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Possible next contest/ going “unequipped”

By Gary F. Zeolla

The following messages were posted in the Weight Trainer's United forum  and on my MySpace page.

Given my health problems, I have been struggling with if it is time for me to just give up on powerlifting. But I like to enter a contest or two a year to give me an extra incentive to keep working out, which is important for me to do for my health.

My biggest problem is the difficulties with getting powerlifting gear on and off leaving me very fatigued. OTOH, I have gotten injured when I have tried to do heavy lifting without any such supportive gear (known as lifting “raw”). But I am thinking that maybe a compromise between these two will be to compete “unequipped,” meaning with a belt and wraps but no squat suit or bench shirt.

I also need to find a contest near my home as I also get fatigued from driving long distances. And I just found a contest that will fit both requirements.

NASA is holding their “Northeastern States Championships” in Washington, PA on June 7, 2008. Washington, PA is about a half an hour south of Pittsburgh and will only be about an hour drive for me. And NASA has an “unequipped” division that allows a belt, wrist wraps, and 2.0 meter knee wraps.

So I am tentatively planning on entering this contest. Right now, I am not using any gear in training since I am not going real heavy, and it probably won’t be until spring that I will do so and start using the belt and wraps. So I won’t decide for sure if I will enter the contest until then. But the entry deadline is not until May 30, so I got plenty of time to decide. This will also give me plenty of time to get used to lifting unequipped.

I was already in contact with the meet director, and he said he is planning on holding additional contests in the Pittsburgh area in the future. So that is good news for me.

I haven’t entered a NASA contest before, but I like that it is a strictly drug free federation. The acronym stands for “NATURAL Athlete Strength Association.” I will probably compete in their “Masters Pure: (40+up) Lifetime Anabolic Steroid Free” division.

I also like that there will be music at the contest, and the meet director even said I can bring my own music for them to play when I am up. So I will be taking a couple of “White Metal” CDs (heavy metal Christian music).


New bench belt and knee wraps

As indicated above, I am planning on entering a NASA contest June 7 in their unequipped division. The division allows a belt and wraps but no suit or shirt. But I haven’t been wearing a belt on benches as I cannot arch with a 4” wide belt. But I think that has been hurting my bench. So I have been thinking of getting a bench belt for some time and finally got one from APT Inc. It is a single prong, suede belt that is 2-1/2” wide all around. Mine is a really neat looking purple color. I won’t use gear for a while yet, but I am looking forward to trying it. If anyone is interested, it is available from APT. I have been using APT’s 2.5 meter Black Mamba knee wraps, which I really like. They are flexible enough to work with my criss-cross method of wrapping and seem to help more than other wraps I have used. But NASA only allows 2.0 meter wraps. So I also just got a couple of pairs of APT’s 2.0 meter BLUE Mamba knee wraps. I wanted these ones in blue to distinguish them from my 2.5 meter black ones. They look really nice, but again, it will be a while until try them out in training. But if anyone is interested, they are available from APT.

I already had APT wrist wraps, wrist bands, and knee sleeves. So just about all of my gear for this contest will be from APT. I like APT as they have great gear and great service. I cannot say the same for just about every other gear company I have dealt with.


Contest Plans Update

I posted several weeks ago about my problem with fibromyalgia fatigue and how getting a squat suit and briefs on and off left me exhausted. OTOH, I have gotten injured when I tried going raw. So I was hoping that a compromise would be to go unequipped (belt and wraps but not suit or shirt).

But just wrapping my knees for my first unequipped squat workout left me very tired and with little energy for the actual lifts. In addition, I've found I need to keep my workouts to an hour or so or I get overly tired. And the time spent with the wraps made the workout take too long. So between the wrapping and the too long of a workout, after the workout, I was absolutely exhausted.

At that point, I was thinking it was time for me to just accept that my health has deteriorated to the point that competition is no longer an option. But then I remembered I got an email a week or so ago from APT. They were selling out their old knee sleeves and getting in new ones that were twice as thick. So maybe, with the extra thickness, their new knee sleeves will provide enough protection on squats but without tiring me out putting them on. So I ordered a set of two pairs.

Of course, I will need to accept that my squat will be way down from even when I competed unequipped two years ago as even extra thick knee sleeves will not add much to the lift.

Interestingly, I posted a while back that the United Raw Nationals contest back in January allowed a belt, wrist wraps, and knees sleeves. I commented to a MySpace friend who entered that contest that allowing knee sleeves might be a good compromise between those who think raw should be mean no knee wraps and those who believe they should be allowed. Knee sleeves will provide the protection the latter want but without adding much to the lift as the former would complain about.

In any case, my first squat workout using my new APT heavy knee sleeves went very well. The knee sleeves are easy to put on, so they did not tire me out excessively. And they seemed to provide plenty of support. The only thing was, they could have been a little bit tighter, but I am already using APT’s smallest size, so there is nothing I can do about that.

The workout took a little longer and I was a little more tired afterwards than I would like, but I think that is a matter of getting used to the lower reps after having done higher reps for most of this year.

But I do think that this will work, using just a belt and knee sleeves. So that will be my squat gear from now on. And with that, it looks like I will be competing in the NASA contest June 7.

If anyone is interested, the knee sleeves I will be using are available from APT.


For how this contest went, see NASA NE States Powerlifting Championships - 2008.

Possible next contest/ going “unequipped.” Copyright 2008 By Gary F. Zeolla.

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