Sleep, Food, & Powerlifting

The past couple weeks have really been kicking my ass. I’m trying to get my head back in the game but am having  a really hard time with my recovery habits. My job has been pretty nuts the past two weeks, with non stop deadlines and late late late nights. I have been barely eeking by with 7 hours of sleep a night and I am usually a 8-10/night type of girl. I can feel it effecting my lifts – everything feels heavy and it takes me 40 minutes of warm ups before I finally feel like I have some strength.

Mmmmmm architecture for breakfast 😉 

I can also feel the strict paleo diet effecting my lifts negatively. I know I’m not eating enough calories & carbs lately but I haven’t been able to make the time to prep the food I need to get through the day, so it’s been… salads, salads, and more salads lately.  They are tasty and healthy, but they are not helping me get my deadlifts off the ground. I love eating paleo because I love focusing of food quality so intensely, but when training hard, it requires a LOT of attention to make sure you are eating enough food. And I know I haven’t been.

Strawberries, Arugula & Fennel (…chicken & pecans too)

I am currently weighing around 152 in the mornings (this about 4 pounds less than my morning weight a month ago, and about 15 pounds less than my morning weight a year ago) . On one hand I’m really happy being a bit lighter because I am feeling more confident I will be able to compete in the 148 weight class in December. On the other hand, I am feeling sluggish in the gym. All of my lifts (except my bench press, weirdly) have been feeling really heavy and I am missing lifts I would normally consider well within my strength range.

Anyway, I know this is what happens, when you don’t focus enough on recovery. I see it happen to my lifters all the time and I don’t know why I think I should get to be an exception. I have been working really hard at the office and I haven’t been putting the energy I need into getting enough sleep and food. But seriously, missing these lifts is such a bummer. And it’s mentally exhausting.

I am going to focus a lot more of my energy this week on making sure I get at LEAST 8 hours of sleep a night, and at least 2000 calories a day (with a big portion of that being healthy carbs). I went grocery shopping today and stocked up on plantains, sweet potatoes, apple, parsnips and carrots — planning to put them to good use!

I have 9 weeks until my next meet and it’s time to get my game face on and start eating like a mother fucking powerlifter!!

Thursday 9/26

Active recovery & mobility work

Breakfast: 2 eggs & Sausage
Lunch: Chicken breast & brussel sprouts
Dinner: 18 pieces sashimi, ginger dressing salad, 1 cup of rice (I cheated because I thought I was deadlifting friday morning and knew I didn’t eat enough)
Worked super late, got home at like midnight, went to bed, slept through the gym.

Friday 9/27

Push-up program & mobility work

Breakfast: Chicken & Spinach omelette. 1 mango. 1 banana
Lunch: Salad pictured above
Dinner: Indian feast knowing I was going to deadlift Saturday morning.
Worked late again, got home did my push-up program and some stretching. Went to bed. Max push-ups 17.

Saturday 9/28

Breakfast: 3 eggs & sausage

Heavy Deadlift Day

Stretching & mobility: 10-15 minutes rumble roller, lacrosse ball, shoulder stretches
I was feeling strong and ambitious when I first got to the gym so I wanted to pull some heavy singles before starting my work. I was expecting to work up to 275-300ish… I was wrong. After 2 weeks of no sleep or food, I was nowhere near strong.
245#xF So, this is a weight I don’t think I have missed in YEARS so this sucked. I felt super dizzy and faint, and was seeing stars. (please see my… “not enough food/sleep” theory above)
245#x1 A little ammonia and a yell to clear my head helped get me ready to go. This was smooth and easy once I got it moving, but I was not happy that I missed it the first time
… then I gave up on deadlifts because this was just… frustrating.

About half way through my powercleans I realized I had never put my belt on during my deadlifts and that was probably why everything was so shockingly heavy. (Duh.)  Turns out, 245# is a beltless PR. So, that made me feel a bit better, but not hugely so. I was still bummed out about everything feeling heavy. I moved on to cleans for a while because I was mad at deadlifting. (don’t worry, I forgave and forgot after moving around for a bit 😉 )

Cleans: 5 sets of 3 @ 35 kilos, 3 sets of 3 at 40 kilos

Powercleans: 2 sets of 1 @45kilos

Deadlifts off 6″ blocksI wore my belt for these and everything felt much better. Worked up to 275# for 3 sets of 2.

Snatch Grip Deadlifts off blocks: 1 set of 8 @ 135… stupid easy.

Lunch: Chicken breasts. 1 fried plantain.
Dinner: 1/2# ground beef with tomato sauce. Giant pile of roasted sweet potatoes (so good). Grilled radicchio with lemon & balsalmic (also awesome).




3 thoughts on “Sleep, Food, & Powerlifting

    • Thanks dude, that’s a really interesting article! I completely and totally believe it too. The best gains I’ve ever made were when I was unemployed and surviving off of my husband’s salary, like kept goddess. I had jack shit to do all day other than lift, eat and sleep and it was AWESOME (and at the same time… life felt meaningless and unfulfilling). Now I have a cool job, but there are definitely drawbacks.

      Things have been much better this week though. It’s amazing what a few hours of personal time a day and some solid sleep will do for ya! 🙂

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