I have a “friend” (whose name I will omit to protect their dignity) who I frequently talk training with. They have lofty long term goals and are amped to get started on the path to greatness. (Their lofty goals are totally doable. It will just take some time and consistency).

This individual also plays competitive softball sometimes and was telling me about a tournament coming up this summer that they were thinking about doing. I was like whoa whoa whoa pump the brakes bucko. We had to have a talk about how important their powerlifting goals were to them and making the choice between the two endeavors if they really wanted to hit their goals. They ended up making the choice of not going to the tournament (I think before we even talked about it).

And it got me thinking about choices surrounding your commitment to training. Everyone I train with places competing and training as a top priority and sometimes I forget that other powerlifters have a different mindset.

This commitment to training isn’t just the time you spend in the gym.

The commitment is committing to your meet cycle and knowing you CAN’T DO MUCH ELSE during that time. You’re probably not going to plan a vacation or take a long weekend unless you can somehow plan training and not have the travel take a toll on you.

Your physical activities (or lack thereof) are going to depend on where you are in your training year. Do you enjoy running? Soccer? Beer league softball? Well you’re not going to do any of that during a meet cycle. Maybe not even right before.

Training isn’t just about what happens in the gym. It’s about your recovery and energy expenditure in other areas of life. If powerlifting is truly a priority, your time and energy will go into powerlifting.

I went to a batting cage once during the off season. Will I do it during a meet cycle? No because it fucking hurt and my body isn’t used to it and I don’t need my elbow tendinitis flaring up from something not lifting related.

This may sound depressing but you know what’s worse? Fucking up my bench from doing something that is unnecessary and completely in my control. I know what my end goals are and I would prefer to do things that align with those end goals. The thought of putting all of this time and effort into a meet just to have it derailed by an unnecessary activity is not my piece of cake.

If you don’t want to give up those other activities, that’s fine. Just adjust your powerlifting expectations accordingly. Don’t talk about adding a hundred pounds on your total then be surprised when it doesn’t happen because you skipped a few weekends of training and compromised your recovery with other physical activities.

I think this is just part of the evolution of an individual powerlifting “career” (what other word can I use because it’s obviously not a career but I’m not sure what else to call it) (long term hobby maybe). You start probably by dabbling and going about your life as normal. Then you make lifting a priority. But just your time in the gym. Then you make it a priority in the rest of your life.

Just know that there is a difference between making the few hours in the gym your priority and making the rest of your life conducive to getting stronger as well.

I’m not even good yet but I know that in order to be good, I have to make sure that everything I do outside of the gym aligns with my goals in the gym.

Anyway this is probably not news to a lot of people, but might be if you are still scheduling vacations during training time and wondering why your meet did not go as planned.