An Open Letter to the First Time Strongwoman Competitor
By Rebecca McCauley:
Dear First Time Strongwoman Competitor,
I know you’re scared. I know you’ve thought about backing out of this competition a million times. It’s where every Strongwoman competitor starts. But guess what – signing up for this event will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. It’s often easy to look over at the veteran strongmen and think, “it’s easy for them” or “I bet they’ve always been strong.” Wrong-o. I thought I’d share a few thoughts with the new Strongwoman.
Fact #1: Everyone Sucks When they Start Strongman
It’s true. I when I started Strongman training, I pressed the bar (just the bar) – and it was ugly. I couldn’t load a 100# stone to the tailgate of Robbie’s truck. The farmer’s carry might as well have weighed a million pounds. And that car deadlift….damn car deadlift.
A Strongwoman that is good from day one is like a rainbow unicorn – they simply don’t exist. Everyone struggles through the beginning phases of Strongman where every lift is clunky, your carries are ugly and you question if you’re even good enough to compete in this crazy sport.
But the thing with Strongman, if you keep working at it and listening to your coaches, you will get better. It’s just how it works. Believe in yourself, ask questions of other Strongmen and work hard. You’ll eventually lift the damn car.
Fact #2: The Strongwoman Community is Awesome
I can guarantee you will have more fun the day of your first competition than you ever imagined. I’ve competed in sports my whole life and have always had a healthy love of competition. You know – you vs me, good vs bad. But the Strongman Competition is the most encouraging environment you will ever compete in.
During my first Strongman Competition, the other competitors gave pointers and tips throughout the whole meet. One girl even straightened the weights on my farmers handles. I’ll never forget it. She was a veteran, totally tatted up and bad ass. And she took the time to straighten my weights to make sure I was set up to do the best I could. How awesome is that?
In my second competition during the progressive deadlift, a girl kept losing her grip on the bar. One of the competitors in her same weight class, ran and grabbed a bucket of chalk and brought it over to her to help her out.
The girls at the Strongman competition will cheer you on. Even ones you don’t know. You’ll make friends. You’ll laugh. You might even cry (yep, it happens.) But the mix of adrenaline, friendship and accomplishment will seriously make this one of the most memorable days ever.
Fact #3: The Sense of Accomplishment is Amazing
After every competition, I am absolutely giddy. Doesn’t even matter if I won or not. Your body will have just done things that you never imagined. You’ll flip tires, lift cars and load stones that you could only have dreamed about before. Your face will hurt from smiling. You’ll watch and rewatch your videos of each event. Your husband will probably get tired of hearing you retell your stories. You will walk away from that day with more self-esteem, sense of pride and accomplishment than you’ve ever had. Even if you finish dead last.
Fact #4: You are Incredibly Brave
Do you know how many people will be sitting on the sidelines secretly wishing they were brave enough to do what you’re doing? There are people that watch your videos on Facebook wishing that they were competing beside you. But, they’ve let their fear of failure, insecurities and concerns of “what others will think of them” keep them on the sidelines.
You should be very proud of yourself for even signing up. You may not flip that tire once. You may not load the last stone. But you are a role model out there showing everyone what courage and strength looks like. A friend said the other day, “how often do you really put yourself out there to do something that makes you uncomfortable.” Well guess what – you’re doing it and the people on the bleachers are silently wishing they could, too.
My hopes for all the new Strongwomen for their first competition are simply: I hope you soak in every minute of the day, I hope you realize how incredibly strong you are and I hope you gain the love for this crazy sport that I have.
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