No distractions. No interferences. Just focus. Nothing is going to stop him.
First things first, how long have you been lifting for?
Only about 10 months! One of my friends convinced me to start coming to the gym. She had been lifting for a while and wanted to do a 30-day squat challenge. I went and gave it a go, and I haven’t stopped lifting since.
What made you want to compete in your first competition?
I’d been talking to people who had already competed, and they really recommended it.
They said meets are totally different from other sports competitions; it’s just like being in the gym – you’re mainly competing against yourself and trying to hit personal PBs.
You’ve competed in a lot of sporting competitions before, what made a powerlifting meet so different?
I’ve been a competitive swimmer since I was about 10. I think usually when you’re a competitive athlete you’re brought up to believe that you have to go to competitions and beat everyone. It’s kind of this mentality where you just think about yourself, and if you don’t beat everyone else there then you’re just not good enough.
There is an entirely different atmosphere when it comes to powerlifting. You’re still competing against other people, but they always support you.
I remember because it was my first meet, I got quite emotional and I just broke down in tears before my deadlift. My competitors who didn’t know me and who were competing against me were coming up to me and telling me how well I was doing.
You just want everyone around you to do well.
In powerlifting, you can do well, and other people can do well, and you’re happy for them.
What was the day like?
It was, without a doubt, one of the longest competitions I have ever done in my entire life. Weigh in was at 8AM and then we started competing at 10. You’re put into flights based on your weight category, and you compete against the other people in your flight. You get three attempts at the three lifts (that’s the squat, bench press and deadlift).
So, you start with your squat; everyone else squats, and then you will do that another two times. Then it is the same with the bench press and the deadlift. In between your lifts you get time to prepare yourself. You speak to your handler, stretch, refuel and hydrate yourself before you go again.
It took about 4 hours and then we stayed and watched the boys compete as well. The entire day was 12 hours, but it was so interesting because you’re watching a lot of people lift and you learn a lot through that.
How do you go about preparing for something like that?
I was provided with a training programme by Warwick Barbell, which I followed, but I got carried away and injured myself overtraining. I would really recommend sticking to your programme and listening to other people more than I did – I just thought I knew best, but I really didn’t. Luckily, I had loads of people there supporting me on the day, which got me through despite being on a lot of painkillers.
Did you follow a particular diet?
Honestly, not really! I didn’t do anything extreme when it came down to my eating.
What would your advice be for someone thinking about competing in their first powerlifting meet?
First off, I would say 100% go for it!
It will be a lot like what you’re expecting, just look at is as the same as any other training session – you’re there to do the best you can and compete against your old self. Everyone there is in the same boat – they just want to get better. The atmosphere is so nice. Everyone will cheer you on, even your competitors.
Oh, also don’t leave losing 1KG to the day of the competition. You really don’t need that extra stress!
Will you compete again?
I need to take a bit of a break now to recover, which is probably the hardest bit. As soon as I can start training again, I’ll be straight back into it.