Two things happened recently that have changed how I feel about myself, and my place in the world.
Firstly, I split up with my girlfriend. Although she was great, I realised neither of us should have been in a relationship; I really wasn’t happy enough with what I was doing, I seemed to be in such a rut, and was starting to use her as an emotional crutch. When I was with her, I’d be happy and carefree and forget that I’m still half baked. Likewise, I think she had a lot to deal with and I became an easy way to avoid it all. After a few fights and arguments, we’ve both realised it’s for the best and have tried to remain friends. I became even more aware of how pointless it is for me to be with anyone right now. As nice as it is to have someone’s love and support, I realised that’s not what I need. It takes away my hunger and drive. I need to accomplish a lot more before I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to be comfortable with someone else. Like Paulo Coelho said, ‘true love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny’.
Secondly, more painfully, and more importantly, my grandfather passed away. I lost my grandmother (in a manner of speaking) when I was 12, and as hurt as I was, it felt like a different kind of loss (she became comatose, and ended up in a vegetative state -which she’s still in, 12 years on). My grandpa’s passing punched a hole in my heart. Three weeks on, my stomach still feels like it’s being pulled out, letting my insides fall out. I feel hollow. I don’t know how people deal with loss, how do they get on with their lives? I can be fine for days, and suddenly it hits me again -out of nowhere- and I just want to sit and cry.
The thing is, since his death, I’ve talked to my family a lot more about him. In our time together, he was always very supportive and proud of me, of my brother, and all my younger cousins. He would talk to us all about our interests, sports, academics, whatever it was, he made time for us. He was a very pious man, and that’s what I remember most about him, especially as he was very evasive about his life before us. I find out now though that he was much greater than I’d ever imagined. He not only achieved a lot, in business and with family, but he helped a lot of people along the way. And the thing that stands out the most, was that he always helped people, always supported people’s ambitions.
I used to be embarrassed about how proud he was of me, but I see now that it was just his way to show he supported me, that he wanted to encourage me. From his life, I also see that the path to success isn’t always straight, it’s long and winding, and sometimes it tracks back. I feel reinvigorated, I was feeling like I could conquer the world again recently, but now I have someone to do it for. Now I just want to make my granddad proud.
I am so done with this shit. Family, friends, girlfriend, uni, work, it’s all a mess and can’t even find solace at the gym as I’m ill. It won’t be like this for long, but I just want a break. Get away from everything and everyone. I like just my own company every now and then.
I really need to learn how to do the “Roll of Shame” better. Tried to squeeze one more rep out at 97% of my max and just couldn’t do it. Began rolling it down, got as far as my ribs (which are now painful as hell) but was then rescued by the enemy. Rugby boys. Eurgh. Grateful for the help, I thanked them, but feel thoroughly humiliated now!
Too British to ask hahaha is that even a thing???
Honestly, I thought it was just me being neurotic, but after following @SoVeryBritish on Twitter, I’m thinking it’s a national problem!
There’s a video of me I took at the gym in November. I was attempting to deadlift 160kg, and embarrassingly I couldn’t even budge the bar. Not one bit. Not even a millimetre off the ground.
Last night, ill and groggy after only getting three hours of sleep the night before, I decided to give it another go after I was still feeling good at the end of my set of deadlifts.
I grinded it out with ease! The first pull was the hardest bit, but once I got it to around my knees, the hips kicked in extra hard with an added dose of confidence and BOOM, she was up!
Despite having only deadlifted a handful of times since December, I got back into it so quickly. I’m thinking the extra squatting, grip work and RDLs helped, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s a mental thing too.
Obviously it goes without saying that being my favourite lift, the one I feel most confident in, so that will always help. But I’m starting to think it’s the greater sense of safety as well.
My bench press has increased by about 20kg in two years. That is pathetic. I don’t know what my squat 1RM was two years ago, but it’s only increased 15kg in the last year. Pathetic. Maybe some people will find those figures reasonable, but given that I’ve been very consistent with my training, and am a relative newbie to strength training, I was expecting better gains in my first few years.
Given that my deadlift has increased by 40kg in a year and a half -despite being the lift I did least frequently- you can understand my frustration!
So I’m wondering if it is a mental thing; after all, the deadlift is the by far the easiest to bail out of. You mess up a squat and you can really hurt your knees, back, or shoulders. Mess up the bench press and have fun getting the bar off your neck -or face as it was for me! Perhaps not having a training partner, and being too British to ask certain people to spot me, means I’m wussing out from maximal effort at the bench of squat.
Of course, the converse is also true. I’ve had that feeling of terror where I feel like I can’t finish a bench or squat, but without a spotter, I’ve had to dig extra deep and push it out. Unlike with the deadlift however, I’d then leave it there, or reduce the weight, instead of going for it again.
With just over a month till my first powerlifting competition, I’m thinking this is a good time to be honest with myself. Perhaps I have been too much of a yellow belly to properly go for it. I have three weeks to rectify this.
I’ll let you know how toughening up goes.
Almost constantly bursting into numbers from Les Mis. It’s becoming a problem.
Having seen my training plateau, and keeping an eye on how much crap I’ve been eating recently, I think it’s time I gave paleo a go.
Or as paleo as a 23 year old, lazy/busy, student can be.
Any suggestions, or favourite paleo meals are more than welcome!
It’s odd the things that come back to you.
At out school, there was a tradition for upper sixth formers to pull some kind of prank or stunt on their last day. So around eight to ten years ago, sometime before GCSEs I think, the U6 that year decided to cover the quad, school field, and corridor outside the headmaster’s office with chicken feed.
Then they let loose a dozen chickens.
Cue a balding, stumpy, out of breath deputy headmaster, chasing a chicken around the quad, giving up and deciding to chase a masked sixth former instead, and then just falling over and doing a few rolls.
Don’t know why that came back to me tonight, but I’m glad it did!
Played a full game of hockey -my first in a long time- and pretty much ended up having all of the left flank to myself as our left winger was unfit. Thought I was decent going forward, strong in the tackle, and showed a couple of flashes of skill that I’d thought I’d lost a long time ago. It’s been so good to be playing hockey again after almost seven years! Finally feel like I’m getting used to it again.
Best of all though, our team really came together today, everything sort of clicked, and we ended up winning 5-0. Should have had a few more but their keeper was sensational. As a defender however, I don’t mind us not scoring too many more, I’m just glad we kept a clean sheet!
Anonymous asked: When you squat, the pain in your knees is probably due to an alignment problem that comes along with having flat feet depending on the severity (but also depends on other factors like your flexibility/range of joint motion & stretching incorrectly/over-stretching). I have this problem too, found that doing stuff like yoga/pilates helps a hell of a lot
Thanks a lot! Don’t know why you stayed anon to answer than, it’s quite helpful and I’d love to pick your brain some more. Yoga’s definitely something I’ll be taking up soon. I do stretch a lot, but perhaps you’re right, I may be doing all the wrong things!
Most of my strength training sees me lift at around 80%-95% of my 1RM every session, every week. I tried periodising, but didn’t have the discipline to stick to a plan. Now I’m starting to think maybe I’m progressing slowly because I’m lifting with too much intensity?
Also, any flat footed lifters out there? Does anyone else find flat feet causes a lot of strain in the inside of their knees during squats?