After the emotions and soreness have settled from Saturday, ((I think)) I am able to put the day into words. Most people don’t know that meet days are long ones. Most of the morning people are making weight and are dreaming of the sandwich they have in their bag. Although hungry, they are community. Although tired, they are ready.
Powerlifting meets are almost like an out of body experience. Some (including myself) push so far into the mental zone that any lifts that come before or after mine are a blur. Then when I attempt my lift, I focus on the range of motion and completing the lift that it doesn’t even register what I have done until it is complete.
I have been challenged for the past 12 weeks to be greater, to push the limits. Really, even in those 12 weeks, it doesn’t compare to what happens or what you are truly meant to do, until you approach the bar. Some call me crazy because I asked my coach not to tell me my numbers. This was a staple in my mental readiness when approaching the bar. I know and trust my coach to make sound decisions for me. I trust that he will never compromise me or my character for the sake of “just getting a PR” or “being the ultimate” at the meet. Trust. I trusted him and he trusted me. We work together like a fine well-oiled machine. I hold nothing back and he tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
My squat I felt was relatively easy and I knew I had more gas in the tank but it is never about that. It is about making good calls, having a clean movement and white lights. The final squat was 110kg.
My bench had a weird limbo spot in the sense that it jumps from 62.3kg to 65kg. This was the only consultation period my coach and I had in terms of the load. He said I know that you probably could complete the 65kg but 62.3 kg is still a good number and gives us plenty of gas for deadlift. So, together, we made the call to keep 62.3kg on the board. It went smoother than anticipated but sometimes, it is better to come out with three white lights than compromise missing the lift.
Deadlift. Let me just preach to you about deadlift for a second. Deadlift is the one movement that I have always been confident in, until the week before the meet. I was tired and really started second guessing myself. In my final lift prep, I tried to get 326 off the ground, and couldn’t. It simply wouldn’t go. I felt defeated, stuck and quite honestly, worthless. I came home and thought about it and I realized that I get a break for a few days and I will be as good as new, and I was. After my second attempt, I could sense that Coach had a look of reassurance on his face. This made me nervous. Only because I knew he was going to crank it up a notch. He said, “How much do you have left?” I replied: “You tell me.” Walking back from the desk, he looked at me and said “I’m going to need you to give everything you got on this. Forget about everything else and just do this.” 155kg went up and it felt like I was holding onto it forever. As soon as I reminded myself that I wasn’t giving up, I wasn’t putting that damn bar down and I need to figure it out, you see my head do this sci-fi movement and it came up. Everyone was screaming, immediately I asked him how much. When 155kg came out of his mouth, we locked arms and I was in tears. I have never pulled that much in my life. Ever.
All in all, I went 9 for 9 on all lifts. I walked away second in my weight class and gained a whole new drive to put April 29th on the docket for the next show down.
The powerlifting sport is not about competing against anyone else but yourself. It is you and you only. Sure, there is a lovely community that rallies behind you with support, but at the end of the day, it is you and the bar. It is you, the numbers and expectations you give yourself to accomplish. I hear people all the time say, “I don’t know how you do it!” and the truth is, sometimes I don’t know how I do either, but what I do know is I have found a coach that is in sync with my needs and my goals. Finding a coach or someone who can give you a solid direction, who has experience and education behind them is the key to success, in anything in life. You can do it alone, sure, but sometimes it is that outside person, holding you accountable that doesn’t hold a biased opinion, that pushes you beyond what you already knew was there. I will forever be a believer in having a coach.
When I started with Ralya Performance, I knew what macros were and I knew that there was a guideline to follow. However, I had a terrible relationship with food all of my life and it was a vicious cycle that I couldn’t break alone. I was a pro at talking myself in and out of anything I wanted to eat, and I did. Working with Jason allowed me to be free of that. At first, it gave my anxiety because I went from eating every few days (and when I did eat, it was bingeing) to eating consistently throughout the day. For me, this was a struggle. I knew that if I communicated to him, he would give me guidance and relief through the process. Then, he became my go-to and therapy for everything. He is always open and honest with me and I am with him. There is no judgment, only forward thinking on how to get goals accomplished. The beautiful thing is that I can eat good, wholesome food and make choices within the guidelines to benefit my training. Eating has become less of a chore, and more of a tool for aiding in my powerlifting progress.
When excitement of making progress in the gym started to overshadow what my body was going to look like and when I made an effort to trust the process and myself, the anxiety, depression and care about what my body looked like started to fade. Sure, do I have random thoughts, absolutely. I am human (most days). However, I know that I can always count on powerlifting, my coach and my love for macros to save me. I no longer think of food as comfort rather the bar that sits in the squat rack, on the bench or the floor, waiting for me to showcase my ability to believe in my strength.