View Full Version : Confessions of the Unlikely: A Foray Into Powerlifting and Life

10-20-2002, 10:39 PM
Let me begin with a simple statement:

I am weak.

In mind and body, I am weak. This may seem surprising, as I am a U.S. Marine reservist, was a cross country runner in high school, and once was able to do 100 pushups and an 8-mile run without difficulty. I kept myself fit and healthy, ate well, and watched my lifestyle closely.

Somewhere along the line, all that changed.

So, here I am, about to pour my heart out to you all. After an initial active-duty period in the Marines for boot camp and additional training, I returned to college full-time. I still ran every day, and was introduced into weightlifting via a beginner's class. It was nothing special, just a machine circuit, using single sets for ten reps. After a couple of months, I moved into freeweights, and made very good progress.

When that class ended, however, I found myself unable to keep up with a regular schedule. Eventually, I fell out of it completely. During this time, the pressures of school, a job, the Marines, and a new relationship drove my love for and discipline in fitness to a nearly non-existent level. Two years later, after a desperate attempt to get myself back into lifting (using Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia and a host of other books--no wonder I failed), I am now an unfit, skin-and-bones, wake-up-at-one-in-the afternoon, one-meal-a-day smoker.

That's right. I'm a smoker. About a pack every two days.

A few months ago I stumbled onto WBB. I tried WBB #1 for a month or so, and quickly fell out of it. The reason? Lack of discipline. I was simply too lazy to get up in the morning and lift. So, I spent a lot of my time perusing the forums, envious of all of you, people who have their heart and soul set on improving themselves day by day. It was on one of these little searches I discovered powerlifting.

And so, after a good deal of research, a few questions, and ordering a book (Powerlifting: Texas Style), I've decided to get my life back. I am depending on all of you for the support I know you'll provide--I've seen you interact in these forums, you are all good people that I look up to and desire to be. I hope keeping up this journal will provide incentive for me to change a lot of bad habits that have creeped into my life.

Thus, here you go: my goals are to quit smoking, eat more, get my sleeping schedules back on track, and reclaim the fitness level I once had. In addition to powerlifting, I intend on getting back into running, something I once loved. I am 5'11, 150 pounds, skin-and-bones with a hint of a belly. If that's not a hint that I need to seriously get back on track, what is?

Tomorrow (damn, it's almost one AM already), I'm going to do my best to force myself up at 7:45 and be at the gym by 8. The goal this week will be to establish my maxes in the squat, deadlift, and bench. Tomorrow will be bench, followed by a good three or four mile run, Wednesday will be squat, and Friday will be deads. I'll post the results (however pathetic they are) as they come. Once the maxes are established, I'll decide on a routine to follow. In the meantime, I need to take this pack of cigs and toss 'em, and start eating.

Even as I write this now, I am not all that confident I will be able to stick with it. Hopefully the feedback I get from you all will keep me on track. I will really appreciate all you have to say...even if it's a quick post to tell me to get my lazy ass out of bed :) .

So, here we go. Wish me luck.


10-21-2002, 02:34 AM
Congratulations on starting a journal and reclaiming your life:thumbup: You have taken the first steps in writing your goals so now you MUST break these down into achievable bits and start taking some MASSIVE action.

Even as I write this now, I am not all that confident I will be able to stick with it.

What are your outcomes?? What are your reasons for wanting to change?? Perhaps you need to focus on this more so that you are juiced and passionate about it:).

Keep reading the online journals as they are truly an inspiration;)

10-21-2002, 04:16 AM
do those things... take control. nothing is stopping u

Just some girl
10-21-2002, 05:01 AM
perhaps the best piece of advice i have seen on this site (and there is a ton of great advice) was written by Jane. (others may have said it too at other times in other places, but I saw it from her, so she's the one who's gettin' the credit here. :) ) that piece of advice was this: Take it one thing at a time. If you attempt to change everything at the same time, it will feel like a tremendous task, impossible to accomplish, and it will be so incredibly difficult to stick to.

You are asking a lot of yourself by attempting to quit smoking cold turkey, start eating enough and healthily, starting to run again, getting into the gym (and first thing in the morning which requires the sleeping pattern change, too), all on day one. I am not saying that you can't make all of these changes at the same time, I'm just saying that it is going to be much harder to do it that way. And if you are already a little daunted by the task, then perhaps you need to take it a little slower.

Maybe change #1 should be to get into the gym and start lifting. But don't make yourself have to do it at the butt crack of dawn. Why put two hard things together? Just get a workout into your day. Especially if you are not used to getting up early right now, that is probably going to be the hardest time to motivate yourself to lift and lift well. Then next week start reducing your smoking and try to eat more. Eat something healthy instead of smoking a cigarette. I imagine the benefits you will be able to see in your workouts even from just beginning to stop smoking and to eat more should be encouragement to keep at it.

I don't know what will work for you obviously, you would know better. So I'm going to stop suggesting the order you make the changes in, it shouldn't matter too much. Just that you allow yourself to take it slowly, not try to change everything all at once, get discouraged, and give up. That's the key of my point.

Finally, I would say that you seem like you might be an all-or-nothing type of person (I may be totally off...if I am, I apologize). Speaking as one of those, however, I can say that one of the hardest things (for me) is when I feel like I have slipped up and totally screwed up by not following my diet or workout schedule or whatever, not to throw everything away because 'why bother? I messed up anyway.' Just stick with it, and allow yourself to make mistakes from time to time.

Good luck, man! I wish you all the best. :)

10-21-2002, 09:17 PM
Woke up at 8:20 or so this morning. Not bad. Had breakfast (water, milk, waffles w/ margarine & syrup, a bagel with cream cheese, and coffee), went to class as usual, then lunch (water, milk, turkey on whole wheat, hot chocolate, a banana, corn, and cheese potatoes). I decided to lift around 2 in the afternoon.

I stated in the previous post that I intended on hitting maxes over this week, but I decided to just hit the iron and see what happens. I nabbed this routine out of Powerlifting Basics: Texas Style (I'd recommend this book, it's funny as hell and teaches you while you're rolling on the floor):

1st Day:
behind-the-neck press 4x8
power style squat (bar low on back) 4x8
bench 4x8
power cleans 3x6

2nd Day
deads 4x6
high bar squats 2x12
flat bench DB press 3x8-10
bent-over rows 3x8-10
close-grip bench

abs, calve raises, and curls optional...i threw in ab work, calve raises and curls might come in later (i personally hate curls)

Took things really light today, as I'm somewhat down with the flu and need to work my way back in, rather than slapping the 45's on and killing myself. I know this routine looks like that of a bodybuilder's, but its purpose is to build a good base for pre-competition phases, etc. later.

Here are the weights:
behind neck press 65
power squat 115
bench 95
cleans 115

Really light, but still neared failure on the third or fourth set of each exercise. Never done cleans before, but I love 'em. By the third set every muscle in my forearms, on back through my traps was screaming at me. The squats felt good, ass-to-the-floor; I concentrated more on form than on weight. Disappointed by how bad my bench has gotten, but I was pretty tired after the squats and behind-the-necks (something I've also never tried, I loved the burning in my delts).

There were a few pretty big guys in the gym today, so I felt a little intimidated throwing 25's onto the bar and benching for four sets with such a light weight. Halfway into the workout, I was too worn to notice...to the best of my knowledge, they didn't notice anything either. Most of them were too busy talking to the three or four girls in the place. Watched one guy load 45's onto the rack and squat, going no farther than three or four inches down. He finished it up and walked around like he was the man. I wanted to ask him to do that going ALL THE WAY DOWN, but I prefer not to be an ass, especially as I'm a relative newcomer. I felt fine bouncing my rear off the floor with a pair of 35's.

Finishing up with the cleans (man did they hurt, but baby made me hurt so good :D), I headed out, dripping, tired, but happy. Went home, showered up, and headed to work. I felt pretty good, the flu wasn't bothering me too bad, but about two hours in it hit me again. Been swallowing Advil all day. For dinner I picked up Subway on the way into work, footlong turkey w/ cheese, lettuce, mayo, mustard, salt & pepper. Washed it down with a couple of mountain dews at work (not the best dinner, I know).

And, perhaps most important of all, I've gone all day without a cigarette. Geez, it's killing me :( but I know it's for the better.
I'll post again on Wednesday, for the second half of the workout.

Have a good evening all, thanks for the responses!


10-21-2002, 09:25 PM
Good Luck, your making a major lifestyle change. It may be hard, but youll appriate the results. :)

10-22-2002, 12:39 AM
Originally posted by puny_ectomorph
And, perhaps most important of all, I've gone all day without a cigarette. Geez, it's killing me :( but I know it's for the better.

:thumbup:Congratulations Ecto.....I used to smoke and the first couple of days after giving up are crappy but believe me, you will learn to BREATHE again and your tastebuds with thank you for it:)

10-22-2002, 11:39 PM
Evening all,

Didn't train today, but decided to quickly post nutrition stuff. Here goes:

Breakfast: pancakes w/ margarine & syrup, bacon, banana, water, milk, bran cereal
Lunch: turkey on whole wheat, mashed potatoes, green beans, banana, water, milk, 2 cups of coffee
Dinner: pork chop, 1 slice of cheese pizza, peas and carrots, milk, water, a cookie, 1 cup of coffee, boiled potatoes

Got a little weak today. Bummed a cigarette during a break in the middle of my 3 1/2 hour night class, and ordered a cheese pizza, eating about half of it (I was genuinely hungry for some reason). Also drank a bit of coke, but dumped it down the drain and replaced it with water :) Other than that, not a bad day today. Tomorrow, another workout...I'll keep y'all posted.