I graduated from SUNY Fredonia in May of 2004 with a BS in Childhood Education. I did not find a teaching job immediately after graduation, so I took a job running our college fitness center. I was able to do this while going to graduate school full-time. I stayed in Fredonia over the summer, and purchased a gym membership at Darwin's Gym. It is a small gym located in the village of Fredonia. After a few weeks of training there, I noticed that a lot of guys were wearing Darwin's Powerlifting Team shirts. I asked the front desk worker who I could talk to about joining the team. They told me Dick Furman was in charge.
I met Dick a few days later in the college fitness center. He worked the early morning shift of 6am to about 9am everyday. I introduced myself, and told him I would be working from 9am until 3pm. I also told him I was interested in joining his team. I asked him if he could train me at the college since he was already there in the morning, and I didn't start until 9am. Dick told me he lifted from time to time in the IPA federation. I looked him up on-line and found that he held at the time and still holds records in the squat, bench, deadlift, and total for the 220lb. weight class. Specifically in the 60-64 and 65-69 year old age groups.
Our first training session that August of 2004 was very eye opening. He asked me what my best bench press was. I told him, very proudly, 405lbs. "Well, you might get 350 then at your first meet." I did not understand what he meant until he explained the rules, and that it was not a touch and go press like he had observed me complete in the gym before. On that particular day I remember barely hitting a 275lb. two second pause attempt. I was very humbled that day. I set a goal of 500/315/500 that day for the 242lb. weight class. I only weighed about 230 at the time, so we decided it would be better to just train and not worry about cutting weight.
My program for set for 15 weeks. Looking at my training journal from that time, I rotated three blocks lasting five weeks in duration. Week 1 was a Floor Press max. Week 2 was work up to a 5 rep max. Week 3 was work up to a 3 rep max. Week 4 was to work up to a 2 board max. Week 5 was to work up to a 1 board max. I took my squat and deadlift opener seven days before the meet. I took my bench opener five days before the meet.
The American Open was held in Philadelphia, PA, in December of 2004. I competed in that meet with my brother Frank. He was a freshman at Mary Washington College at the time. A friend of his dropped him off in Philadelphia on the way home for the semester break. Frank lifted in the 198lb. weight class. I drove in on Saturday afternoon. The 198lb. class lifters and heavier competed Sunday. I figured this would be a good way to relax and take in my first meet. I weighed in at 232lbs. Sunday morning. My brother weighed in at 195lbs. So we were good to go. According to the schedule, I was to lift at 1pm. I did not step on the platform until 4pm. This later made driving back to Fredonia difficult.
I was the first lifter in my flight. I opened at 230kgs, or 507lbs. I got three white lights, and was officially on the board. I opted for 240kgs, or 529lbs. on my second attempt. I got one white and two red lights. I was called for depth. I took the same weight on my third attempt and got two white lights. My 529lb. squat at that meet was at the time and still is the USAPL New York State Junior (20-23) 242lb. record.
My bench that day did not go as planned. I opened at 140kgs, or 308.6lbs. I wanted to make sure I would stay in the meet, and thought this was low enough for me to be successful. I got three white lights, but the weight seemed extremely heavy. I took my second attempt at 145kgs, or 319.67lbs. I got two white lights on this attempt. Obviously it felt heavier than my first attempt, but it took a lot out of me. I went for 150kgs, or 330.69lbs. on my third attempt. I missed the lift completely.
Being this was my first meet, I was not sure how I was going to feel coming into my deadlift. I felt strong enough to open at 230kgs, and got three white lights. I was very cautious and only took 235kgs, or 518lbs. on my second attempt. I also received three white lights. I should have gone heavier on my third attempt, but I did not know any better. I took 240kgs for my third attempt and received two white lights. I stepped off the platform at 8pm.
My first meet total at 242lbs. was 529/319/529 for a 1377lb. total. I was very pleased with myself at the time. I am still surprised that my 529lb. squat from almost 10 years ago still stands as a USAPL New York State record.
I would not compete in another powerlifting meet until November, 2006.
Co-Owner of Forza Powerlifting Club