Over the weekend I attended a local APF-AAPF meet.
I was there to handle a training partner, a female- which had me surrounded by female powerlifters an entire day--when something hit me.
As the day progressed I begin to ponder on the thought that "hit" me. Now to set the background- imagine a warm mid-western morning, a parking lot littered with people waddling carrying over sized bags, drinking water or Pedialyte.
Everyone is making their way to the front door of a high school gymnasium- similar to every other meet we've all attended. One thing that stuck out- no "big names" no promise of a massive squat-no 600 lb bench-no 800 lb plus pulls- and surely no monster totals would be falling on this day.
What I did see was the new wave of powerlifters- lot's of novelty socks- fancy squat shoes - hell I even saw a couple of bedazzled levers on belts- BLING BLING. No one had big legs, no gun show, and damn sure no traps- just a bunch of people looking like they were just walking around holiday park holding hands on a cute date. Yeah I know you're all thinking, he's about to blow his top, well I'm not.
The meet itself is APF-AAPF, so there are two platforms one for the tested portion of the participants and one for the "open" part of the event. I obviously was anchored to the "open" platform for the majority of my day.
That is where my creative juices started flowing.
Woman after woman stepped up and squatted- there were a couple of 300-400 pound squats, I witnessed a handful of females bench over 200 lbs, pair that with a half of dozen 400 plus pound deadlifts and I'm like hold up.
Now take an average male, not sure the stats, but I think it's something along the lines of 5'9" 190 lbs or something close. You pull John Smith out of his office and toss him on the platform- and I'd be willing to bet my weeks pay he couldn't bench 225 lbs. Now granted they're untrained, but it helps prove my point that if you take the time to train your body regardless of strength compared to someone in your respective division, you are strong.
What I see being an issue is this, the digital world we live in allows us almost in real time to keep up with our "competition." We get on powerlifting watch, pop in (SHW/raw w/wraps/open) and bam there it is, the top 50 in S/B/D and total. We start at the top, and we have this fascination with the "top ten" numbers- which is great, goals are a fantastic motivator, but being realistic is a significant component in success. Comparing yourself to the best of the best in your division is the catalyst for the whole "man I suck" mentality.
Time and time again, I've had people come up and talk to me, and at some point, the conversation bears the same line- "I know I'm not strong like you guys or anything." Now, of course, this statement is true, but stop comparing yourself to the top guys and girls.
Instead, take your total, look on the top 50 and look five spots ahead- make that your goal- were all strong, way stronger than most the humans walking the planet, so give yourself some credit. If you're not even in the top 50- easy enough, make 50 your goal. By doing this, you eliminate the overwhelming sense of "I'll never be that strong"- you just chip away and chip away and after time that giant boulder becomes gravel.
Stop living in the hype of all the inflated numbers being put up by the "greats" do not let them dictate your course, obsessing over such numbers can lead a false sense of authenticity- when in reality, chances are you're stronger than you think.