Something really exciting happened in my life recently and I wanted to share it with you! So, when I started going to the gym my main goal was to build a better body, a body in which I would finally feel comfortable and more confident. My routine was mostly based on a hypertrophy program although I liked gaining strength that came as a result and thus it was a benefit for me. But I mostly trained for the looks, so I would say that I was doing bodybuilding rather than powerlifting. For those than haven’t heard of powerlifting competitions let me explain what it is about in a few words. So there’s three main lifts that must be done with a proper form, following the judge’s commands. Those being 1.Squat, 2.Bench Press, 3.Deadlift. Each lift is one rep only. You get 3 tries per lift. The tries are not continuous, you have breaks between them. There are also 3 judges and 3 spotters. After you execute your lift, the judges raise a white or a red flag depending on whether you did the lift properly or not. In case you fail to execute the lift there’s three red flags as well. If there’s 2 red flags and one white the lift is not valid. That’s pretty much it.
People always say that women are weak and that it’s not healthy for them to lift weights… Well, that is apparently a myth since a lot of women have proven them wrong! I had never really seen a woman lift a lot of kilograms since recently. I actually decided to participate in a powerlifting competition, the second Hellenic Powerlifting Challenge, since my partner was competing as well and he encouraged me to try it. I thought about it and I said “Why not?”. There’s nothing to lose and in the worst case one will just gain a new experience. My lifts are not that high but I was confident since last year the number of women competing was only 4 and they were all in different categories. That means that they all came first and won a gold medal! Of course their lifts were very good, for instance, a 48 kg woman lifted 95 kg at deadlifts. Impressive, right? I even found out that she is a mother!!! So, are women that weak after all? I think not!!!
Anyway, the thing is that I’ve never been that anxious and stressed about anything in my life. It was the first time that I would compete in a sport, except of course for some volleyball matches when I was in school, but those don’t count because it was nothing official. I started feeling anxious 3 days before the competition and the bad thing is that I had to wake up really early both on Saturday (to go see my partner’s competition) and then on Sunday for mine. I had to be there at 8:30 a.m., so I had to wake up at 6:00! The thing is that I couldn’t sleep neither on Friday night nor on Saturday because of all the stress and the mixed feelings I had about it. On Saturday my partner came second among 4 people in his category. I’m so proud!!! As for me, I went on Sunday and I gave it my best. The stress had receded a lot and I met some great people there, like the 48 kg woman Danae Panagiotou, who came to compete again and made new personal records (she deadlifted 110 kg this year) , and other girls that competed for the first time, like me! There were even 2 teenager girls, the one 17 and the other one 18 years old that lifted a loooot (the one deadlifted 175 kg and squatted 150 kg and the other one 110 and 105 kg respectively). Not to mention another girl who deadlifted 182.5 kg and broke her PR as well!!! All women were impressive and great, both at the sport and as personalities, I take pride in knowing them and they changed my perspective of women’s capabilities! Each one of us was the only one in her category even if we were much more than last year, so we all won gold medals . Personally, competing in the junior (20-23 years old) category of -56 kg (I’m currenly 54) I made a new deadlift PR (80 kg, last one was 75 kg). My squat was 60 kg and my bench 37.5 kg. As I mentioned before, my lifts are intermediate and if I was to compete against all the other women I would have come last. What matters is that I challenged myself, I made a new personal record and I loved the whole thing!!! Great people, great organization, friendly environment, big dreams and new goals!
All in all, I now changed my gym routine based on powerlifting. There’s an international and Hellenic powerlifting challenge on 21-22nd of May and I’d love to participate again and try to break my personal records! I was suggested to take advice from a simple book “5/3/1 for Powerlifting: Simple and Effective Training for Maximal Strength” by Jim Wendler. It’s an easy routine to follow and I hope that it will be effective as well. If anyone has tried it, please tell me what the results were.
After all, strength feels much more satisfying that just looking good and I was never going to become a fitness model anyway. Showing off all the time with pictures of my body (especially in bikini) is not my thing.I also don’t approve all those supplements and pills that burn fat they have to take. Powerlifters sound better to me now.
Here are some pictures from the event: