In the beginning of last year, a friend of mine suggested that I join a powerlifting meet hosted by Crossfit MNL in Eastwood. I had already been training exclusively for strength for about 3-4 months at that time so I was all for it even though I was still very inexperienced.
I prepared as best as I could, and I even started benching when I hadn’t previously because I didn’t want to develop my chest. Fast forward to competition day and I didn’t do so well. I ended up bombing out and crying like a little baby because I was so, so, so disappointed that it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. More than feeling utterly embarrassed at my poor performance, I felt so discouraged because I thought I had finally found something that I loved, but it appeared as though I was absolutely terrible at it. Lol
After that meet I jumped back into training for the next one. I found my coach, Zach Trahan and he helped me with my programming. My plans were to compete in the next meet, which was a single-ply equipped meet. I ended up not doing the single-ply meet due to scheduling conflicts. I did however, join a single-lift bench press competition with the bae . And that’s pretty much it for my “competition history” in powerlifting for now. Haha
Since finding out about the MNL Powerlifting meet in the January, I continued to train exclusively for powerlifting and didn’t worry about “bodybuilding” per se. Sure I was building muscle, but it was secondary to getting stronger.
Fast forward to May when I finally decided that I wanted to do a bodybuilding competition, namely the Gemmalyn Crosby Sports Festival in August. I had always been interested in competing in bodybuilding, but I never thought I would actually do it. I’m the type to plan and not follow through, unfortunately. So I kept training for powerlifting, started cutting my calories, practiced my bikini posing, and eventually made it to the GCSF where I placed first in my class, bikini short. After the GCSF, I reverse dieted into the Shawn Rhoden Classic, still doing powerlifting, and placed first in my class as well.
I did powerlifting programming all throughout despite being told not to, and also against my own judgment. I thought I was doing the “wrong” thing by prepping for a bodybuilding show with powerlifting, but I did it anyway for not other reason than because I enjoyed it too much to stop.
Had I not continued to pursue my curiosity for powerlifting despite my poor performance, I would not have been able to build muscle in the months leading up to my prep. I wouldn’t have been able to keep most of said muscle during prep. And most of all, I wouldn’t have had an outlet for my bodybuilding-induced anxiety. LOL
It’s funny how things end up sometimes.
- If I didn’t bomb out of my first meet, I wouldn’t have hired my coach.
- If I hadn’t hired my coach, I wouldn’t have been able to build what little muscle I had for bikini.
- If I didn’t have the structure of a powerlifting program during prep, I wouldn’t have been able to stay consistent and would probably have lost a lot more muscle than I had.
- If I had lost any more muscle, I probably wouldn’t have done well in the GCSF and SRC because the ladies in my class were all beautiful and tough to contend with.
So to all my ladies who are hesitant to jump into it because of other people telling you not to; are scared to do something manly, or are downright intimidated by the thought of lifting a lot of weight on a daily basis, here’s some advice from someone who used to feel the same.
6 Insights from a Wannabe Powerlifter
- Don’t let outside talk affect you. Who cares what other people think? It’s no one’s business but yours. They can share their opinions, but your decision to pick up that barbell is yours and yours alone.
- There will be guys who will talk smack about you for being too “manly” and “scary” just because you’re lifting more than them. Take it as a compliment.
- Your waist won’t get blocky. I stepped on stage with a 19-inch waist without dehydrating or cutting out salt or sugar, or taking any diuretics. Sometimes abdominal fat can be mistaken for a blocky waist but in most cases, it’s just fat that’s causing the appearance of a blocky waist. That will eventually come off if you diet down.
- You don’t have to be good at it to fall in love with it. I have nothing to show for my powerlifting efforts and my strength is mediocre. (SAD!!!!!!!!!) I don’t really care though. It’s no one’s journey but my own. You can train for powerlifting and not compete. You can train exclusively to compete. Whatever it is, know that there is always room for improvement so even if you’re not good now, you’re not going to be stuck in that same place forever if you keep working hard.
- Most of the time, with the proper programming, your biggest hurdle is your mind. If you think you won’t be able to hit your numbers, you won’t. If you believe that you can, you’ll manage 90% of the time. It’s both taxing and liberating on the mind, in my humble opinion. I think it’s great for building one’s character as well.
- You learn to check your ego at the door. Sometimes it’s cool to show off your strength, but if your program says to only do x weight for x sets and reps, you need to follow it. You also learn to be more honest with yourself, to others, and to your coach. There’s no lying about numbers and hiding bad form when there are videos involved. Well, it’s a lot harder to fake it at least.