The most common question we hear at Mississippi Barbell is "Do I have to wear a singlet?" when we announce olympic weightlifting meets. We get this question at least 4 times a meet. It's caused so much concern that for the last few events we haven't even required it*. Even when we say it isn't required, people still won't come lift.
To set your minds at ease, we are going to talk about why no one cares about your singlet at an olympic weightlifting or powerlifting event. And if you wear one, why you aren't going to die.
1. Everyone Is Wearing One
Not every weightlifting event requires a singlet. However, if you want to lift in a national meet, you may as well get used to a singlet (or something similar like Spandex). Even if a national event isn't on your horizon, everyone else is wearing one. So if you think you look stupid (you don't), at least everyone else looks stupid with you. But you can't look too stupid when you compete and stand on top a podium with a medal around your neck, can you? As for powerlifting, most federations require a singlet. So if you want to a powerlifter get used to it.
How To Survive: Rock that singlet in your gym. Get used to it. Find one you feel confident in. If you don't feel confident, fake it. Eventually you will love that singlet. Singlets signify power. You already have an upper hand over scaredy cats because you're competing. Be the alpha dog (or cat) you were born to be.
2. People Are Self-Centered
Look at how many selfies and Snapchat stories are all over the internet. Humans today love themselves. And they love people loving them.
Meets aren't any different. Everyone is so hyper-focused on themselves they don't even care about you. They are worried how their hair, their singlet, and their lifts look. They may even be setting up a tripod to film themselves. Heck, maybe they are focused on not throwing up from nervousness (that was me the first 4 years I competed).
Exception: If someone is "thirsty" they will be focused on you. And every other male/female at the event. So at least you won't be alone. If they bother you just outlift them. Or find an adult. I'm always happy to crush someone's thirsty spirit. Or just their spirit in general. So if I'm at an event, find me.
How To Survive: Be self-centered. Seriously. Focus on your lifts. Focus on WHY you signed up to compete in the first place. Have fun! And don't be thirsty.
3. They See More Of Your Skin When You WOD So It's Nothing New
Shots fired? Yep. While this isn't true for everyone, most people who complain about a singlet are in this category. Not sure how wearing a crop top and booty shorts is any different from a singlet except from the fact a singlet is more modest.
But did you know swimsuit style singlets are allowed? Or that you can alter the legs on a weightlifting singlet? Go ahead and make them booty shorts, girl (or boy). Let that freak flag fly and get it how you live it.
DISCLAIMER: Be very, very careful if you alter legs on powerlifting singlets. Check your rule books to ensure they meet your federation's standards and requirements.
How To Survive: Show off as much (or as little) skin as you desire. Leggings are allowed in weightlifting so wear them if you want no skin showing. We may thank you since you won't be getting blood on our bars.
4. It Is Possible To Look Cute In A Singlet
*Gasp* I'll wait for you to recover from that bombshell.
But yes: male or female you CAN look amazing in a singlet. How? Oh, I don't know, just by being you and showing the world how strong (mentally and physically) you are.
The beauty of weightlifting and powerlifting is anyone can do it. There's no size requirement. You don't have to be a size 2 (nothing wrong with that though) or have no body fat. You don't have to be a size 22 or have a power belly. You just have to show up.
You can put your personal spin on your singlets. You can go for a funny singlet, one with your club name on it, or add sparkles. Whatever makes you happy, do it. Accessorize with headbands, paint your nails, or order a custom singlet. There's so many brands out there these days making singlets for all sizes and shapes: Nike, Adidas, Virus, Lift Big Eat Big, the list goes on and on.
How To Survive: Your singlet is what you make it. I've worn neon green singlets, galaxy singlets, and plain Jane black singlets. If you don't want to wear a singlet, then wear what makes you comfortable. Shorts, leggings, capris. Tight tanks, loose shirts, shirts with holes in them. We really don't care.
Gallery Of What We've Worn To Meets: Singlets And No Singlets
5. You Already Have Our Respect
I won't sugar coat this: anyone who competes for the first time has our respect. It takes courage to get on a platform. I've been lifting 14 years and I STILL get nervous before my first lift at a meet.
No one who matters will ever make fun of you for competing. No one who matters will ever mock your attire or your size. No one who matters will ever discourage you from pushing your limits and competing.
Trust me, I know how scary it is to wear a singlet. I suffered from extreme body dysmorphia and eating disorders for years. Competing helped me get past that. I've competed at 107 pounds and I've competed at 207 pounds. Always in a singlet. I've never once regretted it.
Overcome your fears and get on that platform: singlet and all. You are more than a singlet. You're a competitor.
What was your first meet experience wearing a singlet like? What color did you go with? How many singlets do you have now?
If it's your first time competing what are some other concerns you have?
Let us know in the comments, make sure to check out all our events, and learn more about our history as the first and largest USAW Club in Mississippi.
* Always check with your meet director to see if he/she allows you to wear anything other than a singlet. Meet directors have that discretion.