611 Total at 105 lb and Gut Rebellion: The Pretty and the Ugly of My April 20th Meet

Missing one out of the group, but this is our most excellent team after the meet on Saturday. Note Kyle's moustache.
Missing one , but this is most of our most excellent team after the meet on Saturday. Note Kyle’s moustache. Also, I look freaking tiny in this group.

After my meet, I rank at #5 (tied with another lifter) in the country in my weight class. My squat ranks at #10 in the 105 lb class, my bench #8, and my deadlift #4. I totaled 611 at this meet and won best female lifter.

There’s the press-release version of my experience on April 20th. I achieved a top-ten-ranking total, which I wanted, and I succeeded at making weight, which was a victory in itself. That said, the weight cut and its aftermath was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The  cut was psychologically taxing in a way I’ve never been psychologically taxed. The new experience of cutting weight and THEN competing had me drained by the end of this past Saturday.

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I did not count on the cut being as difficult to recover from as it was. To reference a popular meme, one does not simply eat a sh*t ton of food after a weight cut and drink a lot in order to make up for the time spent fasting. Depending on who you are, and particularly if you are me, your stomach may have shrunk during your fasting period. It’s literally impossible to eat at the quantities I’m normally quite good at eating–carb loading doesn’t work during a weight cut recovery, at least not in the way one normally might go about it. By the time the morning of the meet arrived, I wasn’t where I normally am in terms of carb-loading weight the day of a meet.

Top this off with a fantastic, anxiety-induced bout of spastic colitis the day of the meet and you have less-than-optimum conditions to go and lift fantastically. I don’t really have spastic colitis, it seems, except for when I do meets–I had the issue at the last one too, but not remotely as severely. I walked around in pain for most of meet day, and the pain immediately went away when deadlifting was done. This means that I have GOT to come up with a way to manage meet anxiety in the future. It seems that this condition, related to anxiety, runs on my mother’s side of the family, and it’s something I need to take into account when competing.

This leads me to perhaps the most important part of this writeup–I’m pretty sure I forgot to have fun at this meet. My anxiety levels were so absolutely through the roof at this meet that I was unable to put it and its outcome in perspective. I do not want this to be the case for the July meet. To be completely honest, I remember walking around at the meet and thinking “this is not good–I’m not enjoying this or having fun, and that is NOT a good sign.” Meets are exhausting but they shouldn’t feel like you’re living out a personal hell. My other two meets WERE fun. I believe a meet CAN be fun even if I’m cutting weight for it–it’s all in how I perceive it. I put so much pressure on myself to do well as a 105-er that I completely melted down. This is what makes this meet bittersweet–I did quite well, particularly considering I dropped a weight class, I made a PR total, and I am now ranked quite high on a national level in the sport. These are all good things, but my poor management of my mental inclinations towards apprehension, worry, excessively high standards, and placing undue, disproportionate amounts of pressure on myself absolutely sabotaged some elements of this meet for me. I learned about myself physically, but even more mentally. Yes, this is a sport intently focused on the body, but the growth I’ve mentally experienced over the one year I’ve been engaged in powerlifting has to eclipse the physical gains I’ve made. I have no doubt of this.

I did get in some relatively decent lifting despite some of the conditions I’ve described here. Here’s a video of my deadlift:

My anxiety did quiet periodically during the meet. When I focused on other lifters on my team, it was probably at its lowest. Kyle pulled a 573 deadlift–which was absolutely the highlight of the meet for me–and his deadlift is now ranked the #2 deadlift in this weight class (148 lb) in the country. Some of our lifters had outstanding meets, with Kevin Alvarez  (competing in the 220 lb weight class) taking the best male lifter award and having a stellar performance with a 611 squat.

We had multiple lifters doing their first meet with us, and I was happy to help and guide them in any way I could on that day. Working with the team brought me the most joy out of this day, and it is a large part of why I love competing.

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So I’m in recovery now, doing what I like to call a “reload” week of very light training coming out of the meet, which was only a few days ago. I am SO happy to be back in the gym, and so happy to be allowed to eat salt again. My weight is 110.2 lb as of this morning, so I didn’t manage to gain a few pounds (and I’m talking body mass, NOT water retention) with the weekend like I have in the past. This all adds up to one inevitable conclusion: I deserve some freaking onion rings.

Kyle, If your intent with the moustache growth was to drive me away, it didn't work.
Kyle, If your intent with the moustache growth was to drive me away, it didn’t work.
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Night Before Weigh-Ins: A Check-In With ABS AGAIN

My weight is tracking well. I stopped eating today at 2 PM and drinking ceased at 7 PM. Weigh-ins should be at 7 PM tomorrow. I dislike the hunger and I’m nowhere near 24 hours with it. The one good thing about this process is that my abs become more defined by the hour. Seriously. I can see the difference. And I don’t goddamn care if I never see them again–or at least not until I weigh in for another meet. This sucks. Tomorrow evening is going to be a freaking food fest.

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Ugh, not worth it. Ladies, please, stop coveting abs on Pinterest. They are evil.

The Suspense Builds/My Body is a Science Experiment

Well, I’m on what LOOKS like a crash diet, and what I’m doing is acting like one. Many “cleanse” diets capitalize on the effects of sodium depletion/water loading to rid your body of water weight and make you think you’re losing actual body mass quite quickly–remember, a few pounds less or more on either side of your normal weight probably means nothing more than you have more or less water sitting around in your body. As a strength athlete looking to weigh in as light as possible while still retaining my normal body composition, I look to manipulating water retention levels in order to make weight to my advantage.

This process isn’t easy, and if you’re a lightweight lifter, it can be difficult to eat foods at the volume you normally eat that do not contain lots of carbs and/or sodium but give you a comparable caloric exchange. Olive oil has NO sodium in it but fills entirely less of my stomach than, say, Greek yogurt. Spending day after day feeling like you’re not eating anything even if you’re getting a comparable amount of calories to what you normally eat is shitty. It just is. I have traveled the anorexia path (and well beyond it, thankfully), and the resonance with those days that has danced along the edge of the water weight cut experience for me is slightly haunting. I am prone to being overanxious, and trying to manage my diet in the way I must in order to successfully weigh in on Friday is both logistically difficult and one that causes me to confront some of the darkest times of my psychological history to date. My goal is to learn the process of weight cutting and normalize it such that it is not a mental burden in this manner. It is not a process that will happen overnight, or with one weight cut. Or two. It’s a hard process, but what I AM learning is that pushing myself through it not only physically but mentally is spurring growth and understanding that can only strengthen me for the future.

Take a look at this screen shot to get an idea the “science experiment” aspect of this process:

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I’m sure this chart looks OCD as hell. It is this spreadsheet, as well as one documenting my intake, that has helped me manipulate this process. Please note that the weight being documenting/followed in February starts at the day after I had a cheat meal–and a freaking HUGE one, therefore I weighed a hell of a lot more than I typically do–down to the night before the final day of my weight cut for that trial week. I started out this week at what is much more normal a weight for me, as demonstrated by the first number for the week of the 15th.

More to come regarding this process. I may write a more comprehensive guide sheet for women’s weight cutting after I do this meet–my site has been getting a relatively solid amount of traffic from people running “women cutting water weight” or “women weight cut” or “women make weight” through google.

I will now leave you with this image of my abdomen. Every day I wake up during this trial, my abs look different. I think tomorrow will probably be the day I get more pictures of them as well as what my body composition has been doing lately. SKIN. SKIN EVERYWHERE.

I Instagrammed my abs. I'm probably going to do it again. The Situation LIVES.
I Instagrammed my abs. I’m probably going to do it again. The Situation LIVES.