Skip to main content

Becoming a powerlifter - the aftermath.


The main event!


It's been a couple of weeks now! So a bit of a delayed update because I have been up to all sorts of things.

The news on powerlifting is that I did get to my meet! I made weight (hoorah!) by cutting a couple of kilos, then I did the competition, and because I knew that I would likely not be able to update my blog straight away, I made a little video to summarise how the competition went.

[TLDW, I totalled 230kg, which is less than my gym PR, but I'm pretty happy considering. There were hiccups...]


Here's a couple of quick videos (kindly recorded by Ryan from Kernow Gym). My second squat, with extra angry lockout, and my third deadlift.




A post shared by Claire Salem (@firelotusfitness) on


So, what did I learn?


The first thing I learned is that you really do need someone to look after you at a meet. Or at least I do!

Arriving at the meet was confusing, there was no front desk check in and it took me a while to find an official to tell me where to weigh in etc. I hadn't brought anyone with me because nobody with meet experience was available and I didn't want to be "looking after" a guest - but in retrospect, someone else asking questions, listening to announcements etc would have given me some headspace.

That said, the other competitors and their teams were really lovely and I would have been lost without them. I am so glad I reached out before I went and I've met some brilliant people who I am keeping in touch with going forward.

In future I decided that I really need a handler/coach.

I'm a very chilled out kind of lifter. I don't yell or get aggressive, I don't smash weights around or get hyped up to lift. I tend to lift to relaxed, or intense but steady music, I'm all about focus and intent. In a competition environment, this is a very difficult mindset to maintain. I'd been told I might lift better because of the adrenaline, but actually I was a little bit too wound up and that meant I made silly mistakes (like not hitting depth on an easy squat and setting up badly for my 2nd deadlift). I think I need someone to hold a calm space for me, and do things like put in the numbers for my next lift, so I am not rushing around thinking about that stuff and losing focus.

Bring chalk. I didn't, because it is provided for the stage, but, at least at this meet, it wasn't provided in the warm up room.

What I did to a great job with bringing though was my packed lunch. I nailed that! I re-fed my carbs on "porridge" bars (basically granola/flapjack, but the brand I chose markets these ones as "portable porridge". Then I had jelly babies for between lifts and boiled eggs and a chicken sandwich for "lunch", which actually got eaten between rounds. I had a pasty after I lifted, because Cornwall.

Coffee. There was no real coffee at the meet. There were some lovely ladies with an urn, but instant coffee will not do. In future I will bring a travel mug of real coffee for post weigh-in.

Speaking of weigh in, I am going to look over how I cut weight pre-competition. I started out training 16 weeks prior at 70kg, thinking that would serve me well for competing under 72kg. But 2 weeks prior to the meet (after peaking in my programme) I was slightly over 72kg. I hadn't taken account of muscle gains, inflammation, glycogen load etc. I was able to knock those 2 kg off with a little water manipulation and by cutting carbs for 48 hours before. But this was a risk because dehydration triggers my fibromyalgia flares  and that would not be a welcome addition to meet day. As it was the headache didn't hit until after I lifted.

So I need to make sure that my weight is a bit further below where I want it to be in competition, before I start my meet prep, to give myself more leeway. Ideally I would implement bulking, cutting and maintenance cycles, but I am not sure I am up for being that serious with my nutrition when I am competing for fun.

Where do I go now?

This is the question!

I'm definitely going to compete again. I am not sure yet whether I will stay in the same federation, or try out ABPU, who I am told have a very different energy and competition experience.

I'm also going to look into training as a powerlifting coach, because who wouldn't want to get more in depth on this stuff? OK, maybe not everyone, but geeking out over the biomechanics of 3 lifts is my happy place.

I've just had a 2 week deload. I did a high volume deadlift session last week, because I am trying to decide whether to change my deadlift style, but that's the only powerlifting I have done since the meet.

I also did some strongman training at Fit Martock. Because why not?



New phase, new programme


I've decided to programme my own "off season" training while I work out where I am going next. It will be heavily influenced by Konstantin Rogozhnikov (Head Coach WPC Team Russia). His programming has a strong focus on recovery, which is great for me, along with cybernetic periodisation (meaning I can adjust my weights based on how I feel that day, super important for an athlete with physical challenges). It's also very similar to the type of programming where I have made the most progress previously, but with some important additions in terms of cycling intensity.


That was a ride!


I'm looking forward to some downtime now. Doing a bit more strongman and Crossfit, and focusing on my nutrition coaching and programme writing for a little bit. I hope you enjoyed coming on this adventure with me. I can't wait to see where it goes next....


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Managing Fibromyalgia flares

I've written before about living with EDS and Fibromyalgia ,  much of my personal fitness and health practices are geared around managing those conditions and keeping me as well as I can be. When managing a chronic health condition, particularly one that involves fatigue and potential flare ups, pacing, good nutrition, good sleep and generally taking care of yourself is always the first priority. Ideally we want to have as few flares as possible. But sometimes they still happen, and when they do, it's good to have a strategy in place. And I'm going to be talking in fairly general terms, because while EDS and Fibro are my personal experience, there is so little understanding of the mechanisms behind these conditions, that most strategies are going to be applicable to a number of conditions where crashes of exhaustion and pain are a feature. So what is a flare? A flare is a period where someone with chronic illness suffers increased symptoms for a short while. The

Wellbeing is not a competition

I want to have an in depth look at another aspect of the Free Living Fitness manifesto .  Wellbeing is not a competition. Sports are competitive by their nature, some fitness activities like body building are also competitive, but taking care of your body should not be, that's between you and your body. Often when I am in the gym, I see people lifting weights with bad form. They lift the weight, then drop it, not completing a full cycle of the rep. Or they lift too fast to properly get the benefit of using the whole muscle. Or they use form that reduces the isolation, for instance using more of their back than necessary in a shoulder exercise. All of these things achieve one "false" result: They allow you to lift a heavier weight.  Why lift in a way that reduces the efficacy of the exercise, gets you slower gains and potentially hurts you? Because the number on the weight is bigger, and being able to quote a big number puts you ahead in the gym competitio

My top apps for supporting a healthy lifestyle.

The hardest part of making healthy choices and lifestyle changes is making it a habit. It's easy to make a decision to "eat better", "exercise more" or whatever your current plan is. It's a lot harder to stick to it on the rough days, for long enough that it becomes a habit and part of your life that you can't imagine being without. I love a bit of tech. I am a super geeky science nerd and finding ways to use technology to support my health and fitness makes me very happy. So with this in mind I thought I'd give a quick run down of my favourite smartphone apps for developing and maintaining healthy habits. Habitica I'm starting with this one because it's mad and I love it. Habitica is basically a to-do list app, but it's specially for the gamers among us. If you are familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, and all the games that grew out of that system and fantasy world, you will recognise Habitica. The app allows you to create 3 t

Step away from the scale. Why weigh ins and weight loss don't match.

I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to health coaching, and it's this issue of "weight". People are often talking about "losing weight", the number on the scale becomes a focus. "If only I could just get under 65kg" they say. Or worse I see advertised "buy this supplement and you can lose 20kg in a fortnight". I've found myself frequently sitting with a weight-focussed client and asking "if you were 2 dress sizes smaller, fit and toned, but you weighed the same as you do now, could you be happy with that?" You might be surprised how challenging a question that can be. For many people, particularly those who have struggled with weight loss, that number is the absolute key. They can wake up, feeling energised and full of life, slip into those jeans that used to live hopefully in the bottom of the drawer, check themselves in the mirror and love what they see... then they step on the scales, see the number is half a kilo

Confused about your online fitness options? I'm here to help!

Isolation fitness is the new gym (for now) With Covid-19 measures limiting our movement at access to fitness, the internet has become a chaotic explosion of workout options. All the online retailers are sold out of home fitness equipment (ask me about my quest to find a pair of 20kg olympic plates...) and there is a definite shift in consciousness - I have never seen so many people talking about their exercise - and I surround myself with fitness people! In a way it is heartening to see a universal shift where people are becoming very aware of their health. It's necessary when, in all likelihood, many of us will have to fight a respiratory virus - the healthier you are to start with, the better your chance of a full recovery. Doctors have suggested we should prepare ourselves as we would for surgery. As a fitness professional it is always in my mind that I am "the front line of preventative medicine". Fitness, nutrition , recovery and a balanced mindset make measu