Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com

Fitness Update – Powerlifting on or off a program?

Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com

I started my first powerlifting program (Layne Norton’s PH3) in March 2016. Since then, I have gained 100 lbs on my deadlift, 75 lbs on my squat, and 55 on my bench. I am insanely proud of those baby gains! Of course, I won’t be able to continue to go in that exponentially, and this journey hasn’t been without pain and challenges. When I hit my 200lb squat in March (without pain, too!), I cried. After herniating my L4-L5 disc 6 years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do that. Next goal? 2 plates (225 lbs).

Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.ComFirst Powerlifting Phase: March-May 2016

I LOVED Layne Norton’s PH3 programming, as you can read here. I was working 5 days a week at GoodLife, so I had time to be in the gym 5+ days a week, which this program requires. I liked working on percentages, but I also noticed that I would re-calculate every week, instead of keeping it steady for the whole month. Probably lifted heavier than I needed to at the start. It was also a very humbling process. I worked on my form, and sometimes super light weights felt incredibly challenging, and I’d be out for a week.

Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com

Second Phase: May-August 2016

Cutting. Yuck. I’ve never tried an actual cut before, and it wasn’t fun. But I managed to drop from 20% body fat to 16%. That involved lots of high reps lower weight (also to recover my muscles a bit), skipping, and box jumps. Also, I ate less dessert. I hate that about diets.

I also adapted Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 programming to my needs. I still worked 4-5 days a week, but had gotten bored of PH3’s incessant accessory work that drove me insane. I wanted a bit more variation.

Third Phase: September-December 2016 Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com

Yup, didn’t do much. I gained 10 lbs and 5-6% body fat (including Christmas bloat) from when I started grad school. Stepping on the scale January 2 was a shock. I didn’t get the hang of 3 courses in grad school, 2 part-time jobs equaling 20 hours, 2 choirs, and being a youth sponsor AND having time for myself. I hit some heavy weights, but did not have the consistency to gain much strength. My energy also got super low. However, with the bulk came a bigger butt. I mean, not necessarily in a good way, but definitely bigger. It was a real, dirty bulk.

 

Fourth Phase: January 2017-Now

Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com
I got an Inzer Weightlifting belt for my birthday!

What’s going to be the best phase: a slow cut for some weddings, but hitting some awesome numbers. Within a month of cutting (more healthy food, less dessert, jumping rope most days, and more gym sessions) I had lost the 10 pounds, and dropped 2% body fat. I’m at a very comfortable spot, but I’m looking to lose a bit more body fat before a spring wedding. I expected that I would lose strength, but I easily used up my Christmas carbs hitting my deadlift and squatting goals.

Powerlifting Update - JanessaMann.Com
My left shoulder (the one on the right, since it’s in a mirror) is insane. Not sure how it got that big, and why I still can’t do a pull-up. Getting mixed messages.

I’m happy  with my consistency at the gym despite not having a specific program for the past 6 months. I start co-op in May, and it’s a long commute, so hopefully I figure out a good schedule that will keep this momentum going. Then again, it’s not like I can pretend I haven’t had back or hip pain during this term. I definitely put on weight that I didn’t need to, and suffered. I think now that I’ve hit the 200 lb mark for both squats and deadlifts I’ll take a step back and work on higher reps lower weight to go with my cut.

Baby Gains:

Yes, these are considered baby gains, since they’re my first year of powerlifting. I don’t think I’ll be at a 300 lb squat March 2018, considering my back. But I’m very proud of the numbers I’ve finally hit, and can’t wait to see if my body can go further than this.

Bad Back:

On that note, as I mentioned above, my back hasn’t been super happy the whole time. I’ll tweak it by bending over, or putting on 10 lbs more than I should have. Pretty dumb of me. It seems like I haven’t learned anything. Now that I’ll be backing off, I’ll be making sure that I continue to do my physiotherapy to increase my stabilization strength, and focusing on recovery. Like baths, rolling out, and going to massage and chiro. I only have one back, and I’ve been given so many second chances on back health. Maybe I’ll try sumo deadlifts and see if my back likes that more!

Next Goals:

Deadlift 2 plates (225 lbs)

Squat 2 plates (225 lbs)

Bench 1 plate/body weight (135 lbs)

Pull-ups (I’ve been doing sets of 10 with the assisted band for months, I should really be ready soon, but it’s frustrating)

For summer drop 3% more body fat (but I get so angry when I limit dessert)

Let me know how your powerlifting journey has gone!

Nearly done second term of grad school… Where have I been?

2 Terms of Grad School in  - JanessaMann.Com
Studying hard!

Where have I been? That’s a great question.

This term (January-April) I have been taking 2 courses for grad school (full-time), working as Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s Ottawa Office research internship, still at my part-time House of Commons job (30 hours of work a week total), singing in Cantata Singers of Ottawa and church choir, as well as volunteering as a youth sponsor for church. Sometime between all that, I get to the gym, hang out with my husband, family, and friends, and attempt to keep up with hobbies.

Yup.

You read that right.

No wonder I haven’t felt interested in posting here.

I have to admit it though, I have missed having this outlet to share my life. Get ready for hopefully one post a week.

On top of my regular school work, this term I have to submit my research proposal. More on that later.

2 Terms of Grad School in - JanessaMann.Com

Looking forward, this summer term (May-August) I’ll be on co-op. That’s going to be my first time working full-time for the whole summer. That seems strange considering all the jobs I’ve had, but sometimes it’s been a couple part-time jobs combined, or working at camp 2 months of the summer only. Obviously the paycheck is going to be phenomenal, as well as having weekends off (last summer I worked Saturday morning and Sunday evenings) to go camping or to the cottage.

 

A Statement of Affirmation and Acceptance

Affirmation - JanessaMann.Com
It’s time to heal in God’s presence

Sunday night, my home church finally voted on a statement of affirmation for the acceptance and participation of queer Christians in church membership, baptism, leadership, and pastorship. It’s been a long, emotional year for our congregation, and I’m so happy to see that we got an 89% acceptance of the affirmation statement. I can’t wait to see where this takes our church!

I had prepared a statement to read at the congregational meeting. I knew that I was mostly talking to a small number of families who were not affirming, but I needed to remind them how much OMC (and churches in general) should be a place of refuge. I also took the time to thank everyone in our church for being my home. Of course, I was in tears the whole time. And managed to get a lot of other people to tear up.

OMC has been my home my whole life. I was born and raised in this church, was baptised here, was married here, and every time I come back, I feel comforted. I was accepted when I was angry at God for injuries and mental health, and encouraged to seek healing in God’s word. There are so many wonderful, loving people in this community who have shaped who I am, and I am thankful for that. I see so much potential in our church for living into our Christian faith through our words and actions. A large part of this means supporting the statement of affirmation in each of the four aspects. God made us in his image, and loves us for who we are. The church is supposed to be the safest, most encouraging place in the world. Jesus taught us to love each other, without fail. I urge you to consider what we are teaching our youth and children about God’s love if we even remotely consider excluding queer Christians from church participation. This year has been so hard for those in the congregation who are queer or an ally. This morning, we sang about having the strength to love our brothers and sisters: for some of you, this process will be very scary, but OMC should be a welcoming home for all of us. I pray that God will mend our broken hearts so we can move forward in his Kingdom.

I’m so proud of so many people who stood up and expressed their feelings. There were so many beautiful “mic drop” moments, and the youth and young adults started doing poetry slam “snaps” to cheer people on silently. Thanks for all the words of encouragement after the meeting. Thank you to Carrie for being so strong throughout this, we’re all indebted to you. Thank you to the Discernment Committee and Church Council for the challenging work done over the last year.

I’m so ready for queerness to not be a thing, and people to just love each other for who they are. Like I said, God made us, and loves us. Let’s love each other.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

New Year’s at the Cottage

 

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com
Friday Skiing

This New Year’s we had some of our friends from undergrad up at the cottage. We had amazing weather, fresh snow, and lots of fun.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

Always gotta take this shot of the cottage. We had about 15 cm of fresh snow during the weekend.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com
Lying through our teeth

We played Resistance, which is like Mafia and some other stuff, but wayyy over my head. Except for the last round, where I realized (with the help of some wine) that I sort of got how to win.

We cleared off some snow from the lake (8 inches of ice in the two spots we checked) to skate on. Maddie made a great sled run onto the lake, and we also went skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

It was fun hosting these friends (I was much more relaxed about it this year than two years ago!) and turning on the water went a lot better.

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

What a great group of friends!

New Year's at the Cottage - JanessaMann.Com

Christmas 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Christmastime!

Nic and I had a wonderful second Christmas together. On Christmas Eve we woke up and shared presents, cuddled with Toby (whom we’re bunnysitting) and went for a tea date at Black Squirrel Books. In the evening I had the privilege of singing in the service.

Christmas 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Christmas Day Nic and I drove out to my parents’ house where we celebrated with them and my brother and sister-in-law. We had lots of fun singing Christmas carols, opening presents, playing games, and exploring in the snow. We even got to see 5 deer running across our path, although the pictures didn’t show much.

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On Boxing day we hosted both our families for games and pizza, then went to see Rogue One. December 27 we had Christmas with Nic’s family, which ended with a rousing game of Boggle as usual!

We had a wonderful Christmas catching up with family and friends, were blessed with great meals and presents, and got to play outside in the beautiful white snow. Merry Christmas to you, and I can’t wait to get to the cottage for New Year’s on Friday!

Fall 2016 In Review

Yes, you are right, I ignored my blog for most of fall. I had great intentions to write a post or two a week, but when I did have free time I used it to work out, hang out with Nic, family, or friends, and relax. Hopefully in the winter I’ll be able to slip blogging back into my schedule, because last year I loved sharing about my life and projects here! While doing the final edit of our Christmas letter, I realized I really needed to get up a summary post.

Fall 2016 in Review - JanessaMann.Com
Studying hard!

Grad School:

This fall I started grad school at the University of Ottawa in Globalization and International Development. I’ve been so happy being back in school. My brain was definitely rotting at Bed Bath & Beyond and at GoodLife Fitness (co-workers, discounts, and lots of gym time were great but…) so it’s been fun getting back into it. I took Introduction to International Development, Research Methods, and Gender Security and Development. I worked very hard, and made some great friends.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Exploring:

Nic and I have loved exploring Ottawa now that we live here (Nic hasn’t lived in Ottawa since high school graduation). It’s been a lot of fun trying new coffee shops, restaurants, and going for hikes all over. We live very close to lots of cool places, so walking around is easy.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.ComFitness update:

Yup, I definitely fell off the bandwagon for a bit this term. I
gained 5 lbs and most of that was body fat (except I’m using a different body comp scale now that I’m in a different gym, so it’s hard to be sure what the exact increase is). It’s been hard going from working out 6 days a week to 2 or 3. I think it’ll be easier in the winter when I’ll only have two courses, and only one part-time job (which is a block away from my gym!). This means that my gains were slower, but I’m still happy with the new PRs I got. I’ve been focusing a lot on my bench and pull-ups, and am very proud.

Mental health:

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in Ottawa. It feels like home, and there are so many wonderful, soul-feeding people and places here. It’s been great being back at my home church, seeing my parents regularly, singing in choirs, and spending tons of time outdoors. You don’t see the pollution like you do in Toronto, and it’s way easier to get outside of the city. Of course I miss friends and family in Southern Ontario, but some of my strongest supporters are in Ottawa, so it’s good to be back with them.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Environment:

Our new apartment is probably more than twice the size of our Toronto place. It’s cheaper, and less character, but man, that space has been fantastic! We even have a balcony, which we didn’t have last year. Our second bedroom is my office, where we store the bikes (Nic has a wall mount) and my closet. Hopefully soon I’ll do a blog post about what our apartment looks like!

I’ve loved having my own space to do my work, it’s super handy for times when I don’t want to go onto campus to do work.

We also have lots of plants which Nic keeps alive (I’m only good for cacti and succulents) and personal touches everywhere.

Fall 2016 - JanessaMann.Com

Thanks for reading!

First Cross-Country Skiing of the Season

Cross-Country Skiing in November - JanessaMann.Com

On Thursday, November 24th, we got lots of beautiful, fresh powder in Ottawa. I waited very, very impatiently through class, and Nic coming home from work, for us to go cross-country skiing. We walked to the Rideau River, and then skied along to Vincent Massey Park.

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We definitely got weird looks when we were walking down Bank Street with our skis, but once we got to the path, there were a couple tracks that looked like skis. We’re very lucky to be so close to an easy trail, right by the water.

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Nic and I chose the wrong wax for my skis for the temperature, so I couldn’t move much at first until we scraped it all off. Once we did so,  I could ski much faster.

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I’m looking forward to learning how to photograph at dusk. And in the winter. Not sure which setting this was, so I’m pretty sad.

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It was such a beautiful evening, I can’t wait for more snow to come soon because I’d love to go for longer. That can be my cardio.