Five Lessons From England's 4th Strongest Woman
Last week, we heard from England's 4th strongest woman about her experiences at the Arnold Strongman World Championships. This week, she's back to tell us what she learned from the experience - how can you apply her lessons to your own training?
In March this year I travelled to the other side of the world to compete in the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships. Hopefully you’ve read my previous post about the day itself, but I also wanted to share some of my biggest takeaways from the experience.
As I took part in the event less than a year after my first ever competition, it was always going to be daunting. Realistically, my chances of doing exceptionally well were minimal, but I wanted to go for the experience and to challenge myself and my own capabilities.
Here are the biggest things I learned:
1. Pushing Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone is a Great Thing.
I didn't feel like I had a right to be at the qualifier let alone the World Championships, but I put myself out there. I was one of the weakest competitors on the day, but I went there and I tried my best. I’ve heard that some “acquaintances” of mine thought it was a joke that I went at all, and that’s fine. I'd rather be the person in the international arena, trying to pull a 3x bodyweight deadlift in front of hundreds of people, than the person sitting at home talking about other people.
2. It’s Good to See What You're Up Against
Competing internationally was a whole different level from competing in the UK. Meeting all the other girls and athletes was so inspiring; not only lifting alongside them, but chatting to them, swapping tips with them and learning new things from them. I watched girls in my weight category pull 2 or 3 reps at 160kg and I want that to be me someday.
3. Make Smart Decisions
It was interesting to try bulking and competing at the top of my weight category, but I don't think it's for me. I've always been one of the lighter athletes in my class, but it makes me faster at moving events. For me, personally, the strength gains weren’t enough for it to be worth taking the hit on my speed and agility. I’ve learned that I’m better a bit lighter.
4) Don’t Weigh Yourself on Airport Scales
They lie. Pack your own scales. I know they take up loads of room and they're heavy, but trust me, they're nowhere near as heavy as the burden of thinking you’re overweight and panic-cutting!
5) Keep Pulling.
Do everything with conviction. That 160kg deadlift could have been mine but I let doubt get in the way. You've probably already discovered that your body is capable of more than you ever thought possible, but in those kind of atmospheres with so much adrenaline, you never know what you’re capable of. I pulled 145kg whilst warming up and I’d never have guessed it at the time. In hindsight, if I’d known that, I probably would have had higher hopes for 160kg!