8 Weeks Out: My First Powerlifting Competition

I wasn’t much of an athlete growing up. I dabbled in ballet, running, cheerleading and soccer – and powerlifting is honestly the most effort I’ve put into any sport since my last dance recital in 2003 (and the awkward photos are still on display at my parents’ house).


My boyfriend, Brett, coaches lifters from around the world as a full-time job. So, naturally, I tapped into his expertise to help me with training.

You might assume that “powerlifter couples” talk about the gym 24/7, but that’s not the case with us. I’d estimate that “gym talk” takes up about 5% of our conversation – the other 95% is divided between food, coffee, travel and chicken wings (*it deserves a special category).

Brett writes me a plan each week; it’s a combination of linear-style and RPE training. In lay-man’s terms: I’m trying to get stronger each week and reduce the amount of effort it takes to move the weight.


I find having someone else write my programming extremely useful. It takes the guess work out of it and doesn’t leave any room for you to  bargain with yourself on whether or not you need to do Bulgarian split squats (or whichever exercise makes you cringe). You just do it.

A typical week looks something like this:

Day 1 – Squats + Accessory work + Core + Cardio

Day 2 – Bench + Accessory work

Day 3 – Deadlifts + Accessory work + Cardio

Day 4 – Rest

Day 5 – Squat & Bench variations (i.e., high bar squats and spoto press) + Accessory work + Core

Day 6 – Deadlift variation (i.e., banded or paused deadlifts) + Accessory work + Cardio

Day 7 – Rest

Goals & Expectations

I’ve thought a lot about the numbers I want to hit on comp day.

I’ve also thought a lot about my current lifts and how I’m progressing.

As a novice lifter, I’m not looking at what others in my weight class are doing. If I knew someone was coming to the meet with a 70kg bench, I know that I physically cannot push myself to bench 70kg (*yet). That’s not how it works. So, in regards to my goals, I want them to be realistic – but a tiny bit of a stretch (for the added fun/anxiety/stress/gains).

About two weeks out from the competition I will make some more concrete decisions about opening attempts and numbers I want to hit for third attempts. For now, I’m looking in the ballpark of final numbers being:

Squat: 110kg

Bench: 60kg

Deadlift: 115kg

Total: 280kg

Maybe one day I’ll get some photos of me actually lifting stuff – but for now, videos are on Instagram!

My expectations of myself are to commit to training and trust in the process, regardless of any setbacks along the way. On competition day, I want to step onto the platform with confidence and lift every kilogram that my body is capable of.

The support I’ve felt so far leading up to my first competition has been incredibly motivating. Training at a “powerlifting gym” has kept me focused on my goals and enabled me to learn from the friends I’ve made over the past few months. I know I will make everyone proud in just eight short weeks.

And maybe – one day – I can replace the dance recital photo at my parents’ house. This time I’ll be in singlet, with a sh*tload of weight on my back and my “squat face” in full force.

I’m sure it’ll fit in perfectly with our family photos.



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