That new “On This Day” feature on Facebook threw up a few photos the other day of me at my first full powerlifting competition. The photos had been put up on April 20th 2011 but the competition was actually on April 10th – and I only know what because my dad is the kind of person who leaves the date overlay on his photos.
I’d previously – in October 2010 – done a deadlift-only competition where I’d pulled 105kg (in the 75kg class – this was before the GBPF changed its weight classes to align with the IPF). This was my first 3-lift competition. If I recall correctly, I finished with a 67.5kg squat, 37.5kg bench & 105kg deadlift for a 210kg total.
It’s funny looking back at these pictures. On the one hand, I’ve come a long way in 4 years. On the other hand, my progress has been positively glacial if I compare myself to other lifters at the gym (or I see at competitions). A mere 15kg gain in my deadlift in 4 years? So s-l-o-w. And the less said about my bench, the better!
Ah, but things aren’t all bad. As much as I rue my relative lack of progress, I’m really glad I started competing early. I see so many people say they won’t compete until they’re “really strong” or until they can win, and I say why? Why put off learning the art & skill of competing? The more you compete, the better you’ll get at it. You can be the strongest person in the room but if you go to pieces the first time you get on the platform, it’s a bit wasted.
And I’m really glad I’m still going to the gym (it will be 6 years in May that I first walked in the door). As I may have mentioned (!) I’ve been in a bad way mental health-wise recently, and getting myself to the gym has been a struggle. I’ve not wanted to go, and when I’ve got there I’ve sat in the changing room dreading the session, not wanting anyone to talk to me, not wanting to talk to anyone.
But my sense of obligation to the gym gets me out onto the floor, and by the time I’ve finished the session I’m really glad I went. They might say that “routine is the enemy” but I think it’s one of the things that keeps me going & keeps me sane.