13 December 2011

SPF Outlaw Powerlifting in Tampa

The above pictures are from the SPF (Southern Powerlifting Federation) Outlaw Powerlifting meet held in my very own hometown of Tampa, Florida.  It was my first meet, and a fun and interesting experience altogether.


Training was pretty typical of what I normally do.  I kept it stress free, and used the minimal effective amount of effort at all times.  I decided to do the meet at exactly four weeks out from it, during which I hit Intensity PRs in the Squat, Bench and Deadlift (335, 245, 435, respectively).  Using that, I planned out how my attempts at each lift would go.  Other than that, I kept it normal, did more thick bar work, tested more variations on my rowing movements (added in Pendlay rows), performed more overhead barbell pressing, and more one handed deadlifting (wherein I hit an intensity PR of 205lbs per hand for several singles).  The style of one hand deadlifting I opted for was the kind you see the old timers do in the pictures where you straddle the bar.  It's far less of an annoyance to do it that way, than any other way.  The last training day before the 10 December competition was on 2 December (this tested best).  You can view my log here.


I intended to make the 181lb weight class.  So I tinkered around with and tested some ideas.  The ideas that passed with flying  colors to make weight wound up being as follows: eating once a day, training fasted (every session was trained that way) and keeping it low carb, for the most part.  Dinner was usually something along the lines of an 8 egg omelette, with cheese and onions, or some beef, or a pack of chicken legs.  Once or twice a week, something carby would test well, usually white potatoes (but never sweet potatoes, oddly) or something like that.  I used no salt, and I drank water as normal, until it was time to cut weight.

I decided to cut weight, since every other aspect of preparation was stress free.  This part was probably the most stressful, for several reasons.  On 4 December, I drank three gallons of water.  The next day, a Monday, I drank two, and on Tuesday, one and Wednesday, half.  Wednesday night I had an egg sandwich to eat, and that was it. Thursday, I had a cup of coffee in the morning and 20 ounces of water, and chewed on a few ice cubes in the day.

At about 6:30 PM, I went to a Lifestyles family fitness that happened to heave a steam room to sweat out the remaining weight (about six or seven pounds).*  The worse part about the steam room is sitting around with the naked old guys who inhabit the gym lockers, having nothing to say and staring at the clock.  I was bored shitless.  I kept going in the steam room in 5 minute intervals (it tested best).  At one point, some guy with a thick middle eastern accent came in with a bottle of water, and asked if I minded if he made it really hot in there.  He doused the walls with cold water, which caused the steam to crank up.  It got nearly unbearable in there. I asked him why he did this.  He said, "I like intense heat." Fair the fuck enough, it only helped my cause.  I left the steam room one pound over my weight according to the digital scale at Lifestyles and two pounds over weight according to the scale from home I brought with me.  I went home and ate a dinner consisting of two ice cubes and a few pieces of Lindt dark chocolate.  It made me feel a bit better, as it were.

The 85% is low in carbs and tests well often, and curbed cravings for too much bullshit during the cutting.
As a note, I saw a lot of people at Lifestyles doing dumb shit, regarding the sauna. I will be the first to admit that cutting weight like this isn't the smartest thing, no matter if Matt Kroc or a host of MMA fighters do it.  There's always a risk.  But, I saw old dudes, and normal gym goers wearing sauna suits (the vinyl kind that make you sweat like a motherfucker) inside the dry heat sauna.  And hoodies, and what not.  Please, do not emulate that kind of behavior.

The next morning, I woke up and went to the meet site, and stripped down to my underwear and made weight at 181.4lbs.  Following that, I drank a half gallon of generic Pedialyte (and felt really awesome), ate a sausage mcgriddle, a breakfast burrito, two hashbrowns and a coffee from McDonalds.  I follwed that up shortly thereafter with six slices of pizza, and for lunch, another four slices of pizza.  Throughout the day, I drank some watered down Powerade and a shitload of water.  For dinner, I ate more, and drank some more coffee, and took three servings of psylium husk fiber powder.  I felt mildly bloated (no sarcasm, it was only a mild feeling.  I think by the night was winding down, I urinated two times (though I had easily consumed more than three gallons of fluid since 9:30 am.

Saturday morning, I felt fantastic.  I went to the meet site, and ate copious amounts of cashews, and poptarts and low carb Monsters throughout the day.

The Meet 

There were a fuckload of people there, and the meet site smelled like ammonia and sports ointment.  And, not surprisingly, the mens bathroom's shitter got clogged at some point in the day.  The janitorial staff took care of it, thankfully.

I saw a lot of inspiring shit go down there.  I saw tiny women squat more than I did (even though they were geared it was still inspiring) and I saw some guys from Westside squat and bench a fuckton of weight.  Notably, one guy squatted 1080lbs, and another guy benched somewhere around 900.  The Independent team form Canada are cool bunch, and fun to talk to, and hopefully they were gracious that I pointed them to the finer strip clubs of Tampa.  Tommy Fannon of Tampa Barbell (a hardcore powerlifting gym for geared lifters) was a cordial guy, as was Jesse Rodgers (president of SPF) and together they judged well, and put on a good meet.  The only downside is that with all the equipped lifters, it took fucking forever.  I didn't stay til the end, and Tommy was kind enough to let me deadlift on the first flight so I could make the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert at 8pm (I left at 6:15pm, right after my third deadlift).

I wound up squatting at 1pm or so, and my best squat was 340 (I missed 360 due to technical aspects of the lift, will get it next time) and a few hours later, I benched and made 255.  I missed my third attempt at 265 (stalled out halfway up).  After taking a monster shit--which I saw as a good omen--after my last bench, the fourth flight went, and then deadlifting started.  I nailed all three deadlifts (405, 440, and 460) which gives me a total of 1055.  I went in hoping to get at least six out of nine lifts white-lighted, and break my training PRs, and total a thousand lbs or more.  Mission accomplished on all fronts.  (First attempt squat was 315, bench first attempt was 230).  The hardest part was the waiting.  It was a long goddamn day.  Thankfully, I had a book, and they had burgers for sale.


I saw a lot of people expend undue energy on their first attempts and at the warmup stations.  I am not saying you shouldn't warm up (if it tests well.  It didn't for me, but it did wonders for my biopsyche),  but you should conserve the energy for where ti counts.  I saw saw enough foam rolling to last a life time, and I noticed the lifters who warmed up the least typically did the best. My warmup consisted of a single squat to find my rack height (same for bench) and a deadlift of 185lbs to make sure I hadn't forgotten the movement.  I didn't forget.

I also found my current training practice of testing everything to be validated given the fact that I saw a lot of the people there competing injured, and generally moving poorly--lots of limps and stuff going on.  But, on the flip side, there were lots of healthy appearing people there too.

Sportsmanship was generally good.  The first lifter in this recording of the third deadlift flight managed to even get me amped up, and she encouraged the shit out of her fellow teammates to hit some good PRs.Everyone was encouraging, the atmosphere was positive and fun.  I will compete again.


Train your goddamn cues.  Read the federation rules, and have someone give you the cues.  Watch the youtube videos to get a feel for it.  It is heartbreaking to see someone completely fuck a lift because you blow the cues.  Train your goddamn cues.

Parallel is subjective.  Find your feds approximation of parallel, and train it.  And once you do, train the goddamn cues. 

Don't fly too close to the sun.  Pick a first attempt you can hit.  Pick a reasonable PR for your second attempt.  Go for the awesome the third time around.   Train your goddamn cues.

And don't stress.  All you're doing is lifting weights. 

*I have never had to make a disclaimer, but don't do anything I describe in this paragraph. If you fuck yourself up, well, you should have listened to this disclaimer.