In the beginning, as any young gym-goer I would walk around the gym just trying to figure out what to do. I would hit some curls or some bench press, but I would never get into the good stuff.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that one of the larger scary guys at my gym started bothering me about powerlifting. He would persist every morning asking me about when I was going to “give up the pretty boy stuff and build some real muscle.” I think he probably bothered me for about 2 months straight before I finally gave in. I’ll never forget his last attempt before I said yes. He came into the gym and walked past me not saying a word. He looked over his shoulder, we made eye contact and from about 10 yards away he just yelled, “It’s your destiny” nothing else. I don’t know if it was the cheesy line or how often he was bothering me that got me to finally try it, but I’m glad he did.
I started powerlifting and strength training with 5X5 Stronglifts program. My newfound mentor was a pretty big fan of it. After the first few weeks, I was suddenly not a fan of it. Any of you who have tried the Stronglifts program know that squats every other day gets real obnoxious; especially at 6:00 am.
As the weight got heavier I progressed into some pretty good numbers. My school puts on a powerlifting competition every semester and my mentor said I should do it. I started switching over my 5×5 program to a repetitions of 3 and then finally hitting my single rep PR’s. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I was lifting a lot when people would start stopping their workouts to watch me squat.
The day of the competition I weighed in at 161lbs. The competition used a Wilks scoring method so everyone was in the same category. As the contestant slowly came in I realized that I was the lightest person in the room. I think the closest person to my weight was around 180lbs. I was just eating my sour patch kids on the floor while I watched a guy double scoop C4 and snort some ammonia. You could the competition was tough. That night I hit PR’s of.
I took 4th place. Second and Third place had 20lbs on me and First place pulled a 700lbs deadlift. So I was feeling pretty good about taking 4th next to these monsters in singlets.
If I could give advice to any young lifter. Sometimes it’s not about looking better than or competing against others. It’s about doing the best you can. Putting in the hard work and digging deep for that something inside of you that pushes you.
For anyone looking to get into powerlifting I would suggest with starting on the 5X5 Stronglifts program. Build a nice foundation of strengths and see how far you can get.