Why?

A few days ago the site www.powerliftingwatch.com posted an entry titled, "Why?"

I didn't think much about it at the time but as those self-help books often say, "if it's not written, it's not real" so here goes.

I am not a powerlifter.
I compete in powerlifting.

For me, that's an important distinction. If I never competed again, I might or might not still regularly go to the gym and train. I know when I did not compete between 1992 and 2007 I rarely went to the gym. In the absence of competitive enthusiasm, my recent history suggests it is not in my identity to spend time working out.

There was a time when it was, when I was younger and felt like I needed layers of muscles to insulate me from the world. For many of my formative years, that's why I went to the gym. Not for health, but because I equated layering my old self with muscle as bettering myself. Everybody has their own reasons for trying to get bigger muscles, for me, it was simply because I didn't like the way I was without them.

The end result of that short-sighted quest was an adult with bigger muscles that still didn't like himself for who he was. It's no wonder I drove girlfriends away or simply attracted little interest, yet those same results drove the negative feedback loop that reduced my appeal even further. In hindsight it all seems so obvious but at the time, I like every other teen/adult, knew everything and had it all figured out.

Fast forward 15 years to 2007 and a still somewhat self-loathing middle aged obese me decides I need to get back in shape before it's too late. I start training for powerlifting. From then until now, I've been training for powerlifting competition.

• I enjoy the friendships, the mentoring of newer lifters, and the competition.
• I do not enjoy the gear (squat suit/knee wraps/bench shirt/deadlift suit) but perversely, I do like handling the extra-normal weights facilitated by the gear.
• I don’t train for setting records but if I ever break a record held by an elite lifter, I will appreciate the accomplishment.
• I would rather be brutishly strong yet not look like I lift weights than the opposite.
• I will always be amazed by feats of strength.
• I train towards the following goals: raw squat 500, raw bench 340, raw deadlift 650. When I attain those, I’ll set new ones.

After writing all that, the best I can guess as to my answers for why I powerlift are:

1. I’m not terrible at it
2. It helps provide an environment that is conducive to weight control
3. I enjoy many things associated with powerlifting competition
4. “Hey, look at me!” Everyone has some need for attention don’t they?

So, for now, I’m a person that competes in powerlifting. It could be something else that meets my list of needs. Ultimately, I use powerlifting as a tool or a crutch, depending on the situation. Should I ever mature to the point where I don’t need it for either, I may be ready to declare myself a powerlifter but not until then. It wouldn’t be fair to powerlifting.

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