Powerlifting: a triumphant return (almost)


Happy August, friends! I’m excited to share an update today about my powerlifting. It’s an update that feels so long coming (and that at times I was afraid never would). Today marks six months since my last depo shot and for the first time my back feels almost back to the way it did before I ever got my first injection. I think I’m almost ready to start lifting again!

powerlifting powerlifter
This celebration of a heavier squat day feels so long ago, but at the same time, so much a part of who I am.

A little background

Last May I got my first depo injection. Depo is a form of birth control that is administered as an injection every 12 weeks. Shortly after my first injection, I developed chronic back pain. At first I thought I was sore from power lifting, then I was afraid I was injured. After months of physical therapy with little to no improvement (along with seeing a chiropractor, having x-rays, taking off time from lifting, and lots of stretching), I didn’t know where to turn next.

Some work research on different types of birth control led me to a study that discussed low back pain as a side effect of depo. It wasn’t something I had ever considered, but the moment I read it a light bulb went off. At this point it was February and I had just received that cycle’s depo injection. I decided it would be my last, so I never went in for my May injection.

After stopping depo I still had side effects (they can last up to 12 months after the last injection). While my back pain didn’t resolve immediately, I have noticed a marked difference in how I’m feeling day to day.

Last night, while at a friend’s house for dinner, we were discussing my history with powerlifting and the back pain that sidetracked my progress. Talking about powerlifting felt, for the first time in a long time, like something I might actually be able to pursue again.

Moving forward with powerlifting

I know that if I am to be successful with lifting, I need to take my time and pace myself as I get back. I was so excited last night after the conversation I wanted to go deadlift something right away. Instead, I made a plan.

For the next four weeks, my goal is to regain cardio conditioning and flexibility. I realize it will take longer than that to get where I was, but it’s a start. Starting in September, I will start reintegrating basic weight training. The goal for September is to incorporate all three powerlifting movements (squat, bench press, deadlift) in their most basic forms. Once I have successfully regained my range of movement for all three lifts, October will mark the return to powerlifting. Slowly but surely.

I am a powerlifter

A few weeks ago, Joe introduced me as someone who “used to be a weightlifter.” He didn’t mean anything negative by it, but it made me sad. Powerlifting is part of my identity now. Even though I haven’t done it in earnest in months, it’s part of who I am. After so much uncertainty, I am thrilled to see progress.

powerlifting deadlift

I didn’t realize how down I was about not lifting until the prospect of lifting again was in front of me. I’ve missed it so much. I haven’t felt like myself without it. I am a powerlifter and I will lift again. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon.

I have a plan and I’m ready to make it happen. 

Keep fighting,

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  1. // Reply

    Oh girl, I can’t wait for you to get back at it. I can’t believe a side effect of a birth control would sideline you like that. This is why I’m so hesitant of drugs!!! There are so many weird/awful side effects. Can’t wait to follow your journey!

    1. // Reply

      Crazy, right? I’m so glad to be on the mend and on a path back to lifting. 🙂

  2. // Reply

    I love your resolve! I had no idea birth control could do that… I feel you pain though. I had ACL surgery Friday and I’m already having mild panic attacks about how much muscle I’m going to lose.

    1. // Reply

      Wishing you a speedy recovery from surgery. I was surprised how much of an impact it all had on my mental health, so do take care of yourself physically and emotionally. <3

    1. // Reply

      Thank you so much! I had no idea either and after I discovered it I told one of the nurses at my doctor’s office and her response was, “Well, we don’t mention it because it’s so rare.”

      Uh, should probably still mention it. Who knows how rare it actually is versus women don’t report it because no one told them it could be related.

    1. // Reply

      You’re so kind, thank you Jessica!

  3. // Reply

    That’s so exciting that you are able to get back into something you love! Keep it up!!

    1. // Reply

      I’m definitely excited, thanks!

  4. // Reply

    Wow so inspiring. Lovely story. Glad that you’re back doing things you love.

  5. // Reply

    I never knew depo could have that side effect! I’m glad you figured out what it was and excited for you as you get back into your groove with powerlifting.

    1. // Reply

      Thank you, I was really surprised by it too. After all the research I’ve done (reading through science journals, not just relying on things like forums), I’m equally surprised it’s even still a widely prescribed option. The side effects are super common and can be pretty severe. Regardless, happy to be done with it and seeing improvement.

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