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!


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


I’m Back!

It’s been a bit of a bumpy road since the British Classic back in September (shortly after the Western European Cup), which I have yet to update you all on, and will do in due course! But for now, a quick update on the last few months and some things that have been going on in my life 🙂

After the Classic, where I didn’t make weight and weighed in at 52.4kg, I made the decision to move up to the 57kg class, which I had been considering for some time anyway. Ever since, it has been really difficult to adjust to the amount of freedom I have in terms of diet, and to not let this freedom get the better of me. It’s been a constant battle in my head between justifying eating anything and everything, because I can, and trying to eat healthily so I can look and feel great. Yummy food won this battle for quite a while, and I did manage to put on a fair bit of weight, going up to 56kg recently! Although I was strong and eating tasty things, I didn’t feel comfortable with the excess weight and did miss the routine of clean eating.

Getting back into clean eating was no easy task with this constant internal battle, so it has taken me several attempts to get it right. I’ve decided to go back to carb-backloading again, as I really felt this suited my training and needs. It worked wonders for my performance, and I found the high-fat daytime portion to be very satiating, and I hate being hungry so this is perfect for me! I managed to loosely follow it for a fair while but found myself over-backloading. Like I said, it’s taken a few tries to get it right, but right now I’m on the 8th day of the prep phase and going strong, not feeling like death like I did on previous attempts.

With this dietary struggle also came a motivational struggle; not having any competitions until the new year has made it very difficult to focus my training and I have felt a bit lost. Especially being out of kit, which I really miss! Thankfully, I’ve been able to turn this around after getting the news that I’ve been shortlisted for the GB international team for the European and World Classic next year! This was the kick up the bum I needed and I now feel back on track.

Despite feeling a little lost, my lifts have definitely been improving and I’ve been hitting PB’s all over the shop, doing working rep sets with weights equal to or higher than my lifts at the Classic! Here’s a quick video of a recent touch-and-go PB bench of 60kg:

To help keep myself focused I’ve set myself some goals. Time scale: ASAP. On the left are my raw goals, and on the right my equipped goals. My current best competition lifts are 87.5 / 52.5 / 110 and 127.5 / 72.5 / 135 so I feel my goals are achievable yet challenging.


(100/60/120) (145/80/150)

100kg raw squat is a big one for me, as ever since I have started my coach has been saying I’ll be squatting it in no time, but I’m yet to get close. Having the visual cue nice and big on my wall in my room should be a good reminder to get my foam rolling done, as I’m truly terrible with it. I had a few weeks of not really doing it at all and boy did I get stiff and sore! I think this will be a big factor in achieving my goals, as being stiff and sore is definitely not conducive to massive gains.

I’m going to try and post a bit more regularly now, but understand that being in my final year of university might mean my blog takes a bit of a back seat. I’m going to try and take more videos and pictures so even if I don’t have time to write much I will still have some content to post. I still have videos from the Western Euros and the British Classic to post too, so watch this space!

BDFPA British Full Power


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!