Today was the final workout before the powerlifting meet on Saturday. As is protocol for the last week leading up to a meet, today’s workout was real light. Just got the lifts in, and did extra flexibility and mobility work. To some degree, working out this week has been tougher mentally, as I have to fight the ego the whole time. I’m in there working out bodybuilder-style, with much lighter weights and higher reps, and it kills me to do it that way. It makes me feel weak, and very much like I’m wasting my time. I keep reminding myself that the work work is done: last week was the final heavy week for the lifts; this week is what it is. Now I have to believe that the training percentages and protocols have worked, and what I’ll be ready to peak on Saturday with a 270+ bench press and a 405+ deadlift. Those numbers aren’t going to knock anyone down, but I’m competing against myself. I am proving my training regimen. It’s all on me and what I’ve got. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open at the meet and hopefully learn from the people who can use my PRs as their warm-ups.
As the day draws nearer, there has been a measure of nervousness collecting inside. Not too much, but it’s there. When I sit and think on it, eyes closed, I can really bring on the butterflies. I’ve done this purposely several times in the last week or so. I guess it can be called “visualization.” I put myself on the platform. There are lights. There are unfamiliar noises. There are people staring. There’s a judge, upon whose commands I wait. There’s a backstage area, with warmup weights and other competitors. In my visualizations, there is even time to kill between lifts – time spent staying warm but not overworking. Then I bring on the nerves. I have brought myself damn near panic level: stomach flipping and nauseated, sweat forming, shuddering slightly… all artificially. I don’t really feel that nervous over this event, but I make myself feel it anyway.
I don’t know if this is good or bad. Is this little exercise in agitation going to help me cope with the butterflies if/when they really happen? Maybe like muscle memory, my psyche will be accustomed to feeling it, and be well rehearsed at flushing it away. Or… is this all damaging to performance? Could I be, in effect, “teaching myself” how to get nervous? Either way, my head sure is pretty deep up my own ass, don’t you think?
Ah, whatever. I am definitely looking forward to this thing.
As I was gathering my stuff out of my locker this morning, a guy comes bounding into the locker room, saying hello to one of the personal trainers who was in there. “Not done, going back up, going back up! Did shoulders and arms, and I’m going back upstairs. Not finished!” He looked like a real tool, so I kept an eye on him, knowing I’d witness some form of entertaining stupidity. After 15 seconds, he closes up his locker and goes to a mirror. He leans in, rounds his shoulders, and tells the trainer guy, “Traps!”
Traps. As in Trapezius. However…
1) No. There were no significant “traps” to be admired.
2) There was also no significant muscular hypertrophy to be seen anywhere on this middle-aged Adonis’s frame. Fine.
Next, I saw the trainer guy touching Adonis’s upper pectoral area, sort of poking it with two fingers. He might actually have been poking the guy’s collarbone. “Is that muscle, or bone?” he asked.
“Nah, man, that’s muscle! That’s traps!”
Want to know what I think it is? It’s a guy who let his general physical fitness decline for too long, until his latest new year’s resolution. He has recently acquired one (1) overpriced gym membership and one issue of a men’s fitness magazine from the newsstand. I’ll bet the coverlines practically scream: “Get Hard Traps! Get Easy Wimmen!” Dumbass resolutionary.