I decided last year that after 10 years of judo, the last half of which I was competing at nationals, to hang up my judogi for good. With my first child on the way, and moving back home making judo much harder to get to and to stay at the level I was at, I wasn't interested in going once a week, and watching my competitiveness fade so quickly. Being that I love the gym just as much as the mat, I instead threw all my energy into powerlifting. I had my first meet a couple of days ago in the 90kg category, and wanted to write it all down, hopefully you guys find it interesting. The Lead Up My lead into competition wasn't great. I'd had a tricep injury 6 weeks out, which stopped me benching heavy for a couple of weeks. Then I strained a muscle on the right side of my sacrum 3 weeks out, stopping me from squatting. With a decent amount of time not actually training in the month before the meet, I wasn't feeling to confident of the numbers I'd be putting up. The Day of the Meet Having competed for a number of years, I was surprised at how nervous I was. I had a really good, long warm up, and was well fuelled and rested from the night before. My first few warm up sets were feeling strong, then my flight was called. The Squat My first attempt at 170kg went up really well, and my confidence went up as a result. Second attempt at 200, my personal best, went up really well as well. Standing at the judging table I was torn for a second - to go for 210, which I'd definitely make, or roll the dice and go for 220? I don't do things by halves, so I went for 220. Waiting for my name to be called, my nerves were going haywire, the butterflies were carving my stomach up! My name was called, and my buddy gives me two huge slaps to the back, knocking the nerves away. I set myself, the lever on the monolift is pulled up and I feel the weight. I can do this. I go down and come up pretty well, and as I'm literally an inch or two from lockout, I feel myself go backwards slightly and before I can adjust, the spotters arms are around me and I'm pulled up. It was so close I could almost taste it and even though I missed the lift, it was a great start to get so close. There was a decent amount of time to wait before I benched, probably 30-45 minutes, and about 10 minutes after my last squat attempt I felt the crash coming on. Squatting heavy is always a bit of an adrenalin rush for me, and doing it for higher than I've ever gone in front of a crowd, well, I'm sure you can imagine. My energy dipped a fair bit, but I was confident in the numbers I'd be putting up in the bench, so I just went with it, then had a snickers and a big can of V to bring myself back up. The Bench Press My first attempt at 110kg was easy, but they seemed to be holding the press command a long time. To clarify, after unracking, you bring the bar to your chest and have to wait for the "press" command from the judge to push it back up. This is to make sure the bar has completely stopped and there is no momentum. The wait was 1-2 seconds, which is a long time. The second attempt was much the same at 130kg, it went up quickly, but I was surprised at the time before the press command. My third attempt at 140kg - a weight I have lifted a few times, I waited 3 seconds for the press command. At that length of time, even a weight I was confident with I wasn't able to lift. The Deadlift I really wasn't sure how the deadlift would go. I'm normally pretty confident, but being that it was at the end of the day I wasn't sure how much juice I'd have left in the tank. I decided to throw my belt on for it, as I'd seen a few others doing it and thought what the hell, what could it hurt? My first attempt at 180kg flew up. Likewise my second attempt at 210. I'd lifted 220 a few weeks prior, so I had that as my third attempt to play it safe. That flew up too. I reckon I had another 20kg in me, but was happy to finish on a strong note after what happened in the bench. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was utterly wiped out. It wasn't only the maximal lifting, but the adrenalin mixed in meant I was shot and in bed by 930 that night. What was interesting is that, unlike judo, I had no coach and no training partners. This was very much a solo journey, right down to programming, which I did myself. Every night at the gym, it was just me and the iron, and I had to motivate myself, critique my own form and find ways to improve. Needless to say after the meet, I'm keen as anything to get back in the gym and improve my numbers. What struck me was that at the meet, everyone was really nice and helpful, even the guys lifting in my weight category. Going to most judo comps, there was always big rivalry between the different states and very little friendliness amongst most of the competitors. I guess when your main opponent is a bar of metal and iron discs, you can be more accomodating and friendly. I never thought fighting wouldn't be a part of my life, but now that I've found something else to throw my energy into, I don't miss it one bit. If you're thinking of branching out at all and trying something new, all I can say is do it!