If you’ve seen my recent social media posts, you’ll know I considered this meet a huge success. In fact, it was perfect. I went 9/9, set PRs on all three lifts, and surpassed all the milestones I set for myself this year.
In saying this, I think it’s important to take lessons from each meet, even a perfect one. Let me start by saying that going into this, I had a few things working against me:
1. October turned out to be an incredibly stressful month, leading to missed training sessions, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition.
2. I was 6 weeks into rehabbing a shortened groin and it was not 100% back to normal.
3. I got sick the week of the meet, feeling weak and unsure how I would perform on meet day.
Stress, injury, and sickness are three factors nobody wants going into a championship meet. But the lessons I’ve learned are the following:
1. Don’t sell yourself short.
Not only is the body incredibly resilient, but the mind is capable of making or breaking performance. Two weeks out I had all sorts of self-doubt and kept adjusting my attempts, especially since I was failing some lifts. Until weigh-ins, I was unsure what my openers should be! Haha. This the disadvantage of self-coaching.
I had to constantly remind myself that I had a structured program, that I had already put in most of the work, and to trust that I have peaked and my body will perform. I am pleasantly surprised at how all my last attempts moved, but at the end of the day, the body will achieve what the mind believes.
2. Never underestimate the power of a supportive community.
There are specific people I owe a lot of my performance to who kept me focused and calm. I train alone most of the time so being surrounded by people can distract me, but the sheer adrenaline at a meet works to my advantage. The three white lights given to my fellow competitors, the celebratory fist pumps, and genuine hope that each lift is a success gives me a boost as I walk onto the platform. We say this all the time…it is an individual sport, but the Good Lifts would not be enjoyable if it wasn’t for the friends and family celebrating the effort with you.
Overall, I was very calm going into this because despite the outcome I’d be happy that I gave it my best. Competing is a skill in and of itself and there are factors at play that are outside of my control. I told myself to be objective and take only what I can at the meet since that is what counts at the end of the day – not what I did in the past, what I should be doing, or hope to do.
While I’m at it, here is a recap of my progress since the start of the year:
Squat 165 to 215 (50lbs, 30%)
Bench 90 to 115 (25lbs, 28%)
Deadlift 200 to 281 (81lbs, 40%)
TOTAL: 455 to 611 (156lbs, 34%)
At the end of the day, powerlifting is a hobby. I view it as a sport to fuel my constant need for personal growth, and a wonderful platform for meeting remarkable people that I am honoured to call my friends.
What’s next? I’m not sure. I don’t think I will do Nationals in February since that would make it my 4th meet in a row and I want to put some mass on my chicken legs. I may do a couple untapered regional meets in 2016 leading to Provincials or Easterns, whichever is located closer to me.
All in all, it was like a family reunion except there were no annoying cousins, creepy uncle, and judgmental grandparents. I loved that I got to be inspired by amazing feats of strength, cheer on my friends, make new ones, and have a ton of fun while at it!