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My initial goal was to come in and make a run at a 2100+ total for the All-Time record but my primary goal was to win the meet. I wasn’t planning on making a run for my 2204 (10kg) total at this meet yet as I had not been able to train the deadlift heavy. This was due to a recent elbow surgery and some bicep tearing when I tried to ramp up the weights to early at 6 weeks out form the meet. So the last 6 weeks I was letting my bicep and arm fully heal and was hoping on still getting a decent enough pull in for at least the All-time record.
It began as a challenging week. With being unable to sleep on the 20hr flight to Sydney then arriving and getting settled in I ended up going 2.5 days without sleep. After one fuller, but still incomplete, night of sleep I started my water cut to the 220lb class. Interestingly I was stuck in a hard place with making this cut. If I came up a 1lb short I wouldn’t be weighing in at 221 for the meet as the 242lb class was scheduled for the following day so it would leave me having to cut 2 days in a row or just recomping and competing in the 275’s. So missing by even .2lbs would essentially move me up two weight classes and change the day I competed, and require me to change my flight plans.
I ended up having put some weight on this last 8 weeks since my last cut to 220. While it was only about 5lbs it was 5lbs on top of an already hard cut. I cut out fluids at 8pm on Wednesday night and let the initial water drop begin. At 6pm on Thursday night I began hitting the sauna at 15min 15min off with Sam Byrd (going for 198’s) and Brantley Thorton (going for 181’s). Brantley got sick and was out somewhere around 10pm which is when Sam and I added Sauna Suits. Sam stuck with it till about 3-4am when he realized he wasn’t going to make it.
I always find the weight cut to be a bit of a spiritual experience. Perhaps because they are so hard for me due to my inability to sweat due to my nervous system disorder. As a side note this is why I always have my shirt off in the gym to help control my body temperature due to this. Sitting there next to Brantley and Sam with sweat just pouring off them while I barely beaded up made a very visible contrast. I find it spiritual as you never really know who you are in the moment when the going gets tough and you choose to either push on or give in. It’s an opportunity to test yourself and know who you are and I find this a nice cleansing ritual before a meet. Unfortunately this cut ended up being very large and it took its toll on my performance. But I had been feeling lately that I had lost my mental edge, my mental toughness. And when it got towards the end of the cut I didn’t think I had it in me and thought I had given up. With the last sauna session at 7:45 after thinking I didn’t have it in me to finish I turned around and had the longest single session all night bringing my body temp up high enough that I kept sweating the entire drive to weigh ins.
I weighed in at 99.7kg (219.8lbs) after the all nighter. Then immediately went to eating, drinking, and then adding in training sessions for blood flow and fluid pulling once my weight was up. All I wanted to do was take a nap or go to bed early but I had to keep at it and got my weight all the way back up, but also meant getting to bed late after the 2 days of no sleep. Here is me training at an anytime fitness that day:
Saturday I woke up feeling pretty good despite never having the chance to catch up on sleep. A full meet video will come out later but I’ll post up some video’s taken from the livefeed of the event for now.
Warmup ups felt solid going into squats. Judging was very strict on the lightweight day and several known lifters warned me as they came off the platform that I was going to have to sink the depth to get a squat in. I hit my first attempt deeper than normal but still got red lights to both myself and numerous top level competitors watching all thought was below. After that I decided to play it safe and repeat my opener and also just kill the depth on my squats to leave no doubt. My second attempt at 804lbs got 3 whites but I bent over coming out of the hole after going that deep and it scared me so I chose a small jump to 832 for my third attempt. My third attempt I finally hit my groove and it was a nice clean squat with plenty left in the tank.
On bench press warmups I could feel the toll the weight cut had taken on me. The bar was moving very fast but it felt heavy. My planned opener was 440lbs and I dropped it to 424lbs. I went 424 and then 460 for good lifts and missed 480lbs halfway up. If the press commands had been as fast as they were on the following heavyweight day I believe I would have still been good for 480+lbs.
I started warmups for deadlifts with my elbow mobility work for my left arm and it felt nice and mobile. Warmups progressed well with no elbow pain or grip issues. The weights felt light and barspeed was good, but I knew based on squats and bench that I wasn’t going to be at my best so I dropped my planned opener of 722 down to 705. At this point I was still hoping for 2100 if I could pull an 806+pull out for a third attempt. With my opener of 705 the I accidently pushed the bar out in front of me twice while setting up and the second time I couldn’t get it pulled back in. Instead of setting up again I went ahead and pulled it anyway. It went up fine and I was still feeling pretty optimistic at this point of hitting my goal. But my second attempt with 749 I missed locking it out, and on the third attempt I didn’t have anything left.
Despite missing these pulls I was really happy with deadlifts as I had no grip issues and no arm pain. My arm was still pushing the bar out in front of me but nowhere near what it was doing prior to my surgery a few months ago. I felt confident about being able to start training my deadlift properly again and getting my groove dialed in for a big pull in the future.
I finished with a 2000 total @ 220 for my 4th raw meet and my first international competition for an easy 1st place. Sam Byrd took 2nd with I believe a 1900 total. Out of all the heavy weight classes I think only a couple people out totaled or out squatted me.
- The biggest piece of the meet was getting to meet and spend time with a number of top level lifters that I have only had the opportunity to interact with online. These interactions and watching them lift helped bring back my competitive fire that has been lacking this last year.
- I also had a great time interacting with my followers. Hearing first hand from so many people on the progress they have made from implementing the training and technique approaches I promote.
- I can start training the deadlift again!
- Don’t ever cut as much weight as I did again.
- Don’t combine international travel with large weight cuts.
- Make sure I’m competing on main show flight/day in the future.
- I’ve still got it.
Huge thanks to Sam Byrd and Andrie Miclea for seeing me through my overnight weight cut. There is no way I could have pulled it off without you. Zorahgail and Matt Murrin I can’t thank the two of you enough for all your support over the week. Jessica and Brandon Lilly for your assistance with the weight cut. Amit Sapir for your diet advice heading into the meet and support that week. Team EliteFTS and USPLabs for both of your ongoing support. And of course the EPC team back home in Portland!!!
Dan Green Winner of 242’s on Right, Zahir 275 Champ in Middle, and me taking the 220’s on the Left.