The European Championship and the last 6 months ..
Following on from last post, I weighed in at 83.6kg the night before I was due to travel down to Aldershot but I had been water loading so was confident I’d make weight in the morning. Skipped breakfast, loaded the car with food & drink ready to rehydrate and refuel then hit the road nice and early. It’s a long old drive from Pembrokeshire and weigh-in was 10am-11:30am and I wanted to get in as early as possible so I could eat up!
Typically, my car radiator blew on the way .. perfect .. limped the last 30 miles using all the water I had in the car and heaters on full blast to cool engine, but still ended up missing the morning weigh-in by 10 minutes! Just what I needed. Used the scales they had there to see where I was and was looking at around 82.3. Couldn’t take the risk of having even a quick dioralyte as they weren’t the official scales and I may have gone over. Gutted … Had to wait till the 3pm weigh-in instead, feeling totally dried out and knackered from the hot drive down in the sun and watching the rest of the team fuel up around me. That’ll test your resolve when you are starving and thirsty as hell and having to watch your mates drinking plenty and stuffing burgers etc down their face 😔
Weighed in at 81.2kg by 3pm and spent the rest of the day eating and drinking and trying to regain as much lost water as I could knowing that my performance in the morning was dependent on it. Got a reasonably decent night sleep as was staying with family and was back ready in the morning. Didn’t feel too bad at the time, but warm-ups were feeling heavy and I knew I would have to really push myself to hit my targets.
Squatting opened well for me, hit a comfortable 190kg followed with a 210kg which went up easy so then went for a comp PB of 227.5kg (500lbs) – Didn’t go so well, knee gave way a little at the bottom so the spotters had to step in. That failed lift left me with just a 210kg squat. The judging was quite harsh and several lifters bombed out on depth so by the time bench came around, I dropped my opener down to 140kg. I’m confident I can hit that on a bad day and got that on the board happily. 150kg didn’t want to go up on my 2nd lift and on third lift my shoulder gave way on one side and the bar hit the spotters hand so I was red lighted even though I managed to lock it out (looking back at the video I can see why as not only was the bar travelling unevenly, he looked like he helped me, but when I was on the bench I didn’t feel like it!). My bench is always the first to get hit when I drop weight, especially with limited time to rehydrate again so I knew it was going to be a struggle. Ah well, on to deadlifts, dropped my opener to 180kg as again, I’m confident with that weight, easy lift on 2nd with a 190kg but centre ref had a quick word about bar ‘dropping too quickly’ and then a reasonably easy 200kg at third attempt as by that time it was all I needed to win my category and no point in shooting for a crazy PR.
So, not an amazing total by far, but it was enough on the day to take a European title and after the day I’d had beforehand, I was over the moon to have made it through and not been ‘bombed out’ of the competition at the squats – Plus the trophies were awesome 😉
Vids: Squat 190kg, Squat 210kg, Bench 140kg, Bench 150kg (fail – red light), Deadlift 180kg, Deadlift 190kg, Deadlift 200kg
Following that, I took a little time off and just enjoyed being ‘off-season’ as it seems like it’s been a long time and I’ve been nursing a few injuries for too long. Typically over the next few months I came down with a few illnesses and worst still, my knee gave way on the stairs as I’ve been suffering with patellar tendonitis for a while and sprained the inflamed tendon – yowch! Couldn’t walk for almost 3 days and training was out of the question for a while. My shoulder has also played up ever since, I think I’m getting too old for this lark! Ha ha
Now the last two months I’ve been rebuilding lost strength and trying to rehab my injuries. I have got back to all previous lifts equipped now, but my raw game has taken a big hit not only from the injuries, but the fact I’ve been focusing all my training on equipped lifting and feel my technique has come apart a little when unequipped as it’s a completely different way of lifting.
So now we’re into December and for now I’m really pushing to get my raw lifts back to where I was before I started competing. I’ll try and get some equipped lifting in once a month with the Pembs Powerlifters as I still plan on competing equipped but otherwise all training will be raw.
Life back on track, knee/shoulder calming right down with the focus on rehab and raw lifting and I’ll be posting up on here regularly again – Also, good news, I’ve met a graphic designer who will be looking at my book ‘Hench – A Straightforward Guide to Size and Strength’ as it’s still in Microsoft Word format and then will get it published and hopefully will finally get it out there! For now, back to the Christmas shopping, the joys of parenthood and work, work, work 😉
My First Meet Experience at the BPO UK Open Championships 2014
My first meet!
What a day! To carry on from last post I got up on the Friday morning and weighed in at 83.1kg only 0.6kg over what I need to be on Saturday. No water at all allowed today, only enough to wet my lips when need be! I ate very little over the day and kept it to protein only and BCAA’s and by the evening I was weighing in at 82kg so just where I needed to be. It wasn’t too bad, I was a little irritable and felt really tired by the evening so just tried to relax and not think about how thirsty I was!
Saturday morning stepped on scales to find I had dropped to 81.1kg so treated myself to some scrambled eggs and a coffee which took me back up to just under 82kg with 3 hours till weigh-in. Travelled up to Swansea then for weighing and recorded at 81.5kg so nice and happy and ready to feed up and hydrate.
Immediately after weigh-in I took a sachet of Dioralyte and filled a shaker with electrolyte drink which I kept drinking throughout the day (managed to get around 4 litres in total) and about 2 litres of water. Then hit Greggs for a breakfast baguette 😉
Spent the rest of the day just eating and drinking and preparing myself mentally for Saturdays meet, then one more Dioralyte in the evening.
Got up Sunday and had a cooked breakfast and another litre of electrolytes and relaxed for a bit before heading off to the meet.
Arrived at the hall met up with my coach and the other lifters and headed to the warm-up room pretty much straight away as at 82.5kg I would be in the first flight. Warmed up with my squats up to a couple of singles 160kg which was feeling nice and smooth and opened with 175kg which felt heavy but manageable and submitted my next attempt at 185kg, hit that (just!) with a close call from the judges as my knee just started to drift in a little and the spotters moved in but I got it up anyway and got 3 white lights so happy with that! Went for broke on my 3rd attempt with 192.5kg but something didn’t feel right on the way down, not sure if it was in my head as I had different knee wraps for this attempt as I had been sharing them with a teammate, or just wasn’t ready for it, and failed the lift. Never mind, happy with 185kg so next the bench press ..
There was a half hour break so had a quick protein shake and a handful of jelly sweets to keep sugar levels up and started to warm up for bench. Was feeling really good about this, bar was moving smoothly and shoulder (for once) was behaving and I had no pain at all. I was pretty much learning to lift on command in the warm-up room, I’ve done pause bench in training, but actually waiting for someone to call ‘press’ when in the bottom position, and ‘rack’ before racking it up, was totally different, however I was determined not to get red lighted for missing commands as a few other lifters ahead of me had been doing. Opened with 130kg, and had no problems making the lift so went up to 135kg for 2nd attempt. Bit of a grinder but again, went up and more importantly, no red lights! I was happy with 135kg as a total so just to push myself tried a 140kg but failed to get it. Another half hour and on to deadlifts.
Surprisingly, warming up for deadlifts I felt really strong and confident. I have always considered deadlifts to be my weakest lift but today they were feeling good and I was hoping to get a PR. Opened with a 180kg, easy lockout so went up to 190kg. A little tougher and only 5kg away from my previous 1RM, but again locked out no problem so decided to go for it and attempt 200kg a new PR. My coach then advised me to hitch up my singlet legs and talc my thighs as he could see it was slowing the bar down on lockout, did it and then got my 200kg to bring my total to 520kg.
Happy to have made 7 of 9 lifts and achieving the lifts I wanted I sat down to watch the rest of the competition and award ceremony. I hadn’t been looking at the board so had no idea where I had placed, but I had come to test myself and was quite happy to have made it through and got a good total so when I was called forward as the winner in my category I was over the moon!
To top it off I received an invite the next morning to compete at the WPF World Championships in France in November to represent Great Britain so I think it’s safe to say a successful first meet!
8 weeks now to prep for the World’s! Yikes!!
On a side note, the BPO doesn’t have a RAW (unequipped) category for lifters so even though I got through the UK’s raw, I will be suiting up for the world’s otherwise I’ll stand little chance of keeping up!
Thursday 4th September 2014 – Meet Preparation
3 days to go! Dropping the water intake as of yesterday (only 1 gallon), today only half a gallon allowed – already struggling, feel thirsty as hell!
Yesterday I weighed at 84.2kg, weighed in this morning at 83.5kg so on track to make weight at the moment. Most important thing now is to ensure I have everything I need to rehydrate after weigh-in (24 hours). Also need to decide my opening lifts, at this stage I am looking at my most recent max sessions and using that as I will be confident I can lift it so that will mean a 172.5kg squat, 135kg bench and 180kg deadlift. I’ll see how these feel and increase from there.
Also I will spending the next couple of days foam rolling and performing mobility work, and just generally trying to relax and recouperate and be ready mentally for a great day! 😉