British Classic 2015

I’ve been trying to sit down & write this for a couple of days, but I think I’m suffering from some sort of post-event comedown (like you get after a holiday) so I’ve spent a couple of hours staring at a blank screen.

The short version is that I did really well at the British, better than I hoped! I didn’t place as highly as I thought I might do, but I still did better than last year (and the year before).

My results, in a nutshell:
Squat: 102.5kg (new personal best)
Bench: 55kg
Deadlift: 125kg (new personal best)
Total: 282.5kg (new personal best)

I got 8/9 lifts – the only one I missed was my last bench, 57.5kg, which I’ve never attempted before.

Overall, I came 16th. There were 24 competitors on the entry list – 4 didn’t turn up and one was disqualified, so I came 16/19 (I wish it was 16/24 – it sounds better!)

[For reference, in 2013 I got 90/50/110 and came last; in 2014 I got 100/47.5/117.5 and came 12/14]

Good things

I made weight so easily, I was honestly shocked.

I was 70.3kg at weigh-in (70kg exactly in my hotel room). As opposed to last year – when I low-carbed for 6 weeks and drove myself into a bad place (mentally & physically) – this year I cut out bread & pasta for 7 days before the competition. The only exception was a bacon roll & a Twix I ate on Saturday, when I was refereeing (the day before lifting). I’d weighed myself that morning & reckoned there was no way a bacon roll & a Twix would make me put on 2kg!

I even had a beer on Saturday night (the night before my competition!) because I was struggling with anxiety and unsure if I’d be able to sleep. Luckily it worked, and I slept from 9pm – 6.30am on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Talking of refereeing, I had a great day doing first weigh-in for the lightweight ladies, and then refereeing the 47, 52 and 57kg classes. I got to officiate for some new national records!

The venue for the competition (LEAF Academy in Bournemouth) was really great – it had a huge warm-up room, two large changing rooms and lots of spectator space. My hotel was lovely too (quiet!)

Bad things

Nothing went badly over the weekend per se. There were a few annoyances, though.

For starters, I woke up far too early on Friday (5.45am!) even though I didn’t intend to leave until midday. Then the drive to Bournemouth took 4.5 hours, which was hellish. By the time i got to my hotel (which was, fortunately, a peaceful haven) I was stressed and frazzled.

I had intended to get a nice long sleep on Friday night ready to referee on Saturday. But my body had other plans and I woke up at 4.40am. For real. So I spent all of Saturday feeling tired, cranky and worried that I wouldn’t sleep on the Saturday night and my lifting on Sunday wold be shit. Even worse, if I was tired on Sunday I couldn’t possibly drive home that evening, so I’d be forced to stay in Bournemouth for an extra night. To say I was stressed on Saturday was an understatement.

Unfortunately I had a bit of a go at my coach as I was leaving the venue in the evening, because he wanted me to go to his hotel for dinner while I just wanted to go to my hotel & sleep. I was also upset & disappointed that I’d had no time to enjoy Bournemouth with my friends. But needs must, and I wanted to lift well & drive home on Sunday. So I was tucked up in bed by 9pm with a sleepytime podcast (Relax by Andrew Johnson) and I slept fine in the end.

The ugly (or just the post-mortem)

I felt OK to drive home after lifting (I’d had a 4-hour break while the afternoon session was on) and happily the journey home only took 3.5 hours. Still, longer than the 2.5 hours Google Maps suggested both journeys would take (thanks Google).

I had a really, really awesome weekend overall, although I was a bit sad that I couldn’t enjoy Bournemouth more. Still, I had a great Vietnamese meal on Saturday night (on my own!) and the bits of the town I saw were lovely.

I met loads of other lifters whose names I only knew from Facebook, so that was fantastic. I did get reminded, though, of some of the aspects of lifting that I don’t enjoy – bro-ness, nutrition stuff, that whole “no pussies” culture. 99% of people involved in powerlifting are absolutely great, but it’s that 1% who can put a shitty veneer on everything.

That said, I’m really proud of how well I did (for myself, obviously I’m never going to place) despite the fact that I don’t do nutrition, I don’t eat tons of protein, I have never read anything by Mark Rippetoe or any of the lifting “gurus”, I don’t read lifting blogs, I am not & don’t want to be lean and I try to stay as far away from “lifting culture” as I possibly can. And that’s really how I want it to stay. I just want that whole mainstream lifting culture (with its emphasis on leanness and sexiness and “gainz” and “skwaaaatz” etc) as far away from myself as possible. If that makes sense?

Yesterday was a good day ⚪️⚪️⚪️ #powerlifting

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What’s next

Well, I haven’t been back to the gym yet, but I know when I do I’ll be told to “just play” for a few weeks. Argh, I hate training without a program! But after the men have done their Classic in October, we will be training for the next London divisional on November 21st. In the meantime, I think I’ll do a little volume work, like I did at the beginning of the year.

Now that I’d got my 280kg total (actually 282.5!) I guess I have to aim for 290kg… 300kg when I hit masters in 15 months? Who knows, it might be possible.


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