The Nationals approach…is it possible?

The Canadian Nationals of powerlifting are this saturday. It’s an event I have not missed in the past 3 years. It’s an event that is the apex of powerlifting for any Canadian lifter. It’s also my biggest dilemma closing in on my Guinness World record attempts.

Training for these Guinness World records has consumed my life and changed the entire way I weight train. My powerlifting training prepped me for one single lift of the heaviest weight in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Hours of lifting heavy weights for sets of 3 repetitions, over and over with hundreds of pounds acclimatize your central nervous system for heavy lifting.

Your central nervous system is much like your engine, and your muscles and bones the body to your car. Your central nervous system is why you can have two individuals both the exact same weight (say 200 pounds) and the exact same muscularity and muscle density, and by all optical judgement be the exact same to look at. But it’s not the muscle mass alone that makes some individuals stronger. That is only the body of the vehicle. The body of the vehicle may be designed for speed, but its the engine that really separates fast cars from others.

That is why some people gravitate towards powerlifting. In weight training, they discover that for whatever reason they are built to lift heavy weights. Their central nervous system is hardwired for their bodies to generate lots of horse power. More so than other peers who train as much, and often, and are the same size or bigger.

But the central nervous system (CNS) is a funny thing.

Powerlifting training gears your CNS for such heavy lifting. These Guinness World records I am attempting in July are records of muscular endurance, and switch the fast/slow twitch fibers I am recruiting in my muscles.

In training for the Record Day this July 16th, I have been lifting a relatively light weight (compared to my powerlifting training) for hundreds of reps over the span of hours straight. Although still weightlifting, it is actually the opposite of powerlifting training.

I have noticed in my training that my muscular endurance has improved greatly. The first few days of training like this were some of the hardest days I have ever endured. Training with a trash bucket next to me because I felt as though I was going to puke was standard protocol. I would sweat 3-4 pounds of water out of my body, and my muscles would tighten up as soon as the training day was over. It felt more like I was running a marathon than weightlifting.

I trained nothing but low weight/high rep squats and deadlifts for the past month with only one powerlifting day a week.  At first I didn’t notice much difference on my powerlifting day. A month later, the difference is impossible to ignore or deny. I no longer need a trash can by my side, as my conditioning has risen to the best shape of my life in terms of muscular endurance. My one lift strength however has dropped dramatically.

While it was standard practise to train with over 400 pounds on my back as a good working weight for repetitions a month ago, today it is a labouring task I can only do for a few sets.

An injury to my left hand has also considerably weakened my grip strength. hundreds of deadlifts a day every day have taken its toll. The left hand has been giving out when I go for what was a short while ago a fairly light deadlift.

My chief coach, Dr Aras Kvedaras, warned me this would happen. Dr. Aras is a master in understanding the human anatomy, and in some circles is so good he is nick named “the witch doctor”. He has been working with me to keep me healthy and as injury free as possible. Considering the work load I am putting my body through, he has a tough assignment.

He foreseen the lost of heavy lifting strength as muscular endurance grew. He encouraged me to bypass powerlifting, and if possible such feats of strength like towing airplanes and school buses. The ladder I may not be able to bypass as I have commitments to do such feats of strength to help hype the record attempts. These eye-popping  feats of strength bring in National media attention and, in turn, corporate sponsors to raise money for sick children. After all, raising money for sick kids is the reason for all of this anyways.

It’s a hectic schedule, and at the end of the day it is a game time decision. I won the Provincials, and I am already on the Nationals roster. My path is all clear for me to compete should I choose to.

This week I’ll monitor my body’s strength and have to make a tough decision come saturday.