I know of the many sacrifices powerlifters, as well as Olympic weightlifters and strong men make to be competitive at their sport. They give away a lot of time and miss opportunities to do their sport. Unlike other athletes, there are few chances of winning money for these sports where elite athletes of other sports make millions of dollars doing their sport, which most of the time is no where near as demanding as weightlifting.
I am only 16 and due to many of my other goals in life I pretty much gave up on becoming a competitive powerlifter, but will still continue doing the big lifts and get stronger. I go to a magnet high school and maintaining even a 3.0 GPA is hard at my school if I am lifting frequently. In one year of frequent lifting with minor injuries I went from near a 90 lb max BP (I did do a lot of calisthenics beforehand) with my skinny long-armed frame to a 240 max. I was injured so I couldn't squat or deadlift but I knew there were many more injuries in the long run.
Powerlifting is one of the greatest sports ever, I played basketball, volleyball, swimming, football, soccer, tennis and baseball but nothing ever felt like it and there is just so much desire to get better in this sport and planning your own program, getting stronger, deciding what to work on is so occupying. On the downside, I spent hours a week lifting (I did high-volume training and I was progressing way faster than low-volume work,) over an hour a day eating and being tired to study and do homework. I am going to be a junior in high school soon so I took two AP classes and dedicated myself to just school since the year just started. My goal is to go to a top university in my state (California) and become a sports medicine physician or a physical therapist as I am passionate of learning about it and helping others, but I do have a feeling of regret of not pursuing my other dream of being an elite powerlifter.
Enough with my life, I want to know how the rest of you managed to be where you are, if you think it was truly worth, obstacles you faced, and other careers or opportunities you wanted to pursue in the past. Thank you for contributing.
You are smart putting your education first. But there is no reason you can't still train hard and keep progressing. You're 16 and have a lot of years ahead of you, just slow down and enjoy the ride. Workouts don't need to be all day marathons, you could get a decent workout done in an hour a few days a week.
Whether its at 5am, on your lunch break, when your kids and family go to bed, or giving up an hour of TV, there is always time in the day. The real questin is, is it high enough on your priority list to make time?
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Maybe instead of playing BF3 or COD you could train, no?
First and foremost, school is most important. That being said, it just sounds like an excuse that having good grades is impossible while training hard. I managed to play 3 sports, captain all three my senior year, get solid grades (3.5 in high school) and still chase girls.
Personally, I think powerlifting is one of the worst things a kid your age can do. i think you should be outside playing real sports and learning about life, working as a team/teammate and learning basic physical skills that can only be learned through sport. Not to mention, at your age you have absolutely no muscle mass, yet. That'snot an insult, it's the truth. Your body hasn't even developed yet.
If you don't have time, which just really isn't true, I'd train full body 2-3 times a week using compound movements. If you really want to train, as you say, you'll find a way to do it. if niot, then do whatever it is you feel you need to do in order to be happy. You can always pick up lifting again when life slows down. HAHAHAHA! Made myself laugh at that one. Life only gets busier.
1st and foremost getting an education is the most important goal you can follow, period.
With that said....
I have made my best progress training 2-3 days a week. If time REALLY is that tight then this would be a better path for you.
With THAT said...
through my undergrad I trained 5 days a week with three days a week of cardio ( fasted, 1st thing in the morning)... I'd be up at 5 to run, eat, get to class, train, shower at the rec, more class, homework, work a part time job, eat and sleep.... every day. Packing a cooler full of food too.
More recently I just spent the last 2 years earning my masters degree and type 75 certificate to be a school principal ( or other administrator) with a 3.83 gpa, WHILE teaching full time at a public school, doing a 10 hour a week internship,performing 1-2 times a month with my band, and balancing family time, training a puppy, work and homework, and finally breaking a 2400# total. There are guys on my team who balance a full time job, college courses at night, training, AND KIDS and are putting up pro totals.
It's hard, but if I can do it then so can you. You just have to want it bad enough.
Last edited by theBarzeen; 06-20-2012 at 05:23 PM.
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Gym PR's... don't count ... time to do another meet!
Last edited by Jonathan E; 06-20-2012 at 05:25 PM.
"All people dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous ones, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."
It would be unreal to have a college type of schedule again.
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a family, good job, education, friends, etc should all probly come before lifting weights. That being said if you want to do it you will find the time. But Rhodes is right, you should probly spend time playing real sports and developing physically rather than just powerlifting
Priorities man. I competed in bodybuilding shows all through college, worked part-time all through it, and graduated summa cum laude. I was doing triple sessions consistently, and had an amazing social life......
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Inspiring, especially you Barzeen. My schedule on a school day (I'm on summer break for now,) is this: wake up at 6, ready for school, go to bus stop by 7:10, get to school at about 7:50 (I have about 10 minutes free usually and I do homework sometimes,) get off the bus at approx 3:30, home at 3:45, eat for 20 minutes and drinking 1/2 gallon skim milk throughout the day, listen to music for 30 minutes while I am eating, hit up the forums, read a t-mag article or something else, start homework, eat while doing homework, nap, take shower, study and continue eating, get interested in something off the internet and waste 30 minutes to an hour there and then I go to sleep late.
I realized I could eliminate the non-essential things I do like listening to music and staying away from the internet. I could free up at least an hour or sometimes up to two hours. Thanks a lot for everyone's contributions. I read countless articles on the internet of life and training but never anything as insightful as your posts.
I used to go overkill and eat a lot before training and planning my training perfectly and everything but I figured if I stick to a low-volume workout with less rest between sets I could still make great progress without running out of time. Just what I needed to know.
Hey man I know life is busy. There is no question as you get older things dont slow down at all. With work and getting married having kids, taking care of the house. Things will never slow down bro. So you need to balance things out. Taking naps and looking at mags are not a priority right now. Eric Thomas does a great motivational speech you can find it on youtube he also goes by the hiphop preacher. Dont ask why I dont know. Anyway, he talks alot about how you are going to sacrifice anything and everything to be successful. Now it sounds that education and lifting are the main focus. I think you can do both I encourage you to look at the vid it is about 14 mins long and I hope it helps.
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I trained 5 days a week all through college while running a small auto shop out of my garage. Graduated with good grades.
In highschool I lifted 4 days a week at a commercial gym. I didn't compete in powerlifting, but I still was able to keep lifting. I competed in sports, hung out with friends, the normal stuff.
Honestly I never have felt like I sacrificed much of my personal life. I keep focused when I'm in the gym, and then shut it off when I leave. Keep the gym at the gym and when you are at home, be at home.
Like others have said, it really doesn't require large amounts of time. You're looking at an hour or two at the most. The part that gets the majority of people is being able to maintain a very high level of focus for that hour. You don't have a locker room to get pumped up in, a coach giving you a motivational speech or teammates screaming at each other helping you get focused. It's just up to you.
I think that's why some people feel like they need to spend all their time thinking about powerlifting. That's the only way they know to feel like they are staying focused.
I read an article a long time ago by Dave Tate talking about how he stayed focused at the gym and when he left the gym, he quit thinking about the gym and was at home with his family. That's always made a lot of sense to me and I feel has helped me avoid sacrificing time with others. It's not something that comes easy though. it takes work to get yourself to be able to walk in the gym and be focused like that.
Bottom line, if you want to train and can keep the grades, keep training by all means.
I'll completely echo what Travis said about Tate. Things like education and family come first, but training is one of the most rewarding things you can offer yourself throughout life.
I'm close to finishing my Phd in engineering and I can say without a doubt, I've most likely trained 3-4 days a week since high school and I credit my working drive to powerlifting completely. I know a lot of people will laugh at that. Trust me when I say this, Learning how to be time-efficient is one of the greatest lessons you could learn at your age.
In HS, I powerlifted all year round despite being a 3 sport athlete, work, etc. Those 5:00 wake ups to go train before school kept me disciplined through some very hard times in my life. In college, it was the same. Now I'm clearly not the strongest out there, and even without training partners, sleep, and alot of distractions on my mind, I still strive to be the best that I can be. That's all you can ask for at any point in your life.
There's not many powerlifters out there that get paid to train all day and worry about little else. Hell, I'm sure half of America's top Oly lifters have full time jobs. In fact, most of the greats had a demanding schedule and I'm sure had family, medical, and other issues to deal with. That's why I hold alot of respect for anyone that pursues the iron game.
Training offers alot more than just those hours you put in. You learn alot about yourself through it that not much else in life can.
Rhodes offers some good advice above. You can make alot of progress at your age with that advice. To add on to that, once a month, write our your goals for that month and set your training up. After you're done, follow through with it and don't think about training. Do the basics to make progress and don't major in the minors as they say. Learn how to keep training in the gym and life outside of it.
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All of your guys' stories are extremely inspiring. Most people I know that do powerlifting do have pretty crazy schedules. A good friend of mine is a roofer that works 60 hours a week and he keeps his weight over 300 pounds and his numbers are 920-635-775. He comes to the gym every night after he's been working, even in the heat of summer.
My schedule is pretty hectic during the school year now that I step back and look at it, but like Travis said, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing a ton of my personal life from it. Most people spend their own "free" time doing much less productive things than powerlifting.
I have 15 hours of school, 20-30 hours of work, drive 6 hours round trip to a powerlifting gym each Thursday to squat, and keep a girlfriend happy that lives 1.5 hours away. And I still have plenty of free time.
Someone mentioned Eric Thomas above, and he has an analogy pretty relevant in your situation. He says the difference between a millionaire like Oprah Winfrey and a broke man is all about how they use their 24 hours.
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Take your education serious. Take it as far as you can endure! Sports are great but unless you are going to be a true Professional athlete and make millions of dollars you need an education to get by this day and age.
Powerlifting is a hobbie sport. I have been playing the games for 20 years or so and have made some extra cash competing but nothing to get rich off of. I am fortunate to have a good job that with a great work schedule that allows me to dedicate a lot of time to training.
You are young enjoy your education and the opportunities that it will bring you. Powerlifing will always be there for you to start up at any age. One of my best training partners didn't start in the sport till his late 40's and he is kicking ass.
Can't imagine it being that hard at 16, but situations today are a world different then when I was a junior....My god that was 20 years ago!!! Wow, I played three sports, captained them as well, but did the lifting required by each sport for that given season. I didn't really start to enjoy power lifting until about 4 years ago. I can tell you that with three kids, 4 years, 2.5 years and a 6 month old along with a job that requires "homework" and traveling it can get to be a struggle sometimes. I would say BE A 16 YEAR OLD, LOL, what I mean is put in the work early that will pay the most dividends later. School should be number one, you will have pleanty of time to lift a little later and the truth is lifting usually does not pay the bills but a quality education will. Lots of really good points above, if you want to power lift you just have to make it happen and you may have to make some sacrifices to chase that dream. If you look at any athlete that achieves true memorable greatness, everyone of them expresses things lost chasing that dream. True greatness comes at a cost PERIOD. But I don't think there are many people that can dedicate themselves 100% to too many things. Now with that being said you are young and looking back on what I know now... sports and power lifting at 16 would seem like a cake walk in comparison to my life now. I noticed someone stated "prorities", thats a spot on statement. at your age going in and sticking to some compound movements (metioned above), would build a strong base. Later your dedication to the sport can begin when you have more time? That may sound like a defeatest attitude but if you are truly dedicated to becoming an elite powerlifter its not! Or get organized, focused and grind it out. It won't be easy but nothing good ever is and some things on some days my just have to take a back seat to training... Just that simple. Good luck young man, I wish you luck on whatever or however you decide to pursue life! Whatever you do go all out!
Thank you for your advice. Being on summer break I have recently started managing my time better and all of you are right it is really worth it. I have loads of free time until August but I will continue practicing these habits. I won't waste any time on non-important things anymore (unless I have already done everything I planned on doing.) I will lift when school starts constantly, that's for sure. I'll just simply not waste time doing something that isn't necessary, as all of you have said. Really changed my view on time management, thanks to all.