There is a simple rule in fitness training...don't kill yourself...while it is okay to "go for the burn" there is no benefit in going for an aneurysm.
Recently I read an article by Steve Gagler in which he published his exercise diary describing the first seven days of his fitness program. The article reminded me of my first week of training for powerlifting. How tough it was, and how I wanted to quit when things got difficult. It struck a chord in me how hard you have to work and how much pain you have to endure if you want to be successful. Consequently, I went back into my old files and pulled out my training log for that week. I would like to share it with you. It is extremely interesting, humorous and enlightening. Here is what the diary says.
My coach was Fred Glass a former powerlifting world champion and coach of the world-renowned "Elite" powerlifting team. I really lucked out by getting the opportunity to train under his guidance. Not only is Fred one of the best coaches in the United States he is also one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. I never met a guy who is more kindhearted and compassionate.
Practice began at 7 P.M. sharp. We started out with five sets of squats. I had a little trouble with my form but Fred said I did great for the first time. He is really a great coach. He is so positive and encouraging. Next we did five sets of bench presses and then we finished out with deadlifts. Deadlifts are really easy. All you do is pick the weight up to your knees. It's kind of weird that they would put a lift like this in competition. It is so simple to do. Actually powerlifting seems a lot easier then I thought it was going to be. It sounds crazy but you only do three repetitions per set. When I was in high school gym class we had to do as many as 20 to25 sit-ups and jumping jacks per set. This is a lot easier then gym class and it's a lot more fun too. I think I'm really going to do great in this sport!
I feel pretty good. My back is a little stiff and my legs a little wobbly but I'm OK. I'm really looking forward to training today.
Practice started right at 7 PM sharp. Fred is really organized and disciplined. I like that about him. He is really an awesome coach. Another thing he always has a big smile on his face. I really like that.
We did supplement exercises today- leg presses, "lat" pull downs, sit- ups, and crunches. We used pretty heavy weight on all the exercises even the sit-ups. It was a little tougher to day but I got through it. Fred said I did good! He really motivates me. I feel like I'm really building some muscle. It makes you feel like a real man doing this heavy type of lifting. I definitely like this better then gym class.
My mother had to help me out of bed today. I skipped work and I spent the entire morning in a tub of Epson salts. That made me feel a little better. Still I've been walking around the entire day like I'm trying to carry an ear of corn without using my hands. I'm not sure but I think I might need a slight spinal readjustment. I'll probably loosen up once I start lifting.
Practice started at 7 PM sharp. Unfortunately I was twenty minutes late. It really wasn't my fault. My arms and legs were so heavy I had trouble shifting gears in my car. Consequently I used the turnpike to get to the gym so that I would not have to shift so often. Unfortunately the turnpike took me a good ten minutes out of the way. I think Fred was a little up set with me.
We did light squats, bench presses and deadlifts. True enough the weight on the bar was lighter, but I think the air in the gym was a lot heavier because every lift felt like it was going to rip my spine right out of my freaken back. Now I see why they call the deadlift the deadlift. This lift can kill you...like dead even. I believe Fred was somewhat annoyed because I kind of moaned a little when I attempted each rep... Okay! It wasn't a moan it was more like a little scream, but that was no reason for him to throw a fit. I did get through the entire "bleeping" workout though. Fred said I did Okay! That was really "BIG" of him. I didn't get home to three in the morning. My parents were really upset. It wasn't my fault. My legs were so tired that I couldn't get my foot high enough to put it on the clutch. I had to drive in first gear all the way home..
Somebody please call 911. Both my mother and father had to help me out of bed today. My arms were so heavy that I couldn't even brush my teeth. No big deal! I don't brush then every morning anyway. After I sat in the tub for three hours my mother was nice enough to comb my hair and help me get dressed. I took off from work again. No big deal I had vocation time coming. I do have this little problem though I can't seem to sit down on the toilet any more. I get half way there and my butt cramps up. I hope this is not a life long condition. I'm sure I have a disc problem and maybe a hernia or two. No big deal!
I left for the gym at 2PM so that I would be there at 7PM sharp. Fred was waiting for me right at the door. He is such an ass. I think he is a sadist. He is always saying, "No pain, no gain". What the hell is this a life long activity or a life threatening one?
We did supplement exercise today. I don't remember what they were and I don't give a darn. I was in coma the whole time we were doing them. I once read in a medical journal that when your body experiences excruciating pain your brain dumps out morphine which in turn decreases the body's pain. It's a lie. Either that or I'm mentally irregular when it comes to morphine production. I'm in so much pain my hair and finger nails hurt. Fred said that I have to suck it up if I'm ever going to be any good in the sport. Like I really give a damn about what he thinks. Just once I would like to wipe that damn smile off his face.
I'm really pissed off this morning. I woke up to discover that I dreamt the whole night that I was working out. Now my brain even hurts. The only way I can brush my teeth today is by putting the tooth brush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. No problem I can go another day without brushing them. I think my mother is getting a little tired of my powerlifting career. While she was dressing me she told me that from now on if I can't sit right on top of the toilet seat I should wait until I get the gym before I use the toilet. Like it's my fault the damn seat is so low. I took off work again today. This time it was an accident. I thought it was Sunday.
Practice started right at seven "FREAKING" o'clock PM. More squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. My back hurt just chalking my hands up for the deadlift. After I finished deadlifting there was no doubt in my mind that major surgery was in my near future. All I could think about was how In the world did I get into this sport? Did I bump my head or something? And who in the hell invented this hoopla? Van Kraft of the German Third Reich? Fred said my squat depth was terrible and my deadlift form sucked. Who gives a shit! I hate Freddie Glass more than any human being in the world or anywhere else for that matter. More then any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. I read some where that hemorrhoids and hernias can result from powerlifting...it's true. They can add testicular blowout to the list.
Someone please, pretty please, call 911. I'm dying here. I slept in the tub last night. I feel like I just got back from a year vocation in the Siberian salt mines. This is INSANITY! The only feeling I have in my entire upper body is in my throat. I think it's my testicles.
The one thing that got me through the evening was being cognizant of the fact that today I don't have to go to work or go to practice. Today is Saturday... right? What keeps running through my mind is 'They shoot horses, don't they?" I was so weak today that I didn't have the strength to use the TV remote, so I watched eleven straight hours of the weather channel. My little sister Mary Jean really loves this. She keeps say stuff like, if I was a bomb they would have dud written all over it. and that I look like Schwarzenegger-Maria not Arnold. I think that is so funny. I'm going to kill the bitch...as soon as I can walk again.
I feel almost like a human being at the moment. Apparently the time off did me a world of good. Thank the Lord I still have today off. I would go to church and thank Him personally but I just woke up and it's four o'clock in the evening. Fred called me to find out how I was doing. He told me that he was really proud of me for "sticking" in there. He is not such a bad guy after all. You know this is nothing like gym class, but I think if I stick with it, I might be able to do something in this sport. Of course, I. don't want to kill myself because that will pay off in the long run. But if I push myself a little I think I will be all right.
How do you like that? In all candor after those first seven days I was ready to put a gun to my head, but I knew in my heart that if I wanted to be successful I would have to experience a little pain and frustration. That is the way it is with every endeavor in life. There is no free ride. Like I said before nothing in life that is worth having comes easy. A lot of people have this idea that life is all peaches and cream. That all they have to do is show up and everything is going to be beautiful and splendid. Someone forgot to tell them that life is also pain, hardship, despair, unhappiness and hard work. It's all a part of life. Life is magnificent but it is not easy. In fact, it is God's greatest challenge to us. Once you learn to capture life's essence though, then you can make real magic.
Yours in strength,
Dr. Judd Biasiotto