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Imaginary Contest Report and Future Plans

By Gary F. Zeolla


      I should be in Ohio right now, competing in a powerlifting contest, having fun, breaking records, and socializing with other lifters. Instead, here I am, sitting alone in my home office near Pittsburgh, PA, feeling lonely and depressed.


More Details


      The contest was to be the Valhalla APF/WPC Meet, Saturday, April 4th, 2020, in Zanesville, OH. I had been training for this contest since my last contest, last September (2019). I found out about three weeks ago the contest was canceled. But I continued to train as if the contest were still happening. For my final workouts, see 2019-20 Tetra-Trinity #1 Powerlifting Training Plan: Peaking Week.

      As can be seen on that page, those final workouts went great, and I would have been all set for a great day at the contest. If the contest had happened, my planned attempts would have been (in pounds):


Squats: 305, 320, 335

Benches: 150, 160, 170

Deadlifts: 365, 385, 405


      If I went 9/9, which is to say, I successfully completed all nine of these attempts, my total would have been 910. Not only would that have meant breaking the 900-pound milestone, but the Squats, Deadlifts, and Total would have been 50s PRs and would have broken my own all-time raw masters (50-59 age) world records, along with several APF records. The Bench might also have broken an APF record.

      It’s not unrealistic that I would have gone 9/9. I entered eight contests in the ‘10s and went 9/9 in five of them. In the other three, I went 8/9, missing my third attempt on a different lift at each one of those meets. If that had happened here, that would have reduced my total by 10-20 pounds, depending on which lift it was. But that still would have been a 50s PR.

      My bodyweight at the beginning of my “peaking week” was 123.0 pounds. With that weight, I could have made weight for 123s without doing anything. But I wasn’t sure if I was going to cut weight to 114s for the contest or not. Nine pounds is about the limit of how much I can lose to make weight for 114s. But now, without cutting down, 114s probably won’t be possible again, as I am sure my weight will go up some from here, and by the time I am able to enter a contest, I will be too far from 114s to make it.


On A Personal Note


      Needless to say, I am upset about not being able to have entered this contest. But that is not only because of the lost chance to compete and to break the aforementioned records. Due to my health situation (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities), entering a powerlifting contest once or twice a year is about the only time I leave my home. Otherwise, I only go out to buy food, to go to the doctor, and maybe a couple of family gatherings a year. And when I go out, I try to keep some distance away from other people. This has been the case for most of this century.

    In other words, I have been practicing “social distancing” and “self-isolation” long before those even became common terms. In fact, if it werent for this canceled contest, I would barely have noticed the Coronavirus restrictions.

      However, traveling to another city and staying in a hotel for a contest is the closest I come to going on a vacation. My last contest last September was close to my home, so it did not require a hotel stay. That made it convenient, but I missed the hotel stay. As such, I was really looking forward to this contest and was very disappointed when it was canceled.

      But I do pay for it whenever I go out, as I always feel awful afterwards. That is why I only enter a contest once or twice a year, only go grocery shopping once a month, to a doctor only whenever I absolutely have to, and miss many of familys holiday and birthday gatherings. But still, I really needed the “vacation.”


The Contest Could Have Gone On


      I’ve posted much about the Coronavirus (see Coronavirus Articles and Commentaries on Biblical and Constitutional Politics). There, I comment on how I think the contest could have gone on and my frustration when it was canceled. Here, I will just reiterate that with the modifications I mention there, I do think it would have been possible to hold the contest without putting anyone at serious risk.

      But to add here, most powerlifters are in decent shape, so if anyone did contract the virus at the contest, most likely, they would not have had serious complications as a result. Just a few days of flu-like symptoms at worst, and that would have been that.

      In fact, when I mentioned to a female friend that I feel like I wasted the last six months of my life training for this contest, she told me those months were not wasted. It is that training that has kept me in shape so that I am not at high risk.

      That is true, and in fact, it is my very reasons for competing. Take away the incentive of competition, and I might not have the motivation to work out. But if I were to stop working out, my health would probably collapse. That lead to the last point.



Home Gym and Future Plans


      I was able to continue to work out, as I have a home gym. I truly thank the LORD for that. But then, the reason I have a home gym is there is no way I could go to a public gym four times a week to work out. That is why I set up the home gym in the first place.

      I have had many people over the years tell me they find it commendable that I am able to get motivated to work out by myself. But I never thought my home gym would enable me to work out, while most of the rest of the country is not able to do so.

      But it is for that reason, I am not sure when my next contest will be. My plan is for a contest in September/ October of this year (2020). I know of at least one or two possible contests at that time. But I would bet there will be more, with contests from March to probably June being postponed to the fall due to the Coronavirus.

      But that will depend on when all of the draconian restrictions end. I’m working out, but most powerlifters probably are not. As such, once the restrictions end, meet directors will probably have to wait at least three months to hold a meet, to give lifters a chance to get back into shape. As such, no meets are yet schedule for that time. But if the restrictions end by June 1, then September contests might be possible.

      In the meantime, after a couple of days off, I started my new Training Plan on Wednesday (4/1/20). I will post details on that new plan later. But here, I did get depressed during my workout on Thursday, as I couldn’t help but think that by the time that workout ended, I should have been checking into my hotel in Ohio.

      But still, here’s thanking the LORD I am able to keep working out, and here’s praying others will be able to do so soon, so we can get the show the road for contests this fall.

For my initial workouts after this contest, see 2020 Tetra-Trinity #2 Powerlifting Training Plan: Rotations I and II of VI.

Powerlifting and Back Pain

    The first book is geared towards the beginner to intermediate powerlifter. It presents sound training, competition, dietary, and supplement advice to aid the reader in starting and progressing in the sport of powerlifting. The second book details how I overcame years of crippling low back and was able to return to the sport of powerlifting.

Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting: A Comprehensive Guide to the World's Strongest Sport

Overcoming Back Pain: A Mind-body Solution (Second Edition)

See also this series on Amazon (#ad).

The above article was posted on this website April 4, 2020.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: Contest Reports

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