The 300 lbs Barrier

It is currently September 25 2020. Almost the 26th as it is about to be midnight here. One year ago I hit a deep dark realization that I still don't like to think about. I tried HARD and did not qualify for Masters World's Strongest Man 2019. I didn't phone it in...I tried hard and did not make the cut and vowed that this would never happen again. I stepped on the scale and was, well, let us just say that I was under 110 kg (under 242 lbs) at the time. I was lean, athletic, in shape, and I could occasionally perform pretty well in training but I could never have more than a good session or two in a row and if I ever had any kind of slip up in my health...it just shut my body down completely.

The plan was easy in my mind. Start gaining weight. I did not just say this to myself. Even though I mapped out the plan on paper with pen before I told anyone, I did sit down and explain my crazy plan out to my two closest training partners Ilya and Lawrence. I'm really not sure if either one of them believed that I'd actually do it, or maybe that was the voice in the back of my head telling me that I had not gained actual weight in 20 years so what made me think I could do it now.

I wanted to touch a bodyweight of 125/275 lbs in October. I wanted to touch 130 KG/286 lbs at least twice in November and to be above 125/275 at least 15 days of November. By December I wanted to have at least 7 days at 286 lbs, 15 in January, and the goal for February would be to have zero days where I did not touch 286 lbs on the scale.

Sounds like fun, right? I can assure that it was not! I was never not sweating and never comfortable. Some days I could barely see over my own eyelids because my face was so beautifully bloated. I hit panic mode several times during those months.

1) One night I was sure I was about to have a heart attack. I was out of breath just walking across the room. It wasn't that I was fat and out of shape as much as it was that every internal organ was seemingly so full of food nonstop that I could not inhale or exhale to breathe. At midnight I sent my training partner a text message that I was going for a walk and if he didn't hear from me in a few minutes to come looking for me on the side of the road. 100% true story.

2) You can not imagine the level of paranoia I think I hit after a week of barely getting any sleep. People talk about sleep apnea where their throat will close off when they are sleep and they start choking...I never could get to sleep because my throat was closing off. I woke up exhausted and then would eat lunch and need an immediate nap BUT I could not get to sleep because I could not breathe! Yeah, I could take sleep meds to help me to sleep but what if I stopped breathing in my sleep completely? And sleep meds mid day and night? My neck was breaking the 23 inch barrier and I was actually choking myself just walking around with my throat closing just turning my head side to side and from normal-ish breathing. Scared the heck out of me.

Sometime in end of February to March I got a little stressed and might have had some type of mild flu and dropped a few pounds pretty quickly...and I felt amazing all of the sudden. I probably dropped from 286 to 275 in a week or so but I felt amazing...close to how I felt at 240! But the moment that I was able to start eating and training again that is exactly what I did! I was back at 286 within a couple weeks but this time I didn't feel nearly as bad at 286 as I had been.

And I held 286 for a while. April, May, June, maybe even July. Sometime around end of July it became a reality that all of this work (add in a bicep tear and a hamstring tear during this time that I pushed through) wouldn't be for much since all international travel would be locked up tight and Masters World's Strongest Man 2020 would most likely be cancelled anyway. I still broke into the 290 lb range several times in August which is a feat unto itself in ANY August.

Did I try to qualify anyway? You bet I tried. My hamstring simply was not healing fast enough to allow me to pull a raw max deadlift that would put me into a solid contention spot and as of today...once again I've not made the cut for Masters World's Strongest Man. I've done 1 year of busting my tail and I've failed. Or have I?

September 25, 2020 and there is nothing ahead of me that is certain...except for the goals that I've renewed. I will weigh 300 lbs before 2021 gets here. December 28, 2000 I weighed over 300 lbs and then began dropping weight immediately. 20 years of hard work later, I'll break 300 lbs again BUT I will be 43 years old putting on muscle instead of 23 years old putting on that easy gains muscle. I also won't be so fat that I give myself stretch marks all over my belly (I did that) again.

Today I stepped on the scale at 134.4 KG which is...let me get out my converter...296.3 lbs. I have 3.7 lbs to go in order to break the 3 bills barrier. 1.68 KG to go. I'm pretty sure I could just get some good pump workouts in, add in some creatine, salt load everything, keep my rice content and fluid content high, AND THEN sit down and eat and drink just an amazing amount of food for a couple of days and break that BUT I'm going to take a real shot at this, just to say that I did it.

Will this help me get to WSM-Masters 2021? Who knows really. I did get pretty sick about 10 days ago, again, and dropped about 15 lbs, continued to be strong in the gym, and the weight came back FAST so I think that this is the healthiest way for me to be a competitor. Besides...once "the season" actually starts I'm sure that with my food at this level and my activity level increased I will have to fight to stay anywhere near the 285 lb range. I already have my mouthpiece in though...

Slowly building...2021.

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