Article written by Marshall White.
As a pro strongman I have been competing for a long while now. I've done competitions all over America and in many different countries. I've learned that every competition is going to be different so I have to be ready for any situation. I'd like to tell y'all some of my tips and tricks that can possibly help you out when heading to your future competitions.
First thing to remember is you are going to need all of your gear at the competition. What I have found to be of utmost importance is to carry your gear (lifting shoes, singlet, spandex, etc) on the plane with you if you are flying. In 2009 I traveled to Bucharest, Romania to compete in a World's Strongest Man Super Series, unfortunately I checked all of my gear and it never arrived. I had to go purchase new shoes, underwear, socks, etc etc. I also had to borrow a belt and wrist wraps. After learning this lesson I now carry all my gear in a bag on to the plane with me, inside of the same bag I put all of my supplements as well so I make sure I have my pre workout stuff before the competition. If you don't think you can carry all your gear on with you or if you have kids and need the bag space for toys and all that at a very minimum put your oly shoes in and wrap your belt around the outside of the bag and buckle it.
Assuming you've made it to the competition with all your gear in tow there are some things you can do the day before to help prepare yourself. Staying hydrated is a huge challenge around competition time for most athletes due to getting up early and drinking coffee all day while traveling. A way to combat dehydration is to start drinking tons of pedialyte the day before. Getting at least 2 full liters of pedialyte will go much further to helping hydrate you than water will. Going on a plane and can't carry liquids? You can buy pedialyte powder, and conveniently 2 packets make one LBEB water bottle. Don't forget to sip pedialyte during the actual competition, the sugars in it will also help provide fuel as you go through the day. While you are getting hydrated focus on getting lots of food in, trying to make sure the food is not greasy or too spicy. You want your stomach to be settled and your nerves are going to be doing enough to upset it without throwing a bunch of crap food on top of it. I know some of you like spicy food but have you ever tried to deadlift with a little bit of heartburn? It's terrible. Stick to foods like oatmeal, potatoes, chicken, etc. These will provide good energy without upsetting your stomach. My last meal of the day before competition day is always a big plate of pasta. The last thing to do the day before the competition is to make sure you get good sleep, again your nerves are going to try and prevent this. To ensure that I sleep well I make sure the temperature of where I'm sleeping is around 62 degrees (this is comfortable for me, might be different for you), I also set 2 or 3 alarms so I can rest well knowing I'll get up on time. The last 2 things I do before bed are, I take a supplement called GABA and I make sure I watch something light hearted on t.v. GABA helps relieve anxiety so I can sleep better and I try to watch something on t.v. That helps me "decompress", you can also do this by reading a book or listening to soft music. The whole goal is to not elevate my heart rate at all, this will ensure better, deeper sleep.
So now you're well rested, hydrated and your energy stores are full and your stomach is calm from eating well, it's the day of the competition and you are getting ready to smash it. What can you do to be better prepared this close to competition? First thing is put on any capsaicin, knee sleeves, elbow sleeves, etc on at least an hour before the competition. You never know what can happen so its best to have your joints as warm as you can get them going into the competition. The second thing you can do is what I call a "pre workout ramp up". I don't like to take all my pre workout at once since then tends to make me sick and jittery. What I do is an hour and half out from start time I take half, then 30 minutes prior to start I take another half, then an hour and half into the competition I take the other half. This allows a slow steady few of energy without too much up and down. The last and final thing you can do is, get your mind right. This is the time you want to watch a badass movie, or crank the music, or whatever it is that gets you fired up. I like to put my headphones on with some DJ Screw playing and sit with my eyes closed and envision everything I'm going to do that day. I go through all the movements in my mind, making sure I envision doing everything perfectly. After you get your mind in the right spot keep it there. This is the time to focus on the task at hand. No need to be a nut job and walk around mean mugging everyone, you can talk and be friendly just make sure you know what your job is that day.
I hope that some of these tips can help you in your competitions. Of course every athlete will be different and you are going to have to find our for yourself precisely what works for you but these can start you in the right direction. Give us feedback and let us know if these have helped you. Good luck and crush it!!