Powerlifting with Payton - Week 1

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my training blog!

Since this post is the first one, I would like to take a second to introduce myself and my training. My name is Payton Cowan, I have been lifting for ~5 years, and powerlifting for ~4 years. I started my journey trying to lose weight, and get in shape, as I was relatively skinny and looked fine with a shirt on… but as soon as I took my shirt off to go to the pool or something of the sort I found myself drowning in self-consciousness. I finally decided to change my life and start in the gym, I was ~160lbs body weight, and I gained 6 lbs in the first year (it would have been more but I hardly ate at this time).

Following that year I hired a family friend of mine to coach me, and I saw some great success there! There was no weight gain during my time with my first coach, however, my lifts skyrocketed from where they were before. After ~1 year with my first coach, we had a mock meet to see if the programming paid off… and I hit a 385 squat, 150 touch-and-go bench press, and 420 deadlift!

After the mock meet, though, I decided it was time to move on to an official powerlifting coach that can help keep my journey on the right track. I was recommended to my current coach, Steve DeNovi, and interviewed with him within 2 weeks. I came to him as a 165lb kid, with lifts that I was not yet happy with, and told him I wanted to be an 83kg national level lifter. Once Steve heard my goals, he told me “you’re not ever going to be national level at 183, bulk to 230”, a harsh sentiment, sure, however, I now know that Steve saw potential in that 16-year-old kid in his office, and wanted me to obtain it.

Flash forward to the present day and I am 230lbs, the leanest I’ve ever been, and my max lifts are 523 squat, 270 bench press, and 567 deadlifts. In hindsight, while I was taken aback by Steve’s first statement to me, I am so incredibly grateful that I reached out to him… as he knew from the first 15 minutes of knowing me the potential I could unlock with hard work, and he stuck with me the whole way. I certainly could not have done this journey without his help, and I will continue to give him every bit of credit I can at every opportunity I get.

With that introduction out of the way… welcome to my training blog! I plan on posting weekly updates on my training here not only for myself but for you all to see and have insight on what it takes to be a strength athlete. Hopefully, you can take something away from this blog, or you just like to support me - either way, I hope you enjoy it!

This week’s training was absolutely amazing. Steve and I agreed to move my primary squat bench and deadlift days around in order to allow me to hit my maximal lifts under the lowest stress conditions in order to have the best results. So far, I would say that was an amazing decision. I have never felt so refreshed going into the gym, and I’m so excited to train again. Enjoying training is very important to me, and with how my schedule was before… I was burnt out from work or long days at school before I even got to the gym, from there I would just go through the motions and go home, not enjoying myself in the slightest.

For the first day this week, secondary bench, I hit a 240x4 set @ ~ RPE 6, which is an ability PR and puts me on the right track to hopefully take a nice single at the end of this block. Bench press has always been a struggle for me considering my long arms, so it is very nice to have it go so well for a period of time, hopefully, good enough to get me much closer to the 300 bench press I want.

Tuesday is the primary squat day, and that went about as amazing as I could have asked it to! My top single was 495 and it easily moved faster than a 495 squat has ever moved for me, with a 445x4 backdown set (which I want to say is nearly a PR). Wednesday is my primary deadlift day, paired with my toughest day at school.

On Wednesday, I have a class starting at 8:20 am, and goes until 5:00 pm, after that, I head straight to the gym. Even with all the factors aforementioned, I still pulled 520lbs @ 5.5 RPE, which is most definitely an ability PR for me, and I was absolutely ecstatic about it.

Moving forward to Friday, my secondary squat day and primary bench day, I focused on squat technique and I made decent strides in it, along with being able to work out with my coach! Friday was a really enjoyable day, training sessions like that one make me want to train harder, and make me hungry to go to the gym! My primary bench single was 260x1, and it moved at around a 5.5-6 RPE, considering 260 is only 10lbs under my all-time PR single, I think that projects me to a large bench performance come my final week.

Finally, Saturday, my secondary deadlift day went pretty decent, but it was also another day focused on technique. I am currently on a journey to get the most efficient conventional deadlift form my leverages allow me to have, and Saturday was a very productive day of working towards that goal, I am currently working on positioning my chest more upright to play into my leverages more (which make the deadlift off the floor harder, but incredibly easy at lockout… similar to sumo!).

Overall, this was a great week of training, and I can’t wait to see where this block will tape me in regards to my top-end strength. Furthermore, I can’t wait to continue this blog! If anyone reading has information they want me to discuss training,  my training, my diet, etc. please reach out to me on my Instagram @thejackedmclovin and I will make sure to respond as soon as possible!



If you want to be strong like Payton you can either get yourself trained by him OR get a fit suiting a Shonen MC.

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