I was convinced to do a Strongman (Strongwoman? Strongperson?) competition by a couple of my less-than-balanced friends. To be honest, it didn't take a lot of convincing. In general, I can be counted on to participate in feats of athletic stupidity. I wasn't always this way. In fact, for most of my life I could be counted on to avoid all athletic pursuits as though they were potentially poisonous.
At the beginning of May, I went to see Kirk the Nutrition Guy and told him "Blah, blah Strongman, blah blah muscle mass." and he said "Blah blah creatine, blah blah protein, blah blah supplements."
It was exactly like that. You can ask him.
Poor Kirk, seriously.
Soooo...I bought a bottle of creatine powder, a bag of pre-workout, and a canister of protein powder and set to work.
Here are the results.
You'll see them in a minute.
I went into this Strongman thing knowing I was going to be a #heavyweight.
Initially, it was funny. I was feeling pretty trim, and the idea that I was a #heavyweight was amusing. Then I started taking the creatine and eating protein like it was my job. And I got bigger. And bigger. And motherfucking bigger. Then I got on the scale like a goddamn moron, even though Kirk told me that I was not to weigh myself under any circumstances.
Why can't I do as I'm told?
It wasn't all fat pants and belly rolls. I maxed my clean and jerk by 10#, I maxed my DL from a deficit and I maxed my back squat by 10#. That's right, my back squat. The lift that has been my motherfucking nemesis for almost 2 years now. A ten pound PR and it felt easy. I started going to Power Club and CF 920 twice a week to work on powerlifts and Strongman stuff. I started seriously working on my bench press instead of just fucking around with it. I tried a bunch of equipment that was foreign, but awesome, and it was really fun.
Unfortunately, the log at the comp was
an 8" diameter and not a 5.5" diameter. Oh well.
So basically, I've been a potato, but like a really strong potato. I also learned a few things about my body. First, I do not tolerate pre-workout. Like at all. I knew I couldn't deal with the stimulant based ones, because they make me feel like my heart is going to explode and/or I'm going to pass out mid-workout. Turns out I don't tolerate beta-alanine either. It makes me feel itchy or like my skin is on fire, and it never got better. People kept describing it to me as tingling. IT'S SO NOT TINGLING. Or maybe severe itching is what the rest of the population knows as tingling and what I experience as tingling is what everyone else experiences as severe itching?
My skin is on fire here.
Oh yeah, baby, thinking about you makes me itch to the point of insanity or alternately feel like all my skin mysteriously caught fire but not in like a sexy way but rather a DANGER! DANGER! way.
The second thing I learned? I can't hack protein shakes more than once or twice a week. I was squatting heavy pretty much every day, and I was drinking a protein shake as part of my "blah blah protein, blah blah supplements" gig. By the first week in June the protein was making me so ill I had to lie down after drinking it. I fucking hate nausea, and once I started experiencing it after drinking my protein shake I started feeling ill upon smelling the protein shake. Anticipatory nausea, y'all. It's a thing.
See this shit? Fuck this shit.
So yeah. I tried supplements and they made me feel strong but also itchy, burny, fat, and sick. Going forward? Hard pass on the supplements. I'll just eat food and call it good. Still, you never know until you try. And now I know. And knowing is half the battle, GI Joe.
Now I'm a month out from starting these shenanigans, and the competition was last Saturday. I have to say, it was fun. Waaaaaaay more fun than a CrossFit competition. For one, each event was only 60 seconds long. Two, the ratio of women with abs to women without abs skewed heavily in my favor. There were only two sportsbra girls and they were in the lightweight division.
I got 2 Atlas stones up. That was cool. I think the 150# stone is not far off.
I couldn't press the iron log, but that's a technique thing I think. I did clean it, which was something I only figured out a couple of days before the comp.
I don't know if you know this, but I'm really pretty.
The sled drag was difficult in long grass. I'll be better prepared for that next time. I did have my cleats, so that was a bonus.
I know I look blank as fuck, but this was really hard. I made it 30ish feet.
The tire flip was fine. Because I was seeded last after the first event, I had to do the sled drag and tire flip by myself (there was an odd number of competitors). I could feel my heart racing before the tire flip started, mostly because I was wearing fucking short shorts and my ass was to the crowd. I took a few deep breaths and consciously slowed that shit down. At the end of the 75' I wasn't tired, which means I could've gone harder, but I finished the event so I was happy.
The proudest moment of the competition for me was the farmer carry. I don't have photos yet because they aren't posted from the event and I had my phone crammed into my bra instead of giving it to my friend. Anywho, the tire was supposedly 300# and we had to carry it 75' down and back. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to get it off the ground. My max carry to that point was 270#, and the last time I attempted it I almost blacked out. But you know what? Not only did I pick it up, I carried it something like 120'. Ultimately it was my grip that failed me.
I finished tied for 7th of 9. It's cool.
So know I know what to work on, and I'm pretty certain I'll be doing another Strongman in the future. It's always good to try new things. I haven't pulled a truck yet...
Well, what about those results. Here they are: I gained 9 pounds (holy shit), 1.5# was muscle, 3# was fat, and the remaining 4.5# was water. Yaaaay creatine. So now my job is to shed the water and fat and retain as much of the muscle as possible.
25% body fat again. Sigh.
It's okay. It'll be okay. I'm a potato and it's okay. I won't be a potato forever.
Own it, Piggy.
Next up is hiking the West Highland Way. I had the foresight to purchase elastic waist hiking pants, so it should be fine. Once we're back I'll begin my training for the Marine Corps Marathon. I'll be doing things a little differently this time. Less junk miles and long slow distance, and more sprints and CrossFit. I have a weight vest, I have a sled. I'm ready to have a marathon season that doesn't involve getting weak and chubby while building mileage. Kirk's going to help me.
That lucky bastard.