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2014 IPF Raw Worlds (Novel Version)

16 Jun

Two weeks after Nationals last August I injured my knee and had knee surgery. Luckily my injury was minor and I was back to lite training in December. In February I did a full powerlifting meet where I did a 80% squat. Shortly after that I started training for Worlds. My training was fairly conservative on the squat, still only training at a 285lbs total where I typically squat around 300. Both of my other lifts had been progressing nicely so I expected to do ok with a lighter squat than normal. I did some max effort testing in the gym on the squat right before Worlds to see where I was at which ended with 300 the first week, 295 the second week and the last week I squatted a nice 305lbs. I was thrilled and knew I could squat a 297 which is a squat I have done several times in competition (see Unicorn Squat post).

297 squat
Two weeks before Worlds my baby (Axel, my French Bulldog) had emergency back surgery at less then 2 years old. I was crushed. It was the worst 2 weeks of my life. During this time I was supposed to be wrapping up my training with my heaviest lifts. It took everything I had to get to the gym to train. With the help of my amazing Mom and some adjustments to my training schedule I was able to train while Axel was in the hospital. When it was time for me to go to South Africa my Mom took Axel and cared for him. Knowing Axel was on the mend and in good hands I headed to IPF Classics Raw World Championships.
I arrived 4 days before I competed. I typically weigh 165lbs roughly, and my weight class is 158lbs so I started a clean diet about 6 weeks out with a goal to lose a pound a week. This is what I always do so I am very used to it and was right on track when I got in. I was 159lbs when I arrived.
Matt Gary my coach arrived the day before I lifted and checked in with me the night before. The next day I didn’t lift until 3pm so we had time to discuss strategy. After weigh-ins Matt stayed with me the rest of the day. We already planned the numbers we were going to hit so the foundation was laid and we were ready. Matt has been so much more then a coach he has been family. I really like that I can provide feedback and work with him on my training so I feel comfortable about what I am doing and I know he is always planning on long term and not just one meet at a time. I have seen so much growth in my technical and physical strength in the last two years. I don’t think I could have been more confident about our plan, I knew we did everything possible to be ready for this meet.
By the time warm ups started I was suited up and in the warm up room. This is where Matt took charge. He all of the sudden went from laid back to serious business mode! It was awesome to see how passionate he was and his experience showed as he ran around getting flight lists, start times and weights on the bar. All this while telling me what to do minute by minute. I told him how many minutes I wanted to rest and he planned all my warmups around that. He gave me exactly how long of rest I needed and worked that right up until I lifted so I didn’t get cold. My flight had 6 people in it, which threw me off a little bit because that meant 5 minutes rest in between lifts and that wasn’t much time. The first squat felt great, we went on as planned. The second squat felt heavy but I knew I could do more we took the final squat that we planned. My third squat felt easier than the second and moved pretty good. I definitely had a little more in the tank! I was thrilled! Moving on to the bench. Again short turn around times was tough and then the head judge was giving super long pause commands. I was really thrown, it was a long time to hold the weight at the bottom. Finished the first and went on as planned. Second was heavy, which Matt could already tell when I came back he recommended a 5lb jump instead of the 10 we planned and I agreed. That last bench was a GRINDER!!!!! Longest bench I have ever had, it came down and started back up and it was so tough but I stuck with it and kept pushing! AND it went all the way up ending in a clean lift!! It really was amazing, I am more proud of that lift then all the other ones! I usually feel pretty confident about the deadlift. I can pull a lot even if I have to grind it so I wasn’t worried except the grinder bench cramped up my upper back a little and I felt tight during the warm up. I was hoping I could pull enough but I was worried it was going to be painful. My first attempt felt light so we went on as planned. The second lift went well but I felt a little soft in my back and wasn’t sure if what we planned was in the tank. My mindset at the time was “conservative” so I told Matt I wasn’t sure if 380 was there, and he said 380 back to me like he thought it was there! At the time he was also talking to our Team Coach, I started to talk again and he looked at me and said “We can talk about it” in a serious way. I shut my mouth and went and sat down. He was confident 380 was there and he knew I wasn’t sure. Just him saying that was enough to set my mind back to confidence rather than uncertainty. I went up to the platform fired up! Got my set up and pulled. The bar was fast and I wouldn’t say easy but I think I had more in the tank. Matt told me after that I had plenty left in the tank for a heavier lift. Which is very exciting to know I will be pulling a PR soon!
This meet was by far my best meet ever! Not only did I go 9 for 9 at worlds but I had never lifted all my PR’s at the same time so I PR”d my meet total by 15kgs! For a 848lbs total. The whole experience was amazing. I got to lift with some really great women and I am so humbled by everyone who was there. Everyone is so inspiring and works so hard to reach their goals. I will always remember this experience and cherish the friendships I made. I want to thank everyone who helped me make this dream come true, each and every one of you mean so much to me. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity. I also want to thank my coach Matt Gary and his wife (S i owe you money) Sioux-z Hartwig-(fun size) Gary. Thank you for your expertise, guidance, and love!


Top 5 things I dislike about being a Powerlifter

6 Feb
My gym bag can't handle the weight!

My gym bag can’t handle the weight!

Most of us don’t really care much about these things but you know when you have a few things happen in the same week you kind of get that fed up feeling. These 5 things probably aren’t really that big of a deal and most likely would not affect a guy. So I will say this is a girly post and I am sure most powerlifters would agree to at least one of these. Disclaimer: I love Powerlifting, this is supposed to be funny ha ha.

#5 – Gym Bag Fail. Powerlifters have to lug around so much heavy equipment that my gym bag can’t even handle the weight. My strap clips always pull open and I have to buy a new one. Im my bag: heavy belt, fractional plates, heavy shoes, training bands, wraps, rumble stick, etc. Most girls: the heaviest thing they have in their bag is some tennis shoes.

#4 – Singlets. Need I say more. (because I am single) people always say “well I’m surprised you don’t meet a nice guy that powerlifts” The reason is because you are wearing an outfit that makes you look like a stuffed sausage and then you put on a belt that makes everything squeeze out the sides. Singlets are not dood magnet outfits. On top of that, no girl looks good lifting a crap load of weight.

#3 – Having to explain the difference between Olympic lifting and Power lifting and why PL is not in the olympics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are not a powerlifter.

#2 – EIUL=Exercise Induced Urinary Leakage. This is no secret in PL for women, and most of us it really doesn’t faze us. Most of the general public doesn’t even know it happens to us because we all prepare our sausage outfits with special protective gear. But ya know it just sucks sometimes. I tell new PL’ers if you haven’t peed your pants then you are not lifting enough plain and simple.

#1 – Calluses. This is something I have to manage daily. Not only does if give me man hands but if I don’t manage them properly they become a problem. I will find myself unconsciously picking at my calluses so much that I will be in a meeting and when I get up to leave I realize half my hand skin is in my lap. Another thing that will happen is my hands will get really dry and when I try to get them off they take good skin with it and then my liquid chalk burns when I put it on the raw skin. Its totally a full time job managing these.

I have tried to figure out how to solve all 5 of these issues but they have been with me since I started and are still around now. I’m still waiting for an updated outfit rule but I don’t see a light at the end of that tunnel. If anyone agrees with even one of these things then just feel humbled that you are alone.

Happy Lifting!

Friday Fav’s!

30 Jan

BirchboxJan Birchbox

I don’t get a lot of time to read blogs or surf the internet but every Friday I spend a little time reading some of my favorite blogs. I can’t resist sharing my favorite things from the week with you. Here are just a handful:

  • I don’t “pin” many things but I just loved the outdoor fire pit with sand! What’s your favorite?
  • For years I waited for her to write this book and not its on my night stand. She really is inspiring, after everything she went through she is so positive!
  • Oh my gosh…….. this little discovery!
  • How I learned about my little discovery^^ and where I am picking up all my latest hair up do’s. Even tho I don’t have a baby I love reading her blog!
  • I discovered this site somehow and I get sucked in by the great stories. If you are a writer even better, here is a great place to be heard!

The Rough Road to a Dream

28 Jan
Right Patella

The back of the patella should be smooth not look like a jelly fish, picture taken before surgery.

Three weeks after Nationals in July I was just starting a new cycle and on my third set of squats I felt something in my knee go. On September 13th I had knee surgery to repair the cartilage on my patella. My doctor said no one my age should have a knee like that. The cartilage on my knee was damaged from years of wear and tear. 10 years of riding horses, 15+ years of riding motorcycles and 10+ years of running and riding bicycles then a few years of lifting finally did it in. Surgery was the easy part. I was walking the next day and back to work on Monday. I was very optimistic and knew I would be back to lifting in time to compete at the Nov state meet. Ya……not so much.

It’s been 4 months since surgery and I am just now able to squat 2 plates where normally I would be squatting 250+ lbs a couple times a week. The last 4 months have been very tough mentally. Normally I never miss a workout, I always do all my lifts on my cycle and never leave the gym because I just wasn’t feeling good. The last 4 months I have missed several lifts, skipped workouts because I just didn’t have anything to give, and cried because I thought I would probably never be able to compete again. A lot of powerlifters have written articles and have talked about dealing with injury but you never really know until you face it yourself. It puts things into perspective for me. I watched Lindsay Vonn on TV this morning who is the top downhill skier and was predicted to get gold in Sochi. I had tears for her just thinking how hard it must be to go through what she is going through with a knee injury and not going to the Olympics. But she will compete again and so will I.

I take one day at a time. Last week was a bad week, but this week has been great so far so I focus on the good. I tell myself every day in the gym, “Give it your best, thats all I can do. Tomorrow is a new day.” I thank God every day that he has given me another day to do things that I love and I promise him to take care of myself. Which means I listen to my body and I push when I can and rest when I can’t. I have learned how important recovery can be and use it more now than I ever have with much reward.

In December I received an invitation to compete on the USAPL Masters World Team at the 2014 Classic Worlds in South Africa. A dream come true! Since I started powerlifting my ultimate goal was to have the opportunity to compete at the World Level and here I am. Its really so amazing to me to be in the company of so many amazing lifters. I know this will be the toughest meet I have ever trained for and after just coming off my injury I will really need to dig deep for the strength to finish each training day. I will continue to take one day at a time and enjoy the journey.

I will leave you with this little inspiration. My biggest inspiration always has and continues to be everyone who steps on the platform, novice or veteran. The last state meet I was a ref at some people took a ton of pictures capturing me in the background judging the lifts. And in EVERY picture I have this crazy face. The reason my facial expressions were so funny is because when I watch a lifter I actually feel what they are feeling and I make the appropriate face. When they struggle, I make the painful struggle face. When they get the lift or I know they are going to get it I make the giddy happy face. When I see people do there crazy rituals on the platform that non-lifters would commit us for; I smile big knowing that I have my crazy rituals too and without those the bar would be twice as heavy! Every person that goes out there I share their passion and I love to feel what they feel, every lesson learned, every achievement, and every moment of passion. They inspire me every day.

And if for one second you are too old to do something or have some sort of excuse, Diana Nyad said, “You can chase your dreams at any age!”

The Unicorn Squat

19 Aug

2013 USAPL Raw Nationals

I’m finally sitting down to recap my 2013 season ending with USAPL Raw Nationals on July 20th. This year has been a great one with two strong finishes nationally and even some personal records on the platform and off. After 2012 Nationals my main focus was get back to basics, build a foundation and get my lost confidence back, all while having fun. Powerlifters put a lot of time in the gym training for one day and if you don’t like the training part then it hardly seems worth all the trouble for a few hours in competition. I was able to speak to Matt Gary from SSPT at Nationals about working with me the next year. We exchanged information and so the journey begins.

Going into the Arnold I had humble expectations. My training went very well with lots of new things to work on, and building up that foundation  of strength which resulted in some gym PR’s. My squat has been on par to lift over 300, I was going to PR in the bench, and because I have a good deadlift I predicted to pull around 360-370ish.  I just missed my 303 squat, which was a bummer but it’s right there, soooo close. I PR’d in the bench by 5lbs. When we got to the deadlift I think we had 363lbs as my third lift and I was jockeying for second place. The girl before me did her final deadlift with success so we dropped my deadlift to 2.5kg over what she did to secure second place. It wasn’t worth risking the position for a bigger total when I came there to place so I pulled 357.5lbs and finished second in the open and first in the masters division. I was very happy with that finish and I knew that goal of squatting over 300 would be met at Nationals in July (well at least I thought I did).

After the Arnold I was ready to hit the ground running. Training for Nationals started right away. We looked at things I needed to work on and Matt made some great suggestions for my programming. He also suggested I get my lifts analyzed by Mike Tuchscherer at RTS. Mike was amazing, he broke down all my lifts from video and gave me a detailed analysis of my weaknesses with suggested homework to fix them. I sent my report to Matt and he added it to my program. My main goal and biggest hurdle was the squat. I needed everything to fall into place to get over 300lbs and I also was struggling with some fear. To help get over some of my fear we planned some max effort sessions with the squat so I could get that weight on my back get comfortable squatting it so Nationals wouldn’t be such a shock for me. I ended up squatting 310, 312 and 315lbs in the gym! I felt like a million bucks and was confident 300+ would be no problem at Nationals. The roster came out and I almost died! There were over 21 girls in my weight class! Just to put that into perspective-last year there were 6! I knew without even looking anyone up that I would need that 300+ squat and all my bests in the other lifts to make top 5. I felt great on competition day. My weight was perfect and I didn’t have to cut weight at the last minute. Right away I missed my third squat. It was the first time I cried at a meet. I knew this would probably hurt my placing and most of all it has been my goal for so long, I wanted it so bad! Matt knew how bummed I was, he came over and told me exactly what went wrong and that it was ok to have a moment to be emotional. Then he told me that I have a meet to finish so I need to get past this. I got back in the game. I finished the bench with a 5lb meet PR with some left in the tank. Coming into the deadlift I was in the same situation I was in at the Arnold except we were jockeying for third this time. I pulled the same lift as I did at the Arnold to secure third place in the open and first place in the masters. I really thought I would be out of the running for a medal after I missed that squat but it just goes to show that you never know what can happen.  National meets are very strict and the competition was brutal!!

Looking at the last year I couldn’t be happier with the way things went. I learned a lot this year and made some great progress. I PR’d 2 of my lifts this year by more than 15lbs each and there is still more to come. I’m looking forward to this year. I owe everything to my coach Matt Gary. Matt has been more than a coach he has been a true friend. He knows things about me before I even know them and somehow he knows when I need a supportive text or an inspiring word. During Nationals Matt competed the day after me so taking his place running numbers for I don’t know how many lifters his wife Sioux-z took his place. It was so awesome to have her helping me. She is an amazing lifter and just like Matt an amazing person. I’m very grateful for them.

Watch my Nationals recap video here.

Connection is why we are here.

2 Jan

Wow 2013 is here. I can’t remember what year the movie Back to the Future took place in but I am sure we are well past it and skate boards still have wheels. Everyone this time of year reflects on life past and starts thinking about goals and things they want to work toward in the future. New Years Resolutions usually last til about Feb and then back to real life of work, kids, commitments, TV and cell phones. Last year is when I started thinking about this year. Things I wanted to do different and things I wanted to add. Places to see and ways I want to make my life easier. Lastly I think about how I want to live and the person I want to be. is one of my favorite sites and I found this great video about Vulnerability that I wanted to share. One of the first things Brene says is that connection is why we are here, it gives meaning to our lives. She adds that in order for connection to happen you need to really been seen, which means the courage to be imperfect, have compassion – for yourself and others, connection, and fully embrace vulnerability. Off and on we all struggle with vulnerability, I know I do more often now then I ever did before. I think as I get older I start to worry more what people think and more of my fears seem to slow me down.

So I am adding a few things to my goal list this year: Let myself be really seen, love with my whole heart, practice gratitude and joy, and know that I am enough.

Happy New Year!

The Scale

4 Oct

The scale is always in my head. It’s not like the regular weight scale. This scale is just a straight line with light at one end and heavy at the other. Each lift has its own scale. This scale represents how the weight feels when I lift it and what I need to prepare for. I usually start thinking about the scale first thing in the morning on days that I have to lift that night. There is a “green” zone that represents the area in which the weight is lighter and doesn’t feel heavy, usually these are warm up weights. Then there is a “yellow” zone. On days I’m not feeling it, the yellow zone can feel like the red zone but most of the time the yellow zone is moderate to heavy but I’m not usually worried about missing weight in this zone. The “red” zone is heavy. This is the zone I need to prepare for all day. I have to eat well and sleep well when I am lifting in the red zone and I usually have to do a lot of mental preparing for the red zone. I also start to sweat when I think about the red zone.

Yesterday was a red zone day. I woke up knowing I had to squat 90%, which is about 270lbs. Now I know what 270 feels like on my back…..heavy. I know when I lift that everything needs to be right. There is no room for error because I can’t muscle out of this. I basically sweat all day thinking about it. On the other hand I was optimistic, lately I have felt really strong. On Monday my squats felt really heavy but it was a sauna in the gym that night and I also felt tired. So I headed to the gym ready for whatever was going to happen. I started in with my warm ups and those felt pretty good. I also had some mental stimulation because there was a guy in the rack next to me who was going plate for plate with me. Every time he put a plate on I kept thinking “Oh NO he dinnit!”. And he had good form, so I needed to represent! It came time for the 270lbs. I put the weight on an sat down for a couple mins. Everything goes through my head “I hope it feels light” “if I don’t get it it’s ok” “perfect form, perfect form” “if its heavy just keep going” “should I ask someone to spot me?” “down up” “you got this”. Then it was time to lift. Hands on the bar, squeeze, head under, pinch shoulders, squeeze hands, squeeze everything, drill feet, deep breath, chest up, stand (ok, doesn’t feel too bad), wait, step back, side, side, deep breath, squeeze hands as tight as possible, down, up………EASY! Wha? Check weight, yup 270! The weight felt like 80% not 90% All 3 sets went well! The last set felt heavier but I think my form was a little off on that one, in all, I could have done more.

Having confidence is huge in weightlifting. I consider myself confident but when it comes to the red zone, I have to earn that confidence. It’s a daily struggle, hence the scale. But once I hit those big numbers and my form is good and I wasn’t fighting like crazy for it, my confidence is almost like a drug. Of course the scale will come out next week when I have to lift more but for today I have a big smile on my face and my confidence got a little boost.

Everyone has their “scale”. Its personal. It’s my way of putting things into perspective. I don’t beat myself up over it and I don’t ignore it when the numbers change. And sometimes I have a little party with it in the corner at Gold’s in the rack. Just me and my scale. 🙂

PS – The guy next to me went up to 3 plates and when he was done I told him I was super impressed with his strength and form. It’s not too often I see a guy at Gold’s go below parallel and lift heavy like that.

Preparation is Key

23 Feb

The 2012 USAPL Raw Challenge at the Arnold Sports Festival is a little over a week away. I am really looking forward to this meet and not just because its “The Arnold” but because we have been working hard to prep for this meet.

Diet Prep: At the first of the year Max put me on the “Slow Carb” diet, which is really a modified Anabolic Diet. I have been losing lean mass and gaining weight so it was time to make my body more efficient. The goal is to increase lean mass and decrease body fat while remaining within my weight class. Within 30 days I lost 4% body fat and gained 2 pounds of lean mass. I was feeling great and my spirits are high because I am looking leaner too.

Strength Prep: Training has been going great. I have been working hard on my form in the Squat and Bench. I’m really concentrating on training the pause at the bottom of the bench and that has been helping a lot. The diet has helped with my strength as well.

Meet Prep: In the past our strategy at meets have been to get big numbers on my individual lifts and try to break my current records. This time going into the Arnold our goal is to get the highest total. We have spent some time planning my warm ups and lifts for the meet in order to achieve the highest total. When you go for a high total you may sacrifice going for a new personal record because you are “playing it safe” by not risking any lifts. Getting a high total means taking lifts you most likely will get.

Now we are less than 2 weeks away and I am tapering my weights down. This week we work up to my opening lifts and practice the warmup I will do at the meet. Here is a sample of my workout last Saturday.

3, 2, 1 GO!


2012 Welcome!

2 Jan

2011 is now over and I have to say it was a great year! But I am looking forward to 2012 and all the new challenges it will bring. I ended 2011 with the addition of a new boy in my life. He is amazing and I love him with all my heart!

Meet Axel Foley named after Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop. He is 4 months old now and a French Bulldog. It’s all his fault that I have neglected my blog in so long, he had required more attention than time that is available to me. Now that he is a little older and more independent I am getting my life back. He does love going to the gym and watching all the action.

So starting 2012 lets just take a quick look at the things that are on the agenda. I’m starting the year in March at the Arnold Raw Challenge to defend my title. I love this event! I met so many amazing women last year that I have kept in touch with on FB and I am looking forward to meeting more. Also there are some girls I met at Nationals that will be coming this year that I am excited to hang out with. The Arnold is so big and so much is going on in addition to the powerlifting….can’t wait! Somewhere in all that I would like to get in some gear this year and see how that goes. My goals for 2013 is to have the opportunity to go to a world event and I think if I go equipped I will have a better chance at that goal. Of course Raw Nationals at the end of summer is on the calendar and that will be in Texas. I have some PL friends in TX that I would like to see while I am there so I am excited about that event. I also have some numbers I would like to hit this year as well as working on balancing personal life with lifting life. There is always room for improvement.

I am going to try to blog every week this year. Not saying its a resolution but just a personal goal. With that I will leave you with some PL info. I am always checking and this week I found some info from they revised the lifter classifications recently and its very cool to see where you stand as a lifter. I also learned that the strict curl was originally part of powerlifting (who knew?). So check out where you fit in the classifications and use it as a goal to shoot for! Click here for the classification.

Happy New Year!!


Rules are Rules

6 Oct





I knew absolutely nothing about Powerlifting when I started competing. There are lots of competitions out there you can go to and many different Federations that govern those competitions. I am fortunate to have raced motorcycles for many years and know a little about the rules and regulations that are involved in Federations. There are however some special rules that apply that may not be well-known when you start competing. This year my goals were geared toward competing in the USAPL, so I quickly starting gathering all the info I could to make sure I was following all the rules. One thing I learned right away was that the IPF has a particular rules about competing in other federations against banned lifters. So needless to say with my goals in mind I am only competing USAPL right now. Today I read the minutes of the annual meeting for the USAPL and here clearly is proof the rule is inforced. You can find the minutes here.

IPF 14.9/14.10


During the past year, several notable referees and lifters from USA Powerlifting took part in several unsanctioned and non-drug-tested international championships taking place in the United States, which were in direct competition with USA Powerlifting. Several of these lifters and international and national referees knowingly participated in competitions where suspended lifters were taking part. As a result, several athletes and referees, after receiving a clear word of caution from USA Powerlifting were ruled ineligible for international competition with the NAPF and IPF, which also includes the Arnold Sports Festival. So once more, I am sending out another reminder to both the athletes and officials that by participating in non-drug tested and international competitions, with suspended lifters taking part, you‘re at risk of being ruled ineligible by USA Powerlifting and sanctioned by the International Powerlifting Federation [IPF Constitution – 14.9/14.10]. Please proceed with prudence and caution when venturing out USA Powerlifting.

Rules are rules!

Happy Lifting!

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