I’ve discovered a few things that I should have already known in this training cycle about myself.

  • First, my nutrition plays a much bigger role in my success than I wanted to admit.
  • Second, missing weights, no matter why, messes with my head.
  • Third, I expect progress too fast.
  • Fourth, I need to change my attitude about training and get aggressive and angry more often.
  • Fifth, I cannot objectively evaluate my own mistakes.

I’ll review these before I begin wrapping up training for the week.

Looking at point number one, I have always tried to eat well, but it was never the priority it should have been, especially the last few years. I really let myself go and I got FAT. I was never lean, but was grotesque the last few years. Since I have been Carbohydrate Back Loading starting in March, I have made a lot of progress towards getting the fat off. I feel better, I move better and I think I lift better.

I always felt that my leverages were better and I would be stronger lifting in the 308’s, but it was a chore to get my weight in the 300 pound range. I did  WHATEVER was necessary to get the weight on and looking back, I think my lifting suffered for it. I will be lifting in the 275’s this time and I think I will be able to, in time, set PR’s regardless of my age. This is as long as I can stay at least as healthy as I am now.

Think of your body like a race car, we have all heard this analogy before right? To make a race car go faster, of course you need to tune the engine and suspension (training), but you also must strip off anything that does not make it go faster (diet/ body fat). I need to be more like a Ferrari, big motor, no excess fat and uncomfortable to drive.

I have always been more of a Cadillac. Caddy’s have a huge motor, big cushy seats, A/C and lots of accessories, and are VERY comfortable to drive. Sure a Caddy has a ton of horsepower, but it needs it to move 6000 ponds from red light to red light or to be like a living room on a long drive.  You would not take a Coupe DeVille to the drag strip, but this is exactly what I was doing. A Powerlifting meet is like a drag race, one huge burst of power and then lots of sitting around until the next race.

I need to focus more on my nutrition to strip away all the excess junk that slows me down. I also realize that an inadequate caloric intake inhibits my performance. I have been struggling to get in enough calories at night to fuel my training the next day and to recover from the training I just did. On the days that I do strive to eat as much as I can, I always feel better the next day, and lift better. I missed a few lifts in this training cycle and I attribute it mainly to not eating enough. This is something I will work at to make sure it does not happen again.

I’ve touched on the second point before, but it needs to be addressed, at least for my own piece of mind, missing weights. This has never been an issue, but now that I am using percentages, it is killing me if I miss. I think about it over and over and try to figure out what happened. The only answer I can find is a lack of fuel in the tank. At the midpoint of many workouts I am shaking and out of gas. It could be too much volume or something else, but I don’t think so. It doesn’t happen if I put on a show at the dinner table the night before. This one will be harder to fix than some others.

I’ll need to learn how to either let go of the past (misses) or to re channel the energy into something positive and EAT.

Point 3 is a big one. I look at the numbers I used to move and I want them back now! I realize that the journey to a 1000 pound squat is going to take a little longer than I want it to. I have 2250 on my white board in my office. It consists of a 1000 pound squat, a 600 bench and a 650 deadlift. I am most focused on the 100 pound squat, I think the deadlift will not be a huge problem, but after this week, the 600 pound bench is looking like a dream. It is working out to be a nightmare.

I do not expect to hit these numbers any time soon, but in my head, I thought a little over a year would get me there.  Once I get in the habit of handling heavy weight on a regular basis, the strength comes back fast. While things are coming along in the squat and deadlift the bench, as always is my nemesis. Sure I’ve done over 500 in a denim shirt (not much) and the Metal Jack Bench Shirt is about a thousand times easier to use and better than my old denim, 600 is a lot of weight.   I know I have friends who bench much more than that, but no matter what anyone thinks, 600 is a lot of weight! Especially when it is almost a 100 pound PR over anything you have ever done. I’ll need to learn to have patience and drive.

I have always had the drive, sometimes it gets pushed down and sometimes it is high, but it is always there. I need to bring it to the front and leave it there. My son is a gift in this journey. He has taught me to have patience. This is something my grandfather tried to teach me, but it fell on deaf ears. Maybe all the things he taught me are finally coming out, just a little late.

Point 4 needs to be fixed. I read an article years ago that stuck with me, and I may have interpreted it too literally. Louie wrote a piece for PLUSA about not getting psyched up for your gym work and saving it for the meet. He said to look at gym lifts like work. You have a set amount of work that day, just do it. I now believe that he was referring to not getting too jacked up over a lift so as not to burn out before a meet. I took this in the wrong direction. I don’t get psyched up at all anymore. I just go in and do my work. One of my training partners, Kevin, has been telling me to get aggressive for a while and attack the weights. He could not be more right. He always is. I have not been getting jacked up or being aggressive at all. It is hard to get jacked up for a 365 bench. I’ll need to put my ego aside and do this more often. I never wanted to be the guy getting all worked up over a 315 squat. I might have to be that guy to make some progress.  Angry Murph might be coming back.

Point 5 is enlightening to me. I was lucky enough to spend about an hour in my office with Spud and Dale looking at videos of me training. Normally when I look at someone or watch a video, I can pick out the slightest technique issue. I watched the same video they did, and I saw nothing wrong. I was pretty happy with what I saw, except for the weight on the bar. They were watching a different video than me. It was like watching a Celtics game in T.V. with the sound down and listening to Johnny Most do the play by play on the radio. If you are form Boston, you know what I mean. This is what you did. Watch the game, sound off, radio on. Johnny Most was not calling the same game as you were watching. It was awesome!

Spud and Dale ripped me to shreds and that is exactly what I needed. I took what they said and applied it, and I feel my lifting is better for it.

On to this week’s training: It was another deload from Brian Carroll. Brian deloads me every 3rd week, and he is right on. Since I had a bad week in the suit, he changed my squat workout to doing a few doubles in the new Metal Jack Pro Squat Suit. I needed to get used to the new suit so we worked with 500 for doubles. I think this was a good idea. I have much more confidence and will hit my numbers when I go into the gym today.

Assistance work was light, I did 3 sets of Belt Squats. I love this exercise. It fries your quads and does not beat up your lower back. 3 sets of Reverse Hypers and we were done.

Bench day was nothing spectacular, Floor Presses with the EFS Multi-Grip Swiss Bar™ for reps. This was much better than last time. Brian said to keep it light and I used 225 for my sets. It did not hurt nearly as much as last time. My overhead presses felt much better too. I did flys and pushdowns with EFS Bands. I stepped up to using an average band for the flyes. Holy shit! This was a huge difference in tension over the average band. My man boobs were sore for days.

Deadlift day was also nothing spectacular. Keystone deadlifts, shrugs, Good Mornings and abs. I kept things very light as Vincent Dizenzo was coming to TPS for his monthly bench clinic the next day. Vincent has been coaching me on my bench off and on for years. He has a unique ability to have anyone he works with smash weights when he is in the room. I always do well when he works with me and I was looking forward to this. If I could do as well as I do with him when I am by myself, I’d be benching 600 in about 2 weeks. He’s that good.

I consulted with Brian Friday night and he asked how I felt. For the first time in months, I had no complaints. Everything was coming along and all of my usual pain was very manageable. He said to do my Wednesday workout with Vincent. This seemed like a great idea.

On Saturday I told Vincent what I needed to work on: take the handoff better, bring the bar down a little better, and keep my ass down. We went to work. As I was doing my warm-ups, Vincent was coaching everyone who was here and  the lifters who were before me were all hitting PR’s.

I got to my first work set and it went really well. My ass stayed down, I had good hip drive and the weight moved. On my second set at 385, which should have been a joke, something bad happened. My lower back LOCKED up and it felt like something popped. The spotters took it and I threw a temper tantrum. Real nice Murph. I acted like a baby and should not have. I apologized and then tried to unlock my back. No luck. It is killing me as I sit here and type this.  Hopefully it will be better by the time I go upstairs at 3:30 to squat. Either way, it is not going to stop me. I’ll get the numbers today no matter what.

I’m 4 weeks out now and if I can keep the injuries at bay, I’ll do what I set out to do. I will address all of the points I listed in this article to ensure success.  Thanks for reading and for all of the comments. Also, thanks to everyone who has been helping me. There are too many names to list, but you all know who you are. I also would like to apologize publicly one more time to Kevin, Devin, and the Rear Admiral for being an asshole. Saying you are sorry is the right thing to do when you are wrong. Also, a huge thanks to Vincent Dizenzo for coming up to TPS.

If you are in the Boston area, stop in to Total Performace Sports to meet Murph.