T Nation

Why I Want to Bench 400


"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
~1 Corinthians 13:11

"Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds."
~Henry Rollins

"Nothing gold can stay."
~Robert Frost

My uncle died today.

The cancer got on top of him very quickly. First it was in his throat. A couple weeks later, his lungs. Three days ago it had spread to his liver and his adrenal glands, and his lungs were filling up with fluid. Today he's dead. My aunts didn't even have a chance to make the trip out before the end came.

Him and my father have spent about the last decade or so estranged over a business deal gone sour. From the very beginning my father was reluctant to bring up his brother's illness, let alone discuss it. He wished him well in a brief, awkward telephone call as soon as he got the news that he was sick and that was it. No tearful reconciliation. No life-affirming last few months spent together. No flowers, no card and certainly no deathbed visit ("...it's such a long drive, and I'm so busy with work..."). Just a ten minute conversation that ended with "Well, I hope everything turns out okay for you".

It makes a certain amount of sense, him being my favorite uncle; one is cold and distant and the other one, well, we thought drug dealers had thrown him off a cliff until a few years ago. He wasn't around much, and by all accounts he didn't really do much with his life. Had a brief, unhappy marriage that produced a son he's not (and never will be) on speaking terms with. Never went to college. Worked as a cabbie, a caterer, a clerk to get by. Drank a lot, used some drugs and whored around incessantly. For all that, he was still a lot of fun: he knew lots of dirty jokes, played a mean game of golf, watched a lot of movies, bowled, fished, smoked gambled and always knew what bars were open past 2:00 AM and which ones weren't.

Last time I saw him, we had just gotten back from playing 9 holes on a hellishly hot California day. I was lugging my golf clubs out of the back of his car when I heard-


I turned around. "Yeah, Uncle Rick?"

"I'll see you around, kiddo. Take care of yourself."

"...sure. We still going to the driving range tomorrow?"

"We'll see."

"Alright. See you later, Uncle Rick."

"Later, kiddo."

The next day, he moved all of his stuff out of his apartment overnight and drove back to Vegas with about $125K my father had given him to invest in various businesses they ran together. Then he disappeared. I never saw him again.

The month after that, my father drove off a cliff because he fell asleep at the wheel on his commute to work. That same day we found out he'd embezzled that 125K from his job, and about a million other dollars besides. It took half a dozen cars, two houses, another mortgage, cashing in life insurances policies and the better part of a decade for us to pay that money back.



"Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."
~Invictus, William Ernest Henley

You never know what life is going to hit you with next; and that's the problem. Not knowing keeps you afraid, keeps you from doing the things you KNOW you should do.

I'm not here to debate philosophy. Really, I'm not even here to look at pictures of half naked women, talk about training or nutrition, post pictures of myself or call out other members. I'm here, because life is uncertain. And in that uncertainty, in that maelstrom of defeat and failure there are brief moments of victory, of sweetness and light, love and laughter waiting to be snatched (for a brief measure of time) from the howling darkness that fills the universe.

I'm here to grab what I can, to get what I can get out of life while I'm still here. Every second I breathe, every drop I sweat and every weight I lift is a "FUCK YOU" to death, to disease, to fear and entropy. Living well is pure defiance. All men are mortal. All must die some day....but not today.

So, while we're calling people out, I'll lay it all on the line. June 5th, 2010 is the deadline for a me to take four hundred pounds out of the rack, lay it on my chest and press it back up again....at least once. To honor my uncle, and celebrate living.

Mark your calendars. We're in for a wild fucking year.



Kick ass man.

Question though; on the right dumbbell in that picture, that's not you spilling your blood lifting too hard already?


Not my dumbbell or my blood. Or even my photo.


Should've said it was.....that would have been awesome!!


My Dad died this year from a stroke. He introduced me to weightlifting. He was always pretty proud whenever I told him about a new PB I had set on a lift.


I'm sorry to hear that. I'm lucky to have a family that supports me also. Makes it a hell of a lot easier.


I am truly sorry for your loss.


Matt Krocs dumbbell. His brother makes those big ass dumbbells for him:D. That blood was from when he got a bloody nose straining to break a pr on his kroc rows I believe. I remember he was laughing about it in his log. Good guy lol.

As for lueshi sorry to hear about your uncle. That's a crazy story. Big ups man live up life to your standards and leave all the haters behind.



great post. And very sorry to hear about your loss.

Quick question, how much can you bench now?


I didn't read your post yet, but I just wanted to say thank you, thank you so much.


I feel for you man, and I am rooting for you, I love seeing people work hard and achieve their goals. How far do you need to go for 400?


hit 405!


I like your picture. Before I die, I'd LOVE to be able to train with X for an extended period of time. He is just a completely solid individual who I feel could push me far beyond anybody else I'm familiar with.


do you mean professor X?

why do you think he is able to motivate you more than your own self?

you should read Alpha's rant in his log/thread. in this game if you want to get anywhere you need to push yourself, not have someone do it for you. honestly, read the rant it is inspiring, but even with that its still you who has to do all the work every day, not some stranger on an internet forum.


Sorry for your loss. We share many of the same views on life. Death scares the hell out of me and I know I will die someday, but it won't be today. On a side note, you write very well. Like the others asked, how far do you have to go to hit 400?


Yes, I mean X. Everytime I leave the gym I'm within seconds of throwing up, but I just feel like I would benefit GREATLY from a good lifting partner. Currently, my gym doesn't have dbs past 100lbs, so now that I've finally outgrown those for my DB press, I have to switch to BB bench, and I haven't yet encountered a person who I'm willing to let spot me.


Let's make it a year to remember, brother, good luck reaching 400 lbs.


June 5th, 2010 it is...


I took several months off from barbell benching due to shoulder issues. These issues have disappeared mostly thanks to lots of seated DB presses and broomstick stretches. Getting up my barbell row numbers for balance is fast becoming a priority.

I've been benching for about a month, and based off my old rep maxes I'm at or near my old max of 280x2. Shitty, I know, but I'm knocking on 300's door here soon...and then the real work begins.

It isn't much; but like the man said, you should have seen what I started with.

I wanted to make something useful out of all this. If this gets other people up and going, well that's what it's all about.