Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life Lessons from a Powerlifter

It's been a little over a year since I last competed in powerlifting... really doesn't seem like all that long but a lot has changed since then.

Powerlifting started off as a random life challenge I had set for myself one year. I didn't realize how much the lessons I had learned in the sport was going to impact my life.

Here are just a few...
  • Under the Bar : There's no substitution for "Under the Bar" Experience (phrase coined by Dave Tate).  It's great to have the book knowledge, but when you can combine your education with your experiences, it has that much more of an impact.
  • Goal Setting : It's absolutely imperative in all aspects of your life.  Write it down! Make it real, plan your attack.
  • Rising to the Occasion: Learning to put it all together was one of the most important skills I took away from the sport. Anyone can PR a lift in a gym, but it's completely different setting a Personal Record on pre-determined day, with only 3 attempts, 3 judges, a crowd of people watching and having to make a particular weight.  You need to stay smart and focused.
  • Observation : Study people. Both the successes and failures.  There's something you can learn from just about anyone. 
  • Ask Questions : Don't be afraid to learn, and don't be afraid to ask for help even if you don't know someone.  You might even make a friend out of it.
  • Sacrifice, Discipline, and Consistency : Competing in anything at a high level, and dedicating yourself to be the best at something brings a completely new meaning to these words.
  • Staying Smart : Training harder or with more volume doesn't always translate into bigger gains. Training Smarter and more efficiently does. 
  • Understanding Gains - Initially gains happen very quick... but eventually you reach your potential and you must claw your way to get ahead.   As an example... The first year in the sport it took me 1 year to put 200 lbs on my deadlift... after that, it took me 2 years to put 100 lbs on my deadlift... 
  • Little Victories : Much like everyone else, powerlifters always have their eyes set on a very lofty goal increase and are devastated when they miss them in competition. If you are a 300 lb bencher, you still need to bench 301 before you can bench 350. Life's a journey, adjust your expectations and set your sights on little victories along the way.  Win each day.
  • Adapt - Einstein's insanity definition has been beaten to death but it's true. You can't keep doing more of the same thing you've been doing and expect different results. If something isn't broken then don't fix it, but if you find yourself in a rut or plateau start training smarter and adapt your training for your next goal. 
Video from my last competition.
WPF Worlds November 2009 in Las Vegas.
10 for 10 on Attempts and a new world record in the deadlift.

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