Why do you work out? What are your goals and motivations? Are you hitting your goals? Are you making progress? How do you track your progress?
I’ve been asking myself these questions lately which has led me to enter my first powerlifting competition. After fracturing my ankle a few years ago I hung up my basketball boots and if there’s one thing I miss more than ever, is competition. I miss the thrill of beating people and the buzz of competition. That motivates me.
I started taking my training very seriously since I decided I wasn't going to play basketball anymore and I’ve made some steady progress in that 3 years. I’ve followed a few programmes here and there and I really got into heavy lifting when I started doing Crossfit. Crossfit gets a bad name, but for me it introduced me to lifting heavy. I’d been going to the gym on and off for years before Crossfit but the reason I never stuck at it, was because I don't really enjoy bodybuilding. I don't enjoy “bro splits”, I hate single body part training but I wanted to look good so that’s what I thought I had to do. I always thought low rep training gets you strong but not big, and I wanted muscles. Crossfit taught me about heavy squats and deadlifts as well as overhead pressing. I also had the chance to try Olympic lifting which was great. Most importantly I had competition, the chance to compare myself to others. Interestingly I still improved my physique following low reps. In fact it’s almost like I got better results and my muscles needed that higher intensity.
I gave Crossfit up due to repeated nagging injuries but what I didn't do was continue lifting heavy. I would always challenge myself and try and always hit new rep maxes. Over the last year I have been watching my friend Tom with a keen interest as he started powerlifting. I’ve been interested for a while but I don't think I was in the right frame of mind to do what it takes to compete.
Powerlifting encompasses everything I love about lifting weights. Big compound movements have always been the staples of my training anyway and I'm always trying to improve my skill execution of these lifts as well as my strength. However I wasn't ready to commit to a structured programme dedicated to improving my maxes so I didn't bother. Being in the right frame of mind is so important when you set yourself a new fitness goal, something I will be touching on in the future.
Lately I have felt like I have hit a plateu, my maxes aren't really going up and I don't really have a focus on training. Which led me to ask myself the questions I asked in the beginning. As time has gone on I've come to realise I am one of the stronger guys in my gym and having looked at some of the powerlifting competition results, while I’m some way off being the best I certainly don't think I would be out of place. Furthermore I need a new motivation to train; so here I am about to start my journey as a powerlifter. I’ve kind of gone past the stage in my life of caring massively about my physique. Don't get me wrong it’s important but not as important as being as strong as possible in the squat, bench and deadlift. I think as long as I eat well and train I will always be happy with my physique.
My journey starts here…...