So I plan to compete raw in my first meet at the start of march. I have used very little of my lifting belt the past few years, and planned to get used to it again before the meet, well I have been trying but I guess not hard enough, my last heavy squat session was reverse band box squats and I seemed to be getting used to it. Although I couldn't get used to a belt for deadlifts and was thinking I would compete without.

Well last night I throw the belt on and it's getting too small almost, getting close to the final couple settings on it. I was struggling with 365 lbs to even hit depth and thought I was going to fall over. I worked up to 425 with wraps, and it just felt so odd to me. Keep in mind I have done 445x5 without belt on squats with ease recently a couple times.

I can make excuses about my sinus infection and not training for 2 weeks, then training anyways while still sick etc that put me behind when I was going to focus more on preparing for the meet, but it doesn't do any good. the meet is coming up and I'm not prepared.

I feel like in my mind I have two options. So if you guys have others or input on the ideas I have please feel free to offer it.

Option 1: Compete without a belt or wraps or anything, shoot for maybe 500 lb S/DL

Option 2: Start lifting in equipment every session, do a fast paced periodization or progression system, low weight start and solid frequency as I move it up and focus on getting used to the movement with equipment.

Also part of this time is obviously going to be a deload needed before the meet, so I really don't have much time left. I'm weighing about 243 right now, don't plan to cut at all before, so probably will weigh in close to 250 at the meet. I was 217 mid november when I started eating in prep for this, I went with a training protocol that has worked for me in the past that relies heavily on 5 reps, but also incorporates ME days although more spread out than westside, there's a name for this type of progression system but I forgot it. Cycling periodization or something else. My entire training log is online if anyone wants to view it to help with advice I will send them a link. I know I have a lot to learn but this set up has given me the most lasting gains in a well rounded fashion.

Ideally my goals would be to hit a 600/400/600 raw in competition. My bench is another issue, I haven't done any pause bench practice, my best single without any bands or boards or any other type of work is 385 done back when I weighed about 220. recently I did 365x5 with ease. So I need to include some way of practicing a pause bench. Also I don't have any training partners in this small town, I lift in my garage.

I really don't have much time, I want this meet to be an enjoyable experience. But I also want to feel like I lifted my best at the meet, and would like to actually get white lights on my lifts as well. I know a lot can go wrong your first meet. But what would you guys suggest I do? Do I need to try and get a new belt? could that be part of the awkwardness since it's on like the third to last setting? I plan to drop back down to 200-220 later in the year to lose bf.