Like many weightlifters who started the sport in recent years, I started while experimenting with CrossFit. Overall, I liked the challenge of CrossFit, but I quickly learned that the strength part of the training was my weakest link, so I decided to focus this aspect and train strictly on the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. In my first few months of training, while speaking with other lifters, coaches, and doing some reading, I kept hearing that a new lifter should compete early and as often as possible. I didn’t fully understand the idea, but I decided to give it a try, since it appeared to be common advice.
I wish I could state I enjoy practicing being uncomfortable but that wouldn’t be the truth. Sometimes reluctantly, I do practice it because I know being in an uncomfortable situation is often a place in which quality growth can happen. My first meet was exactly this, uncomfortable. It was my first time in a singlet, I felt like I barely knew what a qualifying Snatch or Clean & Jerk even looked like, and I’m lifting the smallest amount of weight of anyone in the session. It was quite humbling to say the least.
After that first meet, as awkward as it was, I knew I wanted to get out there again. The idea of competing soon after starting in the sport worked! I wanted to train better and improve for the next one.
The second meet went better but there was still the uncomfortable feeling I have come to appreciate. This time around, I felt more prepared. I communicated goals to coaches and had a better idea of the processes involved in a competition. The singlet was about as awkward as the first time, though..
I have now competed eight times in a bit over a year and a half. I now find it fun, it’s a great way to deepen bonds with coaches and teammates. So far, every time I come away with something else I want to work on, whether it be strength, technique, or most recently, the mental aspect of the sport.
After some recent frustration with my progress in weightlifting, I took a step back reminded myself I’m still relatively new to the sport and generally new to any strength training, period. This thought process prompted me to look up my previous competition numbers. I noticed I’m at almost a 50% increase since my first competition in July 2017, so I can’t complain too much 😊