By Jonathan Byrd

“Don’t be scared homie” my friend and lifter Domenick Minnici loves to say that. He has a great point, but I have to know when is enough just enough. I have never hidden from, dodged, or ducked competition. In fact I have always sought it out.  That’s not to say I have always won, but I have held my own with the best equipped lifters in the world. So at what point has it become enough? How do lifters know it’s time to change directions, find another goal, or worse yet just hang this shit up and move on.


Truth is I don’t really know the answer to those questions. I have seen a lot of people go about it different ways, but truthfully most are just forced out from injuries. I have had my share of big ones, a few major surgeries, and I never factored those in to my long term plans. As a younger lifter I just felt like I would cross that bridge when I got there. Well guess what? I am at the bridge…..so now what?


I spent nearly the last year and a half struggling to lift on one leg. I partially tore a quad tendon in August of 2015 and it has taken some serious time to get better. I know I am not the most patient man in the world, but this one sucked! Anytime it started to get better, it would flare up and put me down for some time. Eventually I only squatted a handful of times during an entire meet prep, then took about 8 more weeks off from squats all together. Nothing about that was fun, it made going to the gym suck, and really just made me dislike training. With that said Brian Carroll always preaches that you can’t redline your car all the time, and your body is no different. I had to put myself down for some maintenance or I was going to be done. Enough was enough! The day to day pain was starting to really affect my quality of life, my job, and sleeping had become a major task.


So now here we are, as healthy as a guy with my history can be, and moving weights better than I have in years. I am also a realist and know that one of these injuries can act up at any given time. Getting soft tissue work, scaling back my work load, and doing a better job at listening to my body has given me a chance for at least one more solid total. So how do I know enough is enough?

I guess for now I am just not ready to hang it up. If my day to day pain is minimal, I can train with limited pain, and still make progress, then why hang it up? I guess part of me wants to get out ahead, but I am pretty damn hard headed. I am confident there are lots of lifters who face similar issues that I am in currently, so with that I leave you with this advice.

  1. Make sure your day to day pain is minimal and not amplified by training.
  2. Deload every 3rd week to stay fresh and work on form.
  3. Take care of your body, do the little things, even when there is no pain.
  4. Make sure your goals are aligned with where your ability is currently.
  5. Train smarter not harder, the things you needed as a young lifter may not be the same things after a decade of experience.
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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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