Historically, the week before AP exams has been a very stressful week. This year, I’ve been so overwhelmed with stuff*, that I’m in survival mode and coasting. Just hanging on to the roller coaster with a white-knuckle grip. I can see the end of it from here.
*AP exams start next week. I have 50 kids testing on Wednesday, May 7th. The stress of pushing 50 teenagers when we all really want this to be over … well, let’s just say being disciplined about exercise and nutrition is NOTHING compared to being disciplined enough to get seniors with “senioritis” ready for an AP calculus exam. In previous years, I’ve made a pancake breakfast for them before the exam. This year, I decided to have it ‘catered’ by the culinary arts program here at school. Same cost, no work for me. Perfect!
*The decision to transfer schools was made last week and the plans regarding the logistics of that move are beginning to be made. I’m excited about the change, so I’m OK with the stress of going through nine years of accumulated stuff. I honestly have no idea what’s in this drawer…
*Hubby and I are still navigating life with one vehicle. This week, it’s been easy because he’s been doing tons of spring yard work. I call him a “grass-whisperer”. It’s impressive what he can get to grow in a our high desert climate this early in the year. Most lawns on our street are a little brown.
*A couple major life issues came up this week that are not appropriate to discuss in a blog, but they have been challenging for me to process. A couple of restless nights, so sleep deprivation was an issue earlier in the week.
All of these things are more important than bodybuilding, but this blog is about that part of my life, so it may not be surprising that lifting wasn’t awesome during the first part of the week.
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: Heavy upper body was the plan, but there were issues. Woke up feeling like I should take a second rest day. Low back strain from leg day on Sunday was still nagging me. Or maybe it was from deads last week? I went into the gym before work anyway. Once there, my wireless headphones wouldn’t pair with my phone and I didn’t have another set. My primary gym is a small lifting gym, so they don’t have one of those little in-gym shops. They play great music, but that’s not why I wear the headphones. There are too many little groups of people lifting in too small of a space. All those conversations distract me. So I wore my useless headphones anyway just to block out the noise a little bit. I was able to get my bench press and incline press work done, but I could not add weight. I actually had to drop a rep from each set. I only did 6 sets of chest and called it a day. Heavy back work just didn’t feel like a good idea.
Wednesday: Finished Tuesday’s planned workout with the heavy back work. It went much better than it would have gone the day before. I added 10 lbs to my Pendlay rows last week, so on this day, I added reps. I ended up adding reps to most things instead of weight and that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
Thursday: It had to be another rest day. Life was just too busy, so I planned to get more sleep. “More sleep” is a priority now.
Friday: Friday afternoon lifts are one of my favorite things. This leg workout did not disappoint. It may have saved the week, actually. Goblet squats with blood flow restriction – weight up. Barbell Hip Thrusts – weight up. This was a PR from the floor. A bit of back strain again, but it was gone the next day. (Carbs, ice, ibupofen, sleep) Calf Raises – added reps. Not sure what’s going on with my calves. They are getting stronger faster than other parts. I think I will have to use other exercises than that standing calf raise machine to work calves. The weight pushing down on my shoulders feels like it compresses my spine too much.
Saturday: Upper body hypertrophy lift. Nothing exciting happened with chest work. Actually failed on the last rep of the last set of incline presses and had to put the barbell on the floor. But I was able to do one arm rows with 70 lbs for 3 sets of 8. I’ve lifted that weight – a little heavier, too, but not for 8 reps. This is my longest workout and I wasn’t able to finish it. Just did chest and back. Saved shoulders and arms for the next day.
Sunday: Legs hypertrophy lift with shoulders and arms. Did the arm work I didn’t do on Saturday. Added a few sets for shoulders, too. I raised the hex bar deadlift up to 135 lbs. I used blood flow restriction for that exercise and I think the weight was too heavy for the reps I was supposed to do – 15. Did three sets of 8, 12, 8 reps, I think. I didn’t feel the pump the way I’m supposed to. Oh well. I’m sure work was done. For power squats, I kept the weight around 155 pounds and worked on form. I tend to not go low enough.
It’s Sunday night and as I end of this week, I’m feeling strong, but a little pudgy. I’m thrilled to be coming to the end of this anticipated “stress season”, and if I gained a little fat with muscle, I’ll take it. I think I’m doing a good job hitting macros. Carbs have been high because they go up with my daily burn. I’m getting enough sleep and recovering well. Considering the stress I’ve had, I expected to lose muscle and gain fat (cortisol), so it’s a big win to see strength gains.