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My First Weightlifting Competition

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Doing my best to squat low in my snatch lift in the gym.

One of the main things that I have tried to do when I write this blog is to help you learn something, understand something, question something, and ultimately it would turn into having a better understanding of what it means to be a healthy well-balanced human.

Today I am not going to do that.  Today I am going to blog the way a lot of other bloggers blog, I am going to just talk about myself.  Not totally in a selfish way but to share something that I did and how it made me feel.

I have been doing Olympic Weightlifting as part of my gym routine for several months now.  

It was suggested to me through my Crossfit gym and I have become totally addicted to it.  I thought I would give it a try, learn something new, but figured that I would find it boring but useful and ultimately just go back to my Crossfit classes.  I was totally wrong. I don’t find it boring at all. Although there are generally fewer movements to master, I now know that I will likely never actually master them.  It will be a continual growth exercise.

Going to the gym generally comes with certain goals.  We, as people who go to the gym, have either weight goals in that you have a certain weight that you want to move. You may have goals based on your appearance, smaller waist or bigger biceps.  For me, it has almost always been about losing weight and being a smaller size. That is, until recently.

I know how important it is to have goals.  I set all sorts of them. I rarely achieve them, but it doesn’t stop me from setting them and working towards them.  I did actually manage to lose some weight a few years ago. I worked really hard, ate super clean, worked out a lot, ran, hiked, was really focussed.  But ultimately, without keeping up that strict routine, some of that weight has crept back. It is not only typical, but it is the majority of people.

When I started at this Crossfit gym, I told them that weight loss was my goal.  The response from one of the coaches was“ what if your goal was to get stronger and weightloss was just a byproduct of that”.  Those words have haunted me, yes haunted me for months now. I am now in agreement with that trainer and am coming to terms with goals in the gym,  that are more concerned with lifting heavier and achieving some pretty ambitious weight goals for a woman of my age.

Having said all of that, I have done my first ‘mock’ weightlifting competition.  Our coach for Olympic Weightlifting is somebody who has trained for the Olympics. Yes, an actual Olympic trained athlete.  He is so particular with form. Just the smallest detail he notices and does his best to correct it in us. There are so many different stretches and warm-ups before we pick up a weight.  Now admittedly, Doug and I are the oldest lifters that he has trained. So our program is a little different from the others that we see lifting. But, he actually sees progress in us.

So, when I got to the end of the last series of program notes, to my surprise was a page I hadn’t seen before and didn’t really understand.  It was a competition page. Andy, our coach, wanted to see how we would do in a competition setting. YIKES! Something I had never considered before was competing in weightlifting.  This, in my mind, was a young person sport, not for a person my age. Apparently, I was wrong, there is a Masters category. Who knew?

 

Friday was the day, competition day, well MOCK competition day.

 

I showed up and before I did anything more than put on my lifting shoes, Andy explained how the day would go.  I was given a lifting platform and told to warm up, make sure I was really warm. When I was, Andy would ‘call my name to the platform’.  I would then have one minute to complete my lift. When the bar was lifted to the appropriate position, I would get the signal to put it down.  Then, wait for my turn. One thing I had to learn was to rest well between sets. There is no room for rushing, that is where injuries happen. So, I wait until I am ‘called’ again.  

I will get four attempts to increase my weights.  Then there will be about 10 min to rest, reset, and get ready for the next type of lift.  The first lift is a snatch, the second is a clean and jerk. When my name is called again, I approach my bar and lift.  At the end of each lift, I choose to add more weight and wait for my turn again.

Andy tried really hard to make me understand how it would work in a real competition.  Including telling me to wait as there is another competitor lifting. Not really, but it is a competition after all, lol.  I am told of rules like don’t move your bar with your feet, you will be disqualified. Ok, time to lift again.

Once I have completed both lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk four times, my heaviest weight of each is added together and I have a total.  BOOM, done.

Phew, that was actually stressful.  Andy was both coach and judge. Although he is always judging my form, this time it was different.  And at the end of all of that…. Ok maybe I might consider possibly think about one day far far away competing.  WOW, that is scary! But as I have heard, if your goals are not scary, they are not big enough.

So, Olympic Weightlifting, something I never considered is something I am not only doing but considering competing in.

Stay tuned, I have a lot of training ahead of me.  

By the way, I lifted 32 kilograms in the snatch and 43 kilograms in the clean and jerk with a total of 75.  

We shall see where these numbers go from here.

 

Am I Supposed to Be Fat?

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Very funny baby watching her weight, will she stay chubby?

I really don’t know if any of you have had this thought or if it is just me.  I would take a guess and say that at one time or another each and every one of us that would like our bodies to look different than they do have asked themselves;

“is this what I am meant to look like for the rest of my life?”

I don’t want to get all down and whoa is me, but, after all the years that I have been chasing that elusive perfect weight and/or size, it occurred to me that maybe this is just who I am,  overweight and disappointed at what my body looks like in the mirror.

Sure, if I go onto Instagram, I will see endless pictures of slim girls desperately trying to empathize with us larger girls by sitting in such a way that their skin folds just enough to say, ‘see, I look like that too’.  Then I will see the posts that will tell me to stop comparing myself to other people blah blah blah. Yes, I know all of that. I have been overweight for a long time. I know all of that stuff and frankly today it feels like crap!

Ok, ok, it is just one of those days.  We all have them, but then I think, maybe this is truly the way I am meant to be.  If we are all made differently, made to be who we are, made to be unique, maybe I do need to embrace what I look like instead of what I thought I was supposed to look like.

But if that is true, then what now?  What do I do now? Just resign me to being a fatty, order up another pizza, hit the drive-thru, dig into a tub of ice cream?

The answer I know in my heart of hearts is NO.  

Just because I am not the size I wish I was, doesn’t mean that I choose to give in and give up.  It may just mean that I will carry more weight than some other girls do.

Although I am not a size 6, my goal size btw, I know a lot of size 6 people that are totally out of shape.  Their body on the outside just doesn’t show it. I also know that I like the way I feel when I am going to the gym on a regular basis and I don’t like the way I feel when I have a few days off in a row.  That is when I truly feel fat and sloth-like.

Another thing that I am certain of is that I am healthy on the inside.  I may eat too much, I may indulge more than I should if I want to be smaller, but most of the time I eat in a very healthy way.  We eat most of our meals in. We eat very few processed foods. We take our time and eat that the table, believe me, this also matters.

We have taken high-quality vitamins for years because we are aware that most of the food we eat no longer contain the nutrition it once did.  We do our best to get good quality sleep. We drink water on a regular basis. So now that I say all of that out loud, why am I not smaller?

Actually, I truly have no idea.  That is why there is a multimillion dollar industry totally dedicated to the weight loss industry.  It is an industry. You know those things we used to think belonged in huge factories, well the factory is now online and it makes those brick and mortar buildings look tiny.

We, in the west, are obsessed with what our bodies should and should not look like but at some time we simply need to understand that the world is made up of different size people.  The thing we should be obsessing about is becoming more healthy. Your size is irrelevant if you eat well, get off of the couch and move, and surround yourself with loving supportive people.

Admitting who we really are and also who we are meant to be is a quest most of us spend our whole lives on and maybe the real answer is not who we are supposed to be but who we are right now and are we living our best life.

I know that I will spend the rest of my life striving to be the person God made.  I will continue to grow and change. That is the way it is supposed to be. I may never reach the goal size in my mind, but then again, I may actually realize that I am already perfect in God’s eyes and I will be ok with that.  

 

So I will continue to eat well, get exercise, rest, and surround myself with people who love me.

 

Your turn to do the same.

 

Ps: if you need a head start on finding people who love you, I am right here, just let me know.

 

There's a lot more to life than how fat or thin you are. Kirstie Alley

 

Man, Am I Sore

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Sport and lifestyle concept. Fitness and Sports Motivation

We seem to think that we are the only ones in the world that feel the way we feel.  Well, I am here to tell you that it is not true. In fact with so many people on this planet, I would feel pretty confident to say that there are at least 100 other people feeling the way you feel right now.  Actually, I am quite sure that it is more like thousands, but let’s leave it at 100 because you really are that unique after all.

How is it that after going to the gym fairly consistently I am still sore fairly regularly?  

Actually, the answer is pretty simple, I continue to push myself, that’s why.

Today I am sore.  Actually, I am sore most days.  My joints ache. My muscles hurt when I move and again when I don’t move.  I groan when I get up and again when I sit down. But, I know that I am not alone, and I am ok with that.  I remember showing up to the gym a while back and I was really sore from a workout a few days earlier. One of the other people in our class came to me and asked if my butt was sore.  I looked at her and almost yelled at her “ yes, I thought it was just me!” she thought it was just her. We laughed and proceeded to ask the others that were there if they were sore too.  Yup, everyone who had taken that last class was sore.

I actually felt some kind of relief.  I am close to the oldest person at our gym and I tend to use that as a reason for most of my discomfort.  It is usually the truth, but if I am pushing myself hard then it is true that the others are too. We may not do the same number of reps or use the same weight, but the effort is probably just as intense.

When Doug and I first started going to the gym there was a part of us that just assumed that eventually, we wouldn’t hurt quite so much after a while.  That is what I call naive. As long as we are pushing, we will be improving and therefore we will never stop striving for better.

I think that is a common misconception.  Once we achieve our goal, we can stop doing whatever it was that we did to get there.  The problem is that if we stop, we stop. When we are on a weight loss journey, we need to remember that if we stop eating healthy, we won’t be that healthy anymore.  If we stop working out, our muscles will stop performing as if they get to work out. The lie we have told ourselves is that when this…then that.

The truth is that once you start on a journey toward better health through diet and or exercise, you will never be the same again and won’t ever be able to go back to your old behavior.  If you stop the healthy behavior, your body will begin to go back to where it was before.

This is probably one of the hardest truths to deal with and accept.  But it is one of the most important things to understand and accept. The journey to better health actually never has a destination. It is a journey that never ends.

I am actually ok with that. Just like any other journey, there will be detours, flat tires, snacks, missed flights, lost luggage, amazing surprises, lots of laughs, some tears, and so many unexpected events.  The end of this journey is when you are on the wrong side of the grass.

In the meantime, I would rather;

  • ache,
  • hurt,
  • wince,
  • use Epsom salts,
  • stretch,
  • hobble

than

  • hurt from inactivity,
  • become sedentary,
  • wonder what if, or
  • just watch life happen to other people, not me.

So, yes, I am sore.  But it is a good sore.  It is a sore from living life rather than from watching life.  Step out of your comfort zone, find something new to do or place to go, food to eat, friend to make.  You never know where your next adventure will take you but it will be just that, an adventure.

 

Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate. The world wasn't formed in a day, and neither were we. Set small goals and build upon them. – Lee Haney

 

Simple Food Truths

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Finding simple food solutions shouldn't be so hard to find. Eating real should be simple.

There are a lot of people out there telling you and me just what to do.  ‘They’ are telling us what to wear and what not to wear. What activities we NEED to do and what to avoid.  What foods are essential and what ones will kill us tomorrow. But, with so many people offering advice, where do we find the truth?

Would we know what the truth is even if we actually found it?

Probably not.  Sorry. We live in a time where the truth is no longer black or white, on or off, right or wrong.  Yup, that sounds weird, but it is now an unfortunate truth. With so many people on our planet, there will always be an exception to the rule and so now people are no longer giving an absolute truth.

Let me clarify this.  We know that we should all eat protein.  But some people don’t, won’t, or can’t eat meat.  We know we should eat veggies and fruits, but there are allergies everywhere and some people won’t eat certain veggies and some people don’t think you should eat fruit.

Some people make dietary choices but make you believe that their choice is a health issue when it is their choice.  Some people have cost as a real factor. How in all of that mess are you supposed to know what to eat?

If you have never paid any attention to food, how much, when, what types you should eat, this is an amazingly tough time right now.  The internet should offer solutions, but you don’t have to look too far to find contradictory info.

Unfortunately, most of us have not been raised with common sense with food and schools didn’t teach us proper nutrition and our parents didn’t, for the most part, know what they should be passing on.  And, with current research, we know so much more than ever before what we should and shouldn’t eat.

This problem is actually larger than we realize.  The people in the health and fitness industry seem to fall into one of two camps;  either they have always been health aware or they were fat and now are sharing their stories and knowledge.  So, even here, we have people who have never been unaware of how bad eating really is a problem and the other side totally gets it and can be sold on their solution only.

This sounds really bad.  It probably isn’t making you feel any better.  Sorry!

But, let’s face it there is always a but, it really doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

There are some simple things that we can all do to help with getting the right balance of nutrition and the right amount of food in our routine.

  1. Learn to eat the way our grandparents ate.  Food that needs a little prep. Less processed.  
  2. Spend a little more time actually eating, not stuffing food into your open face.  Eating should take some time. 20 min is ideal. Slow and steady is best.
  3. Make sure you have a variety of color on your plate.  The easiest way to get that is an assortment of fruit and veggies.  Fresh, frozen, raw, cooked, who cares as long as it is eaten.
  4. Carbs are not the devil, just make them complex and not most of your plate.
  5. Each and every meal, including snacks, must have protein.  MUST!
  6. Healthy fats make you smart.  Your brain requires them to function. Not the deep-fried kind of fat either.
  7. Drink your water.  Not juice. Not pop or soda.  Get over it and get used to it.
  8. When you are starting out, record your food.  Good or bad, you become more aware of good and bad when you record it.
  9. Get used to the idea that this will take a little work, in the beginning, especially.  All good things take a little work. It will be worth it.
  10. Find a resource to go to for answers to your food questions.  This one is easy, it is us, Q4fit.com. Ask us the questions and we will do our very best to get the honest answers to you.  If you are asking, so is someone else.

Unfortunately, we are not a society that knows how to feed ourselves to live a healthy life.  If we did know, we wouldn’t be so out of shape and we wouldn’t be so overweight. Learn how to feed yourself to make yourself the healthiest you possible.  

It is not about being skinny, it is all about being healthy.

 

I still indulge in a glass of wine or chocolate – treats are mandatory. Without deviating from the day-to-day healthy diet once in a while, it wouldn't be sustainable for me, and that's what I wanted: an approach to eating to last my entire life. – Alanis Morissette