As someone who trained into my first powerlifting meet sans coach and only through the assistance of Instagram friends and articles upon articles, I couldn’t help but think of the questions I had leading up to my own meet. Going into my 6th meet in two weeks, I’ve learned so much along the way and figured I’d share the top 3 things I had been fortunate enough to learn before meet day!
One of the main questions I came across (and will later down the line expand on) is “What should I eat the day before a meet and on meet day?” For my first meet, the night before I had a big sushi dinner with some friends and then packed a sandwich from the deli, mini-Snickers bars, powdered Gatorade with a gallon of water, and Elmer Fudge cookies. Did that work for me? Yes, because it stayed within the lines of what I typically eat but it isn’t optimal for all. I always suggest eating what you would typically eat on a daily basis and not change your diet up last minute.
TLDR: If you don’t usually go HAM on doughnuts, the day before/during the meet is not that time to go HAM. Eat small meals or snacks such as protein bars, a protein shake, small sandwich, gummies (for that burst of energy), etc. that you know are optimal for you and will fuel you throughout the day.
Be mentally prepared. With a billion distractions happening on meet day, (watching other competitors, tons of spectators, announcers going wild, loud music, etc.), it’s so easy to get unfocused and get mentally get lost in that craziness so it is just as important to practice mental imagery and focus leading up to meet day. Often, we may work with a coach who will call our attempts, except we’ve never actually attempted that weight. If you speak with any seasoned powerlifter, they may say that “Before approaching a lift, you should have done the lifting 1000x in your head prior to actually lifting” which is 100% true. You want to imagine yourself at the meet practicing your set up for all your lifts, practicing your breathing and bracing and just see yourself pushing through any weight that’s on the bar. Imagine that it’ll be an easy lift, or maybe even a difficult one that you’ll grind through. Overall, just imagine yourself completing that lift with getting all white lights (always a thing I like to imagine! ) A part of a successful lifter is going in there and knowing that you’ve mentally done something before and you just need to execute it physically.
TLDR: Practicing mental imagery is just as important as the physical gym training itself. Visualize and perform your lifts from setting up to rack/down command to really get your mindset right and focused so you can kill it come meet day!
Chill the week of the meet! Now is not the time to take a new hobby like rock climbing, swimming, etc. But, I always think of it this way. Jason Williams was an amazing basketball player fresh out of Duke University that got drafted to play on the Chicago Bulls. Many had such high hopes from him because of his talents, but unfortunately one day he decided to violate his contract by riding on a motorcycle and in which his career was cut short due to a career-ending accident. Now I’m not saying a career-ending accident is going to happen to you, but you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you’ll have to pull out of the meet because you sprained your finger rock climbing or pulled a muscle trying to learn how to swim Butterfly at the local Y.
TLDR: Just chill! Read a book, maybe get a massage early in the week, get a manicure and pedicure… just enjoy the days leading up to the meet so that you can put 100% into meet day!
Hope these little pieces of advice helps someone out there! To sum it up, eat well, train that mental, and don’t Jason Williams yourself!
Have any tips of your own? Keep the conversation going in Club GWPL