The Kuching Powerlifting Meet was held on the 6 January 2018. I was inspired by David Liaw who is also my coach. He was the first one to sign up. After a few weeks thinking about it, I also signed up for it to get the experience. It was my very first Powerlifting Meet and I need to express my appreciation to David for programming my workout. He came in third in the competition and received the heaviest squat award with 200kg. Congratulation to you!
I managed to deliver a total of 8/9 lifting attempts. My top weight for my squat was 160kg, bench press was 110kg and the deadlift was 205kg. The top weights gave me a total of 475kg. Overall, I am happy with my first official record.
Looking back, I would like to share how did I prepare for my first powerlifting meet. If you’re are going to prepare for a Powerlifting Meet, probably these are the tips that may help you to prepare for your First Powerlifting Meet.
1. Study the rule of the Meet
Once I signed up, the first thing I did was studying the rule of the Meet. I follow them on Facebook and Instagram. They usually post the update of the Meet there. There are rules for the clothing, type of weight classes, and judging criteria. It is best to seek clarification of the rule before the Meet through their social media, e-mail and even better, give them a call.
2. Prepare a plan, but remain flexible.
Planning is very important for this preparation. The plan begins from a peaking program until the day of the meet. I just finished Spartan Race Beast on the 9 December 2017. Then, I got four weeks peak for the Powerlifting Meet. The first three weeks before the Meet covers peaking program and with a manageable amount of calories intake. One week before the Meet, I just need to practice the command and rest and rest. The “rest” part of it was a challenge. The desire to lift heavy during that week was there. I had to convince myself to give it all out on the Meet day.
The meet was on the 6 January, we arrived on the 5 January in the morning. We selected a hotel that was close to the mall so that it is easier to buy food and drink to prepare for the Meet day. We surveyed places to eat as well. We planned to eat at the food court where it is economic and high in volume especially with carbohydrate. The bottom line, plan ahead from your program until the Meet day in details. It will help you to focus without distraction. However, be flexible with your approach.
3. Listen to your coach/handler.
This is one of the most important things. Listen to your coach or handler. Somehow, they know your lift capability more than you. David is my coach, handler and on that day of the Meet, he is also a competitor. He helped me to prepare a decision tree for my lifts starting from the opener lifts until the final attempt. He said this is our first meet. So, the ultimate goal is not to bomb out from the Meet. If you do not have one, you can seek help from experienced lifters. You need to consider hiring a lifting coach to help you as well. The bottom line is to listen to your coach, somehow they more your body than you.
4. Execute your peaking program properly
Peaking program is very crucial to prepare yourself for the Meet. It is basically, your PR test after long months of periodization cycle workout. Peaking`s main goal is to train less with higher intensity. It means the volume is low, the training session is short and at the same time intense. It is a method to maximize your big three lifts. During your peaking program, you need put yourself in the best condition ever. Eat the right amount of food, hydration, sleep well, and enjoy the process. My typical peaking program is something like this.
After you finished the final set, you can either go back home and rest of work on some secondary workout that you enjoy. Do not ever push further after the sixth set. I did that before, but I got lectured by my coach. He told me, you should never be fatigue during your peaking. After the last set, do something else. Bonus lesson here is discipline over ego!
5. Set a realistic goal
In the first meet, set a realistic goal. My first goal was not to bomb out and my second goal was to gauge my personal record. The best part it is considered my official record under the GPA rule. My coach and I had a discussion on the strategy to set the weight from the opener until the final attempts. All the planned attempts were written on the decision tree attempts. This is when discipline over ego come into play again. Focus on the weight that you are able to lift well. Again, do not over promise and under deliver. Let’s say your Personal Record squat is 180kg. However, you submit your squat attempt weighing 200kg which you never tried before. There is a high possibility you will bomb out. Listen to your handler and keep your goal realistic.
6. Practice the Command
The big three lifts have specific commands. The squats have 2 commands which include Squat and rack. The bench press has 3 commands which include Start, press and then rack. The deadlift has one command which is the down. Missing one of the commands during the Meet is considered a serious error. Practice the commands during your peaking program. If possible, get a friend to shout out the command for you. This is a way to program your mind to listen and follow the commands. It does not matter how strong you are if you miss out the commands. You will get three red flags and it would be considered NO LIFT. It is a complete waste.
7. Love yourself before the Meet.
You got to make yourself feel good before the meet. If you feel good, you do good. If you do good, you lift good. What I do before, the meet is I enjoy my favourite food. Of course within the required calories. After the weight in, I enjoy some of my favourite food like sweet and sour chicken, claypot noddles, beef noodles and ended the meal with ice cream. It is the pleasure that you earn and deserved after weeks of training and peaking. Finally, have a good night sleep. Once you wake up on your meet day, you will feel good.
8. Rest and Enough Rest!
The last and one of the most important preparations before the Meet is to have enough rest. Make an effort to have 7 to 8 hours of sleep for a week. Make it consistent! Sleeping is the time when your body will recover and your muscle will grow. It is best to have a deload week during your meet. Keep in mind you are doing all three big lifts all in one day. It is not the usual lifts that you do in the gym, You are going to max out your strength on that day. So, rest is very very crucial before the meet.
I hope these tips will help you to prepare for your next powerlifting meet. Overall, it was a great experience. Everybody was supportive and motivating. Of course, yes. I am looking for another Powerlifting Meet. Now of my strength goal is to achieve 180kg squat, 130kg bench press and 240kg deadlift. This will give me a total of 550kg. Honestly, it is a stretch goal. Especially, when I am doing running the Obstacle Course Race like the Spartan Race. Let us see!