Byrd: Arnold Meet Day!

Arnold Review Part 2!


I have always had trouble sleeping the night before meets, it normally just doesn’t happen. I was the same way as an athlete. I enjoy the competition so much that I play it out in my mind over and over. Most of the time it would be best to get out of my own head, but rarely can I do that. It took me awhile to fall asleep, but once I finally relaxed I was out for the entire night.
I woke up and ate breakfast at 8am with Brian, Danny, and Ria. I put away as much food and apple juice as I could! During breakfast we decided that we would head over to the meet between 10:30 and 11. I crashed over on a teammates couch because I did not want to make the trip back to my hotel. The nap was a big help. It allowed me to get a few extra hours of sleep, and I woke up very well rested.
I rode over to the meet with Brian and Ria rather than taking my rental car, that seems like a minor detail, but is very important in the end. During the morning, trip over, and waiting for my flight to start I continued to eat and drink fluids. Being my first afternoon meet I was not sure how to exactly prepare but I wanted to lift with food on my stomach.

Warm ups went well, but I was getting to depth way too easy! I took the following weights
Up to 300s raw
Briefs at 500s
Suit bottom at 700s
Straps up at 850


In any big meet you have to be well aware of your timing, and the Team Samson crew is the best around. I was following Matt Minuth in the flight, and opened with 950. When they called bar is loaded for Matt, they began to wrap my knees. When finished, I look over at Matt and he is still only with one wrap on. By the time Matt took his attempt and my bar was loaded it was well over 3 minutes. We did not unwrap because I was expecting him to be timed out. It was a mistake on my part, and my part only. By the time I got to the bar my legs were numb. I flat out missed the squat, not enough leg. I went and sat outside and gathered my thoughts. My heart was racing out of control, my mind going through a million situations. If not for my teammates I would have probably bombed out, but they kept me calm and focused on the task at hand. I retook the 950, this time I got a little lose in the hole but powered through it for 3 whites and to be in the meet. I went for 1000 on the 3rd attempt that would have still put me in position to keep pace. Unfortunately I just missed the lift, form was bad, I was weak, and there is no excuse for that miss. I had hit weights nearly 100lbs as big in training.
After I calmed down and wrapped my head around what was going on, I had to focus on the bench. I knew if I could hit a big bench then I would at least still put up a respectable total.

Warm ups went like this
135x a lot
225x a few
Shirt on
495 as far as it would go
605 to a one board


Opened at 685 to be safe, but it almost cost me! I babied it a little to make sure I had a clean press and almost didn’t lock it out. I took a jump to 730 on the 2nd and just decided I would get some more speed. This worked out well! 730 was a 30lb full meet PR and a 5lb PR over my best bench only meet. I took 765 for a 3rd attempt which is very makeable for me. I got a great lift out, but started the groove too high in the shirt. I did manage to recover, get a good drive off the bottom, but let the bar drift back towards my face. Missed right at lockout, and could have saved the meet. Guess that is why we do meets huh? The aftermath of the bench wasn’t pretty. Brian’s hands hand swollen to the point it looked like someone beat them with a hammer. So it made me look at mine, and of course they are swollen and getting bigger. Ria had to get a small personal loan from the bank because the bags of ice were 1,000,000 each (ok really like $4, but that was still nuts!). I iced for a few minutes and of course one of my teammates in an effort to help me dumps my bag of ice out haha! It didn’t matter, I had it on long enough for it to stop the swelling anyway.
My deadlift has gone very well this training cycle so I was expecting a solid pull. I lowered my opener just to be safe and stay in the meet. So many great lifters had bombed; I did not want to join them! This end up being a great decision on my part, because I damn near bombed on the deadlift!
As soon as I started to warm up on the deadlifts, both my forearms started to cramp! Lucky one of the ladies at the meet is a massage therapist. She worked on my forearms between warm ups and gave me just enough to finish the meet. Warm ups went like this
245x a few
335x by a few


I opened with 685, which is a very easy lift for me. On the way up the bar pitched forward just a little and felt a nice pull in my bicep. I let the bar go, and cost me the lift. As I sit down I am thinking to myself, “No damn way I am bombing on the deadlift!” I decided I was going to pull the weight and didn’t give a damn if it blew off the bone or not. It is just a damn bicep right? So I retook 685 and pulled it with no problem. I could feel the bicep just pulling more and more the whole lift, but no way I was letting that shit go. I decided to take a small jump and take 725 just to hit a decent total. I didn’t think I had much more in me. I got Chad Walker to take a wrist wrap and pull it as tight as I could on my bicep. No idea if it actually made a difference, but it added a level of mental comfort. I got a good set up and it moved off the floor well, but I could feel the bicep going and just bitched out. The pull would have jumped me a few spots overall, but it wasn’t worth the injury.
So I ended 4-9 with a 2365 total at 275. While nowhere near the day it should have been, it was good enough for 9th place overall, and the highest total and coefficient in the 275 class. I also look and feel much better than last year’s Arnold. I have talked in the past about how unhappy I was with my health, and why it was important to improve that. I think I have, while getting stronger over this year. Now it’s time to focus on some weak points and maybe finding a meet where I can try to put together a total that I have built!


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Jonathan Byrd

Jonathan Byrd is a competitive powerlifter, with over 16 years of training experience. Byrd has been ranked nationally for the past 6 years under multiple categories. His total has ranked as high as second nationally in the 275 class. He currently has a best total of 2500lbs. Best individual lifts include a 1040lb squat, a 750lb bench press, and 735lb deadlift. His 1040lb squat ranks him 26th all-time squats at the 308 class. Jonathan currently trains out of Team Samson Gym in Jacksonville, FL. Before powerlifting Jonathan was a college athlete at Methodist University as both an all-conference football player and track athlete. Following graduation he played four years of arena football in various leagues.
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