By Kevin Barry Uploaded 23rd May 2013
This recent journey to Castleblayney for the Europeans brought back some memories of my first met 6 months earlier.
I took up general weight lifting in summer in 2011. At that time I never thought I’d be ever able to lift a fraction of I have done in competitions.
I joined the CIT Powerlifting club in September last year as a student. Even then I didn’t think I’d ever compete at a national level, never mind qualify for WDFPF competitions.
Thankfully my club was full of a range of personalities and specialized lifters. I learned the basics of my lifts during the induction from Peter Lucey. Then with constant work and extra advice from others in the club, sharing their ‘tricks or the trade’ with me, helping me fine tune my form, tricks I still use, I got stronger and started finding my 1 reps and worked from there with training numbers.
It wasn’t long until preparations for the next meet was being organized. My plan was to go up, to support the club and see how thing go. But about 2/3 weeks before I decided that I might as well go , learn firsthand the way a competition runs by lifting myself!
But I had one little problem, I was 79kg!
From the 82.5s in the club I knew I wouldn’t make a dent in that weight group. I made a drastic diet change, monitoring my weight, cal intake and carb: protein ratio and reintroduced cardio into my training plan. To this day the hardest part of a competition for me is making weight but thankfully I have managed it so far.
Luckily the next meet was Push Pull in Castleblaney, meaning no squat (my weakest lift). We travelled up on the Friday, leaving CIT at 6. For many of us this was our first, so we all were a mix of nerves and hunger (like I said, I never missed weigh-in). All the nerves disappeared when we were waiting for each other because as a group, we love a laugh.
Our convoy drove from Cork to the hostel in Drogheda. Between the drive up and the ‘interesting’ events in that hostel, I laughed myself to sleep.
The next morning we registered and weighed in. That breakfast was the nicest id had to date. 75 was the second flight. After warming up I had 10mins to burn. Everybody has their way of getting pumped for the big lift; some use rock, some techno, or rap. Before my first lift, I listened to Beethoven! Seriously, I can’t lift angry, I need to be relaxed or giddy.
It was a long day of warm ups, lifting and shouting like hell at the heavy weights. But a day I’ll never forget. Bonding with the others in the club, meeting new friends, learning as we lift and the image of the entire far half of the seats being a sea of 28 CIT Powerlifing Hoodies. But it was a turning point of my life; it was when I learned where I stood in this sport. I learned how to use the fear, turn it into adrenaline, and break my PBs. But most importantly, I learned just how much fun this sport can be.
My First Meet
Kevin is an engineering in Cork Institute of Technology and also a member of the CIT Powerlifting Club. He competes in the -75kg class.