The Blackbox Fort Worth Weightlifting Championships is tomorrow. To be honest I am not in a phase of my lifting where this is a meet I am poised to do well at. However, I think there is certain value to competing regularly throughout the year even when it is not your “in season” training times. Competition and the competition scene does a lot for your mental fortitude and ability to stay poised under high stress situations. I know many weightlifters and many Crossfitters who perform to incredible levels in the gym and flake when it’s time to show up. These are the types of competitors that need constant competition and constantly different environments in order to train their mental strength for high level competitions.
If you’re a CrossFitter then you are presented with endless possibilities for local competitions. For many of you competing on a consistent basis is probably the best thing you can do for your CrossFit “career”. Understanding how to strategize and maneuver through multiple workouts can be a challenge. Practicing doing that in a competition environment is invaluable. For many Crossfitters the biggest fault is not knowing when to push the gas pedal on a competition work out and when it is okay to not get first. CrossFit Games top contenders know when it is pivotal they win and when it is okay for them to save and preserve their strength and energy for a different workout that plays to their strengths. You find this out in competition. You also figure out how to approach a workout at a certain work capacity percentage in order to have something in the tank for another workout down the road. This is why competition for competitive Crossfitters, especially those who are less experienced on a competitive scene, is pivotal.
For weightlifters, competing regularly will often put you in different scenarios and situations under which you will be forced to adapt in different ways. Sometimes warm-ups will change, sometimes the time you have to complete your warm up will change, sometimes you’ll have to make bigger or smaller jumps than you’re comfortable with and all those things are practiced in competition environments. It is important to practice these small but sometimes significant differences so that when they appear in national and even international competitions you are not unfamiliar.
Quick disclaimer: Too many competitions can hurt your training. How many competitions a year you compete in will depend on how you train up to and how you handle competitions mentally. I know lifters and Crossfitters who can compete once a month and be fine. I also know lifters and Crossitfitters who if they compete more than three or four times a year their central nervous system training schedule will be so out of balance that growth will never happen. As a competitor you have to consider the the taxing that comes from competition. Do your adrenals recover well? Does your central nervous system and desire for the sport recover quickly after competition? These are question to consider when you are deciding how many year to compete in. Competition can be extremely valuable but if it is done too much they can become a detriment depending on what type of competitor you are.
Tomorrow I am competing with the understanding that I’m smack in the middle of a heavily weighted strength cycle. I literally do the lifts twice a week. To expect myself to attain the results as if I were in a competition driven designed for me to peak this weekend is unrealistic. However it is important for me to compete on a semi-regular basis in order to keep my motivation and desire for the sport alive. What I love most about weightlifting is the competition not the training. I train to compete. So it is important for me to get the chance to compete regularly in order to motivate me to train regularly.
Think about how often you train. Should you do it more? Do you do it too much?