The Post Meet Blues

By Danny Bellmore

Training intensity ramps up and is at the highest point as a given meet approaches. The intensity has remained high for a few months (with appropriate deloads!) as the body grows tired, tattered, and somewhat beat up. Years and months of hard training boiled down to one day, and nine potential opportunities to showcase all your hard work and effort.  This culmination of effort is the critical point that the mind begins to reassess preparation, it becomes easy to go into overload and overthink the meet preparation as a whole. Win or lose….a PR (maybe more than one!), or even broken records, some people just go into varying states of depression with the post meet blues.

Jonathan Byrd warming up in Inzer SDP Shirt and Inzer  Gripper Wrist Wraps

Once the competition is done, there is an enormity of things to consider internally. You may ask yourself – What is next?  Is there a next? Where do I go from here? The body is customarily beaten and the mind is fried from pushing through pain, a rite of passage that meet prep inherently carries. There can be some self-doubt and fundamental questions like, “Is competing for me anymore?” persistently flood the conscious and subconscious mind.  For me, what I specifically go through after a meet is much of the same. The different thoughts scramble through my head of what’s next for me, or if there is even going to be a next.

Jason Kowalewski wearing the unisex 10/20/Classic T-shirt

I have learned that bulling through often becomes in disastrous.  The mind is never fresh, or reset, my injuries never seem to go away, and they have an interesting way of capturing my attention at opportune and inopportune times.

Here are some strategies I have found advantageous:

  1. I take some time off from the gym…completely. Now, I don’t dwell on the past meet, or focus on any future meets. I simply place my thoughts and training into a neutral position.
  2. I refocus on something else for some time. I will start a project, or simply get things done around the house. The aim is to refocus until I get my head right. The saying is “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop.”
  3. Don’t let your peers dictate what you should do. You will find that almost everyone has expert advice for you. These people have no clue how you feel and what is going through your mind. Hell, most of these people can’t manage their sock drawer, but insist they know what’s best for you… and they are always so willing to share. Respect personal boundaries people!
  4. When I do start back up, the reactivation is a very slow process. I take as much time as needed to get back into the swing of things. The body and mind with tell you when you’re ready to ramp up.
  5. Be careful who you confide in. You will find 90% of the people out there could care less how you feel. If you feel like you need to talk to someone about things, do not open up to someone that will use it against you at a later date. I have found I say very little because you really can’t trust anyone.
  6. Even if you are feeling great after the meet and are ready to hit the ground running, take some time off.  A week at minimum.  The high from the meet will dwindle and realism will set in.  The body must settle and the mind must recover.  If anything, the time off the gym will spike your motivation even more.  If my lifting career has taught me anything, it’s that rushing things never ends well.

Always do what is right for you and put you first. People that know and respect you will understand your decisions to back off, or go full steam ahead. The ones who want to sit back and judge you really are meaningless to your life – so rid yourself of them. That’s called addition by subtraction!

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Danny Bellmore

Danny has been involved in powerlifting since 1994. The first swing at a career was short lived due to a major back injury in 1999 that resulted in a 3-level spinal (lumbar) fusion. At that point, he took a 10-year break. Avoiding the gym all together because his body, and back, just never felt right. In 2010, Danny went to handle a good friend at a local meet. That experience re-ignited the fire within and he was back under the bar, never looking back. Danny established an elite total at my first meet back in 2010 and then accomplished a win at the 2012 APF Masters Nationals. Through his win at the APF Masters, he was training using the Conjugate Method, but he wanted a change. He needed a change. Danny reached out to a friend who stated that Brian and the Samson Barbell crew had it going on. In the process of connecting with Brian, he has endured a few setbacks. During our initial discussions, he had torn my rotator cuff and labrum, along with a separated AC joint. The surgery did not "take" and just nine months later, he was back under the knife for a "do-over." During the healing process, he had lost feeling and strength in my right arm. Being pig headed, he waited and waited. My choice to remain stubborn backfired, and I was back in the OR for another spinal (cervical) fusion. Now healed, and a few years under Brian, Danny’s total has moved to 1871 @ 165. He doesn’t like to predict or talk about goals, but he wants more, and feels like he has more. Plans now are to compete at the Senior Nationals in Jacksonville, Florida this June.
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