I’ve decided to shake things up a bit and give the powerlifting-style training a go, at least for a few months. I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut with my regular bodybuilding-style workouts, and since I enjoyed the bench meet tremendously, and also since I’ve been sagging a bit in my motivation to really push myself in my workouts, I spoke to Jesse Kellum about training with his krewe.

His response was extremely encouraging and supportive, and almost felt like a “well, of course you’re going to train with us” kind of thing. (And I may have been reading way too much into his response, but considering that I have never seen any women training with the powerlifting group, it was heartening. It was also quite different from the response I got from him several months ago when I was first starting to lose the weight and I was feeling him out about powerlifting training. He basically said that he trained his women’s group in the morning and that his evening group was the “dudes”–giving me the unspoken impression that the evening crowd was for the “serious” lifters. And, nothing against the women in his morning group, but those are women who are looking to “get in shape”, not build quality muscle and gain significant strength. I can get in shape on my own, just fine. And I did… which is perhaps why he started being more open to me. Which is cool… I can totally understand having to prove myself.)

And the cool thing is that the instant I “officially” joined the group, I was treated as one of the guys. Yeah, the weights might be lighter, but I’m pushed just as hard as the others. And, to be honest, I had a lot of doubts about working out with a trainer and even more about working out with a group. The closest I’ve ever come to having a trainer was when I worked out with Kelly, and that was more having a workout partner who happened to be a trainer. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to handle having someone else structure my workouts, wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable giving up that control. I’ve been lifting weights for 22 years, and even though I’ve had some long breaks in that time and have allowed my weight to creep up to uncomfortable levels a few times, I still know a helluva lot about training and dieting. I’m not some fucking newbie who doesn’t know where her deltoid is. And there’ve been a couple of guys in the gym who’ve given me some good advice about powerlifting, but at the same time have acted like, “Well, she doesn’t know powerlifting, which means she doesn’t know dick.” (I swear, the next time [certain powerlifter] rolls his eyes when I say something about training or dieting, I’ll knock his fucking head off and I don’t care if he IS three times my size.) I may not know much about powerlifting as far as the lifts and competition, but I DO know training.

But after a week of workouts with Jesse, I feel pretty cool about the whole thing. He’s never been the least bit disparaging, and in fact has made some really nice comments about the progress I’ve made this year. And, the training has been a great kick in the ass–which is exactly what I wanted. It’s definitely a whole different animal when someone else is telling you what to do. We all go through our lazy moments and when the only person motivating you is yourself, it’s way too easy to slack off and back off.

So, the group meets four times a week: Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Sat, for close to two hours per session. (I told Jesse right off the bat that most weekdays there’s be no way I could do the full two hours due to family and work commitments, and he was cool about that, though he did want me to try and work it so that I could stay the full time on Mondays–leg day–since it takes a lot longer to really work legs properly.) I started last Thursday, and since it was an incredibly pretty day, the majority of the workout was outside behind the gym.

We started out with taking turns pulling a weighted sled (90 lbs.) The length of the building. It’s a long building. We had to go down walking backwards, and come back going forwards, dragging this thing behind us. The first hundred feet or so weren’t too bad. The rest of it damn near kicked my ass. Walking backwards is also much much easier than going forward. I could barely drag it going forward, and I quickly discovered that if I stopped and lost momentum, I was fucked. Then, after we finished the sled drag, we had to do squats for ten reps. Deep. A helluva lot deeper than I have ever really done. (I’ve always been WAY lazy about going really deep in my squats–and I’m paying the price for it now, because I had to drop down to embarassingly light weights in order to do it right.) After the squats, we had to do situps. Then the whole cycle again. And again. And again.

I missed the Saturday workout due to Anna’s party, so then Monday it was legs again. Squats. Lots of ‘em. He had me going heavier on the weights, but still working on breaking my 22-year-old habit of not going deep enough. The dulcet tones of Jesse giving training advice still linger in my memories…

“Sit your ass back… sit back in the squat! Lower! Lift your chest! Stop looking at yourself in the mirror.. your hair’s pretty enough!”

Then last night was various upper-body stuff. Supersets of curls with laterals. More barbell curls. Smith machine military press. Finish it all off with a nice cleansing burnout of five sets of bench.

I’m thinking that I’m not going to have too much trouble losing these next 20 pounds before the Writers of the Future ceremony.