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Thai Powerlifting Open 2019 – My Reflections

Aside from being a super fun meet, TPO 2019 was a really awesome learning experience for me and I took away many valuable lessons about meet preparation that I’ll be implementing into my next competition preparation. First up…

Weight Cutting Disaster

As I mentioned in my last post, weight cutting was going to be really challenging as I had to go from 80kg down to about 76kg before doing my usual water loading sequence to make weight.

Even though I was able to do such a drastic cut in the past, I failed to realize one thing – that my circumstances for this preparation were very different. In hindsight, as I was under major stress from my family and work, I was actually not in the best position to do such a cut.

Reflecting even further back, there were many instances in November and December where I should have managed my weight, but I procrastinated on it, rationalizing with myself that I could easily cut weight whenever I wanted. This was obviously not true as the more weight I put on meant the more time spent to take it off. As I naturally put on weight easily, making an effort to maintain my weight at a lower level does require some degree of effort, and I had become complacent with this.

As a result, I didn’t make weight, rendering me non-competitive in my chosen weight class for this meet. Admittedly, I was pretty disappointed in myself, but I knew no one else was responsible for this but me. There was one good thing that came out of this however…

The Awesome Refeed

On the day of the meet, I woke up earlier than I usually would, intending to work on what I thought would be the last bit of weight to make weight. Imagine my horror when I stepped on the scale and my weight was still 2kg over.

After realizing that I might not make weight, I texted Twain to ask if he had any last minute tricks to help me get rid of 2kgs of weight in the couple hours before weigh in. He told me to just screw it and forget about making weight. ‘Just have fun at the meet, and take it as a learning point for the next prep’, he said.

As disappointed as I was, I realized that it was pointless for me to force myself any further, and decided to focus on giving a good performance on the platform instead. I took my refeed about 3 hours before the competition, much earlier than I’ve ever done. Due to some limitations with the food I could prepare, I used slightly different foods and ratios of rehydration liquids from my previous competition refeed protocols.

The refeed sequence was as such: 500ml of coconut water and 500ml water to kickstart the rehydration process. After which, I ate 1 onigiri (Japanese rice ball) and 2 Snickers (Chocolate) bar. This was perfect for a start, and I went through my warm ups without cramping. I then took another 2 Snickers bars, 1 before my bench press and another before my deadlift. Throughout the meet, I sipped on coconut water and Gatorade as needed.

This refeed protocol is definitely going to be the one I’ll use for my next meet. In my previous refeed protocols, I would use rice and salt and honey, which always left me feeling slightly bloated. I did not get any stomach discomfort this time, and my competition performance was pretty good!

Meet Performance

Overall, my competition performance was pretty good especially for the squats and bench press. I decided to try something slightly different with my attempt selections, and used slightly lighter openers. This turned out to be a good change for my squats and bench press as it really helped build my confidence. This is definitely the strategy I will be using for future competitions.

In addition, I finally broke the curse of my competition squats, breaking my competition squat PR of 255kg with a pretty smooth 260kg. This was such a huge mental boost for me as I’ve admittedly always been struggling with my competition squats, even though they are often my best training lift.

In the deadlift, my first attempt of 275kg was very smooth and solid. I felt really confident of getting much higher numbers as I was still fresh and ready to go. To my surprise, my right hand grip just kept giving way on my second and third attempts. This was rather puzzling, because historically, my left hand grip is the weaker one.

More Work to be Done

With this particular competition preparation, I have figured out where the tapering sweet spot lies for each of the lifts. The meet performance has also highlighted the weaknesses that I need to work on.

With regards to my weight, I need to start cutting down and will be doing a slow fat loss phase down to 75kg in order to make weight easily and maintain my strength. The last I want is to repeat a drastic water cut like I suffered through for this meet.

In next week’s post, I will be writing about my training plan moving forward, and what I am doing to address my weaknesses.

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