Have you ever asked the question whether or not you should compete in competitions or just train for the love of the sport? In powerlifting, in our gym especially, most people tend to compete but others choose not too. So, is there anything wrong with no competing? In short, absolutely not but their are benefits to competing and reasons not to compete. How can you make the decision yourself? Hopefully, after this short blog, you will have a clearer view on competing in powerlifting.
I have been powerlifting for 5 years now and have only just done my first competition. Why? Taking moving countries out the equation, I felt that I didn’t need to ‘prove’ myself and liked training on my own, getting stronger and smashing my own goals. Stating the obvious, but powerlifting is a very individual sport and its you vs you when you step under the bar. Nobody else matters, no other numbers matter apart from your own. This has many benefits as it reduces competitive state anxiety, pressure to perform (to a certain degree) and you are more intrinsically motivated as there is nothing on the line apart from maybe hitting a PB.
Historically for myself, I am a very competitive person, I played football and always wanted to win but why add extra pressure and stress on myself when I want to lift to feel better about myself, not worse. If people know me well, they know I get very frustrated with myself when I underperform. However, when I lift, I never ever feel like I underperform even though I have bad sessions. Why? Because when I get frustrated, it’s because I am losing or not hitting the expectations in that chosen sport I know i’m capable of doing better in i.e golf. During Powerlifting, I hardly ever feel that way because I love lifting. From a self determination theory point of view, I am very instrincally motivated to just lift.
Even if you never competed, you can become really strong and do powerlifting for fun (like what I did) and enjoy it as much as if you were competing. There is nothing better than lifting some heavy weights with no pressure, promoting self development & could potentially even increase self-esteem.
There is no right time when you figure out if you want to compete or not. Some people I know have powerlifted for 6 months and went straight into a comp. Others, like myself, wait years to go into my first comp. There is no right time but just saying “I’ll wait until I am stronger” mentality will probably mean you will never compete because you’ll feel that you are never good enough.
Powerlifting meets have a great atmosphere and is different to other competitions as everybody wants you to do well rather than being ‘very competitive’. The powerlifting community is very caring and considerate and they don’t isolate you out or call you out for being a bad lifter. If they do then they do not last long in the sport and tells you alot about the person rather than the sport. So why compete?
With a deadline in mind, it pushes us to be more focused, put greater effort into the prep & builds more discipline. By challenging yourself and competing against others, it keeps you humble. Other compitetors will be stronger than you, there is always somebody stronger than you (unless you’re Taylor Atwood) but instead of thinking others as a ‘threat’ you should see them as a ‘challenge’ to always become better.
So are you going to compete?