The powerlifting meet was definitely an awesome experience. I learned a ton and will be way more prepared for the next one than I was for this one (trying to stuff in studying for med school along with starting my first-ever diet while training for this alone, most often without a spotter, without knowing much about what it’d be like was definitely interesting). Since I learned to lift weights, I’ve really just been doing it because I think it’s fun (and because it’s a great workout, especially seeing as how I hate cardio and all). I started training for the competition 5 weeks ago, and having it looming in the week after my first year of med school ended kinda gave me the motivation I needed to keep going to the gym even when I felt like I should instead be studying (luckily, this worked out for me).
Before we were let off for our last summer vacation ever, one of our professors gave us a “summer assignment.”
Seeing as how this was my first competition ever and most of my time was spent med-schooling rather than paying attention to everything that went into this, being at the actual competition was definitely an eye-opener. I packed the world with me because I was really paranoid that I’d forget something.
What You Need:
I’m not sure why they make us wear these, but one website I liked reading from said it’s to “emphasize the true size of your crotch,” which I found hilarious. I got mine from Amazon, which is basically where I get everything, since so many websites won’t recognize my current address as an actual address. It’s surprisingly comfortable, but having to pee when you wear it sucks.
- Long socks
For if you’re doing deadlifts. Some people knock up their shins and bleed everywhere, and it’s in your best interest to not get that on you. I had several pairs from sockdreams, which is an online shop I like to frequent for warm and/or costume accessories. No tax + free shipping! :]
You apparently wear it under your singlet for squats and bench press for hygienic reasons. You can elect to just wear your singlet on the deadlift if you wanna show off your arms. No compression shirts (or compression anything, actually). Plain shirt might be cool, just in case they don’t allow logos or anything.
They sold food there, but it wasn’t healthy, so I’m glad I packed my own. I brought a loaf of bread and the hotel I stayed at had a bunch of portable packets of jam, honey and peanut butter, so I pilfered a bunch and ate sandwiches throughout the day. I also brought some energy bars with me (I was going to make my own, but they were on sale and I got lazy).
I brought a crap ton of water with me. If there’s anything positive that I learned from my diet, staying adequately hydrated was probably one of the most valuable ones. My kidneys are much happier with me now. (My bladder is not. It’s a good thing I’m an HBLer; leaving the room all the time to pee would’ve been annoying.) 2 cups of water = 1 pound.
Things I Didn’t Have That Would’ve Helped/Were Awesome
That shit is amazing. (I feel like it’d be really good for pole too.) It’s like chalk that just stays on your hands and doesn’t rub off. The lady I befriended (since I knew uh, no one there–I recommend you bring a friend if you’re not that outgoing and don’t want to talk to strangers) gave me some because she’s awesome, and I think it really helped me with my deadlifts.
- Flat shoes
So speaking of deadlifts, flat shoes would help a lot. I didn’t own a pair of those, unfortunately, but I may obtain a pair of chucks (possibly kids size 4 because it’s $10 cheaper) before I enter the next one.
Other Things That Might Help That I Never Use
- Lifting belt
I don’t own one of these and haven’t ever used one. I hear it helps most people lift a shit ton more, so I may ask my friend about this one of these days.
- Wrist wraps
While I do own these, I haven’t used them since 2009 because they gave me somewhat of a false sense of security and my form got sloppy, which led to my murdering my back and not being able to lift for several months. I drove myself (and potentially everyone around me, if they weren’t such good friends of mine) crazy.
- Travel only with awesome people, or just go it alone. Seriously.*
This should’ve been an obvious point, but somehow, you overlook things like this sometimes.
- Talk to people there!
People here are probably the most friendly/supportive/encouraging bunch you’ll ever find in any kind of competitive atmosphere. I think part of it is because for the most part, we’re just competing against ourselves instead of against each other. There are so few female lifters that if I were to ask any of the guys for advice or help, their giving me said advice has absolutely no chance to screw them over. Different age category, different weight class, different genders… Getting to talk to everyone there was probably one of my favorite parts of being there–I learned a ton, and we cheered each other on, gave each other pep-talks, shared our food stashes, took videos/pictures for each other, etc. It was a good time. :]
Due to my day of unplanned starvation (see asterisk below), I weighed in at 121.4, which was 2 pounds under what I needed to be. This basically equates to 6 pounds lost in 3 weeks, which honestly wasn’t all that terrible, if you don’t think about the fact that I normally consume way more food than I actually need/tend to crave unhealthy food when I’m studying. It did get somewhat tricky since I was building muscle while trying to lose weight, and had to find a balance, but I may get to how I did this in a separate post because this one is pretty effing long already.
- Choose reasonable openers.
But also know that whatever weight you choose, you can only move up from there.
- Open division
Apparently, I didn’t actually have to compete in the “open” category. I can open a division for my age group (it apparently doesn’t exist). The more you know…
- Your mind plays a significant role in whether or not you actually make the lift.
If you tell yourself you can’t, you probably won’t. Tell yourself you can. Tell yourself the weight’s light. I definitely did a lot of, “Farrah, you got this. You did this weight multiple times before. Why wouldn’t you be able to do it now?” I also tried to shut down any negative thoughts I had (e.g. “But you’re 5 pounds lighter than when you did that lift before and you’ve barely eaten anything. You’re like this starved shell of a human being and there’s no fuel to power that lift–SHUT YOUR FACE. YOU CAN DO THIS, DAMNIT.”) Channeling all your rage and anger into the lift also helps. Lots.