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My trip to the 2011 IPF World Championships will mark my 14th trip to an IPF World Championships. I will be returning back to the Czech Republic where I competed in my first World Championship back in 1997. I can remember the trip like it was yesterday. It was the first of many trips that my family and I have made overseas. My wife, father, mother, step-father, brothers Karl and Wade and several training partners made the journey. We thought we had travelled to a different planet...not knowing what to expect. We were a little lost to say the least, and were real fortunate to have some well travelled Team USA veterans of IPF World Championships along to show us the way. By the end of the trip we became a little more accustomed to getting around in a foreign land, but still felt like ducks out of water. This will be my 22nd trip overseas as a competitor, and I am still as excited as I was the first time. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to become a very seasoned traveler over the years, and have found travelling to a foreign country to not be as intimidating as it was the first time around.
Although I was a little unsettled about being in a foreign land; by the time I hit the platform I realized that lifting is lifting. I was amazingly relaxed for competing in my first World Championship. I had a very good day going 8/9 and totaled 2166 which at the time was a very big total. I was in a real fight with two Russian lifters, legendary Bulgarian Olympic Weightlifter and Worlds Strongestman competitor Evgeni Popov, and 44 year old IPF Legend Victor Naleikin from the Ukraine. Victor proved to be too much on that day. He had a big lead with a nearly RAW beltless squat of 881. I came back strong with a Gold medal winning 573 bench and Gold in the deadlift with 804. I had the winning pull in my hands at the end with a final attempt of 837, but it stalled at the knees, and I ended up with the Silver Medal. This was the first of many battles between Victor and myself. Victor and I have become good friends over the years, and at present day I still find myself competing against Victor as he has taken on coaching duties for Team Ukraine. The competition has improved greatly since 1997. My 573 Gold Medal winning Bench would have placed 12th last year, and the 2166 total would have place 11th. Coincidently, an 804 deadlift is still a big pull in the IPF as the 804 would have won Gold last year.
I am still a little beat up from a very tough competition schedule in 2011. I have some hip and glute issues that have me spending a lot of time getting torturous active release treatments, but I have been able to train around the injury and it is showing signs of improvement. I will have to really be on my game this year to make the medal podium, and I am back to training harder than ever! I credit GNC Pro Performance HMB for giving me the energy and recovery to continue to train harder than ever to complete my goals.
Train hard, stay healthy, set your goals high, and don't forget to add GNC Pro Performance HMB to your supplement list!