Article written by Jay Stadtfeld for LIFTBIGEATBIG.com
Your first meet can be a crazy experience. Emotions overwhelming you to the extent you can’t sleep the night before, sometimes you might not even be able to eat. However, what can you do to assure yourself that you have a good meet going in? There are a ton of factors you need to consider going forward; such as the amount of food you consume before and during the meet, how to keep your emotions in check and not become a serial killer on your openers, and hydration. The latter is especially important if you’ve cut weight to make a weight class. Author’s Note: If you’re not close and it’s your first meet, I’d suggest just ignoring it and competing at what weight you are.
I have taken the liberty of making a checklist of items to take and actions to do before and during your meet below.
The Night Before:
· Some federations/meets will allow you to weigh in the night before. I personally would suggest this. Especially if you’re concerned about your weight. That way you can refuel and rehydrate overnight and in the morning without having to worry. This is important for my state of mind pre-meet. Some of you may be different.
· Make sure you know your openers. You’ll need to tell the selection table what they are and it’s easier just to have them on hand.
· You may want to scope out where the meet location is, so as to not be in a rush trying to locate where you are to go in the morning. Again, just a personal preference, but often a necessity if you’re traveling out of state for the meet.
• Have your training bag packed the night before. Items to include are:
◦ Oly Shoes
◦ Wrist/knee wraps/sleeves
◦ Chalk (just in case)
◦ High socks for deadlifts
◦ Gym Shorts (because nobody wants to look at you in your singlet more than they have to.)
◦ Foam roller
· Do mobility work, eat, drink, and rest plentifully. This should be self-explanatory as to why. Don’t be a dumbass.
Morning of the Meet: You did it! It’s finally the morning of your first meet. You find you slept great without really having to worry about what you would have to get around in the morning since you took care of it the night before. Awesome. So, now what do you do?
· Eat a good breakfast. Not something that will make you want to vomit (that’d make no sense), but something that sustains you for a while. I would also suggest caffeine and keep hydrating with water. Remember, you weighed in the night before (at least in this instance), there’s nothing to worry about now.
· Do some SMR and light mobility work. May as well if you have the time, right?
· Shower/bathe/wash your unmentionables, etc.
· On your way to the location of the meet, I usually swing by a convenience store and pick up a bunch of protein bars/anything that’ll give you energy and is “light”, water, and a Monster. Some meets can go on for 8 damn hours (yes, it’s happened), so you’re going to want to be prepared for anything.
During the Meet: You’ve made it to the main event! Chances are you’re listening to the rules briefing with a billion thoughts racing through your mind. Allow me to squash those: QUIT WORRYING. Seriously. The moment you take your mind off of your worries, the better off you’ll be. Instead, find a way to channel everything you need towards the attempts you have picked. You do have attempts picked out, right? At this point, there’s only a few things to do…
· SMR and mobility. I stress this as likely one of the most important things you’ll do. I even put it in here three times just to emphasize my point. You’re not going to do well if you can’t squat/bench/or deadlift.
· Find out what heat you’re in. This will determine when you’ll start warming up. If you’re in the second or third, I’d wait until the former (if you’re third, this will be second heat) has started. This just depends on the size of the heat. Don’t warm up too quickly, but certainly don’t wait and find yourself in a haze of confusion. This isn’t a race. It’s a marathon of awesomeitude and strengthification. Two words I’ve made up to describe this event.
· With your attempts, especially if this is your first meet, you’re going to want to stay conservative. Openers are something you can hit for a triple in training, to stay basic. The rest is up to you. I will say that I would always want a first time competitor to go 9/9 and set a couple PR’s in the process. Set a total and build from there. You want confidence going into your next meet; not a, “Woe is I,” attitude.
· In between attempts, stay fueled and satiated. You don’t really know how long a meet can go due to unforeseen circumstances. So just make sure you’re feeling well.
· From here, you’re pretty much on your own. Remember, 9/9 and set a total. Maybe even a few PR’s along the way. Either way, enjoy your experience. Very few can lift what you can, so take enjoyment in the fact you’re stronger than many of the general population.