The Letter of Intent – Part Deux

I was completely annoyed on the Letter of Intent Day comments how a lot of you posted numbers that you wanted to hit in training as opposed to posting competition goals. The whole point of Gant’s post was to commit to competing — and barely any of you did that! Well, now I’m going to piss a lot of you off, because I have to inform you that You Are A Coward. Some times the truth hurts. Coward.

AC squatting in competition last November

AC squatting in competition last November

The other day I was talking to a cute gal, and she said that she was skeptical of competing because she was afraid of losing. She was just being honest in our conversation (perhaps she was opening up to me like a flower?). In any case, I set her straight by informing her that competing isn’t only about winning, especially in your first try. She agreed, but it may have just been my charm.

In any case, avoiding competition makes you a yella-belly-coward. Gant, who has been in more competitions than Michael Jordan, gives great insight when he says that competing will help you learn about yourself. There is a reason that sport builds character, and this is probably the most enduring quality about competing.

A lack of competition is never a good thing. Our society likes to coddle people, and those people make it a habit to do very little for themselves. This concept becomes embedded deep in their primitive brain, and there is the expectancy of someone else to provide goods, services, and even money. This type of person becomes frightened into doing anything out of the ordinary and accomplishing things on their own. They get scared of taking risks.

Sport is an obnoxiously appropriate way to safely exercise your ability to put yourself out on the line and to risk something. Fearing failure is identical to being a failure.

Competing in sport forces you to experience things that you otherwise may not. In life, you may purposely place yourself in safe situations in which you can’t fail. People do this all of the time, but the most successful people in history didn’t become successful by being safe and conservative.

Sport and competition are not always rosy endeavors. I’ll remind you that I just bombed the piss out of my weightlifting meet on Saturday. I spent three months of hard training in preparation for that meet, and I failed in all of my goals. What, you think I’ll just give up because I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of a bunch of people at a meet again (and technically lots of people on the internet, since my life is sort of on display on this website)? I tell my trainees this all of the time: when shit goes wrong you figure out what variable is to blame, and fix it the next time it comes up.

A hard day of training in November. Training does not equal competition.

A hard day of training in November. Training does not equal competition.

And by the way, had I actually totaled at that meet, I would have been the 105 kg Texas State Champ…by default. I was the only open competitor. Stef held the distinction of being in first and last place in the women’s 53 kg class. Are you trying to tell me that there weren’t any 53 kg CrossFit girls living in Austin, TX that could have lifted in the meet?

People who like to call themselves CrossFitters are notoriously annoying for not competing in anything at all. They claim that they are competing while training, which is comical. Sure, there are some who actually compete — I mentioned yesterday that Dutch had brought some people to the meet, and this is good. However, plenty of “CrossFitters” love to claim the status of being an “elite athlete” while not even participating in any kind of sanctioned competition (even though the CF creed states something like “regularly learn and play new sports”). It just doesn’t sound intelligent to claim that you will beat everyone at their own sport when you don’t even partake, that’s all. It seems that the fear of risk and failure permeates us all.

And that is the point. Look, if you aren’t a collegiate or pro athlete, you already know you aren’t the best in the world. Especially if you are older than 30 years old — you aren’t suddenly gonna become awesome in something. Intuitively you know that you are, at best, mediocre in the grand scheme of things (unless you try and invent your own sport, which is silly). Suddenly you realize that the thing that you fear the most is taking a risk into the unknown.

I want you to compete, because you will be better off after doing it. Most of you will not do exceptionally well in your first time, and this is supposed to happen. A virgin ain’t no Casanova, okay? Think very carefully in what you want to compete in this year. If you are on 70’s Big, then you are strength training. This not only prepares you, but gives you direction in what you could try competing in first. Go ahead, click on the comments, and make yourself accountable to taking a risk. Or you could just be a coward.

You’ll thank me later.

78 thoughts on “The Letter of Intent – Part Deux

  1. WannaBBurly,

    Where do you live at in Houston and where do you train? How far from Kingwood are you? I am also a NASA competitor.

    Anyways…here is a video link for a 501 lb squat I did at a NASA meet just 10 days ago.

  2. @dhagerty

    In addition to being an active mustache wearer, I am also the strength and conditioning coach for the UC Davis and River City High School Rugby teams. I post a workout blog for the guys I train which is based around a collegiate game schedule and is pretty rugby specific. At the risk of being a shameless self promoter, I”ll post a link to it. Basically, I have the guys stick to one short, heavy lift per day followed by a short, heavy met con.

  3. Andy,

    I work out at Legends Sports Complex in The Woodlands, not a PL friendly gym by any means, but its never crowded and the power rack is basically mine any time I want to use it. I live in the Spring (east of 45, near the toll road) area, not terribly far from Kingwood. Would love to switch to a more strength oriented place, but Legends works out great for my wife and our son.

    I remember when Justin posted your blog on here a while ago. Hit me up on the gmail at fortenberry.joe, maybe I can come by sometime and you can show me how to get strong.

  4. A note – Justin touched on this but it should be mentioned again – I do NOT advise you guys to try cutting for your first event. It”s a miserable experience. Eat, eat, and eat some more, and go for mild PR”s and hitting at least 7/9 of your lifts – 9/9 if you can. Worry about weight later (like me).

  5. I”ve only been on the starting strength program for about 3 months but i”m going to my first meet on the 30th of Jan. Hoping to hit the following (in kg).
    Bench – 110
    Squat – 150
    Deadlift- 160

    Until this post I assumed there wasn”t much of a competition league in the uk but it seems to be big and pretty well organised.

  6. Loved this post! I””m signed up to compete in crossfit sectionals. However, I have recently fallen in love with o lifting. I””m a female from Oklahoma and strongly conisdering starting to compete…suggestions on where to start/what to do? I””m new to this.

    I e-mailed you.


  7. Georgia Southern competition this April will be my first meet. I”m hoping to get 350 squat, 225 bench, 400 dead. These numbers are obtainable but will take a strong focus in the coming months to get there.

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  9. Point taken.

    After I read the first post I half-ass looked for a meet. I never really wanted to compete. You make a compelling argument, Justin. So I”ve decided to enter the USAPL Battle of the Border in Charlotte, NC on March 20. Looks like at least one other person will be there from the site.

  10. To do:
    Get to 181 BW.
    Find raw power lifting meet.
    Enter & participate in said meet.

    The second is seeming to be the hardest, being in suburban Canada :(

  11. Thanks for the reply Justin. For the type of programming recommended on the 24th of december, is the rep scheme the same style as say CF football. A linear progression? Is there something I can look at in PPST that would be desirable.
    THanks Again.

    Rep scheme is like it would be in the linear progression. The CF Football stuff is modeled after PP, and it is a good program as well. Depending on goals and stuff, the number of conditioning days can be tweaked.

    E-mail me if you have more questions.


  12. Plan to compete in:

    Potomac Valley Games (Sept 4-5) — definitely doing the 100m, hammer and discus; hoping to do javelin and pole vault as well.

    Virginia Scottish Games (2010 date not announced; 2009 games were held the first weekend of September)

  13. I”m going to do a Strongman competition in July (county fair, so nothing big).

    There”s an APA meet in Sept. a couple of hours from me…may try to do that one…gives me some time to get stronger.

    Anyone else in the area looking at that one?

    Question for more experienced comp guys – is the squat unappreciated in powerlifting?

    This comp has solo bench, deadlift, overhead press and even curl categories, but not squat. In fact, there”s only 1 category out of 7 available that involves squats.

    Is this normal?

  14. CrossFitter: I compete everyday at my local affiliate.
    Me: Listen buddy, I”ve seen your competition and she”s a 38 year old mother of three. Great job hardcore CrossFitter, way to put yourself out there.

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  16. I am competing in WKF style karate this year, but this is the first year that I have started the season already conditioned for it. SS was the best thing I ever did for off-season training, and I intend on using Bill Starr”s 5×5 until my first major tournament in March. Squatting has improved all facets of my training- I consistently move faster and better now than I have in years.

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