So this isn’t a story about weight lifting and being masculine.
It is a story about drive.
A few weeks ago at the Kettlebell Competition, I met a client of another trainer at the gym.
When I introduced myself, he said, “Oh so you’re the Cori that did the VersaClimber stuff!”
I probably blushed a little and said, “Yup.”
He then said to me, “Yea we hear all about you all the time at the 5 a.m. hour! You were so driven…It’s like you thought you were a man you pushed so hard!”
I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped open, although I didn’t have a mirror to confirm this.
Because I really really wanted to accomplish my goal and pushed hard, I must have thought I was a man!?!
I laughed awkwardly and walked away quickly. I had no idea how to respond. I was completely floored.
Yes…I am super driven. I won’t let anything get in the way of me accomplishing my goals.
Yes…I am super competitive. I don’t like losing even if it is just to myself.
But how does being those two things mean I acted like a MAN!?!
Why is being driven and competitive supposedly masculine?!?
I must say, I’m pretty sure it’s not since I’ve been this way for like….EVER.
And I’m also pretty sure I’m female…yep…I checked…I’m female.
Still thinking back on the incident, I’m completely at a loss for how to respond.
All I can do is think about all of the times I’ve then supposedly acted like a man.
Like when training for the VersaClimber challenges. Or the battling ropes. Or the powerlifting competition. Or college tennis. Or the kettlebell competition…
Or like during max out tests in college….
We did max out tests at certain points throughout the year to test our fitness progress.
Hang cleans were always super frustrating for me and I’d been really really working to get my max up so that I hit 100lbs.
I at least wanted to hit 95lbs and thought 100 wasn’t out of the question since I’d been able to fairly easily do 90.
But when I went up to that bar, I just couldn’t get 95lbs. My pull was good, but for some reason, I just wasn’t able to coordinate a good sink underneath it.
I was stuck at 90lbs, which was super easy and only made it more frustrating that those 5 pounds made the lift completely impossible.
And so what did I do because I couldn’t hit my goal?
There are very few things that will make me cry in public.
Serious injury might do it.
Someone dying might do it.
But well…failing at hitting my goal will ALWAYS do it.
Because I’m driven and competitive.
Failing at hitting a personal goal even if no one around me cares about it will 100% of the time make me cry.
It did when I missed that hang clean.
It did when I missed my goal at the KB competition.
And what about that makes me a man? Is it the involuntary crying? Is it the fact that I care about my goals enough to put everything I’ve got into them? Is it the fact that I want to succeed?
I mean seriously…explain it to me…because I sure as heck don’t get it.
So every once in a while, not too often of course, you catch the nice, sappy side of me. Today is one of those days. Lucky you…NOT!
Five years ago to date, I met the love of my life.
BAM! Didn’t expect to see those words on a health and fitness blog did you? Well now you have!
And Ryan, the love of my life, has supported me in every endeavor since the day we met – through the good times and the bad.
He’s a big part of the reason why I committed 90 days of my life to the most awful low-fat, low carb diet. I swear I’ve never once LITERALLY salivated because of food on the TV since that diet.
He’s also a big part of the reason why I went Primal and finally became a personal trainer. He helped me discover the lifestyle I want to lead!
Every time I’ve said I wanted to try something, Ryan encourages me to pursue it (of course he only encourages me to follow GOOD ideas).
He’s never let’s me give up on myself and that has made me a better, stronger, more confident me.
I’ve tried things just in this past year that I never thought I would try. I’ve tried them partly because of Ryan’s direct encouragement and partly because he has made me way more confident in myself.
His SUPPORT has been essential to not only my diet and fitness but also to my personal development.
He has been there right beside me every step of the way. For two months, when I wanted to really fully develop the Man Bicep diet program, he followed the exact same diet that I did. It was pinned to our refrigerator so neither one of us would be tempted to cheat. He kept me honest then and he kept me honest when I wanted to cut a bit of weight after the holidays to guarantee I could compete in the 123 weight class.
When I started lifting heavy and decided I wanted to do a powerlifting competition, he fully supported me. He wasn’t there lifting with me but he always asked how everything was going. He supported me by always being interested in my training. And he committed a full day off to come to my competition and document everything. He even made a video for me afterwards and encouraged me to share my story!
Anytime I throw out ideas he discusses them with me and encourages me to pursue my passion. I mean shoot, he freaking spent 3 hours taking fitness photos of me at 4 am on a Saturday morning! If that isn’t love I don’t know what is!
And he has never stopped supporting me. He has supported me through every major decision I’ve made in the last five years and played a huge roll in me starting up this blog…At the beginning, he was sometimes even my only reader. (Then I told my mom about it and I had two readers!)
But anyway, the point is, he read it…every day. And now, he listens to me talk about it just about every single day. (And trust me…boy can I talk his ear off!)
Anyway, that is enough sappy-ness for now. Happy 5 years Ryan. You are the Type B to my Type A.
(I know you are probably reading this about two seconds after I post it and I love you all the more for it!)
This past Sunday I competed in my first powerlifting event and I still can’t believe I actually did it. I was so proud of myself for even just showing up at the event. Also, I want to say a big “THANK YOU” to both Brian and Ryan for coming with me. Ryan was great moral support and Brian coached me to success!
The entire week before I was nervous and stressed. I was trying to make it through a long week of work while also making sure that I had everything I needed for the event (unisuit, t-shirt, shoes, socks…all conforming to their standards).
I also had to lose some weight to be able to compete in the 123 weight class (because of traveling and Thanksgiving I had packed on a few pounds haha). I stuck to Primal, eating only meat, veggies and protein powder (even though numerous people told me I should be eating carbs…like bread…). I ate pulled pork, ribs, oxtail…all nice fatty meats that made me feel full and content.
And over the week everything came together and before I knew it Sunday was here (of course Saturday morning I was so nervous that Ryan said I was shaking the couch enough to make him nauseated).
I had all of my equipment, and lots of Primal snacks, including potatoes, protein powder, macadamia nuts, and apples. I was also well within my weight class, weighing in at 118lbs. The intermittent fasting and Primal diet had paid off! And my energy level was high despite the week of weight loss because of all the fatty meats (and a few potatoes on Saturday) that I had consumed.
Even though I was ready, I wasn’t any less nervous. Even most of the girls who were competing for the first time had spent about the last year training while I had only really spent the last two months even considering entering.
That fact was a bit intimidating. I’m usually the over-prepared person…not let’s-do-this-at-the-last-moment-on-a-whim person.
But, hey, I had spent the last two months training so why waste all that hard work? Even if I didn’t do well, it would be a great experience!!!
But I did do well…despite the fact that conventional wisdom would have told you that I had absolutely no chance, between my low carb, intermittent fasting diet, inconsistent workout routine and lack of a weight lifting belt (Ryan thought the fact that I was one of the few without a belt was pretty “bad-ass” haha).
Anyway, the point is I was nervous and not fully prepared especially by conventional standards. I’d never squatted or benched on command and I’d always had a mirror in which to watch myself deadlift and squat. I was super worried I wouldn’t go low enough on my squats and that I would fail on all three attempts and be out of the competition in the first lift. (A bit pessimistic but this thought kept running through my head…so much so that I was literally revising my numbers in my sleep.)
Anyway, because I was so nervous for squats (and we wanted me to feel good for deadlifts, which were the third lift of the day), we set my numbers super low…I attempted 150 then 160 then 170. In practice I’d hit 200lbs numerous times, and had almost even gotten 205lbs, so all three lifts ended up being super easy. On my first squat, I was so worried about going low enough that I almost dropped my butt all the way to the ground.
But the three successful squats, while too easy, did make me relax and feel more confident.
After about a two-hour break while all the men’s flights went, was bench…my least favorite lift probably because it is my weakest.
In practice, I had hit a PR of 120, but it wasn’t with a pause (I got close 125lbs but it was such a freaking ugly lift to get it up that it definitely doesn’t actually count). So we decided that my attempts should be 90lbs, 105lbs and 115lbs. I had no problem pausing on my first two attempts. But on the third, 115 just wouldn’t go up. Looking back on the lift, I wish I had taken more time to set up because I think it would have gone up if I’d planted my feet more and gotten a bit more arch in my back. But hey, hindsight is 20/20.
Anyway, 105, while a slight bit disappointing still wasn’t too shabby.
Then again we had another long break before we finished the day with deadlifts. While I’d felt more relaxed for bench, probably because I didn’t expect too much, I was super nervous for deadlift. Deadlift is my best lift and I definitely wanted to impress!
In training, my PR for deadlift was 280 and the Mass. State record was 275lbs. I thought I had a good chance of tying it at least!
So we set my first two attempts at 245lbs, 260lbs and figured we would see how those went before deciding if I would attempt 275 or 280. The first two lifts were super easy although my form definitely wasn’t perfect…I was nervous and worn out from a very long day.
We decided that my last attempt should be 275 to tie the record. Again looking back, I wish I had taken more time to get psyched up and set for the lift before I attempted it. I think it would have made a big difference. But despite the fact that I’ve hit 275 almost every time recently when I’ve trained, I just couldn’t make it budge on Sunday.
I was super bummed. My last lift of the day and my strongest and I couldn’t hit a number that I’d just easily pulled that Monday before.
Not the way I’d wanted to end the day. But I was still proud that I’d at least managed to pull over double my bodyweight and hey…I’d made it through my first competition!
A little upset by my last lift and super worn out from the stress of the long day (it is amazingly hard to get revved up for an event then cool down only to have to get revved up two hours later to compete again!), we decided to stay for the awards ceremony just in case I won something.
I’m definitely glad we did! I ended up winning both my weight class and the Best Lifter award for the Women’s Raw Division. The Best Lifter award is a relative strength measurement. They take everyone in the raw division from every weight class and figure out who lifted the most weight in relation to their body weight.
So in the end I left proud and happy even though I still wish I’d made those two lifts.
Overall, a very successful meet. And one of the things that makes me most proud is that I did it my way. While everyone else was drinking Gatorade and eating bread and protein bars, I was eating my Primal snacks.
Although I do have to admit…I’d train a bit differently before my next competition. I would definitely create a schedule and a more consistent program than the one I did these past few months! haha
Anyway, Ryan made a video of the meet. Right now it is just on Facebook, but I’ll upload it to YouTube later today!
It was a great experience and if you are into powerlifting, I would recommend you enter at least one competition!
P.S. Sorry for the super long post…I’m just super excited!!!