Everyone has got their own theory for getting ready for a competition. There are a few standards like tapering beforehand and carb loading the night before (if you’re not cutting that is). We’re going to give you our take below. Just a side note, everyone is unique and reacts differently to training and recovery and nutrition so the key is experimenting and finding what works for you.
Now if you have a competition to prepare for a month or three away, you can set up a week to week, day to day plan leading up to it. A week out from the competition start slowly tapering down. Cut lifting weights 5-7 days out to give your body ample time to relax and loosen up. Go from two a days to one a days. Allow yourself an extra hour or two of sleep if you can. Don’t expose yourself to potentially dangerous situations at practice, just work on refining your speed and technique. Maintain proper nutrition, cut out the greasy fatty foods that slow you down. Gradually start dropping your weight so that you’re within five to eight pounds, a small enough amount that you can sweat it off the day of weigh-ins.
But what if you’re competing every week? Twice a week? And you don’t have time to slowly taper down a week in advance? In that situation it’s all about maintenance and consistency. Now I don’t mean skill wise, you always want to be continuously improving there. I mean physically and nutritionally. Keep your weight stable to within an amount that you know you can drop the day of. Don’t balloon back up after weigh-ins then get stuck dropping it all off the next week; that is unneeded stress on your body. Take the day before your competition to taper down, get a light workout in to stay loose, work on timing and technique rather than going too hard. Get a solid night’s sleep.
However, all of this physical tapering and peaking doesn’t mean anything if your mind isn’t into it. If you are mentally off during a competition, it doesn’t matter how great physically you are. Your mind is just like any other part of your body, it needs rest. The day before a competition, clear your mind. Relax, meditate, watch a dumb movie, read a light book, anything to ease your mind so you will be ready to focus when it matters. At the end of the day that is really the most important. It really is all mind over matter, especially at a high level when skill wise everyone is virtually equal.
So consult with your coach. Set up a plan. Experiment with different routines leading up to smaller competitions to find out what works and what doesn’t. And remember to make sure you have plenty of Rapid Rehydration for immediately after weigh-ins.