5 Things I Learned from my First Powerlifting Competition

So this is probably the first time I’ve ever used the Blog as an actual blog. I’ve been waffling on about this Powerlifting competition for a while now, and it’s finally come and gone.

Fantastic day overall, with probably the most supportive group of people I’ve ever met. But like anything, the first time around there’s a massive learning curve, here’s a few thoughts from the day (and how a powerlifting competition isn’t all that different from your diet).



  1. Having a Coach can give you massive confidence

Just as a brief cliffnotes of how a PL comp works, we get 3 attempts each at Squat, Bench & Deadlift. After you complete a lift, you submit the figure for your next attempt. So if you go too heavy, you could miss the next lift.

The whole day can easily go to shit if you don’t start strong, and have a good plan in place; but this is where having a coach steps in. I had a good idea in my head of what’s numbers I wanted to progress to by my 3rd attempt, but in my head it was gonna be a best case scenario.me lifting

After each lift I turned to James (Head-Honcho and Powerlifting coach at Revolution Fitness), I run the next figures by him, and he says “Yep, easy”.  That’s it. No crazy motivational speech, no ‘do it for the children’ rants, just a ‘Yep, you have it’.

There’s a lesson in this with our food & nutrition too. We already know what we need to do, we just second guess ourselves when it comes to the execution. If the plan is unclear, or if we’re even a little unsure that we might be doing something wrong, everything comes to a stop.

Having a coach in place to tell you to shut up and get on with it works wonders.


  1. A Support System gets you excited about the Process

Or, you could also say ‘Friends make everything Fun’

There was a group of 6 competing, with most of us competing for the first time. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I was physically nauseous with nerves (in hindsight, the nerves actually helped, being nervous isn’t always a bad thing).

With these kind of feelings, it’s so easy to fall in to an ‘Ugh, I have to lift’ attitude.

Half of the group were lifting before me, and they were absolutely nailing their lifts. All of sudden, the ‘shit, I have to do this’ attitude turned in to a ‘Fuck yeah, I get a chance to do that!’ attitude.

When there’s a group of people around you working toward the same thing, the process itself gets really interesting. You get excited for their success, and by extension you want to do well yourself. It’s part of the reason why places like Slimming World or Weight Watchers works so well, they’ve got massive group support (the nutritional advice leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s none of my business).


  1. doggy runningPacing is Crucial

I was competing in the afternoon with the other guys, but I needed to be there for weigh-in at 8am. So I had a 5 hour weight before I could even warm up, and in all honesty it was exhausting.

You know how you feel after a long car-journey? Something like that. You’re sitting, but you’re not resting.

There was so much buzz in the room, and I was putting so much energy in to thinking about everyone else. Bad idea.

In hindsight, I definitely should’ve paced how much time I spent paying attention to everything else. By the time it got to the afternoon, I was drained.

Think of the first week of a diet? You go 110% cutting out all the food you enjoy, practically starving yourself in the process; and by the time the weekend comes around you’re back to your old habits.

Pacing is key to success here. Leave some of that motivation & energy in the tank for when you really need it.


  1. Show up and follow the plan

My performance on the day is earned in the months before I even step on the platform.

I’ve been training for this competition since the start of the year; there was a plan put in place by the RevFit coaches, and I showed up to execute it each week.

It was never about finding motivation for short bursts, or putting pressure on myself pull some crazy miracle out of the bag on the day of the comp. I simply needed to follow the plan. I earned the outcome, because I followed the process.

There’s a great comparison there with your diet, get a plan on paper, tick off the requirements, and you simply can’t fail.red_pears_hires


  1. Prep is key!

We were stranded in the middle of nowhere, and I knew if I didn’t have food prepped and ready it could lead to some very bad decisions

(We weren’t really, the comp was in Drogheda, but for a Dub anywhere outside the city means you’re in ‘the country’)

I stocked up fruits, popcorn, protein bars & water; most of them have carbs for performance, they’re easy to digest, and they taste good.

The best part about prepping these foods is that I didn’t need to think about what I was gonna eat on the day. I thought about it the day before, got everything together, and simply ate it on the day.

When you prep meals to improve your diet, you don’t need to think about what you’ll make for dinner, or worry about what you should buy for lunch. The thinking is already done, and there’s one less opportunity here to stray away from the plan.

Prep the plan, and do it. (This is the big secret to a successful diet, and a successful training plan)

revfit pl team

Overall, 9 out of 9 lifts, 3 new PBs, and a massive dose of motivation to work toward the next competition. Who knew hard work would be this enjoyable :)