Training diary: December 2022

Not gonna lie, I’m frustrated about this block of training.

Mostly because there was A LOT of change during this block, and I don’t handle change well. For example, a number of my sessions were changed last minute—always after I’d already arrived at the gym, and sometimes after I’d already started training. Reps and exercises were cut, weights were changed, and, once, all of those things were changed all at once!!! WHAT!!! WHY!!! Autistic people do not handle change well!!! Especially when that change means deviating from A Confirmed Plan!!! Extra especially when that change happens all of a sudden with no discussion or warning or time to prepare!!! Double extra especially when we’re already dysregulated from other shit!!! Like being on our period!!! And not sleeping or eating well!!!

Also, this block of training was only two and a half weeks instead of the four it was supposed to be, which made me feel rushed and pressured to perform come Test Week. Feeling rushed and pressured brought me right back to previous experiences with former coaches who’d rush me through training, dismissing my concerns that we were moving too fast, and my requests to slow down. Not a great headspace to be in.

Kelsey, in a CrossFit gym, clean and jerking 67 kilos. The barbell is overhead, and she's in the split jerk. She's wearing an N95 mask.
62kg clean and jerk

Two good things about this block:

One: I got to keep training at the time of day that I’ve been training at, which is also the time of day that I like to train. I was supposed to start training at a different time of day at the start of this block and I was really stressed about it (see the paragraph above about not handling change very well). I tried training at the new time. It didn’t work. So I went back to my regular training time.

(This wasn’t quite that simple. To continue training at the time of day I’ve been training, I had to officially change my hours at work and Coach had to change the hours that he’s at the gym. Prior to this block of training, I’d been working 1:1 with a different coach, and because that setup was temporary, so too were the changes I’d made to my schedule at work to accommodate my training. Coach changed his schedule to stay a bit later at the gym than he usually does in the morning, because I start a little later than the rest of the class and therefore finish after they’re already done. I’m immensely grateful to have both a boss and a coach who are so understanding and accommodating.)

Two: at the end of Test Week, after my final squat rep, Coach took me aside and complimented and thanked me for my discipline and dedication, and for being a coachable athlete. It caught me completely off guard and I almost started crying. After a decade of being gaslit and invalidated and dismissed, it feels really good to have coaches who believe in me, who listen to me, who validate my experiences, who take the initiative to learn more about the intersection of autism and athleticism on their own, and who recognize the effort that I put in, too. Weightlifting is incredibly important to me and it’s a new and nice (and weird) experience to have coaches who see that.

Training

Duration: 2.5 weeks
Frequency: 3 days a week
Format: Group setting (barbell club)
Focus: Technique, mechanics, body awareness (same as last block)
Starting total: 107kg (50kg snatch, 57kg clean and jerk)
Ending total: 114kg (52kg snatch, 62kg clean and jerk)

Here’s what this block was supposed to look like:

Day 1Day 2Day 3
Week 1Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Snatch
Back squat
Bench press
Barbell strict press
Snatch deadlift (deficit)
Snatch balance (rack)
Week 2Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Snatch
Back squat
Dumbbell overhead press (seated)
Barbell strict press
Clean deadlift (deficit)
Jerk (rack)
Week 3Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Snatch
Back squat
Bench press
Barbell strict press
Snatch deadlift (deficit)
Snatch balance (rack)
Week 4Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Snatch
Back squat
Dumbbell overhead press (seated)
Barbell strict press
Clean deadlift (deficit)
Jerk (rack)

And here’s what it actually looked like:

Day 1Day 2Day 3
Week 1Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Dumbbell overhead press (seated)
Barbell strict press
Clean deadlift (deficit)
Jerk (rack)
Week 2Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Snatch
Back squat
Bench press
Barbell strict press
Snatch deadlift (deficit)
Snatch balance (rack)
Week 3Power snatch (blocks)
Snatch pull (deficit)
Clean & jerk
Front squat
Power clean (blocks)
Clean pull (deficit)
Back squat
Snatch
Clean & jerk
Back squat

So……..four entire days of programmed training that just…didn’t…happen.

Le sigh.

Why the short block? Because of the holiday, coaching availability, gym hours, etc. I get it. I don’t like it. I do get it. I wish that there had been a more open conversation about this leading up to it, though, instead of it being sprung on me on a Friday that I’d be testing my lifts the following Tuesday. When I went into my final training session of the week in Week 3, I fully expected to have another entire week of training before testing. I was told, after I’d arrived at the gym and warmed up for the day of programming that was on the books (overhead press, clean-grip deads, jerks from the rack), that I’d be doing totally different lifts that day (snatch, C&J, back squat) and that I’d be testing the following week, instead of finishing the fourth/final week of training for the block. What.

Extra work. I didn’t add in as much extra work this block as I did last block. I took two gymnastics classes, did a couple long (10,000-20,000 meter) C2 Bike rides, and half-assed my way through a teensy tiny bit of core work literally once.

Test Week. I tested the Olympic lifts and both squats at the end of this block. I added 2kg to my snatch (52kg) and 5kg to my clean and jerk (62kg). (For those keeping track, I’m up 10 kilos on both lifts since being cleared in mid-October to begin putting weight overhead after a year of rehabbing an injured shoulder.)

Two true things: Both of my lifts looked better on video than they felt in the moment, and they didn’t look as good as I wanted them to. They felt so slow and heavy and difficult in the moment, and I was shaky as shit overhead. I’m surprised I only missed one snatch (my first attempt at 52kg; made the lift, couldn’t stand it up) and one clean and jerk (one attempt at 65kg; made the clean, missed the jerk).

Kelsey, in a CrossFit gym, snatching 52 kilos. She's in the bottom of a deep overhead squat, and wearing an N95 mask.
52kg snatch

I front squatted 75kg and back squatted 90kg. Allegedly. Those squat numbers are real sus to me. Coach spotted me on both and I’m positive that he helped. He says he didn’t. He says his hands were beneath the bar, not touching it. But when I re-racked the bar his hands were very clearly touching it and also the reps before my top sets were heavy and hard and grindy and those top-set reps felt FAR easier. I’m convinced he helped.

Also??? I tested my squats at the end of the summer (Labor Day-ish). It was the first time I’d squat with a loaded barbell in nearly a year, maybe a little longer. It was also the first time I was squatting even remotely correctly, having finally been given cues that made sense to me. As such, my numbers were small. My front squat that day was 60kg and my back squat was 65kg. I do not believe that I added 15 kilos to my front squat and 25 kilos to my back squat since September. No way.

I think my front squat is closer to 67kg, and I think my back squat is closer to 75-80kg. That 90kg back squat number seems particularly and impossibly high to me. I’ve never in my life come close to back squatting 90kg, even when I was in better shape, had more meat on me, and wasn’t both on my period and stumbling through the world on very little food or sleep like I was last week. I’m terrible at math, and even I know enough to know that that math doesn’t add up. I’m real curious to see what squat percentages are programmed for me next block, and how they feel. Pray for my legs (and perhaps also my patience).

Nutrition

Absolute shit. Food is a real struggle for me. I have a really hard time getting enough food in general because my sensory needs regarding food are so specific. It’s even more difficult for me to eat when I’m dysregulated. Some things that dysregulate me, and therefore make it harder for me to eat: changes to my schedule and routine, being on my period, and shitty sleep. Guess what? All three of those things happened for me during this block—at the same goddamn time.

Sleep

Also absolute shit. I’ve barely slept at all the last two weeks. I don’t know why, and I don’t like it. I’ve been here before, though, and I know it’ll pass. Eventually.

Honestly, I’m surprised that I lifted as well as I did, and that I hit the numbers that I did during Test Week last week, with such shit sleep and nutrition for so much of this block.

Mobility

Lol. I’m going to keep including this section until I get my shit together with this.

Pelvic floor

My pelvic floor did a good job holding itself together this block. No issues during training. One small issue on my last (heaviest) clean and jerk. I was on my period last week, though, so I don’t know if what I felt was pee or period blood. Regardless, my pelvic floor did a great job again this block.

I’ve been hesitant to definitively declare my year of pelvic floor physical therapy a success because I hadn’t, until recently, been lifting “real” weight. But I’m back to lifting the weight I was lifting before all my joint injuries, and I was peeing my pants all the goddamn time back then. So. I think it’s time to declare pelvic floor PT a win. That being said, I will not at all be surprised if I start peeing my pants more often during training as the weights get heavier.

Changes this block

Lots of changes to my programming. But that’s not what I mean by “changes” here. No changes to my setup or technique or approach this block.

Improvements this block

I didn’t really notice any??? I feel like that’s the wrong answer, and also the truthful one???

Areas of focus and goals for next block

My primary focus is to make progress in my pulls. For me, this means strengthening my posterior chain and my lats. I’ve got to be able to pull more weight off the ground, and quickly, and I’ve got to stop rounding my shoulders forward and learn to pull them up.

My goal for next block is to lift with better technique. Maybe that happens with more weight on the bar. Maybe it happens with the same weights I just hit. Maybe it happens with less. Whatever. I don’t care about the weight right now. I care that I’m executing the movements with technical proficiency.

Honestly, I don’t want to test again in four weeks. I’m still in my head about how short this block of training was, and four weeks feels too quick/soon. The things I need to improve will take time, and I take longer to learn. Things just take longer to click for me. I worry that four weeks isn’t enough time for me to make real improvement, and that if I test again too soon, I’ll walk away frustrated and discouraged. I’d feel better with six, maybe eight, weeks.

What’s next

An easy week of light technique work this week, then a new program in the new year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s