Lessons I learned from competing

Two weeks ago, I competed in my first weightlifting/Crossfit competition. It was exhilarating, nerve wrecking, scary and satisfying all at the same time.

I have been training on my Olympic lifts for 6 months now. If you have ever picked up a new hobby, 6 months is when you have just gotten over the awkward part of learning, started to see some good progress and where everything is still fascinating and you are constantly learning. It is not the time where you are proficient or anywhere near the level that competing would require.

Nonetheless, I decided to bite the bullet and went ahead and joined an amateur weightlifting competition my weightlifting club had organized. Part of moving to a new city meant that I had to relearn a lot of things. One of the things I decided on was to never make fear a reason for not doing or doing something. Apart from fear of embarrassment and failure, there really wasn’t anything else stopping me from taking part.

On the 14th of March, I showed up at the competition, a nervous wreck, pretty convinced I was going to be a mess. But I wasn’t! I totally owned the first day at the competition, beat my previous personal records by a mile, didn’t finish last, and didn’t injure myself. The consistent training I had been doing over the last 6 months paid off. Went home on an adrenaline high — pretty sure I was going to be fine the next day with the CrossFit component.

The next day was a complete disaster. Having not trained my cardiovascular fitness for the last 6 months, while I focused on strength training, exercises that were previously a given for me felt like death. I ended the competition back where I thought I would be, last, humbled and reminded about the importance of consistency and the danger of complacency.

A decade ago, I would have been devastated. I was so competitive growing up, always having to win, being the best at everything and was such a sore loser. Being competitive wasn’t the problem though, being a bad loser was. Somewhere along the line, I learnt that results don’t matter if you genuinely tried your best. Being competitive against yourself is a great thing, having to be better than others to validate yourself isn’t.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. The sense of achievement and satisfaction from overcoming my fears and pushing my boundaries was invaluable. I want to live a full life. A life filled with adventure and escapades. Showing up and taking part in this competition reminded me what it took to live a life of daring and just how rewarding it can be.

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