Having a Pro Total Does Not Make You a Pro

By: Lisa Guggisberg

Search for the definition of professional and you’ll see words like skill, competent, educated, or specialized. Which to me means being a professional you need to have a experienced, specific skill set. As a powerlifter we all have a specific skill set but there are a few seasoned lifters who really personify the word pro. Watch Brian Carroll at a meet. He gets the job done, executes under stress, keeps a level head and makes smart business decisions. He is a pro. Having a pro total does not make you a pro. How you obtain that pro total and continue to exceed that number makes you a pro. Here are some things I have observed from the true pros of the sport.

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Making smart business decisions

A lot of times things change during a meet. What does this mean? Well here’s an example; say you have to opportunity to make a big PR or the choice to hit a smaller number that will secure the best overall lifter spot. A pro will analyze to situation, weigh the pros and cons and learn to check their ego. A big PR is not a guarantee but hitting a number you know you can hit to take best lifter and possibly prize money home is a where you check your ego, make the wise business decision and go for the win. What about injuring yourself during meet prep? Do you continue on and make the injury worse and potentially put yourself out for six or more months or shut it down? Take a loss on the entry fee and move on to the next one and prolong your lifting career. Be smart about your decisions and treat them like a smart business decision.

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Bring handlers to a meet

I don’t care if you are raw or geared. Doing a meet without a handler is just shooting yourself in the foot. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a meet where lifters don’t have help lined up. It’s just a dumb move and will cost you. Simply put you can’t do a meet without a handler. Period. Make an investment and pay for your handlers to come, buy them dinner or offer them a percentage of your winnings as an incentive for them to work hard on meet day. Just don’t do a meet without a handler!

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Know the rules

I’m a paralegal and we live and die by the rules of the court. Attorneys who know the rules inside and out, backwards and forwards are the best attorneys because they can strategically argue a case, find the loopholes and oppress their opponents arguments. Same goes for a lifter. Example; not being able to change an opener or an attempt because you didn’t know the rules. Not being able to change an attempt due to ignorance could be detrimental and a dumb move.  Read the federation rule book. Everyone has a smart phone download the rules onto your phone and have them handy.

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Be prepared

Shit happens. No meet will be perfect. Learn to adapt and make the most of a bad situation. Equipment will break, you won’t use the same equipment you train on, weather will affect you, traffic getting to the meet, these are just a few things that can effect meet day.  Therefore, bring back up equipment, arrive early and go ahead and assume traffic will be bad, bring cash with you, bring plenty of food, make a check list; basically be a Boy Scout and prepare for the worst case scenario.

I see a lot of failures at meets simply because good lifters fail to be a professional and have a plan. Treat your lifting like a job if you want to be a true pro.

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A self-proclaimed former high school band nerd turned meathead nerd, Lisa has been coached and mentored by Brian Carroll using 10/20/Life principals for 3 years. She started CrossFiting in 2006 but gave that up after realizing all she wanted to do was squat, bench and deadlift heavy. She now competes as a raw and multi-ply powerlifter in the 114 and 123 weight classes. Lisa has All-Time top 10 totals in both raw and multi-ply in her respective weight classes with a raw pro total of 936 lbs at 114 and a pro 1118 lb multi-ply pro total at 123 and 1090 lb multi-ply total at 114. She is currently ranked the #1 female multi-ply lifter at 123, #2 at 114 multi-ply female and #3 raw with wraps. Lisa has a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration, but hates politics and political debates. She is a mom of two, a firefighter wife and has worked as a full time litigation paralegal for almost 20 years.
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