Hi everyone! I’m back from Istanbul, my friend has flown back to Australia after three weeks of debauchery and life is pretty much back to normal. I’m back at work today (working my first full week in a month – kill me!) and feeling slightly terrified that I have less than five weeks now until my powerlifting competition.
I had to jam most of my workouts together at the end of the week and that, combined with a total of 24 hours in transit, has left me very sore indeed.
Monday – Squats
This was my first time trying out wraps properly and, unlike during the previous week, it didn’t end in tears. They felt awesome, which was surprising considering I wrapped myself up fairly loosely. I worked up to sets of five at 77.5kg (170lbs) with wraps and then did a few back-off sets without wraps. The squats felt really easy. Mathematically, I should finally be able to hit 100kg very soon. For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to squat day!
There are mixed opinions on wearing wraps. The logic is that, if they are allowed in competition and others are going to use them, you should too as you will only put yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t. But they are also bad for your knees which, considering I already have a myriad of knee issues, is not a pleasant thought. I’m planning on wearing them up until my competition and then deciding what to do – if I don’t compete in powerlifting again, I have no reason to wear them.
After squatting, it was straight out the door to see The Book of Mormon. I’ve been wanting to see this forever but the £100 price tag put me off. Luckily, my gorgeous friend bought me a ticket to say thanks for having her. It was amazingly hilarious.
On Tuesday, I was up early to fly to Istanbul. When we arrived at the airport, we were informed that we needed a Turkish visa to enter the country and that they have just changed the policy so you can no longer apply on arrival. Cue moment of panic where we almost missed our flight because the terrible internet took forever to process our electronic visas. Simultaneously, I also managed to misplace my passport – never a dull moment!
We didn’t arrive at our hotel until 10pm. Naturally, the first thing we did was dump our bags and go out for dinner. The food was so damn good!
Both of us became addicted to apple tea and Turkish coffee and drank multiple cups of each per day, along with delicious baklava and Turkish delight.
We spent the rest of our trip mostly eating food, gossiping and reading. I got through three books in three days! On our second day, we stumbled upon a rooftop restaurant which had great views of the sea. We were the only people there which was probably a good thing considering the nature of our conversations.
The food was delicious as well. Obviously.
We did the tourist stuff like the museums and mosques…
…and visited the famous Grand Bazaar…
…but the highlight of the city was definitely the cats! Everywhere we went, there were cute kitties to play with.
We also went to see a Whirling Dervish show. It’s a religious ritual which basically involves these men spinning around in circles for 45 minutes straight. I tried it for five seconds and wanted to throw up.
They were followed by a belly dancer who mid-act decided to turn into a stripper and invited creepy men to shove notes down her underwear. We were both cringing.
I don’t think I’d go back, to be honest, due to the way women are treated. One afternoon I went out on my own while my friend slept and I quickly regretted that decision and ducked inside a quiet cafe. While the men had some great pick-up lines (my two favourites were “Excuse me, you’ve dropped something – my heart” and “Where are you from? No, not Australia. You’re from Paradise”!), they were also incredibly rapey. On our last night, one guy followed us back to the hotel and spent all night in the lobby waiting for me to wake up for my flight. Not creepy at all.
Friday – Bench
I woke up at 3.30am UK time to get to the airport, and then spent another 12 hours in transit. The flight itself is only 3.5 hours but it’s all the travelling to and from the airports that took forever! I went straight to the gym like the dedicated lifter I am, and was very unprepared to lift hence the lack of wrist wraps and non-midriff shirt – sorry! My body was aching from spending all day (and most of Thursday too!) sitting on my arse.
Bench press was thankfully fairly light: 40kg (88lbs) for four sets of five reps.
I also worked with 62.5kg (137lbs) on the slingshot. I’m very sad that I don’t get to play with the slingshot this week.
Saturday – Deadlift
Deadlifting on a Saturday? What is life? This was the first week deadlifts actually felt tough. I had to pull 112.5kg (247lbs) once every 55 seconds, for nine sets.
That was followed by what is quickly becoming my least favourite exercise: stiff-leg deficit deadlifts. My grip kept giving out, even with straps, which is pretty sad considering it’s only 78.5kg.
I then had to do three sets of six snatches with a 20kg dumbbell, and dumbbell shrugs. This is why I’m thankful I have Alanna looking after me, as I would never do these things of my own accord.
My stomach was in knots after all the bread and dessert I’d been eating, so I did a barbell complex to sweat it out a little and went home to eat some bro-tastic meals all weekend.
Sunday – Overhead
Ugh. This was the worst session I’ve had since I started training with Alanna. I did five sets of three log presses with 45kg (99lbs). They all felt really heavy and slow. Sorry about the terrible camera angle – I just got a new phone and it’s really hard to film myself with it.
The gym was so busy and I had to wait half an hour for a squat rack. I was already in a bad mood because some people in the gym were pissing me off, and then I just lost all my mojo waiting around. Alanna had purposely given me a shorter workout as she knew I’d be tired, but I still ended up in the gym for 90 minutes!
I had to drop the weight on incline bench, and I felt like the biggest pussy alive when I could barely manage six reps of earthquake presses with 22.5kg.
Afterwards, I ran outside for 45 minutes. My lower back and traps were in a world of pain from Saturday’s session, and running helped to loosen them up somewhat.
Alanna has warned me that things are about to get intense! This is my last full week of training, and then I will be dropping back to just three sessions per week. I will cut back on the running and so on as I get closer to the comp. Still trying to stay calm and practice positive visualisation!
Have you ever been to Turkey? Have you ever squatted in wraps?