you were lifting–and set it down. Why did I never do this before?! ;_; Better late than never, I guess.
S: I’m going to make you a champion, Farrah. You definitely have the talent for it.
Hells yes! :D (I find this particularly flattering because he used to compete in powerlifting. :D!) Mark my words, kids! I am on my way to greatness! (Or at least, I’m working on it.)