So That’s Why They Call It The Deadlift.

I’m a horrible blogger. I’m terribly sorry especially if you actually read these! But I must take you back a couple weekends ago. I know it’s not encouraged to look at the past, you must always move forward, and since I have the last of my finals this week I will TRY to make this worth the read (key word. Try).

I can say it now! I am officially a powerlifter! On top of being a marathoner, a figure competitor, an aspiring chef, a future nutritionist/dietitian, an artist and anything else I am passionate about. April 20th and 21st marked a very busy, high adrenaline weekend for Jason and I. Technically Jason’s second meet and my first. I want to talk about Jason first. He *censored* dominated. I am still so proud of what he accomplished that day. Chasing close behind of one of the world’s strongest and well known Lilliebridge boys, Ernie Jr. better watch out ;-)

A quick overview of what happened. I sat in the crowd as a nervous and shaking girlfriend, ready to somehow steadily film my boyfriend take on and squat over 600 pounds of weight for his first attempt, I just about freaked out when he didn’t come up on the stage. I ran to the back warm up area and found that he was alive. As much as I wanted to slap him for giving me a heart attack he explained that him and Ernie Jr. were skipping their openers because they didn’t get to warm up enough. So the flight goes through again and I set up to film Jay take his opener. Success! And thankfully my filming was too though you could not hear anything but me yelling my heart out. So figure this out really quick. You have three attempts but Jay skipped his first leaving him two. He had one left. I’m standing next to him in the back as he talks to Eric Lilliebridge and Jr. about what to do. Even I knew Jason was not going to be happy if he didn’t shoot for the number he had in mind. Without taking into account how much weight he was going to put up last all I said was, “It’s not like you haven’t done anything crazy before…” What happened next brought proud tears to my eyes and a grin from ear to ear. My crazy ass boyfriend not only PR’d, he dominated a 100+ pound jump to 744 pounds and he stole the UPA Raw record for squat in the 242 weight class. (You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/_pPPNeHww4k )

I clutch my heart and sigh with pride. He’s amazing. His bench was amazing as well, but I’m his girlfriend remember, I may be biased. He was injured with a strained pec/shoulder injury which even today is still healing. He still managed to press in the high 300’s. With ease… And as he was pissed that he could have done more to bring up his total he had to move on to deadlifting which he dominated as well with 727.  Seriously.

That Saturday was super special because not only did Jason breeze through his lifts, but his parents were there to witness it all. They are usually pretty busy so it was so awesome to have them come out to help me cheer Jason on. Even better, they stayed for part of Sunday to watch me! My parents came bright and early as well. I rarely remember any sport event even back when I was in middle school running track that my parents didn’t get to make it out to my events. They are my top fans and biggest supporters and my dad being my personal photographer.

A dieter’s worse nightmare.

Mind you, Saturday morning was my weigh in. I told the girl who was taking record of my weight that, “I hope for 132.” She laughed and said, “on the dot.” Huge relief. I only had to lose water weight but it’s still nerve wracking and draining. So Saturday marked me embracing my inner fat-ass. I’m usually extremely good with what I eat. But that day, I surprised a lot of people, including myself with how many donuts I put down, pop tarts, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with extra peanut butter, crackers… at least I started my morning off with a meat lovers omelet and a side of fruit. So I got a decent breakfast in. I also brought with me about 24 GIGANTIC brownies stuffed with Oreo cookies and of course peanut butter… They were gone by Sunday. I made them and I am pretty sure I am now expected to bring either these or muffins to our training dates. I got this recipe from Pinterest and it was soooo worth it.

My lifts were so much of a blur that it didn’t hit me till about 3:00 waiting for deadlifts to start did I realize how exhausted I was. And it wasn’t my body. It was my mind. And fast forward to this past weekend was when I really started feeling up to par with training again. Overview: I went 6 for 9. Missing my last attempts but it is what it is. My squats were 255ish and I smoked it. 275 easy. 303 *shaking my head* I know what I did wrong and that’s what matters. It won’t happen again. As my amazing coach tells me, “the strength is there…”

My coach always gives me last second words of encouragement. Photo courtesy of my dad @ http://www.MyPieceOfHeavenPhoto.com

Despite having a cursing outburst of anger after missing it, people clearing out of my way when I walked off the stage, I got over it and moved on. Bench was decent as well. 145(?) easy. 154, definitely struggled but I put it up and missed 159. And lastly, deadlift. And it was this very day that I truly understood why they call it that. Your body stays in the fight or flight, high adrenaline, high alert state of mind (especially if you’re not used to it) for over 6 hours and you tell me how *censored* strong you are. The deadlift made me appreciate what using every ounce of your energy and will at one single moment truly means. My numbers were 275, 308 and missed 330.

A funny moment that I must mention… For bench, an awesome guy by the name of WT Franklin was calling my press. As I went up for my first attempt I leaned and asked, “Could you call my bench a little louder? I’m hard of hearing.” He kindly said, “Absolutely!” I saw him lean closer to the bench and needless to say, I heard him. “PREESSS!” The weight seemed to have shot up because it practically scared me. He will be training under the same roof as my team at Jakked Gym in Montgomery. The very place where I first met my coach and the team.

I have a couple questions for anyone who might be able to answer regarding the after effects of competing in a powerlifting event. How long does it take for your nervous system to die down after an all-day event like that? Since your brain uses glucose as energy as the rest of your body does is it likely that you can lose weight despite consuming the maintenance level of calories? I would think that the high level of stress would prevent you from losing weight but boy I was wrong. I dropped down close to my weigh-in weight! I’m going to do a little research. That Monday and the following days after I had never been so sleepy yet so awake yet so exhausted in my life. Needless to say I slept like a baby the week after.

WT Franklin (white hat) yelling, “PRESS” and Jason watching intensely.Courtesy of UPA CEO Bill Carpenter

I don’t hold my misses over my head…too much. I can walk away saying I set national records or “I set American Records.” I can actually say that. But since the meet, I haven’t. It’s not that I’m not proud of my accomplishments. I have moments even today where I find myself smiling thinking of it.

It is just something about knowing you’re not done and that the world will live to see a very special moment that is made possible by you. Seems farfetched to some but my high strung ass became humbled by that day because I’ve come to accept quite a few things:

  • In relation to powerlifting- the numbers in the gym mean nothing if you can’t put them up at a meet because that’s when it matters. There is no room for an ego because you’ll always be competing against one person. Yourself.
  • Circumstances change because you can only control so much or have no control at all and  you just have to take it as it comes and press on.
  • My body is PURE evidence of my work. I may have my thoughts of wishing clothes looked better on me but I’m beyond proud of my strength matching my looks. By no means do I look like a cardio bunny and my presence in the free weight section of any gym is respected. As it should be.
  • My body is a temple of immeasurable energy, sacred and powerful and I will care for it down to the very thing I eat (minus the pop tarts).
  • My purpose is to defy average. I have done more in my 23 years than most have done in a lifetime and I’m not even close to being done.
  • When you find your niche, make it a calling, run with it… DO something! But don’t let your gift go to waste. My parents have been a witness of my determination since I was young. I never went into anything without going full throttle. Why half-ass something? Why not find out how incredible you can really be?
  • Regardless of the work you put into your passion, everyone knows that you started at the bottom, knowing nothing, and doubting yourself. I am proof of my own work but I am a reflection of the people who got me there. I am not alone when I train and neither was I alone when I made or missed my attempts. The people you surround yourself with are determinants of the level of your success.
  • Your mindset is everything. If you can envision your success, you can achieve it.
  • The only limits that exist are the ones you set yourself and even if there are any, they are meant to be exceeded. As the saying goes, “Whatever you are…be a good one.”

There’s something I want to get off my chest. It’s actually not a bad thing either. Fair warning, I’m about to get a little cocky because I was once told by someone who thought they held a significant place in the fitness industry, that I was a “nobody”. That was sometime last year. I don’t talk to them anymore. But if our paths cross sometime in the future I can at least say something along the lines of, “I don’t see you setting national records…”. Although, I probably won’t say it, because again there is a sense of pride knowing that I accomplished more than most and I’m not getting worn down by chasing lost dreams. Granted, I’ve been called much worse, but being called a “nobody” is one of those things that fires you up to show them they are wrong, otherwise you would punch them.

I have much more than they ever will as well. I have an amazing coach, a powerful and motivating team, my ever reliable support system and an undying drive to get stronger. The human body is an incredible and amazing piece of work and my God… mine has taken a beating but it’s only going to get better from here. I need to send my thanks out to my massage therapist Mike Mcaleese at SOHMAR Institute in Downers Grove. His input on the health status of my muscles, his knowledge and support most definitely contributed to my ongoing success in the sports I’ve pursued. A special thanks to my parents for their patience and support as I discover myself through my athletic endeavors, and another special thanks to Jason for being real with me when I need it, for loving me no matter what mood I’m in, forever supporting me through my failures and seeing me soar to new great heights in my successes.

Please stop by my dad’s website www.MyPieceOfHeavenPhoto.com to check out the pictures from the meet. That’s about all the proof of my lifts at the moment because I tend to be the only one that films anything…Maybe my next meet? It would be nice to upload more videos of myself to my own YouTube site. As far as competing next, lets just say it will be much sooner rather than later. :)

Eat Healthy Live Happy Friends,

-Nell


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