Following each weights program, Evolving Physiques gives participants the opportunity to participate in a photoshoot, to showcase their hard work and celebrate their achievements. This year we had Kate, from Kate Stravrov Photography, come to EP to shoot us in our element, and I decided I was going to go all out this time.
In my previous shoots, I have chosen themes which match the kind of activities I am doing at the time of the photos (cycling, pole dancing, meditating) or that tie in with the theme of my program (such as my shoot with the Jolly Roger - you can read more about the symbolism behind this shoot here). This time, with my theme for the last few programs I have taken part in being The Winter Soldier, and the focus being on building muscle and gaining #wintersoldierarms, I decided to pay homage to that and include it in my shoot.
My cousin, Zoe (from Zoe Jane Make Up) is a professional make-up artist with some experience in special effects make-up, and I asked her if she could paint my left arm into a likeness of the Winter Soldier's titanium arm from The Winter Soldier and Civil War. She was up for the challenge and worked for three whole hours on Saturday morning getting me ready, then even made my face look amazing! My hair was done by Yeliz, who has done my hair and make-up for many a photoshoot before, and I was delighted with the results: I felt a bit like a celebrity (I confess) being pampered and painted.
The the edited photos came back, and I was staggered by the incredible results.
And, of course, I had to wear my custom made Winter Soldier Pleasers from Toes On Pointe.
Yikes! Just realised I haven't updated this section for a while: the autumn lifting program at EP is in full swing and I haven't given you a single lift to devour yet.
Confession: sometimes it's hard to remember to blog, although I'm always regularly updating @barbelldancer's Instagram page, so that's a good place to be for regular updates.
But, back to my lifting.
This program is different to any others I've done in the past as the main focus on this program is building strength. Of course, strength has come from other programs as well, but this program has been designed purely to help participants become the strongest version of themselves. That means taking things slowly, lifting heavier weights for less reps, and lots of focus on form and technique, rather than super-sets and burning muscles out.
It's very effective and I'm already seeing some great results.
Readers during my last weight program will know that I had an overall goal of deadlifting 100kgs for 1 set of 4 reps last time and, while I technically achieved it, it was not without struggle and my form was really, really off! Pat let me do it but we had a good old debrief about it before I started this program and we both agreed that I had pushed myself too hard and too far, and that, while I was physically strong enough to achieve the lift, what we needed to focus on now was technique.
I'm slowly moving towards a conventional deadlift at the moment, although to get there I have to work on the flexibility in my quads and hamstrings, so I'm not lifting with my lowerback. The reason I use a trapbar is because my body cannot get into the correct position (yet) to use a barbell and preform a conventional deadlift safely. Fun fact: I do not use a trapbar because I am (in the words of one Instagram troll) too weak for a conventional deadlift. A trapbar deadlift is just another form of deadlift that requires a different technique, it's not better or worse than a conventional deadlift and trapbar deadlifters are just as much strength athletes as conventional deadlifters, we just do it in a different way.
However, I digress!
Form is the cornerstone of this program and I've learned a lot, and my lifts have improved dramatically even just five weeks in.
I picked up a bad habit in previous programs of bending my elbows and yanking the trapbar as I deadlift, which puts strain on my elbows and doesn't improve my lift. Pat h as been helping me correct this by getting me to roll my shoulders down and back, replacing the yanking movement and ensuring that I keep my arms straight.
Have a look at the video below to demonstrate and notice the difference between my first lift and my final lift, when my technique is slipping. This illustrates what I'm trying to explain better than words ever could.
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.