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On April 28th I had the privilege of competing in the GNC Pro Deadlift at the Empire Classic in Spokane, WA. This is an event sanctioned by the USAPL, promoted and organized by Erin and Ivan Ribic and put on by Dr. Larry Maile and Priscilla Ribic of the USAPL. After competing in this contest in 2011 I said it was the funnest contest I had ever done . . . and I will say it again after this year’s contest: this was, once again, the funnest contest I have ever done. It helps that the crowd at this contest is the loudest crowd I have competed in front of, but the best part about this contest was the four men that I had the honor to compete with: Brad Gillingham, Sean Culnan, Niko Hulslander and Erik Kasabuske. We helped and encouraged each other the entire meet, from warm-ups until the last deadlift attempt was lowered back to the platform. This was truly a great group of guys!
My training cycle leading up to this contest was not typical. It was shortened by about three weeks, since I had competed in the Arnold Classic less than two months prior. With the short training cycle combined with just recently peaking for the Arnold Classic, I was not sure if another PR was in store in Washington. My main focus in training leading up to this contest was not to overtrain and at least try to maintain the strength levels I had brought to the Arnold. I felt strong and fresh going into this contest but not certain my strength was any better than what it was going into the Arnold.
On meet day my plan was to open with the exact weight I opened with at the Arnold and see how it felt to determine my second attempt. When I pulled 722 on my first attempt it did not feel heavy but it felt slower than it should have. I figured that with an out of control crowd and simply amping myself up I could still take decent jumps in weight and be successful. I called for 755 on my second attempt. Again, it came up slower than it should have if I was going to try for a PR on my third attempt. By this time, though, the crowd was getting into a frenzy and I was feeding off of it. When the scorer’s table asked me what I wanted for my third attempt I hesitated and asked if I could think about it for a little bit. The response was, “You have 60 seconds.” When I heard that I paused for a moment and replied with “seven-eighty-eight.” This would be a new PR and one that I thought I had no business of lifting on this day. However, I was not going to go back on my called third attempt. I decided that I was just going to have to will myself to lift that weight.
As I waited at stage right to make my way to the platform and pull my third attempt the crowd was really getting into it. The lifters were all now on their third attempts and there were heavy weights to be lifted and big-time intensity to match! I managed to get to a different place mentally and psychologically as I approached the platform. Everything else but the barbell just kind of faded out of my conscious awareness. I set up, gripped the barbell, and pulled with every last bit of strength I had . . . decent speed off of the floor, stall at the knees and grind out the lockout. I turned to look at the lights . . . three white lights! I lost it emotionally – two personal records in two months!
I cannot thank the USAPL enough for putting on such top-notch competitions. They run a very professional organization and treat their athletes very well. I also need to thank Metabolic Technologies for all of their support and encouragement. When you have HMB in your recovery regimen you do things that you normally would and could not do without it. You train longer, more frequently, with higher volume and with higher intensity . . . because with HMB you can. And the result is that you have a considerable edge on your competition.