Hellooo! So the last time we talked, I was just starting my “off-season” and was still almost a month away from finals! Well finals were a big, stressful blur (just like Cady Heron’s first day of school), and I haven’t gotten my grades back yet, but I am reasonably confident that I at least didn’t fail anything, which I think is a good start. I more or less took 3 weeks completely off from anything barbell-related, but started going to the gym on the DU campus and playing around with some free weights when I needed to get out of the library. After a few days of dumbbell presses (and staring at the amazing spectacle of undergrad mating rituals that take place near the hamstring curl machine), I decided to look into finding a non-Olympic lifting strength program that I could use for some accessory work while my off-season continued. Cue Krissy Mae Cagney‘s Black Friday sale! After browsing around for a bit, I decided on Krissy’s 12-week “Sexy Sculpt” program, and, despite the fact that I cringe every time I say its name, I have been loving the program.
I just finished the first 4 weeks of the programming, which signals the completion of “Phase One.” The program is broken up into three 4-week phases: the first phase is “strength building,” the second is “muscle building,” and the third is “fat burning” or leaning out. The program revolves around powerlifting moves (i.e. squats, presses, and deadlifts) and accessory work like box step-ups, lunges, push-ups, and lots of dumbbell curls. And it is definitely NOT as frou-frou as you would come to expect from something called “Sexy Sculpt,” and in fact it isn’t fluffy at all. The programming is 75-90 minutes, 4x/week, and I am always sore in all the right places the next day. And yes, at first I felt a little silly (and definitely got made fun of) for all the “globo gym” moves I was trying to pull off in the CrossFit gym, but I’ve pretty much gotten used to it at this point and am just trying to embrace it.
So you are probably thinking, Claire, a 12-week lifting program is not exactly an off-season. And you would be right. But the first time I put a barbell on my back after 3 weeks, I felt such a palpable flood of stress relief, that I realized there was no way that giving up lifting altogether was going to benefit my mental or physical health. So instead I have been focusing on staying away from anything that raises my heart rate for more than a minute or two at a time, while still acknowledging my brain’s need for a release every once in a while. And since this “off-season” is about trying to reduce stress in my life–not necessarily about rehabbing an injury, in which case I would want to be more strict about staying out of the gym–I definitely feel like this is doing the trick.
So how’s my tremor, you ask? It’s the same. I found out that my cortisol levels were actually completely “average,” although who knows whether or not that’s normal for my body. But my hands still shake when I flex my hand or arm, my legs still shake a little sooner than they used to if I’m straining or off-balance, but either I’m getting used to it, or I am doing something right, because it isn’t really flaring up as much as it was when I was still doing a lot of olympic lifting and long WODs. Obviously I will eventually go back to full-fledged CrossFit, but I feel like this program has also been an opportunity for me to sort of get to know my “new” body, if being slightly tremulous is going to be my new normal.
Oh, did I mentioned I PR’d my deadlift by 15 pounds, my 5RM back squat by 10 pounds, and my 5RM strict press by 5 pounds so far on this program, too? Yeah, that’s not too shabby either. Also, it’s ALL stuff you can do in a globo gym (and in fact some of it is easier in a globo gym because it has things like cable pull-downs and hamstring curls), so if you are not a CrossFitter, I would definitely recommend checking it out in the new year! Unfortunately it is a little pricey without the Black Friday discount ($60), but for 12 weeks of detailed programming, I’d say it’s definitely worth it. If you’re interested you can check it out here.