Thursday, January 31, 2008

Box Squats
Today it was heavy box squats, about 5 sets all in all from a 60kg warm up to 80kg heavy set. I have a video of 2 sets below. After these I did 4 sets of goodmornings, then Rod cut the session short as I was extremely fatigued.....happens to the best of us! Luckily I have a good coach who cares a great deal about my general well being.


here is the youtube link as well

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My new mentor - Krista

This is Krista Schaus, Elite Powerlifter, Poliquin Certified Professional and my hero! I met Krista on line thru Precision Nutrition and then met her in person at the Commonwealth Titles in NZ. She won silver in the open 67.5kg div. I was fortunate to be able to take a place as a client of Krista's in early Jan and she is now guiding my nutrition and supplementation.

So my results........over the past 15 days I have lost 1% bodyfat and gained 1% lean muscle. My weight is the same but my skinfolds told a different story. My androgen sites have decreased by 30% and my growth hormone sites have increased by 30% - hence the big lifting I have been doing. Pretty impressive!

Loving my hero right now.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Time for a cup a tea - green of course!

I am sitting on my couch with a cup of tea and a handful of nuts and seeds pondering that past 14 days of my lean and green diet. Tomorrow I have a weigh in, and more importantly skinfolds done, to see how my body has reacted to the diet and supplementation. I won't second guess what the results will be, but I can tell you that despite the strict regime my strength has gone up in absolute terms.

Today was heavy bench and while I needed a spot I did 4 sets of 2 reps @ 60kgs - this is a raw (no equipment) PB for me. However the really exciting area is my triceps. They are getting crazy strong, and as long as I can get my pecs to move the bar off my chest far enough they kick in and the bar flies up. This is very exciting for a competition PL'er as we use bench shirts that provide that lift into the triceps, so the triceps become the prime movers. I can see a nice PB increase in April.

The converse all stars worked a treat on Sunday and my squat is finally starting to look good. My depth is excellent, foot placement and step out consistent & my knees are staying out. I still need to work on keeping my elbows down so I don't rock onto my toes, and most importantly to slow down and treat each rep as a single lift. Progress!!

Well it is time to cook my last lean and green dinner. Tomorrow is "cheat day", and I am going to have oats at breakfast, Japanese food at dinner followed by a small amount of dark chocolate. Then from Thursday I am back on the protocol but I get to add coloured vegetables.

Have a great night.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham
Ok, so maybe not. However rather than get bored on my "lean and green protocol" (which only has a few more days to go), I decided to get creative. Actually Krista gave me another virtual kick up the butt and as usual I have come out fighting!
This morning I made panckes with kiwi fruit puree. I am not good in the kitchen, and in fact even my teenagers prefer cook for themselves, but I came up with this idea last night and I am pretty pleased with the result. It is egg whites (yes, I normally eat the yolks), pea protein powder & kiwi fruit, then more kiwi fruit on the top. I also had a handful of cashews to make up for not eating the yolks! It tasted pretty good.

Let me up date you on my journey of the new and improved squat technique. Just before Xmas Rod and I went and saw the "Squat Legend" and he advised changes in just about every aspect of my squat. We decided (ok Rod decided) that 1 step back, 2 steps forward was a good plan. So i sucked it up and started to learn to squat again. Firstly there was no bar, then just the bar and after one month I have progressed to 40kgs. In that time I have suffered hip flexor over use, glute medius activation issue, left knee pain and on most squat days a general feeling of frustration and occasional disappointment. Rod tells me that I am progressing...and I know I am, and I know it will be worth it in the end (sounds like something my Mum would say.)

So far I have gone to a wider stance, new foot placement, lower bar position, different elbow position, new knee movement, corrected ab activation and tension, smaller squat was an extreme makeover!

Just when I thought there was nothing else to change; THE SHOES. I have had these shoes since I started powerlifting. I learnt to squat in them, but as you can see from the pic they have a slight raise in the heel and under heavy load that does push you forward on your toes and you can't drive out of the heels. So my beloved Adidas shoes are at the shoe repairer having the soles flattened to bring my heels on the same level as my toes.

So in the interim I am going high tech with the converse all stars. I have seen guys on youtube squat 1000lbs in all stars, so I reckon they might just stand up to the 50kgs I am going to put thru them today!

Today Wonder Woman trades her silver and red shoes for white sneakers!


Thursday, January 24, 2008


This pic is me lifting 130kgs at the Comm Titles last December, and that is the amount I was rack deadlifting today in my training session for 5 reps. The bar is placed on a rack below the knee (so it is off the floor), working on the lock out section of the lift. This has been my sticking point so coach is hammering this portion of the lift.

Other changes have been my shoes - currently wearing only socks, and we have been doing a heap of work on activating my abs to get the entire mid section to fire at the same time. So far so good and today 130kgs flew up with heaps of power. I haven' t felt this positive about my deadlift since July last year.

I am very positive that the squat technique is starting to stick, and my bench is coming up Rod says "you have the good coach!"


I am home!

I had a great few days in Melbourne. I watched some inspiring tennis, caught up with a couple of friends and had a very successful trip professionally. I also stuck to my diet 100%, and was pleased with how creative I was with green food!

Today I am back to heavy lifting, so it will be a test of where my energy is really at after 9 days on the diet and 2 days of travelling. I feel great this morning..........

Have a good day all.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I just had 10 hours is so good to catch up on some sleep deficit form the past 2 days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I am in Melb for work and the Tennis for a few days, I wll blog when I have a moment.


Monday, January 21, 2008

How does being that strong make you feel?

I was having a catch up with 2 new friends tonight, and we were talking about strength training, positive life choices and heaps of other wellness related topics. The question put to me was that; "it is impressive the amount that you lift and women are interested in that, but how does being that strong make you feel?" It made me think that I write a lot about lifting a number ...50kgs, 120kgs...but what does that mean to my every day life.

I don't want to over use an excellent word, but I would say empowered.

When I walk down the street I am light on my feet, my body is firm when I run to make the lights at the pedestrian crossing. When I am in a confronting situation my physical strength gives me emotional power. My strong body gives me confidence, then more confidence everyday. I feel like this is the way I should have always felt - empowered!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

In my quest for a higher level of performance Krista, my mentor, has advised a change from fish oil tabs to liquid oil. My naturopath fully supported this move - along with everything else Krista has advised so I am thinking they are conspiring over the waters to see how much I can really endure - so today at breakfast I drank 1 tsp of Nordic Naturals fish oil. Well..........I don't know whether I have had so much change in the last few weeks and I have run out of adaptability credits, BUT......YUK!!!!!
We all know that I will get used to it and I in time I will probably like it......but right now Wonder Woman is feeling like a naughty little kid concocting ways I can get out of having my next dose!
I am thinking of changing my tag to Crazy Woman!

The Powerlifitng Australia rankings for 2007 have just come out. This ranks all women across all weight categories, and I am currently ranked 10th in Australia....this is up from 16th in 2006. I am also ranked 8th in the bench press - I am loving that. I can see a top 5 placing in 2008.

I love it when the day starts so well....

I received notification yesterday that I passed the the theory section of the Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coaching course. So that is 2 out of 3 requirements and all I have to do now is pass my supervised hours! Happy Days!

In fact I had a great day yesterday. I started with breakfast with my little sister - scrambled eggs and spinach at my favourite local cafe. Then I had a body salt scrub, mud wrap and massage for stress relief. I picked up a bargain at Sass & Bide to wear to the tennis next week and finished the day off by really ripping it up at training.

Well..I wonder what fantastic things today has in store for me!


Friday, January 18, 2008

4 days in and I am electrified!!

I woke this morning feeling perfectly rested and ready to wake up. Must have been the best nights sleep I have had in a long time. It wasn't too long, too deep - just perfect! I feel so good I can't wait to see what I am going to lift this afternoon. My skin looks awesome today as well!

A Note of the Fabulous Liz Nelson

I met Liz in May last year when I was desperate for someone to help me sort out how an athlete should eat. I was not coping with the demands of lifting with what I was doing. Liz transformed my life and as I tell her broke me out of "food jail". She took me through the rest of the year from a National Title to Silver at the Commonwealth Titles.
In December last year Liz told me that she felt she had taught me just about everything she could , and it was time for me to find someone who specialised in international level strength athletes. So while my journey has now taken me to another place, Liz and I are great friends and in fact she is still on my journey as a keen observer of the new protocols!
Anyway, I can't sit here any longer - I need to get out there and cause some trouble!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good Morning!

Ha..not that kind of good morning. This is a staple exercise in the training programs of power and weight lifters. Basically you set up for a squat, break at the knees and drop the chest to as close to parallel as possible, then recover to the standing position. They can be done with a more "straight legged" approach or dropped into the squat position.

The exercise is used to strengthen hamstrings and lower back. From a functional point of view the main use is to train the ability to recover from a "bad" squat. For example in a competition if you are coming out of the bottom of a squat and you drop your chest, this training will help you build the strength in your lower back to recover your position.

It is a sensational exercise for core strength as well.

Give it a try and let me know.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back into the big iron.

Despite the detox headache and other effects of my first few days on the new plan, I managed a pretty decent session in the gym today. Rod was concerned my strength might be down a little and we started off slowly.......but I brought it today!

Front squats 52.5kgs

Rack Deads 105kgs

Good mornings 70kgs

Week 2 and all looks great.....

Bio Signature report update

I am on the 3rd day of implementing the changes required under my bio signature report. I am currently 16% bodyfat with 52kgs lean muscle. The objective is to have me at 12% bodyfat which is the optimum percentage so I can compete in my 56kg class without having to take any measures to "make weight".
My results show low growth hormone, low androgen's, estrogen imbalance and alcohol intolerance. To address these hormonal imbalances and to "detox" my system I am on a 30 day strict dietary protocol (not calorie restricted) with nutrient and supplement timing. I have also had to add a few training measures.
So what does this mean?
The first 2 days were fun, but I hit a wall last night and slept badly, woke up starving with a head ache and my pee is orange! (I also had a HUGE day at work and it is TOM so I am probably getting hit from a few different angles).
So the food.......I am on a modified Poliquin "Lean and Green" protocol. The list is reasonably extensive but contains lean protein (includes the egg yolks - Poliquin says egg whites are for dorks!), all green vegetables and all green fruit. There is a long list of smart fats, and prescribed pre and post work out nutrition that contains simple sugar carbs. I must eat every 2.5 hours and each meal must contain protein, vegetables and smart fats.
I have a list of supplements that I take at certain times of the day to address the hormonal imbalances and common athlete deficiencies.
After 14 days I get 1 cheat day, then we start to add in other food in a particular order.
Well, I am off the make myself an omelet w green veggies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hi all. Just to let you know I am around but have been very preoccupied with understanding my Biosignature results and implementing the recommendations. When I have more of an understanding of where I am at I will share! Despite my current confusion I am very excited about the impact this will have on my lifitng performance and my bid for the World Titles.


What is BioSignature?

BioSignature goes beyond standard body fat testing and pinpoints your unique Biological signature through skinfold measurement.

The novel concept of Biosignature was developed by world-renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin after noticing trends and correlations while working with athletes for nearly 30 years. Biosignature is based on his theory that where people store their body fat is an indication of their hormonal profile.

For example, the thickness of a person’s umbilical skin fold is a direct reflection of cortisol (the stress hormone) output. A relatively fat midsection indicates stress levels are high and/or the ability to handle stress is low. The good news is that 1) it’s not your fault and, 2) it can be changed.

Your body fat levels and corresponding imbalanced hormones can be improved and effectively managed through a combination of diet, exercise, a targeted supplementation program and lifestyle modifications. Biosignature certified and experienced assessors will develop that plan for you based on your unique biological signature.
Your personal Biosignature plan is aimed to positively affect:

Thyroid & Insulin
Androgens & Growth Hormones
Sleep & Energy Levels
Body Composition (amount of lean versus fat mass)
Overall health and well being!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My coach is trying to kill me - lol! Yesterday I finished my first week back and I can say that I put 100% into all my training sessions this week, and Rod pushed me 100% in each session. I spent more time gasping for air, seeing stars and digging deep than I have in ages. It is so great to be in a hypertrophy stage rather than a comp preparation stage. There has been a lot of clean quality food this week to fuel all this training.

Yesterday was Dynamic Bench

Speed bench
- 3 grips (wide, mid , narrow)
32.5kgs, 8 sets 3 reps 1 min rest

Narrow bench
45-47.5kgs, 4 sets 6 reps

Dynamic bent over rows
55-60kgs, 4 sets 6-8 reps

Shoulder press
25kgs, 3 sets 6 reps

Bicep curls
25kg, 3 sets 6 reps

Today is massage, sauna and breakfast at one of my all time favourite cafes to catch up with my hubby.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Training for Strength and Power

I get asked quite a bit how often I train, and do I do cardio? This is an interesting question and I can give you a simple answer, however I thought I will also give you the reasons why.

I am a pure strength athlete and train to increase my strength and speed (strength +speed = power), and therefore my training is designed around this purpose. In my events I recruit fast twitch muscle fibres (type IIb) to perform my lifts. Each lift will be between 2-10 seconds in length and therefore uses anaerobic energy only. Resistance training is anaerobic so my lifting training falls into this category and I do 4 lifting sessions a week. At present 2 of these sessions are heavy lifting (strength), while the other 2 are dynamic lifting (speed).

As most of you would know if you train for endurance events over time your fast twitch fibers can shift to take on slow twitch characteristics. As you exercise your fast twitch fire and then after a period or around 20 seconds your slow twitch kick in, and over extended training this causes the fast twitch to change. They can be "retrained" back, but this takes time. So my FT fibres are very precious to me, and even if I have genetically more than the average person I need to look after them.

We all know the benefits of cardio, so I won't go into that, and I do need to do some cardio. I am currently following a system where I exercise without recruiting my FT fibres, and therefore rely on my ST only. Therefore there is no risk to my fast and speedy muscles! I do low intensity cardio at less than 70% of my max heart rate threshold at least 6 hours away from my lifting sessions. If my ST get fatigued then they will recruit the FT to take over. I may do these sessions after an upper body lifting session but for no longer than 15 minutes.

So if you are at the gym one morning and see a strong looking chick walking slowly on an incline with a max heart rate of 120 - that is me!!!
There is a great article on T-Nation by Eric Cressey on this.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Heavy Lower

Day 1 of heavy lower training today.....and Rod made sure I came back with vengeance. The weights were heavy and I had to push/pull bloody hard, and at at one point I saw stars! My heart was jumping out of my throat at the end of some of the sets, and I know I will be a zombie tonight due CNS fatigue................I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Front squats (BB on shoulders, elbows up)
50kgs 4 sets 5 reps

Rack Deads (BB 10cm below knee)
100kgs 3 sets 6 reps

60kgs 3 sets 6 reps

Ab work

I am going to be very hungry tomorrow.

Lift heavy and be strong!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rest day today!

Yesterday at work I wore high heals for the first time in ages, and walked quite a distance to a meeting that I was late for. As a result my knee destabilised a little, so instead of going to the gym this morning and doing my 15 mins cardio (yes, I know Liz it is so funny) and sauna recovery protocol I have decided to rest instead. I am not lifting today either so I might pop up to the gym for a sauna later in the day, or wait until tomorrow.

I am seeing a pyhsio today about my hip issue, and at this point Rod and I seem to think it may be related to the knee and the new squat stance. I think rotating my feet out has opened up the hips and put pressure on the knees. My guess is that I will just rotate the feet back to a more parallel position. Will see what the physio says............

Rest is all about recovery, and I have already polished off 3 meals (it is 9.15am) as a result of the intensity of the load I lifted yesterday. I think it will be one of those days when the body soaks up the nutrients as it goes through the recovery process - this is great as it means I am getting stronger.


Heavy Bench Training

Day 1 for bench training in my quest to Aust Master & Juniors in April.


55kgs 3 sets 3 reps

Narrow Grip lock out (narrow bench working on top 1/4 of lift);

65-70kgs 3 sets 5 reps

Skull crushers:

22.5kgs 3 sets 6 reps

BB bicep curls

25kgs 3 sets 6 reps

It was a strong session and very happy to be locking out my comp PB with no bench shirt under multiple reps. This next 6 weeks is all about near max lifts and speed - just good old fashioned training. Oh yeah - bring that on.

For those of you interested in the rep range, I respond extremely well to volume at the 4-6 range. When I say respond well I mean get strong. Rod had me do 8 reps recently and it felt like cardio - lol!

have a good night.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Over the past 2 years of powerlfiting I have really developed the ability to sweat like a guy. I mean sweat dripping down the brow, big stains under the arms, running down the back kinda sweat. I smell like I have been working out too. I am very comfortable with this, cause I am a power chick. I wear dark t-shirt and pants to soak it up, and they come in handy to wipe the chalk on, or the ocassional grease etc. It is not a pretty sport.

However today at the Powerlifitng Club I out did myself. It was a very humid day here in Brisvegas and the club has no aircon (hardcore man). I could have rung my t-shirt out, and was very distracted during my squatting by the constant dripping down the cleavage and back. I felt like I had been in the sauna. So there is only one thing to be done and that is to take a few t-shirts with me next session.

My first session back was tough, and while my knee held up very well with no pain, I have a niggling upper quad tightness that is effecting my depth. I am still struggling with the new squat technique and couple that with the quad issue it was a very challenging session. Today was a Dynamic lower body session (speed training @ 50-60% 1 rm) - although it was anything but dynamic!

I trained as follows;

Box squats 40-45kgs 4 sets of 6 reps

Deadlift 70kgs 8 sets of 2 reps

Glute hamstring raises 2 sets of 6 reps

abs - 3 sets with medicine ball 12 reps

103 days to go!!


Saturday, January 05, 2008

The road ahead

Tomorrow is the start of preparation for my next competition with 14 weeks and 5 days to build strength, refine technique and focus on getting closer to Elite II level. It has been almost 5 weeks since the Commonwealth Titles, and I it was great to have an off season over Xmas and New Year.
I am carrying a minor knee injury that I expect to heal in the next week or so, however this will hold my squat back a is what is it.
The next 6 weeks are focusing on gaining more strength in each of the lifts and adding muscle. This will be the challenging period to get as close as possible to my weight category, with eating enough to recover and to take full advantage of this hypertrophy phase. I am very lucky to be working with Krista Schaus ( an internationally successful lifter), and she will be taking on my nutrition, supplementation, training timing and hormonal balancing. Rod is still overseeing the training programs, but I have 2 other lifters advising on technique and programming - big team for one little girl!
After this I have 1 week off and the 4 weeks of technique specific work, then 4 weeks preparation.
I think I might have to make it an early night. Just thinking about it makes me tired! I start tomorrow with a full weigh/measure/picture session.

For Lia.....

This is Nic and I at a comp just over 12 months ago.

For CG..... in bikinis in 2005!!

Friday, January 04, 2008

I am having one of those days when the body needs more food, so as I eating some very yummy meals I thought I would share what I am eating

M1: Goji berries, protein shake with vital greens and Melrose hazelnut spread

M2: egg whites, mushrooms, spinach, long black

M3; soy latte

M4; Tuna salad

M5: Barambah yoghurt & Melrose hazelnut spread

M6; Tofu and veges, carrots, hummus and Melrose cashew spread (loving my fats today), grapes

M7: I haven't got this far yet, but I am pretty hungry so I reckon it will be a BIG chicken salad.

I really hammered my upper body yesterday in my quest to bench over 80kgs in April, so I am feeding those muscles lots of good clean food to recover as quickly as possible.

My daughter has just come home from work with a 35gm block of organic dark chocolate.....yum I just ate that too. Looks like the ratio will be about 40(fat)/35(p)/25(carb), which is a little out from my usual 30/40/30....but I am just listening to my body. I guess all that food will amount to about 1700 calories - looks like more don't you think?

On the subject of food....and weight. Since my comp in early Dec and after intentionally increasing my calories post comp, with easing off heavy training, and with the Xmas & New Year celebrations just finishing up I have only gained 2.5kgs in one month. I have to put this down to the Precision Nutrition lifestyle I have adopted and the incredibly satisfying food I eat daily.

I think I am starting to fill up......but I am still looking forward to that salad.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

The F6 arrived yesterday! Yes this is the bench shirt that is going to take me to the next level....
"...from Titan, the company that introduced the most innovative and effective shirt design of the current millennia, comes a new concept for arched benchers that will take performance to new levels."
So I am an arched bencher, which means that when I lift I have a high arch in my back to shorten my range and leverage as much power thru my legs as possible. The F6 is designed to work for benchers like me, and here is more form the Titan web site.
"While an arch creates a short, efficient stroke that also allows for more effective utilization of major supportive muscle groups such as the lats, the very act of arching can sometimes create its own set of problems when using bench shirts. Namely, control. Control problems can be evident when the lifter has to fight to keep the bar in the groove as it is descending. This type control issue sometimes results in the bar skating off the "bubble" either back towards the lifters head or forward towards the lifters abs."
Woo Hoo!!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I had my first session at the sauna today in 12 days..................ahhh!!!!

I really miss the recovery and detox benefits of the sauna when I don't go, and this morning all my troubles just beaded into drops of sweat and rolled down my body.

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