Special Thanks to
Matt Fredericks ‘The House’ - One of our new Writers for Violent hero Powerlifting
re·sur·gence: a rising again into life, activity, or prominence <a resurgence of interest>
My name is Matt Fredericks, my friends at the gym call me ‘The House.’ I have been competing in full power meets in the raw division for two years. Everyone has had a moment in their life where they were presented with difficult choices and conflicted on what to do such as being at a point of crossroads in your training/competing career. However, like the late, great Robert Frost wrote in The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." I firmly believe in this as it covers all aspects of life and this philosophy has assisted me through many challenging times.
Now my iron brothers and sisters, I know many of you may have been in the same position as myself at one point or another in training/competing, some maybe worse or maybe this is something you have yet to face. But I would like to share the chronicle of my journey from the point I wanted to quit powerlifting to rebuilding myself. In addition, I would not have made it through this part of my life without my friends and family, for that I am thankful.
In preparing for an APF meet in March 2011, I was extremely excited. First of all, it was in DeKalb, Il, only about 50 minutes from where I live, so it was close. I also had family, friends, coworkers and clients from my both of my group homes coming to watch me. In hindsight, I realized that I had built this event up so much in my own head, I was extremely overwhelmed. I had a couple anxiety attacks which led me to make stupid little mistakes. My first lift (squat) was 485lbs and it was a good lift. My second lift I jumped to 551lbs, and forgot to latch my new forever belt and missed the lift and received a really sore back and a confidence hit. My third attempt, I clearly was not thinking and jumped to 600lbs and rightfully got buried in the hole. Moving onto bench, I bombed all 3 of my lifts at 374lbs. I could use the excuse of not telling the spotters to lower the rack to my height or starting too high in weight, but in all honesty I choked. So after that, I spent the rest of the meet as a spectator, watching and knowing I could still be in it ,had I not choked. Like I said before, the meet was only 50 minutes from my house but the ride back home felt like 50 hours. I felt like crap, felt like crying and never competing again. I was extremely upset with myself because I can live with missing a lift if I gave it my all and if that was not good enough, so be it. But its hard going out of a meet or anything in life for that matter knowing that your performance that particular day was not a true representation of your best effort. This was the aspect of competing which ultimately left me with wanting more, wanting to go out on my terms, leaving it all on the platform for all 9 attempts.
After the meet, I was texting my friend Deano, who asked me to tell him about what happened. Following my story, Deano said we need to meet up with Heath, his trainer to work on some body mechanics. I agreed to this that after I healed (more my pride than anything) I would make a trip to Milwaukee. I went to Milwaukee about 6 weeks later. I was extremely nervous, not knowing what to expect. Heath was very patient and informative during his instruction. He had me work on my squat form and mechanics. This was the first time I had ever used the hydraulics to squat. I have to admit this got my anxiety up. However, after a few sets, I was fine. In addition, this was the first time I had ever received any proper instruction on how to lift weights. I found that I had learned more in 3 hours than in many of my own years of the “Do-It-Yourself” process. The following weeks, I processed this training session and felt empowered that I had a solid direction for my training. I felt that I could check my ego at the door and ask questions with confidence to those who had more knowledge than myself. At that point, I felt I was ready and sent in my entry fee for the APF Minnesota meet in October 2011.
Fast forward a few more months of solid training to October 29, 2011--the day I like to call my resurgence. The morning of, I was extremely nervous, sweating and my heart was racing. My mind was a whirlwind, I was 6.5 hours from home, my dad was present, my wonderful girlfriend, Melissa of only 3 months at the time and her family present, my friend Deano was present as well as the haunting of my previous meet all jumbled in my head! I finally got around to calming myself down and focus on warm ups because first flight was moving into their second attempts. Time was running out...so time to get at it!
First up, squat! I was anxiously awaiting my name to be called in my flight, my face was hot and red, my stomach churning and I felt another anxiety attack coming. Then I began to think about how much preparation I had put in the past several months. Finally, my moment arrived, it was time to take the road not taken and confront my fears. Time to go up to the monolift and destroy some weight right!? Wait a minute! There’s some anxiety and doubt trying to creep back into my head and consume me again. I felt like screaming but I took a deep breath and walked out, made sure my belt was latched this time. Then I heard some Disturbed (my favorite when lifting heavy) blasting through on the speakers and knew that this moment was truly mine and mine alone.
I stepped under the monolift, took a deep breath and destroyed 485lb. THREE WHITES!!! Almost immediately, I felt 7 months of anxiety, fear and self doubt dissipate. The rest of the afternoon went well as I went 7 for 9 in the meet and getting PR’s in my squat, bench and deadlift and first in my weight class. Most importantly, I came back and totaled and left it all on the platform. I left with no regrets and truly knowing that I seized my moment. The medal I received that day, to me, symbolizes my journey and the hardwork and dedication I put in and that it had not all been in vain. I do admit I shed some tears afterwards because of my goal to finish the meet on my terms had been met!
Almost exactly one year later, I still reflect on that entire experience as it was a catalyst in not only my growth as a powerlifter but most importantly, as a person. Currently, I am training for a meet on November 17th and I strive to never lose sight of how I bombed out in March 2011. I never want to feel that way ever again as a competitor. I use that as my motivation to do my best in training when I get tired, anxious or excuses try to enter my head. I also realize that this experience was one of the best things that ever happened to me because I adapted and overcame a huge obstacle for myself and achieved my goals.
And finally my iron brothers and sisters, I leave you with these parting words:
Whatever your goal is, you may have to sweat for it, sacrifice for it, maybe even bleed for it but go get what is yours for the taking!
Give yourself some credit....dare to be different and become who you were born to be.Your time is now!
Identify, adapt, overcome and push forward toward success.
Initiate the power within yourself.
Keep training hard and be safe,
Matt Fredericks ‘The House’
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Powerlifting basic Principles by jack reape
Basic Training Theory At any given time, an athlete has a definite level of strength, General Physical Preparedness (GPP, meaning work capacity), Sporting Form (technique), and Recovery Ability (RA, sometimes called Adaptation Reserves)3. When performing a workout or series of workouts, an athlete causes a response from the body, in the form of adaptation, to each training stimulus4. To oversimplify, a workout or series of workouts makes you stronger until your recovery ability is exceeded. If we were like Milo, we could go in every training day and just lift a little heavier and get bigger and stronger and richer and funnier and more attractive to the opposite sex (no offense meant to alternative lifestyle readers!) and that would be that.
Unfortunately, it does not work that way. We simply run out of Recovery Ability eventually and have an inevitable drop in strength, GPP, and Form, amongst other things. Since we cannot go forward constantly, we must pull back a bit and start over, much like a pebble in a slingshott4. In order to be propelled forward, we must be ready to be pulled back a bit. This is the first key idea to grasp and a cornerstone of how to build a successful cycle.Read More