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Articles > Weight Training > Powerlifting: My Journey to the Platform

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Powerlifting has made me stronger, not just physically, but mentally as well. I feel that I have become a better man, father, and person because of the sport I love so dearly.

About 5 years ago, I was in the gym going through my training routine and I was approached by an older guy who had been watching me train for a bit. The gym that I was training in at that time was owned by a local chiropractor. He used the gym to rehab some of his patients, so I was never sure about what I might be asked on any given day. So this older gentleman asks me what I was training for… if I was some kind of powerlifter or something. I smiled, and said not me man, I am not that strong. I just like to lift, enjoy the stress relief, and how it makes me feel! I had never thought about competing as a powerlifter, nor did I think I was any where near strong enough. A few months passed and his words kept popping into my head. That kept me thinking, maybe this is something I should consider. In 2009 I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. I got online and started looking for meets in my area and finally found something that seemed like a possibility, The APF was hosting The Southwest Push/Pull in Dallas. The rest is a blur!

It’s amazing how quickly time flies. Before I knew it, almost 4 years had passed. Now, all I do is train clients, help run our gym, try to educate people of how just a few hours a week in the gym can change their lives and of course, train myself, in hopes of setting or breaking more records the next time I get on the platform. I am in no way, shape or form an expert in the sport of powerlifting, but I do love this sport and the people who compete within it! Powerlifting has made me stronger, not just physically, but mentally as well. I feel that I have become a better man, father, and person because of the sport I love so dearly. It is imperative that any one that is going to compete in this sport learn to be mentally tough, or little crazy, both is better, but either will work!

Things have not always been easy in my time as a powerlifter. December 2011, I was in the middle of good mornings and felt my heart rate shoot up to over 200 beats per minute, I knew I had ingested a good bit of caffeine, ephedrine, and God knows what else is in those Rockstar’s I had that day, but this was ridiculous, even for me. An hour passed and my heart was still racing, so to the emergency room we went. My diagnosis “Supraventricular tachycardia”, better known as SVT. First question I asked was do I have to stop powerlifting, the reply was a devastating “yes”. I did not say it out loud, but a little part of me died right there. The thought of not getting to continue down this path that had taken me so many years to find was heart breaking. Powerlifting is not just a sport to me, it is a lifestyle, almost like a cult for lack of a better word. We have our own language, eating habits, goals, and problems that only other powerlifters can relate to. I thought this was the end of my world as I knew it and for 8 long months, it was exactly that.

"Again I asked the question that had changed my life several months back...."

Fast forward to about 2 months ago, I had my 3rd SVT episode in a week. And this time it was the second attack in one day. Worst part was the meds that should have brought my heart rate back to normal did not work this time. So the docs decided this was an emergency situation and decided to do an ablation. Off to Tyler in the back of an ambulance, again. Talked to three different cardiologist’s and all of them agreed it was time to make this go away PERMANENTLY! Two days later the procedure was a success and I was released shortly there after. This time when I was getting ready to be discharged, the surgeon came outside and talked to me. Again I asked the question that had changed my life several months back, but this time I was told something different. “No heavy lifting…… for 3 days, then go back to doing what you were doing before all this happened”. I have never felt a stronger urge to hug another man in my entire life! A week later, I started training for the APF Texas Cup on October 20, 2012!! My life was back on track and I was heading down the road I had to stop following for a dark period of time in my life. This meet is not just a return to the platform, it is proof that miracles do happen and nothing can stop you if you keep your faith and never stop believing!

In my time as a powerlifter, I have been blessed by getting to meet some of the most amazing people on this planet. On the wall in our gym is a picture of my good friend Anthony Moye, (True Strength Personal Training Bullard, TX) myself and the legend that is-Garry Franks! Anthony had helped me train and mentally prepare for the meet since he had competed a few times before and was familiar with the way a meet runs. It was an honor to meet Garry and listen to the advice he had to offer about lifting and competing. We were also able to meet John Inzer, who has done more to advance the sport of powerlifting than almost anyone else. Except for maybe, Louie Simmons, Mark Bell, or Dave Tate (in no particular order). These men are all big contributors to why I do what I do and why I love this sport as much as I do!

In the past few months, I have also had the privilege of having some new guys to the sport visit and train at our gym. BJ Whitehead is also from Jacksonville and when he is in town, he usually stops in for a session or two as well as some talk about his boys down in Dayton, Go Bronco’s!! And even more recently, I got to train deadlifts with David Bowden, “Best Raw Lifter” at the Jill Mills Classic this year. David trains at another gym across town, but will stop in from time to time to hang out a bit and get some heavy deads or squats in for fun! These guys are exactly what this sport is comprised of; great guys who love the sport and love the work, not just the glory that comes with the three white lights!!

I am sure many of you reading this feel like I am being a bit melodramatic, and I may be embellishing just a little, but make no mistake, powerlifting is a part of my soul. It makes up a portion of every fiber of my being. I do realize that this sport is not for everyone. It takes a work ethic most simply do not have, a lack of fear that most people are too smart to understand and a unique ability to want to move weights that could kill the average person. I probably will not be able to compete forever, but I will continue to compete ‘till I collapse trying and am unable to get back up! If you have never been to a meet, you should seriously consider just going out and watching one sometime. You may find that you have found your place with this special group of people that are called powerlifters and I call many of them my friends!

"I probably will not be able to compete forever, but I will continue to compete ‘till I collapse trying and am unable to get back up!"

After attending a meet, if you are still unsure about whether or not you should be a powerlifter, here is a quick and easy checklist to help you decide:
1) Do you like to lift heavy weight?
2) Do you look HAWT in a singlet?
3) Do you own a pair of Chuck Taylor’s?
4) Does it anger you when someone does curls in the squat rack?
5) Can you add in 45# increments?
6) Does the smell of ammonia arouse you?
7) Do you think necks are over-rated?
8) Do you bend bars when you train?
9) Are you afraid of bosu balls?
10) Do you do speed deadlifts for cardio?

If you answered “YES” to more than 6 of these, you too could be a powerlifter!

Meet The Author...

Danny Foreman

Fitness Writer For

I have been writing articles about training and fitness since 2008. I was a part time staff writer for the Jacksonville Daily Progress for 2 years. View Full Profile

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