Girl Walks Into A Powerlifting Meet

I’ve been to my fair share of meets. I love traveling and supporting friends and lifters that are competing, I love getting the chance to talk with people I only otherwise see on social media, and I love being able to see people get hyped up over their own accomplishments. Lifters from different parts of the country travel to see some incredible displays of willpower and heart as well as to feel apart of something larger. Powerlifting and powerlifting meets are truly beautiful in that way. 


As always, with the good comes the bad. I’ve been to terrible meets. You walk in and can feel the ego and superiority complex right at the threshold. Everyone is in their own little corner of the warmup room, mean mugging anyone they think will be competition for them. Mini cliques are forming and passing judgment on the people across the room that don’t fit their mold. Everyone is sizing up everyone and refuses to be helpful to anyone they think can best them. Is this what we want to spend 8-12 hours doing? Even further than that, do we want to spend days and months with that same mentality while angrily scrolling through social media? Does that truly help anyone’s mindset or success in the long run?

I’ve been lucky enough to be at some pretty great meets. At these meets I’ve seen unity and common ground. I’ve seen competitors of the same weight class and caliber sitting together and laughing. There are coaches and lifters standing together talking between attempts, bouncing ideas off each other, loading plates, wrapping knees, and even going as far as to go get food or drinks outside of the venue if it’s needed. Out on the platform, spotters and loaders are cheering on every lifter as if it was their best friend and the crowd is on fire with support and attentiveness. Everyone is being treated with the same fairness without favoritism and elitism. THIS is what it’s about. 

Majority of powerlifters are broken. Not necessarily just  physically, but most of us have some reason to want to push ourselves in the way we do. None of that means that we can’t support someone else in the same journey that we are on. In this sport you can be competitive AND supportive. There is no reason you can’t be gritty and a little jaded while also being genuine and helpful. Is there someone at the meet that our totals you? Good. Use that extra kick in the ass to get better, but don’t refuse to help load their plates because that somehow makes you inferior. 

Newsflash: there will always be someone better than you in one aspect or another. Diminishing someone else’s value and skill set will never make your strengths get any better. You know what will make you better and make everyone around you better? Being a good person and spreading the mentality that we CAN all work together for a common goal and still want to be a strong competitor. 

Next time you’re at a meet, in the gym, or any setting where you have the capability to help people, do what you can. That mentality and action spreads like wild fire. You can ultimately be the one that starts the domino effect of promoting a stronger community where you’re at. Be the person who stands out and doesn’t fall into the trap of hoping for the worst for someone else. What will you do to make a difference? 


By: Riley Presnell