Compete or Not Compete

A week ago; working up to 405 pounds and testing the depth of my squat. Depth has been an issue as a result of aggressive forward lean and perhaps simply not being mentally ready to get low enough based on previous bad lifting habits.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to really think about what drives my lifting. Having never competed before, up until now it has been solely for personal enjoyment. To constantly challenge myself and better myself under the weights. March 2016 marks a milestone. A potential competition for me to enter, while fully healthy, and test my strength at a sanctioned Canadian Powerlifting Union “CPU” event. A sense of legitimacy perhaps. Yet there has always been hesitation.  The same challenges I set for myself end up driving me to set goals that are perhaps unobtainable and therefore prevent me from competing.

Competition has never been a driver for me. I’ve never needed to compete against anyone to find satisfaction while lifting weights. By remaining at the gym however the sense of legitimacy is fleeting. Gym strong. Lifting weights at the gym doesn’t equate to lifting on the platform. There are endless reasons in my head why there I’m not legitimate. Perhaps because I’ve only truly been lifting and training like a powerlifter would for the last couple of years. My knowledge base has expanded incredibly over those two years and perhaps now that’s why it seems like a good time to try and compete.

Its also perhaps why I avoid talking too much about lifting here. That same sense of legitimacy and expertise doesn’t really exist in my head.  I’m not a coach, nor a personal trainer and therefore expert does not belong my name. I’ve trained, for the last 15 years of my life, and specifically the last two using block periodization methods while learning everything I can about the sport. Training methodologies, volume workloads, types of exercises, how to build programs based on progression aiming to peak at a certain point of time. The idea that in the gym you don’t have to spend week after week chasing a PR has been replaced by one that relies on months of training in order to see what ultimately becomes a new PR.  That’s my “expertise” you could say and in reality is simply my journey through this amazing sport meeting amazing people along the way.

“In nooks all over the earth sit men who are waiting, scarcely knowing in what way they are waiting, much less that they are waiting in vain.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I hope to incorporate more of my fitness journey into the blog in the coming weeks and months to track progress and the things going on in my head as I prepare for my first local competition.  It’s a local competition!  If a powerlifter who has competed even at a provincial or state level reads this they will probably laugh at the idea.  I go back to what I’ve said in previous blog posts.  Celebrate the small steps and celebrate the small victories.  Signing up is the first small victory.  Training is always a victory and actually creating a small sense of legitimacy will be another victory.

As Nietzsche writes about waiting I feel I have lived this path for too long. Waiting in vain. Waiting to sign up? Waiting for what. Really it’s waiting because it feels easier then actually committing to a competition; there is no risk in that. There is no risk of failure in waiting. No risk in putting yourself out there and in a sense being vulnerable to the process of working incredibly only to succeed or fail in front of the people that have been there with you. The risk however is that we forever wait and never know the successes and failures of trying. So with semi-regular updates we shall see how the progress goes and in March I’ll test myself.





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