Different sports may require different practices, different lifts require different warmups, and different athletes prepare for competitions in different ways. Today we are going to look at how some of the different LBEB athletes prepare the night before their competition, in their own words.
When it comes to the day before a competition I don’t really have anything special. I early in the night I like to make sure that I have everything I need for the next day so in the morning I’m all ready to go. I’ll make sure I have my clothes for the day all picked out, and anything that I do need ill run out to the store and grab. Once that’s out the way I try to just wind down and relax as much as possible. I like to watch some cliché typical motivational movies like Friday might lights, remember the titans, the fighter, warrior, etc. Just calming down is the most important thing for me, I’m perfectly fine under pressure and performing but it’s the moments leading up to competing is when I’m a wreck. So I just try to stay positive and remind myself that all the hard work and the hardest part is over and that this is the easy part, I just have to go out there and do what I truly love.
The night before a competition is pretty much just another day in the office for me. I try not to get too amped up and overthink things. I’ll make sure to eat a big meal, enjoy a beer (if making weight isn’t an issue), chill with Kim and really just be sure to get a good night of sleep. If something is abnormally tight I might make love to a LAX ball or Rumble Roller. What can I say, not the most exciting ritual but it gets it done!
I prepare for competitions a little differently these days. I take 2-3 days off and do absolutely nothing except layout – prepare my food for game day- load up on a few extra carbs and supplements – SLEEP -veg out – get a B12 shot-adjustment -massage- listen & watch mediation videos – Eric Thomas speeches he always pumps me up – Lidia Valentin vids while I take in a I.V. full of fluid — right before bed I sit in silence painting my finger nails-check my gear/equipment- get all of my outfit(s) ready and visualize all of my lifts and movements that I will be performing … Sleep early -mobilize – and get my mind right… Go to bed confident – wake up feeling like a LBEB warrior.
The night before a weightlifting meet is affected by the answer to one question, “Do I need to make weight?” Since you have to weigh in on the day-of an Olympic weightlifting meet, usually a few hours before, it can be a little difficult. If I have to cut, I make the obvious adjustments to diet (basically starve myself) and drink less water. Generally I don’t have to make weight unless it is an important meet like a qualifier or a national competition, which makes my personal preparation a lot easier than most. Assuming I don’t have to make weight, I generally just take a bunch of ibuprofen the night before, get real hydrated, and get to sleep real early. The lack of equipment makes packing up and preparing really easy. Throw my singlet, shoes, knee sleeves and an extra pair of clothes in a bag and BAM! Emeril style, ready to go. On a side note, at national meets I try to avoid watching too much lifting. It’s not that I don’t want to see the best lifters in the country do their thing, but I find I get too into the lifting, my adrenaline gets all jacked up, and next thing you know my mind is all out of whack after two days of watching. In my opinion, it is more important to focus on what verbal cues, mental preparations, and physical preparations will prepare you to be successful than to watch others lift for hours on end.
Most meets tend to start early. Having everything prepared the night before makes it easy to focus in the morning and get a good night’s sleep. Packing the gym bag has become a ritualized compartmentalization of equipment and thoughts. Putting everything in its place: shoes, socks, knee sleeves, wraps, mobility tools, athletic tape, Chap Stick, and Motrin. I also pack my food bag with small snacks such as coconut water, whey, pepperoni sticks, cashew butters, and dates. During the meets, excitement can drown out hunger and I can easily forget to eat. So I force the habit of eating immediately after events. I try to balance between staying fueled and avoiding the lethargic feeling of a full stomach.
After the gym bag is packed, I cook a large meal with lots of meat, butter, and a sweet potato washed down with at least a gallon of water. This is done at a decent hour to avoid waking up too full, allowing for a decent breakfast.
After the meal, I’ll mobilize a bit. Depending on the meet I give myself 4-7 days of complete rest with plenty of food, water, and mobility work. The night prior is just the last day of this routine.
Competing is a vital part of being an athlete. It’s a chance to show everyone and yourself all of your hard work. To put together all of your long grueling hours of training, wrap it up in a pretty red bow and deliver an excellent performance, or we hope and pray that it is one. Leading up to your competition can be a little nerve racking, so here’s just a few things that I do.
The night before I compete I lye everything out, so in the morning I don’t need to think, or find. Just put on. Cook and pack my food for the day. It’s so important to have your own meals at your comps. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the location (having to travel). Get to bed early, A little love making to calm the nerves, set that alarm, and zzzzzzzzz.
The day of my comp I’m always PUMPED up. There’s just something about show casing all of your hard work to the world. I always turn my music up full blast, chomp bacon, and mentally visualize myself making my lifts at the meet, as I’m watching videos on YouTube. This is how I prepare and zone out for my day to shine. Sometimes I go and watch my old videos of when I first started lifting after my back injury. Just to be thankful of how far I have come. That no matter what happens out there on the platform I’m stronger today than I have ever been. LBEB For Life.
The week out of competition completely varies for me as to what kind of competition it is, is it strength? Crossfit? Do I have a weigh in etc? Do I compete back to back? This too will be dependent on what my schedule in the gym is. The Monday before any kind of competition with the exception of bodybuilding I usually squat and yes it is heavy. Wednesday I either schedule a massage or go to Hot Bikram Yoga to work out any kinks I am feeling. If I do not have a weigh-ins, I also will use Epson salt baths to relax but add water weight. If there is a doomed weigh-in, I skip Epson salts and monitor my weight throughout the week and may add in some cardio. Yoga will be a must up to Thursday to loose water weight. I like to compete as a MWW in strongman and the 165 weight class in the USPA for powerlifting. I go through my gear, make sure I have chalk, baby powder, oil, tape etc. I bake and make some sort of cheat treat for after the comp for myself and my homies I have been competing with. After weigh-ins I tend to eat a larger clean meal cause nothing worse than gurgle butt when you’re trying to lift. I don’t have a set routine, each comp is different so I listen to my body, my trainer and usually my team if I am competing with one…I do me and so far it has worked out just fine.
My “day” before comp starts about 3-4 days out, right after my last training session. My last sessions before comp focus on speed and maybe some front squats at my planned CJ to grease the groove for speed out of the hole. For each night leading up to the comp I Voodoo Floss, roll out with a Tiger Tail, and AVOID watching TV or being on the computer past 8. Sleep is my main priority, and I try get about 9 hours each night.
I plan my mobility from the feet up, starting with a lacrosse ball on my feet, roll-out both my calves and my shins, and TONS on hip work. I really try and give extra attention to my hamstrings and hip external rotators to assist in the positions I usually have the most trouble. It’s really ceremonial for me. On the very last night before comp, I set out my singlet, I put a clean pair of socks in my lifting shoes, I grab my sweats and wrist wraps and make sure I have everything set up to grab and go for the next morning. It’s prepare, prepare, prepare. Discipline is huge factor in anything you choose to succeed in.
In my humble opinion, the night before a competition should not be any different than the night before a day of hard training. Watch a movie, drink plenty of fluids, eat plenty, mobilize, and above all just relax. Going to sleep early has never helped me. Keep your sleep cycle on par with what you are accustomed to. Also, I try to remind myself that I have been training for this event and am as prepared as I can be. No regrets! Make smart choices and your results will shine come competition day. If you have been training smart and doing all the right things outside of the gym to support your efforts, it’s just another day of hitting massive PR’s. Clear your mind, think positive, and have a beer. Cheers!
The night before my competitions are usually spent lying low. I like to have an incredibly large meal of non-spicy food the night before, since I tend to not eat much (READ: at all) during competitions. I will spend a large amount of time working on mobility to open my stubborn hips more, and try to alleviate some anterior deltoid pain. I will drink one full pedialyte the night before, watch a movie until 8-9pm, and then read a book until I fall asleep. The night before comes after a long week of not touching a weight, and the reading helps my excitement to calm down so I can fall asleep.