So the last week of summer is upon me as I pack my bags again to move into my new apartment to start my second year of Biomedical science at the University of Limerick! This year will be powerlifting, college and study. I have to put a lot of focus into the coming months if I’m going to achieve what I want to in the next while which is :
Reason 1: It’s not the same old same old thing
For me, doing the same thing over and over (and over) again leads to most of us getting extremely good at that thing. And that’s great for musical instruments etc. When it comes to fitness, repeating the same exercise leads to getting very efficient at programs. But unfortunately, exercise efficiency is the enemy of adaptation and body composition improvements. If I get very comfortable with my workout routine I’m not challenging my body to produce change. So if I was to bang out 20 reps of deadlifts with 60kg for three months, more than likely my body won’t respond to that anymore. So I choose to lift heavy and challenge myself every time I step into the gym with different set and rep variations which in turn gets me excited for training.
Reason 2 : To me it’s empowering There is nothing to me that can compare to deadlifting 150kg, bench pressing near body weight or reaching any other strength goals I have set for myself. In one of my training sessions coming up to the World Championships when I was maxing out my deadlift, I literally had everyone in the gym stop working out and look at me to cheer me on, most guys were shocked that a girl my size could lift 150kg. This of course makes me stronger in other aspects of my life. It may be hard to understand how a heavy squat can translate to being able to lift other heavy loads in other aspects of my life, but there is something transformative to me about being able to do something that seemed impossible to me a few short weeks before. And once you realise achieving those goals is possible, everything else in life seems possible.
Reason 3 : I am part of a community
When anyone in our gym or away at a powerlifting competition goes for a personal lift something pretty cool happens. Rather spontaneously other powerlifters will form around that person, trying to psych him/her up for their lift. Words of encouragement are shouted. It’s as if everyone is a part of the effort. Discussions will occur as to what she/he did right, or how to nail it next time. Maybe someone grabbed a quick video on their phone. Having people root for you and celebrate with you when you’ve achieved something you’ve never done before, something that may have not even seemed possible a few weeks ago, is not only awesome, it’s addictive.
Reason 4: It’s healthy and it improves your body composition
I went through a period of disordered eating habits 2 years ago. Since moving past them, I’ve made it a priority to maintain a good relationship with food, even if it came at the expense of my physique or my performance at the gym. Hey, the truth is I actually like my body a few kg heavier than my competition weight. That’s how comfortable I have gotten in my body and it feels great. There is something inherently different about the way I see food when I am training to look good compared to when I train to set personal records.
It’s only the beginning….
From my first national meet 2 years ago (IDFPA single lifts 2014) to IPF world classic championships 2015, I’ve dreamt about having my own Team Ireland singlet one day! The 16th of June (the day before my birthday) was the day I received my first Irish singlet. The honour and pride of trying it on for the first time had made all my hard work, sweat and tears over the past 2 years worth it. It was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for. With the same coach since my very first competiton (Joe) I stepped on the world stage at 8am on the 22nd of June which was a dream come through.
I knew months going into to this competition that the -57kg Junior category was of an immensely high standard and I was the youngest in the category with every competitor being at least 3 or even 4 years older than me. If I hadn’t turned 19 for another 6 months I would of still been in the sub junior category where I would of brought home 3 medals. But scrap that I was so honoured to step on the platform with the best -57kg juniors in the world.
The commentators on the live feed quoted about me ‘In the next few years the juniors got to watch out for her’.
In preparing for this competition my aims were to focus on me. My own improvement in my training and nutrition. I aimed to be in the fittest and strongest condition as possible. Powerlifitng is just you against you. You improving your total and your wilks. I also aimed to make the most of an experience that will stand by me forever in my future goals as a junior powerlifter. In my preparation my aim was to keep building and eating and building and eating and building. Learning how to properly fuel my body was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The difference in performance and attitude is immense , bye hangry. My body ended up doing some amazing things when fuelled correctly. Give your body what it wants and give it what it needs and you will pleasantly be surprised with the outcome
To lift at local and national events is one thing but to step onto a world stage among the best lifters from around the world is nerve wrecking and daunting. I can hold my hands up high and say I kept it together and increased my PB’s and set 2 national records. The experience I will take away from this is invaluable. It is something I have began to build on since I have come home.
Traveling over with the Irish national team was an honour in itself. Huge congrats goes out to each and every team mate of mine on their achievements and relentless persuit on doing what each and every one of them do best and also for representing their country with pride. Throughout the whole week our team received such positive feedback from other nations. I also have to say a big thanks to all the Irish PF gang for getting us this far in such a short period of time They know who they are. Also to the big man Joe himself for sticking by my side through thick and thin like the awesome coach he is, an endless thank you goes to you!
I am beyond excited for the future. Coming away from the IPF world classic championships with a 15kg PB on my total, 2 national records, a squat PB of 105kg, deadlift competition PB of 140kg, 52,5kg bench competiton PB and a national competiton total record of 292.5kg I am chuffed to say the least.
‘Success is no accident. It’s hard work, perserverance, studying, learning, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing’ –Pele
Join me on my Journey through these blogs as I prepare for my next competiton in March which is the IPF Europeans in Denmark. Its only the beginning….
So while completing my first year of studying science at the University of Limerick with a current QCA 3.68 I have been training towards competing for the IPF World Powerlifting Championships in Texas as part of the Irish team in June. With currently being 5 weeks out from this competition and having completed my last exam out of 5 exams yesterday it is now full force ahead with training. I will be training at Athlone Regional Sports Centre with my Powerlifting coach Joe Macken, who was also nominated as one of the coaches for the Irish Powerlifitng team over in Texas.
Although people would think I’d be out celebrating the end of my exams, that is not the case. I’ve come straight back to Athlone from Limerick to get stuck into final training prep at the Athlone RSC with my coach. I could honestly say I have always 100% put my dreams in front of me and tackled them. I believe that sacrifices have to be made if you truly want to reach your goals. No, you shouldn’t have a one way track of mind but you are going to have to give up things in life if you have a goal. I am doing this because I want to be the best I can be and be on a certain team (IrishPF team) and learn from them. I have done all of this while losing a close friend, going through college exam stress, working to make a living away from home etc. I have always had a driven mindset. And if you take anything from this it’s that having that drive, knowing sacrifices have to be made, is important. Because dreams don’t come true, you have to work for them. Life should be lived and enjoyed but that dream is going to require some sacrifices. And it will be worth it.
Currently I train 4 days a week at Athlone RSC. Monday is my volume day, where I train front squats, low bar back squats and conventional deadlifts. Tuesday I train bench and upper back. Wednesday’s are my day off which I try to stick to because days off are very important as well as good diet says my coach Joe Macken. I have to allow my body to rest and recover because I follow a very intensive programme. Thursday’s I train squats and heavy sumo deadlifts focusing more on technique and competition lift set-ups ensuring that each time I do the same movements in my set up. Friday is back to bench and upper body work.
Being 5 weeks out I will drop all accessory work and 2 weeks out I will be testing my max on squat, bench and deadlift and on the 12th of June I will be travelling up to Dublin to train with the Irish team to test opening lifts for Texas. I am up to 80kg squats x 5 reps,110kg deadlifts x 5 reps and 45kg bench x 5 reps at bodyweight -57kg, so I cant complain.
Becoming an Ambassador for Athlone Regional Sports Centre has given me a huge sense of belief in my ability and I find I have been able to bring that belief into my training and into my competitions.
One of my favourite quotes of all time is ” The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that -”
Looking forward to posting here again next month.