Never in my life when I started powerlifting did I think I would be chasing a World Record in ANY weight class, let alone gain so much muscle and strength that I would be forced to go up a weight class. When I couldn’t cut to 148 anymore, I began shaking in my boots looking at the competition in the 165 class. Currently the records are 485 lb raw (knee sleeves) squat, 330 lb bench and 537 deadlift and 1317 lb total. The only thing I’m close to right now is the deadlift, and trying to get five or ten pounds every meet or even in training has been like pulling teeth. The “newbie gains” are a real thing, and they definitely slowed the fuck down ages ago.
There’s always going to be some sort of obstacle in your way when you’re trying to achieve something, no matter what it is. In powerlifting, its either a plateau, an injury, another lifter in your weight class, or even yourself. Lately for me it’s been the pain in my shoulder, which makes benching impossible and my grip on the deadlift suffer. The leaps you make in progress as a novice lifter are huge, but as time passes you find your patience in this sport gets tested. What tests it even more is being injured and trying to work around it to maintain even the smallest amount of strength. The moment most people stop seeing easy gains, they start questioning their commitment to their training and end up being just another “tourist” in the sport. They came. They tried. They left.
I am obsessed with powerlifting. I live, breathe, think and talk about this shit constantly. I look at training of up-and-coming lifters, past lifters, and top ranked in the world to see if what they do would suit me. All I try to be is better than yesterday. This is what keeps me driven to be the best version of myself, the best in the world. This is what keeps me from being just another “tourist.” You don’t stop when you get sick, or busy, or hurt or even lazy. You get off your ass, you get in the gym and give it 100% every single time you train no matter what weight is on that bar. You do all the things you hate doing or that no one else likes to do, just to make yourself stronger. You figure out what you did wrong and you fix it. If you want to be the best you have to realize that this isn’t a hobby, it’s a sport. That’s means you’re an athlete and being an athlete requires a lot of sacrifice.
Finding a proper program and the proper technique that works with YOUR body and YOUR leverages is extremely important. No amount of steroids, no fancy diet, no $200 squat shoe is going to make you the strongest possible you. You have to earn it. Nothing beats hard fucking work and that’s all I’ve done to try to get the all time world record deadlift. Being only 19lbs away from having it is like having your favorite food right in front of your face, but you have real life T-rex arms. You can smell it, but you have no idea how long it’s going to take it reach it. I pulled 500lbs in September 2015 and so far I’ve only achieved 18 lbs. As much as it sucks, it just makes me hungrier for it. It makes me want to work harder than ever before, than anyone else, because I want to be like Becca Swanson, like Liz Freel, like Laura Phelps, like Susan Salazar, like Kristy Hawkins. It literally only boils down to “how bad do you want it?” And I want it pretty fucking bad. I have to stay hungry.