Since last year, we have seen women’s powerlifting increase in popularity in the country. The raising of Classic division in the CPU/IPF with the first World level competition in 2012 have waked up some women’s mind. In fact, women can be headstrong and powerfull and they have the advantage of flexibility and short range of motion for the most of them. If you are looking to challenge yourself, it could be the beginning of an endless search !
My journey began in June 2011. After years of martials arts practice, short distance running and basic musculation in the gym, I was looking for a new challenge. Introduced by my co-worker Jonathan Simard and my cousin elite coach and lifter, Joël Boulianne, I found I was genitically gifted to lift weights, especially to bench. I did my first National benchpress record in September 2011 and won the provincial best lifter in November. My first Nationals at Calgary was not that succesfull but I learned a lot. In 2012, I decided to focus only on Classic lifting. In April 2013 at CPU Nationals, Richmond BC, after a great battle with the very good deadlifter, Alison Scott from Alberta, I won the overall best lifter. Then, I had to decide if I would go to the IPF Classic Worlds in Russia even if I knew I had no chance to win. After a 10 weeks schedule set by the elite coach and lifter, Tom Kean, I took the plane to Russia with the only hope to learn from the best in the world and improve myself. The travel was very long and very hard and unfortunately I had to jump up the platform after 2 days of sickness. At this point, the only things left are your ego and the trust that your entourage and sponsors (Iamgold Corporation & Athletic Alliance) put in you. Being the smallest of the weightclass (63kg) the surprise was mine that I escaped from the meet with a bronze medal in the benchpress. This was by far, the hardest mental experience of my life and sharing the podium with the World record holders, Kimberly C. Walford and Inna Filimonova was the best moment of my short athlete career. Somehow, I left with the bitter taste of missing my deadlift. This pushing myself to make some changes. Going back in the country, something switched on in my mind. I have seen the best in the world and they are not only numbers. They are human, like you and me and if you want to reach the top you have to work hard and be dedicated.
My keys to the success :
1- Never miss a training : I had to worked 80 hours/ week in 18 months and I was always there to train. Even if you are not top shape, it’s better to show up and do a shorter work-out than miss it. If you see training like a dirty job, it’s the beginning of the end. Yess, it is not easy but I enjoy it, reaching a little goal in every training session seeing every time I cross the gym door as an opportunity to get better.
2- Listen to your training partners/ coach : I have the chance to train in one of the best gym in the country : MOFO Barbell, Saguenay QC. When Yves Brousseau called a bench pause, you wait the call. When Savanah Porzuczek say that you don’t reach the depht, you go deeper. It’s better to learn from the critics. If you train alone, I suggest to film yourself on a camera, ask for advices or correct yourself. You will save a lot of time.
3- Try to reach the perfect form and technic in every single rep: You will teach to your body to involve the right muscles and avoid injuries. Good warm-up and perform stretching can really help you to reach the proper form. Flexibility is a skill that can be developed like strength. Again here, you can use video camera. Start with lightweight, high reps and increase slowly.
4- Have a good lifestyle: Avoid excess, have good sleep, good food, water and avoid all kind of stress to your mind and your body. Best way to recover. Leave your distractions, cellphone outside the gym. This the moment to empty your head, to think about yourself.
5- Have a plan and stick to it: American or Russian programs ? There is good concept in both. You have to give a try for at least 2-3 cycles to see the benefit. I am not sold to one method. With the experience, you will learn to know yourself, what works for you. I like high volume methods because like the adage says: ‘’Practice makes perfect’’.
6- Select good attempts at the meet: The master in this topic is Matt Gary, Team USA’s coach. He demonstrated with a data of meets results that there is a correlation between attempts selection and success. The numbers don’t lie.
7- Be open minded and up to date: There is a lot of good infos on the internet but also a lot of bad. I often call myself a powerlifting geek. I don’t count the hours passed on watching videos and read articles related to PL. It’s good but you have to be critic and smart or you will lose yourself and your goal. If you have good argument, I am willing to listen and try something new.
8- The last but the most important according to me .. BE PATIENT. Rome were not built in one day. Building strength require time. Building confidence require time. Recover require time. Develop mobility and perfect technic require time. Everything in powerlifting require time. If you have found the magic formula, tell me because I am still looking for it ;) A training schedule and a meet is like a long run. Sometime you have to push beyond yourself, sometime you have to control your energy. Always, you have to be smart and balanced to succeed in progression. When a meet is done, I am already thinking of the next one ..
Hope this was helpful and that convince you that this is possible for everybody to perform in the sport of powerlifting when you believe in yourself. With only 4 wilks points between the all-time Top 3 Classic women lifters, there is a lot of challenge and a great battle is expected at CPU Nationals 2014 in Ontario. If somebody told me that I would have traveled across the country and the world to lift some plates 4 years ago, I would certainly call him a crazy ;) If you have questions or want to discuss about a specific topic, leave your comments in the box, I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks to my friend, hobbit bro, Connor Lutz for the opportunity.