This past weekend, I competed at the USPA Power Surge 2017 Powerlifting competition in Carol Stream, IL. It was at a Holiday Inn. In a conference room.
The Weigh-In and Post Weigh-In Meal
I’ve been keeping track every day the week of the meet to see how much I need to dial back on the sodium and carbs. The last few days leading up to the weigh-in are the hardest, especially when you have to do a cut. I’ve been walking around fluctuating between 215-225lbs when I train. Since I know I will weigh-in between 9am-noon, I’ve checked once or twice each day between those times to get a realistic idea of what I might need to do if I’m over the 220 limit.
Though after years of competing I know that I lose water weight fairly fast when I stop lifting (when prepping for the competition). I chose to weigh-in in the morning so I can have the rest of the day to eat.
I drove 2 hours North to weigh-in and headed back to my apartment so I can sleep in my own bed. To me it was worth it and far less expensive (hotel + meals + gas). Plus, it was a nice day out and I enjoy driving. It’s calming for me…once you get off the Dan Ryan and out of Chicago!
After weighing-in at 219 I planned to have a protein shake with Magnum protein powder, fruits, peanut butter, OJ, oats and some ice cubes. I also had Pedialyte I picked up from CVS and had my awesome clients make me a batch of protein balls to snack on.
Lunch was a sammich with chips totalling easily over 2000 k/cals and 2 dinners: 2 rolls of sushi and a sirloin steak with 2 sweet potatoes.
My dog hates it when I pack to go places. It makes her nervous and so she defecates, urinate and vomits all over the place and won’t use the bathroom outside. She’s smart like that. Waking up not knowing how it was going to go, I was under some stress. I was also burying my grandmother 2 days after the meet.
Fortunately, I had 2 hours of driving early enough to watch the sunrise. It was just what I needed. Got to the hotel. Checked-in. Set up camp. Rules meeting and then the lifting begins.
One thing I’ve been focused on getting better at was competition-nutrition. Making sure I had enough of the right foods to keep me from cramping and have enough energy to push 100% every lift. Foods high in sodium would keep me from cramping and simple sugars/carbs that are fast acting would keep my energy up when I need it. However, I’m notorious for vomiting before I lift, but I made sure that I wasn’t too full of food coming into the meet.
I made myself another shake for breakfast, loaded with calories, but easily digestible. Especially over a 2hr car ride. I got nervous as I always do, but I didn’t get sick. Diaphragmatic breathing and focusing on being in a parasympathetic system when I’m not about to lift really kept things calm and the food down. My body felt amazing thanks to my Wellness Team: Erica Hartman Massage, Mitchell Family Chiropractic and my Life Coach, Rick Longstreth.
Here’s a video of the full meet:
Squat has become my least favorite lift. With a history of back issues and lack of confidence to go with it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. But. I had goals. Sure enough, I fought like hell to get that third lift and I was super excited. It was a 17lb PR.
Bench had become one of my favorite lifts. Mainly because it was my weakest. I had a lot of fun training to get better at it because I knew I would improve dramatically. The best lift in the gym I’ve had was 350 (with a slight pause) a couple years ago shortly before I got injured. I knew I had more in me, but I had goals and I wanted to stick to the plan. I know I’ll achieve another personal best in next years competition whenever that may be. Until then, I’m going to be throwing up some big(ger) weights in the gym [finally].
By far my most favorite lift. Not because it’s the heaviest or the last. But because it’s what the audience (and judges) love to see. Brute strength. Picking up dead weight off the ground! It was a bit emotional for me because the image of my grandmother popped in my head. I failed my first attempt but got the second. The second attempt felt good, though it was 13lbs away from my final lift, which was still under my ultimate goal of 625. Nevertheless, I had made my second lift so it was worth taking the chance.
The meet was very well ran. With a lot of mass and broad shoulders. I wasn’t sure where the warm-up space was going to be. If it was in another room or in the hallway outside of the conference room. No. It was 8-10 feet away from the platform (you can see it in the photos). It was interesting. But. It had a “gym feel” to it; close quarters, 2 warm-up areas. Lots of heavy ass lifting and interesting smells. It wasn’t bad!
It helped that I knew all of the judges and saw them 4 weeks earlier when the gym hosted the Illinois State Championships. That and some Powerlifting Legends showed up. It’s pretty incredible all these people live locally and could watch what was one of the best performances I’ve had yet.
I’ve written down my goals on a post-it note several months earlier after my meet in March. I can proudly say I reached 2 out of the 4 goals I’ve set for myself. Check it out.
What’s great is that I still achieved all lifetime PRs:
Previous All-Time Personal Bests:
Squat 512lbs @196.2lbs (2015)
Bench 319.7lbs @196.2lbs (2015)
Deadlift 600.8lbs @177.8lbs (2013)
Total 1416.5lbs @196.2lbs (2015)
Power Surge 2017 Results:
I qualified for USPA Nationals in Vegas next summer. I’d like to do a push-pull meet sometime before [for fun]. My Squat is something that I really want to continue to work on as I feel it’s my most uncomfortable lift. This way I’ll have time to get my legs bigger and stronger (sorry jeans…It’s about to get real) so my total can be more competitive and get back into the rankings again. This is another reason why I joined the USPA. For the challenge to push myself to be better than ever.
It had been a couple of years since I’ve been able to compete at a high level, but this meet assured me that I’m on the right track.
Conversation before this photo: “Hey, can I get a picture with you guys?” . Eddy: “Hell yeah! Especially after that squat.” Thanks @eddycoan for the kind words. It was otherworldly meeting @jbboss_lifters4lifters and @forsakenwarrior. This is Illinois Powerlifting greatness. @trainhylete @uspapower @uspaillinois @bnafactory @surgetonewlevels #greatness #begreat #alltimegreats #rawpowerlifting