Why You Should Compete
When you are younger you compete. Whether you are a competitor or not there are things built into your life in which you can understand the relationship between work ethic and success. At some point you will be uncomfortable but learn to embrace it knowing that it will make you better. You learn that to see great success you must take some type of risk. You must work your hardest and stay accountable.You also learn that sometimes you fail. Sometimes you may take a risk, work your tail off, but someone is better than you are, at that time.
When you are younger, school is your “job,” but there are many opportunities given to you to compete outside of your job. Sports is one of the biggest examples. Sports will teach you to compete outside of your job. It will teach you character and give you opportunities to build your confidence in different ways.
Fast forward, you are an adult. You are done with school. You work a 9-5 job. Many times, you begin to tie your self-worth to your job as this is the singular thing that you compete in now. If you were an athlete and your job is non- competitive perhaps you feel a little lost, floating a bit, without a sense of drive. Maybe you start to tie your self-worth into relationships. Both good and bad. Maybe you begin to tie your self worth into your appearance or the scale. These things all can be heavily influenced by external things, things we have no control over. While we can take complete responsibility for ourselves and our actions in some situations, there are MANY variables outside of our control. Jobs can be political, companies can downsize due to the economy, relationships can go sour and/or fizzle for no reason. The scale, well HECK the scale can be influenced by sleep, nutrition, hormones, gravity(jkjk).
Where are we going to build back this self confidence? This drive?
That is where I am going to tell you to COMPETE.
There is something to be said for the direct relationship between improvement in strength and the work put in. YOU are solely in control of the work you put in to get stronger. YOU are the one who will make the decision to go to the gym, load the bar with the correct weights, and perform the correct number of reps. YOU are the one who will return to said gym day after day. YOU are the one who will decide if you are going to stick out bad workouts or give up. YOU are the one who will decide how to treat your body outside of the gym. YOU will decide if you sleep enough, eat healthfully, and take care of any aches and pains(unless you have a child, then they may dictate that sleep one :)).
Does that sounds like a lot of responsibility? A lot of blame to place if things go to shit? It is.
YOU are the one responsible for your new strength gains. YOU are responsible for that PR you fought and grinded out last meet. YOU are the one responsible for the increase in your total. YOU earned that. YOU did that.
When should you compete? NOW.
Many times people just like to train, they think they are not “ready” to compete because they are not good enough.
I would like to argue against this and convince you to compete now, this year! Here is why…
There is something really cool about powerlifting, there is a place for everyone. And no matter where you place may be, it will make you better.
That place, for 90% of the athletes is competing against yourself. When you sign up for your first meet you are there to earn a total. You are there to experience meet conditions, to follow the commands, to learn how to perform under pressure. You can hang out here as long as you would like competing against yourself to improve your total. To improve your strength. You can set goals and continue to crush them. You are taking a risk when you sign up for that first meet because you have no idea what may happen. That risk will make you stronger. It will make you comfortable being uncomfortable. It will keep you accountable.
Maybe after that first meet you realize, there is more there, maybe you set the goal of qualifying for Nationals. You hit the goal and now prepare yourself to compete in a more elite category. You rededicate yourself to the sport. Maybe you hire a coach. Maybe you join a powerlifting team. Maybe you add a day of training to your schedule. When you show up to Nationals you are competing for your best total. You are competing against yourself again. When you sign up for you first Nationals you are taking a risk. You are putting yourself in a more intense competition competing against the best powerlifters in the country. You are unfamiliar with this multi- platform set up and there are many new faces. This risk will make you stronger. It will make you comfortable with being uncomfortable. It will keep you accountable.
Maybe there comes a time you realize you could get yourself into a Primetime session. Again, placing yourself in an environment that is even more competitive. Maybe you are at the top of the pack and realize you are in the battle for a podium spot or heck a spot on the national team. You are undoubtedly competing against yourself but also others now. You are competing for the best total, not just for your own personal PRs. You may have to put something on the bar that is a risk, more than you would if you were just competing against yourself to secure that spot. By competing in the primetime session you are again taking another risk. Again you are going to have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Again you are going to have to step up, you are going to have to become better.
You should sign up for a meet and compete as it will give you a deadline. It will keep you focused on the task at hand. It will force you outside of that comfort zone, forcing you to set some goals that might scare you a bit. It will cause you to risk failure. This is where the most change happens.
Competing will allow you to integrate yourself into the community. You will meet others who are on the same journey as you, taking the same risks as you. You will realize that everyone is competing for themselves but also wanting to see you succeed. Knowing that everyone, no matter where they are in the funnel, in their journey experience the same struggles and triumphs. This community is different than any you shall experience in your work life. This community will cheer for you, and also pick you up to your feet when you experience setbacks.
Most of all, you should compete for YOU. There is nothing like seeing white lights after a PR. There is nothing like knowing the work YOU put in, paid off. There is nothing like leaving it on the platform and walking away knowing YOU did all you could. Compete for YOU.