Ok, ok. My grandfather shouldn't do a powerlifting meet. Your dog shouldn't do a powerlifting meet. Kim Jong Un shouldn't do a powerlifting meet (because he'd claim he holds all the world records). What I should say is everyone capable, with proper preparation, should compete in a meet.
I am even saying this coming off a meet I just competed in this past Sunday and actually totaled LESS than my last meet. No, I don't think I actually got weaker, and in fact I know I am stronger in every possible way. Sometimes you just have a bad day. I actually had a terrible morning leading up to the meet (although that is not why I didn't perform as well). In all honesty I had very diligent about my nutrition this entire last cycle while training, consuming especially more carbohydrates than I ever have before and ditching any form of fasting. Truth be told, a lack of sleep and a slow and gradual slip on adherence to nutrition hurt me in the couple weeks leading up to the meet. My mom said "you're so skinny" when she saw me this weekend, which, to anyone who has a hard time putting on and maintaining muscle mass, is a statement that gets you pissed. At myself. For not practicing what I preach.
So there, I am human and I slipped up and I was forced to face my mistake on the platform. The weights felt heavy, I felt sluggish and so on.
In addition, my first squat attempt was called for depth, so I was forced to repeat it on my second and then only took one jump up. I ended with 320 and am sure I buried it but I still got one red light for depth, so I think that judge was just being a real stickler.
My bench suffered the most from the lack of nutrition. For a long time 225 was one of those numbers that eluded me. I tried and failed it approximately a zillion times. Well, I knew I was stronger because I had nailed it in the gym numerous times this past cycle, with my own handoff and a pause. It felt easy, actually. Not so on Sunday. I tried 230 twice and got stuck halfway and just couldn't push through.
Deadlift went ok. The meet was literally the second time I had attempted a sumo-style deadlift on over a year. I pulled 450 easy in the gym about aweek before the meet and felt my form was much better so entered the meet pulling sumo. My second attempt at 460 got redlighted because the bar hitched about an inch near my hips. I retook it on my third attempt and got it but it was a struggle.
**If you listen to the crowd you hear "long legs, long arms", "c'mon Luke!" and an "aaawww" from the crowd when they red lighted me. Just some commentary and encouragement, what more could you ask for?
Ok, so what happened that morning?
I stayed at my moms the night before because she lives closer to the meet and we were suppsed to be there for 7:30am to weigh in. We got a lot of rain and her street flooded. Years back, they had fixed the flooding issue so we normally just get puddles like everyone else. When it did flood, though, it was literally fill people yards and turn their driveways into swimming pools.
It was early, dark and rainy and I left the house at 6am. I drove into what looked like a puddle and about 20 feet in it was too late. The street had become a lake and my car died with a thud with water coming up to the door. I grabbed my gear, my food, my belt and anything else and waded back through the knee high water to the house.
In the meantime the water filled my cars footwells and soaked the electrical system.
I called AAA and they didn't come for about an hour. In the meantime I called my buddies to say I couldn't make the meet. When AAA came, the street had miraculously emptied of water. I left the car in my mom's hands, borrowed her Audi and headed up to the meet.
I called the meet director to let him know my situation and that I would be late.
I showed up to the meet with no shoes (because my only pair were wet and muddy). My pants were soaked from the trudge through the water. I was about an hour late. Frazzled, wet, ticked off.
Why Everyone Should Do A Meet
Here's the best part.
1. Gene, the meet director had no issue with my coming late and only said to be safe and get there when I could.
2. Upon arriving, I went to the locker room and another lifter let me borrow his shoes so I could wear them to lift. I never met him before, he just offered them. (His feet were super wide so I ended up squatting/deadlifting barefoot).
3. Random lifters, friends of friends etc helped with loading weights, spotting, running the monolift and cheering each other on.
4. Vincent Dizenzo attempted an 820lb shirted bench. Matt Rhodes attempted a 500lb raw bench.
5. A ten year old girl competed. Nothing crazy, she just went out and lifted some weight and the crowd cheered her on.
6. The crowd gave respect to all lifters - from Matt Mills' 800 deadlift to a beginner's 225 deadlift.
7. As soon as the meet was done( and I mean the SECOND it finished), Gene shoved an entire cupcake in his mouth. Like it was on his mind the whole day.
Meets are exhausting. They typically run for 8 hours or longer. You run on adrenaline for most of that and it really saps you the next few days to a week. But the competition is full of people who just want to be better for themselves. I have never heard another lifter bash someone else there while competing, no matter their strength level. People are more than happy to offer help or seek it.
Looking at the crowd and competitors, you'd think it would be the biggest bunch of scary, uncouth people to share a small space with. What you find, instead, is a close community of really kind and compassionate people. If they ask for your first attempt on squat and you say "100 lbs", no one rolls their eyes or says "that's it?". It's whatever you can do and hopefully do better than last time.
I had a crappy morning and a less than stellar meet but I have to say that just being there in that environment and competing despite my performance was all I needed to pick me back up. If you feel you lack some drive in your training or just want to see what you can accomplish with your lifts, I would check out a local meet. You connect with so many people and end up seeing the same faces at all the meets, so it quickly becomes a close group and great network.
You can find them on Powerlifting Watch - Find a Meet
I also recently competed in two RPS meets and they are awesome. Revolution Powerlifting