Natalie Newhart http://natalienewhart.com Natalie Newhart Tue, 06 Mar 2018 23:06:32 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 My Top 10 Tips To Maximizing Your Performance in the Open http://natalienewhart.com/blog/top-10-tips-maximizing-performance-open/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/top-10-tips-maximizing-performance-open/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:58:16 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=1204 My Top 10 Tips To Maximizing Your Performance in the Open By Natalie Newhart Alright CrossFitters, time to talk business! For the next 5 weeks, most of us will be participating in the 2018 CrossFit Open with the ultimate goal of maximizing our performance potential in one hard workout each week. Whether your personal goal is to qualify for Regionals ...

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My Top 10 Tips To Maximizing Your Performance in the Open

By Natalie Newhart

Alright CrossFitters, time to talk business! For the next 5 weeks, most of us will be participating in the 2018 CrossFit Open with the ultimate goal of maximizing our performance potential in one hard workout each week.

Whether your personal goal is to qualify for Regionals or to simply complete all 5 workouts in the Scaled Division, the next 40 days is the perfect time for you to take a closer look at your lifestyle choices and make a commitment to refine your fitness, nutrition and recovery.

The Open consists of one hard workout per week for a total of 5 weeks. Many of you will be completing each workout twice, every Monday and Friday, in order to improve your leaderboard standings. With the limited time between workouts and the duration of the Open season, it will be imperative for each athlete to optimize their readiness and recovery between each workouts.

Here are my top tips on how to do just that:

  1. Decrease training volume through the week in order to keep the CNS fresh and maximize intensity for the Open workout. Strategize a new weekly training schedule based on when you’ll be performing your Open workouts. Ideally, you’d want to consider taking the day before your event completely off or as a light recovery. For instance if you plan on doing the Open workout Friday and Monday, then you’d take Thursday and Sunday as your recovery days and continue normal training on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If you’re on the bubble to qualifying for Regionals, then you’ll really want to be conservative with strenuous activity that will tax your CNS for Open workouts.
  1. No sudden changes on game day; Meaning, don’t make any huge adjustments in your food choices, meal timing, workout timing or supplements on game day. This is a classic rookie mistake. Continue with your daily routine as usual; If you typically fast before your workout and feel great that way, then don’t change a thing. If you feel light, energized and powerful with the foods you’re eating, then do NOT do anything differently. Basically, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you do want to make changes to your foods or supps, experiment with it a few days prior to the Open workout.
  1. Similar to Tip #2, perform the Open workouts around the same time you have been training all year on those days. Your body and mind has completely adapted to the workout regimen you’ve been consistent with- your brain, gut, muscles, lungs, and heart actually know your routine and will prepare the nervous system for the activity it is used to enduring. Last thing you want to do is surprise your circadian rhythm with an extremely intense workout at a time of day that it is not prepared for or used to. Your body is already in a rhythm… keep that rhythm.
  1. Plan out when you will eat your pre-workout meal. If you plan on doing the workout mid-morning or later, then plan on getting a solid meal in 2-3 hours prior to your workout, with a small carbohydrate snack at least 30 minutes prior to the workout if needed. It’s in your best interest to go into the workout in a slightly fasted state to maximize mental acuity, muscle endurance and sustained power. Your meal should consist of low to moderate protein, moderate carbs and low fat… choose foods that you know are easy to digest and have worked well with your gut in the past.
  2. Increase carbohydrate intake to appropriate levels to restore sugar levels in body and keep cortisol levels at bay. The Open is a very stressful phase, physically and emotionally, but each person will have a different response to that stress depending on their level of fitness. Thus, and experienced CrossFitter who plans on going ham will want to increase their carb intake signficantly, but only a slight increase in carbs will be necessary for a newer CrossFitter who won’t be pushing your body to such extremes. Best go-to carbs are a cyclic-dextrin carb supplement, white rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Choose the least processed version of carbs and you’ll be properly fueled!
  1. After each workout, first take time to get in a proper cool down then get in your post workout shake… something like 20 min of light walking or biking will help flush out the lactic build up and will get you on a faster track to recovery, mentally and physically.
  1. Consume a post workout shake following your cool down. The cool down will give your digestive system time to relax before you down your post-workout shake. Protein to carb shake ratio varies between 1:1 to 1:3 depending on the intensity and duration of the workout. So if the workout was more taxing (think heavy and 10+ minutes), then you’d want to consume more carbs in relation to protein. We are looking to not only fuel your workouts but kickstart recovery the moment you’re finished. Protein and carbs will take care of this.
  1. Prioritize quality sleep all throughout the week. Besides maximizing our nutrition, sleeping is the most anabolic thing we can do for our bodies. Skip out on sound sleep and your reaction times will be slower, risk of injuries will be higher, and your speed will decrease. Sleep in a darkened room under cooler than normal temperatures for 7-9 hours per night… the closer you are to 9 hours, the better.
  1. Hydrate! Hydration can be easily overlooked but is SO important to your performance. Dehydration can wreck havoc on your body. Every cell in your body requires water in order to function. When we are putting our muscles through their paces during the Open water will be even more important. Skip out on H2O and legs will lock up on lunges, forearms will cramp on large sets of pull-ups, and just everything you don’t want to happen can happen. Just reaching 3% of dehydration and your physical and mental performance takes a hit. With that said, you better grab that water bottle now and get to it. A good goal would be to drink
  1. Have fun! Don’t forget about why you love CrossFit to begin with. We love the pain, the highs, the lows, the PRs, the ripped hands and the people who we get to share it with. Take a moment before each workout to look around and feel grateful for having found CrossFit and all the amazing people and experiences that come with it.

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Eating for Health vs. Aesthetics vs. Performance http://natalienewhart.com/blog/eating-health-vs-aesthetics-vs-performance/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/eating-health-vs-aesthetics-vs-performance/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:52:27 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=1180 The post Eating for Health vs. Aesthetics vs. Performance appeared first on Natalie Newhart.

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Jr. Nationals – The Show That Never Happened http://natalienewhart.com/blog/jr-nationals-show-never-happened/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/jr-nationals-show-never-happened/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:06:04 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=1130   [Side Note: I’m writing this post on Jan. 29, 2018, about 6 months after my debut at Jr. Nationals in June of 2017. I had a very scary and unhealthy experience leading up to Jr. Nationals and I’ve been meaning to write about it, its only taken me 6 months to do it.] In my last post, I talked ...

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[Side Note: I’m writing this post on Jan. 29, 2018, about 6 months after my debut at Jr. Nationals in June of 2017. I had a very scary and unhealthy experience leading up to Jr. Nationals and I’ve been meaning to write about it, its only taken me 6 months to do it.]

In my last post, I talked about how my prep had been going 6 weeks out prior to show- if you don’t remember, it was not going very well. I was training my ass off 5-6 hours a day on very low calories and not seeing the results I wanted to see… in fact, I was actually seeing the opposite. Instead of a linear progress of leaning out, my body was going through some extreme fluctuations that I hadn’t experienced during my first bodybuilding show.

Squishy Fat

I usually looked my best at the beginning of the week following a rest day, but as the week went on my body would transform for the worst. I would accumulate a lot of “loose” fat deposits in my belly known as “squishy fat”- thats the most scientific term I could find on the internet. It would accumulate right below my bellybutton, it would jiggle when I walked or moved and it would hold an indentation from the waistband on my pants. It was so weird and none of my fellow seasoned, female bodybuilders had experienced it before.

After doing some thorough research online, I learned that it was a common reaction when a person would starve (extreme caloric deficit) themselves for a period of time and then have a huge refeed celebration, meaning eat a large amount of carbhohydrates (3x the normal amount) in a given day.  Apparently, the squishy fat accrued because my body was trying to hold onto the body fat as a way to protect myself from starving to death. The fat cells would swell up with water, making it squishy, and then once my body got an influx of food (from carbs) it released the squishy fat within 24-48 hours. It was the oddest thing, but as long as the fat was coming off I didn’t really care. The constant yo-yo, however, did make it difficult to see visual progress and stay motivated because I only looked good 48 hours after a refeed.

My coach insisted that this was the way to do it and told me to not freak out.

Weekly Episodes of Edema

Thing is, it got worse over time. Pretty soon the refeeds stopped having the beneficial effect re-stabilizing my body. 3-4 weeks out from the show, my body was starting to go through episodes of edema from all the stress I putting my body through. It became normal for me to wake up in the mornings with my entire face swollen, eyes sunk in, eyebrows rounded down, and bags under my eyes.

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My fellow bodybuilder friends encouraged me to keep on going, that I had made it this far and not to pull out now. Although I had my doubts, I continued to do so. Around 2-3 weeks out, I was also starting to have some binge episodes, usually once/week, on chocolate chips and trail mix. Once I did it once, and it just happened again and again and again. It became a drug, a fix, a subconscious habit that Im still battling with today.

Can’t Quit Now

One week out from the show and I was disappointed with how I looked- my body looked nothing like it did the first show. I honestly didn’t want to do the show but I had put SO much time and money into it and I told everyone that I was going to win my pro card, etc that it was hard to pull out and let everyone down.

I ended up flying to to Chicago, checked in, got my tan done and the next morning woke up looking like this.

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Needless to say, I pulled out the morning of the show. Eight months of focused and disciplined eating and training, thousands of dollars invested, all to quit the morning of the big show. Talk about a disappointment.

In Hindsight

Nobody could give me a definitive answer of what I was going through. I didn’t know or understand it back then, but all I know is that my body was literally shutting down on me. I was training too hard and eating too little. The more I fought it (by training harder and harder), the more it fought me back and in the end, it won. It nearly put me in the hospital and it was a huge health scare. To make matters worse, my so-called coach bailed on me as soon as I pulled out of the competition. Once again, I was left all alone, with extreme health risks and disordered eating, this time with no coach or guidance on how to recover.

Although this was one of the scariest and lowest times of my life, I learned a ton and have the desire to share what I’ve learned with others. This is just another chapter in my book and I don’t regret. Despite all the challenges I have faced in bodybuilding, I do see myself doing another show at some point in my future- I mean, after all, I did buy the suit but never got to wear it.

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Jr. Nationals Update- 6 Weeks Out http://natalienewhart.com/blog/jr-nationals-update-6-weeks/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/jr-nationals-update-6-weeks/#respond Sun, 14 May 2017 23:07:14 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=883 Today is May 8, 2017 and I’m 6 weeks out from my Jr. Nationals Show in Chicago, IL. The biggest thing I have to say about my current journey is that, in comparison to my last prep, this one is different in so many ways- from mindset to nutrition, to training style, motivation, progress, temptations and distractions. You’d think it’d ...

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Today is May 8, 2017 and I’m 6 weeks out from my Jr. Nationals Show in Chicago, IL. The biggest thing I have to say about my current journey is that, in comparison to my last prep, this one is different in so many ways- from mindset to nutrition, to training style, motivation, progress, temptations and distractions. You’d think it’d be easier my second time around, but it’s not…here’s why.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
During my last prep, I was fucking hungry for success. After being suspended from CrossFit in March, I was angry, frustrated and determined to achieve a certain fitness status as I had put SO much work into my level of fitness that year. I was confident that I was going to qualify for the 2016 Games that year. After being disqualified, I felt like I had unfinished business, that I had something to prove to myself, and my first bodybuilding show was my outlet.

Despite it being a stupid local show with a cheesy plastic trophy, I was willing to die for that 1st place finish. It was more about the accomplishment and satisfaction that I’d get from that win than the actual attention or trophy. So, needless to say, I was driven as hell, and there was absolutely no chance that any girl was going to work harder than me…and it showed on stage. I got one compliment after another about how great my conditioning was, yada, yada yada… but it wasn’t a surprise to me- I got out exactly what I put into it, a champion mentality and a champion status.

A NEW PERSPECTIVE
This time around, things are a bit different. I’m no longer angry about my CrossFit suspension. Instead, I see it as a blessing in disguise and have had spent a lot of time reflecting what it is I want out of life and what makes me happy. For the longest time (10 years to be exact), I thought that the only way I could be happy was if I placed top 10 at the CrossFit Games. Although that was a fun and challenging journey that has made me who I am today, I’ve realized that I have been so freaking close-minded and selfish for the last 10 years of my life! Of course, that’s just part of the process when you’re trying to be a professional in whatever you’re space you’re in, but what an eye-opener it is when you step away from the sport you’ve been obsessed with for so long. In the end, we all just want to look good and feel good, right? Well I thought CrossFit was the only way to achieve that, but I have learned that is not the case- the opportunities to achieve such fitness success are endless

Needless to say, my perspective on winning and competing has been a little different this time around. Of course I want to win and will do whatever it is I need to do to bring my best on stage, but this time around I just don’t feel as confident that my physique is good enough to bring home the gold medal and pro card… and its way too late now to make it better.

SELF DOUBT
The only thing I currently have in my control is my “conditioning” (leanness) on stage. I didn’t really take a break from my first show to when I started prep for this show, so I never really got a chance to make the changes I wanted or needed to improve my physique- stuff like widening my back, building up my shoulders, and improving my biceps and triceps.

So as of now, it all comes down to who shows up on show day and what level of conditioning they are in… I have to keep reminding myself that these things are completely out of my control, and should only be focusing my efforts and intensity on what I can control, which is working my ass off in every time I step into the gym and following my diet to a “T” (easier said than done, of course).

NOT A LACK OF HARD WORK
I do feel like I’m a little behind the ball as far as conditioning goes sitting 6 weeks out, so that’s been frustrating as well. Its frustrating because I have NOT slacked on training, cardio or nutrition- I’ve been doing my part of hitting the weights as heavy as I can, burning as many calories as I can, and sticking to the diet the best that I can. The diet has probably been the hardest part for me this time around because my calorie intake is certainly less than it was during my last prep with my cardio/training volume being higher. Therefore, cravings and temptations have been pretty bad.

ADDICTION TO CALORIE-FREE FOODS
They’ve been so bad that I started to look for ways to increase the volume or satiety affect of my food. I experimented with calorie-free sauces and sweeteners such as Walden Farms and Stevia Its been about 2 weeks after incorporating these foods into my diet, and I’m just now realizing that that was a bad move and will be removing it from my palette after today. Once I introduced those sauces and sweetness into my diet, I got hooked on them.. and i mean hooked. Two Stevias per day turned into 10 very quickly, and I started to eat the Walden Farm sauces by the spoonful rather than as just as a sauce on my food. I craved the sugars non-stop and have been addicted to them ever since I started using them. Before I added them to my diet, I was totally fine with just plain old sea salt on all my food… that damn sugar, whether its artificial or not, is just so darn addicting and I’m hoping I can kick the habit. Lesson learned.

WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD
All in all, I’ve been putting in the hard work needed to be stage lean but my body doesn’t seem to be responding as well as I’d like it to and I’m not sure why. Am I training too hard? Not eating enough? Not recovering enough? I don’t know. All I know is that my will and hard work is not the reason for my lack of progress, and that is one of the worst feelings in the world. I plan on pushing the needle for another week or two before I decide if my body will be ready for the stage or not, a decision I’m not excited to face. Stay tuned to hear what happens next.

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U.S. Open Reflections http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-reflections/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-reflections/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 19:39:29 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=759 My reflections on the U.S. Open powerlifting meet. Where do I begin? Let’s just start off by saying that my performance didn’t really go as planned… and I believe it’s 100% the result of trying to prep for a bodybuilding show at the same time. Lesson freaking learned. Everyone around me told me that I wouldn’t be able to do ...

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My reflections on the U.S. Open powerlifting meet. Where do I begin?

Let’s just start off by saying that my performance didn’t really go as planned… and I believe it’s 100% the result of trying to prep for a bodybuilding show at the same time. Lesson freaking learned.

Everyone around me told me that I wouldn’t be able to do both and well [swallowing my pride], turns out they were right. I can be quite stubborn and think that anything is possible so long as I put my heart and soul into it, but then theres always that dose of science that stands in my way. I understood the consequences of training both sports, I just thought that if I had enough grit and tenacity that I’d be able to surpass it and achieve the results I wanted. Simply put, I just wasn’t willing to throw away the past 4 months of physique training for a powerlifting competition that may or not pay off in the long run. I wasn’t even sure if I would like powerlifting; I just figured that it’d be fun to compete in a performance-based sport again, get some exposure as an athlete, and use the training as a supplement to my bodybuilding training.

Because my squat, bench and deadlift numbers were pretty good towards the beginning of my bodybuilding prep (when I weighed about 126-127#), the people around me believed that I could be pretty competitive and possibly even podium at the U.S. Open. And maybe that would’ve been the case if I hadn’t continued the cutting phase of my bodybuilding prep. But, like I said, my original plan for this year was to earn my pro card and try to qualify for the 2017 Olympia and I had no desire to halt my progress or not finish what I started. Therefore, I continued to drop weight as planned for my bodybuilding prep.

When I started my 4-week powerlifting prep, I think I weighed about 126lbs. Four weeks later, on meet day, I weighed my lightest so far at 119lbs. Although I looked and felt great, my strength just couldn’t be maintained, no matter how hard I tried.

I failed all of my third attempts at each lift, numbers that I definitely expected myself to hit with no problem. And I really don’t think it was because I was new to the sport, or new to the environment, or any other excuse people want to justify me with. I believe it was completely a result of my drop in weight and limited calories/carbs that I had been sticking to.

As far as the actual event goes, it was interesting to say the least, an eye opener. I really had no clue what to expect. It was similar to Olympic Lifting, which I’ve competed in several times before, just with a lot more aggression and animal-like energy. Like Olympic Lifting, timing your warmups and preparation was crucial- the lifts move pretty quickly with each lifter getting 1 minute to perform their lifts, then maybe 30 seconds for the guys to change the bar weight. The intensity was also similar to Olympic lifting in the fact that you only had once chance to get the lift; there’s just a lot more technicality involved with Olympic Lifting than Powerlifting. Powerlifting is all about raw strength and aggression- the girls I competed against were freaking impressive… and slightly intimidating. I thought I was tough, these girls were on a whole other level.

Another difference was the number of events; Olympic Lifting has 2 events (snatch and clean and jerk), whereas Powerlifting has 3 (squat, bench, deadlift)- by the time it was my turn to deadlift, I was feeling pretty smoked despite the downtime I had between lifts. The fact that you have to turn the switch from 0 to 100 9 separate times throughout the day was surprisingly exhausting; I didn’t expect to be exhausted from that, especially since I’m so used to doing way more volume in a normal training day. It was certainly a humbling experience.

Overall, I walked away from the competition feeling pretty frustrated that I wasn’t able to perform to my expectations. I dedicated so much time and effort, and sacrificed a good chunk of money to take on this powerlifting meet and I question whether it was really worth it… the feeling of regret, a feeling I absolutely hate more than anything in this world.

Although the results were not what I wanted, I still had a great experience- the best part was just being able to bond with some of my teammates and coaches at Kabuki Strength. As I reflect over the weekend, I realize what things in life are actually important to me and make me happy. Its not the podium or the fame as I once thought; instead, its quality relationships with the people closest to you and being grateful for what you have. I’ll always love the pressure and growth you get from competing, but where you finish is not as important as I once thought… placing 1st doesn’t make you happy for long (maybe a few seconds or minutes, if that?). That’s why you truly need to enjoy the process of the daily grind and sacrifice versus thinking that happiness is always on the other side of achievement.

That being said, even though dieting is THE WORST, I’ve really enjoyed the disciplined process of bodybuilding and will do everything I can to bring my best package to stage. I do miss being an “athlete” and having fun with workouts/cardio, so I plan on looking into doing some local CrossFit competitions just to keep the journey exciting. But for now, all eyes are on my Junior Nationals Physique Show June 15-16 in Chicago, IL. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t Lose.

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U.S. Open Powerlifting Training- Week 3/4 in Review http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-powerlifting-training-week-34-review/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-powerlifting-training-week-34-review/#respond Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:01:05 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=648 I apologize, I’ve slacked on keeping my blog up-to-date regarding my training progress for the U.S. Open and, honestly, I often wonder if anyone even reads this stuff or cares for that matter lol. Regardless, this post will cover the past and last 2 weeks of my training for what’s considered the most biggest powerlifting meet in the world. By ...

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I apologize, I’ve slacked on keeping my blog up-to-date regarding my training progress for the U.S. Open and, honestly, I often wonder if anyone even reads this stuff or cares for that matter lol. Regardless, this post will cover the past and last 2 weeks of my training for what’s considered the most biggest powerlifting meet in the world. By the way, I think its being called the “biggest” because it’s the most prize money that has ever been raised for a powerlifting meet; with there being lot of money on the line will bring out the biggest and best powerlifters from around the world… so it’s pretty cool that I get to be a part of it.

The last 2 weeks of training have been the worst by far and often led me questioning if I even deserved to compete at this event. My overall volume peaked in Week 3 (of 4) and my body struggled to handle it. I was failing lifts left and right; in fact, there was one day where I actually failed all three lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift) at the numbers I was supposed to hit- let’s just say that was a REALLY bad day, filled with lots of tears and questioning of whether I had what it took to compete. For the most part, the entire Week 3 of training was just slop- nothing felt good and I rarely hit the numbers I was expected to hit.

Everyone says that’s the way you’re supposed to feel two weeks out from the event but being my first powerlifting meet, its hard for me to trust that that’s the best strategy leading up to such an intense event. I personally want to walk into that arena with confidence, even knowing that I still have more in the tank, rather than questioning what I think I can or should do because the past two weeks of training have been so shit.

Needless to say, Week 3 of training completely crushed any and all confidence I had leading up to this event, and Week 4 has been all about trying to regain that confidence back, which has been a slow process. I only had one good training day this week  (Week 4) where I felt like I was starting to move the weight well again, and it was my last training day of the period.

I do understand the theory behind over-reaching and then super-compensating during a deload week, but since I’ve never done it to this extreme, I really have no idea what to expect on meet day. Will my strength be there or will I be intimidated by the weight? All I can focus on right now are the things that are in my control, with my mindset being one of them. I can assure you that my mind will be ready and I hope my body will be too.

Today is Thursday and I lift on Sunday- the next few days will be spent traveling, recovering, stretching, visualizing and possibly some light jogging or swimming. I really don’t know what to expect come meet day, which is kinda scary but also kinda the fun part. And although I’m new to powerlifting, I’m certainly not new to competition. I’m excited to perform under pressure and see what I’m capable of in such an intense environment.

On a side note, I’m sure that training bodybuilding on top of powerlifting hasn’t help my ability to recover but, like I’ve mentioned before, my physique show in June has been my original priority and I wasn’t about to just let my physique fall by the wayside for a chance to podium in a sport that I’m not sure if I’ll ever compete in again. The last thing I want is to be standing on the bodybuilding stage in June thinking that “I could’ve done more, should’ve given more.” For me, the pain regret is one of the worst feelings in the world; I’ll choose the pain of discipline any day. Not to mention, with my attempt to stay on track for the BB show, I’ve been steadily losing weight which is great for the show but not so great for lifting heavy. It’s definitely been a battle to try to balance training and prep for both sports, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I’m so fortunate for this opportunity and I’ve learned so much about myself and powerlifting in the past 4 weeks. I can’t wait to see this thing through and finish strong.

#whateverittakes

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U.S. Open Powerlifting Training- Week 2 in Review http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-powerlifting-training-week-2-review/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/u-s-open-powerlifting-training-week-2-review/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:47:19 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=629 Week 2 of training powerlifting and bodybuilding went a lot better performance-wise than week 1. I finally figured out how to train both sports while managing to get just enough recovery to hit the gym hard the next day. My routine typically goes like this: 5-7am: Work from home 7am: Leave for powerlifting gym, eat breakfast on the way 8-11am: ...

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Week 2 of training powerlifting and bodybuilding went a lot better performance-wise than week 1. I finally figured out how to train both sports while managing to get just enough recovery to hit the gym hard the next day.

My routine typically goes like this:

5-7am: Work from home

7am: Leave for powerlifting gym, eat breakfast on the way

8-11am: Powerlifting training- I start with a core piece, then go into my squats, bench and deadlifts.

11-1p: Eat/recover/computer work

1p: Drive to athletic club

2p: Eat again

230-4p: Train bodybuilding: legs, delts/tris, or back/bis

4p: Head home

415-7p: Eat; prep food for next day, computer work

730p: Bed

Mondays are my hardest days because its my knee wrap day, and thus, my heaviest day. Squatting with wraps is absolutely exhausting and extremely time-consuming. It literally takes me 2 hours to get through 7 sets of singles or doubles on my squats! The fatigue is unlike what I’ve experienced through CrossFit,  bodybuilding, or any other sport. It honestly feels like I’m getting hit by a train 7 times in a row- sounds crazy I know, and maybe its because I’m still not quite used to the wraps, but every time those wraps go on, my body goes through complete shock for a good 5 minutes. It sucks the life out of me   and by the end of my single or double squat, I just feel like collapsing on the floor.

Despite the fatigue associated with wrap days, my progress in the lifts is going just as planned. This week, I worked up to an easy 330# back squat, 200# bench, and 330# deadlift. Based off how those lifts felt, I am confident that I will be able to hit my goal total of 365-215-365 on meet day. Three more weeks of hard training should do the job (hopefully).

Although my powerlifting numbers have been progressing, my show prep has not been going all that great (check out my YouTube videos to see/hear my frustrations). For the past 5 out of 7 weeks of prep, my bodyweight has remained unchanged despite the reduction in calories and increases in cardio. Because the plateau was lasting so long, I started to think that maybe I had some metabolic damage left over from my last show. When my coach agreed and brought up the point that we may have to cancel the show, I was extremely frustrated and upset that all my hard work and sacrifices over the past 4 months was a waste.

I told myself I’d give it a few more days and try a few more things to see if my body would respond. I drank magnesium glycerinate for digestion, started taking Ashwaghanda for stress, and I started to incorporate a trip to the Steam Room to relax and focus on my breathing. Unfortunately, none of those things seemed to make an immediate difference.

On the other hand, when I woke up on Saturday morning, my bodyweight was about 2-3 pounds lower than it had been! Something happened and I honestly think it was a result of time than any of the other changes I had made. Turns out that this type of “chunking fat loss” is pretty common among women, whereas men typically have more a linear fat loss progression. I honestly think that my body just needed time to respond to the changes and once it did, it did in a big way.

So, as of now, the show is still on the prep continues for both, the US Open Powerlifting and Jr Nationals Physique. I’m anticipating the next 2 weeks will be pretty brutal with calories continuing to decrease and intensity increasing in my lifts. Recovery will be key this next week.

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Training for the U.S. Open Powerlifting Meet – Week 1 Review http://natalienewhart.com/blog/601/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/601/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:58:58 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=601 Two  weeks ago, I was invited to compete at the U.S. Open powerlifting meet on April 14-15 in San Diego, CA. It was such an honor to be invited to such a prestigious event that I immediately jumped at the opportunity and went all in without really putting much thought behind it. I have never competed in a powerlifting meet, ...

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Two  weeks ago, I was invited to compete at the U.S. Open powerlifting meet on April 14-15 in San Diego, CA. It was such an honor to be invited to such a prestigious event that I immediately jumped at the opportunity and went all in without really putting much thought behind it. I have never competed in a powerlifting meet, and here I am striving to be competitive with the best lifters in the world, and I have less than 5 weeks to do it. The funny thing is… I think I can do it.

Goals

My goal is to podium in my weight class, but a first place medal is not out reach either. In order to podium, I believe I’ll have to total 950 or better. My goal lifts are: 365 squat, 220 bench, 365 deadlift. I’ll be squatting high bar with wraps, and pulling sumo for the deadlift. In order for me to achieve these lifts, I’ll need to put everything I have into every training session, on top of training  and prepping as hard as I can for bodybuilding- this is not an easy task to say the least.

I honestly don’t think I realized what I was getting myself into when I made the decision to accept the invite. I tend to think that I am some invincible super-human that can do anything (such as train powerlifting while prepping for the biggest bodybuilding show of my life) as long as I put my mind to it;  while that may be partially true, I am constantly reminded that my body is not the machine I think it is or want it to be. My mind is obviously far more stronger than my body will ever be- that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how smart or stubborn I am with my recovery. Needless to say, its been a challenge trying to balance both my bodybuilding and powerlifting training sessions over the past week, and I can only assume it’ll get harder as the meet gets closer and my calories become fewer.

Balancing Powerlifting and Bodybuilding

Since I only have 5 total weeks to train for the meet (including a deload week), my PL training plan is pretty aggressive as far as intensity and volume; it’s nothing I’m not used to or afraid of, but the intensity has been an adjustment and the fatigue from the heavy lifts definitely makes it a challenge to put the same amount of intensity and effort into my BB training.

I train powerlifting 5 days a week: squat 4 days, deadlift 3 days, and bench 4 days.

I train bodybuilding 6 days a week, split up in to back/biceps, delts/triceps, and legs. In addition to the training, my calories are being cut each week and cardio has been increasing slowly each week as well.

I learned very quickly that in order to put a decent amount of effort into both sports, I have to break up my powerlifting and bodybuilding training into 2 separate sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. When I accepted the invite to the US Open, I told myself and everyone around me that I was still going to prioritize BB as it was my original goal; although I’m doing the best I can with both sports, BB has definitely taken the back seat in the past week, simply because I need most of my energy first thing in the morning to hit the big lifts.

Hardest Part So Far

Out of all the lifts, squatting with wraps has been the biggest adjustment and most challenging phase of this training. Mondays are my squat with wraps day, and they are THE WORST. Not only does it take me an insane amount of time to complete the work required, but it’s also some of the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced (and I like to think that I’m on the tougher side of the spectrum). If I were to compare it to something, it would be that initial shock when you hop into an ice bath or the adrenaline rush you get when you break a bone- its kinda like that.. my breath gets taken away, my body freezes, my breathing becomes shallow, and I have to just suck it up and find my own happy place to get through it. Apparently, my legs should de-sensititize the more I use the wraps, so I’m looking forward to that.

 

Other than the wraps and the ridiculous amount of time everything takes, I’ve actually really enjoyed the the training stye. It’s been fun to hit the low rep schemes of 1-2 reps, and its exciting to see your numbers go up each time. All in all, the first week of training for the U.S. Open went pretty well and I’m right on track to hitting the numbers I want.

Over the next few weeks, the hard part will be making sure that I’m managing my recovery properly so that I can continue to progress. Besides foam rolling, getting 8 hours of sleep and drinking 1 gallon water each day, I’m just trying to stay in tune with what my body is telling me- if I feel like my CNS is trashed, then I’ll stick with lighter weights for BB, or I’ll switch up the split order of my BB training. I think that feeling out each day and being able to adjust on the fly is what’s gonna allow me to train at my fullest potential for both sports. Looking forward to how Week 2 goes!

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March 2017 Topic: My Top 4 Lessons on How to Be Resilient Lesson 2: Get Good at Problem-Solving http://natalienewhart.com/uncategorized/march-2017-topic-top-4-lessons-resilient-lesson-2-get-good-problem-solving/ http://natalienewhart.com/uncategorized/march-2017-topic-top-4-lessons-resilient-lesson-2-get-good-problem-solving/#respond Wed, 15 Mar 2017 01:57:17 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=553 March 2017 Topic: My Top 4 Lessons on How to Be Resilient Lesson 2: Get Good at Problem-Solving It’s inevitable: everyone falls down from time to time — it’s just that some are better than others at getting back up. Being one of the smallest competitors in the CrossFit field, my biggest challenge was moving heavy loads (objects or barbells) ...

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March 2017 Topic: My Top 4 Lessons on How to Be Resilient
Lesson 2: Get Good at Problem-Solving

It’s inevitable: everyone falls down from time to time — it’s just that some are better than others at getting back up.

Being one of the smallest competitors in the CrossFit field, my biggest challenge was moving heavy loads (objects or barbells) quickly. Although my strength was always my biggest weakness, my heart to succeed was my greatest asset. I believed so much in myself that every time I ran head on into a challenge or obstacle, it was my mission to deconstruct the challenge and solve the problem.

When my job as a hydrologic technician was not conducent to training for the Games, I quit my reliable government job and opened up my own gym so that I had the ability to train full-time.

When I ruptured two discs in my back during training, I had to take a step back and prioritize my core strength and physical therapy so that it would never happen again.

When my strength numbers plateaued, I moved to a bed-bug infested apartment in Ohio in order to work with one of the best strength coaches in the world.

When I needed to see where my fitness level was at compared to the rest of the field, I was wiling to use whatever little money I had in my bank account to travel across the country and train with the best athletes in the world.

When I started facing anxiety and mental breakdowns during training, I hired a sports psychologist to help me with my mindset.

Today, when I look back and wonder how I made it as far as I did, I realize that with each problem I faced, I sought out a solution to that problem. It were these problem-solving skills that allowed me to inch my step closer to my goals. My recommendation to you would be to solve the problem at hand by breaking it into little mini problems/goals and chip away at them one at a time. By anticipating that the problems will be there and not being afraid to attack them, then you wont get so knocked down when they arise because you have built up the confidence to handle whatever situation may come your way. Having strong problem-solving skills will allow you to accomplish smaller short term goals and ultimately keep you motivated to keep persevering towards your bigger vision.

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Top 4 Lessons on How to be Resilient http://natalienewhart.com/blog/top-4-lessons-resilient/ http://natalienewhart.com/blog/top-4-lessons-resilient/#comments Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:16:50 +0000 http://natalienewhart.com/?p=543 Lesson 1: You Are in Control- How I Dealt with Divorce During 2013 CF Games It’s inevitable: everyone falls down from time to time — it’s just that some are better than others at getting back up. For as long as I can remember, I have always had that resilient mindset to never give up, no matter how big the ...

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Lesson 1: You Are in Control- How I Dealt with Divorce During 2013 CF Games

It’s inevitable: everyone falls down from time to time — it’s just that some are better than others at getting back up.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had that resilient mindset to never give up, no matter how big the setback. Maybe its the way I was brought up, or that I’m extremely competitive, or maybe its because I tend to pursue everything in my life with an enormous amount of grit and passion. Regardless, it has always been an important character trait that I’ve highly embraced and valued in everything I do, and I believe that everyone can benefit from strengthening their ability to be resilient. This month I’ll be sharing 4 lessons that I’ve taken away from multiple adversities I’ve faced in my lifetime, in hopes to enhance your ability to keep going when the going gets tough.

What is Resilience and Why Do You Need It?
Being resilient is the ability to get back up when you’ve been knocked down. It’s the mental fortitude to cope with stress and hardships such as:
– job loss
– financial problems
– injury
– illness
– divorce
or on a smaller athletic scale:
– malfunctioning equipment
– poor judging
– last minute changes to an event/competition
– a workout that’s not in your favor

The key component here is that resilient people choose to face these challenges head on and find a solution, rather than falling into despair and letting it get the best of you. Simply put, resilient people know how to adapt and overcome and will often bounce back stronger because of it.

Dealing with Divorce During the Most Important Time of My Life
Being an aspiring professional athlete for the past 10 years, its not surprising that most of my hardships in life involve some connection with my athletic journey- one of the larger ones I’ve faced was going through a divorce during my CF Games debut in 2013. I was part of that very common group of couples where CrossFit (or other fitness endeavor) becomes the source of all relationship problems. Like many, CrossFit changed my life and I became obsessed with it; opening up a gym and training full-time for the Games didn’t help. My marriage was at its worst after I had punched my dream ticket to Carson, CA in May of 2013. Stress was high, the fighting was constant, and yet I still had to balance it all out with running a gym and training for the Games. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least.

The week before the Games, I had just had enough, I couldn’t deal with it any longer. I was stuck in a position where I had to choose between pursuing my passion with CrossFit, or giving up my on spirit and dreams in order to save the marriage. During one of our most heated fights, I made up my mind, grabbed a few of my things and walked out the front door without the intentions of coming back. I was on a plane to Carson, CA two days later to embark on a dream that I had been working on for so long. It wasn’t exactly the way I anticipated my experience to be but I knew that a trip to the Games may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was up to me how I was going to handle this situation. I could have very easily gotten depressed and forfeited my spot, but instead I chose to pick myself up, dust myself off, and make the best of it.

Lesson Learned: Sense of Control
I realized that the experience I was about to have at the Games was completely in my control- I could either handicap myself by dwelling on what had just happened or I could choose to stay in touch with the present and execute each task at hand to the best of my ability. Even during the toughest times of our life, it is important to understand that the choices we make, our attitutde, our ability to cope, and our future is completely within our control. Resilient people see this and use it to their advantage to take the next step forward.

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