20 Years, and I’m Still a BeginnerOctober 19th, 2011
Some people may be amazed that I still consider myself a beginner after over 20 years of lifting, especially since I’m a lot bigger than the average guy. Up until a few years ago, I considered myself an expert in lifting; however, more recently, particularly after this spring and summer, I discovered that I really didn’t know as much as I thought. The differences is, this summer I started training like a powerlifter and not a bodybuilder or fitness buff.
I’ve read a lot about powerlifting in the last three or four months. Everything that I read before was not really about powerlifting, but bodybuilding and general fitness. Using the information I had, I tried to construct a powerlifting program. Needless to say, I wasn’t having a lot of success. It took me awhile to find any truly useful information, but now it seems I’ve found so much, I’m having a hard time digesting all of it.
Eleven years ago, I had a 405 lb. 1RM deadlift. This summer, it wasn’t much better. Last Monday, I did 365 lb. for 8 reps. If I plug this into the standard 1RM formula (365×8×.0333+365), I should be able to pull 460 lb. That’s a 55 lb. gain in less than three months. This is where training like a powerlifter blows away what I was doing before.
To be fair, the training program I’ve been following the last few years wasn’t given a full chance because my illness (schizoaffective disorder) prevented me from training consistently. I’d train for three to six months then stop for a year or two. I’ve been training pretty steady now for the last eight or nine months (only the last three, however, have really been productive aside from fat loss), and there’s no end in sight. As long as my illness stays as controlled as it is now, I may be able to compete once I get my weight down.
This is another reason why I still consider myself a beginner: I’ve never competed. No matter how big and strong you are, you’re not an intermediate powerlifter unless you’ve competed at least once.
Never mind not competing, I’ve only been to one meet in my life (I’ve been to a few bodybuilding competitions). I was a spotter/loader at the 1997 World Bench Press Championships in Leduc, Alberta. I was the smallest guy loading plates. It was pretty cool, though, when the five of us pull the weight off of Big James Henderson when he failed on his third attempt.
I’m planning on going to the Western Canadian Championships on November 26th and every other meet close to me. I’m not planning on competing for another year and a half though. I’ve got to loose some weight to do that. I want to loose it slow. Around 2.5 lb. a month would be nice. I just don’t want to take a cut on my strength right now.
So there you are. After over 20 years of lifting, I’m still a beginner, and I’m going to stay a beginner for at least another year and a half, maybe two years.