2015 European Classic Powerlifting Championships

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the first ever European Classic Powerlifting Championships held in Pilsen, Czech Republic and no words will be able to do the experience justice! Training in the run up to the championships was far from ideal; I’d had a nasty sickness bug and had been spending endless hours in the library doing uni work. A combination of these two things meant my weight dropped quite considerably, and I wasn’t able to gain any strength on my squat or bench, which both actually went down for a few weeks. Fortunately I had managed to maintain and slightly improve my deadlift strength.

Anyway, this meant that I wasn’t peaking as anticipated in the final few weeks and each training session varied in success. In a way this was a good thing, as I went into the competition having no idea how my body was going to react on the day and therefore not having too high expectations for myself, which took the pressure off a little. From the nominations I also wasn’t expecting to place very highly. There were times where I felt like I wanted to get it over and done with so that I could start a new training cycle and make some real gains, but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Competition day came after a few days away in Crewe for a work function, so I had been eating well in my rest week. So to my surprise I weighed in at 54.8kg, having been trying to maintain over 55kg for the previous week. This is a new low as a 57kg lifter. 11088267_10155384515225387_1147207446070201974_n Warm-up for squats felt better than I expected, so I didn’t need to change my opener of 90kg which I feared I would. On the platform this felt harder than anticipated as I lost my line and fell forward a little. Feeling disgruntled, I needed to have a little pep talk with myself about hitting my second lift and managed this easily, hitting an equal comp PB of 95kg. As this felt so easy I decided to go for 100kg. As you are probably aware it’s been a goal of mine for some time to hit  100kg in competition so I think I over psyched myself a little and didn’t go in with as much composure as I would have needed to get the lift. It was also really heavy! So this was a no lift. 11092710_10205618611638276_1728230939_n I don’t feel I have much to report on the bench. I decided to play it safe and go 52.5kg, 55kg and finish on 57.5kg, another equal comp PB. If training had been going well I would have hoped to hit 60kg for a third lift, but I felt like I would prefer to get 3 good lifts in than potentially fail 60kg. Watching some of the younger and lighter lifters has inspired me to work even more on my arch, particularly on bringing my feet behind me to get even more of a shape, which will hopefully help me to hit 60kg again sometimes soon. I swear some of those girls were contortionists though!

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I was most looking forward to deadlifts as it was the only lift that had remained consistent through my stress. These went exactly as I had hoped, despite feeling a little tough in the warm up. Deadlift is the lift that I find it easiest to get psyched up for, and that’s exactly what I did. I opened on a comfortable 115kg, went for a second of 120kg and then finished on the easiest 125kg I’ve ever done. Having struggled for quite some time with the first part of the lift I’m delighted with the speed of the bar off the floor (video below). I’m just glad I didn’t notice the song that was playing, as this might have ruined my pump.

I finished with a 277.5kg total, a 5kg PB and annoyingly close to my long-term goal of 280kg. This placed me in 7th out of 9. I was pleased with how the competition went, exactly what I could have reasonably expected on a good day considering the circumstances. ceremony

Possibly the most enjoyable part of the whole experience was the wonderful company I had while out there. It was so great to support and be supported by friends both new and old. The GB team was by far the loudest in terms of cheering and supporting our lifters, which got us some odd looks at times… (definitely not because of our fashion choices)

crowd The top-notch cheering apparently did us well as the female Junior team placed 3rd overall and the male Junior team placed 1st, giving the Junior team 1st overall. Some of us are still very new to the sport,and this was the first international for many. Also Sion managed to win gold on one leg. So a fantastic result for our team. team I’m now super excited for the coming weeks of training, there’s so much I want to work on to be able to excel at international level. My experience at my first raw international wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support from my coach, Paul, and the impeccable coaching from Lawrence and Pete while in Pilsen. And not to forget the European Powerlifting Federation. As you can hopefully tell from the photos and videos, the venue was fantastic and the competition was smoothly run. As ever, being in my final year of university I’m unlikely to be able to post as regularly as I’d like, so feel free to follow me on instagram for more regular updates; @susiebboo

Peace and Love

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Crayfish Salad – (and some pretty exciting news!)

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Another interesting flavour combination to tickle your tastebuds!

Ingredients

  • 1 portion crayfish tails
  • 1/2 mango
  • Small amount of chopped chorizo
  • Salad leaves

I used half a pack of the crayfish tails you can get from Lidl, but I didn’t think to note down the pack size, hence the vagueness of my ingredients list! Also the chorizo I bought was a cheaper chorizo-type thing from Aldi of which I used two slices, but I know chorizo usually comes in different forms so I will leave it to you to deduce the amount to use. I found a little goes a long way.

I’m really enjoying combining fish and fruit at the moment, I think the fresh combination of sweet and salty works really well especially in these summer months. I have one more to try out before I move into a lower-carb phase (so no fruit) which I am very excited about, and will be sure to post!

Training of late has been a little frustrating, with my bench shirt difficulties and struggling to get to depth in my squat suit I have been feeling a little unprepared for the British. Sometimes all it takes though, is some outside perspective to remind me of my successes. Speaking to a friend of mine on Facebook I was reminded that although I have been struggling with these two lifts, my deadlift is sailing and the 130kg british standard is well within my reach.

I’ve also tried to remind myself that the weights I’ve been working with inn the region of my opener for squat and bench are still pretty darn heavy, and if I was repeatedly doing singles at an equivalent weight raw I’d be congratulating myself! Kit lifting is such a different game to raw and it definitely doesn’t always go right. I just need to trust that my coach is right when he says we’re just where we need to be at the moment, and the British will go as swimmingly as I need it to!

Which brings me to my next point, which I have somehow forgotten to mention in the past few days! Some very exciting news indeed! Following some email conference with one of the head honchos in the GBPF, I am delighted to announce that I have been nominated for selection for the World Junior Championships in Hungary. This doesn’t mean that I am definitely going, as my performance at the British will be assessed before I am officially selected, but I am definitely in the running. One step closer to my goal!

Although there is a lot of pressure for me to perform well at the British, I will have one less pressure on me in terms of my weight. I weighed myself at 52.0kg this morning, two weeks out and not even having done keto (though I have been restricting my carbs a little) I’m well on my way to being safely within my weight class. I’m going to let this be a lesson to me for future competitions; to start early and put less pressure on myself! It also means that the kit is fitting me more like it will actually fit me at the competition, as even a kilo can make a massive difference.

The frustrations I’ve been having with my kit, while putting me in a grump during training, have actually made me more determined to get things right and make sure I’m fully prepared and confident for the British. Looking forward to the next week or so of training and tuning up, of which I will keep you all updated.

BDFPA British Full Power

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After spending all of Thursday evening preparing food and packing for my departure, Friday morning was relatively stress free prior to my departure, with only a few easy meals to prepare and some toiletries to pack. Weighed 52.7kg, so it was clear that my weight could go either way considering the previous two days of 53kg and 52.5kg, so I knew I had to be careful.

The journey up to the competition was slow but not too mind-numbing, got there in about 4 hours. I tried not to drink as much as I normally would, and when I ate I chewed slowly and stopped as soon as I was full even if that meant not finishing my meal. When we arrived I met up with my parents and grandparents which was lovely 🙂  They then went out for a pub meal, and I sat and drank a few cups of decaffeinated coffee… Oh the joys of weight classes.   A hot bath and early bed for me, managed to get a good 9 hours sleep despite my nerves!

On competition day I got up nice and early for a 7:30 weigh in. No food or water just a black coffee. Weighed in at 52.5kg, so well in my weight class and well on my way to my target weight for next week. Drinking and eating afterwards was a dream! Started the day off with a banana pancake made with banana, oats, whey protein and eggs. Also saw my brother for the first time since christmas, and met his delightful new lady friend which was nice 🙂

Lifting started at 9, being in a light weight class I was in flight 1 with about 9 others, 5 of which were in my weight class. It was nice to see a few people who I’d seen at the qualifier in Bournemouth, especially a very strong and lovely lady who’d been in the weight class below then, but has now moved up to my weight class. (Grr! 😉 )

Opened with 77.5kg on my squat with a dry mouth from nerves. My second attempt was 82.5kg which, according to onlookers, I pitched forward on slightly on the way up and subsequently failed. I then made a decision which was a mistake that I have now learnt from; being complacent and choosing 85kg for my next weight rather than staying at 82.5kg. I also thought that I could change my weight up to a minute before it being loaded, but then realised that was only for my first lift. All experience and learning I guess. So with my head still on the failure and not sure what to focus on, I failed my third attempt squat. I was never going to get it, my head wasn’t even in the room. Definitely something for me to work on; squatting under pressure. For me failing a squat is so much worse than failing on the bench or deadlift, and I’m not sure why.

I managed to gather my thoughts and go into my bench with a positive outlook; I opened with an easy 47.5kg and wowed the crowd with my back arch. I followed this with a 52.5kg press which was tough as I don’t think I engaged everything prior to the lift. It took some energy out of me as I then subsequently failed a 55kg lift; again I don’t think I was fully engaged. It didn’t phase me at all though, as a bodyweight bench press in competition has been a goal of mine for some time. So bench was a success!

Even more of a success was my deadlift. Warmed up to 95kg, to then do an opener of 97.5kg. Both of these felt a little tough but I think I am still used to kit lifting and the bar being quick off the floor. I also didn’t go into the lifts with much conviction as I thought they would be easy (silly me!) but after a quick chat with a lovely masters lifter I got in the zone. Pulled 102.5kg for my second lift. As this also felt tough for the same reasons I debated just going to 107.5kg, but I was assured that although it felt like it was taking ages to come off the floor it didn’t look that way from the outside. So I went for 110kg, a PB attempt. And I nailed it. It seemed to stop half way up, so when I’d finished the lift I was unsure whether it would be a good lift, but apparently it didn’t actually stop moving the whole way so I got 3 white lights! I really put my all into the lift and when it didn’t seem to want to come off the ground I let out a battle cry and that seemed to do the trick. I will upload a video soon.

After my deadlifts, the sense of relief was immense. I hadn’t been eating as I normally would throughout the morning, just having half meals whenever I could, and sipping a juice drink between lifts, so I needed to eat bad. Wolfed down my chicken and broccoli, and had a few other snacks then completely crashed and had to go and have a nap in the car. My brain played tricks on me and I dreamed that I still had deadlifts to go, so to wake up and remember I’d finished was yet another sigh of relief 🙂

Had a relaxing afternoon sat with my parents watching the heavier lifters, chatting to other lifters and snacking. I met some lifters who had been at the November competition but I hadn’t spoken to which was nice, I like that there’s a community of powerlifters from all over the country that meet up at competitions and support each other.

I found the atmosphere to not be quite as supportive as the Bournemouth competition in November, though this might have been for a number of reasons. Firstly, there were far fewer members of Bournemouth Barbell lifting at this competition, with only 3 of us there on the Saturday, where in November the majority of lifters were from Bournemouth Barbell, so obviously being among fellow club members would feel more supportive. Though saying this, the two members who were with me were very supportive and helpful, so a big thank you to them. Secondly, the commentating; the commentating seemed to be directed at the lifters and spotters, so the crowd were not as involved and ‘in the loop’, my parents said they found it hard to tell what the weight was and exactly who was lifting. Lastly, the size of the hall; while only slightly bigger than the Bournemouth venue, the ceiling was much higher, and much of the audience was seated behind a barrier of sorts so it was not quite as intimate.

The day ended with the presentation of prizes. To some of the organisers dismay many of the morning lifters had already collected their prizes and left, which I will not comment on. Each of the lifters was presented an identical trophy, regardless of their position in their group, and there were prizes for best male and female masters and open lifters. I managed to come 3rd in my category with a total of 240kg, a 5kg increase on my January total. I desperately wanted 250kg but I think that was a bit ambitious with my recent illness.

All in all a successful and enjoyable day of lifting, despite a few hiccups along the way. All experience in the bag, and now to look forward to the GBPF champs next weekend, where I will be competing equipped for the first time. April is a busy month!