Great Powerlifting & Nutrition Resources Vol. 3 – Juggernaut Training

I could be as bold and say that pressed with time, Juggernaut Training is the only site you’ll ever need if you’re passionate about powerlifting and weightlifting. Period. You will find articles, videos, workshops, e-books, training and nutrition templates and lots and lots of more material ready to use whether you are a beginner or an experienced competitive lifter.

Go and see for yourself: http://www.jtsstrength.com/

I’ll share some tidbits of my favorite picks below! There’s simply too much of those to go over all but these are my this week’s and last year’s best finds that are relative to my current situation and need of knowledge :).

First, here is a suberb video by Chad Wesley Smith where he goes over:

  • The definition of Overload
  • The parameters of Overload for Hypertrophy, General Strength and Peaking
  • How Overload relates to Maximum Recoverable Volume
  • What Proper and Improper Application of the Principle of Overload looks like

This is sooo important to me as my recovery abilities are somewhat – heck, depressingly limited. How could I gauge what is the right amount of training for me? How to work out efficiently to get as strong and muscular as possible, but without going over my maximum recoverable volume? When do I need to cut down volume? And do I reduce volume by doing less reps or sets, or lift lighter weights (the last isn’t recommendable as far as I understand)? Or do I cut down training sessions per week? I’ll let you guys know as soon as I figure this out. Somewhere in the 22nd century or so… 😀

Many already know about my love for everything and anything Layne Norton does. Here’s the fantastic article series he wrote for Juggernaut: Fat Loss For Powerlifting. Everything you need to know about optimizing body composition and cutting for meets. Science backed, no-nonsense, while keeping your health and sanity in the process.

http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/01/30/fat-loss-powerlifting-part-1/

http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/04/29/fat-loss-powerlifting-part-2-cardio/

http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2014/08/13/case-cutting-slow-top-fat-loss-mistakes-powerlifting-part-iii/

Layne Norton ❤ – image source ​

Powerlifting and weightlifting are weightclass sports. Proper nutrition is the most important aspect of exercise performance and recovery, along with getting enough quality sleep. Cutting for a meet with super-low calorie or other fad diets and using unhealthy measures such as playing with your water and sodium intake haphazardly seems to be quite common with some young and inexperienced lifters, or at least according to what I’ve read and heard.

IIFYM works for me, but if you’re more into paleo or whatever and it suits you, go for it :). For us all, I think (and smart people agree 😉 ) that the most important thing to remember is that calories come first, macronutrients come second, other stuff such as meal frequency, timing, supplements etc. third. 

And last, but definitely not least, Dr. Mike Israetel‘s articles about Periodization for Powerlifting:

http://www.jtsstrength.com/articles/2013/12/03/nonsense-periodization-powerlifting/

Dr. Mike Israetel – image from article

Mike Israetel is also an assistant professor of Exercise Science at the Temple University. He’s also very active in social media and has a lot of ummm… opinions about stuff. He’s a really entertaining and informative guy to follow: https://www.facebook.com/michael.israetel?fref=ts

Hope you will find new and useful information for your training!

xoxo, 

Veera

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“The Case For Resting Longer And Lifting Heavier” By Sohee Lee

Here’s again a great post by Sohee Lee telling about Brad Schoenfeld’s research article regarding the effects of longer inter-set rest periods in the gym and why resting more could be better for you, as well: The Case for Resting Longer and Lifting Heavier – SoheeFitRead the original article here.

I can fully vouch for longer rest periods as my one-member empirical scientific research has provided similar results ;). Before I started powerlifting, I was pretty bodybuilding and fitness -oriented trainee. I read all bro (and sis) advice about how to train hard, raise testosterone and really tire those muscles so that they’d get bigger. And how to maximize growth hormone to burn that stubborn fat by doing more in less time and with less rest.

“Do all sets to failure.”

“Use rest-pause, partial reps, forced reps. In all sets.”

“Your leg day wasn’t successful if you didn’t throw up at least twice.”

“Only rest 30 seconds between sets.”

“Double and triple sets are the way to go.”

Usually the advisers were expert fitness athletes and bodybuilders with years and years of training (and sometimes using a little more chemical help than simply whey protein and creatine). As a young and enthusiastic trainee, I of course thought training like a Figure Olympia winner would give me similar physique. It really didn’t cross my mind that for example Erin Stern was a track athlete before getting into fitness and has been training hard nearly all her life – you need to have a solid base to build on!

Erin Stern, photo from InsideFitnessMag

I also thought that doing more was always the best solution for faster progress. And of course with a hectic schedule, as I’ve always had the tendency to fill up my calendar to the brim, shorter rest periods also meant shorter time at the gym. Perfect! I also congratulated myself for getting my aerobic fitness taken care of as my heart rate rarely got under 130 BPM at any time as I rushed from exercise 1A to 1B to 1C to 1D across the gym.

Was my approach efficient? Perhaps. At least considering time-efficiency. Was it constructive in the long run, and did it lead me toward my goals – bigger muscles? Maybe not. I was usually so tired that already in the third set I struggled to get 6 reps with weight I’d done 10 reps in set one. I also completed my sets with fervor – lifting as fast as possible, fearing that if I took any pause between reps or lifted slower I’d get even less reps in the consecutive rounds. My cardiorespiratory fitness sure did improve but as a stringy teenager getting some muscle would have been more beneficial.

Now I rarely rest less than 2-3 minutes between sets. And the heavier the load, the longer I rest. With bench, squat and deadlifts I take 4 minutes between sets and can go all out on every set. Between every rep I take a pause, breathe deep, focus on my mental game and concentrate on proper form and core stability. And my strength levels have soared.

You don’t burn fat or increase your VO2max in the weight room. You get stronger and more muscular. The rest is done in the kitchen. Some folk may even like endurance training in their spare time. As I usually don’t have any, nowadays I count over 5 rep sets as aerobic exercise 😀 …

Follow Sohee at SoheeFit.com.

Sohee has also written two excellent flexible dieting ebooks – Beginner’s Guide to Macros and Reverse Dieting. They’re recommended by for example Layne Norton – and by me!

Read more from Brad Schoenfeld at his magnificent site LookGreatNaked.com

Remember to rest, both at the gym and at home,

xoxo,

Veera

Cheat Weekend And Misc Food Porn

I visited my mother at Lahti last weekend and we spent a nice evening together chatting and watching TV – and feasting on delicious food :).

My diet has gone great these few weeks. I’ve been able to fit ice cream, chocolate, candy, toast with melted cheese, wine, cake, etc. into my daily diet without difficulties and still fill my belly with quality protein, veggies, berries and fruit. Now I decided I’d indulge myself without counting calories for one night. Oh, it was fun! And tasty… 😉

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DIY pepperoni pizza with pineapple, tomatoes, minced beef and extra mozzarella topping
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Delicacies from last Saturday – at least there were some fruit, too! And Quest bars 😉
Crepes with vanilla ice cream and apple sauce <3
Crepes with vanilla ice cream and apple sauce ❤

I though I’d share also pictures of two beautiful dishes I had while attending seminars during the last few weeks. You can fine dine and diet with IIFYM:

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Grilled lamb with root vegetables and yogurt sauce
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Salmon and roe with cream cheese, horseradish and salad

My diet continues. Later we’ll see how I’ll manage with my goal of getting below 65 kilos and achieving that <70 cm waistline… 🙂

xoxo,

Veera

The Snickers Experiment By Sohee Walsh

As I’ve been super duper busy with life and stuff I wanted to share a great post by Sohee Walsh advocating the benefits of IIFYM :).

Read here how Sohee prepped for her last bikini contest and ended up winning her height class and a pro card – while eating a full-sized Snickers bar every day: http://www.soheefit.com/everyday-snickers/

Flexible dieting rocks!

I promise to get back soon with some new posts <3. Love ya all,

xoxo,

Veera

Switching Gears

My diet is stalling. There’s no way around the fact. In the past 2 weeks I haven’t yet again lost even half a kilo. So far I’ve been practically pigging this thing out with high calories and minimal exercise. So it’s time to heat things up a bit. I’m only making two small adjustments, though:

  • Reducing my calories from 2500 kcal / day to 2350 kcal
  • Adding more steps, from 10,000 to 12,000 steps / day

As simple as that. I’ll continue logging my foods into MyFitnessPal and doing my powerlifting workouts. In a few week’s time we’ll see how things are progressing. Right now I’m more than a little tired. Need to get more sleep. Thankfully my next training week will be a deload so I’ll just go and pump a little at the gym. 🙂

Halloween is coming – and I wish I’d be more ready than I am. I love dark evenings, dark music, horror movies and…epic battles between good and evil. We’re gathering with a group of friends on Saturday to play either Arkham or Eldrich Horror. Time will tell, whether our shabby gang of investigators with peculiar backgrounds will be able to prevent the rise of ancient dark forces of Cthulhu!

xoxo,

Veera

I Just Love Saturdays

Again one eventful week is nearing it’s end… And I’ve loved every minute!

I couldn’t be happier with my training right now. The day before yesterday I had a great workout with my old personal trainer, Roy – a shout out if you happen to be reading this! Thanx ❤ !! I did diligently my front squats and leg extension as per program, but after that we really hit my delts: shoulder presses, lateral raises with kettlebells (really minimizes my manly traps from intervening), and different rear delt exercises with cables and machines. I had a blast and it was really great to train with him after a loooong break. It’s also great to get tips about good bodybuilding exercises and tweaks to my training.

Roy recommended I’d try out Fressi gym chain’s other gym at Espoo Iso Omena’s (Big Apple 🙂 ) mall as it has good weightlifting equipment and space. And as I checked out from their web page, they also have hot yoga ❤ so I’ll definitely give Fressi Iso Omena a try! I’ll post my experiences here :).

Yesterday I trained with coach Anni at Ruskeasuo weightlifting gym. I practiced power snatches with her nephew 🙂 – what a great young lad, by the way! I’m beginning to fall in love with Olympic lifting… This may be serious 😉 so beware, figure competitions..! I also got a new hoodie from Anni:

Tangon päässä on vielä tilaa - Theres still room at the end of the bar :)
Tangon päässä on vielä tilaa – Theres still room at the end of the bar 🙂

Especially my Finnish followers, you can buy great quality workout gear or a new T-shirt from Anni’s webshop and you’ll be helping her along her path to Rio Olympics ❤ :  http://www.voimakauppa.com/

Today I again neared death at traditional pilates for fighters workout at Espoon Krav Maga. We have mimicked lots of creatures – such as mermaids and rabbits – but today I mostly felt like an overfed sea lion gasping for air… After dragging my heavy ass back home I somehow found within myself the willpower to vacuum the place and do some dusting. Besides willpower, music with volume nearly enough to mass murder half of my inner ear’s hair cells always helps:

Now I’m off to couch. I’ve been reading a great steampunkish fantasy book by Katherine Addison:

Cover picture from Goodreads

I can warmly recommend the book if you happen to like fantasy with believable, sympathetic protagonist(s), good plotting and guile.

And as Halloween draws near, I’ll be spending the rest of the evening with some cool vampire movies ❤ – first of all, I want to watch Blade again. Isn’t Wesley Snipes just cool – or ultra cool?

Image source

And Stephen Dorff is hot, hot, hot ❤ ❤

Image source

So… Nice Saturday for everyone!

xoxo,

Veera

 

Happy Little Dieter

After some blah blah not-so-happy-go-lucky posts it’s time for positive news! My diet is going really well and I’m excited to share my new measurements 🙂 :

First measurements taken 29.8.2015.

Weight:  71.9 -> 68.6 kg

Shoulders (widest point):  103.5 -> 103 cm

Chest: 103 -> 100 cm

Right bicep: 32 -> 31.5 cm

Waist:  77.5 -> 74 cm

Hips (widest point): 95 -> 93.5 cm

Right thigh: 58.5 -> 57.5 cm

I’m so happy with my diet results so far 🙂 ! I haven’t had any cravings as nothing is off-limits with flexible dieting. Nor have I had any binges or bad hunger pangs. Everything goes smoothly and my energy levels are good. Even traveling hasn’t hindered my dieting progress. At home I weigh most of my food and it has benefited me with ability to easily estimate the amounts when eating out. At this point at least there’s really no reason to walk around carrying a kitchen scale with me 😉 …

I treated myself with some new clothes when I hit under 70 kilos. I bought a new T-shirt, a training top, college pants and a sweater from Tampere as well as new earrings and a matching necklace. ❤

Happy dieter
Happy dieter with a new cool T-shirt and some bling

Nature has always such a calming effect on me. Besides meditation (that I should really start doing again), walking in the forest is more than just exercise. It’s a place where I can rest my usually fidgety mind and just focus on experiencing the beautiful scenery, smell the pines or fresh grass, listen to the birds chirping and wind rustling the leaves. I’m glad I’ve always lived near woodlands – Finland is great in that way :).

Some pictures I took when walking with a friend and her dog at Espoo central park:

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Today I’m planning on hitting the gym for some deadlifts and later in the evening continuing my recovery efforts with foam rolling and stretching – preferably while watching Supernatural. “Thanks” again for my friend for getting me hooked…

Next week I hope to be able to return to my normal lifting program, and possibly train with my coach ❤ – we haven’t seen in a long time due to my work and study travels and her competition schedule and other events.

To all my Addy friends and others “forced” to take corticosteroids for life – you can do this! We’ll survive to live another day. And it’s not impossible to lose weight, either. I’ve done this while being on stress dose of 45-60 mg of HC most of the time. Today was my second day this whole month of surviving on my normal dose of 30 mg. Don’t lose hope! I can be reached for tips with diet and exercise if you want, too :).

Wonderful Sunday to everyone ❤ ,

xoxo,

Veera

 

Slow & Steady

Ladies and gentlemen, my first diet update is finally here! Yesterday I took my measurements after being on my flexible diet for three weeks now. The first week I didn’t measure as I was simply too busy, tired, or something. Here’s my massive progress in two weeks:

Weight:  71.9 -> 71.3 kg

Shoulders (widest point):  103.5 -> 104 cm

Chest: 103 -> 101 cm

Right bicep: 32 -> 32 cm

Waist:  77.5 -> 77 cm

Hips (widest point): 95 -> 94.5 cm

Right thigh: 58.5 -> 59 cm

I’m actually not at all disappointed. I’m in no hurry with my diet, and the most important thing for me as I love eating is to be able to keep my calories as high as possible. Also I’d hate to lose muscle. These first two weeks were kind of an experiment to find my optimal calorie intake.

So far I’ve been eating 2600 kcal / day. My protein intake is 2 gram / kg of weight so approximately 140 grams / day. I’m cycling carbs and fat a bit depending on the amount of exercise I do daily. I try to shoot for at least 60 grams of fat from varied sources like fish and fish oil, nuts, olive oil etc.

I practice IIFYM as I’ve posted before: https://athleteonsteroids.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/my-flexible-diet-begins/

There’s a lot of misconceptions about IIFYM – for me, at least, it’s not an eat-only-pizza-poptarts-and-ice-cream-diet. I eat at least 5-8 servings of veggies, 1-4 servings of fruit and berries every day, take care of my fiber intake and drink lots and lots of water. Approximately 10-15 % max of my daily calories come from foods some “bro” or “clean” (whatever that means) eaters would label junk food such as candy, ice cream etc. It may even take days I don’t eat any sugary foods I label as my treats. Usually I save them around my workout period to give me energy, lift my spirits and refill muscle glycogen after workout. I don’t see why the heck I should down some awful-tasting dextrose powder when I can eat gummy bears instead? 🙂

Now I’m lowering my daily calories to 2500 per day. I do like to go slow – but not so slow that I’d still be on this diet come next Easter… 😉

I’ve been feeling really well overall and tonight is going to be another squat and bench session, I can’t wait ❤ !

Wishing everyone a great new week,

xoxo,

Veera

Testing My Limits

Yesterday I was still having a mild temperature – but even shorter temper. So I decided I’d give lifting a shot before I’d completely lose my cool and drive my boyfriend insane by my nervous antics in the process. I downed extra HC and some NSAIDs to prevent fever and help with my headache, and went to the gym. I can’t say I excelled in my workout but I did push it. At least it was short and easy:

  1. Close-grip bench 4 x 10
    My coach had put 20 kg on my program and I did the first sets with it. It felt so damn light I decided to find out how many I could do, and ended up grinding 25 reps in the last set and actually ended the set out of boredom…
  2. French press with bar 5 x 8, 20 kg
  3. Triceps cable extension with rope 4 x 10, 25 kg
    Supersetted with:
  4. Bicep curls on cable with rope 4 x 10, 20 kg

I also did some vanity calves (don’t tell the coach, she doesn’t believe in training calves – won’t make me a better lifter, she says…).

After gym I showered at home and at least tried to make myself presentable as I then took a train to Helsinki center to dine with a friend who owned me a dinner. I had a mouthwatering post-workout meal – 250 gram steak with blue cheese and mashed potatoes at restaurant Morrison’s:

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I made this fit my macros!

This morning I woke up early to get my lash extensions done :). I love occasional pampering and looking feminine. My lashes and nails are something I’m not willing to give up. It was yet again so relaxing to just lie still with my eyes closed that even though I listened to a fitness podcast I managed to fall asleep in less than 10 minutes – something I almost always do…

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Love my “new” lashes – they look really natural

I usually don’t wear make-up at the gym but if I’ve had some more official-ish appointments during the day I don’t see the point in washing it off, either. I’m happy as long as running-down make-up won’t interfere with a sweaty training session. With powerlifting that’s not such a big problem but I couldn’t imagine having make-up on when training krav maga…

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No filter, no make-up

After my pampering session I took a trip to the local laboratory to get a jug for my “fun” weekend task – collection of 24 hour urine for lab analysis… I’ll also be donating vials and vials of blood next week, how great. It’s part of getting ready to see my new, yet unknown endocrinologist at the end of this month. Oh, how I dread the appointment already… Wish me luck!

Today I had decided to try and raise my cortisone dose for 1.5 x my normal to see if it would help with my mild fever and headache. And lo and behold, fever – gone. Headache – gone. So I guess at least some times when I’m feeling a little sick but not having any signs of upper respiratory infection it could also be a sign of low cortisol, not just my recurrent fever episodes acting up… It’s just so hard to understand my body and whether I should rest or just down some pills and go lifting. I’m glad I keep a detailed diary about my symptoms, cortisone doses and exercise as it helps at least a little bit in deciphering my body’s cues.

Last week I practiced snatch technique with coach Anni at Ruskeasuo weighlifting gym and got some homework on snatch partial drills I’m now starting to incorporate in my warm ups before lifting. They feel really difficult as I have no experience whatsoever in weightlifting, but it’s so much fun to try them and see how I’m getting better. I guess I’m hooked :). The immense technicality of Olympic lifting really excites me. I can’t wait for my next lifting session with coach to learn more. And yes, I’m still training for powerlifting. Among other interesting sports. After all, you never know… 😉

Tonight I had an “easy” squat session in my program (what the heck?? another easy session??). Or at least it was supposed to be easy:

  1. Back squat 4 x 8 35 kg
  2. Overhead squat 3 x 10 12,5 kg (now I’ve got this!)
  3. Seated hamstring curls 4 x 10 35 kg
  4. Hanging knees 4 x max (got approximately 10-13 reps)

Already in the first warm-up set in squats I started to feel a stabbing pain in my lower back. I have back problems – namely spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in my lumbar spine and now the pain in my back was so intense my legs nearly gave out at one point. My back had already felt a little stiff during the day and my boyfriend had taped it before going to the gym. Luckily I managed to train around the back pain by switching from low bar to high bar squat and changing prone hamstring curls into the seated version and dismissing weighted abdominal work for a gentler exercise for my back.

Slowly getting better with my form :)
Slowly getting better with my form 🙂

Now back at home I feel like a rheumatic grandma with my inability to turn to any side, lean into any direction, or squat down – my back is starting to get more stiff – but hopefully with some rest, mild foam rolling and stretching I’ll be back in the gym in a couple of days. And tomorrow is finally a pilates day for me at Espoo Krav Maga :)!

This weekend I’ll be doing my first diet recap. Waiting to share my progress with you! ❤

xoxo,

Veera

Ice Ice Cream Baby!

After a successful training week I sported up a little bit of fever. So since yesterday I’ve been resting as much as I can. Great – finally some time to watch Netflix and read! I did stretch, so it counts as exercise right? Great thing was that I’d stocked this week’s treats in advance:

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Yum, ice cream… Now I’m gonna curl next to my boyfriend to finish watching The Raid 2 :).

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Stay positive,

xoxo,

Veera