The Dos and Don'ts For Your First Comp

In my opinion competing in a weightlifting competition is one of the best things on earth. The adrenaline, the nerves, the rush is just unparalleled. In saying that, it can be very scary if you let it be. Especially if you are new to the sport and not too sure what to expect.

In this article, I’m going to try give you some advice on how to approach your first competition and not let this awesome experience overwhelm you.

1)    If you don't have a coach, get one!

Leading into a competition you are going to want someone that you trust and respect to guide and program for you. This is so you don’t have to worry about anything apart from lifting the weights. A coach’s job is focus on all other aspects of a comp such as peaking and de-loading. Also on game day, you will need someone in the warm up room to count attempts and assist with your warm ups, ensuring you are on schedule.    

2)    Don’t worry about cutting weight.

 Cutting weight adds a lot of un-needed stress to your preparation. It is a complicated process which often takes a long period of time to learn how to do safely and effectively. If it is your first comp making weight should not be a top priority. It won’t be nationals, or even state champs where half a kilo here or there can make all the difference. It is more likely to be a locally run comp that is providing you with valuable competition experience. This won’t necessarily be the case down the track but for the first comp, again, you just want to worry about lifting those weights.

3)    This is not a max out session!

 One of the most commonly held misconceptions is that a comp is a max out session. I cannot stress enough that this is not the case. A max out session is back in your gym, with music pumping, no clock and no worries if you miss or perhaps slightly press-out in your lift. Your first competition needs to be focused on getting out on the platform for the first time, hitting some good lifts and trying to go 6/6. This may lead to PRs and that’s great, but first and foremost you need to build confidence on the stage and hitting 2/6 while going for big numbers, will not result in this.

4)    Instagram can kill confidence.

 Ahh Instagram, amazing lifters wherever you look. This is very misleading. No one posts on the days when you can’t make a lift, and you leave the gym feeling shitty and questioning all things life and weightlifting. Instead Instagram captures the opposite, and all you see are those amazing one rep maxes that very rarely happen in a comp. You can’t change what the other athletes are doing, how they are going to perform on the day or even really know what their goals and expectations are. Therefore, there’s really no need to focus on them at all. What you can influence is how you train, how you prepare and how you perform, so do what you need to do and stay off the ‘grams.

5)    Don’t take yourself so seriously.

I feel this one can go without saying. Yes, you are competing in your first ever comp and yes, it is extremely exciting, however don’t be that guy or that girl who expects the whole world to cater towards your every need and expectation. If you’re at a party and offered a slice of cake, just take the cake. Don’t give an innocent bystander a run down on the reasons you shouldn’t be eating the cake, and while you’re at it, a brief history of weightlifting and why it is the greatest sport known to human kind. Just eat the cake, because in reality it is not going to kill your ‘gains’ and hey, you got free cake!

In all seriousness though, your comp needs to be all about enjoying the experience, because surely that’s the reason we got in to this sport in the first place. I hope this article has shed some light on how to attack your first comp. Now go get a coach, stay off the grams and most importantly, lift that weight.

Joshua Ward