My First Powerlifting Meet

I have accomplished a lot over the past year in my training. Even though I had to take time off to heal from a ruptured tendon in my hand, I was able to set quite a few personal goals including weighted chin ups, a half marathon and a Goruck challenge.

My ultimate goal still remains the same and that is to complete the RKC’s Iron Maiden Challenge. This feat of strength is to do a pull up, pistol squat (one leg) and a press with a 24 kilo (53 pound) Kettlebell. It’s an exciting goal in that, it may take a long time, possibly a year to reach and it’s a humbling goal for the same reason.

While doing the training towards reaching my IM goal, I decided (was talked into) doing a powerlifting meet. My training partners are all guys young enough to be my kids and I find on many occasions, I get caught up in their goals and their training which for me, is a good thing. I find working out with these guys challenges me to lift more, do more and get a little competitive, so when they decided to do a powerlifting meet, I was up for the challenge.

We picked a meet in Orlando that was three months away. Up until this time, I had done some deadlifting and very little bench pressing and no back squats. My main workouts up until that point were Kettlebells. I contacted my trainer/coach, Brett Jones who has been training me online for just over a year. We discussed new programing and set new goals. What I love about my coaching from Brett is that his first concern is always my movement and my form. I had to send videos of all of my lifts for his critique and approval and only then did he started me on my program.

Training with “the boys” taught me to challenge myself, believe in myself and keep my training in line with my goal. I have to admit, I have training ADD. I have a hard time sticking with my goals or I have too many goals at one time and therefore will not make progress. These guys made sure to shut me down whenever I tried to veer off of my program. If I tried to superset my lifts, they were on me. If I didn’t take enough time between sets, they were on me. When I ran over to do some pull ups while waiting for my next set, they made fun of me.

I had no real expectations for my first meet…until I saw the Florida state records for my age group..and then it was on.

I printed out the records, made them my wallpaper for my phone and looked at them constantly. Even with just a few months to train, I knew I wanted to break those records. I was driven and focused.

Focusing on  strength training and powerlifting taught me a lot about myself both physically and mentally. The physical lessons are pretty evident. Strength is as much as skill as it is just being able to lift heavy stuff. Finding my groove, my foot placement, my hand placement, breathing patterns, perfect form and practicing these with every single lift whether a warm up set or max attempt takes practice. Not taking the time to learn the skill and the right set up and preparation for ME is the difference between making a heavy lift seem easy and not being able to lift a weight I know I am capable of.

Physically, I know I am pretty strong with lots of potential to get stronger. Mentally, I have a whole lot of work to do. My first thoughts upon starting a training session and looking at the weight and reps on my plan are, “That’s heavy”, “I don’t think I can lift that much”, “Has Brett lost his mind”? “I can’t do this”, “I am not strong enough” and then goes the downward spiral until my thoughts center on what a weak loser I am.

Yes, I may be physically strong enough, but if my head isn’t in the game and believing that I can kick ass; my attempts are futile.

It was so bad that the guys would put the weights on the bar and not tell me how much and because I can’t add well or do barbell math, I didn’t know what I lifted until the set was over. At my meet, Vince, who handled Dave and I, didn’t tell me what any of my lifts were. All he did was ask how I felt and then told the judge what my next lift would be. I just went out there and lifted.

I know at the meet, I did not lift as heavy as I did in some of my training sessions and that is ok. I broke the state records for the Masters 50 and over and therefore reached my goal. People back home were asking me how much I lifted and what my numbers were. I had no clue until Vince told me several days later. I think had I known how much my attempts were, I would have psyched myself out.

So I’m going to do another PL meet in the fall. This time I will strengthen my mind as well as my body. I will not allow negative thoughts to rent space in my head. I will approach each set, each rep and each lift with confidence. I will know how much weight is on the bar and I will crush it. I will train with intent, I will follow my program. I WILL break the state records that I have set already.

Showing off the hardware

Showing off the hardware


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