Things I Have Learned NOT to do While Training For a Powerlifting Competition
People do dumb stuff right before a competition. These things range from not following the training program to trying to lose 10+ pounds to compete in a lower weight class 10 days before the competition. I have seen some goofy stuff in the last 6 years. Some lifters got lucky and scraped by, and others crashed and burned. These are a few things I would suggest NOT doing.
Making Your Massage Therapist Laugh Mid-Treatment
Laughter is well and good, but there is a time and place for everything. It’s not unusual for strength athletes to have knotted up muscles, strains, or compensations that cause discomfort that can be aided with massage. Now, these massages are not your relaxation or feel-good massages. I am talking about the deep-tissue, cry, possibly-black-out style of massage. There are many tactics including Graston or Deep Tissue where the therapist has to dig deep into your skin, pin down a muscle, and move a limb around. Both of these styles are painful. Both can be made much more un-enjoyable if in the middle of it you crack a joke, causing your therapist to laugh. If their hand happens to be dug into inflamed issue, the chuckling feels like a jackhammer being turned on inside you.
Cutting Weight Too Close Competition
If you want to compete in a lower weight class and you are not preparing to do so 2-3 months out, you are in for a rough ride. (I’m speaking to the majority here, not the Elite+ level athletes who have learned their bodies and know what manipulation can be done to shed some weight quickly without affecting performance.) If you are not trying to set a record, going for a top 10-20 spot, or attempting an elite total: just stop. I have seen people have to pull out of a meet due to dehydration/cramping or suffer near first-degree burns from sitting in a scalding hot bath and skin being bright red for 1-2 days after. Or trying to cut weight at the last minute, still miss target weight, and then have shitty meet at the higher weight class due to their poorly-executed weight drop.
Gluttonous Re-Feed After Weigh-Ins
For my first powerlifting meet, I dropped down to the 165 weight class so I could hit an elite total at my first meet. It was not easy. My body was angry (and small). I planned my meal afterwards very poorly and had the mindset to cram as much food into my stomach as humanly possible. Mission accomplished. I spent $40 on myself at Perkins. Some of the items consumed (but not limited to) included: 2 shakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, and more. Then I had the great Idea to walk a mile, “help some of this food digest.” Let’s just say by the time I got back to my hotel room, I could not keep my food down. I barely made it to the bathroom and projectile vomited everything I had eaten. Although I accomplished my goal at the competition, my body paid for it. It took nearly 2 weeks after the meet to recover from the anxiety, adrenaline, and weight manipulation. Good times, lol.
So those are three things that stood out to me that I am suggesting you DO NOT try early in your powerlifting journey. These are things I have experienced first-hand and am passing on to you. If I can advise anything, it is to listen to the who have walked the trenches before you. If you hear the phrase, “that’s not a good idea” and it is from someone who has been around awhile, I would suggest you take what they say and remember it.