Sunday, July 29, 2012

Body and mind prep before a contest

DISCLAIMER- Relying on a plan is a great way to prepare for a contest, but if the plan is incomplete or not DETAILED enough it can backfire in a MASSIVE way (story at the end of this article on how it happened to me). This has happened to me so if you do plan to use these techniques make sure you are detailed to finest point!

Mind- I know for me, and many athletes, the preparation is a breeze, but the most stressful part of the contest is the week before. You know what needs doing but you can not stop thinking about what to do when the contest rolls around. Well, I developed an interesting way to take care of that stress. I put my mind at rest by writing out/ keeping a list of protocol for events, small things I notice when I lift and what I know I need to focus on. This keeps my mind from going back to it and worrying that I will forget, cause I will not, especially because I have a physical copy of it. Of course if you rely solely on this piece of information and use it as a crutch it may just let you down (my story on this is at the end).

Body- I like to train in 12 week cycles typically increasing intensity into the 11th week and treat the 12th week as a bit of a back off/ stay healthy week. This is immediately followed by one week (6-7 days) of NOTHING (except maybe stretching). My goal is to break my body down in the 12 weeks and then give my body one week to heal before the contest. I follow the contest by one additional week off to rest and recover further. As with everything I think different time ranges should be experimented with, everyone is different. If the first 12 weeks was done correctly the 2 weeks out of the gym will be a nice mental break from the intensity in the gym.

STORY- 2012 Am. Arnold/ HW Am. World Championship.
-I had written out what I thought to be the perfect script for a car deadlift and for the medley (there were 4 events and 2 went VERY well but these two I made big mistakes on). Car DL was ALMOST perfect, I just forgot one minor thing, to take off my shoes, so when I tried to slide my feet into the position for the car DL the suit I was wearing LITERALLY crushed me by the time I got into position. The rubber soles on my shoes stuck to the rubber mat the handles were on, it was the perfect recipe for disaster. The medley was with two smaller mistakes but over all cost me 10 seconds by my estimate. I did not think the yoke would slide so my first mistake was to run AROUND the yoke, I should have put the breaks on and let it slide around me. Second (major) mistake was forgetting to roll my hands under in the farmers. I grabbed and went for it right away (possibly from how great WUs went), which lead to two-3 drops when it should have been ZERO. Moral of the story- don’t rely solely on a piece of paper for your performance.