So You Wanna Be A Powerlifter? Preparing for Meet Day

In our previous episode, we talked about the how and why of peaking and tapering, as well as some generally accepted strategies for doing so. In this episode, we’re going to go over your preparations for meet day and a number of things that you will want in order to make your day a success. So here are some things to take into consideration.

Food

Depending on the organization of the meet and the number of lifters on a given day, as well as the spotting and loading crew’s speed, you could be at the powerlifting meet for over 8 hours! For this reason, it will be necessary to bring provisions. When you think about bringing food, try not to bring anything that you wouldn’t normally eat. A lot of people ask “what foods are best for competing?!” but honestly – eat what you would normally eat during training.

Meet day is not the time to start experimenting with new supplements or ways of caffeinating, or to try some sort of food that may upset your stomach or otherwise not sit well.

Drink

Stay hydrated! Ensure you can be constantly hydrating throughout the day by keeping a steady supply of Gatorade or some sort of carb-based drink, or water.  Especially if you’ve cut weight into the meet, hydration is going to be key to ensuring you don’t end up cramping! One trick I’ve used after a water cut is to bring a few 1L containers of 1:1 Pedialyte (or similar product) and water mixture. Also, as noted in The Way of the Weigh-In, by Dr. Marc Morris, you can only absorb about 1L of liquids per hour, so try and pace yourself accordingly.

Caffeinate

Bring whatever caffeine source you usually use for your training. I like to take about 100mg – 250mg for squat, again before bench, and again before deadlift. But that being said, I usually caffeinate before my training sessions. If you are not someone who usually uses caffeine, I would take the time to try it in a controlled setting (in training) before you go ahead and make yourself jittery for your first PL meet.

Foam Roller/Ball/Bands

Although the efficacy of many of these tools can be argued, if part of your warmup routine is to use these tools for certain movements – don’t depend on the facility or anyone else there to bring them for you.   

Baby Powder/Chalk

When in competition, most lifters will apply baby (talcum) powder to their legs so the bar slides up their thighs during the deadlift. Conversely, lifters will apply chalk to their hands to ensure the bar sticks to them while lifting. I have been to Championships where people complained about the quality of chalk, so bring your own if you have the ability to do so. As well, it can be risky to count on others to bring talcum/baby powder that you can use.

Handler

Having someone to help you out during a powerlifting meet can be a big boon to your performance. In most cases, lifters are allowed to bring 1-2 people into the back (warmup) room and behind the curtain with them.  

Check with your meet director to see what etiquette is for your specific meet – some venues are small and can get far too crowded, and at higher level meets, your coach/handler may need accreditation. 

This person can help keep an eye on your warmups to help you decide whether your opening attempt may need to be modified from the initial plan. Ensure that you bring someone who trains with you or at least knows your training well, and someone who is going to shoot you straight and not pump your tires. This extra input can be helpful when choosing attempts, as you only have a short period of time between completion of the previous lift to enter your choice for the next one! In some cases, it can be helpful even just to have someone to take your attempt card from the lifter’s (staging) area to the table where the attempt card must be turned in.

Gitch

Definitely remember to remember your legless underwear. If you compete in the IPF, this will be something you need to wear under your singlet, as it is a requirement in the rule book!

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Bryce Krawczyk

Bryce Krawczyk

Bryce Krawczyk is an IPF Classic World Silver Medalist, 3-time CPU National Championship, and former IPF Open World Record holder. He’s the owner and head coach at Calgary Barbell, a company dedicated to exceptional coaching services, as well as providing quality educational and entertaining content via YouTube and Instagram. Bryce has been coaching powerlifters for 5 years and has worked with athletes ranging from first-time competitors to IPF World Medalists. Bryce is a CSEP-CPT, and a university graduate with a Diploma in Personal Fitness Training.

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