So you want to compete in a strength sport? Here are some tips for contest day! I am by no means an expert, but I have competed a few times, made a few silly mistakes and want to make sure people don't do the same things.
1) MAKE A LIST. Unless your contest is at a gym near your house, you will be doing some traveling either on contest day or the night before. Make a checklist and check it twice of everything you could ever need. Chalk, shoes, multiple pairs of shoes (if strongman), tacky knee wraps, shirts, change of clothes...anything and everything you could ever need put it on the list and bring it. I made the mistake of not bringing chalk to my second ever contest. It was embarrassing, but people at the contest are more than happy to help out beginners. That was a mistake I won’t make twice. 2) Warming up I can’t speak for powerlifting or crossfit on this topic, however I know from experience warming up at a strongman contest isn’t always the easiest. Don’t plan on going into the contest and doing the elaborate warmup you would do at the gym. Bring a foam roller and some bands to get yourself ready to go. 3) Don’t Cut Weight. For my first strongman contest I made the mistake of doing a very drastic weight cut, I dropped over 43 pounds in 2 months to make weight for the contest. In my head it was the right thing to do, lose weight feel stronger in a lighter weight class, but in the long run it did nothing but hurt me. I would have been better off making strength progress in those two months instead of losing weight and strength. Not to mention feeling miserable for the last two weeks. 4) Don’t change things contest day. If you don’t usually train wearing a belt, with wrist wraps, straps, sleeves, ect., contest day isn’t the day to try new things. I made the mistake of trying to wear wrist wraps for the first time ever on a contest day. It in no way helped, and I just felt awkward from the second I put them on. I saw most people were wearing them and thought I would give it a try (mistake). Also, this tip isn’t only about equipment. Don’t change up your diet the night of your contest, if you haven’t eaten ice cream in a year it’s probably not a good idea to eat it the night before your contest. The last thing you want is an upset stomach the day of the contest. You may want to eat more than usual the night before, but just don’t be too drastic. What’s going to help you contest day isn’t the 2 gallons of ice cream you saw some pro eats before his or her contest what’s going to help you is the hard work you put in the months and months of training leading up to contest day. If you’re staying at a hotel bring your own pillow; it’s going to be hard enough to sleep with all the nerves you’ll have so don’t rely on a hotel pillow. 5) Bring Chairs. Most events won’t provide much for seating; you and your spectators would be smart to bring some chairs, and if it’s hot and outside then maybe even an umbrella. The worst that can happen is you need to keep them in your cars. 6) The Vets will be willing to help you. If you have any questions at all just ask one of the veterans there. For the most part they are always more than happy to help out the new guy. 7) Pre contest meal. If you’re traveling for the contest this isn’t always easy. This may be the only quality meal you’ll be eating for a few hours so make sure you make it count. I have been lucky and stayed at hotels that served breakfast. My favorite meal to have before a contest is a Bagel or pancakes with some eggs and bacon. 8) Lastly and most importantly, Bring Snacks! You’ll want to bring plenty of water, Gatorade and food. Contests can be long! Whatever you think you need double it and that’s what you should bring. Everyone is going to be different on this part. I’ve tried to bring peanut butter sandwiches but I have trouble eating with all the nerves and adrenaline of contest day. I pretty much stick to eating sour patch watermelon on contest day at this point. I am aware it is not the ideal performance snack but it’s something I can actually eat between events and enjoy.
If you have any questions at all about competing in any of the strength sports don’t hesitate to ask, you can either comment here or reach us on the contact now page. #bringsnacks