It’s been a month – oops! I’ve been in Texas, at home in Bethel, back to Anchorage, and then school started this week.
You may remember that after Raw Nationals last July until December, I was on VERY quick cycles – about 6 weeks each – between a series of meets. That meant that we did not have a lot of time to mess with my training, so it was basically 3 straight-forward peaking cycles. However, we had about 11 weeks after my last meet in December before the Arnold on February 28th (it is now 6 weeks!). That means training as I knew it was going to change, and change it did. I found myself doing MASSIVE volume and then blowing my own mind at the success of it. For example, a couple weeks ago I squatted 5 sets of 2 at 292-lbs and I was pumped about it, and then five days later I did 5 sets of 3 at the same weight. At one point, because of a misload, I squatted 315-lbs for 2 reps, which is 97% of my max squat (another detail: I jumped from 265 to 315 because of that misload). Lastly, I hit my Junior American Record Squat from September 2013 (300-lbs) for FIVE reps last Friday. My work on bench press has been similarly exciting. I’ve never been more thankful for rest days, and I have been sleeping 9 hours a night at a minimum… But I would not have it any other way. The upcoming 6 weeks are crucial. It is important that I train smart and continue to rest as much as my body needs because the Arnold is fast approaching.
During the last month, I made the decision to go up a weight class. It is a huge jump from 72/75 kilograms to 82/84 kilograms (27 pounds at National/IPF meets), but it is essential. As I continue to powerlift, I will put on more lean mass (which will make me heavier) as I get stronger. The cut would only continue to wear me out, and trust me, it is NOT fun to get to a meet and have no idea what your strength is because you trained 5-10 pounds heavier for several weeks. Now I am 10-15 pounds UNDER the top end of my weight class, but that means that I can focus all my energy on getting stronger and I can also enjoy my life outside of the sport. Finally, Powerlifting to me is about absolute strength. HOW STRONG AM I? Cutting 10 pounds before trying to exhibit my absolute strength was not an accurate representation. This does mean that I will no longer be chasing the 72/75 kg Junior American Records at the Arnold to redeem myself after my December meet, but I have come to terms with it. It was fun while it lasted… Bring on the Open class!
The change in my training has taught me a few things – one of which I remind myself daily: It is not supposed to be easy, and it will not be easy, not mentally or physically. That’s what makes it rewarding. Let’s get it.
“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.” – Henry Ward Beecher