Seeing as this was my first meet, I set a couple of goals for myself.
- Total 1000 lbs. I set this goal back in January when I originally signed up for the meet.
- Hit PRs on each of my second attempts. This would give me a chance to harness “meet magic” for my third attempts across the board. You’ll hear a lot about “meet magic” in the weeks leading up competitions. All I will say is it’s real, and it’s spectacular.
- Have fun and learn what it’s like to lift in front of a large group of amazing athletes.
The down and dirty – I competed in the 198 lb raw modern division. I weighed in at 194.5 and opted to use knee sleves, olympic weightlifting shoes and a belt.
- 300 lbs (3 greens) – conservative opener. I rode a linear progression train into 295x3x5 so it had been forever since I squatted with fresh legs. I hit 315 the Friday prior to the meet, but I wanted a nice safe opener.
- 325 (3 greens) – 10 lb PR at the time. Lost my chest a little bit but the bar flew out of the bottom.
- 350 (3 greens) – 35 lb PR prior to the meet, and 25 lb PR over my previous lift. This was a grinder, but form was good. Huge PR for me, and a great goal achieved. This lift taught me where I’m weakest in the squat. My legs are strong, but I lose my tight back and proud chest coming out of the bottom. I’ll focus on fixing this during my deload.
- 215 (3 greens) – another conservative opener. Easy hit.
- 235 (3 greens) – 5 lb PR, not as fast as I had hoped, but I only recently started pause benching. I was torn between 240 and 245 for my third and ended up going with…
- 245 (3 red) – I lost my tightness at the bottom as the bar hit slightly higher than I wanted. I think I could have easily hit 240 but, oh well. It was a fun attempt. I have decent upper body strength, but my competition bench form needs work. I’ve started adding more pause reps into my programming and I will continue to do so.
Deadlift – my bread and butter lift
- 415 (3 greens) – This weight FLEW off the platform. My buddies came up to me and said I looked shocked at the top due to how light it was. This was another conservative opener.
- 460 (3 greens) – 5 lb PR, and this also FLEW off of the platform. It felt like 315. I’m going to guess that having a week and a half of rest after riding a 10 lb/session linear DL progression for 2 months will put your back in a good place. I looked at one of my handlers (an amazing lifter) and gestured “5 – 0 – 0 ?”, and he gave me the go ahead for…
- 500 (3 greens) – 45 lb PR and 40 lb PR for the day. What a f*cking rush. Looking at the video I would say that I had another 15 lbs in me. I wish I could go back and change time in order to total 1100. Oh well, there’s always next meet.
I weighed myself the night before and was at 199-200, so I was just a little bit worried about making weight. I skipped breakfast (I’m on IF, so I never eat breakfast anyway) and weighed in at either 194.5. Went to a diner after and had a whole wheat calzone and sweet potato fries. Washed that down with a diet coke and I was good to go. Other than that, the past week has been active recovery and very light reps of the lifts just to grease the groove. I stayed on IF, but made sure to eat fairly carb heavy the two days leading up to the meet. I almost always get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Back in January I deloaded my squat to 185x3x5 and rode a 5lb/session linear progression up to 295x3x5. I ran a 10lb/session 1×5 DL linear progression and Texas method press concurrently. I eat IF with carb cycling and bike approximately 20-40 miles a week commuting. I get adequate sleep and eat clean. There’s no secret formula or magic pill here, just hard work and clean eating.
I need to focus on squat and bench form. I need to keep a prouder chest on squats and start pause benching more. I’m going to add a “light” squat day on Weds. but continue to ride linear progression as long as possible.
My Recommendations for Prospective Competitors
- Don’t change ANYTHING. If you train in sleeves, lift in sleeves. If you don’t eat breakfast, DON’T eat breakfast.
- Have a handler (preferably who lifts). It’s always nice to have someone to give you a second opinion on your next lift, to hold the nose tork for you and to hold your ipod when you take it off.
- Bring food and water. My snack of choice was beef jerky and shortbread cookies. Meets are long, and your adrenaline will be FLOWING most of the day. Stay hydrated and stay eating.
- Be conservative with your openers. You are going to be so juiced up and the last thing you want is to adrenaline dump and to bomb out on squat.
- LISTEN to the commands. I saw countless lifters (good lifters at that) miss lifts because they didn’t follow commands. My opinion: focus on the commands, not the weight. You won’t even realize how heavy it is.
My General Musings
For those of you who think you don’t have the time, or the genetics, or the ability to get strong, I think you’re a f*cking liar. I went from a 185 lb squat to 350 in 2 months with nothing but hard work, clean diet and adequate sleep. Too busy to do that? Bullsh*t. I work 30-40 hours a week in my lab, teach, take 8 credits of class at night, volunteer on Mondays and have to go into my lab on weekends. I also bike commute and am studying for the MCATs. If I can find time to do this, ANYBODY can. There is no secret formula. Oh, you have the time but you’re not genetically gifted? I weighed 250 lbs in high school and was a fat tub of sh*t. I totaled 800 when playing football. 800! That was in my anabolic prime. Every time you step into the gym challenge yourself. Clear your mind. Forget about your stresses and problems in life. Turn the music up, get a few slaps on the back and slam some bars. You can achieve anything you put your heart and soul into. Be f*cking epic.