We are just under four short weeks away from competing at the 2017 American Open Finals. Because our team only competes a handful of times every year, having success at this competition is really important. As we get closer to game time, I like to really hone in on a couple extra things to ensure that I won’t have too many excuses as to why I didn’t perform well (jk, I’m going to do great!).
1) INCREASE MENTAL REPS
I have written about visual reps before and how they can improve your performance. At four weeks out from my next competition, I begin to increase the number of mental reps I take. No matter how good of an athlete you are, you will have to account for the added stress and pressure that major competitions provide. I visualize myself on the platform, picturing blinding lights and three merciless judges and work through successfully making every one of my competition attempts. By increasing my visual reps, I feel as though I’m more comfortable on the platform when it’s time to compete, so much so that it's like I have been there before.
2) INCREASE BODY AWARENESS
It is no secret that most weightlifters train at a body weight that is slightly heavier than their competition weight. At four weeks out from competition, you should be thinking about your weight cut EVEN if you don’t have much weight to lose. How long can you maintain a certain weight? What is your plan for losing the weight that you need to cut? Are you ensuring that you’re eating enough in the process to not dampen your training? I focus on how to get my body weight down without losing strength or starving myself which include a few personal methods that I've perfected over the years, but this year I have been training about a kilogram (2.2lbs) heavier than in the past. To account for this, I have already begun to cut out unnecessary calories and have added a couple of metcon (metabolic conditioning) workouts each week to jump start my weight cut.
Your awareness in monitoring your body in terms of health and performance should be increased as well as competition draws near. We all have our ailments and over-use injuries, some that may have been around a while and others that can flare up week to week or workout to workout. Most of us will grind through the pain, but we should not rely on added adrenaline on competition day. Instead be aware during your training sessions and work to find a solution as soon as any problems arise.
3) INCREASE RECOVERY
The first thing I ramp up on in the weeks prior to a competition is SLEEP. I average about 6-7 hours a night but I start gunnin’ for the 8 hour mark and try to squeeze in 2-3 naps a week. Recovery methods like body work, jumping in the Normatec, ice baths, and salt baths can be added more frequently as well but only if your body is able to tolerate them and respond positively. Ultimately, we want to prioritize recovery while not adding to more strain on the body. with the addition of more stress on the body.
4) INCREASE CONFIDENCE THROUGH FUN
Sounds cookie cutter but seriously, I can't go into a competition with too much stress to hit a certain total or place on the medal stand. Keep things loose and above all else, TRUST YOUR TRAINING. The rest will take care of itself if you let it. Hope to see some of you in a couple weeks at the 2017 American Open Final in Anaheim! Good luck!