Boss of Bosses 3 — My First Meet Representing elitefts

TAGS: Caffeine and Kilos, boss of bosses 3, hip pain, Dani Overcash, Dan Green, meet performance, physical therapy, powerlifting meet, Hannah Johnson-Hill, powerlifting


I have no idea how I didn’t bomb out of this meet, circumstances as they were. I have no pictures from the meet, as I was pretty scattered. This meet was primed to be excellent: my ambitious goal of 1000 at 123 in sleeves should have been right there. But the people you keep around you will have an effect, positive or negative, on you when it comes down to the wire, and it is cumulative.

I went 6/9 on attempts with a 352-pound squat, 181-pound bench press and 413-pound deadlift for a 947-pound total, six pounds off my best, after next to no sleep for two nights in a row. Writing it sounds way better than it actually feels. I need to get better at surrounding myself with the right people more consistently. I tend to give more than I am re-fueled, so it’s easy for me to become depleted.

This meet was the first meet I’ve worn a team shirt to, and that was intentional. Representing this team is so much more than a logo or a brand. I didn’t perform the way that I wanted to on the platform, but sleep deprived and emotionally distracted, I can say I’m proud of how I represented the team. I didn’t hit anywhere near my realistic numbers, missed the world record that should have been there, and totaled less than my last meet. However, Caffeine and Kilos had worked with Dan and Sparkle to award sponsorship to one athlete who was positive and uplifting, and I was awarded that sponsorship.

It took everything in me to show up to this meet, and my heart in this sport is so soft and committed to a vision more than a total. We need women to speak something different, and this vision was actualized when I had my first interaction with an elitefts team member (which I'm about to share with you). I’m not a huge “sponsorship” person, but this meant so much to me, to know that I am not completely failing at representing that vision on a day when I felt entirely defeated. Sparkle caught me tearing up when she announced it. I totally denied it, but I can’t verbalize what this meant to me: at my most depleted, on a day we are told to be selfish, I could still represent what I think it means to be a part of Team elitefts. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel like someday I’ve earned the shirt.

My first meet, September 2014, I met Hannah Johnson. This was not only my first meet but also my first experience with an elitefts team member. She spent her time and energy building everyone around her up, making them laugh, and I swear if it were possible to make it rain joy in a room, she was doing it.

The next day, Hannah wore her elitefts gear and it finally dawned on me she was that Hannah Johnson. If you’ve ever met her, you know what kind of person she is. Everything about how she carried herself, interacted with other competitors, and prepared for the platform inspired me and lit up a part of me that longed to give to people what she gave to me. Hannah showed me what it meant to want to feed the people around you, and exercise gifts and talents given to you to bolster growth and positivity. That’s one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about being part of this team. the lovely Hannah

When I see the elitefts text on my shirts, I think about what it means to be a part of this team, the why behind what we do. It’s never just about numbers. It’s a big deal to me because there is so much about this team and this company that resonates with my heartbeat. I’m not a big “sponsor” person, because competing is something so deeply personal to me. When I filled out my application to become part of the team, one of the things I remember writing about most was that aligning myself with a team, brand, or idea, is almost a question of character: do these things match and breathe life to each other? It’s a heartbeat, not a label or a hashtag.

I don’t feel deserving of the opportunity. I haven’t felt ready to wear the logo. Representing this team and company is a huge deal, and I reflect on meeting Hannah. Even in my RUM9 prep, I knew I’d have a great meet, but didn’t feel ready to really identify as part of the team.

This meet was different. I felt like somehow, there was something in me that told me, “you’re as ready as you’re ever going to be.” I will constantly be growing. I will constantly be learning, and humbled by those that have more experience, knowledge, and more stellar character than I do. That continual growth is a gift.

So, back to meet prep.

I use a variation of the peaking plan outlined in Swede’ s 5thSet. It’s worked beautifully for me in two other meets, including RUM9, where I put up a 90-pound PR total that had a #2 all-time ranking at the time. My peaking cycle this go around had me at training maxes of a 360 squat and 190 bench. The projected 3-5% added to those numbers on meet day has been pretty consistent, so I was looking at roughly a 565 subtotal before deadlifting, generally, the lift I feel best about. I’d recently pulled 405 for easy reps for multiple sets and was feeling great…and then I jacked up my hip to where squatting or pulling wasn’t happening. Three weeks out I could hardly work on patients during the day.

RECENT: 5 Keys to Fixing Your Hip

This was the meet I was looking to get my 1000 total at 123 in sleeves. Letting go of that goal was hard. Really, really hard. I’d already worked through some serious negativity associated with training, scheduling, negative training partners, and I hated letting go. And honestly, I didn’t want to go if I wasn’t going to hit at least a PR. I had to ask myself some hard questions, and really think about the answers.

I think that’s when I knew I wanted to wear the shirt. I had no idea how that day would unfold but I went to the meet thinking about what it meant, as written above:

Feed the people around you, and exercise gifts and talents given to you to bolster growth and positivity.


I had a pretty emotionally wrecking phone call Friday night. I felt sick all night, and the only sleep I got was 45 minutes from 6:30-7:15. I’d not slept much all week already anyway, was cutting weight, and didn’t sleep Thursday (does anyone actually sleep while cutting?). I went for a walk at 3:15 AM and knew I had a choice. I’d put everything I had left in me into this meet. I was more physically and emotionally depleted than I think I’d been in a very long time, and in six hours, I was supposed to squat 374 pounds.

It wasn’t going to happen and I knew it. Warmups felt like I thought they would. Slow. Messy. I never have a hard time getting my head in the game on meet day but there’s a first for everything. I kept my head organized and logical as best I could, tried to remind myself that I’ve had amazing training days in similar circumstances, but was ultimately distracted.

team head

Squat opener was slow, and I knew it.  But I was in the meet.

My second attempt, I dropped my wrist wraps and getting them back on ate into my time on the clock. It was also dead silent in the room. I rushed my setup and with 15 seconds left on the clock by the time I even got up to the mono somehow ended up narrowing my stance significantly. I had the messiest, most energy expending second attempt at 352 that I could have imagined. It took way too much out of me. As soon as I racked the weight all I could think about was how I was going to get through the rest of the day. I was exhausted. I’d slept a total of three hours in the last 48, with an average of four hours the other nights of the week.

Most of us have seen the video of Tee Cummin’s second squat attempt. Tee was one of the first powerlifters in my generation I’d heard of, and seeing that happen to someone seemed unfair on so many levels. I looked down at my shirt and saw the logo. I hate seeing anyone hurt — I feel like I am literally put on this planet to heal. It’s what the tattoo on my ankle represents. As soon as that happened, my mind completely shifted. Yes, okay, I was there to compete. But this community at times is so fueled by ego, and I hate that. It felt so wrong to be sitting there watching, not doing everything I could to help, in order to “keep my head in the game.” So I jumped in. And then with another four lifters later in the day. My gracious, I love these athletes. Y’all are so determined and so inspiring.

RELATED: IPA Mountain Madness — My First Single-Ply Meet

The rest of the day, from a performance standpoint, was pretty anticlimactic, minus holding 435 in my hands mid thigh for nine full seconds before being given the down command and red lights. Glad my grip doesn’t seem to be an issue, even if positioning is. I think during my bench warmups I was bouncing between warmups and checking in on three other athletes as a PT. It wasn’t my day, and it felt like the right thing to do to make sure I was giving what I could to those that needed it that could have their day. This is an individual sport on the platform but...not really. I think we all know that. No one comes back from a meet (no matter how good or how bad) and raves about how they kicked ass and loved  thinking about only themselves and didn’t thrive off other people that day. No one says, “the best part of my weekend was being entirely selfish.” That’s not what this is about.

It stings to think about this weekend because with work the way that it is, needing to really commit to clinical growth, lack of a consistent place to train (I’m not permitted to deadlift half the time I’m at my current gym), I’m not sure how things will go from here. I thought this would be my last big meet for a while, but I feel a bit robbed with everything that happened the night before; who competes on literally no sleep? This was supposed to be it.

I gave a lot to people around me meet day, and I’m so glad. That’s how I want to do life. Every part of it, every day. I need to get better at protecting myself so that I can continue to do that, while still performing in a way that reflects my training — because neither one is going to give.

Casey told me I need to figure out what I want when I told him I went PT mode meet day. The dichotomy isn’t one I’m fond of: compete and be self-focused, or serve and be selfless.

I want both.

And it’ll happen.

It’ll be a long road with a learning curve, but it’s what I truly feel called to do.

To whom much is entrusted, much is expected.


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