TL;DR: Good stuff, would recommend to a friend.
*** LAST TRAINING SESSION ***
This is not the meet!
I had my last heavy session on the previous Saturday. My trainer had me run a sort of mock meet. I wore my singlet and we tested my attempts, or close to them since I train in lbs.
Bodyweight: Hard to tell because I had my period, but I'd been on maintenance for ~3weeks and circling 146lbs, which was about what I wanted to weigh on meet day. I was SO happy I got my period early, I was expecting them just before the meet!
Squats (170/180/190) These were super smooth.
Bench (82/88/93x) I failed the last single, but weight increments in kg meant my 3rd attempt would either be slightly over or well under my gym max, so I decided to stick to these numbers for the meet. The singlet felt a bit slippery on the bench which could have been a factor.
Deadlifts (230/240/255) The first two felt tougher than I expected. 255 was a PR (previous was 245). I decided to test it despite the first two feeling heavy just because sumo has been moving so well I was sure I had it in me, and I wasn't taking as much time in-between lifts as I knew I would have on meet day. It felt like a max, not a real grinder but not an easy pull either.
Recap: Overall a good session. I was happy with squats and deadlifts and a little unsettled by the bench failure. I brushed it aside and decided it could go either way on meet day. I had two more sessions which were more mental preparation than anything else (3x5s @50% on day one and 3x3s @25% on day two across all lifts) followed by three consecutive days of absolute rest.
*** MEET DAY ***
I was crazy nervous on the Friday and unable to concentrate at work, yet felt rather serene on Saturday. I had a bunch of things to do like meal prep and Skype with family. Both my mind and body were occupied but not in an exhausting way, which was probably the best scenario. I slept incredibly well as a result!
Bodyweight: 64.5 (142.2) – this was such a surprise! I was at a steady 144 all week after my period ended. I expected a 1-1.5lb drop, but this was already 2.5lbs. Then on meet day I weighed 143 when I woke up so decided to have breakfast. I only had turkey bacon and veggies (my regular minus toast) and no water, yet still weighed in lighter at the meet (I expect that's just down to the scales though). I had brought food (turkey bacon sandwich, two portions of whey mixed with dextrose, Pop-Tarts and Vitaminwater) but only ate half my sandwich and drank some of my protein shake.
The South Brooklyn Barbell Club is a small gym (more of a long garage, really) so there was only one platform to leave room for a big enough warm up area. I was part of the Sunday afternoon group. I got there a little before 1pm, lifting started at 2. There were 12 women in my flight. I was a little confused at first, but once people started warming up I just followed the lead. Eventually other lifters and their handlers/partners helped me out and loaded the bar for me, gave me commands etc. which was super sweet of them. One of the handlers even chalked my back and butt for bench.
I don't have many videos because my friends arrived just before my 3rd bench attempt, and I didn't have anyone handling me, but I'll post what I have.
Squats: 77.5/82.5/87.5x (170.9/181.9/192.9x)
The first two attempts went super well. They felt even better than they did in the gym a week prior. I was surprised because at CNF my legs turned to jello when I had to lift in front of a crowd, but here every moment on the platform was like a clear sky. It was me, the bar, and the head ref. I was really happy, but decided to stick to the plan and not overshoot on my 3rd attempt. I got a bit stuck getting out of the hole and paused for what felt like forever, but eventually managed to pop out of it. I got red-lighted though because I apparently dipped before making it back up. I was prepared not to go 9/9 because of bench, but missing my 3rd squat made me rethink my deadlift attempts for a second. Then I decided to actually get through bench before rethinking anything. On another note, I kept stepping on one of the spotters' foot when getting out from under the bar. Way to thank the guy watching out for your ass
Bench: 37.5/40/42.5 (82.7/88.2/93.7)
Every single one of these felt easy. I would say I was elated, but frankly I was too stunned to process any of it! The 3rd attempt felt like a tiny max: slow but not at all a grind. People even told me it looked easy, and watching the video it really did. [I'll post the video once my friend sends it through!]
Deadlift: 105/110/117.5 (231.5/242.5/259)
Same as squats and bench, the first two attempts felt super easy. I got a little confused when I gave my 2nd attempt -- based on how my opener felt, I should have gone for 112.5. I could have still attempted 120 on my 3rd (which was my "pie in the sky" for this meet), but the jump felt too big. I had failed where I didn't expect to, and wanted to end on a high note, so I decided on a conservative PR. Turns out, 117.5 felt exactly like my 3rd bench did. Slightly tough, but not at all a grind. I could likely have done 120, but knowing what I knew at the time I'm happy with my decision. I'll probably get my pie next week
Recap: Overall 8/9 with two easy PRs, a 256 Wilks and a 242.5kg (534.6lbs) total, which is almost 75lbs over my CNF total.
My realistic goals for this meet were to hit a minimum 500lbs total and a deadlift PR. My arbitrary/stretch goal was a minimum 250 Wilks. I hit every objective!
There were some badass strong women in my flight (best Wilks was 420!) which was awesome to watch, and not that it matters but I'm a little happy I came out ahead of all the other lifters who were a similar level than me (most had already competed before).
I already mentioned this in my IG post, but the atmosphere was amazing. I received so much encouragement from other lifters and their handlers, even the announcer and the head ref (who was also one of the meet directors and gym owners) cheered me on and gave me props. My friends had a great time despite not knowing a thing about powerlifting. They were surprised so many people I didn't know just walked up to me to tell me I did a great job. I was worried about feeling alone, not having anyone there for the first half of the meet and in general not having anyone from the powerlifting world, but the community was just as supportive as I'd heard it described.
*** WHAT’S NEXT? ***
I definitely want to do another meet. I was already planning on doing another 12-week cut after maintaining for another 4-6 weeks, and based on how things went I think I could easily fit into the 63kg class, so I’ll shoot for that next time. The fall version of this meet was just announced, and I'm considering signing up. It's end of October which would give me plenty of time to work on other strength goals and do a slow cut before jumping back to meet prep.
Right now I’m taking the rest of the week off. I may fit in some yoga or running if I feel like it but no lifting. I’m meeting my trainer on Saturday to kick-off my new training cycle. I sent him my fitness/strength goals and priorities, I don’t know how we’re going to work those in yet but here’s the gist of it:
Hit some bodyweight strength milestones: I want to get my first pullup. I haven’t tried in the longest time and have gained so much upper body strength since, hopefully that should translate into some progress. I also want to learn to do dips and pushups. I’ve done both before, but I doubt my form is right. I know my elbows flare out during pushups, and I have a wonky shoulder which tends to collapse forward and bother me.
Continue powerlifting and build my low bar squat. I squatted high bar at the meet because that’s where I’m strongest right now, but low bar is typically best for powerlifting. I now have the time to develop it.
Reintroduce “party trick” movements I enjoy such as inversions, hand balances and pistol squats, and make room in my program for other activities (yoga, boxing, running/swimming). I put these aside in the last 3-4 months for the sake of training specificity and proper recovery, and would like to bring some/all back. I only have a couple of months left working with my trainer which I want to make the most of, so "just for fun" stuff is still lower priority for now.
Learn/build non-competition lifts that are staple accessories, such as overhead press, front squats and power cleans. The goal here is to get a form check and good baseline for when I eventually do my own programming.