In 7 weeks with Dave, I went from a strong but untrained person to a much leaner, stronger strength athlete in training. During that time, I lost about 10 lbs (about 6 lbs fat and 4 lbs water), and I did a water cut for weigh-in which dropped me another 5-7 lbs before competition. My body fat composition was reduced by 1.1% to 25.8%. Most importantly, I had a great time at the Relentless Strength Weekend Strongman competition in Detroit (Livonia), and I had a personal best in each event.
While the strength gains and technique improvement were evident, they were somewhat to be expected, but the part of the preparation that in some ways shocked me was how quickly a few diet changes could impact my weight and performance. I had followed the strength training program strictly, but I had been lax in the diet/clean eating side of things. I knew that eating lots of carbohydrates and excessive calories were detrimental to my weight loss, but I didn’t know I would see substantial weight loss in a week by eating lean protein and the right vegetables while drinking around 1 gallon per day of water. It made me a believer in maintaining that lifestyle diet, as I have a 6 month goal of losing 24 lbs while continuing to add strength.
At the competition, I started nervous, which can sometimes cause my body to shut down, but after I took my position at the axle, I started feeling better. After I cleaned the axle to my shoulders, I felt in the moment, and when I pressed it over head, I felt confident. I moved to the next item in the medley, the 250 lb log. I lifted it, squatted, and cleaned it to my chest, which was a personal best for me, but I was unable to press it. After a couple attempts, I bowed out, but I had exceeded my expectations and achieved a goal.
The second event was a car deadlift with a Chrysler 200 with an additional 50 lbs added at the handles. I had been nervous not knowing what type of car it would be, and since it was larger than what we had trained with, I was nervous I wouldn’t log a rep. With each of the three successful lifts, I swelled with pride at having done more than expected. This trainer, Dave, must know what he is talking about.
The third event was changed from a wheelbarrow/keg carry medley to a 120′ keg carry with a 250 lb keg. In training, the carries were always one of my weakest exercises, so I was going to be happy with distance. When I completed the course in 59.999999999 seconds (60 second limit), I was elated!
The 4th event was one I feared, as the highest weight I had trained on the yoke was 550 lbs. I wasn’t very comfortable with the 550, so I wasn’t sure if I would move the 650. I made a couple errors on the event, including choosing too low of a bar height and not setting the bar properly on my shoulders. The result was I moved the yoke (personal best), but I only went 20-30 feet. When I finished, my shoulders were bloody from abrasion. Dave told me that he yelled for me to fix my positioning, but I was in the zone and didn’t hear his instruction.
The final event was a 308 lb Atlas Stone. I psyched myself out of this a little, but I did have a personal best of lifting the stone from the ground to my lap. Because I sat so low with the bar, I made it more difficult on myself to get out of the whole, and I didn’t have the same fire as I did on the other lifts, yet I was pleased that I had taken another step towards a successful lift on the stones.
In the end, I did not finish in last place, and I improved on each event. I met and befriended several people, and I fell even deeper in love with this sport. My training with Dave will continue as I strive to enter the 220 weight class and become far more competitive and experienced.