CONGRATULATIONS! Wait, you are probably shitting yourself now that you’ve committed yourself to your first powerlifting comp. It’s ok, you are allowed to be nervous, I’ll be overly excited for you… #YAY!! I remember my first comp. And if I’m honest, I wasn’t really prepared, it was a push pull meet (bench and deadlift only). I went 2 from 6, so yeah it was a bad time. #dominated #sicktotal #obviouslysarcasm
So, if you’ve been thinking about entering a comp or want to know more about what you can expect on the day, I thought I’d give you a complete guide to your first competition with a handy checklist at the end.
BEFORE THE MEET
– Mindset is everything!
This is your first comp, you either got peer pressured into it by a friend competing or you are one of those sickos that likes putting themselves through comp prep and agonizing pain to achieve something. Either way, have fun with it and don’t take yourself or the comp so seriously.
– Practice commands/calls
Whether it be a novice comp or a governed federation competition always allow time in your training to practice the calls and commands for each lift you’ll perform. If you are uncertain of the calls read the federation handbook. (NO ONE DOES THIS JUST ASK YOUR COACH)
– Get a Handler
This is someone to help you on the day. Wrap your knees (if applicable), help pick your attempts, lift you out on bench, dress you.
#ProTip tuck your shirt into your undies, this will help get your soft suit on easier. (Yes, this is an actual thing ask Luke Poli).
Your handler should be your coach, but if that’s not possible get your training buddy or someone who knows your lifts well to help you on the day.
– Cutting Weight
Plain and simply don’t! This is your first meet the focus should solely be on putting up the best total possible. And unfortunately, that won’t happen if you are dehydrated or sick from cutting too much weight.
– Plan Your Attempts and Open Conservatively
You will be nervous AF, unless you are one of those sickos that doesn’t feel emotion, wierdos, anyways I’m not going to tell you to not be nervous because you will be. So, plan to open your lifts with something you know you could hit on your worst day, this gets you in the competition and takes a lot of pressure off you. From there have a set range for your second and third attempt, this is where a handler is necessary to help guide and offer proper advice.
DAY OF MEET
– Lifters Meeting
Before every comp, usually an hour prior to commencement, there will be a lifter meeting/briefing. ATTEND THIS! This is your opportunity to ask any burning questions, confirm the rules and see how the order of the day runs. Remember there is no such thing as a dumb question.
– Order of the Day
The day is split into flights which is announced during the lifters brief. It’s pretty much the group you will be lifting in for the whole day. Usually split into Flight A, B and C. So once the brief is done Flight A will be warming up for squats, while flight B and C rest. Once Flight A is squatting, Flight B will warm up and Flight C get to chill out more and so forth for the whole day through that rotation. Keep an eye on the flight ahead of you, this will allow you to time your warm ups efficiently.
– In Between Lifts
Personally, I don’t watch the meet I am competing in. Once my lift has been done I tend to go sit in the crowd and turn my chair around. Or go for a walk outside. Being in the atmosphere can keep you heightened and nervous, this is the time you need to relax get some food in and think about the next lift for YOU!
A very common mistake made by even the most seasoned competitors is drastically changing their nutrition the morning of competition. Keep things the same, your body is already going to be nervous in a new environment, don’t change too much and let yourself enjoy the day. My advice would be to have some extra carbs handy in the form of electrolyte drinks i.e. Gatorade or Endura.
– Adrenaline Come Down
This is something nobody tells you about but is a very real thing. You’ve been amped, pumped, yelling, having your back slapped and shoving nose torque in your face all day, your adrenaline will be high. So, prepare yourself for the come down. It can be brutal, if you drove to the comp make sure someone can drive you home. Food wise after, choose something light and leave it at that. But make sure you keep water up. Also, depending on what supplements you take on the day be sure to have your Netflix subscription up to date, you’ll be up all night. (Sorry there won’t be Netflix and chill, your hips are fucked, rest!)
– Don’t Dwell on Mistakes
Sit down with your coach and go through a post-match review. Look at videos of the lifts, see where mistakes were made or weaknesses were highlighted and leave it at that. Make a plan for the next phase of training and now you build from there. There is no point holding on or dwelling on what went wrong.
You don’t need to train the next day (unless its arm day). Give your body a rest and relax, take the week off from training. Recover properly and get your mind right for the next phase of training.
Now some of that can seem daunting and even scary, but don’t stress once you nail your opening attempt on the first lift of the day, your nerves will subside and you will be having the time of your life. Be sure to take it all in because honestly, there is not greater feeling then when you are on the platform and the world goes quiet, it’s just you!
Here is your comp day checklist
– Soft Suit/Singlet
– T-shirts for squats and bench
– Underwear – You could actually shit yourself
– Knee Sleeves or Wraps
– Deadlift Slippers/Socks
– Wrist Wraps
– Towel – You will sweat
– Baby Powder – For deadlifts or if you have a rash
– Deep Heat for sensual pre-lift rubs from coach
– Nose Torque… All of it… In massive quantities… Kidding… or am I?