Unlike my previous grip "retirements," I'm still glad I sold 90% of my grip stuff. I had amassed too much of it. I wasn't even using most of it for the final year I was training grip - 2012.
There have been several big life changes since I hung up the grippers back in August 2012.
I had a life-threatening health "issue" in mid-2013 that (once I was cleared for exercise again) changed my outlook on life, training, and everything I once took for granted. It was this 3-month period when everything was up in the air that I really realized (among other more introspective things) how much I missed going to competitions. Both USAWA and grip comps. It was never about winning. And not only about trying to PR on everything. It's the camaraderie and the challenge of seeing how much you can improve with several months of focused training.
- A grip contest was really the perfect choice for a comeback contest. I did a USAWA contest in January of 2013. Some of the lifts were heavy-ish (double bodyweight) and I was already showing signs of my later health issues. I am encouraged not to lift heavy anymore. Yes, heavy is relative. But it boils down to not doing stupid stuff like limit one-hand partial deads, 1" vbar lifts, etc. - where the weight being lifted is 150% of bodyweight and higher. I have decided not to train the deadlift and squat (barbell versions, kettlebell versions are fine) for the same reasons. But the majority of grip events are pretty light, relatively speaking, compared to squat, bench, and deadlift training. I still use light kettlebells in my training and have been jogging again. I haven't training steel bending in a very long time, and after the health issues I had, there is absolutely no desire to do that ever again. Bending really used to spike my blood pressure. Especially the way I went about it. Passing out and being "caught" by the tabletop in my garage was a relatively common occurrence when I was training to bend the Red Nail.
Sometimes, it's even more interesting to see how much you can improve with very little training. That's where this workout log comes in handy. I am not wasting my time anymore with keeping every single handwritten sheet of paper detailing my countless workouts over the years. This doesn't mean I think tracking my workouts has been useless. It's been very valuable. But keeping the tons of folded-up pieces of paper around the house, in the garage, and in the attic has led my wife to jokingly refer to me as a "hoarder" - like on the TV series. So I'll either throw the paper away after writing it down and then transferring it to this log, or I will just keep track of the training PRs (here in the log) on the way to The Gripday Party contest on April 5th.
I didn't have any plans on doing another contest in 2014. I figured I'd do a USAWA contest. Possibly the Grip Champs, which is coming up in February. But for reasons that I won't go into here, I'm skipping that contest.
Then I get a Facebook notice of the Gripday Party in Springfield, Missouri - on April 5th, 2014. Once I found out that Josh Dale was going to compete, I knew I had to sign up. It's been way too long since I got to hang out and BS with Josh!
I toyed with the idea of not training at all for the contest. That didn't make much sense, of course. But I have so much other stuff going on. Like the other huge life change of 2013...