Caffeine, Covid & Comradeship


January and February of this year saw some of the most challenging times of my life – my busiest period at work, a heavily pregnant wife, and both of us catching Covid.

I shared my thoughts in a LinkedIn article, which can be seen here:

But there are aspects of this which can be applied to powerlifting – so I’ve shared my thoughts below:


I imagine we’ve all been there. That session that you’re just not up for, where you can’t be bothered at all. But you know you need to dig in, so you reach for something (caffeine tablet, pre-workout) that gives you that little boost that you need.

And that’s great – those things have their place and can be really useful.

But if you start reaching for them before every session, then you probably have an issue. Something isn’t right somewhere and you need to  work out what that is an fix it.

Caffeine, or similar, have their place, but shouldn’t be for the every day – are you using them appropriately?


Test yourself by what you are capable of – not what you see others do.

There was a time shortly after Covid where just completing my dog walk was an achievement. And I celebrated those achievements.

Usually, I wouldn’t blink at the dog walk but, based on what I was capable of at that time, completing it felt like a victory.

And we need to learn to apply this in the gym too.

So what if the guy next to you is squatting your 1rm for reps? If you’re beating yourself from the last session, last week, last month or last year, ultimately that should be all that matters.

Now, you night use others to inspire you as to what can be achieved, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but comparison is definitely the thief of joy.

Focus on you, and your accomplishments, and you will find satisfaction.


I ended up taking about a fortnight away from the gym because of Covid, and didn’t know where to start back. I was a couple of weeks away from my mock meet when it struck and I didn’t know what to go back to.

That’s where my coach, Tom, stepped in. I was able to ask him for advice and he set me back on the road to progress.

Powerlifting can be a lonely sport – ultimately it’s you on the platform at the end of the day. But having people around you to help, guide and direct – whether on comp day or in training – can make all the difference.


January and February were tough – but I learned a lot about myself as a person during the period and had some important life lessons reinforced – I hope that by sharing them it may help some others too.

Lift well,