Although I have been lifting weights for about two years now, I had not felt ready to compete until recently. With that said, I have bought my membership to Northwest Powerlifting and intend to compete in the Greater Manchester Championships. This will of course be in the novice division.
It is a new experience so I am slightly nervous to be honest. Not because I will be lifting heavy weight, I do that every day. The reason I am nervous is because I will likely be travelling to another city the morning of the competition to perform in front of a crowd.
As someone who has suffered from anxiety, you can understand that this is a source of concern. However, I have dreams of making it in powerlifting and bodybuilding. As an athlete, I cannot let mental health get in the way of my potential and dreams. It has stopped me from doing quite enough in my life. I have a desire inside to compete and be somebody; this is a necessary first step.
Providing I am at my very best, I feel that I will perform well. I am only weighing around 60KG but my deadlift one rep max is 130KG. My squat is 100KG and my bench press, 75KG. Bench press is clearly my weakest lift but I recently broke through a plateau so I feel that it will keep increasing now. The mistake I was making with bench was not asking for a spot man.
There are some challenges to my training camp for this competition. Particularly, resisting the pull of bad influences. I feel bad turning down night out with my friends because I worry that they may disappear. I also want to make the most of my university experience.
The fact is though that I can’t keep getting drunk when I am training for a competition. I always have a really bad reaction to excessive alcohol. The hangovers leave me out of commission all day. Throwing up; being unable to eat and missing the gym because I am hungover sets my training back by weeks. That is something that I do not want to do nor have time for right now.
Getting enough sleep is also crucial. This can be tricky when you have stresses about university or just life in general. I need to make sure that no outside influences are effecting my psychology when I am in the weights room. Stressing about university work could impact my performance in the lifts but I am getting quite good at having a singular focus.
My ultimate goal for the future is to be a successful powerbuilder. By ‘powerbuilder’, I refer to someone who competes in both powerlifting and bodybuilding. The powerbuilders that inspire me include Mike O’Hearn, Russel Orhii and more recently, Larry Wheels. From within just powerlifting, Ed Coan is a huge inspiration to me. When I am just focusing on bodybuilding, my biggest inspiration is multiple time Mr Olympia, Jay Cutler.
Focusing on a competition has given me a goal to push towards. It has given me more bite. I am spending more time learning from the best, training harder and thinking more carefully about diet. It helps your psychology to train for competition because it changes ‘working out’ into ‘training’, ‘practice’.
You can follow my journey on Instagram: @cavanaghg. There I post videos of new personal bests and images from my training. If you have any advice for me going into my first powerlifting meet, let me know in the comments section!