Competing is fun. I usually try to do a couple of competitions a year ranging from small to big. It gives me extra motivation when training, allows me to meet new people, constantly humbles me, teaches me what I need to work on, and truly is a blast. It can be daunting to sign up for one and the days leading up to it. Many people prepare differently, but I’m going to share what works for me.
A lot of competitions release their workouts beforehand to give time to practice the workouts. Some people swear by going through the workouts as written, others do half, some do not try them out at all. Personally, I’ve found what works best for me is practicing specific movements. Usually I read the workouts and think about the hardest part for me and practice that. For a longer workout, I may test out one round or so to get an idea of my timing, but won’t go further than that. I found when I did the workout beforehand I would be more stressed going into it knowing the pain I felt from trialing it.
Depending on the size and length of the competition, the week before it may vary. Most the time a couple days out I start to reduce weights in my strength training and focus on perfect movement instead. Then the last day or two out I do light, active recovery cardio just to keep the body moving but not push it so I feel good going into it.
Food and water prep is probably the thing I worry about most leading up and during the event. I try to increase my water intake and usually get Gatorade or another kind of recovery drink to have after the workouts and replenish my electrolytes. I typically do not like to eat much during the competition but bring plenty of snacks to give me that fuel I need for multiple workouts in a day. Usually this includes mini bagels, granola bars, protein bars, turkey sandwich, oranges, apples, apple jacks, cashews, and of course sour patch kids. The night before meal is all about carb loading to give me that energy needed for the next day.
Last thing I focus on is sleep. I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep regularly. Leading up to a competition I try for 8-9 hours. I try to wind down for the day earlier and try my best to keep myself distracted and not thinking about the comp. This allows me to get better sleep and not wake up thinking about workouts or hyper-fixating on it.
From there, I wake up ready to go and put all that training to show on the competition floor.