This was the first meet that I actually made a real effort at peaking for. It’s not that it’s the biggest that I’ve done, it’s more just that I never trusted myself to perform if I didn’t handle heavy weights right up to the meet. I took my last heavy pull 2 week out, and my last heavy squat 10 days out. I got 625 on both of them. I took my last heavy bench 4 days out. In hindsight I shouldn’t have made such an effort to peak on bench. I conditioned myself to work up to a near-true max on bench every day, so I think taking some time off really did hurt my bench.
Leading up to the meet, I used somewhat of a block periodization model. I trained at RPE levels of 8-9 with higher volumes for about four months. At 6 weeks out, I started cutting back on volume and did a lot more work in the 9-10 RPE range. It worked well, and I certainly plan to use the same setup for future meets. For someone who likes to work as hard and as much as I do, it can play mental games with you because as you get closer to the meet, you feel like you aren’t doing enough work, but your weights keep increasing week to week, so you just have to be patient and trust your plan.
Monday of meet week I was 225. I started drinking 2 gallons of water per day. I noticed that I didn’t get as hungry, but when I ate I had a much better appetite. I need to remember to keep drinking a lot from here on out. Hydration is probably my biggest nutritional shortcoming, and it showed. I just felt a ton better for drinking a lot. I stopped drinking at about 5 o-clock on Thursday night (24 hours before weigh-ins). Made weight easily at 217.4. I then got my rack height. Rack height one. That’s right, there were 12 year olds at the meet with a taller rack height that mine. I’m a munchkin.
Once I got done with weigh-ins, it was bloat time. Some people don’t like feeling bloated. They’re crazy. Bloating is probably my third favorite part of competing (after winning and meeting the other lifters). I went to my friend Becca’s apartment (thank you again Becca! She was nice enough to let me stay in her apartment over the weekend since no one has moved back in for school yet) and made two one-pound burgers on Hawaiian sweet rolls, drank a gallon of grapefruit juice, ate a quart of ice cream and a huge bag of chips, and about 3 pounds of home-made sweet potato fries.
Sleeping was rough. The apartment was hot and the AC was having trouble catching up to the heat. It was about 74, which may not sound hot, but I’m used to sleeping at about 63. All told, I probably got about 2 hours of sleep. I wasn’t concerned though, because one bad night of sleep isn’t enough to fatigue you, but instead puts your nervous system in a strong sympathetic state. What that means is more adrenaline and heightened sensitivity to stress hormones: exactly what you want for lifting heavy weights!
I ended up getting out of bed at 6 and walking to Starbucks to meet up with Lyndsey, Rachel (Lyndsey’s sister), and Becca (my good friend). Me and Lyndsey split a venti Park Place roast, and I downed a Monster. I got a little nauseous from all the caffeine on an empty stomach (I almost always train fasted, so i figured I’d compete fasted as well), but by the time I arrived at the meet site my heart rate was above 100 and I was feeling very aggressive and slightly euphoric (exactly what I wanted). Dad arrived before warmups and stayed the whole time.
Warmups for squat were stressful. My opener was about 100 pounds heavier than the next heaviest in my flight. Since there were only two racks, I had to do my last two warmups once my flight was already starting. However, once I got on the platform I calmed down and things went smoothly.
1st: 573. Easy. Took it deep since they stressed depth at the rules meeting. It was a joke. The only drama was unracking it. I realized that my stance is wider than the supports on the squat stands, so I had to walk the weight back about 4 feet. No biggie though.
2nd: 617. 3 whites. Got a little forward in the hole, but the lift was never in question. Re-grooved and crushed it.
3rd: 650. 3 whites. Felt heavy unracking it, but the squat felt good. Left maybe 20 pounds on the platform, but I walked away with a 25 pound PR, so I’ll take it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORqMbFJiPJ0&feature=channel&list=UL
Bench took forever. There was a children’s bench-only team and they were adorable, but they took a long time. At this point I went outside and ate with the people there to support me. Two burger patties. I wanted to eat enough that I wouldn’t get hungry and light-headed by deadlift, but little enough that my bloat would subside somewhat (it was still lingering from the night before) so I could get in a good starting position for my pull. Eventually I got around to warming up. It was uneventful. Everything felt pretty good.
1st: 385. 3 whites. May as well have been 225.
2nd: 419. 3 whites. Almost as easy as the first. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4qiYMLNeVQ&feature=BFa&list=ULORqMbFJiPJ0
3rd: 435. Miss. I got conservative with my leg drive to make sure my butt didn’t lift and it cost me. Not quite enough speed to break my sticking point. Oh well.
Deadlift is my pet lift, so I was excited that I had a good subtotal going into it. Warmups went great. I knew what I had to pull to hit the total I wanted to hit.
1st: 573. 3 whites. Joke.
2nd: 622. Got a little hyped for it and it flew up.
3rd: 645. Once it cleared the ground I knew it was going. I had to fight this one, but there was never a doubt in my mind about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG_UujgL07A&feature=autoplay&list=ULZ4qiYMLNeVQ&playnext=1
Whoops. Looks like I broke something… http://www.powerliftingwatch.com/records/raw/world. Roosevelt Offoha’s totally raw, drug tested total is mine now. Yes, I realize that a lot of the best 220s haven’t done raw meets, and yes, I realize that the best 198 total under the same regulations is better than mine. I really don’t care. I achieved my goal, hit my first elite total, and showed how hard I’ve been training these last two years.
As always, one of the highlights of the meet was meeting the other lifters. Everyone was so nice. One of the cool things about powerlifting is that the experienced lifters who have been competing for the last 30 years will take the time to talk to someone like me who hasn’t competed that much and has been away from the sport for several years. Mr. Bossi was super nice and ran a great meet in spite of how limited the space was and how many competitors there were. I couldn’t have done this without the support of Lyndsey and my dad, all of Becca’s help, my training partners at Mash Elite Performance, and especially all the advice that Travis gave me this summer.
If you’re interested, videos of my third attempt squat and deadlift are posted on my Facebook wall: http://www.facebook.com/gregory.nuckols. If we’re not friends, but it was worth it to you to read this whole post, we should be!