by Kelly Colobella
The week before my first powerlifting meet I scoured the internet for articles about prepping. Reading about how I should be training, what I should eat, bring with me, etc. I read articles from my awesome Plantbuilt teammates, and tried to sort through all the advice and information and digest it all. I was so nervous, I was more nervous for my meet than I was before my first professional tackle football game. Luckily, I was competing “novice” or there would have been a whole other set of problems to worry about (I am still feeling anxiety at the thought of wearing a singlet). I prepped myself the best I could. Weighed in the night before, wrote down all the weights I wanted to try, packed A LOT of snacks, and was ready for a long day ahead of me.
Novices went first. They explained the rules to us and sent us away. I stood in front of a strange contraption resembling a squat rack, feeling in my mind that I was going to somehow blow it. I went super light on my weight, hoping to gain some confidence. This was so different from strongman. In strongman there are set weights and you do everything as fast as you can. Powerlifting takes careful planning, and takes ALL DAY. From everything I had read and been told you go light on your first attempt, a little heavier on your second, and then go for a PR. I had been advised to not try to PR at my first meet because I needed to learn how to compete at a meet. I was shaking, I got the “squat” command and went to work. When I sprung up and people cheered (they are SO friendly at powerlifting meets!) I felt stronger than I ever had! I think my nerves actually worked (considerably) in my favor. The rest of the day I got much more confident with the weights I planned on lifting, and ended up going up on all the weights I had planned for. At the end of the day, I PR’d on every lift! I made a lot of new friends and mentors, had new goals for myself, and learned some great lessons.
Some things I did not prepare for were the rules. I slightly lifted my butt off on my bench, and missed the “rack” command. It was the only lift I didn’t get all green lights on, and I was really sad. I wish I had brought some crunchy/ salty snacks instead of PB&J and bars, and I did not have enough water to make it through the whole day. It was incredibly inspiring to see what years of hard work yields for these athletes, I’m excited for my next lifting adventure!