If you’re wondering what I do on a daily or weekly basis for my training, here’s a general overview of the cycles and lifts I’m working through on my way to Nationals.
Prior to podiuming (yes- like Google, people have turned “podium” into a verb) at California’s Strongest Woman in April, I had been training pretty exclusively for CrossFit. It’s been a dream of mine to compete in NorCal CrossFit Master’s competition in Richmond, CA, ever since I started the sport in 2012. At the time, however, Master’s was 40+, so I patiently waited for years until the magic age of entry arrived.
When I turned 40 a year and a half ago, I had just moved, and my energy level and mental state had me in a position where I was lucky if I got to a CrossFit class three or four times a week. I did not have the spoons to start any kind of training program. So, I skipped that year, and vowed to train for NorCal Master’s the following year.
That was the year they changed the entrance age to 35, go figure. Hashtag ANNOYING.
Anyway, in September 2017, with NorCal Master’s arriving at the end of January 2018, I hired an awesome coach named Patrick Barnes who devised a program for me. We started with a hypertrophy cycle to try and increase muscle mass. Hypertrophy is essentially high reps at moderate weight, and the purpose is to grow the size of your muscles but not necessarily your strength. Then, we did a fast four week strength cycle to try and build strength into that mass. These are your 3×5’s at around 75-85%. Around November we began working on my “engine”- giving me shitloads of cardio and CrossFit movements I abhor like box jumps. (Always do the things you hate! “Chase your goats,” as they say.)
My favorite cardio workout of the whole bunch was a 100cal assault bike where I had to try and stay at a moderately-high level of wattage output for the entire duration. It SUCKED but surviving that feeling came in really handy during the CrossFit Open in Feb/March. I knew it only felt like the cardio was trying to kill me. So I guess it was my favorite only in retrospect, since I could really feel how useful it was.
Leading up to NorCal Masters, I received news at work that I would need to attend a conference which conflicted with the dates of the competition. After a lot of deliberation, tears, frustration, and angst, I decided that the work opportunity was too important. After all, at this point, weightlifting is a hobby. An expensive, time-consuming hobby, and one that I love- but it doesn’t pay the bills.
Ya that’s right- I’m a grown up and I have to make hard choices. I have to come to terms with loss every single day, and my lifting is no exception.
So, instead, Patrick and I decided I would train for the CrossFit Open in February, hoping to use it as a gauge of my fitness level and improvements over time. I did pretty well in the Open this year, coming in in the 90th percentile for my age and sex. I also used my ranking and scores as a comparison for the other folks who I knew were competing at the NorCal Master’s that year, so I felt a little bit like I was still keeping track of my standings and how I might have placed if I had competed in that contest.
I always have to remember: I’m training for the long game, so I can come back and lift another day. I want to have a long and diverse “career” in these sports because there’s still so much I want to do!
(stay tuned for part 2 to find out what my program for Nationals is like!)