The Power of Powerlifting
I'm sure this applies to any physique goal. If you don't consider yourself a powerlifter, disregard the title. I'm sure the content still applies to you. This is just a tale of what I believe to be the true power and outcome of (power)lifting.
When I started lifting at the end of July 2010, I was weak. I was very skinny. Though, my mind was weaker. I'm smart. I knew it then, but I had a poor work ethic. If I wanted it, I got it because I did what I needed to. However, if it benefited me and I did not want it, I did not do it. I would spend hours a day(prior to my lifting journey) playing guitar. I would do all sorts of things a musician would do to improve his qualities as a musician.(which would soon turn to piano) When it came to schooling, however, I would do the very least to get by. I don't actually regret it, but it was stupid. My bad grades only came from not doing homework. While always succeeding on tests, homework brought the C's and D's.
By August and September I was just starting to play the piano again after a 4.5 year hiatus. I was awful. Though, I wanted to at least play some Elton John so I kept pushing and pushing. I remembered the hard work and discipline I had put into my clean diet and squatting at 6 in the morning 3x a week before school.
October I decided I wanted to a be piano major in college. I began working harder and working on what I would audition with(which were two pieces far out of my league. Especially one of them)
In January 2011 I was about 60% or so done with my audition. I was busy with basketball a lot though. I wasn't feeling motivated to finish my Chopin Etude(which was very far out of my league) Though, I would practice some each night on things that I might need to know for my audition. I remembered those intense sessions trying to squat 5x5 with 205 lbs and so on.
By February 1st, the pressure was really on. My audition was in 25 days and I quit basketball. I didn't like it anyways. Why was I doing it? For friends. I lifted for myself though. I was behind on my music. I began spending the evenings, much to my parent's dismay about me quitting basketball, finishing my music. By February 25th, I was still struggling a bit, but I had learned in lifting that I needed to give it my best. The next day I auditioned and did pretty well for someone who had only been playing again for a few months.
The next month I found out I had received a scholarship which helped a lot and almost made me cry.
In May I competed in my first powerlifting competition and turned in all of the homework I had not done the 4th quarter in English to allow me to pass that class! The only way I could make myself do it was to imagine I was getting stronger. Seriously.
The summer months went by. I got stronger. I could now squat around 330 pounds if my technique was on and I was feeling strong. My bench had gone up about 15-20 pounds since May. It was all very nice. Deadlift up about 20-25. I could have done better, but one thing I learned was how to grind things out. Though, I still hadn't learned enough.
College started. Great. The first few weeks were fine, but then my piano teacher figuratively slapped me right across the face. I had easy pieces to work on. Yet, I was so embarrassed to even work on them calling myself a piano major. I didn't know how to play piano. I only knew how to play notes on paper. All the way until the beginning of Novemeber I felt horrible. Sure, I hadn't had private lessons my whole life until July 9th, 2011 believe it or not. That didn't matter though. I was in college. There are expectations I need to fulfill. I had asked her why I got a scholarship if she knew these things about me. It was because I showed great potential and work ethic. By November I began to man up. I was working harder and more efficiently after some self evaluation. I owe this all to what I've learned in my own training and from lifters such as Matt Kroc. I knew I was going to do great.
At the beginning of this month, December I was ready for my piano jury(final) for the semester. My teacher was telling me that this was why I was given a scholarship(this being that I had learned to play beautifully). I ended the semester with an A on my piano and a 3.375 GPA overall. Better than I had ever done in high school.
Ok, so you're thinking, "What is he saying?". If I had never learned to persevere, I would have switched majors. I seriously considered giving up on what I wanted to do the most. I've learned to really grind out a rep til I get it or just can't at all. I learned to push harder than I think I can. To do better than what I thought was possible. I learned that the only limiting factor is you. People tell you this stuff, but you don't understand until you've been there. I got there because of lifting. Times when I did not want to step under the bar. When I thought there's no way I can pause another rep on my chest and press it to lock out. Only to find I can. There have been times when I thought that my top set was going to be impossible because that 225 warm up on deadlift is already hitting my upper back hard and I've been doing homework all week and not eating much at all...only to find that top set was the easiest with an extra rep.
I'm no where near as good of a pianist as I want to be or where I plan to be. I don't work hard enough on it yet, but damn it, I'm getting there slowly but surely. I'm not strong enough yet, but I'm learning how to get there.
The Power of Powerlifting is teaching one about life, discipline and perseverance.
tl;dr- 18 year old kid struggles a bit during his senior year of high school, initially has a hard first semester in college, but ends up doing well because of the lessons he learned in powerlifting.
P.S. As I said earlier, I'm sure anyone who has lifted for sometime with a goal in mind has learned these lessons too which is why I didn't post this in the powerlifting section.