Meeting My First Goals

When I officially started lifting weights on the regular in June of this year, I was able to squat 100lbs, bench press 60lbs, and deadlift 100lbs, each for 3 sets of five reps the first time I tried to. Sometime in July I decided I wanted to compete in a powerlifting meet close to home, and I set my sights on one in January 2017. I decided my goal opening weights simply needed to be double what I was able to lift for reps the very first time I tried. That would mean 200lbs for the squat, 120lbs, for the bench press, and 200lbs for the deadlift. These seemed like distant but attainable goals to me, and I felt like surely I could hit those in the roughly six months between starting and the meet.

Now it’s late August, and I just hit 200lbs 3 x 5 squats and 210lb 1 x 5 deadlifts a couple days ago. My bench press has progressed to 100lbs for a 3 x 5, though I had to reeeeeeally grind out the last rep of it (hilariously growling video below). I think by the end of September, however, I will have progressed to 120lbs for reps as well. That entire workout was a PR for all three lifts, and boy did it kick my ass. Needless to say, I need some new goals!

I keep having life curveballs thrown my way that threaten to derail my training by consuming what little free time I have to workout, and since I am a realist I don’t want to set any huge goals knowing what I have ahead of me. That said, I do still want a strong set of opening numbers. I know enough not to compare myself with anyone else, and I also know that I’m not going to be competitive for my weightclass anytime soon. In fact, I’d probably have to drop a class if I wanted to have more than a snowball’s chance in Hades at actually breaking any kind of record. Nope, instead I simply want to establish my first competition total to become a bona fide powerlifter!

Since my training to date has more or less been following the Starting Strength method where I go up 5-10lbs per lift (especially on the squat and deadlift; working up the bench a bit slower) each workout, I could actually calculate roughly what I’d be lifting for reps should my workouts and actual progress remain steady. Instead, though, I’m going to aim low both to be realistic considering the outside challenges I’m facing and also to not stress myself out mentally trying to reach a ginormous number in a relatively short period of time. After all, eventually the n00b gains will wear off, and I’ll be forced to refocus all facets in order to continue to move up in the lifts.

So, as of now, my goal openers will be:

  1. 275lb/125kg squat
  2. 135lb/62kg bench
  3. 300lb/136kg dead

You’ll notice that except for the squat, the weights in kilos aren’t exact translations to the numbers I’ve listed in pounds. We own pound plates, but competitions are typically in kilos from what I’ve found. From what I’ve read on the USAPL and USPA websites, the competitions will round up or down in 2.5kg increments (or thereabouts), so what I actually lift on competition day will be based on how they translate the numbers. For sake of ease I’ve made them all round numbers, and I’m only focusing on the pounds for now since that’s what I have to work with.

Here lately I’ve had to take more days off in between workouts because of job-related schedule conflicts, but I’m hopeful I can stay on track to continue making gains steadily even if the actual workout schedule is more scattered than I’d like it to be. Thinking about all that makes me wish I’d found a love of exercise and lifting at a much younger age – it’s hard as hell to balance two jobs, a kiddo, a hubby, pets, bills, and life in general with workouts and competition goals in my mid-30s. I don’t know how folks with loads of kids find time to do it at any age! 😜

So, I’ll be back at it tonight when the hubby gets home from work. I’m thinking today will be a technique and volume day vs. going up on the weight load. Depends on how much energy I have by then!

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

Watching My First Meet

We planned an entire vacation to the Gulf Coast in order to accommodate watching a USPA meet at Southern Elite Fitness. So far we’ve seen 7 women lift, including two who had well over 400lbs on their 3rd attempt just absolutely rock it out. The final male lifter of the first group squatted 633lbs like. a. boss. on his third attempt. Color me impressed!

The meet is flying through the second batch of lifters doing the squat now (apologies for not knowing the set up/divisions – it really is all ages/classes following each other), and I’ve already concluded the little one will have to stay home with his Poppy for the meet I compete in. He baaaarely hung on through the first batch before declaring he was ready to go home. lol Kids! Now dada and the spudlet are checking out the gym until the deadlift, which is what the hubby really wants to see. 

There are some impressively strong folks here, including a young lady still in high school who went 2 of 3 for what had to be more than double her body weight. We happened to meet her bagger motorcycle riding uncle in the parking lot (my kid has never met a stranger and luuuurves all vehicles, so of course he had to stop and talk to the guy on the yellow bike lol), so we were definitely willing to help cheer his niece on. 

Anyway, back to it. So glad we came – it’s been very educational, inspiring, and all around bad ass to watch!! 💪🏻

>>(:::) Meg (:::)<<

P.S. The highest successful squat we saw was 711lbs! Awesome!

P.P.S. We bailed for what we thought would be the duration of all three groups of lifters doing the bench press to give the kid time to chill, but when we got back the first group was just finishing up. The kiddo just wasn’t having any of it (not like there’s much to do for an almost 5yr old, so we don’t blame him), so we bailed again with the plan to kill another hour or so and return for the deads. One epic baby meltdown later, however, and we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a MUCH needed nap. It sucks we missed the deadlifts (I’m dying to know what the guy who squatted 711lbs pulled!), but we got the general idea of the flow and learned a few important lessons along the way. 

  1. As fast as the squats went, the bench took forever by comparison. Be prepared for a LONG wait, which will mean working on staying mentally motivated and warmed up for when the time comes. I see why the wireless Beats headphones are popular – the easier to blast motivational tunes into your ear holes while waiting around nearby for the next chance on the platform.
  2. For the love of all that’s holy and good in the world, don’t bomb the first attempt! I see why everyone says your first lift should be stupid light compared to your 1RM. My heart broke watching a guy fail his very first squat. He did get to keep going, though, so I’m guessing it’s different for different federations. More research needed!
  3. Depth, depth, depth! There was an older gentleman that was doing his damnedest to squat deep, but apparently he was missing depth. He got three whites from the center judge, but the two on the sides only gave reds. 😕 I was particularly shocked on the 2nd attempt – it looked rock solid compared to the first and third lift. Is there such a thing as too-tight knee wraps?! 
  4. Be bench press bold, but be ready to bomb. Only 2 lifters of the first group hit all 3 of their bench presses, and those that missed the 3rd all looked pretty pissed about it. Can’t blame them!
  5. Now go find a USAPL meet to watch, since that’s the first one I’m doing. I’m super grateful I found this USPA one to watch for a general overview, but I can already tell there will be important differences between the two federations in how they run their meets. A bunch of the specific no-nos about singlets, t-shirts, knee wraps, wrist wraps (i.e. sizing, logos, etc), and even form differences (i.e. raising your head when benching) that the IPF lists were definitely present, but they’re either a) not an issue with USPA or b) cared less about at the local level. Either way, I know I’ll have to follow the more stringent IPF rules in a USAPL meet, so hopefully I can find one of their meets closer to home between now and January. 

So, that’s that. I definitely would have loved to have stayed from start to finish, but this is still a vacation after all. No sense making the kiddo miserable just so mama can watch strong people pick up heavy shit all day long. 😜 ~M