POWERLIFTING: Channeling Your Inner Strength, A 9 Week Journey
Today I wanted to share something with you that’s very personal to me. On Saturday, February 1, 2014 marked the day I accomplished a huge goal and successfully competed in my first ever Powerlifting Competition.
3 years ago around MLK Weekend I wanted to make a change. A lifestyle change. I wanted to become a healthier, better “me”. I knew I wasn’t able to do it alone. I stumbled upon a trainer/(at the time) co-owner Shawn of a small local gym Excel Fitness through twitter and I made an appointment to meet with him to discuss my goals. Little did I know that this appointment would ultimately change my life forever and lead me to where I am today! I made the commitment and hired Shawn for 3 months to help me re-learn how to change my diet, workout routine and lifestyle in order to accomplish my goal. Re-shape and tone my body with the intent of loosing about 10lbs. (At the time I weighed about 145lbs. 5’5″)
At the tail end of my training I was in a great place mentally and physically. I may have not met my 135lb goal but I was definitely on my way. (Oh & at the time I was single.. and dating.) Now comes the next chapter. When I least expected it, I met someone. A man who became a huge part of my life for the next 2+ years. Someone I fell in love with, who pushed me to the next level . He introduced me to some of the core principals of a sport that I knew nothing about called “powerlifting”.
I out grew Excel Fitness and decided to join two other larger local gyms that better suited my needs. I was able to workout with my boyfriend 5-6 times a week, gained strength & built some muscles… all and all a triple bonus for me! My body composition changed for the better, I started seeing muscles I never knew existed! My strength and power increased 100%! I was addicted to getting stronger!
In the beginning we started off slow, I incorporated some power movements with some body building techniques just to get my feet wet. I still didn’t know what I wanted out of all this training. I kept changing my mind and wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit 100% to training specifically for powerlifting. All I knew is that I loved the way my body was developing and enjoyed squatting, enjoyed bench pressing and wanted to keep it all going. (Deadlifting was still an unknown at this point)
The training became a huge focal point of our relationship. I even fantasized that one day we would both compete in our first powerlifting competition together! Provided that I could muster up the mental confidence and strength it takes to commit to a 9 week structured training and diet program.
Like all relationships there were some rocky roads. At times I thought to myself… If the boyfriend & I broke up… what would happen to my training?
Would I be able to continue it on my own?
Would all this hard work go to waist?
I got to the point where mentally I became dependent on having my training partner present in order to succeed. (Or so I thought) It was extremely unhealthy but I didn’t want it to change because I was so comfortable with the way things were. I loved our time spent at the gym, it became a trend. After we trained together for a year straight we started noticing more and more guys bringing their significant others to workout. It was cute… and about 90% of the time brought a smile to my face.
So now’s the final chapter… what changed it all and made me harness my inner strength?
One thing that’s resonated with me was being told by veteran Powerlifters…
“You can’t call yourself a Powerlifter until you’ve actually competed in a powerlifting competition.”
So, with that being said… Another year past and powerlifting became my go-2! I love doing it! I love the weekly gains, the improvements, the muscle development and overall thrill of knowing I can move 100-200%+ of my body weight. The added boost of confidence of course, was having the boyfriend by my side rooting me on, and doing the same for him.
I discovered powerliftingwatch.com – the GO-2 for all powerlifting meets, results, records etc. I picked out our first powerlifting competition.
Waiting for his commitment was killing me… I thought he was on board but I sensed his hesitation and I didn’t understand why. He’s been training his whole life for this… for me it’s only been 2+ years… No More Excuses, We’re Ready For This…Lets Make The Commitment! I finally want to call myself a Powerlifter! —- Well, needless to say… I found myself sending in my check solo and minus a training partner.
Looking at the calendar by myself was daunting. I had 9 weeks to set my training schedule and start preparing. My goal was to compete in what they call an “Ironman Push/Pull” (Bench Press & Deadlift Only) My weight class to hit was 132.25 lbs. (at the time my weight was fluctuating between 138-135lbs)
I was scared out of my mind! My confidence level plummeted. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do or where to start. (Thanks to the ex for introducing me) I immediately contacted the one and only person I knew at the gym with powerlifting experience and luckily he was willing to guide me in the right direction. I was extremely grateful and also filled with tons of emotions, I felt alone, like a fish out of water, as if it was my first time training in a gym and I didn’t know what to do.
Throughout the entire 9 weeks I continued to question myself. Anything and everything negative that could go through, my head did. The worst of the anxiety seemed to always set in the night before I had to train my main lifts!
This used to be fun when I had my training partner… now it’s no fun…
Why was I doing this alone?
What was I trying to prove?
Would I have someone to spot me?
Am I gonna make my numbers that I planned out this week?
Am I gonna succeed?
What’s the point?
Maybe I should just give up?…
Until I would physically walk into the gym and do what I had to do, would my mind finally stop racing. I kept saying to myself…. you’ve been working so hard for this…. you can do it! Just be strong! Don’t Give Up! Never Give Up!
Well, guess what?… I didn’t give up… I stayed strong, found the confidence and did it all on my own! (of course I had support of friends & family… but staying motivated was 100% me)
I Harnessed My Inner Strength!
Towards the end of the training I made a decision to go to the gym where the competition was being held. Filled with doubt and nerves, I walked in. To my surprise my mentor was there that day and introduced me to a few of the guys. They let me try out their bench and deadlift bar which eased my nerves 100%. Pretty much the rest is history…. the guys at the gym welcomed me in with open arms. I was so relieved to finally have a group of experienced powerlifters to train with. A little bitter sweet, but I’m proud to say that I did it all without the crutch I was holding onto for 2 years straight. Something I never thought I would ever accomplish in a million years!
Boy it really feels good to be able to face your fears head on and kick them out the door! Now I feel like I can conquer anything!
The competition was put on by RPS & Iron Horse Gym in New Hartford, CT. – February 1, 2014
My final results were: Body Weight: 130lbs // Bench: 130lbs // Deadlift: 270lbs
A few great product links for those of you looking for powerlifting gear or info on upcoming meets
- Sling Shot (great for improving your overall bench strength – great overloading for close grip, dips, push ups, bench press)
I bought the original Size: Medium and brought it to an upholsterer to have it taken in 1/2″ on each side
- Gangsta Wraps (36″ wrist wraps … i probably don’t need such long wraps but i like the stability and feel)
- Great site for everything powerlifting… Wraps, straps, bands, equipment, singlets & more…
- Great source for your powerlifting equipment. I bought my belt from Inzer. Forever Buckle 10MM
My Singlet is a basic black Asics purchased at www.scoreboardwrestling.net
** when ordering this singlet get a larger size. I’m 5’5 130 & i bought a medium which fit perfect. A small would have been too tight.
I’m really looking forward to competing in Full Power for my next competition … just thought gets me a little nervous of course. 😉 My long term goal is to qualify for the Europa 2015!
STAY STRONG & POWERLIFT! That’s my motto!
I guess when you love something so much, you won’t let anything or anyone stand in your way of fulfilling your dreams! Always believe in yourself!