Why being Mentally Tough is Crucial in Your Performance

As I sit here writing this, I am just 4 weeks out of heading to Las Vegas for my first World Championships in Powerlifting. Forget the fact that it’s Powerlifting for a second.

 
Let’s say you’re me 4 weeks out from a huge event that you’ve been preparing for: a speech in Executive Office at work, an Olympic qualifier, on a game show to win a million bucks, your first time saying “Hi” to a girl…

You get the idea.

What you have done is what got you to this point. But hold up…now you start thinking differently. Why is that?

Wouldn’t it make sense to go into it as confident as you have been this entire time?

For quite a few of us that isn’t the case. There’s a difference in the thinking process of those who aren’t as experienced and those who are. Let’s address those for a moment.

 

The “In-Experienced”

“I can’t do this. I’m going to get demolished.”

“What if I fail?”

“What if I don’t lose the weight/body fat?”

“When will I succeed?”

These are all questions and concerns that I hear from other competitors and the clients I work with on a regular basis. I know for sure that I have had these thoughts running through my mind at various points in my Powerlifting career and otherwise. We all have.

The one thing that I find consistent is how those who have never been on their biggest stage don’t know what to expect or worse, have expectations.

The latter is the one thing that could really mess with your head. In competition, your first time out should always be to have fun and remember to follow through with what got you there in the first place.

A lot of us may suffer with what I call the “Rookie of The Year” complex. That is to try to win or be beyond amazing your first time out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good positive attitude and great approach to your sport or event, but having these high expectations might set you up for a big let down.

I try to tell my clients that you’re going to fail. A lot. Heck, if you don’t, you’re either not trying hard enough, are really lucky, or haven’t even started yet.

I’ve only have been competitively lifting for 4 years. I have multiple records, rankings and championships. You better believe that I’ve lost too. Not just on the platform, but in the weight room. I’ve been a trainer for over 6 years and some know the story, but I failed my certification exam 3 times before passing finally passing it.

Fortunately, it is ingrained in me to fight for what I believe in and have a stellar work ethic. Perhaps being introverted and finding confidence within or being around really supportive people is what helped. Maybe it’s all of it.

I know that focusing on what you CAN do and have done is a great start. Only will you get better with more experience and become mentally tougher.

 

 
“The Veterans”

For the less experience, these are the people you want to hang around. If you want to get better, work with those that have been in your shoes.

These may not be those who have gotten the best results or won a ton of awards. They’re the ones that are consistent. They’re the ones that if they fail, they’ll comeback with a vengeance rather than breaking down.

I have a client that wanted to have better health. Her name is Kim. She’s literally half the woman in size and weight that she was 3 years ago. She’s had her mouth wired shut, been through dozens of diets. It was only then did she have go to go through lap-band surgery to help her lose the weight.

She reached out to me to start exercising. She’s been told to do this over and over and over again and it wasn’t until the surgery that exercising and eating better was the only way to stay that way.

2 years later she shows me a photo of her in 2010. I see her a few times a week and I can’t believe it. It’s a lot different when you see transformations like that on TV, but when you’re involved it’s a bit surreal.

We started 30-minutes/day, twice a week. Then we got to 3 times/week. Then started to do 45 minutes and then hourly. Today, she’s gearing up for her first Powerlifting competition in October (I have no idea where she got that from; P).

It sounds great and all, but we haven’t been training consistently over the years. She’s had her body break down a couple of times. There was even one point when she was out for 3-6 months. As you can imagine she was discouraged.

When she came back, she was very hesitant about what we would do. The moment that pain would come back and she’d be out for a week or so.

But she had been down this road before. Knowing that becoming more and more inactive and being afraid to move on was going to lead her to more weight gain and bring her right back where she started.

Kim has had experience. We’ve been pretty consistent training ever since then. When ever there is an injury or an ache, we train AROUND it and work on something else that wouldn’t keep her from being out of the gym. We’re 6 weeks out from competition and she’s looking strong and staying positive.

 

That’s what mental toughness is.

 

It’s never giving up and focusing on the bigger picture ahead: That if you stop the journey, you will fail 100% of the time.

 

Can you teach it mental toughness??

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Some people don’t think so. Some people think you just have it. Some people think you have to grow up being around it. But I believe it can be taught.

I’ve had the pleasure of training a young lady who coming out of Junior High was on a State Championship winning volleyball team. She didn’t start, but has wanted to continue playing on her high school volleyball team the following year.

With 60+ athletes trying out for the squad every year, your chances of making the team isn’t a walk in the park.

She wasn’t the best jumper when we started, wasn’t the strongest or most coordinated. It was going to be a long summer.

I explained to her mom that while she’s training for this, she’s going to have to accept the fact that she may not make it. Having been there I knew this from the start.

As I mentioned earlier, to not have the expectation that you’re going to make the cut is going to help you recover from it and focus on working harder next year.

Now that the talk was out of the way, we could start focusing on her training and nutrition.

Knowing full well when one is consistent with their training and keeping up fairly well with how they’re eating and hydrating, the next thing I wanted her to work on was visualization and mental preparedness.

I wanted her to write down on a poster board where she can see it every single day of when the tryout date was. Everyday she came in, I asked her when is try outs??

 

“August 14th!!!”

 

We got into the routine of this every training day; making proper hydration and adequate nutrition a habit.

Once you do the little things and feel more confident about them, you’ll automatically start to feel more confident about your chances of achieving success.

 

                        “There are no secret for success, there are only patterns.”

 

I know for me when I prepare for competitions, I watch videos of other competitions and getting psyched up. I go to bed dreaming about what I’m going to do the morning of. I also accept that I may not win, but I will make damn sure I go down swinging.

The week of the girls tryouts came and I could tell on our last session she had it on her mind. Day came and she made the team. I couldn’t be a happier coach.

I don’t care what the circumstances were of her making the team, fact is she made it. That means everything that we have done over the summer was worth every second, every medicine ball slam, every goblet squat, and every sprint.

And guess what?? Even if she didn’t make the team…it’d still be worth it.

She’s never worked that hard before and never had so much confidence and learned how to be mentally prepared for things like this.

 

Closing Thoughts

You can be the most physically gifted individual known to man. At some point we all know someone who has had “the potential”, but potential is wasted when never realized.

We all are so physically capable of doing so much and could be so far along than we are now. Our worst enemies aren’t the people you’re going up against for the job position or the title. It is our mind.

Those who crap out and don’t come back are not quite ready yet, and never will unless they revisit what defeated them in the first place.

Embrace the reality of defeat for you will also find success if you chose to continue on. If you do, you’ll be better off. You’ll be stronger (mentally) as a result.

Week 6 Training

Squat Day

A- Max Sets of 3

Warm-up 1: 135 x 10

Warm-up 2: 225×5

Warm-up 3: 375×1

Work set: 405-2 x 3

Needless to say, I was looking forward to this day. After weeks of high volume and belt-less training, It was time I started getting closer to my max and using a belt. The video below was actually my best set. I used the belt on the second set, but it didn’t feel as good yet I had more stability. Evidently my midsection seemed to have grown to compensate for the lack of the belt and create a better foundation of strength and stability. It felt a bit harder than I wanted to, but looking back in my books, I don’t think I’ve squatted 405 for more than a double. I’ve done 415 for a double in training for Nats, but 405 with no belt–in weightlifting shoes–for triple is a big difference.  All in all I’m happy with the result.

And if my squat seems a bit high…fuck off. I bury my squats when it matters.

B- Front Squat 5×5 135

Bench Day

A- Max Sets of 3 (paused sets)

Warm-up: 135 x 10

Warm-up: 185 x 5

Warm-up: 225 x 1 (with pause)

Warm-up: 245 x 1 (with pause)

Work Sets: 265- 3 x 3

Drop Set: 225 x 8

Since the bench is my weakest, it’s fair to say in terms of the numbers/percentages it’s not quite the heaviest in training for needing a belt. It’s strange. I suppose it’s about how taxing the weight is on the body, but unless I’m in the 300’s I’m not going to feel like I’m going to die. I could of gone for another set, but being the smart guy that I am– I knew it was going to look like shit. The video is the 2nd of the 3 sets. The 3rd one started to look bad so I stopped. The drop set was random, I wanted more volume. I will be doing this from now on.

I knew I was going to need wrist wraps though, especially ever since I went 3 fingers on my AMRAP squat a couple weeks ago. The wrists have been feeling weak since then so I used the wraps as precaution. It’s important to note they’re 26-32cm wraps too, competition legal. No sense in using what you can’t use on stage, ya dig?

B- Incline DB Press 4 x 6

65 x 6

70 x 6

75 x 6

80 x 6*

(*rep PR at this weight. Probably won’t go past this for the following weeks by lowering the weight and upping the volume for light work so I don’t kill the shoulders.)

 

C- Landmine Row (with horn grip attatchment)

55 x 10

60 x 10

70 x 10

C2- Banded Triceps Pushdowns

Green Monster Band- 3 x 15
Deadlift Day

A- Max Sets of 3

Warm-up: 135 x 12

Warm-up: 225 x 10

Warm-up: 315 x 5

Warm-up: 405 x 1

Warm-up: 455 x 1

Work Sets: 480- 4 x 3

I was very pleasantly surprised at my performance on this day. There’s no doubt with the help of #2scoops of pre and an awesome dinner the evening before that knocked me out, I was ready to lift. Today didn’t come without a challenge and work threw a wrench into things, but I was able to utilize my time wisely and get my shit done. I think the 2nd and 3rd sets felt best, but mainly the 3rd set (see video below). I noticed in the videos my chest keeps dipping forward which pisses me off a bit, but I hadn’t stretched like I have been recently and worked on activation drills before hand. I was just ready to go, man. Decided to go head and use a belt right from the jump and boy did I feel  a difference. Like the squat, it took a little getting used to, but the squat is my bread and butter. There isn’t much that could mess it up. I was ready to go for 500, but Coach Curtis made the call for 480. Now I know for sure I’m ready for 500’s. 


B- Snatch Grip Rack Pulls

225- 4 x 8

C- Weighted GHR w/ 8kg KB

3 x 8

Week 7 Training

Squat 

A- 7 x 3 @ 75% of 90% (305)

No video this week. Totally erased all of my videos for the squat. Needless to say though it went well, especially towards the end as always. I realize it is going to take me a few sets to get warmed up regardless of my warm-up sets.

B- Reverse Hypers 3 x 10 50#

 

Bench

A 7 x 3 75% of 90% (210)

Even though I didn’t have a spotter, the weight wasn’t nearly as heavy today as it was last week when I did 85% for AMRAP. Thus this week was easy of course, but still high volume sets. Using a spotter for sure helps a ton, but given I was the only one in the gym this day I did what I needed to do.

B-
Incline Dumbbell


60# x 8

65# x 8

70# x 8

75# x 8

B2- Bodyweight pullups 4 x 10

Deadlift

A- 7 x 3 75% of 90% (410)

On this day lifting over 400 and feeling the way it did towards the end was gratifying. It seems every week I train without a belt I feel like I’m getting stronger. Some people don’t like to use a belt period, but I know now more than ever that it is more of a tool than something to rely on. I will work on not “bouncing” the weight off the ground and more resetting after each lift when I’m about 4 weeks out to work on technique. 

 

Shoulders

A- Shoulder Press 6 x 4

105 x 3

115 x 2

125 x 1

B- Curls 4 x 10 20#

B2- Lateral Raises 4 x 10 20#

C- Alligator Walks to Pikes 1 x however many

Week 8 Training

Squat Day

A- 55% x 5 (225)
65% x 3 (265)
75% x 1 (305)
85% xAMRAP (345)

Squats felt really good today. If you notice, I’m wearing OLY shoes again after deciding I’m not going to squat without them anymore. I’m pretty much learning where I am most comfortable in my squat– I’ve been messing with how forward I should lean and my hand placement. On the last set, my wrists started to give out, otherwise I’d get more than 8 reps. Overall, I’m very happy with the weight that I’m able to rep-out still without a belt.

B- Reverse Lunges 4 x 8 95#

C- GHR 4 x 6

Bench Day

A-55% x 5 (150)
65% x 3 (180)
75% x 1 (208)
85% x AMRAP (235)

Bench felt really really great. Ended up getting 12 reps on the last AMRAP (as many reps as possible) set. Keep in mind, I have been training my wide grip to get better chest development. I’d say it’s working pretty damn good. I am considering staying wide after this competition and build my strength that way.

B- Incline Barbell Press 4×8

135 x 8 

145 x 8

150 x 8

155 x 8

Incline press or doing shoulders at all is my worst enemy when it comes to upper body development. Since I’m a “streaky” lifter once my bench went well, I also went wide grip on incline and felt way better, too. Taking advice from Matt Houser using a lift off while going wide I think was key.

C-Landmine 1 Arm Press 3 x 8 @ 95#

C2- Weighted Pullup 3 x 5

Deadlift Day

A- 55% x 5 (300)
65% x 3 (355)
75% x 1 (410)
85% x AMRAP (460)

FUCK YEA!!!! What else can I say. This was an awesome deadlift day. Hitting my final AMRAP set for 12 at 460, WITH NO BELT, is huge for me. I really just took my time with it but everything was feeling smooth. My back tends to be really tight, but on movements like squats and deadlifts, it takes me a while to warm up. I can’t wait for next week. Stay Tuned….

B- RDL 5 x 8 @ 205

C- GHD 4 x 6 w/12kg kettlebell

Friday Reads and News Feeds- Take 1

T.G.I.F People!!!!! I know most of us still have to work (and I still have to work through tomorrow), but who cares! It’s Friday!!

Well for starters, I have been working with a very diligent and hard working young lady that goes by the name of (Kit) Oloffson. Coming out of 8th grade as a non-starter, she wanted to make her high school freshman volleyball team. NCHS has a good 60 girls or so, if not more,  that try out to make the team. Not being a starter at her previous school doesn’t give her the greatest of chances, but it gives her a chance none-the-less.

A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know...they need to bring their butts down...it was mid-take I promise)
A great way to spend mother-daughter time (I know…they need to bring their butts down…it was mid-take I promise)

Even though we have only trained a couple times a month on average, the “homework” workouts and her conditioning from camps helped quite a bit.

*Note: Goes to show you don’t NEED to be in the gym ALL the time, you just need a plan of action and DO IT!*

The amount of improvement over the summer has proved to pay off. She new she belonged on the team, the coaches just had to see it or themselves. I’m a National Champion Powerlifting Coach, but I have to say that THIS coaching win has to be tops. To help a child achieve their dreams is priceless. ROCK ON, KAYLA!!!! 🙂

To add to the awesomeness, my training is going quite well. If you haven’t yet, you can follow my training progress here for the next 6-8 weeks or so before reaching the ultimate destination, the World Championships in Las Vegas!!!!

I’ve never been west of Mizzou so it’s an exciting time for me.

 

I love making random posts like these. I’ve always wanted to anyways to add a little more volume to my blogging as I need to write more (clearly).

So, I’d like to leave you now with some good reads for the week. Enjoy and have an awesome weekend. Peace and chicken grease!!!!

Perfection: Enemy of the Good When it Comes to Nutrition-by Jen Comas Keck

Yes, You Can!!! Chin Up Plan- Tony Gentilcore

Are Your Goals Setting You Up For Failure???-by D-Money 😉

One Mom’s Journey to Real Food- by Kelly Jordan

Conditioning: Just Make it a Habit Already-  by Jason Ferruggia

Are your goals setting you up for failure??

For a lot of us, training is a means to an end. Weight loss, fat loss, getting stronger, getting bigger, and getting faster are all good goals to have.

But how are you going to get there??

This is the mind set of a lot of clients that come through gyms like BNAF and all over the country. Understandably, we all want results and results fast because that’s how we live; by getting what we want at a faster rate than ever before.

I ordered clothes and shoes from Zappos a couple times and never had to wait more than 2 days to get it. One time I ordered socks and a hoodie and got it in 23 hours! How can you not be spoiled with those kinds of results!!

Today, we can receive information with the swipe of a finger. Make a large food order and have people bring it to our cars without getting out. Watch full seasons on how I met your mother for less than $10/month on Netflix (HOLLA!!!!).

Needless to say, we’ve gotten lazy and so has our goal making.

That is why it’s important for us to understand the process in how we get results, set a realistic time to achieve them and to go about it passionately.

So, here are 4 things you should do on how to set your goals.

Find a Trainer
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Figures, I know, but that’s what we’re here for. I have tons of stories talking my clients out of having a “flat bottom” or “working out 7-days a week.” What sounds good in their head may not be all that great when you’re explained as to what that really means.

It’s also important to find a good professional that understands and connects with you about the goals that you’re trying to set for yourself. I know it took me a while to understand that shooting down my female clients wishes to “not get too bulky” wasn’t very smart. A trainer that listens and is able to work with you on your level will make all the difference—and you haven’t even started training yet.

Don’t focus on the end result
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After you find a trainer or fitness pro, it’s important to not focus on the “end result.” This being the X-amount of weight loss or X-dress/pants size. Setting little goals along the way is affirmation that what it is you are doing is working.

I like to remind my clients to focus on how they’re feeling on a day to day basis, how they feel in their clothes, or to note any increase in work performance. Talking about these results to your trainer or friends help with program-retention and continue on the path to success.

Have a plan
planning-workout-ask-these-questions

As I eluded to before, how can you expect to get achieve your goals when you don’t have a plan? This step is just as important when goal setting. Your behaviors should be in line with your goals.  Plan on partying hard this weekend? That’s cool. Those sculpted thighs will just have to wait a little longer to show. Hey, you’ll get there when you get there, right?

It’s vital that you plan for “drawbacks” rather than letting them happen unexpectedly. You’ll be more conscious about your choices and what you do.


Be kind to yourself—have a little fun
The Color Run

Being stuck in a program without any variation or a “deload” (low intensity or volume) day can be the root cause of your plateaus or boredom. Basically your training will begin to just straight up suck.

I remember scheduling deload weeks or vacations for myself—with no training at all— only to come back to feeling amazing. I wrote an article earlier talking about how excessive alcohol intake can send your progress down the drain, but having a LITTLE fun might be just what the body needs.  Sometimes going too strict on a program with out little breaks here and there can negatively stress the body out.

Every 4-6 weeks try reducing the workload by doing less weight and fewer repetitions, or even take time off from the gym. Sometimes despite what you plan, your body will decide when you need to take a break. Listen to it. It’s most likely to be correct every time.

Hope this helps! Consider the 4 steps I’ve given you to set yourself up for success. Happy Training!

08/10/13: 9 Weeks Out

8 Weeks Out – Juggernaut Powerlifting Program

Squat Day

A- 4 x 5 @ 77% of 90% (315#)

Better sleeping, over 100 oz. of water before the end of the day, and lots of carbs and protein for dinner last night is what made this squat day the best so far. Usually my back is really tight on squats lately, but I took more time today to roll out my glutes, hip flexors; and stretch out my hamstrings. Since my core has been feeling weak without my belt, I added in good mornings and 1-arm walks in the rack position with a 53# kettlebell. It seemed to have done the trick. Getting your CNS and core ready for heavy loading with out support is something you should really consider doing before heavy lifting and/or spinal loading.

B-Front Squat 5×5 @ 135#

Up from 95#, I’m still getting used to front loading. My forearms and wrists don’t have as much flexibility so the front position really promotes that, which will allow me to have more contraction on gripping. I like to do this to help develop my quads, as I am very glute dominant.

C- Bulgarian Split Squats 4×6/leg 90# (20# chain, 70#’s in DBs)

Bench Day

A-4 x 5 @77% of 90% (215#)

Although my wide-grip isn’t the best right now, and with having weak shoulders, it’s definitely something I need to work on. By working on it I know the way I normally grip (narrow) is going to boost my numbers over time.

B- Good Mornings 4×10

Exercises to Boost Your Mojo: Yoga Complex Plus

Awwwww yeah!! This is the start of my new video series “Exercises to Boost Your Mojo.”

Why “Mojo”? It’s pretty much my family nickname because it sounds a lot like Muldrow. I stole this awesome article idea from a good friend (and Training Jedi), Tony Gentilcore, to post random exercises that people either should or probably don’t incorporate into their training program.

Introducing- The Yoga Complex Plus.

Where did I get it: I can’t quite remember where I saw this idea first- Diesel Crew’s  “Flow” warm-up, or Tony Gentilcore’s “Yoga Plex.” As it seems, I have combined the two versions of this exercise with a bit of my own “Mojo.”

What does it do: Provide mobility, stability and flexibility in the hips and T-Spine,  in the chest, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abdominals and shoulders. Pretty much the entire body! It’s a combination of a “Yoga Plex” with a reach; a down-ward dog and a cobra. Hold each position for no more than 3 seconds to get that feel good stretch.

Applications: These “moves like Jagger” is great for anytime of the day, anywhere you have space- I mostly use it in my programming for warm-ups or even as “fillers” in between worksets. Because it’s a multi-joint movement, it will certainly get your blood flowing and keep you loose through out your session. The more you do big movements like these the better you’ll move and feel!

Try this move out today for 1-2 sets for a warm up of 5-8 repetitions.

08/03/13: 9 Weeks Out

10 Weeks Out- Juggernaut Powerlifting Program

Squat Day

A-Work Sets: 6 x 5 @ 70% of 90% (285#)

Squat sets 3-5 felt great considering my lack of sleep. I could definitely tell a difference. First couple of sets were more like a warm-up, then things started to get loose. Set 4 here, felt the best. I’m not used to doing high volume still, so naturally I got fatigued towards the end. It’s getting better though.I still know, training without a belt is going to make my numbers skyrocket.

With the help of BCAAs back in my system, it provided the much needed energy and recovery over the last 24 hours.

B-Walking Kettlebell Lunges (racked position) 3×20; 2-16kgs

C-Weighted GHD Round the Worlds 3 x 8/direction

Deadlift Day

A- Worksets: 6 x 5 @ 70% of 90% (380#)

Deadlifts definitely felt heavy. Like all my lifts in training, the last ones feel the best. I also consumed copious amounts of food at a buffet 3 hours before and this was in the afternoon. Since I mostly train in the morning, changing the times up made a huge difference and I felt a lot more tired and not ready to workout, as my body by that time of day is usually recovering. All the more important to stick to a time of training that works best for you. Your body will most certainly be expecting it.

 

B-GHD with black mini band 3×10

A short day, but I did what I needed to do to get done. This is why the bigger movements of the dayshould always come first.

Bench Day

A- 6 x5 @ 70% of 90% (195#)

Without a doubt, the bench is my weakest lift, hence the weight by the percentages. No matter what though, the goal is to stick with the goal. This was definitely an easy one today.

 

B-Strip Bench Set to failure: 185# in total weight

C-Weighted Dips 4×10 +8kg KB

C2- Bodyweight Pullups 4×12

Powerlifting. It’s For EVERYONE.

*Note: There is a summary at the end of the article for those that want to skip ahead. Thank you.*

 

I know what you’re thinking-this is my subtle attempt to get everyone reading this article into Powerlifting.

Yes…yes, it is.

Don’t get me wrong, as Personal Trainers it’s not always in the best interest of our clients to be biased about a particular way to exercise. Our main goal-among keeping our clients safe during exercise-is to get results. It’s even better to get results that will last.

I’ve been a Powerlifter for 4 years now-won 2 National Championships, multiple state championships, appeared on powerliftingwatch.com among the world’s best Powerlifters,  and hold 5 state records. Trainer or not, it’s my duty to spread the word about the sport I love.

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Ok, so what is this Powerlifting? Well, it’s simple really. Powerlifting is a strength sport (like Olympic Lifting, and Strongman) that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and the deadlift. It’s a sport for men women, and even children.

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Yes. We wear singlets when we’re competing and awesome knee-highs with butterflies on them. Sometimes. Other than a singlet which is necessary; you can compete with different equipment.

RAW: a belt, knee sleeves (debatable), and wrist wraps.

Classic RAW: You can use everything in RAW, but knee wraps instead of knee sleeves.

Single Ply: Everything in Classic Raw, but with suits for deadlift and squat. The single ply refers to the amount of material for the suit.

Multiply: Much like Single Ply but more of a thicker material for the suits.

The more equipment you use to help your lift, the more you can lift. Each competition is based off of the equipment and the lifts you perform.

Like golf in a way, it’s one of the best sports to be competitive with you and with others.

It’s truly a way of life; what you do in the gym and out of the gym could make or break your performance on the platform.

Instead of talking about the latest fitness fad or workout you could do to get leaner; I’m offering PL as a means of getting stronger, looking better (naked) and gaining confidence about yourself. So I’d like to give you all 5 reasons why Powerlifting IS for Everyone.

 

Reason #1FOCUS

One of the most limiting factors about people, is the lack of focus.

ford focus

*Not that kind of focus.*

Fat loss, weight loss, strength, you name it-it has never became more apparent that having a “training focus” is crucial in attaining these goals. This will tie into some of the other points I’ll mention later, but focusing on performance based goals such as this makes you change your perspective on what kind of goals you set for yourself.

You begin to focus on the positive, than the negative.

“I want to workout because I want to get rid of this ‘inner tube’ around my waist.”

“Is there anything else I can do to help me work on my thighs?”

“I’d like to start out working out 6 days/week. I really need to get in shape. I’m so tired of looking this way.”

In PL, how you look is irrelevant. If you perform like crap- and eat like crap- of course you’re going to look like crap.

If you’re a numbers person, focusing on your training numbers- not the scale– is also a plus. Weight is too manipulative and there are way too many factors to try to control it. But you can most certainly control the weight that you put on the bar.

Having that kind of control is all a person needs to realize that having this kind of focus is much more valuable of your time and energy.

You’ll feel more accomplished YOU did what you said what you were going to do.

 

Reason #2: To Shed Fat and Lose Weight

You’re probably thinking to,

Dude, you totally contradicted yourself. You said to focus on your training numbers and not the scale. What gives?!?!

You’re right. I did.

However, it’s because of the focus on your training that you’re able to start reaping the benefits from your hard-work. How you look is an end result of what you do.

Need proof?

“In a 1994 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” study participants undergoing resistance training increased their caloric demands over a 24-hour period by 15 percent. Resistance training such as powerlifting has long been shown to be effective for fat loss.

It’s guaranteed that when you burn more calories than you consume, you’re going to lose weight. What you do exercise-wise will help keep the “bad weight” off and shed body fat.

Karin here is a prime example of how Powerlifting can help make you look and feel better.

photo
*NOTE: IT’S THE SAME DRESS!!!!*

Karin has been working with me for nearly 2 years now. We pretty much started out squatting, benching and deadlifting right from the jump. But it wasn’t in a manner that was as intense as it could be. About a year later, we decided that she needed a focus. Something more positive than just coming in to try and “lose weight.”

Since this was something that I was familiar with as an athlete, I knew what it would take to prepare for a PL event.

Starting in January of this year, we knew that alcohol was going to be cut (back), her eating was going to have to be a lot better and start training with more intensity and focus.

7lbs (10 lbs between the two pictures above) and 2 dress sizes later, she was ready for the competition. She won her age group and left with a first place finish.

More importantly to her though, she was in the best shape of her life (even before having 2 kids) and felt so much better. This was what she was wanting since the beginning.

When it came to her training; she ate better to perform better, lifted more than ever to get stronger, and looked and felt better as a result.

 

Reason #3: You don’t have to be bulky to Powerlift.

powerlifters aren't pleasing

While I agree that it’s not everyone’s goal to not fit into their EXPRESS slacks anymore because your quads are too big or barely get your button down shirt on because of the back you built; you’re not going to grow a set of testicles and sprout hair on your chest when you touch the bar.

Heck, people look at me all the time and don’t think I am a “Powerlifter” or believe that I can move the weight I can without being bigger.

Conversely, you can Powerlift seriously and not be a massive human being. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen is also one of the greatest Powerlifters of all-time, Jennifer Thompson.

Jen Thompson

Yeah. Her.

The woman in the photo with relatively small arms and “normal” looking legs. At least by American Society standards.

NOTE: The photo doesn’t do her justice though. She’s strong as hell. 

If you guessed by looking at her she’s a mom of 2, married, and a 7th grade math teacher in her late 30’s…you’re really good at guessing.

Seriously, you could make some serious dough off of that. Or have your own television show because you know we need more of those.

All she wanted to do was to get stay in shape, but realized that once she started PL she was already breaking American Records.

She has a 302# bench press, 314# Squat, and 409# deadlift.

RAW! And those records aren’t up to date.

There are full grown men that are twice the size of this woman and she’s putting up the same numbers if not more. It’s truly amazing and some might say that she’s a genetic freak. Whether that’s true or not, you have to put in the time and hard work to get that strong.

Men and women put in the time- hours -before they head to work every day to put on makeup, pick out their clothes, get their hair did. The same goes for the gym. How you look is going to be a result of what you do.

That’s the best news that you could get if that’s a main concern of yours.

 

Reason #4: Community

In my humble opinion, The PL community has one of the kindest-supportive groups of people around. Sure everyone will say that their group of support is best for them. I couldn’t agree more.

Powerlifting has had a bad rap for the videos and photos people put up at meets and in the gym. Stories of lifters kicking people off platforms for “not lifting enough weight” or speaking badly of others doing something they enjoy doing that’s not Powerlifting.

You’re going to have a few bad apples anywhere you go, but trust me when I say that is rare and is not what PL is all about.

“The powerlifting community as a whole is one of the most generous, kind, and supportive groups of individuals in sport. While it’s obviously important to focus on the meet and set new personal records, don’t forget to enjoy the moment and laugh with the people around you. Introduce yourself to someone new, cheer for a complete stranger, and have the time of your life.” -Jordan Syatt,

Read more from Jordan here on T-Nation.

There are tons of forums out there that are willing and able to help those looking to start. I know so because that’s how I got started.

All egos aside, every lifter has gone though their first meet not knowing what the heck they’re doing to some degree.

I went to a seminar once, not 6 feet in front of me were 11 of the world’s best Powerlifters that held at least 14 world records in the sport. Among them was the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time), Ed Coan.

me and Ed Coan

It was Q and A time and I said something about how I don’t belong up there with those people.
Just about all of them had a problem with that-they didn’t believe that to be true one bit.

They weren’t going to sit there and let me degrade myself in their presence. It was truly amazing and something I had never experienced before.

I can’t help but to think they knew exactly what I was talking about though. It made me think about how awesome this sport was. To get that kind of response might have changed my life forever.

 

Reason #5: ANYONE CAN DO IT

Whether or not you want to step into a singlet and onto the platform, you can never say you’re not strong enough or able.

ANYONE CAN DO IT.

Paralympics+Day+4+Powerlifting+Zf35zlmj9e5l

We all know we take our health and abilities for granted. It’s a matter of the mind rather than the body when it comes to doing the things we want to do. We don’t look at other people for what they are; we tend to look at people for what we are or are not.

Constantly judging ourselves based on what the person next to us can do what we cannot.

But don’t you have to do all 3 lifts to be a Powerlifter?

Nope.

There are some that would disagree, but who cares what they say. If you want to be the best deadlifter, or bencher, or squatter you can be. Then so be it.

Well…my leg is in a boot so I won’t be much of anything.

Oh really…

You wanna try again??

Like anything technical, you want to make sure you’re doing it right for health and safety reasons.

PowerliftING is something that you can incorporate into your training right away. If you’re interested, find a training partner or a coach/trainer is something to invest in to help you keep you doing what you love to do. Who knows, to the unsuspecting…you’re probably already doing it.

To sum up the 5 reasons why Powerlifting IS for Everyone:

1. Focusing on performance rather than what you don’t like about yourself, sets you up for success. With focus, you’re able to have sustainable results. When you get sustainable results, you’re likely to stick to what works.

2. You’re never going to out train a bad diet. Hands down, eating well to perform well is going to be the biggest factor in your weight loss and fat loss goals. Train with purpose and you’ll be on the right path to success.

3. The perception that in order to Powerlift, you have to be big and bulky. Some of the bigger numbers I’ve been come from some of the smallest people I’ve seen. Your body isn’t going to magically transform into something unrecognizable when you touch the bar. You have to put in the time and work. How you look all depends on what you do.

4. Having social support is undoubtedly a huge factor in your success. Your journey is yours and yours alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have help along the way. The Powerlifting community has one of the best social support groups around. Starting out can be rough. Everyone in the PL community has been there and struggled. We’re here to help.

5. If you can lift a bar, you can PL. You don’t have to be a competitor to Powerlift. You don’t need all parts functioning. To limit yourself is not a physical issue, it’s a mental issue. Angry, happy, or sad, PL is a great way to let your stress out in a productive manner. Do it right, and you’ll receive all kinds of benefits from practicing the sport we call Powerlifting.