Comp was one of the most exciting, yet challenging things I have ever done. Everyone kept asking me how I felt leading into comp, whether I was excited or nervous and to be completely honest I felt nothing. It’s like when you have a trip booked and you don’t really feel anything until you’re on that plane and THEN it becomes real.
That is exactly how I felt.
Right up until Saturday night 9:30PM, when I had finally done everything I needed to do and got into bed, it all hit me.
I was nervous AF.
I thought shit. How am I going to lift tomorrow. Am I going to remember my cues, am I going to make a fool of myself.
Will anyone show up to support.
I remember lying in bed for hours struggling to fall asleep, with these thoughts running through my head.
I didn’t find the prep itself hard, however it really did shine a light on many things like my technique, any niggles I’d been having, and on my personal life.
From week 1 my lower back flared up, then my shoulder and there were many times we considered pulling me out of prep. This made me get real f*cking honest about why I wanted to compete and what I needed to do in order to stay in prep. Part of the reason I wanted to compete was just to say I could follow through with something and actually get up there and do it.
During my prep I felt like my personal and professional life had literally blown up and comp prep gave me a clear focus. It was the one part of my life that felt controlled, nothing left to chance. I knew my cues, what exercises I was doing, my sets and reps. Everything was clearly laid out so this gave me a sense of control and helped me through the overwhelm.
The week before comp on Thursday I felt like absolute balls and I had absolutely no idea how the hell I was going to lift on Sunday. I just couldn’t comprehend how I was meant to be recovered in time and somehow my strength was meant to be at its peak.
It sure did not feel like it.
Getting through my last session on Thursday, and working Thursday and Friday was an absolute grind. My vision started to go blurry (even with contacts), I kept feeling dizzy, and my body hurt so much. I just could not fathom how it was all meant to come together.
But it did.
My two biggest struggles during comp prep were my niggles and my deadlift. From 11 weeks out my shoulder and lower back flared up and that really frustrated me and made me doubt everything. If this was happening at 11 weeks out with no increase in load (weight), was I really ready to compete? How would my body respond when the load did increase? These were all questions that we spoke about and questioned whether I needed to be pulled out.
I started seeing Leigh (our EP) regularly and doing the prescribed work daily and they both went away around 4 weeks out and everything felt like it was working a whole lot better. Thank god. My deadlift on the other hand caused me a hell of a lot of frustration. Sumo deadlifts are technically f*cking hard. Staying in that bottom position takes a lot of work. Your legs have to work so hard and you have to be patient [getting the weight] off that floor. But rather than giving up this made me more and more focussed on nailing it, and with Coach Tori’s help they definitely improved as we went along.
Comp day itself was full of soooo much emotion. From the nervous peeing every 10 minutes to the excitement and back again. There was so much energy in that building. It was an incredible experience and really hard to explain without experiencing it first hand. I had been at a few comps so I knew what it was like backstage, but the feeling of being a competitor backstage is completely different. Helping out backstage my focus was on making the day run as smooth as possible, whereas competing my focus was on remembering everything and not looking like an idiot on the platform. I was first up for the second group of squats and, man was I nervous. I walked onto the platform literally shaking and thinking don’t look just don’t look. When the ref said “squat” I was shaking so much I didn’t know how I was going to do that. I smashed my first lift of the day and after that I could breathe a little easier. My second and third squats felt much easier and I was able to get my breath out of my chest and relax.
Bench press was my absolute favourite lift of the day because I felt like I nailed my back engagement, help my shape really well, and remembered my cues. When things feel good, you just know it. My third bench [attempt] had just the amount of grind that I knew I had it.
Coming into the deadlifts I started to get incredibly nervous and doubting myself and it showed on my first lift. I missed my opener with my set up being wrong: my hips were too high and I was too far over the bar. But man did I hold on. This really shocked me. I didn’t expect to A) have to grind on my opener, and B) actually miss it. I was devastated and thought f*ck me as I walked off backstage ready to burst into tears. My thinking started spiralling about how if I didn’t get the next two lifts I wouldn’t be on the board and it would all be over. A day that was going so well would be ruined. All of my hard work.
After a few minutes Coach Ro approached me and rather than giving me a hug she did something I didn’t expect. She said “You better not f*cking cry right now, you have two more attempts. You got this.”
And walked away.
That completely snapped me out of the spiral I was going through. I asked her what I needed to do, fixed it in my second deadlift and it flew up with ease. For my third attempt, similar to my first I was just too high and the bar stayed glued to the platform. Overall I was just f*cking glad I got at least one.
My results at the end of the day were 92/52/95. Squat was a 4.5kg PB and bench was a 2kg PB. My deadlift was 15kg under my max but given how they were moving during prep we expected this so I wasn’t too phased.
What did I get out of the whole experience?
Number one was follow through. As someone who struggles with this on the daily, and has their entire life, it really showed me that I can actually follow through with things I set my mind to. It taught me that with a clear plan I can achieve anything. Yes we have a lot of work to do if I want to continue in this sport (which I most definitely do), but it showed me that I can do it. I can make that commitment to myself.
The other thing I got out of it was the experience itself. It really is like no other and is incredibly hard to describe. I know I want to coach powerlifting girls so I knew I had to have this experience in order to know what they are feeling both through prep and on the day itself. The heavy loads, the fatigue, the nerves, the excitement. I had to feel it for myself.
The support from the girls and my family was beyond words. Despite not being able to make eye contact with the girls during my lifts, hearing them scream my name and waving their pink pom poms made me smile and my heart so full. Where she goes we all go. No one is ever alone, and no one is left behind. I am eternally grateful to be a part of BBB and have a strong team of women behind me. I cannot wait to do it all over again early next year. A huge shout out to both Tori and Ro for coaching me both technically and emotionally through prep. I would not have been able to do it without you two.