Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My First Powerlifting Meet

Here is the low down on Cristi's record breaking USAPL Meet, including diet, training and introspection.  Cristi proves that you don't need fancy stuff (chains, bands, monolifts, machines, guru's, supplements, suits, wraps or a perfect macronutrient profile), but what you do need is heavy ass weight and a desire to simply be strong as hell.

By Cristi Bartlett

Latest Research Driven Nutrition Night Before Meet:
7:00pm-Nachos and a beer
9:00pm- WaWa Soft Pretzels, some frozen chocolate Easter Candy from 2012 and a couple Vodka drinks
10:00pm-Movie with some friends

Morning of meet:
5:55am Wake-up call
WaWa run-Soft pretzels, coffee, and Monsters
1 hour ride


So it was my first meet. I was amped. For the hour ride, I sang, I danced. I was feeling great. My only concern was to have a good time. So that was the plan. Steel had my warm ups and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd attempt all planned out, so there was literally no thinking to be done on my part, which is exactly how I like to have it.

Rules meeting: Literally lasted 3 minutes. The judge guy had nothing to say about flights or anything regarding order, only commands. Crap for someone who has never participated in a full meet before. So I talk to a few of the other judges and ask my questions regarding when I should start warming up. ALL 3 OF THEM told me that Flight 1 will go and have their 1st, 2nd and 3rd attempts, and then they would start Flight 2 and they would have all three of their attempts and then move forward with the rest of the flights.

Except NO, that didn’t happen. I'm literally sitting in the audience, watching the lighter weights go and suddenly I’m on deck.


I jump up and run to the back, throw 225 on and squat it for a few reps. And after I’m done with the 225, my name is called and I’m supposed to squat 350. Ummmmm, not going to happen. So I walk to the judge’s stand and tell them pass for the 1st attempt and go back to the warm up room.

At this point, I’m annoyed, highly annoyed, obviously because I want the shit to go right. I wanted people to be competent in their knowledge of the meet's series of events. Obviously that was too much to ask. So I continue my warm up and get a little over my initial opener. I hit 369 on my 2nd attempt, 3 white lights. Yay! I move on. 385 was the number for my 3rd attempt, fail. I glided into the bottom of the squat and got somewhere in between the top and bottom and couldn't finish. Squat's over, NEXTTTT!

The light weight men are now squatting. So I go back to sit in the audience. I have some time now to ingest some caffeine. Monster it is. I take about 4 sips, set it down on the floor, and kick it over; Spills all over my shoes, knee sleeves, and belt, great. Could this get any better?



Everything went according to plan for the bench, which was refreshing compared to the squat and Monster debacle. On my first attempt I hit 245, 2nd attempt 253, a PR, and for my 3rd attempt, I tried for 259 and failed. Bench is boring, which is probably why it's in the middle of the two more exciting lifts; it gives you time to regain yourself before the excitement starts again.


The best of the best. The greatest of all lifts. The end all be all! Man, I love to deadlift!!
My first attempt, I started at 480. That went ok, I was so damn anxious I forgot to put enough chalk on my hands. So as soon as I got the bar past my knees, I felt the bar slipping out of my left hand. I held on like my life depended on it and completed the lift.

As far as my 2nd attempt went, the number was 507. I had hit 505 a few times before with my training partners and so I was feeling pretty confident. The bar was loaded and it felt great coming off the floor. There was no pull in my low back, didn’t feel like muscles were ripping off my bone, it felt glorious! PR mode!!!!!

Now for the third lift. Steel had told me to go nuts on the last one. So I go to the judges stand to pick my numbers, 512, no 518, ehhhh no, 518. I went back and forth had no clue what I wanted, so I ask one of my training partners, Stephen; he asks me how it felt, what did I want to do? I had no clue. When it comes to deciding what I want to eat for dinner and apparently choosing weights for my 3rd attempt, I am completely indecisive. So brindle says 518. Haaaaa. My mind is going nuts, adrenaline is rushing and I go sit down. I am more than excited to attempt this. It's time.

I get out of my chair and proceed to the chalk bowl. My belt goes on as tight as I can get it. I chalk up my hands and Brindle asks if I have any baby powder. Nope, I sure don't. So he asks some chic beside me and she's like "it's not mine" or something like that and he grabs it and powders up my legs for me. I walk out to the bar, and start. The bar goes up and up, and then I hit a sticking point about mid-thigh. I have the strongest grip on the bar, I throw my head back, struggle some more, feel a little faint, and go back down to the Floor. Fail! Talk about feeling lightheaded, I immediately get a headache and go sit down. I don't think I could've given anymore, or done anything different to complete that. I was happy with the attempt.

So now the meet is over. I ended up with the best lifter award, and the American record in the deadlift in the 198 class. Unofficially, according to the USAPL online records, I also have the American total record, I'm waiting to hear back from the director so he can confirm.

For my first meet, I think it went pretty good. Obviously, I would have changed the squat situation and I wouldn't have spilled my Monster. But other than that, I had fun. My dad showed up as a surprise, he drove all the way up for NC for the day! And I had some good people in the crowd supporting me, and also had Steel and Tracy on a text message thread constantly checking up on how I was doing. They had the play by play going.

About an hour or so later, I guess the adrenaline subsided, because I hit a wall. I was a walking zombie for the remainder of the day, with some foot pain, a headache, and a blown up back. Funny how that adrenaline masks everything.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! Am I going to do it again? Hell yes!

Next up:
How I trained for this p-lift meet in 3 weeks?

It was an impromptu decision to do this meet. I had been doing the bodybuilding style training for the previous 6-8 months. I had went to Steel wanting to squat more than once a week so he had put me on a squat program where I had a heavy single once a week, a constant day around 80% for a set of 8, and a day where I'd squat 85-87% for as many as possible, with a couple of sets of 12 at the end. On that schedule, I ended up squatting 3 times every 7-8 days. At the end of that 5 week cycle, my squat had gotten better than it has ever been. I felt more comfortable under the bar and felt confident handling the heavier weight. And for the first time in my life I was enjoying squatting.

There was talk at this time of Steel jumping into a meet since he had just pulled 700 conventional at the gym and since my squat was going well, that got my wheels turning. I had only competed in a push/pull meet so since my squat was looking good, we thought maybe it was time for my first full meet.

I hate plans. I can't stand it. I like doing everything on a whim. If someone asks me a week in advance to go somewhere, my reply is always "ask me the day before."I just don't like confirming that far in advance, my mood may change, something better may come along, ha I may be extremely lazy that day; the conditions have to be just right!! With that being said, I researched some USAPL meets and there was one in December and one 3.5 weeks away. The December one made me laugh and the one 3.5 weeks away seemed close enough to keep my attention.

In order for me to not back out of this whole competition thing, I had to go ahead and send in my paperwork and buy a singlet. A singlet, ugh, which by the way, are the worst things ever. With the singlet purchased and the entry fees paid, the deal was sealed; Aug 10, 2013 was judgment day.

Training begins: Since I’m a genius, I consulted with my main man Steel; he knows all the secrets to getting strong ha. He drew it up my plan on the white board like a mad scientist and it went a little something like this:

Monday-Doubles in the squat 5x2, or 3x2 @ 80-85%, a heavy single in the deadlift, and bicep curls

Tuesday-Doubles in the bench at 85% and incline for heavy sets of 6's.  Then shoulder and triceps assistance.


Thursday-High rep day in the squats, sets of 5's and 6's between 275-300lbs.  Then back assistance (10 sets)

Friday-Bench sets of 5's at 80%, and some ches, shoulder, and bicep assistance work.



As far as conditioning work, I pushed the prowler 1-2x/week.

And for the next 3.5 weeks, I watched the magic unfold. The results were in the meet; I PR’ed in each lift. There is a lot of room to get better and I can’t wait to progress. Lifting heavy is fun. I enjoyed it, but there is something to say about “fast high rep training” that I’ve come to love. So for now the p-lifting training will take a backseat (sort of) until the next meet rolls around.


All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.