JK – A Tale of Goals, Friends, and Priorities

It turns out I may have lied to you.

Well, not lied, per se. Spoken too soon, rather.

If you’ve been following my writings over the past couple months, you’ll know that I have been prepping to compete in my first full, sanctioned powerlifting meet. Training has been going really well, and I have been looking forward to the December 12th meet.

But then I got a text this week…

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Turns out, that’s the only weekend several individuals all had free for my good friend’s bachelor party. Oh, cruel fates, how I am scorned by thee!

Of course, there’s a simple solution here. I could just stick to my guns and do the meet. I might even be able to still make it for part of the second night of debauchery.

After all, someone who talks as much as I do about physical performance and preaches about the importance of consistency would be a pretty damn big hypocrite to forgo the meet he has been training for for months in favor of shacking up in a cabin with his friends for a booze-fueled weekend of dick jokes and Halo, right?

Probably so.

Still, that is what I have decided to do. Mostly because I love these guys, and as life takes us in separate directions, we get to see one another less and less (especially all together like this). The opportunities for me to do another proper powerlifting meet in the near future are fairly abundant. The chances to spend quality time with my friends all under one roof? Less so.

How trite of me.

Honestly, I just really don’t want to miss out on unforgettable shenanigans with friends—the kinds of experiences that can still crack me up when I think about them years later. That stuff is golden.

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Anyways! This news is probably not particularly momentous to anyone reading this (nor should it be), I just wanted to give this update to 1) hold myself accountable for backing out of something I had declared on this site that I was going to do, and 2) point out that lifting doesn’t always necessarily come first for me.

I mean, I really love lifting, but let’s be honest: I am not a world-class powerlifter, nor do I really aspire to be. My livelihood does not ride on my competing (for that matter, neither do the livelihoods of most world-class powerlifters in this country… as I’ve discussed before, people just aren’t really making much money directly from this game, although success in these endeavors can indirectly earn them a lot by promoting their names, brands, businesses, etc.).

What I do aspire to do is to keep getting stronger. This I will continue to do, and my participation in meets will come in time (no rush, right?).

This might all be pretty rich coming from a guy who just decided to bail on a competition, but now just seems like an appropriate time to point out that it’s okay to have other priorities. High fives to all the guys and gals that have the fire to nail their training and nutrition day in and day out, but one’s entire world needn’t crumble to pieces when their friends ask them out to dinner or when they realize they’re going to have to reschedule a squat session to be able make it to their niece’s dance recital (or whatever).

You certainly have nothing to prove to me, and if you feel like you have something to prove to others, you’re (maybe) gonna have a bad time…

The New Plan

All that being said, there’s no way I’m not seeing what I can do after all of this focused training. For this reason, in lieu of attending the real meet, I’ve talked a few of my friends into doing a bit of a mock meet with me on the weekend of December 5th.

This will clearly not be sanctioned (and if it wasn’t sanctioned, did it even really happen???)—just some dudes (and probably my lovely girlfriend!) hanging out in the gym, testing maxes. I might even wear my singlet. You know, just to see how it feels… Or not. We’ll see what happens.

 

Remember (just to retouch on a principal I’ve hammered on in other posts), the point throughout the different phases of my training has been to gradually increase the specificity of the stimuli (i.e. moving from higher-rep sets, more exercise variation, etc. at the beginning to less volume and a pretty strict focus on just the competition lifts towards the end) to meet the final goal of hitting the highest 1 rep maxes I can on the competition lifts. 

The reason I mention this is to provide more context when I say that my training over the past couple of weeks has hit a relatively high level of specificity. In particular, it has consisted almost exclusively of rotating through days of heavy triples, doubles, and singles (sets of 3, 2, or 1 reps) on just the competition lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift), with the intent basically being to practice using the strength I have been developing to move near-maximal loads.

The only accessory movements I am doing at this point are a boatload of face pulls (mostly to help balance against the pressing work and keep my shoulders happy), a small amount of grip work (just hangin’… literally), and a bit of low intensity blood flow restriction work for my upper body on bench days. That’s it!

Originally, the plan was to continue peaking like this through the first week of December and then taper my training volume off during the week leading up to competition. Now that I am testing a week earlier than intended, my time-table has shifted, and I will instead be keeping the pedal to the metal throughout the coming week and then tapering off on the week leading up to December 5th. 

 

So that’s the plan as it stands. The conflict in timing was unfortunate, but this is not exactly the end of the world. There will be more meets, and between now and then, for the most part, I will be busy at work either polishing my abilities with what strength I have or building the means (e.g. muscle) to gain more.

Sometimes, though, I am going to be tempted to place my love of lifting on the backburner in favor of doing something else that I love (if only for a day or a weekend), and I’m okay with that.

I certainly don’t say this to encourage anyone to skip multiple workouts a week in favor of getting liquored up and woofing down some burgers at the nearest pub; I’m just pointing out that one’s commitment to the iron game needn’t involve an “all or none” mindset!

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I’m doing here, please spread the word and share my work! If you want to hear more about the results from our upcoming, officially unofficial mock meet, stay tuned!

 

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