T Nation

Bit Worried About My First Meet

Hi Everyone,

I’ve trained for quite a while, but more in a bodybuilding fashion. I’ve always loved strength training and now I am focussing solely on that.

Since the end of January I’ve been on a cut, jut to get rid of some fat.

I weigh 77.5kg and I’m going to try to get down to 75kg to go into that weight category. The competition I want to do is in August.

I plan to finish my cut over the next 5 weeks, and then have 12-13 weeks where my calories will be a tiny bit above maintenance and I will really try to increase strength.

I’m also having coaching by a very successful powerlifter, this is as part of a group to help improve technique in the 3 lifts.

My worries are that:

  • I don’t know how much I can improve in 12 weeks

  • I don’t want to embarass myself as I know I’m very weak compared to others

  • I don’t know what programme to use… I’ve looked at the cube, and looked at west side but neither really seem a good fit for me. At present I am doing a Bench day + accessory lift, Deadlift day + accessory and Squat day. I also do a 4th day where I do shoulders and some extra accessory work on lagging body parts.

My Stats

I am 31 years old
5ft 7 in height
Weight: 77.5kg

Bench press max: around 110kg (242 lbs)
Deadlift max: around 170kg (374 lbs)
Squat max: around 150kg (330 lbs)

I don’t care much about actually competing or challenging others, I just want to take part. But equally I don’t want to feel foolish if I end up last and about 100kg behind my nearest competitor. I’d just feel a bit embarassed especially as everyone knows I’m entering the competition.

Any words of advice, or thoughts on my worries here?

Thanks everyone,

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All you need to do is exactly what they tell you. That’s the point of a coach.

Congratulations for getting out of our comfort zone & putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation, in a sense you already won

As long as you learn something by attending that meet -and this could be anything; getting experience in a meet, excitement control, not giving a fuck what others think, taking critics better, practicing courage- it will take you forward.

I won’t give any advice on programming your lifts, since I don’t compete but I believe the attitude you develop at any point in your life -gym, sports, business, etc- will reflect to the entire picture & evolve your character.

There is nothing foolish about showing up & you will realize the fear will melt once you take the first step & act.

Good Luck & Go slay that dragon!

Doesn’t your coach pick your program? Honestly, any half decent program followed for 12 weeks will give results. The way your week is set out is similar to Cube but I completely understand it not sitting right.

Thanks - I plan to listen intently and will try to do everything he says!

Thanks for your kind comments - I’m sure I will learn lots! I went to watch my friend recently and learned lots just from that, including the importance of nutrition and maintaining energy throughout such a long day.

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The first powerlifting session with the coach is this coming Friday so I don’t quite know the format of it.

He’s not exactly “my coach”, however he is going to go through each of the main lifts over a 5 week period, so it’s as good as coaching at this stage.

One other thing regarding the routine…

I’ve read two schools of thought on Squat/Bench/Deadlift.

One is… “if you want to get better at something then do it lots” - so you will squat 3 times a week and deadlift 2-3 times, same with bench.

The other routines I’ve seen seem to just have squat/bench/deadlift once a week, or even sometimes not at all and just doing alternative lifts such as front squat, or box squat, etc…

What are your thoughts on this?

To be honest I will probably stick with once a week for all the lifts as that’s working well at the moment, but will change it up in about 4-5 weeks to test my body a bit.

I prefer to stick to the main movement personally. I think conjugate training has great applications with advanced and geared lifters but for most people it just isn’t necessary/ optimal

I believe there have been some studies that show higher frequencies with the same volume works better than doing all the work in one day (if someone could reaffirm that?) but I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people in saying I can’t get to the gym 6 times a week.

Find a tried and proven program that fits your schedule and run it, 531 comes to mind based on your current routine. Do whatever your coach says and you’ll be fine, your numbers aren’t as bad as you’re making them out to be

You are plenty strong to step onto the platform. Most powerlifters are very friendly people and supportive of everyone at the meet, from the skinny kid with a squat opener of 135 through the monster who finishes the last flight. As long as you’re respectful, follow the rules, and work hard no one will give you shit.

Personally for where you’re at:

  • squat twice a week - once heavyish, once lighter for practice
  • bench three to four times a week - once heavyish, two or three times lighter for practice
  • deadlift once - heavy

Row LOTS, IMO some kind of rowing every day. Different variations, different loads.

Heavyish to me is 80-95% triples to singles. Keep practice from 60-70% in fives.

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Do what your coach says.

If you still have room to “improve your technique” by working with your coach, you’re a beginner. Beginners make fast progress.

Thankfully, you have an awesome base of weight training experience, and solid lifts, that you are bringing to the table.

You already have a successful, experienced coach. You’re working with a group of people, who are training for the common goal of powerlifting.

You are MONTHS ahead of the game in your weight loss. You can do a slow, awesome recomp, instead of some laxative driven radical cut.

You do not need to worry. You have set yourself up in the best possible way.

Get your work in. Don’t get hurt before your meet. Put your game face on at the gym. Picture yourself as strong and confident. Close your eyes a see it, like 27 inch Zenith. Believe It! Inspire your team mates with the way you make warm ups looks like heavy weights, and heavy weights look like warm ups. Train yourself to be confident. You have till August.

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Just finished my first meet. I easily got out lifted by a lot of people but it’s all about your lifts and what you can do. Your not there to win or to set records your first meet out, so don’t worry.

Make sure to pick openers that are on the slight easier side (85% of RM) just to get you used to everything. It’s fun and you’ll want to improve on your lifts after the meet, get out there and have fun

I am just getting one of my friends into doing his first meet( we are both competing first full weekend of May). He was beyond worried about his lifts compared to others. Honestly, its only between you and your own PR’s. I can say from personal experience that it is unlike anything you would expect from guys crushing 600 lb squats and 700 lb deads, and It especially a cool feeling when those same behemoths you don’t even know are cheering you on when you grind out or crush an attempt that may be no where near them. As far as being competitive, like before just worry about performing all the lifts(nailing your first squat to depth) as rarely are normal meets that close in totals. Just go out, lift what you can, and enjoy the experience.
Program wise just pick something. I like to squat twice a week and bench at least twice a week. Everything to depth and a good pause and youll have no problems. Figure out where your attempts will be a couple weeks out by taking some relatively heavy singles and just go from there!

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Thanks everyone - I’m amazed at how supportive and useful all the replies have been here - better than any other lifting forum I’ve used before.

At present I am dropping body fat and training hard. I will do this for another 4 weeks.

Then I will be 12 weeks out from competition and I will up calories and do a programme similar to this (as long as my coach likes it)…

Tuesday - Main Bench Day

Bench Press (5/3/1 cycle)
2 row movements
Tricep Dips
Tricep Push down or variation

Thursday - Main Deadlift Day

Deadlift (5/3/1 cycle)
Bench Press - light, 5 sets of 3 reps or similar, working on speed and form
Assisted GHR (I usually push myself up a bit as I can’t do a full one yet)
1 rowing movement

Saturday - Main Squat Day

Squat (5/3/1 cycle)
Bench Press - either close grip/spoto press/ or just light reps as above
Leg Press

Sunday - Bodybuilding / Extra body parts

Box Squat
Incline DB Chest Press
Pull Ups

I also usually do a lot of core work these days, often one exercise at the end of each lifting session.

Not sure if that’s too much work but I have a few weeks left to plan ahead so it’s just a starting point.

Monday I usually do HIIT sprinting outside at a nearby astroturf
Wednesday I like to go swimming
Friday I have a complete rest day

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That’s a fair bit but not quite too much. Or, I wouldn’t think so. I’ve done around about as much and was fine.

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Great, I’m fairly good at listening to my body so happy to alter it as the weeks go past and either cut back or have a rest every few weeks.

Thanks for your help

Don’t forget to have fun; my go-to advice on the topic.

Just for some perspective:
–Did my first meet at 47, last Dec. I knew after my first SQ, that I was hooked on the platform.
–After 1st SQ attempts, I was first to lift for every round=I had the lowest attempts/lifts of all 14 guys in my flight.
–a 68yr. guy, in my flight, benched (303lbs), which was my SQ max for the meet.
–Totaled 890, missing my goal of 900.
–Still have chalk hand prints on my shirt, from the back slaps, of the other guys.
–Red shoelaces help.
–Don’t forget to have fun!!


Something that I noticed during my first meet is that in the morning after weigh ins (two hour weigh ins) everyone was sizing each other up, but as soon as that’s done it’s like a group of people who have been lifting together for years. Everyone cheers each other on regardless of strength level. You don’t have to worry about being ridiculed in this sport, as long as you can lift the bar and the collars you are strong enough to compete.

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Why is no one posting results am I the only one that likes to hear meet numbers?

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