If you improve by 1% on 10 items then you have a 10% improvement.   

Bill Crawford

Everything else includes all the rest of the components to building a METAL MILITIA WARRIOR. We've already layed out the METAL MILITIA technique, training plan and mental toughness. So, what else is there?

Well for starters, this includes examining every aspect of what will make you stronger, recover faster and perform at your best on the platform on meet day. Think about eating and sleeping for strength, developing focus and eliminating stress, dialing in your gear and adjusting it for weight gain or loss, having back up gear, training with the team that is part of your progress and eliminating people in your life who detract from it, scheduling around your family and work life. Also, involving other people in your goals and training - getting your wife, husband, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend and whoever else is close to you involved in helping you attain your goals.

Each person faces their own challenges. It almost never happens or at least it is very rare that a lifter will show up to competition without a nagging injury, a personal stress situation, a sickness or health problem, a piece of gear that gave out and needed to be substituted or repaired at the last minute and doesn't fit properly. Often the greater the goals and the challenge the bigger the obstacles that are thrown at you at the worst times. With enough competition experience you can pretty much expect 'shit' to happen to try to throw you off and give you an excuse. Everyone goes through it. Those who focus on their goals push through and get PR's on competition day. Those who focus on the obstacles talk about their excuses of why they didn't.

I will take this even one step further. Those who really don't believe in themselves find or create their own obstacles or reasons why it is impossible for them to compete and do well on competition day. They tell everyone publicly about their reasons and obstacles and why they were not able to do their best. Those that win, most likely also had obstacles but they didn't talk about it or focus on it - nothing got in their way.

Eat and Drink for Strength

Your diet plan starts with a goal for the meet and begins on the first day of training and lasts every day of training. Al Mehan came down to spend a week training with METAL MILITIA MONTREAL and in the one week of trying to keep up with his eating schedule, I gained 6 pounds and hit a 35 lb PR in my bench. Two hours after we had eaten, Al says to me, "ding, ding, ding, time to eat". Eating is your training!".

Eating more does many things: it provides more fuel for longer stamina and a feeling of being stronger, it increases hormone levels, it increases mental welbeing, it builds more muscle and it speeds up recovery. 

We should add drinking water to this as well because muscles need water to function, grow and recover. Dehydration can cause a loss of 10% of your muscle strength quickly.

Nutrition and Supplements

Should you eat clean or eat anything. Lifters have done it both ways. Eating clean is always best, but more important is eating enough to grow muscle and strength.

Basic Nutrition in preparing for a Meet

Calories - Eat enough calories to grow? How much is that? Normally, about 20x your bodyweight in pounds.

Protein - most important part. Eat or drink about 1.5 to 2 times your body weight (lbs) in grams. For a 200 lb lifter this means 300 to 400 grams of protein per day, 7 days a week. Try to eat more than a pound of meat, chicken, fish per day, but three pounds a day is better. Plan your meals to have at least a minimum of 50 grams of protein per meal.

Fat - minimum 60 grams per day for brain function.

Carbohydrates - depends on your goals, but usually about the same as protein or a bit less.

Supplements - start with the basic multi-vitamins and multi-minerals. Add some zinc and magnesium for better nervous system recovery and better sleep.

Note: If you need to cut weight to weigh in at a lower weight class and then gain the weight back quickly to fit your equipment, then make sure you do it through cutting water and not through cutting carbohydrates. You can rehydrate in 24 hours, but it takes at least 36 hours to come back from a carbohydrate cut.

Sleep for Recovery and Strength

Probably one of the hardest things to do for many people, getting to bed early and having a full restful sleep is part of training for a meet and a large part of achieving your goals on the platform.

Hard, heavy training breaks down muscle, increases stress on the nervous system and lowers the immune system. Sleep is the single best way to assist in recovery. As we sleep, we go through four stages of sleep, with the last stage being deep sleep. It is in this stage of deep sleep that repair and recovery happens.

Powerlifters set themselves up as best they can to achieve deep sleep. Heavy lifters are known to buy the best beds they can afford and to change them even every two years. Some heavy lifters need C-pap machines to counter sleep apnia which interferes with achieving deep sleep by waking them up every time they start entering that stage. Other efforts include blackening the room with dark curtains, noise proofing, not drinking fluids before bed, no bright lights or electronic screens before bed.

How much sleep do you need? It depends on the person and how quickly you can attain deep sleep. Olympic athletes are known to require 10 hours a night. Young people who are in the growing phase or growing spurts of their life often sleep alot more. Well, powerlifters also are in a growing phase and need more sleep than the normal population.