Think powerlifting is a man’s sport? Think again! Girls certainly CAN lift and today’s health journey proves just that! Have a read…
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m 29 living in Brisbane and work in Vocational Education and Training. I love getting outdoors, being active, being creative and food!! Most of my spare time is spent with friends doing any of the above. I am just coming into my 5th year of training in a powerlifting warehouse style gym. I love training because I think it has so many benefits both mentally and physically.
2. How did you first get into powerlifting?
I started taking more of an interest in fitness/ strength training and nutrition. I already went to the gym but didn’t really know what I was doing with weights. I did some reading online and started a strength program I found. I then booked a session with a PT so I could get help with my form. He was a powerlifter and based his programs / sessions around ‘the big 3’ – Squat, Bench and Deadlift. These are the lifts you perform in a powerlifting competition/meet. After a few sessions with him I gave up my commercial gym membership and found a powerlifting gym and coach. I was hooked! I didn’t/ don’t do it for the sport aspect because I’ve never been an athletic person. It was more so I was going to the gym anyway to be and look fit so powerlifting became an addition to that. It gives training more purpose and takes the focus away from how you look. It is empowering to lift heavy and see what you are capable of and the drastic change in my body composition was a nice bonus!
3. What does your typical week of training look like?
At the moment I train for 1-2 hours 4 times a week. Each session starts with Squat, Bench or Deadlift and is followed by accessory work to build strength on those lifts and work on weak points, power and speed. I do cardio once in a blue moon other than walking and might add some skipping to the end of a session.
4. Do you follow any special diet?
The good thing about powerlifting is you can’t get strong without eating lots and fuelling your body. You can tell the difference in training if you haven’t eaten as much food as you should of before your session. I don’t have a specific diet but mostly eat whole foods I enjoy and base my meals around different proteins. I don’t deprive myself of chocolate, ice cream or doughnuts either!
5. You’ve competed in comps before. What are they like?
I never thought I would and I was terrified at first but soon realised it was a lot of fun and felt good to be out of my comfort zone. Powerlifting is as much if not more a mental challenge than physical. You don’t need to be really strong to compete and you may not feel ‘ready’ but once you do one you know what to expect and it is a lot less scary. It is a way of putting to test the work done in the gym. You have 3 attempts at the Squat, Bench then Deadlift. Each attempt is given a white (successful) or red (unsuccessful) light based upon a number of rules and technicalities.
The best lift in kgs for each is counted towards your ‘total’. Lifters can go for records in each lift as well as the total kgs for all 3. Lifters are put into weight classes and also divisions for male and female and age brackets. Though it is an individual sport there is such a strong community both in the gym and in powerlifting in general. The people you train with during the week are there supporting you, cheering for you and backing you. The environment is perfect to try and hit a new PB or goal you’ve set yourself.
6. What do you think are the main barriers to women getting into powerlifting?
There are a lot of reasons I think some women would be hesitant. Not knowing exactly what is involved for one or considering it more of a man’s sport. Perhaps being worried of other’s opinions. Powerlifting is becoming more popular now though and more and more women are getting involved. If you want to try it your friends and family may find it surprising or not understand (my experience) but who cares? Eventually they will come around especially once they see your results.
It can be intimidating too, going into a new environment with big, strong guys and girls but all of the people I have met who seemed intimidating at face value have been some of the kindest, gentlest people I have met who I now call my friends.
7. Who are your favourite female powerlifters?
I’m not really much of a fan girl and there are so many women kicking ass in powerlifting. Some I admire and follow on insta are…
Liz Craven @lizpowerlifts
Kimberley Walford @trackfu
Amber Abweh @swoleesi
Isabella von Weissenberg @ivweissenberg
8. What do you think are the common misconceptions about powerlifting?
As mentioned before – that it’s a men’s sport.
That it will make you huge.
That you can’t do it if you’re not already strong.
That everyone’s a meathead or on steroids.
9. What advice would you have for someone wanting to start powerlifting?
Find a powerlifting gym or coach and just do it! Don’t be scared you have nothing to lose and so much to gain – literally!! Be willing to train hard and put in the work – it’s challenging but so worth it.
More about Alana
Thank you so much Alana for sharing your health journey!
Do you guys have any questions for Alana? Pop them in the comment box below.
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