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Coach Shoe’s Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Coach Shoe’s Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 2

Meet Day

What to Bring (I always forget something, so here are my musts)

  1. Weightlifting Shoes (or whatever shoes you usually lift in)
  2. Singlet
  3. Any training equipment you usually use to lift. Knee sleeves/wraps, belt, tape. You may want to bring some chalk just in case.
  4. A written down plan for your warm-ups (or a coach who is doing this for you, we can help with this!)
  5. Your USA Weightlifting membership card. You’ll need to show this during weigh in (can be printed out or a digital version on your phone works too).
  6. Food, water, supplements and anything else you like to use before a workout.
  7. Layers of clothing to stay warm, and maybe even a pillow if you’d like to lie down and relax after you weigh-in.Weightlifting

Weigh In

You will get notified (usually via email) of what time your session & weigh ins will be, usually 2-3 hours prior to your session.  If for some reason you are over or under your originally declared weight class, you just need to tell the official at your weigh in BEFORE you hop on the scale. You will also need to tell them your opening lifts at that time. Remember to divide your planned weight in pounds by 2.2 to get the correct weight in Kilos to submit.

The time between weight in and lifting tends to be the most stressful.  Do your best to stay relaxed, stay hydrated eat a light snack or meal (especially if you fasted for weigh in). I like to watch the session happening before me to get a feel for timing and flow of the event, and it’s also a nice distraction and a great way to support your fellow lifters!

Warming Up Overview

Timing warm ups is probably the toughest part of the meet.  I would HIGHLY recommend having a coach or a friend help you plan this out and submit your weights to the marshal, even if they are just the runner so you can focus on lifting it will help.

The lifting order with athletes’ openers will be listed either on a TV, or the cards with attempts will be laid out on the marshal’s table.  You will want to take a look at that list so you can determine the starting order and where you fall within it.  The easiest way to plan is to assume each attempt will take about one minute.

I like to do a warmup before touching the barbell consisting of PVC pass throughs, air squats, inch worms & some yoga flows for shoulders and upper back openers.  Then an empty barbell warm up, finally building up to my snatch opener.

At some point during this time, I like to find a focal point, or something to look at during your lifts on the platform.  I’ll peek around the corner, look above the judge centered in front of the platform and pick a spot that I’ll look at while I lift.  It’s usually a logo, or a wall ball line or even the top edge of the back wall.  Something I can focus on that won’t move if someone in the crowd does.  (At my first meet I missed a lift because I made weird eye contact with someone in the crowd.  Don’t be like me.)

Strategy to Build to Your Opener

The easiest way to explain this is with an example.  You NEED to be flexible in your plan as things change with lifts the day of, but having an outline of your planned building sets will help greatly!

Here is an example of how to time your lifts for the snatch:

In this example there are 10 lifters in your session, and you would like to open with 70kg (154lbs).

There are three lifters opening with 50kg, two opening with 60kg, two opening with 65kg, you at 70kg, and two more at 80kg.

  • The lifters opening with 50kg will likely take all three of their attempts before you open – that’s nine lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 60kg will likely take at least two attempts before you open – that’s another four lifts.
  • The lifters opening with 65kg will likely take one attempt before you open – that’s two more.
  • There’s no need to worry about the guys opening with 90kg, because they’ll open after at least your second attempt.

So given this example, there will be about 15 attempts before your opener (9+4+2=15). And we are assuming 1 min per attempt, so that puts us 15 minutes out from the first lift, so we want to be ready at about that time.

  • 3 lifts out/mins (when there are three lifts before your first attempt) take 68-70kg (last warm-up)*
  • 6 lifts out/mins, take 65kg
  • 9 lifts/mins out take 60kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out take 55kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 50kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 40kg
  • 20 lifts/mins out, warm up with the bar

Since you are the 16th lift of the session, this means you should be done with your general warm-up (rolling out, stretching, etc) and taking the empty bar roughly 5 minutes or a little more before the session starts. Particularly in your first meet, it’s better to be a little bit ahead of the clock than a little bit behind it, so start a few minutes before you really need to and slow down a bit if you get too far ahead.

There is also an introduction that happens just before your session where all of the lifters are introduced.  Takes about 3-5 minutes, so plan for that.  So if this session began at noon given the lifts shown, I’d start my warm up at 11:40 (non barbell stretching), and pick plan to pick up the barbell at 11:50, then lifting every 3 minutes or so.

After snatching is complete, C&J is up next.  Grab a light snack & make sure to hydrate. Meets have a 15 minutes reset between snatch and clean & jerk, so keep an eye on time once the last lifter goes to time your warm ups for the clean & jerk.

You’ll want to do the same math as we did previously to see if you are still 16th to open.  It will likely be a similar spot, but since not all athletes have balanced lifts, you may be quite a bit earlier or later in the session so don’t skip the math!

Warm ups for clean & jerk are similar, but with a few tweaks.  Let’s say you are opening with 90kg (198lbs):

  • 4 lifts/mins out, take 85kg
  • 8 lifts/mins out, take 80kg
  • 12 lifts/mins out, take 75kg
  • 15 lifts/mins out, take 70kg
  • 18 lifts/mins out, take 60kg
  • 21 lifts/mins, take 45kg
  • 24 lifts/mins, take the empty bar (if you take the bar before clean & jerks)

Biggest difference here is we are lifting every 4 minutes/attempts once it gets heavy or so vs 3 for the snatch.  C&J is heavier and more taxing so a bit more rest is helpful between lifts. So if we were 16th again, I’d start with the barbell about 10 minutes prior to the first C&J attempt.

*Some people like to hit their opener in the back before their first attempt. I aim to hit about 5-10 lbs shy of it for my last warm up to save what I can for the bigger lifts/attempts, and its consistent with how I build to heavy lifts in training.  This comes down to personal preference.

Go Time – On the Platform

RELAX. You have put in the work. You had a solid warm up plan, you are ready.

The announcer will call the next lifter, as well as who is on deck.  This is when I stand up and prepare to walk on once they call my name.

The most important thing to remember once your name is called: YOU HAVE TIME! DO NOT RUSH. With 30 seconds remaining on your clock, a buzzer will sound, to let you know where you’re at.

As soon as my name is called I walk to the chalk bucket, and take a deep breath while I chalk up. Upon approaching the bar, find the focal point which you located earlier. Once you’re set on it, don’t take your eyes off of it unless you absolutely have to. Forgot to pick one earlier?  No biggie, simply walk to the center of the platform, take & break & look past the crowd. Find it, then your approach the bar.

DO NOT rush your set-up. Approach, setup, & lift just like you do every time in training. This is probably where I see the most new lifters miss their attempts – they get too excited and hurry through their set-up.

Once you stand up with the lift, WAIT for the down signal! This may be a referee saying “down!” or a buzzer going off. I have even added holding the bar overhead for an extra second to my training to prepare and get used to this. This is probably the most frustrating way to miss a lift in competition, so HOLD THAT BAR!

When the first attempt is done, smile & take a deep breath, the toughest lift of the meet is done. Head straight to the marshals table (or have your coach do it) and declare your next attempt. You should officially declare it within 30 seconds, otherwise you will not be allowed to make any changes. Once you’ve declared, just relax until your next attempt.

Try and pick your attempts so that you don’t have too long a rest between lifts (reference Part 1 on how to pick you attempts before hand). Stay relaxed and follow the same process for every lift.  And most importantly, HAVE FUN!

If you happen to be competing in the Star of the North on June 15th and want some awesome action shots, make sure to sign up with with Samantha Chin at https://www.samanthachinphotography.com/ for an amazing photo package (like the photos in the blog)!

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

Your First Weightlifting Meet – Part 1

How to Prepare for Your First Weightlifting Meet

Probably the most intimidating thing about a weightlifting meet is not knowing what to expect or how they work. So let’s go behind the curtain and clear all of that up!  We will go through the pre-meet details here, and part 2 will cover the day of.

Step 1: Pick a Meet & Register

You will want to find a meet that is at least 6 weeks out so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare & train. I personally prefer to go 12 weeks out so I can complete a full training cycle prior.

In order to register you will need to know a few things.

Determine your weight class

They are in Kilos, so take your weight in pounds & divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in Kilos. I would select the one that you fall into at your mid day weight eating as you usually would. You can cut or mass to hit another weight class but I would not recommend doing that for your first meet.  Use the first meet to get a feel for the flow of these events vs worrying about weigh in.

If the competition day rolls around and you gained or lost weight, you can still declare a new weight class.  You just need to tell the judge at the weigh in prior to stepping on the scale.

Weight Classes

USA Weightlifting Membership Number

You will also need to register as a USAW Member in order to compete, so make sure to do that when you sign up for the meet itself! Here is the link to join: USAW Registration.

Search for a local meet that is at least 6 weeks out and get registered HERE.

Step 2: Train & Prepare!

Pick a Training Program/Cycle: Now that you’ve determined when you will be competing, it is time to get a plan together.  There are some great free programs out there, or we can help you put a plan together based on your goals for the meet.  (More to come on this option in June!)

Learn the Rules: If you’ve never seen a weightlifting meet before, I would highly recommend reading through the rules so you are prepared.  There are a long list of rules, and if you’d like to nerd out you can read them all HERE.

A few basic rules are:

  • You get 3 attempts at the Snatch, then 3 at the Clean & Jerk.
  • The order of lifters goes from lowest attempt and builds up from there.You will need to declare your next lift to the scores table so you can be worked into the lifting order.
    • Once a barbell is loaded weight cannot go down. So you will want to make sure your next attempt is submitted so you don’t miss the weight on the bar you want to attempt. (Have a coach or friend help with this, it makes life much easier).
  • You have 1 minute from the time the bar is loaded and you are called lift.
  • If you are following yourself (for example you missed and want to repeat a weight and no other lifters will be attempting that weight), then you get 2 minutes for that lift.
  • You must catch the barbell with locked out arms for it to count. If you press out it will be a no lift.

Determine your Openers

Your opener should be something you can hit for 2-3 doubles during training. You should be able to hit it 1-2 times in the back (for the snatch, not the clean & jerk) with 100% confidence. Then walk out and crush it for your first attempt.

Second attempt should still be something you’re confident in, and not more than a ~4kg increase from the first on the snatch. For Clean & Jerk not more than ~6kg for the second attempt. The third attempt can be a bit more risky, but something you typically make at least two out of three times in training.

Set Goals: This is your first meet, so set your goals accordingly. My first meet’s goals were

  • Have fun
  • Learn as much about meets as possible
  • Get a Total (AKA hit at least 1 snatch & 1 Clean & Jerk)

While it is possible to hit a personal best lift at your first meet, I would plan to pick an opener you know you can hit. Be a bit more conservative as nerves are a funny thing during that first lift with all eyes on you.

Practice!

Find some time to get together during an open gym with friends for a mock meet (we are happy to help). Two weeks before a meet is a great time to try out your openers in this format.  Even if it is just lifting with a few friends with the timer running. Ask someone pretending to be the judge that will be in front of the “platform.” Have them simply give you the “down” call, which is what the judge will do at the meet once you have the bar controlled.

Up next: A Guide to the Day of the meet

 

Fitness Outside of the Gym

Fitness Outside of the Gym

It is not about how good you are at exercising.

Even though our members do get quite good at it. There is so much more to Icehouse then just helping you get into the best shape of your life.  Our favorite success stories aren’t around the total number of pounds or inches lost, or how much strength and/or speed is gained.  Those are all awesome & amazing accomplishments, but not what it is about.

Here are 2 of my favorite changes other then just improved fitness we see in our members:

1.Gained confidence

It is not uncommon for someone new to say or think “I can’t do that” when they read the workout.  CrossFit works because it is hard work, but it is absolutely possible.  If it wasn’t it wouldn’t work, and we would not ask you to do something if we didn’t believe you were capable.  We are all capable of so much more then we think!

Slowly we lift a couple more pounds, get a little faster, and/or loose a few pounds.  Before you know it you don’t even bat an eye at the workout because you just know you can do it. You even start trying tougher versions of movements because you’ve been killin’ it.  THAT is amazing!

Even better when a big project/opportunity at work, or a challenge out in the real world shows up you roll up your sleeves and take it on.  Because you are strong.  Because you are capable.  Because you CAN!

2. Saying YES to life

This is my absolute favorite reason to be fit, and why I stick with it.  I never want to have to say no to a fun outing, vacation, or adventure because I am concerned about being fit enough.

When someone shares a post about how they were able to go for a hike with their family on their annual vacation for the first time in years, or go outside and play a game with their nieces or nephews without getting winded THAT is what it’s about.

I understand that at this point you may have back pain, or you may have some knee pain stopping you from getting in shape. We are in pain so we don’t move, and we don’t move because we are in pain, and our bodies are not meant to just sit.  Find someone who can help you with those issues (we have coaches who have experience with all of those issues and can help you build the strength needed to solve them), or check out my recent blog of 5 places to start your fitness journey if you aren’t sure where to begin.

Take care of your body, surround yourself with people who believe in you, and say YES to life!

I Need to Get Healthy!  Where Do I Even Begin?!

I Need to Get Healthy! Where Do I Even Begin?!

I’ve got to do something, but what?!

There are SO MANY conflicting ads, posts, diets, cleanses, wraps, shakes, lollipops (seriously don’t get us started on that one) workouts, out there.  No wonder we don’t know where to start or who to trust.

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

When reading an ad, or considering trying a product or program, first ask yourself “Does this option seem realistic?”

  • “Loose 20 lbs in 1 week!”
  • “Loose inches overnight!”
  • “You won’t feel hungry”

These are tempting because who hasn’t wanted to loose 20lbs in one week 🙋‍♀️?! However they do not sound realistic.  If they are promising a quick fix, they are likely a hoax.  They may even get you some quick results, but often times the more drastic/quickly these quick fixes work the faster the weight or inches will come back, often with some long term effects making the next time we try it even harder/less effective/more damaging.

If it doesn’t pass a good ol’ fashioned gut check, it’s likely “too go to be true.”

It did not take us 1 month, or even 1 year to get to where we are, so it will take some time to get to where we want to be. And we likely picked up some bad habits along the way.

Habits are hard to break, especially the bad ones. If we want a different result, we have to take different actions.  But trying to overhaul your entire life all at once rarely works.  It’s overwhelming & confusing, so start small.

5 Places to Get Started

There are more parts to being healthy then just working out and eating well (though those are HUGE pieces of the puzzle). Decide what is a realistic area of your life you are willing to make a few changes with TODAY, and focus on that until you have some new, healthier habits in place.

Choose just 1 of the following options to begin. Once you crushed that, THEN pickup another.

  1. Get a Fit Bit (AKA Just Move).  If money is a factor and a gym membership is truly not in the budget, Fit bit has some affordable options.  Buy one, put it on and hit 10,000 steps EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  2. Drink More Water. I can guarantee just about all of us are not hydrating properly.  We should drink 1/2 of our body weight in oz of water every single day.  There are A TON of benefits with hydrating properly. Bonus points for subbing out 1 sugary drink/caffeinated/alcoholic drink per day for a glass of water.
  3. Go the F*ck To Sleep. We need 7-9 hours per sleep every night.  Even if you already are crushing workouts and your nutrition lack of sleep can wreck havoc on your body & metabolism.  Plan your day around your sleep schedule and make it non negotiable.
  4. Practice Mindfulness (Reduce Stress) This ranges anywhere from meditating or journaling for 5 minutes to finally making an appointment with a Therapist (I have a great one if you need a referral!).  When we make changes in our life, we have to work on our internal dialogue to get our mind & bodies in sync to stay successful long term.
  5. Get a Coach If you are looking at this list and thinking “sure that seems easy, but I’ve tried all those things and quit after a week” you may need a coach.  Why Icehouse works is greatly due to the accountability having a coach provides to our athletes.  Having someone expecting us at the gym, or helping us set the right goals for us and then having the tough conversation when we didn’t show up and ate a whole wheel of cheese and getting us back on track quickly has saved a lot of us from backsliding. Even our coaches have a coach because we too are human, and need someone to hold our feet to the fire occasionally.

Still unsure?  We offer a Free Intro to get to know you, discuss your goals and recommend the best place to start to ensure you will be successful long term.  Chat with a Coach HERE

You do not have to start all of it today, but pick a place to start, THEN GET STARTED!  Good Luck!

More info on Icehouse

Vitamin D And CBD, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

Vitamin D And CBD, These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

Supplementing (Especially During Fargo Winters)

It’s no secret that Fargo winters are cold and dreary, hell we even had to close for the first time ever due to cold temps last week! But that being said, there are plenty of things that you can do to help get through these long winter months if going out in the cold really isn’t your thing (clearly this is a Coach Shoe blog).

We often talk about supplements as being a “supplement to” and not a “replacement” especially when we talk about protein and some other items from our retail store.  If you can get it from food, that is always the preferred approach, but sometimes supplementing what we eat, or what we lack from our environment can be extremely helpful.  Two of my favorite supplements are Vitamin D (especially during these cold, dark winter months) and CBD Oil.

Vitamin D – Liquid Sunshine

Vitamin D is a very frequently recommended supplement for folks who live in our part of the world.  The long nights and short days, partnered with the cold temps that keep us inside make getting naturally occurring rays of sunshine nearly impossible for most of the year.  The main way our bodies get Vitamin D is by exposure to ultraviolet B rays (aka sunlight).  You may also get some Vitamin D from foods such as fatty fish (like tuna, mackerel, & salmon) and egg yolks, but still sun exposure is the most natural source. Therefore to get our full requirement supplementation may be necessary. Some symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Getting Sick or Infected Often
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Bone and Back Pain
  • Depression. (Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD))
  • Impaired Wound Healing
  • Bone Loss
  • Hair Loss
  • Muscle Pain

Supplements & Light Therapy Boxes

Now that you know what can happen if you are deficient in vitamin, now you may be wandering how you bridge the gap considering it’s dangerous at these temperatures to expose your skin to the sun, and the list of foods containing Vitamin D is oddly low. There are 2 easy ways to help: Supplements & Light Therapy Lamps. Light Therapy Box Sunlight Jr

SFH Fish Oil Supplements we stock at the gym.  We have a liquid form available (fast digesting) and a pill for those not into the shot of fish oil!  You can also get some Vitamin D drops if Fish Oil isn’t your jam (Ask Coach Anna about those!)

While Light therapy may not necessarily supplement you with Vitamin D (unless you buy a lamp that puts out UV Rays, which can be problematic for other skin damage reasons) it is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep and SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions. Light Therapy boxes (like my Sunbox Jr.) mimic natural light, and used early in the day in 20-30 minute increments while reading or eating breakfast can help elevate mood significantly, or at least that has been my experience.

CBD Oil

CBD Oil is another great supplement year round.  There are a TON of different products floating around, many of which are not well managed or controlled which has added to the confusion around what CBD Oil is or isn’t.  I’ll discuss CBD Oil using the product we recommend at Icehouse & I use daily: Charlotte’s Web(CW) Isolate.  The main reason I use it is to help with my anxiety and sleep, it’s been an absolute game changer to help me sleep.  It also reduced inflammation & soreness which is just an added bonus for me!

If you are new to the conversation, you may have the impression CBD oil is Marijuana or “Pot”  it is not, it is derived from Hemp. They have a great blog on their website that breaks down the differences between CW, Hemp Seed Oil & Marijuana (which CW CBD Oil IS NOT) if you want to learn even more HERE, but I’ll keep it to the cliff notes for brevity.

Here is where the confusion comes in: Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis and contain phytocannabinoids.

Phyto means “plant.” Humans and all mammals produce what are known as endocannabinoids. Endomeans “within.” These compounds are key players in normal immune and central nervous system function. Hemp’s phytocannabinoids work with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a vast receptor system that helps support homeostasis and health.

Some helpful facts to differentiate between CBD & THC:

  • Marijuana has > 0.3% THC (the only phytocannabinoid that gets you “high”)
    • **AKA NOT CBD OIL**
  • Hemp has < 0.3% THC and is NOT psychoactive
    • **CW Isolate tests to ensure less then 13 parts per million
  • Marijuana is most often associated with THC and hemp extract (like CW) is often associated with CBD, a health & wellness phytocannabinoid.
  • Charlotte’s Web proprietary, non-GMO hemp genetics contain a unique combination of phytocannbinoids; it’s more than just CBD. CW also includes naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and other valuable hemp compounds that work synergistically to heighten positive effects, sometimes referred to as the “Entourage Effect,” making it more complete than single-compound CBD alternatives.

Ok that all sounds great but what does that mean?!?

Basically the phytocannabinoids in CBD fill in the gap in our ECS to help our system do it’s job to it’s full potential, without the psychoactive affect, or “high” associated with marijuana/THC.  The effects you feel when you take CBD Oil generally aren’t drastic, I’ve heard it described as “rounding out the edges” which I think is a great description of how my anxiety levels are when I take it.  As far as inflammation, when injury occurs, stress is high, or when our muscles are sore white blood cells flood the area which causes inflammation.  CBD oil basically gives those white blood cells a break to reduce the inflammation. (This of course is a huge over simplification, but it’s the quickest/easiest way to break it down without turning this blog into a book, check out the blog tagged earlier to learn more).

We like CW because it is manufactured in an FDA-certified facility with 3rd party-verified Good Manufacturing Practices to make sure that quality is high and THC levels remain below the 13 parts per million CW Isolate promises.

I could go on for days about CW/CBD Oil, Vitamin D & Light Therapy but hopefully this has given you enough to answer some questions and further encourage your own research!  I encourage you to ask questions and start supplementing if the weather has been dragging you down lately! Stay Warm Folks!