For the younger guys, they like to do probably a competition every three or four months, and because you have a higher recovery, you probably could do that. As you get a little more older, you probably, I try to take, after a major tournament, I really take about a couple weeks off. I barely hit the gym.
I do a little bit, just feel the weight, but I really let the body rest and recover. Then that third week off, that’s when I start getting into just really doing some really light stuff. The whole idea, if you think about it, besides you’re pushing your body, your central nervous system is really pushing the limit.
When you’re younger, you think, “Well, I can keep going to another cycle.” Eventually you’ll hit a point where that going back to a major cycle becomes counterproductive, and you may not make any gains because your body hasn’t had a chance to recover.
I would say a unique case in point was when I took a year off in 2014, 2015. One of them wasn’t planned. This was, 2014 I did the Arnold and it was equipped. I did OK, maybe not great. I had a great training cycle, but I didn’t hit the numbers. It was March, 2014.
After that, I think it was in April, I took some time off, because I just was beat up. Then, by that summer, I had a job change, which really dramatically affected what I wanted to do. Then I left Atlanta and went to Norfolk in December, 2014.
Then got accustomed to the job and by springtime, I said, “Maybe I’ll go to a local commercial gym.” Got back into doing some real light stuff. Also I got the bug again. I thought I was going to retire. This was March, 2014. By April, May time frame, I got the bug again.
I said, “Well, I’m not going to do more gear,” because I didn’t find a good power gym. I said, “I’ll just do the raw stuff,” because raw by then was up and coming, USAPL-Raw, so I needed to find a good local meet.
Matt and Suzie Gary, they’re great folks. They had a gym in Maryland. It just closed down recently. They moved to Montana. They had a local meet for new lifters. I called Matt Gary up and said, “Could I just lift? I don’t take any trophies. I’m just an old guy who wants to qualify.”
He said, “Sure Dave, you can use this as a qualifying meet. However, you need to really push yourself not just do token lifts.” I said, “Wait a second, Matt. You know who I am. I’m just going to do token lifts so I can qualify for the Masters,” and he said, “Yeah, Dave, but they know. When they see your name on the register, they expect you to do something.”
I said, “Well, I’ve only been training for about two or three weeks. I’ll only have about six weeks of training.” He said, “That’s not my problem, Dave. That’s your problem. You want to do this?” It was a joke in context, but it put a bug in my ear to set up to really push myself.
Within five weeks of training, I squatted this raw, 515, I barely benched 300 and I pulled 550. That was July of 2015. Now I qualified for the National. It was going to be in Pennsylvania. Steve Mann was the meet director. He puts on a great meet.
I said “Well, maybe I can get back in the game and compete in the Open.” I looked at the numbers that the guys did in the Open last year and plugged in what training I was going to need to be competitive and said, “No, that ain’t going to work. I need to back it down and see what my body can do.”
I [inaudible 13:06] , and by that meet, October, I was squatting over six, pulled over six. I benched over 400. That was October, 2015. Now you speed up to the World Championships. This time it was in Cleveland, Texas, the Masters World. It was a great opportunity to be in Texas.
That training had gone very well. I was back and really ripped. This was my third or fourth cycle. I was getting back in shape and I had the opportunity and on my third squat, break the Open squat raw record. I couldn’t believe it myself. That was June of 2016.
Now you go to almost 10 months later at the Arnold where I broke the record again on my second squat at the Arnold. Neck-squatted 680. Then I had one more squat left and I put 325 on the bar.
The only reason I pushed myself because at the Arnold, my parents live in Ohio and they love to come see me lift, so I really, from my standpoint, it’s an honor to be lifting for my parents who are still living, so I put something on the bar I never did before. I was fortunate enough to get that. [laughs]
That was March of 2017. Then April, a month later, I had signed up for this, I didn’t realize I was going to figure this out, I had committed myself almost four months prior to do this meet in Australia at their Pacific Invitational and I chipped the world record.
If you had told me after coming back and squatting and pulling in the mid-500s and barely benching 300, July of 2015, less than two years later, those type of numbers, being a raw guy and also being older, I’d have said, “You’re smoking something.”
There’s no way I would have programmed and laid out a plan like that. There’s no way in the world. I would have never done that. I would say that you take every training cycle. I take every training a day at a time. As I get underneath the bar, I consider each rep, just like a brand new rep versus trying to overthink it or over-plan it.