Going Not-All-Out: In the Wake of a Meet

I’m holding myself back. This entire week, I’m operating under a mindset that’s typically antithetical to the manner in which I think of my training. While normally I would approach a workout session with what amounts to something like a “balls out” mentality, in the week following a meet, this isn’t an incredibly good idea. As some of you may know, it’s typical to take most of the week prior to a meet off from lifting. I did a light workout on the Tuesday and Wednesday before this past Saturday, but for about seven days, that was it. My body has gotten relatively used to the three days on, one day off workout schedule, and the extra time to recover from months straight of training certainly gave me a boost on meet day. The problem with training near-daily, steadily, week after week, month after month, and then giving it a week’s break and pushing for multiple PRs after that week’s break is that your body gets a little out of whack. Not only are you worn out from your efforts on meet day, you haven’t trained for days on end and your body has settled into the luxury of this fact to the extent that you feel it once you get back in and start doing work again.

So I’m holding myself back and going at things at 75-85%. Most things. The upper body accessory work (say, pull-ups, flat dumbbell bench) is perhaps a bit higher than that. I did my first squat workout since the meet yesterday and did 130 x 5 for five sets–on the last set I pushed out seven reps. The 75% of my one rep max that is 130 pounds felt good: the right weight to get my body used to working in higher volume again.

So I’ve got another few days of taking it easier, and then it’s back to roughing myself up as much as possible. Hopefully more than has been possible, as I’d like to improve most of my lifts by a good ten-fifteen pounds (more or less, depending on the lift) by the next meet, which I will need to work diligently to do.

Of course, closely tied to my workout efforts are my eating efforts, and even though I don’t have to weigh in again for months, it’s important that I watch my diet closely the next few months. Eating slightly more right now in order to promote lean mass growth is crucial, but I don’t want to go to the point where I load on body fat and have to struggle to take it off closer to the next meet. It’s far, far easier to maintain a lifestyle as a lifter in which one eats at a caloric surplus and just focuses on getting stronger; it’s goddamned sizably more difficult to work to increase strength while functioning on a diet that offers little to no surplus. As incendiary as the following assertion may be, powerlifters who attempt to stay closer to the weight at which they are required to be for lower weight classes are slightly more likely to earn my respect than those who don’t worry about it and just flop into whatever weight class their nutritional regimen, or lack thereof, lands them in. Do many incredible powerlifters do this? Yes, and I’m not saying this makes their totals or records any less impressive. But having to both diet AND train simultaneously for this sport at almost all times takes some serious freaking discipline. I have that discipline, almost to a detrimental extent–I did not need to weigh in at 111 WITH clothes on at this past meet’s weigh-in. Making weight deserves an entire blog of its own, but my goal to continue to compete and eventually excel in the 114 pound class means that I don’t have a large margin of error as far as my weight goes year-round.

On the plus side, this usually means I can see my abs to some degree, and hell, because they’re a bi-product of powerlifting, I might post Ab Update Pictures relatively soon. Because they’re kind of cool/constantly evolving and because I’m a jerk. I lift with a bunch of bros surrounding me–perhaps small chunks of their bravado have sunken in. Perhaps I’m the female Situation. And hi Dad, I know you’re reading this: The Situation is a reference to Jersey Shore, which I think I’m going to have to explain to you on the phone at some point.

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