WSA Welsh champs meet report.
Last weekend I entered the world of powerlifting for the first time. It was a lot of fun.
The last time I stepped on a competitive stage was at the BNBF Bodybuilding Finals. Despite being proud of my achievements the whole experience left me somewhat disillusioned with the fitness industry. I found the subjective nature of physique competition disheartening. The reason being, you can win or lose if the lighting is not suited to your skin, if your tan is off or the judges have a penchant for a certain look. Put simply five months of tough ketogenic dieting and endless cardio was not worth the level of performance at the end, 10 minutes on stage. Its also a very lonely world having to cancel your entire social life for fear of a potato or glass of wine.
So having officially retired from bodybuilding (similar how Arnold retired from Mr Olympia competition in Pumping Iron!) my training had somewhat stalled having no real goals set for a period of 6 months. It had taken me four months to stop weighing carbohydrates at every meal (having done this for best part of half a year it was hard to kick the habit) and finally I’d come to terms that it was not practical to have striated pecks and a shaved chest. Along with the regrowth of my bodily hair came the return of my love for strength. Now that I was eating normally I felt I could attempt to try recover some of my strength lost to the narcissistic world of the bodybuilder.
At this point I feel it important to interject some balance to my negativity towards bodybuilding. The one benefit after competition was my body weight. I cut from a rotund 106 kg to a competition weight of 86kg. When I returned to a normal diet I levelled off at around 88 – 92kg but never returned to my heaviest weight. Somehow my bodies metabolism was operating at a new lower fixed bodyweight, madness!
Anyway having seen the Dave’s Gym Powerlifting gang in action and been inspired by their individual strength and hive mentality I signed up for the WSA Welsh Champs. My plan was to hit my current gym 1rm’s of 240kg deadlift, 140 bench, 200kg squat. anything else was a bonus. I was aware that my lifts where no where near perfect (who’s are when you push your upper limits?) but with 3 weeks until the competition I decided not to change anything technique wise (continue dead-lifting like a question mark). What I did have to learn as stupid as it may sound where the rules of the lifts. When to start and finish can be the difference between a failed and good lift. A few sessions with Owen ‘the real deal Hubbard ironed this out.
With my training sorted and a deload week organised in Holland (basically a holiday), the last thing I needed for my powerlifting transformation was kit. Curiously and disappointingly I gazed in to my old body building kit bag and found that my posing trunks, immac for men and half empty bottle of Jan Tanna had no crossover to Powerlifting. Instead I needed knee high socks, some sort of plimsole (these wu shu bad boys donated by the dutch fam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feiyue) and a costume which I now call a singlet.
The competition was held at Penterdawe British Legion club, we arrived at 9pm for weigh in.
To make sure I weighed in at 90kg, I ate less (surprisingly) and dropped my water for 2 days. Also a large coffee and a disabled toilet before hand
helped ensure my official comp weight of 89.5kg. Lifting began at 11am so we all stuffed our faces with sweets and carbs for the next 2 hours.
The competition itself was great fun, despite being a long day it flew past. I will leave the performances and results to the official report from Ruth Davies (coming soon). But I will say that everyone hit PB’s, records were broken and we all had a great day out. The camaraderie between competitors was something I had not seen before. Lifting in front of a crowd and under pressure is a real buzz and its definitely something I will train again for. It was great to see lifters of all experience taking part.
Below are a selection of photos and videos in no particular order.
Dave’s Gym team