Day 27: the power of sleep

Stage 1/A6

I have had the most glorious two nights of sleep over the past few days. My spring “break” started on Friday (although as a PhD/grad student you never get real breaks), so the homework stress has disappeared, and the boy hopped a flight out east for his mom’s 60th birthday this weekend. Obviously I’ve missed him πŸ˜‰ but it’s been nice having a whole bed to myself. I never really realized it but I think I am woken up a lot during the night just sleeping next to him. His own tossing and turning wakes me, and he tends to grind his teeth during his sleep which is surprisingly LOUD (even with earplugs).

This all in tow, I think what was causing my insomnia/restless sleep was probably stress (ding ding, Anna), because last night (without changing any of my normal routine) I slept straight through the night. Amazing feeling.

Workout of the day:

Straight Sets
Squats – 3 sets of 10 @ 105 lbs

Alternating Sets
Push Up – 3 sets of 10
Seated Row – 3 sets of 10 @ 65 lbs

Step-up – 3 sets of 10 @ 25 lbs (6-up)
Prone Jackknife – 3 sets of 12

Now I’m reeeeeelaaaaaaxing on the couch watching some cheesy movie (Under the Tuscan Sun) and reading about stuff on

OH! And I have a progress picture to share – some muscle growth has been happening. Don’t have a before picture, but trust me, I was much smaller. My biceps always felt measly and thin to me. They are thickening out now and looking much stronger.

That’s all for now…hope you all had a great weekend!


15 thoughts on “Day 27: the power of sleep

  1. you look amazing missy!! I’m the opposite of you – when the boy comes over I INSTANTLY fall asleep on his shoulder. Even with loud TV and other distractions…its crazy! Its like he’s a vortex of sleep for me. I hope you have a good spring break (although as PhD students we never get true breaks right?? I realized today I’ve gone into work everyday for the last 3 weeks *SAD*)

    • Awww, that’s so sweet! Sometimes there is a downside to living with your significant other….everything seems way more boring and less romantic. And apparently you get disrupted by your partner’s sleep (although I must admit that when I miss him I sleep terribly! he was only gone for 2 nights so it was ok this time, haha).

      Well I hope you take at least today out of the office and with your hunny!!

  2. Sleep is a real good thing. I should be sleeping now. Oops. I will in a couple of minutes! haha! anyway. Your workouts are looking good – getting close to Phase 2 I see. πŸ™‚ Excited?! And, your biceps look awesome! Keep up the good work, missy. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, I am excited! Only 4 more workouts, and then the “special workouts” (those should be interesting) and stage 2. So I guess that’s 2 weeks. I had a good look over the workouts yesterday and I am pumped to get going on them. It really will be nice to change it up, though I’m nervous about some new exercises!

  3. Sleep is a beautiful thing. I’m glad you found out what troubles you… now if only I could figure out what troubles me – I sleep alone! BUT When I do have a boytoy, sleeping with them is always worse for me, so I totally get what you’re saying.

    Your arms look fantastic by the way! NICE work. You should be proud of your progress! How many more days do you have left in NROL?

    • Sleep troubles are the worst, huh? I’ve definitely had periods of insomnia (mainly stress-related) and it’s hell. It’s like the more you think about it, the more difficult it gets. Do you work out close to bed time? I know I still feel “buzzed” if I exercise close to the time I’m supposed to be sleeping. Also (-and I’m sure you’ve thought about this -) contest prep is sounds tough on the bod/mind, which could have an impact.

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate it πŸ™‚ I have 2 weeks left in Stage 1 (this stage lasts FOREVER) and then I start into the next set of stages. The whole program lasts for 6 months…so that will take me to mid-late June! That being said, I’m not sure if I will do every stage. I think after stage 3 or 4 you can skip ahead if you’re interested in ‘getting cut’ (which I am) so we’ll see. I’m also thinking of working it in with another program (e.g. a 5×5) to keep things interesting.

      • Yeah, I typically finish my workout about 2-3 hours before I go to bed. I don’t get out of work until 5, have to go home and feed/let the dog out, change, etc. and then I need to be in bed by 9:30ish because I wake up at 4:30 to go back to the gym for cardio 4 days a week. Rough cycle.

        Contest prep might be a part of it. I know a friend of mine said he would wake up at random hours (like 2 or 3 am) and be stuck awake for the day when he was doing his contest prep. I can’t even imagine.

        I’m glad your program is long because I like reading your blog. I hope you at least keep it up after you’re done!

      • 4:30 am? Holy moly. That’s dedication; good for you. How long is the actual contest ‘prep’ period (ie. how many weeks in total are you doing this routine?). I’m really curious to keep reading about your experience. Do you foresee yourself doing contests in the future?

        Thanks for the comment on the blog! I’m really glad you like reading. I’d like to keep it up – it’s certainly a good way to keep me motivated at the gym πŸ™‚

  4. Glad you got sleep!!! It’s so amazing isnt it? When you sleep badly and then you sleep well, ah, what a difference it makes! It’s true that we never get breaks as PhDs, even during ‘breaks’! especially when writing papers, gosh whenever I’m one, the days before the deadline my sleep kind of goes to hell…. Ah the stress. PLUS! Can I just say the Calories??? Yesterday without noticing I ate 1900 cals and holy moses, the stomach was screaming for food and i slept sooo bad! never again! PS – awesome pic-looking strong!

    • So true! Paper stress is the worst…ugh. I despise lack of sleep, and I despise it even more when it’s disrupted by schoolwork! And, I am sure the lack of sleep impacts the quality of the work (or at least that’s what I tell myself to try and keep my normal sleep schedule)…

      Also, can I just say its SO nice having you and Christina as fellow PhD students going through this stuff? Seriously, it is awesome to have a weight lifing + academic “community” online. (which reminds me, I’m going to write back to your other message right now)

  5. I’m also on Stage 1 on NROLW. It’s so amazing to see the improvements in strength. I read somewhere that if you’re doing the squats correctly, you shouldn’t be able to squat more than you deadlift. Just wanted to point that out, if it helps.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your note. I’m sure I’m doing the squats correctly as I’ve had others check my form. Another point to make is that the deadlift requires immense grip strength, which takes time to develop, especially in a new deadlifter. I’ve been practicing squats for a couple of years, whereas deadlifts are a completely new exercise to me. If anything, I may not be lifting to my max on the deadlifts because of grip issues, but I’m not squatting incorrectly.

      I did a little bit of research and it seems to me that the squat versus deadlift weight issue is an ongoing debate. Most of the info out there comes from forums (which aren’t by any means reliable). The one article I found on the issue points out that some people have a propensity for deadlifts while others have a propensity for squats – see here:

  6. Pingback: side bar: girl muscles « the lady lifts

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