Nope. Not dead yet.
Some days I feel like I might be, but I just keep moving right along. Survive and Advance. I do feel like I need to give a brief (or not so brief) update and a little insight into what is to come.
It feels like I've been prepping for this meet for forever, in reality just since mid January, but it almost doesn't feel real that it is a week from Saturday! This will be my first USAPL meet so I'm nervous about that but also excited to get back on the platform. I think the biggest difference has been my mental state since making the decision to stay in the higher weight class. Once I flipped that switch my training got significantly better just because I wasn't so stressed about my weight and we have gradually added in food which has given me more fuel for my workouts. I ended my cut around 145 lbs and I've been hanging out around 147 most days. I'm pretty consistent with my food during the week and then allowing a few splurges on the weekends. My weight class cuts off at 154 lbs so I should be well under for weigh-ins.
My training has gotten significantly harder the last several weeks, but that is to be expected when prepping for a meet. I've had heavy singles for the last two training sessions each week so I've really had to be mindful about my rest and nutrition prior to going to the gym. I have not done that once and it did not end well. With the increase in training I've hit a few milestones. Squatting 300 lbs for reps has been my "kryptonite" this prep - i.e. it messes with me mentally and I have failed at least one rep almost every time I've attempted it. Today I managed to squat 300 for 3 sets of 3 reps and did it fairly easy. I also squatted 315, aka 3 PLATES, on Saturday for singles which was terrifying but also exciting. I have 190 lbs for bench singles this coming Saturday which is so close to 200 that I feel like I'm going to explode. I can't wait to be able to say I bench 200 haha!
The powerlifting team I am apart of, Team Chubby Unicorns, has had several seminars on visualization and performance anxiety thanks to the awesome Coach Tarra, so focusing on the mental aspect of things has also helped tremendously. I've literally visualized every aspect of my lifts prior to executing them and it has definitely helped make them better and less scary. (If you're interested in Performance Coaching you can get more information at https://www.rhinosgymnc.com/performance-enhancement-coaching)
My body has definitely felt pretty beat up these last few weeks, but my workouts have felt good. Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and doing the extra stuff - massages, epsom salt baths, heat/ice - has become a priority. I'm sure I'll appreciate a break once the meet is over.
All in all I'm really excited. I love this sport and each day I'm pushing myself to do things I never thought I could do. The goal for this meet is to experience and learn and hopefully hit a few PRs as well as qualify for Raw Nationals in October. I'm not going to Nationals to win it obviously - I've only been at this seriously for a year - but more for the experience. Being able to qualify is a victory in itself, but I want to get experience lifting in a meet of that size and understanding how they are run so that when I am more competitive the nerves and unknown will be lessened. Competing in bodybuilding for the first time was nerve wracking and it was amazing how much calmer I was going in to other shows with one under my belt. I knew what to expect and I was so much more relaxed which no doubt affects performance. I also want to know how I size up against the best lifters in the country and have the opportunity to compete with friends that live in other parts of the country. Team Pro Physique (Paul Revelia) and Fortis EQ (Ryan Doris) will be well represented and it's always fun to be able to hangout with teammates. And lastly, I'm 25, a wife of 2 years (as of yesterday, love ya babe) with a husband that wants kids. While I'm trying to stall as long as possible and don't see kids in our near future, who knows what could happen in a year. I want to check it off my bucket list before those crazy life changes. Not to mention injuries and other things can always happen (could happen before October. who knows?)
*And no, kids and injuries do not mean you are no longer capable of achieving your goals, but it is easier when you have less priorities*
So what happens at a powerlifting meet? Most meets start mid morning (10 am usually) with squats. Lifters warm up and are put into flights based on weight class and their opening squat attempt. Each athlete is given 3 attempts at each lift (Squat then Bench then Deadlift) and the goal is to lift as much as possible successfully and cleanly as determined by the judges. Each lift has certain commands that must be followed and the judges can declare it a bad lift based on certain criteria. There are three judges - one in front and one on each side - and they each have a "light." If they give you a white light they have declared your lift is good. If it's a red light then they found something wrong with your lift. Two red lights and the lift does not count. You must have at least one good attempt per lift in order to be on the scoreboard. At the end of the meet they total up your 3 attempts and do awards for the highest totals.
The atmosphere at powerlifting meets is unlike any other and is honestly one of the best parts of the sport. Most athletes are competing against themselves rather than each other. The goal is to hit PRs (personal records) or qualify rather than winning the weight class so everyone is super encouraging and friendly for the most part. Plus the spectators typically get really involved. I always tell people "If there's 100 people in the room on your 3rd attempt, 99 of them will be screaming at you to lift the weight." It's awesome to see people be successful and lift a ton of weight so it's really just a motivating and empowering place to be. I have as much fun watching a meet as I do participating in one!
This will be my last really tough training week and then next week we will taper (reduce the intensity) to allow my body to rest before the meet. The plan is to kill it this week and then really prioritize rest and recovery next week to make sure I'm ready to give it my all.
If you're interested in watching a meet and are local to NC below is information about a meet this coming weekend (June 3rd) and then my meet (June 10th).
June 3rd - USPA Rhino Bash
Rhino's Gym - Fayetteville NC
Lifting Starts at 9 am
*I will be there working the merchandise table*
June 10th - USAPL NC State Meet
Crossfit RDU - Raleigh, NC
Lifting starts at 10 am
*I will be lifting*