Powerlifting Is a Team Sport, Part 2

You can read Part 1 here.
Disclaimer: this is a bit of a sappy log entry, but it’d mean a lot to me if you read it.

Lately, I’ve been working through some personal issues.  As I enter my last (hopefully last, anyway) year of grad school, I’m starting to prepare for some serious life transitions, and uncertainty can be scary.  Honestly, for me, it’s really scary.  Squatting and pulling world records attempts seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

For me -- and for a lot of you -- powerlifting is a sort of escape from these kinds of stresses in everyday life.  Unfortunately, when you’re doing for powerlifting for other reasons, too (like to win meets or set records), that becomes a little tricky.  Stress is cumulative, and your body doesn’t really care where the stress comes from: the stress of training and the stress of maybe not having a job next year both eat away at your recovery.  In fact, I’ve been feeling so stressed lately that, despite training with some pretty darn low percentages for the past three weeks, that my body has been feeling pretty beat up and my motivation seems virtually nonexistent.  That’s a pretty uncomfortable place for me to hang out.

So today, I decided I wouldn’t give a fuck about my program, or peaking for Record Breakers, or injuries, or anything else.  I wanted to hit a heavy squat PR -- I needed a heavy squat PR -- and that’s exactly what I did.  That’s a bit hypocritical of me, considering how much I write about Thinking Strong and training smart, but part of training smart involves having perspective: realizing that it wouldn’t really matter whether I actually hit a PR or not.  The important thing, today, was to have fun training again.

You’ve Got to Have Backup

If you’ve been stressed or unmotivated, taking a PR attempt might seem impossible.  A week or two ago, it did -- I couldn’t even contemplate squatting 700, let alone close-ish to 800.  I got from there to here by remembering that I have a whole lot of support in this sport that I’m very, very grateful for.

First, I’ve got some incredible clients.  I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time with John Teuber earlier this month, and today, I had Francesco Catalano and Kate Hart backing me up for squats (and showing me up in the bench and bicep department).

Mike Lusby isn’t a client, but he and his wife Caroline moved to Austin recently, and it’s made a world of difference to have a knowledgeable support system so close by.  Mike was actually one of my first mentors in strength sports, wayyyyy back around 2009-2010 when I was starting out with strongman.  He’s since gone on to start his own strongman team, Fullsterkur Training, but he’s helped me and Staci out a lot already with our powerlifting movement patterns, and will probably do the same for the entire Big Tex Gym fam here in Austin.

Speaking of movement patterns, Nick Engel at ATX Physical Therapy is a new friend who helped me with some ongoing hip issues with a mix of dry needling and other modalities.  I’m a huge believer in the necessity of bodywork for strength athletes -- and I’m also so excited for my regular bodywork therapist, Tammy of Kinetix Body Science, to make her first move from national-level bodybuilding to powerlifting this weekend!  I’m gonna send her all the good vibes for her record bench and total attempts.

And speaking of Staci, thank you for all your support.  Staci, Jacob Cloud, and Dominic Morais have been such huge influences in my life since I’ve moved to Austin that I just can’t put into words what a difference they’ve made.

I’m Just Rambling Now

Like I said, this was a bit of a sappy log entry, but today was such a stark contrast from the last two months of training that it almost knocked some sense into me -- helped remind me of why I do what I do, why I love to train (and train hard), and really just get back on track.

If you’re feeling off, don’t be afraid to turn to your own support system.  And if you don’t have one, start building one.  It’s not all about asking for help: reach out to others, give back to the strength community, and I guarantee that you’ll have friends you can rely on when you need them.

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