2016 NOVA Open Recap

This blog post was written by a member of the Humble Beast Barbell Club.

The 2016 NOVA Open was my first time as a competitor (or even a spectator) at a weightlifting competition. The whole experience reaffirmed why I love Humble Beast; the support structure from start to finish helped me overcome my nerves and compete at my best.

I arrived in the morning for weigh-in, dehydrated and nervous about making weight. However thanks to Lindsay’s straightforward nutrition guidelines over the past month, I had nothing to worry about, and came in well under my target weight. During the two hours between weigh-in and my first lift, we feasted and rehydrated. Cutting weight is exhausting so the goal was to recover as much energy as possible before competing.

After a basic warmup, the competition began. I continued practicing until my name was called, at which point Jeff and Colin shuttled me quickly to the platform. They didn’t even tell me what my opening snatch attempt was going to be, which I think actually worked to my advantage! The nerves and adrenaline kicked in and my mind was basically blank when I finally stepped onto the platform. After my opener, which thankfully I made, I returned to the practice platform briefly before being called back up for my second attempt (each lifter is allotted 3 snatch attempts and 3 clean and jerk attempts).

One of the most nerve-racking aspects of a competition is the brief instant when you’ve completed the lift but have to hold the weight steady until the judge signals you to put it down. As soon as you drop the weight, three judges (left, right, center) wave either a white (good lift) or red (no lift) flag. For a successful attempt, you need at least 2/3 white flags. So even if you think you may have pressed out (illegal elbow bend), just smile confidently anyway and you may get lucky!

Under Jeff, Colin, and Ruben’s careful guidance, I performed at a high level throughout the competition, exceeding my own goals for myself. This was only possible because they intentionally removed everything else except the lift from my mind. I didn’t have to worry about the weights (I was never even sure what weight was on the bar) or the other competitors (whose lifts I didn’t watch).

For most of the other athletes at the Nova Open, weightlifting is an individual sport, but with Humble Beast I felt like it was a team sport. The Humble Beast cohesiveness, positivity, spectators, coaches, teammates, and even matching t-shirts combined to create a uniquely strong support structure. This support structure is what will stick with me the most about the 2016 Nova Open.