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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)!

I Gave Up Coffee…Here’s Why

I Gave Up Coffee…Here’s Why

If you have been to one of my classes at some point you know my coffee cup was never very far away.  I’ve read the blogs and listened to the podcasts that say “a coach should never be drinking coffee during class.”  I thought that was cute, coffee is life…well was life.

It Just Happened

I woke up on a Monday, looked at my partner, and said “I’m done with coffee.”  You can imagine the shock, we have a coffee pot, French press and Nespresso in our 5’ x 6’ kitchen.  We have a small space and prioritize coffee.  I would usually have a coffee with a shot of espresso in the morning and then another coffee or latte in the afternoon.  Sunday’s were a day of caffeination, I would drink coffee pretty much all day.  It was magical!

A Little Bit Nerdy

Coffee, at roughly 200mg of caffeine for 10 oz, can keep cortisol levels elevated.  Cortisol is a hormone that helps our body respond to stress. If your cortisol levels stay elevated, meaning you stay stressed, it can have very negative effects on weight training, body composition and recovery.  Long story short high cortisol levels mess with your gainz, no good!

Saying Goodbye

If you’ve been anywhere in the United States you know, it was a Long winter.  I was living on coffee.  We made some changes at work, I have been doing some really deep emotional work and it was cold, like really cold, I was in a full stress spiral.  I went three full months with very little sleep, two colds, two flus and I was a wreck.  It was time to control the things I could and that meant no more added stress, coffee had to go.  I needed to give myself the best chance I could to sleep, to restore, to let my body and spirit breathe.

Life After Coffee

For the most part, my life has been caffeine free.  I will have a matcha or a green tea from time to time and with a drastically reduced caffeine intake I can sleep.  I woke up the second morning and told my partner “if this is what sleep is like, I’ll give up coffee forever.”  I’m still working hard on the other ways to manage stress and do the work I love.  I’m also working with Coach Anna on my nutrition and it’s been a game changer, check her out!!  If you find yourself in a stress spiral, check in with yourself, what are the things you need to do to help yourself out?

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

 

Introducing Icehouse Movement!

Introducing Icehouse Movement!

What is Icehouse Movement?

Icehouse Movement is a program that determines the cause behind painful movement and corrects the problem so that you can move without pain. Think of it this way. There is a road between you and your goal, but it is currently blocked by pain, injury, and imbalances. Icehouse movement finds a way to remove those road blocks so that you have a clear road to chase down those goals!

Who?

Icehouse movement is a personal program, meaning that it is specific to you and your needs. However, it requires someone who is consistent and willing to do the work. 15 minutes, 3 days a week, before or after class. Ideal candidates are on the committed to their fitness, if you don’t come to the gym at least three days a week, it’s difficult to do extra work those three days.

How doses it work?

Step 1: Choose a Program

We have two options, a virtual membership ($120/ Month), and an in person membership ($180/ Month). Virtual memberships include, initial movement screen, strength balance test, bi-weekly programming, and unlimited virtual check-ins. In person memberships include, monthly movement screen, quarterly strength balance test, bi-weekly programming, and unlimited virtual as well as in person check-ins.

Step 2: Movement Screen

The movement screen is an evaluation that we use to determine the “low hanging fruit.” This screen allows me to see if there is any obvious issues, such as lack of ankle mobility, making it difficult to squat to depth. In the event that there are no big neon signs saying FIX ME the movement screen will tell me where to look. It takes about 15 minutes, and is a great tool for your own understanding of your body.

Step 4: Strength Balance Test

The strength balance test is similar to the movement screen, but much more in depth. This test assesses the force production between the front and back of your body as well as your left to right strength balance. This test takes around an hour to complete and is extremely valuable to any athlete looking to get the most out of their training.

Step 5: Complete the Programming

You will recieve an email on Sunday evening containing two weeks worth of programming. This program is not a replacement for CrossFit classes. It is designed to compliment the programming here at Icehouse, or at your gym. It will take about 15 minutes three days a week. All you need to do is follow the program and provide feedback! I use that feedback to make sure the programming is on point and get results.

Step 6: Repeat

Every two weeks you will recieve programming to direct you toward your goals. All you need to do is do the work. We have had several clients experience positive results within the first two weeks. Lasting physical change takes time, most clients are pain free within 3 months. This program will give you every opportunity to achieve your goals. Let me remove the road blocks, so that you have a clear path to the finish line.

I’m really excited for this program, and I am already seeing great results from my clients.  If you are interested in Icehouse Movement, set up a consultation with me, Coach Traps, at the front desk.

 

Squats on squats on squats

Squats on squats on squats

The Squat

In the dynamic, multi-joint movements that are practiced in every Flux class there is a foundational movement that must be mastered before any more complex movement should be attempted. These foundational movements build strength, stability, and ensure that our range of motion is safely being utilized. What’s funny peculiar, not funny haha, is that these movements are so foundational that some of the best examples are kids.

No joke. Ask a toddler to pick something up off the floor. They don’t bend forward and strain their lower backs and over-extend their hamstrings like we adults do. They squat. With nigh-perfect form! Their knees are wide, their chests are up, and they go diaper to dirt with their heels down. As adults stuck at desks or in cars for most of our lives, we have lost a lot of the flexibility in our hips and ankles, and strength in our backs to perform a healthy, strong squat. It takes those of us who have forgotten how to move a long time before we get that back.


Squats are used in almost everything. Imagine Bubba Gump and his shrimp; that’s how many movements use a squat. Air squats, front squats, overhead squats, back squats, squat cleans, squat snatches, box jumps, med-ball cleans, wall-balls, thrusters, and so on. And that’s just in the gym! Squats are fundamental in everyday life, the most obvious and basic being using the bathroom.

A strong healthy squat has several key points of performance. Starting from the ground up, the heels must remain on the floor. If a person has tight Achilles’ tendons or stiff hips, knees, or ankles, the squat might not reach depth which means the hips might not descend below the knees. And that’s ok! The more the ankles are working, the more flexibility will be built in the Achilles so that the squat can sit lower.

The knees must follow the path of the toes. The toes are pointed slightly out instead of straight forward. In order to save undue strain on the knees, they must follow the path of the toes. This means the knees are wide at the same time finding an even distribution of weight through the foot. For a depth squat, the hip crease gets below the knee crease. This activates the big muscle groups of the thighs, your quads and adductors, as well as the glutes.

As you work on flexibility in the lower half of the body, you will also be working on strengthening the core and back. The chest is meant to be as upright as possible in the squat. This means bracing the abdominals to support the torso, and in order to balance the body the erectors of the spine are activated. There’s a lot going on, but once the air squat is mastered the body is ready for any variation of the squat.

Squats are great not only for making one’s butt look good, they also build strength, stamina, cardio endurance, flexibility, and a host of other skills that make a person a better athlete. Can’t make it to the gym one day? Crunched for time? Want a leg day but don’t have weights around? Rock out 100 squats. Your heart rate rise, you’ll sweat, and you will certainly feel it in your legs.

#diamondbutts

What’s Next After the Nutrition Challenge?

What’s Next After the Nutrition Challenge?

Reflecting on the past four weeks of the Partner Nutrition Challenge and they have been filled with accountability, support, recipe sharing, food photos, trying new things, crushing goals, and creating new habits.

ALL AMAZING THINGS.

Are you wondering about what’s next? How to keep the momentum going after the challenge and building on the healthy habits you’ve worked so hard to create may be some things that you are starting to think about and game plan for.

The number one best option for you to continue to hit your goals and progress forward is Ongoing Nutrition Coaching.

Typically, in order to move forward with ongoing coaching, you need to complete an initial nutrition package, however all challenger participants can use the challenge as their initial package and jump right in to ongoing coaching as soon as the challenge is complete.

What is included in Ongoing Nutrition Coaching:

  1. 1-on-1 support from me, Coach Anna.
  2. Individualized macro goals based on your unique, individual needs.
  3. Virtual check-ins every other week.
  4. In-person check-ins and biometric testing one time per month.
  5. Food journal sharing.
  6. Text and email access to me outside of appointments.
  7. Specialized plans to hit your weight loss or performance goals.
  8. Additional reference materials.
  9. Individualized nutrition education.
  10. Goal setting sessions every 4 weeks to ensure you hit your goals and plan new ones once you do.

We have two different pricing options for our ongoing nutrition program at Icehouse. You can either add it on to your existing membership OR you can switch over to our brand-new Wellness Membership. The Wellness Membership includes unlimited fitness classes + ongoing nutrition coaching. If you are already an unlimited member, the Wellness Membership is the way to go because it will save you some cash money each month.

The momentum has been so damn strong throughout this challenge, so why stop when it ends?! Schedule your first 1-on-1 nutrition coaching appointment with me today!