Tag: powerlifting

Ugly Truth

October 15, 2015

That’s an ugly truth.

Sometimes you have to “talk the talk” before you “walk the walk” but sometimes no matter how much talking you do a big obstacle can appear. You might think you have it licked, like your favourite ice cream from Moo Licks, but sometimes that truth rises up and smacks you in the face, also sometimes like your favourite ice cream at Moo Licks. (I be messy)

I’m lucky I have the steady influence of husband Steve, friends and an awesome family at Aspire Health and Performance so when things get messy I do have something to hold onto whilst I work it out.

Here’s the deal. No matter how much positive body talk I have going on, no matter how much I support others, no matter how fabulous I am feeling about my progress, somewhere inside I believe that as long as I am heavier than what society wants me to be I will never be recognized as a successful athlete.

Cue the tears. I need to get past this.

Here’s the plan.

Purge purge purge.

  • I am tossing/donating all the clothes I have that are too big or too small and just working within the world that I currently occupy. That whole living in the moment thing.
  • I am organizing (or finding someone else to) our home so I can work efficiently within it. Freeing up that steady stress in my brain that feels like I am just staying afloat.
  • I am staring my feelings of inadequacy straight in the eye and acknowledging them; and promptly delivering a raspberry.
  • I will listen to my coach and my friends, do what I need to, and kick some serious butt when I return to the platform.
  • I will continuing to focus on growth in every aspect including getting better at my job everyday and doing the things that make me feel outstanding and confident both inside and out!
  • Whatever my weight is in January will dictate the class I will be lifting in come May and I will do the best I can in that class and celebrate every victory I have, without second guessing that success because of the number on the scale. What matters is the number on the bar and it’s just going to have to be heavier in order to obtain the success I want.

I have had so much success.  Time to keep building on that and see where this road leads. I am thankful to have solid support on this journey, it makes it easier to know I can trust the people around me.

Here’s to a brilliant 2016 back on the platform!




What goes up, goes down and goes up again…

March 05, 2015

As someone who has focused on powerlifting training for the last 5 years or so, the thought of doing reps of more than 5 makes me want to vomit.

Low weight high reps? Give me a break!

Well… when you start with a new trainer, especially when you have done your research and know the fit is right, you have to shut off the older voices in your head and embrace the new plan.


The last few Friday’s  I have completed 4 sets of 15 front squats and 15 Romanian deadlifts. I have no idea how I am still here to tell the tale. Following that last Friday I also did another circuit that words can not do justice.

My goals are slightly different at this point (even though I have signed up for a Powerlifting meet the end of July) so the training is different. Sometimes I don’t skip into the gym with great glee, sometimes I am exhausted, frustrated and have other things on my mind but I always leave the gym feeling inspired, determined and satisfied that another step has been taken in the right direction of where I want to go.

As promised… here is further proof that it isn’t always pretty but I am getting it done.

Wanna come play with me? I love all the friendly faces I am seeing 🙂 Join me at Aspire Health and Performance. Stop Working Out. Start Training. 

7 things I like about me!

January 28, 2015

Sometimes it takes a little extra motivation to keep on track, when that happens I go through the list!

The list of things I’m looking forward to once I get back into shape again!

The 7 things I like about… ME when I am rockin’ the body I want.

#1. Catching a glimpse of myself in a store window and slowing down as I realize that cutie in the refection is me! Yes, totally vain.. but I am looking forward to it


#2. Picking up heavy things. #HulkSmash. Deadlifting makes me very happy. I also enjoy the ability to carry all the groceries, pick up the couch and perhaps even lift a car off the ground.  Oh, setting national records in powerlifting also rocked my world.


#3. Shopping anywhere ~ Almost. Powerlifting does lead to fabulous hamstrings, quads and buttocks which can make finding proper fitting pants a chore but the ability to basically shop anywhere and find something in my size is delightful.


#4. Boom Boom ~ Strong, flexible great cardio? Look out husband Steve!


#5. Dancing without feeling my body create it’s own gravitational pull. I jest. Sort of. When I am carrying extra weight that isn’t muscle sometimes it seems to have a life of it’s own! When you start to move it can get ahead of you and before you know it moves you, and sometimes pieces of clothing in unexpected ways.


#6. THIS bathing suit. #Boomchickawawa That was 9 years ago, and the smallest I have been as an adult. This was before powerlifting, so zilch muscle.. It will be interesting to see how it looks when I drop into the weight class I want to compete in with the extra muscle!


#7. Eat whatever I want and not getting the “look.” Ugh. It makes me so mad. If you carry extra weight there are people that look at you with complete horror if you are putting anything other than a sweet potato, poached fish or a lettuce leaf in your mouth.


Understand I am a big believer in loving the body you have in the moment and living life to the fullest, but I made a deal to be truthful in this blog while I am on this journey and those 7 things do motivate me to keep a positive attitude that gives 110%.

Join me at Aspire Health and Performance! They have all sorts of different levels of training.. something for every budget and goal. I would love to see you there.. if you see me training come say hi.. even if I am muttering obscenities.. 😉  Stop Working Out. Start Training.

… and just for fun.. do you remember these 7 things?



“It’s going to feel heavy.” The last words I heard.

November 21, 2013

I had a very exciting day at The Athlete Factory recently.

Athlete Factory


I back squatted 290lbs!!!


Now if you have been tracking my progress you know that I recently back squatted 320lbs at a competition.

So why the excitement about this 290?


In powerlifting there is two basic categories. Equipped and Classic. If you lift equipped you use a belt, knee wraps, a bench shirt and squat suit. If you lift “classic” you can use knee sleeves, wrist wraps a belt and.. well that’s it. I lift “classic.” Personal choice for both philosophical and cash flow reasons.


So my 320 was using a belt and in competition.


My 290 was unbelted with wrist wraps and really really really solid technique and form. When I am training a lift isn’t “official” unless it is perfect, or pretty damm close.   I have a tendency to fold in half as I go down into my squat which makes it harder to get the proper depth (hips below knees) because if your chest comes down your hips go up. This is bad. My biggest battle has been keeping that core tight and up. Good news, I am getting so much stronger. It is like my core is finally catching up to the strength I have in my hamstrings.

Shoes and wraps


I knew my goal that day was 290. I had almost has it the previous week.. except an unfortunate gas issue in the bottom of my squat lead to giggles. Giggles do not make for great squatting.


My warm ups were solid. My form was good. My depth was excellent. My energy was holding.


My confidence was strong.


It was going to be a big jump from what I had just lifted. I think it was 265 up to the 290 but there was no sense in tiring myself out, so the plan was to go for it.


My trainer, Michele has grown to know me well, which is such a blessing. Sometimes when I am lifting I am startled by how heavy the weight is on the bar. When we do a big lift usually the last words I really hear is Michele simply stating; “This is going to feel heavy.”


In the beginning it would be; “It’s going to feel heavy, but you are strong enough, trust your hamstrings”. As time has passed that phrase has gotten shorter and now is simply; : This is going to feel heavy.” I can fill in the rest.


The best thing about this phrase is that it allows me to acknowledge that it does feel heavy, and that is OK because I am strong enough.


I also have a mantra that I say to myself as I get under the bar. In my head I say.


  • I am fit.
  • I am fierce.
  • I am strong.


Following that is a roaring silence.


I squat with intention.  Hit depth, drive out my knees and power up.


That 290 was a fight. It felt fabulous as I went down and the first inch on the way up felt great.


Then it all stopped. Literally STOPPED.


It was like a hand was on my head pushing down and saying, you want it? Fight for it.


Fight I did.


Not once did I go back down. I fought to keep rising. I did everything I had learned and just trusted that I was on the line I needed to be on and my hamstrings had the strength to stand.


They did.


Michele said there was a brief moment when she was ready to step in and take some of the weight of the bar thinking I was going to fail but she could see that while it was slow, it was rising and it was strong.


This lift was mine and it was happening.


My eyes well with tears as I write this.


When I was done I turned to Michele for confirmation. Did my chest drop? Did I get depth? Did it count???


YES! It was a solid lift.


At The Athlete Factory they have a huge “leader board.”  I am not someone who is accustomed to being on a leader board, never mind going UP the leader board. My name in bright yellow chalk with a 290lb beside it is up for everyone to see. One name is above mine with a very healthy 350 next to it.

Leader Board


I can feel inside that one day it will be mine.



You are not responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry. #hangry

November 10, 2013

You are not responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry.

Wait. WHAT?

I first heard those words from Paul Balsom the “head of it all” (Director of Athlete Performance & Coach Development) at The Athlete Factory where I train. He has said these words a few times. The first few times I don’t think it registered at all, mainly because he intimated the crap out of me (my issues, not him) but slowly I started hearing the words. I would smile and nod but internally I was thinking…

  •  Yeah, because I have zero will power.
  • Yeah, because I suck.
  • Yeah, because I can’t control myself and obviously don’t want it badly enough.

Frustration 101

I am sure you are picking up on the theme here. Too many “fitspiration” meme’s combined with some self esteem issue and not enough listening to what was actually being said.

To start let’s take out of the equation eating for emotional reasons, this post isn’t about that. This post isn’t about being skinny either. It isn’t about the number on the scale and it isn’t about losing muscle along with the fat. This post is about health and performance. If your goal involves wearing a size 0 but also having 0 muscle and 0 concern about your health read this blog here.. it’s funny and involves crazy family stories and my weird eyes.

This is about understanding that if you have started on a road that includes exercising, that body is going to need sustenance, or dare I say calories!   When I am following my proper eating plan it involves meals with protein, fat, fibre and even dare I say CARBS!

Under that criteria that could equal a Big Mac meal, but the other part of my eating plan involves what people call “whole” food. Stop rolling your eyes. If you give your body the food it needs to be healthy. It will be healthy.

Eat food that is good for you and good things will happen.

Eat food. REAL food. Give your body what it needs before it needs it.  Give your body food that actually offers something to your body that does more than just shut off the hungry switch for a short period of time.

When you are hungry you body is telling your brain one thing.




Sometimes it is yelling so loudly that any common sense your brain is sending out is overridden and you do exactly that.  You EAT.

You EAT in an all caps EAT kinda way.

For some people this can head into binge territory and quickly escalate into an eating disorder that turns into a much worse situation. (Get more info on that here)

For others, like myself. it turns into the random grazing situation. If I come home from work hungry I will suddenly find myself munching on cheese and crackers. If I am hungry at the grocery store those check out chocolate bars become irresistible. The radio station I work at seems to have a constant supply of donuts, cookies, candy and other treats. If I come into work right after a work out I shovel something into my face that is not a “whole” food.

Imagine there is a massive winter storm outside. You have to walk the dogs. Do you go outside in a t.shirt and shorts to determine how many more layers to put on? No. You head out prepped and good to go with a toque, scarf, mittens, boots and winter jacket. This way your body doesn’t give you frost bite so your brain understands next time to dress properly.

When the time comes that health is priority one, or you are making a lifetime change, or you have an athletic goal, it is time to step up and address the situation with changes that make big picture sense.

It will not happen quickly, it will take a time of adjustment. You will experience other health benefits before you start to drop fat. It will be frustrating. SO frustrating. INCREDIBLY frustrating. People will taunt you with fad diets and age old cliches like “calories in, calories out” or better yet “just eat less and move more!”

Your goal is long term.


Think of how you want to feel at 20, 30, 60 or 70. Give your body what it needs. Give your body time to process that you are truly making a change and it isn’t a “fad” let your body acclimatize to food it instinctively knows how to process. One day your body will shout to your brain that you have come to your senses and that it will be nourished properly for the rest of it’s life, therefore it’s OK to release what it has stored for “in case of an emergency.” (Buh Bye fat!) Here is what I want you to take away from this blog post:

You are NOT responsible for your behaviour when you are hungry.


You ARE responsible for keeping your body from getting hungry.


Michele Helmeczi  ~ Trainer at The Athlete Factory and has a athlete focused cookbook coming out before Christmas

The Whole Life Nutrition Cook Book ~ Excellent recipes and information


Today I was naked with a sex bomb.

October 30, 2013

Change rooms can be intimidating. Change rooms at a gym that trains elite athletes from a variety of different sports even more so. At The Athlete Factory I have shared the change room with swimmers, tennis players, figure skaters, golfers, yogi’s, rugby players and fitness models. Including this super sexy woman:

Meet Deanne Greff Wbff Pro



About the only thing our sports have in common is that we both lift weights. Her success comes from how her body is sculpted and looks to the judges. In my sport success comes from how much weight I lift and if I hit certain bench marks while doing it. What we have in common is that we both work very hard at what we are doing and make sacrifices to make it happen.

Let me show you another picture of this hottie:


Now picture standing in a change room.


With this woman standing next to you.

It happened.


Even better it was in front of a mirror.

Here is a quick reminder of what I look like:

Suddenly the most amazing thing happened. I looked up as we were chatting and saw us both in that mirror; no shame, no unease, no embarrassment. Yes I was larger and my breast are losing their fight with gravity, but my body is strong, my curves hit in the right spots and my posture is excellent. Plus my very sexy friend certainly didn’t care, she was enjoying having a friend to talk with about the cold weather and her work out that she was heading into.

I have been making a point of reinforcing my thoughts that we are a truly beautiful in our own way over the last year, and it has slowly graduated from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk.” I made small adjustments in my thinking. I was kinder to myself when I looked in the mirror. I made a point of expressing my discomfort at the hilarity people found making fun of how others appeared no matter how outrageous. I tried to keep “top of mind” that I am not aware of anyone’s physical appearance journey and the challenges they have faced.

These changes seem to be working. Will I continue to evolve to hit my goals both physically and emotionally. Yes. It isn’t that hard to stop speaking out loud in judgment, it is hard to stop thinking it.

Progress is being made; and such joy at hitting this moment in my emotional growth.

What’s your limiting factor?

August 30, 2013

limiting factor


1.  Physiology . the slowest, therefore rate-limiting, step in a process or reaction involving several steps.
2.  Biology . an environmental factor that tends to limit population size.


2013-08-28 19.19.02


I have a bit of a knee issue, it’s actually an old logging injury from when I lived in Squamish… that is a blog for another day. While it gets back to normal I have (OK Michele has) stripped the weight down on the bar and it’s all about technique. Which might just be a blessing!

I was reading a blog the other day that talked about “limiting factors” in powerlifting, it reinforced the philosophies that I already train with at The Athlete Factory! Lifting comes down to three things; headspace, strength and technique. You can argue the merits of all three but one of them holds more power…

At one point I would of said headspace and strength. That was before I had at an inkling of how much technique was actually required, especially in the back squat. Solid technique will trump headspace, because when you panic and your mind goes blank and you wonder what in the blazes you were thinking even attempting such a weight, your body is already starting that technique that you have practiced time and time again. Technique even trumps strength, because there is a breaking point. I can “bully up” a fair amount of weight but (for me) when I hit 285 pounds if I don’t have proper form I am not making that lift. My butt is on the floor and the bar is on the safeties! My hamstrings are strong enough to lift the weight, but without the proper technique, I’m not using them! At this point proper technique (as close as I have it) has me pushing a white light over 300lbs.

Most lifters are stronger then they think. Many lifters claim to have reached plateaus.. it’s not because they can’t get stronger, they probably are getting stronger, but that strength simply isn’t being used because the technique is lacking. Worse case; lifters are out with injuries because of it.  When I miss a lift it is rarely because I am not strong enough to lift it, it’s because my form is off. I walk past a chalk board at The Athlete Factory every day that has max lifts on it. I am up there with a 265lb (unbelted) lift.. with PERFECT form.. a have 2 ladies above me, one lift is 350lbs and her body weight can’t be more then 135. (TOPS!)



Slow down. Don’t worry about the weight on the bar. Focus on the technique and get proper coaching.

I bet you will surprise yourself.

I know I did.