One of the best things about training at EP is that Pat and Hilal are really big on before and after photos. They're not about faking it either, and none of the suggestive angles, coloured lighting or awkward poses are done to make the after shots look 'better'. It's all about show casing REAL results.
These are my before pictures and measurements from Week One of FIRE. A second lot of pics and measurements will be taken in Week Four and a final set in Week Eight, at the end of the program, to document my progress. Hilal took these photos for me and was super excited, because you can see a little bit of definition in my back already (middle right) and an itsy-bitsy bicep (top right). I'm actually really proud of my side photos, as this is the first lot of 'before' photos I've taken at EP where I don't feel like my stomach is hanging out. Persistence is key!
As I have stated numerous times, my FIRE goal is to beat my personal best deadlift, which was a 100kg, trap bar deadlift for one rep. On Thursday, I did my first lot of deadlifts in my second program, also using a trap bar. Deadlifting again was very exciting, but even more so because of the weight I started at this time. During my first FIRE program, I started trap bar deadlifts lifting only the bar, which weighs around 10kg, so building up to 100kg from there was a big achievement. On Thursday I started deadlifting again at 50kg, which is already half of my personal best and damn but it felt good.
As you can see in the above video (which includes a candid cameo from my trainer Hilal) I'm lifting well, but having trouble keeping my knees out. I've been plagued by this for most of my life, and it was one thing I was glad to overcome during my last FIRE program. To safely deadlift, you need to push your feet into the floor (which is why I'm not wearing shoes) and keep your knees pushed out; the knee will always want to turn in, particularly as you tire, so, with this in mind and with my determination to hit 100kg+ by the end of this program, Hilal modified my next deadlift, dropping the weight down to 40kg but adding another challenge to correct my technique.
The band tied above my knees adds resistance as I push out; if I feel the resistance I know my technique is correct, and if my knees turn in and I stop feeling the resistance, I know I've lost the technique and am reminded to push back out again. Some of you may notice that my breathing seems exaggerated in this video, but that's deliberate on my part; a hard breath out at the top helps with the lift and I have a bad habit of breathing through my nose only when I exercise, so exaggerating the out breath though my mouth helps ensure I don't fall back into old habits. Wonder what I'll be deadlifting next week...?
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Weight training, as I discovered during my last FIRE program, does not always include weights; some of the most intense exercises you will do involve using no more than your own body weight.
And it's amazing how incredibly heavy you realise you are when you've got to hold yourself up in some interesting position or another. It's a feeling I'm familiar with due to pole, as I'm regularly lifting myself up and even flipping upside down, but strength comes in all different forms and I discovered simultaneously on Tuesday that I'm both stronger than I thought in one area but not quite as strong as I believed in another.
The above video shows me doing a combined grip strength and abdominal (abs) exercise at EP on Tuesday night (Pat, one of my trainers, makes a brief cameo; he didn't realise I was filming). I have always thought I had excellent grip strength from pole dancing; it is, after all, an essential part of being able to pole dance, because if you can't grip the pole, you're going to fall off. This is my second set of ten, my first set I did drawing my knees up to my chest and then lowering them, but that was too easy, so I decided to try keeping my legs straight for the second set.
And that was where it got interesting.
I expected I would be able to hold myself easily on the bar and that the struggle would come from keeping my legs straight. To my great surprise, it was easier to lift and lower my straight legs than it was to hold onto the bar! While I never felt like I was going to fall, I was very aware that I wasn't gripping as tight as I felt I should be, and my hands were slipping ever so slightly. This shocked me and, for my third set, I reverted to lifting my bent knees up to my chest and focused on gripping the bar.
On the way home I reflected that, perhaps, it wasn't so surprising. I'd never hung like that before, and hanging statically requires a very different kind of grip strength than what is needed for pole, where I'm gripping from the side and don't need to hang from my wrists for any length of time (or, I don't need to yet, because I'm in Intermediate, that might change come Advanced). However the much more pleasant surprise was that I was clearly much stronger in my abs than I had given myself credit for.
So, new goal for this FIRE program: while working towards smashing my 100kg+ deadlift, I'm also going to work on increasing my grip strength. There's no point being able to grip one way and not another, and the more strength I have in my hands and fingers the more secure I will be as I progress to new and more advanced tricks in pole.
You don't find the willpower - you create it.
Me With No Apologies.