I was beginning to think I’d never be able to write this post!
After entering powerlifting competitions in 2019 and 2020 that were cancelled because of covid, entering again in November ’22 and having to pull out because of a rotator cuff injury, and then missing entry into the West Mids competition in July this year because it sold out ridiculously quickly, I genuinely thought competing was going to be forever a pipe dream for me. However, I finally entered, trained and successfully competed at the North Midlands Quiet Focus competition down in London at the weekend (Saturday 29th July) and I’m over the bloody moon.
The Quiet Focus competitions are a revolutionary series of powerlifting events held by North Midlands Powerlifting in association with Shawmind mental health charity in an attempt to create a more inclusive environment for lifters who might feel more overwhelmed or excluded by a typical competition, be that because of anxiety, nerves or neurodiversity (hello!) The environment is low key, no loud music, excessive hype or large crowds, but the numbers still count ‘officially’ because all IPF rules are met.
I’d be lying if I said my training had been all smooth and easy for it. Flying internationally on three separate occasions over the course of the training block definitely had an impact (missed sessions, flight fatigue) and a minor hip niggle exacerbated by running meant I was babying myself over the last 6 weeks. But no excuses here, it was what I put in and that’s it.
I was expecting to find myself nervous on the day, especially as I’m familiar with competing because of my taekwon-do (national silver medal winner, ka-ching!) but I definitely underestimated how nervous I’d be and how rough it’d make me feel. Normally my nerves will make my shaky and sometimes weepy, but I really suffered with stomachache both the day of the comp and the day before despite normally having a rock solid gut. I don’t think it affected my lifts, but it definitely made me feel crap between them!
Because of my aforementioned international travel, and my random decision to enter an upcoming West Midlands competition in September, my coach Jacob revised my lift attempt numbers down the week before the comp. His focus was on me getting ‘9 for 9’ rather than PBs – i.e. white lights for all lifts. My focus was on getting the experience under my belt to empower me to perform at my best at the next comp.
In the end, I attempted:
- Squat: 85kg, 92.5kg, 100kg
- Bench: 45kg, 50kg, 55kg
- Deadlift: 100kg, 110kg, 122.5kg
I ended up getting 8 out of 9 lifts, failing my 55kg bench press. It was frustrating as I’d hit it several times in training without issue, but bench is always the lift that suffers if I’m even slight fatigued or otherwise under the weather.
My Top Lifts
Squat – 100kg
Bench Press – 50kg
Deadlift – 122.5kg
I definitely had more left in me for squats and deadlift and while I’m not quite back at my gym PB level (135kg squat and 137.5kg deadlift) I don’t think they’re too far away now; I’d definitely like to be hitting them by the end of 2023.
All in, I’m proud of myself for finally getting that first competition out of the way and it’s definitely stoked some fire in my belly for the next one. Let’s see what September brings…