Last Thursday was the final night of the Inaugural Evolving Physiques Winter Games.
But it's not all doom and gloom. I know I sounded disappointed in my post on Monday, but I've had time to think and reflect since then, and have realised that, while my numbers were lower than I'd hoped this program, I have many things to celebrate.
First of all, here's some progress for you!
My major goal this program was to build muscle and increase definition in my arms and I can certainly say that I did that. I have definition in my shoulders, biceps and triceps, and I've lost all the excess flab that used to hang around under my arms.
So, did I get my #wintersoldierarms?
Oh yes I did!
I also think I have less stomach (happy about that!) and there's certainly more muscle in my back.
But what about my numbers? The weights I wanted to lift this program, did I get those?
Due to my head and neck injury in the second week on this program, I wasn't able to achieve the numbers I'd aimed for this program, but I am pleased with how well I have done.
Max Weight: 50kgs
Working Set: Yes
Max Weight: 30kgs
Working Set: Yes
I was particularly proud of this, as my goal for my benchpress was to press 35kg for ONE, so the fact that I did thirty for six is pretty damn fine, if you ask me.
Max Weight: 112kgs
Working Set: No
One Rep Max: Yes
My deadlift goal for this program was 120kgs, building from my previous 110kg record from last program. Due to my injury, I hadn't deadlifted anything above 50kgs until Thursday night.
When I lift heavy, I don't like to be told how much I'm lifting, because then the mind games start, so I specifically say to Pat and Hilal that I don't want to know the weight when it gets much above 50kgs. I asked to work towards a One Rep Max on Thursday and, once I pushed through 70kgs, Hilal stopped telling me what I was lifting.
The first attempt to lift the 112kg didn't go far, the weights didn't even get off the ground. The video above shows my second attempt: the weight has not changed, but I've had a three minute rest, my lifting song (Confident, by Demi Lovato) is playing and I take a few deep breaths before I lift the bar.
I think my smile says it all.
It's the final week of the Winter Games this week. Thursday will be my last weight lifting session until I come back from Europe at the beginning of October. I will still be doing some body-weight exercises at home (don't want to lose my #wintersoldierarms) and I'll work out when I'm overseas (yes, I really will!) but it's suddenly hit me how much I'm going to miss the structured weight program at EP.
Tonight was Monday, which means it was my last leg day for this program. My goals for leg day at the beginning of the program were as follows:
Squat 80kgs for a One Rep Max.
Squat 60kgs for a working set of four.
Did I achieve this?
The short answer is no.
I didn't get above 50kgs this program, and while that may seem like a disappointment on the surface, the fact that I was squatting at all is actually a huge achievement. Second week into the Winter Games I sustained a head and neck injury while pole dancing which took several weeks to completely heal and meant that squats had to be put on the back burner for several weeks.
Injuries happen, and if I'd pushed on through without consideration for my injury then it would have come back to bite me big time! I'm not terribly proud of the weights I squatted this program, but I am proud that I stepped back and gave my body the time it needed to recover, even if that meant sacrificing one of my goals.
Achievement is often trumpeted as a big thing, but tonight made me realise that it's often subtle. Muscle gain, getting stronger, losing fat and feeling fitter are all wonderful things, but it's not always tangible. Being able to continue barbell squats after a neck injury is an achievement, but you can't measure it in any quantifiable way: it just is. A team mate of mine tonight tried three times to lift a personal best deadlift of 180kgs and, even though he couldn't get it all the way up, he managed to get the bar off the ground. He didn't make the lift, but that he was willing to keep trying even after failure is a massive achievement in itself.
The moral of the story: maybe what you said you wanted in the beginning wasn't what you got in the end. Maybe something happened, maybe your goals changed, maybe you just didn't quite get there, but the real measure of success is this: are you further ahead than you were when you started?
If the answer is yes, then you made it.
Hooray for Leg Day being on a Monday! Honestly, there is no better way to start the week than with all my favourite exercises: squats, lunges and supermans. No, I'm not being sarcastic, I really do enjoy all of these. But, when I'm working hard for #wintersoldierarms, there's nothing like getting in a sneaky arm workout on leg day and seeing results.
Hilal had me doing a new leg exercise today, called the One Leg Sit and Stand. It's exactly what it sounds like, balancing on one leg you sit up and down on a bench, and then you switch legs. The trick is to clench your glutes and thighs as you come up and down, which helps you remain balanced and is the point of the exercise. In fact, the position is almost exactly the same as an Anchored Diva on a pole and you have to squeeze in all the same places to maintain the pose, the only difference is, on a pole, you do this aerially and you don't go up and down.
This is footage from my third set. I did ten each leg for three sets, and the last two sets were holding the 5kg dumbell in front. I'm actually pleased with how well I managed to keep my balance, but (damn) my arms got and workout and don't they look fine!
I find this exciting because I am starting to see clear definition between my shoulder and my bicep and there is less flabby skin hanging around on my arms. Everything is tightening and toning up, which is awesome: results make everything worth it.
Tonight was exciting in another way too. I have just recently recovered from a neck injury and, as such, I have not been squatting heavy lately, so I don't do more damage and slow down my recovery. As it was Leg Day tonight, squats were on the menu and, for the first time since my injury, we used the 15kg bar and loaded it. I squatted 25kgs for 2 sets of ten reps, which is good progress. At my strongest I squatted 67kgs for 1 rep, and my goal this program with my squats is 60kgs for a working set of 4 reps and 80kgs for a 1 rep max. 25kgs is a good start and it's only going to get heavier from here.
And my night ended with a real high.
EP are big on recording and posting little snippets of their gym in the Instagram Stories, and competitors in The Winter Games always get prime time spots. Tonight, some footage of my One Leg Sit and Stands ended up in EP's stories and, while that is cool in itself, what happened next just made my night.
This comment alone was enough to make me glow, but it came from a former EP member who has held the position of Strongest Male in the gym and both competed and placed in weight lifting competitions, so for him to notice my progress and comment on it was just the icing on my cake.
Because, let's be honest, who doesn't love their hard work being noticed?
See you on Wednesday!
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.