Journey to the USPA Relentless Power Classic
It has been 329 days since my last meet. I wasn’t 100% after my knee repair, but I owed it to myself to do Boss of Bosses VI in August 2019. I wanted to see how far my training had come and how much closer I was to my absolute best. The ultimate goal for a powerlifter and their training is to attain the biggest numbers possible in an upcoming meet. At BOBVI, I was just happy to step on the platform again. Shortly thereafter, it was a battle getting myself back to 100%. The adversity didn’t affect me. Mentally, things were solid; physically, I knew I needed to rehab my body to get through a meet without all the nagging pain.
During this training cycle, I made the switch from a conventional deadlift to sumo. After BOBVI, it was all I could do. Residual back pain made it difficult to bend over to pick things up. While rehabbing my back, I decided to hone in my sumo technique and run with it through to my next scheduled meet, the Relentless Classic, which took place a couple weeks ago. In hindsight, my sumo deadlift isn’t as strong as my conventional deadlift, but at the end of the day, it allowed me to keep training and pushing toward another goal.
Going into this meet, I focused heavily on my mental fortitude and meditated daily. I kept my social media presence at a minimum, only posting small updates. I never broadcasted doing the meet; this time, I wanted to go in and have fun without the pressures of the outside world. I cleaned up my meals the last four weeks of prep into more of a vertical style diet with a cheat once a week. I was walking around at 335lb, the heaviest I’ve been, feeling better than I have ever felt. At about 2-3 weeks out, I completely disabled my social media, and honestly it was an invigorating feeling. It gave me peace of mind and a sense of clarity.
My Training Cycle
My heaviest squat this training cycle was 760lb. To put things into perspective, right before BOBVI, I hit 785lb, which was a big training PR. In my mind, I was geared toward something around the 780-790lb mark this time around. The biggest difference between this training cycle and previous ones was the lack of pain in my knee. I did not feel off balance during my squats and really did not feel any pain in any part of my body for the first time in a long time. With everything clicking at the right time, I believe Josh Bryant and I were building up the perfect storm for this meet. I did a small cut from 330lb to 311.5 for the meet. I wanted to see how much I could drop in a week, and it helped me learn more about my body and its needs.
The Relentless Classic
The day started out as expected. Being the final lifter in the last flight, I prepared for my flight meticulously. Calculating my attempts to the minute, I was ready mentally and physically during warm ups. After my second attempt at 766lb, I had to go for the big money—804lb. It would be my heaviest squat attempt in sleeves. So as the round was winding down to my attempt, I replayed the same song drop about 50 times, engulfing myself in rage and serenity. With my hands on the bar I got set and walked it out. At that moment, I knew for a fact this was about to be my best squat yet.
I buried the squat and that attempt for me was the biggest highlight of the meet. Afterward, I had no pain, I was well rested, and the squat looked like I had a good 20 more pounds to push. My confidence was higher than ever. The rest of the meet ran smoothly until deadlifts. I was expecting to do more, but I still have a long way to go in sumo. Again, in retrospect, I was pain free and ended the meet with a 2105 total via 804/578/722 and feeling 100% healthy.
I felt satisfied for about 3 hours, basically until after I stuffed my face full of sushi. I then realized that I needed to push myself toward another meet. This meet was vital for me to feel alive again...to know I wasn’t done for sure. I needed to feel the same determination I had 5 years ago. The best is yet to come. Tick tock.