Why Compete? I Say Why Not!

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Passion, not to be confused with Obsession

Why Compete? I Say Why Not!


Imagine it! You are standing on a raised platform. There are three judges dressed in blue staring at you with a stern look on their faces. The room is packed with people. The roar of the crowd is growing louder in anticipation of your lift. You peak over at the time clock flashing 35 seconds. Three months of training now comes down to the next few lifts. You are out there! There is no turning back now!

Personally I love that moment probably because I have competed in strength sports for over 30 years. The platform will teach you so much about yourself. Some people will excel with the added adrenaline. Some people will have a very hard time at first. Some people are natural competitors, and others need some work. This is life guys!

Some of us will start a business. Then things will get a lot tougher than you thought they would. Will you suck it up and figure it out, or will you crumble under pressure? I am not saying that only great competitors will be successful in life. I am just saying that competition is a great place to practice overcoming adversity.

Even though some of us will excel more that others in the beginning, we will all find roadblocks along the way. We will eventually attempt a weight that simply scares us. Does that mean we are to quit when we reach this limit? No, not at all! This is when we go to work! You learn to train smarter, eat wiser, and recover better. Basically you make a plan to overcome your bump in the road.

I want you all to understand that competition isn’t reserved for the elite. It is for us all. I am talking about weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, highland games, or CrossFit. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. They will all teach you valuable lessons about yourself, and then it is up to you to evaluate, respond, and conquer.

Competition is also hanging around a group of people that just happen to love the same sport as you. Strength sports carry with them a unique camaraderie that is impossible to duplicate elsewhere. Some of my best friends are people that I have trained with and competed with. We get each other. We understand the daily struggle for just one more kilo. We have all had that weight that lingers in our brains like a nightmare. That weight that becomes like the monster in the closet that doesn’t even really exist, but consumes us as children. With the help of each other we can overcome that monster, and move on to the next challenge.


Everyone thinks of competition as the moment one steps on the platform. That isn’t true at all. The competition starts the week of the meet. We start checking our weight. Some of us will have to start cutting a few pounds. We will start second guessing our openers. We will play out all scenarios in our heads a million times.

Then we arrive at the meet venue. All your old friends are there, and they are just as excited as you are. For the next few days you are going to feel like a rock star. You are going to hang out in the lobby of the competition hotel where you will meet new friends. You will talk about training, and you will discuss the Russian Squat cycle that you used to get more jacked than ever. Basically you will hang out with people that love the iron as much as you do, and you will love every second of it.

Then comes the night before the meet. You have made sure to eat the perfect meal. You have stretched out and performed hours of mobility work. Everyone knows to leave you alone for the next few hours because this is your time. This is your moment! It’s almost impossible to fall asleep, but it’s ok. We all know that we can perform with a few less hours of sleep on meet day.

Finally we dose off! Of course we are awake 30 minutes before the alarm. It’s meet day! Let’s go!!! It’s time for the perfect breakfast to start the perfect day. We travel through time at this moment like we are on autopilot. Everything is surreal! All of a sudden all aches and pains are gone. Our body surrenders for the day. We take that first real warm up, and at that moment we realize that the taper worked perfectly. Today will bring greatness!

Travis Cooper

Not everyone is quite as passionate as I am about competition, but you will have similar experiences. Your experiences! Competition is a tool to learn about certain characteristics that we posses. The things that we learn don’t define us. We will simply find out the things that we are good at, and we will learn about some things that we can improve upon. That is all. Basically competition is a time to have a blast, and improve who we are as people.

As you can tell, I love competition. I love to see people competing. That is why I decided to host the inaugural Mash Strength Spectacular September 5th on Labor Day Weekend at my farm in Advance, NC. I am offering people four ways to compete: Olympic weightlifting, Powerlifting, GridStyle (Functional exercise modeled after the Grid League), and Strongman. To find out more, click the link below:

Mash Strength Spectacular

I can’t wait to watch you all come out and strut your stuff. It is going to be a bunch of barbell loving people hanging out, slinging weight, and loving each other!


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