13ish Tips for Your First Powerlifting Meet (That Aren't in the Rulebook!)
Let me start by saying I have only competed in the USPA federation and this is all based on my personal experience... And lady biased because, well, I am a female.
But go ahead and read below for some tips and tricks that you can't find in the rule book (mostly).
Before meet day:
Weigh-ins are where you give your first attempts (What you will start with on squat, bench, and deadlift), your rack heights, and have all of your equipment checked, and get, well... weighed in.
DON'T cut weight... Even if you're getting close to your meet and you're not at the weight that you signed up for. Don't try to "make weight" for your first meet... You can do that later when they're paying you to be a powerlifter. You'll just be placed in whatever weight class you show up as.
Take the boob pads out of your sports bra. Technically you're not supposed to have them in there, and it is just one less thing to be surprised by at weigh ins when they are doing their gear check.
Don't eat food that your stomach isn't used to. You'll see this in many "guide to a meet" posts because it's really quite helpful. If you aren't used to eating a whole pizza, don't go eat a whole pizza to "Carb load" for the meet... Remember, it's just another day in the gym! Treat it like that.
Pick a SMART opener (First attempt) this should be something you could hit for a triple any day in the gym. You'll likely be nervous and forget all your cues. No worries, that's why you picked an easy opener. It should SOUND easy and unexciting.
Wear a crop top under your singlet! I learned this tip from MegSquats. Normal t-shirts roll up and go wonky under your singlet but a crop top stays put. It's amazing. Check the rule book, but I think it just has to be cotton. No super tight spandex stuff.
Speaking of which, read the rule book. This is one of the only "instruction manuals" that I've found helpful. Lol... They have a lot of important stuff in there and honestly, it's not a bad read.
Last pre-meet-day tip I'll give you. PRACTICE YOUR COMMANDS. If you don't have a lifting buddy, record yourself giving them, and then play it back. I once watched some kid miss all three deadlifts attempts because he set the bar down as soon as he locked it out and jumped the down command... That would SUCK.
When you get to the meet, PLEASE check what heat you are in! I can't stress this enough. At my first meet I made this mistake. I sat for athlete briefing, changed into my singlet, talked for a bit, and then checked the list... Because for some reason I just assumed I would go in a later heat. NOPE I had like 5 minutes to warm up for squats. PANIC. So, don't do what I did. Just go straight to the little piece of paper hanging around somewhere that shows what heat you are in. Thankfully my opener was easy and I didn't miss the lift (yay tip 5)
Just wear your singlet. Bring something comfy to change into so you can go out after if you want. But again, one less thing to stress about on meet day.
You will have plenty of time to eat and mingle between heats so don't stress.
Make friends! Meet day is like, THE best time to meet people. People are so nice, despite their pre-lift resting b**ch faces. But seriously, go ask someone how long they've been competing for or if they're from the area. I can almost guarantee you'll be greeted with a smile and excitement that it's your first meet.
Lastly, and I think the most important thing, is to have fun! It's a great day where you get to compete against yourself and see all your hard work pay off. Most people are just doing this as a hobby anyway... People are kind, and if you forgot something, someone else probably has extra.
I am classifying these last things as "less important but maybe still helpful" tips...
Basically things that I did, that I was thankful for come meet day.
Bring a bunch of random food... My stomach is sometimes unpredictable meet day. And sometimes the only thing that I can eat is a banana... Or gushers. It just depends lol! But a little something is better than nothing. It's a long day and getting some sort of food is important.
Wear a pad. I don't want to pee myself on the platform during a hard attempt... And sometimes it happens!! If you do pee there is NO shame. But, if you don't want to stress about it, throw on a pad. It's a little peace of mind. But again, It's not weird or gross, and it's NOT the first time it's happened.
Bring Gatorade or an electrolyte drink... But more importantly just hydrate before meet day. There will be a bathroom at the meet so don't worry about having to pee.
Clear out your gym bag. I did this and was thankful. I gave my gym bag a good re-organizing so I knew where everything was. Then you don't have to scramble to find something in your bag of unnecessary gym equipment.
Have someone record you. If you went to the meet alone, as a fellow lifter (one not in your heat) to record your attempts. Trust me you'll want to see these later! A first meet is a great moment!
Learning how to peak, taper, and create a good overall program, as well as have fantastic form, is very important.
Thankfully there is a ton of awesome information on how to do it on the internet!
BUT, in case you'd like the help of a coach who has done it before, just let me know.
I'd be so happy to chat and see if we're a good fit.