Accepting the Powerlifting Gains

 

By Jaime Rice

Over the past two years my body has changed so much! I have gone from 128LBs to 108LB for my first NPC show in June 2014 and August 2014. After my shows I maintained a weight of 120-125LBs and dieted down again to 112LB for JR USA in May 2015.

It is fair to say I was used to seeing dramatic changes in my physique. Every little ounce of weight gain/loss was analyzed and critiqued as to if it hindered or helped with my overall look for an upcoming show.

Then I took on a new goal. A goal where my weight mattered, but in a completely different way. This week marks the seventh month I have been exclusively training for powerlifting. Seven months ago I knew I wanted to pursue a sport that had measurable goals for me to gauge my progress, and I love lifting weights, enter powerlifting.

I loved the sport immediately and my body almost started changing right away. I had just competed in JR USA competition and was reverse dieting back (slowly adding back calories) to make sure I did not rebound. I slowly gained weight and maintained a healthy 120LBs.

The funny thing was my clothes were fitting the same as they did when I was 112LBs. This meant my body composition was changing as well; I was carrying my weight differently. I was very pleased with my progress and physique and decided to place my nutrition in the hands of my powerlifting coach. He immediately upped my carb intake from 200gm to 285gm while keeping my protein and fats about the same as I was doing prior.

I was so excited to have that much freedom with my carbs! Little did I know it’s really hard to get in 285gm of carbs in one day. Or it was hard for me anyway – I was eating all the time and always full. Being full helped me not “cheat” as much but it was also hard to get all my other food in for the day.

We played around with my carbs and went down to 250 gm and now currently I am at 275gm per day. I have only seen a 3-4LB weight gain and I am currently 125lbs, and have maintained that weight for over a month, even with the carb increases. All those carbs have filled me out more than I ever thought it would. My lower half is developing and finally starting to catch up with my upper body.

I am very happy with my progress, but I would be lying if I didn’t say gaining weight is easy for me.

I have always thought my “perfect” or happy weight was 120LB, and I could hang out there and be perfectly content. Seeing the scale go up, even slightly, is sometimes hard to accept.

I love making progress but at the same time I find myself wanting to hold it back. It’s a hard balance and definitely a mental game that I am trying to overcome. I still fit in my clothes but having them fit more snug around my thighs and booty is sometimes discouraging. I find myself giving in to negativity at times.

When someone tells me I look good or I look tiny, I think to myself “they wouldn’t think that if they saw how big my thighs/booty has gotten.” I know it’s crazy to think that, and I’m sure I am the only one who has probably noticed that my legs are bigger. But I’m human too.

We are our worst critics and tend to pick out ever “flaw” and over analyze it until we see ourselves in such a distorted way. I most certainly am not immune to this distorted way of thinking, but I recognize that I am doing it and try my best to choose positivity instead.

I look back at old pictures and see my 110LB frame with little muscle and compare it to my body now. I still look small but I have definition in my shoulders, legs and back. Seeing the comparisons, I know I don’t want to go back ,but at the same time moving forward can be intimidating.

So what is the solution to accepting your body at every stage?

That I am still trying to figure out! I know I love how I am performing in the gym, with running, and seeing improvements in muscle gains. So if I have to put on a few pounds to keep making progress, then that’s what I will do! Maybe the answer is valuing your performance more than your appearance. Or at least looking at both, and not just the image in the mirror.

It still isn’t easy, but I know eventually I will be okay gaining weight. For now I will focus on my goals and trust my coach to help me achieve them.

 

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