A work in progress. A hideaway filled with potential and change. Growth based on the foundations of consistency, effort, and progression.
It occurred to me this morning that in exactly ten days I’ll be challenging myself and my personal limits through sheer physical and mental exertion at a local powerlifting event. Two years in the making through injury setbacks, re-learning technical movements, scraping off the old gym mentality encrusted on my brain, and finally overcoming the mental hurdle and taking the leap. A little over a month ago I was here discussing the mental process to get to the platform and compete; really against myself more than anything. Proving that I can do this and setting what would be a first for me; competition personal bests.
Coincidentally, this week the Online Powerlifting Summit has been taking place just days before the Arnold Expo. An online webinar style series with prominent individuals from various areas of powerlifting providing insight into a range of topics specific to the sport. Topics that are still new to me but starting to find their way into my vocabulary. Periodization, attempt selections, fatigue management, and maximum recoverable volume are a few of the ideas covered and honestly it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Sitting back and looking at everything though it becomes very clear that powerlifting as a sport is becoming as much about the science behind training than simply going to the gym and lifting weights. The focus on powerlifting is growing and as a result so is the effort to be the best. The summit is, and has been for me, a great source of information and is catered to all ranges of competitors including newbies such as myself.
“Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ten Days Out. It’s exciting. A lot of effort and planning designed to peak at a specific time in my training and the opportunity to give everything I have and see what that really is. No more gym numbers, no more excuses when things get hard or difficult. Just some like minded individuals getting together on a Sunday morning (at 6:30AM to weigh in) and enjoying the challenge, physical exertion, wins and losses.A lot could go wrong but more importantly a lot could go right and a stepping stone into bigger and greater things. Maybe provincials, maybe nationals, worlds…ok, ok. Slow down champ.
It’s nerve-wracking. Having been to a couple of events live and watched different videos online I understand the process from a technical standpoint but no idea what it’s like to actually compete and get on that platform. To exert myself all morning and continue to try and lift more than the last lift. What will my body do come game day? What will be going through my head? Will I stay mindful through the whole process and simply be present while enjoying the day; I hope so.
It’s frustrating. On Sunday I fell off the bottom landing of my staircase landing on the hardwood floor and did a bit of damage to something in my right shoulder (insert medical terminology here). Lifts feel a bit heavier now and it aches. With all of the excitement of getting some home gym equipment I quickly realized that the bar I’ve been training with for the past two years is as flexible as they get. End result, the deadlifts I did with moderate ease last week feel HEAVY now. Not that they didn’t before but there is a new subtle shade of red in my face trying to move the weight. This is by no means the end of the world but my mind recognized immediately the heavy weight so something else that flutters through my mind. On a positive note it’s a reminder that different conditions will always be a factor and the stiffer bar, in the long run, will be extremely beneficial for training.
It’s motivating. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of friends and mentors through this process and really wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Avi and Mike, a couple of Canadian national powerliting icons, happened to be the first two people I met when getting into the sport and by a strange twist of fate I now work with Mike. Daily questions are now the norm at an annoyingly frequent basis and through it all they have both been there to educate and help. Watching them both compete at the 2016 Canadian Nationals was incredible. Mike passed out on his first deadlift attempt only to revive himself, walk off the platform, and a few minutes later crush his second attempt. 30kg heavier than his first (which was successful as he guided the weight down with control before then passing out). Avi benched a raw 500lbs and set the tone for the entire competition early on. You see these moments and realize that in this sport there are people passionate to the point they can push themselves to limits that they may not even realize.
It’s fun. This process has been fun without question. Learning. Training. Working hard and sharing this with my friends and family. Trying out new gear for the first time (There’s a chance this is being written with me in full gear – singlet, belt, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, shoes, socks…The new standard for writing) Trying to get knee sleeves on that will unforgivably cut the circulation off in my foot if even the slightest fold exists once on. The belt bruises, the random stair/shoulder injuries, the heavy weights, the exhaustion, the small wins, the people. It’s all fun. And in 10 days that will be the most important thing. Competing against myself, and others in my flight for that matter, but myself. Who else have I been competing with all this time? Nobody else has been pushing me down this path to whatever result happens but myself. So it’s time to showdown with gym me and see what he brings. Maybe I’ll wear my singlet to the public gym this weekend. Why not. It has to be fun otherwise what is the point pursuing something so physically challenging when being at the gym going 60-70% would probably lead to the same health/appearance results.
Good luck to those other competitors in ten days. 9/9, no injuries, personal bests for everyone. Bring your ‘A’ game though because mine is already on that platform. These nuisances, whether mental or physical, are but mere setbacks on this path and without them there would be no growth. Ten Days.