I am a powerlifting degenerate. I have been since I started this crazy ass sport. I lost the physical and mental qualities that make someone normal over a decade ago. To be honest, I think if you want to be successful in this sport you have to be a degenerate. There needs to be something a little twisted in your mind to push your body beyond breaking points. If you aren’t mentally prepared for the ride that powerlifting will take you on, don’t even start!
I do believe in being upfront, I am not trying to come off as a hardcore crazy lifter. I have a normal life, normal job, and no crazy vice. I am a special education teacher, as well as the head football coach at the high school I graduated from in NC. Nothing about that sounds like a degenerate, and it never will. My lifting life, and my day to day life are opposites. It has to be that way for me, I need the balance. If not for that balance I would push myself into a black hole of powerlifting. I feel that you will find that the top 10% of lifters will carry a somewhat balanced life outside of the gym. This, in no way, stops them from being a powerlifting degenerate.
What does it mean to be a powerlifting degenerate? It means you come back for more, even when this sport slams the door on you. To be the best in the world (not that I ever was), you will be forced to go through some real injuries. Vlad Alhazov? Blew both legs apart, now has an over 1,100lb raw squat! Brian Carroll? One of the worst back injuries I have ever heard of, has put up multiple top 5 all-time totals since then. The list of the top guys could just go on and on. Death, taxes, and powerlifting injuries, they are all guaranteed. This soft world of internet lifters won’t make it. Here today, gone tomorrow, just flash in the pan lifters. Time after time a lifter comes on the scene, puts up a few big totals, and is never heard from again. Sometimes life gets them, sometimes it is injuries, either way they just didn’t have the mental fortitude. They simply aren’t degenerates.
See, most people will take being a degenerate as a bad thing, but I think it’s a key to long term success. Powerlifting is like a drug, an addiction, it both gives pain and relieves it. At some point you learn to embrace the pain; hell, the pain is what will push you towards the top. Lifting comes with a cost and at times it means sacrificing. You must suffer a bit to be successful in powerlifting and I believe that to be true with most things in life. The top level guys are a bunch of degenerates. They are somewhat addicted(most of the time slightly crazy) competitive assholes. If you don’t suffer a bit in the gym, push your body beyond the limits, then how are you going to be great? I questioned a lifter recently about drinking the night before squats. I ran face first into a reply that I wasn’t expecting, “I drink every night before squat, but I also eat 7 meals and drink 2 gallons of water. It is called balance!” While I still think he is a damn fool, I can not argue that is has worked for him. He brings being a degenerate to a whole new level.
Maybe the harsh reality will put some of the pretenders in line. You really aren’t as dedicated as you pretend to be on the internet. Most of you would be eaten alive in a real powerlifting group. I saw it time and time again at Team Samson. People would come in and last a few days, maybe even a month tops! There is nothing wrong with being a causal lifter, but if you ever want to reach the top you better be a degenerate powerlifter!