long before I started running I was a semi competitive powerlifter; In 2008 I had been competing for a couple of years. I was having a amazing time lifting in the same comps as some of the strongest guys in the country.
I was nowhere near as strong or as talented as these guys. (I have a long list of sick notes.) For a 125kg lifter I was too tall and a lot more cuddly then the monsters in my class, I however was a lot quicker to get to grips with the new equipment; particularly the "bench shirts"
Wearing my bench shirt storming towards the platform 08
Bench shirts are a very tight restrictive t-shirt. originally designed to offer support, like a knee sleeve. Sports science and materials had moved on a lot since the golden age of Ed Coan or the mighty Kaz.
These shirts are uncomfortable and very difficult to use but if you get the technique right you can add major kgs to your best bench. If I'm honest I got over 60kgs!! Big cheating git I am lol.
I was very proud of my last two British championship results. I got a very lucky 3Rd place finish in both 2006/2007.
Trophies for 3Rd place 06/07
I was on such a massive high,
I was never any good at sports in school (another crap story) so I was just happy to be involved, never mind to come away with some awesome trophies.
My job was ticking along nicely; I worked in construction. I'm a pipefitter. Basically a industrial plumber but we didn't get elbow deep in shite. Emma was working full time as a health care manager and her illness was almost manageable. So it was pretty easy for me to really get my head down and train.
Making construction sexy!!
I was training between a few groups of friends in a couple of different places. I'm a classic people pleaser with bitchy tendencies so found it difficult to say no to extra sessions. (love the gossip) Some weeks I was doing 3 heavy bench press sessions a week!!!whilst skipping as many deadlift sessions as i could.
I was making great progress. Unfortunately I made the mistake of letting my ego out and put a few progress videos on the Internet.
Suddenly I felt like all eyes were on me. I had no chance of placing in the overall powerlifting but my bench press was getting very close to the big boys
Things went from encouraging and supportive to competive, boardering on bitchy real fast! My sudden ego didn't help. I was a "didn't he do well" lifter who fecked about, took nothing serious and laughed far too much. All of a sudden I had one really good lift.
This sounds far more negitive then it was lol. we were all playing games but there was real friendship there too.
Most of us lifters grew up watching pumping iron and love to play "mind games" coming into comps. I was getting personal messages left and right about so and so hitting silly numbers in the gym and I was starting to panic. The 125kg record was one of the lowest in my fed and I was so close I had a hard time trying to keep my gob shut.
The attention was too much. I started to tell people I had injured myself. I did my last few weeks of training alone.
The day of the contest came. It was amazing!!! A few hundred of the very best lifters were all lifting in the BIC Bournemouth. The event was huge!! Sky sports were there with the most amazing cameras. A ton of celebrities from the muscle world were in the audience! including the freaking gladiators!!!! I was lifting in the same flight as Glenn (the daddy) ross.
Second I got to the event the games began! "I'm opening on a 270kgs bench" "I'm benching 300kgs" ect. I told everyone I was starting at 180kgs.
You only get 3 attempts in powerlifting. You choose your starting weight and go up. You can change your starting weight up to five minutes before you lift but can't go down once you start.
In the warm up room, I warmed up slowly making everything look heavy and painful. Truth was I was feeling amazing! I really did not want people watching me. Some of the other guy's were playing games and putting in massively exaggerated openers.
Powerlifting run's on a progressively heavier bar. Lifters lifting less go first. As people started to disappear from the warm up room I started to put some weight on the bar and quickly warmed up.
A close friend of mine Adam waited until just before lifting and changed my opening lift from 180kgs too 250kgs. Some of the others had been bringing the weights right down at the last min; I was now opening on a weight 10kgs more then the weight that won the show last year!!
I was to the side of the stage trying desperately to stay calm waiting for my name to be called. Heart pounding, unable to sit still. As the loaders were preparing my weight I was inches away, nervous energy making every muscle twitch! Like my love life, Seconds later it was over! It was the quickest easiest lift I had ever done! I had just benched 250kgs and took the lead.
Adam slapping the shit out of me before lifting. Yes I was crying inside!
There was some very talented lifters in my class, two were record holders and another two who were very quickly becoming amazing lifters. I had to try and be sensible. 260kgs for my second. Again my heart was pounding and everything slowed down, I had never felt that level of focus before. 260kgs was as quick as the last!
I was absolutely buzzing and really wanted to take the record for a ride. 267.5
Bar loaded, I lay down on the bench, the bright lights and a massive camera in my face.
I had a real fight to the lockout, keeping my arse on the bench and not getting disquilifed was almost impossible! I heard the rack command! I had just lifted the record!!!!! "no lift!" right arm not locked! BOLLOCKSBOLLOCKSBOLLOCKSBOLLOCKS!!!!
My right arm cant lockout due to childhood injury I forgot to let the judges know before hand.
I totally agree when dealing with record weights the lifts must be 100% perfect, and understand the decision but in my mind I got that lift:-) As I sat up it dawned on me, I WON!!! I had just won my class at the british! I ran (well as close to running you can get at 125kgs) and jumped down the stage to hug Emma!
Wow that was a mistake!!! I was 5 foot up!! adrenaline kept me on my feet and I ran to Em. She grabbed me and screamed "omfg lee! well done!!!" I squeaked "my f**king knees.
Emma was sitting with the gladiators, I got massive high fives and well dones off tons of them and a couple of strongmen I have been a massive fan of since I was a kid.
Its not very often a smile hurts but this one was killing me!
While the other guys prepared for deadlifting, I found the bar. I always keep a tenner stashed in my singlet for just such an emergency. I was covered in chalk, stinking of deep heat and half naked but could not give a monkeys!! Greatest beer ever!!!!!