Lean and Mean

Suzanne —  August 19, 2013 — 8 Comments

When I first walked through the door at J&M Strength and Conditioning and introduced myself to Jim Laird, gym owner and coach, I was an avid distance runner. Little did I know that was about to change. I wanted to look good in a bikini and I quickly learned that my exercise program did not match that goal. With Jim’s expertise, I made the necessary changes and saw results in only four months. You can read the full back story in an earlier blog post titled “You Can’t Serve Two Masters.”

Sharing my story and my before and after pictures made me feel very vulnerable. It was scary. But I honestly had nothing to fear. The feedback and support I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Yet, there will always be someone….

Recently, I saw this comment, “I want to hear about how she’s STRONGER now, how her health is actually better (not that she just looks better in her underwear selfies).” Another reader stated that she was saddened that I was unhappy with my before look. For the most part I can just shake my head and move on but I admit that I find these two comments particularly annoying.

It’s now almost two years since I started my journey and I still have aesthetic goals. I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty proud that I can confidently wear a bikini at my age (and after two kids). But, a funny thing has happened. I have fallen in love with lifting heavy weights and competing in powerlifting. And everyone knows that competitive sports require performance-based training.

Fortunately for me, I have a coach who knows how to balance my desire to be both lean and mean.  But as I prepare for Nationals, my focus is very much about performance. I have some big goals for that meet and for the next several weeks training is going to be intense.  So, on the advice of my friend, Kris Freeman, I’m sending all my “haters” to the nose bleed seats. I hope the rest of you will be right by my side as my journey continues.

lean and mean

And for the record, I am definitely stronger (and healthier) and I plan to get stronger still. For those who have expressed interest in the specifics of competition prep, I am providing a recent squat workout. My weights are pretty low as it was my first training session after a 2 week vacation. With only a few weeks of training before the meet, these numbers will increase quickly. Let me know if you have any questions.

Squat Day: 10 Weeks Out

Dynamic warm-up
Extended warm-up x2: inverted rows, glute-hamstring raises & carries

50 lbs (bar only) x 10
80 x 5
100 x 5
120 x 3
140 x 3
150 x 3
160 x 3
170 x 3 (slight shift so dropped back down – insert cranky face!)
160 x 3
160 x 3
160 x 3
190 walk out & hold only
210 walk out & hold only

*Today, I used a higher bar position and narrower stance than what I use for competition (this makes squatting harder)
**Between warm-up sets, I stretched my hips and quads and I added one set of  band shuffles and 3 sets of lat pull downs with 75 lbs.

Accessory Work:
Step ups with 40 lb KB x 8 each side for 4 total sets
RDL 125 lbs x 8 for one set
Back extensions on the glute hamstring machine: body weight x 10 and second set holding 25 pound plate
Glute hamstring raises with added band resistance for 2 sets
Dead bug for 3 sets

*I was admittedly being high maintenance during my accessory work. Hands hurt during RDL and I “didn’t like” how the back extensions felt so Jim kept switching the exercise. It’s always a bonus to have a patient coach. In the end, my glutes were on fire which was the goal.

Battling Rope x 4 with a 45 second rest between



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8 responses to Lean and Mean

  1. U go girl!!!!!!

  2. You are wonderful! My model….
    keep on sharing, and good luck at your next compatition.
    Yifat, 41, mother of 2, iron addicted 🙂

  3. You are so inspiring! Good luck! And for the record…..your underwear selfies is what brought me to join J&M.

    • Suzanne

      That made my day! Please be sure to say hello next time you see me in the gym.

      • I will! I broke my foot a couple of weeks ago so I haven’t been in. As soon as I can drive I am planning to come in….Molly said she would work on giving me a modified routine. I am in a boot for 10-12 weeks :(. All that being said….I’m looking forward to getting started…..again!

  4. Curious, is this 1 workout or are you doing these over a period of days and building up? I have a feeling it’s 1 workout, and that is bad a$$. I mean from my POV it is!

    I assume you are back squatting this weight?

    • Suzanne

      Thanks! I’m smiling….Squatting and deadlifting certainly makes me feel like a bad a$$. And, yes, that was one workout. It’s a pretty typical workout when I’m prepping for a meet. Of course, as the meet gets closer the weight goes up. I squatted 231 at my last competition and I hope to better that in October.

      Oh…and yes, I was back squatting. I will sometimes use a safety bar as part of my squat training which simulates a front squat.

      Thanks for your comments and POV!

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