(Photo by 9for9 Media)

Written by Renee-Rose Garcia

My first USAPL Raw Nationals was in October 2017 and I am still reeling from the emotions of that weekend.  Now, I’m no stranger to national meets or being surrounded by many strong, charismatic, and simply bad ass lifters, but this time around it was definitely different. Unlike in my past national meets which would last at most 2 days, there were non-stop days from Tuesday-Sunday of powerlifting and powerlifters were bursting out of the seams at the hotel, around the airport, and obviously in and out of the competition hall and the energy in the air just made you felt so good and so proud to be a part of such a community of ridiculously strong humans at all different sizes & shapes!

I competed on Saturday morning in the 84kg+ weight class and was very gracious to have my coach John Gaglione to come down to handle me and my other teammates throughout the week.  

Despite tossing & turning all night, I felt as rested as I could be; I didn’t feel achy or fatigued and overall just felt good!  The warm-up hall was cutthroat, chaotic, and OD buzzin’ but luckily John had staked out a spot all week for the back room which was more calm, roomy, and allowed us to relax and refocus between lifts. It also allowed Adrienne, my co-handler, fellow GWPL teammate & one of my Raw Nats roomies ample room for dancing & just being her best self! She made my day run so smoothly by being aggressive on the warm-up platforms (yass you need to be!), being John's right-hand woman, being an awesome cheerleader, recording my lifts, getting down & dirty with the baby powder so I am extremely thankful for her!

I was in the third flight, so I had ample time to stretch, warm up and just chill as I didn't get on the platform for squats until about 9:45 am.  On SQUATS, my bread and butter, I went 2/3 matching my previous squat of 187.5kg /413.4lbs which moved at lightning speed!  My 3rd attempt of 197.5kg/435lbs moved even faster, but I was called for depth. 

On BENCH --- eh, I’ll get back to those later! 

On DEADLIFTS - the absolute bane of my existence & most dreaded lift - I went 2/3 also, matching my previous deadlift of 187.5kg/413.4/lbs. While I didn’t grind at all with any of my attempts, I ended up missing my third attempt at 195kg /430lbs as it moved a few inches off the floor.  This cycle, I’ll admittedly say I didn’t put 100% into deadlifting.  It didn’t click for me and I did miss some deadlift training sessions going into this meet, but I definitely have an urge to come back and kick ass at it.

Now you may be saying, why is this recap out of order?! Well, I had to end on a good note and my BENCH was the absolute highlight!  I opened with 77.5kg/170.9lbs and it went up super easy. Hit my second at 82.5kg/181.9lbs which was a little shaky at the top, so John and I agreed to make a smaller 3.5kg jump for my third attempt. Smoked it for a meet PR of 85kg/187.5lbs which moved smooth like butta!  Could I have hit 190lbs considering how my bench cycle went? Sure! But it was an absolutely great call to make a smaller jump which allowed me to finally break 1 year and 11-month plateau with no bench gains. Couldn't be more excited about this lift as I've continuously worked day in out to finally get it to a point where I'm within reach of my current & realistic goal of a 200lb bench!

Overall, I went 7/9 on the day, PR'ed my bench 2.5lbs, and PR'ed my USAPL total by 11bs with at 460kgs/1014lbs!

Aside from my lifts, I was especially happy about meeting my amazingly strong GWPL teammates who continue the foster the growth of this amazing community that the amazing Ivy has had a massive hand in building and share the common goals of uplifting and lifting heavy and being extremely strong badass queen bees!  While the whole team wasn't in attendance, it felt so good to finally have met Daniella, Sarah, Chelsea, and Adrienne in person and cannot wait for the day we're all reunited - soon perhaps? You never know!

As if I didn't feel proud to represent this wonderful brand, feel even more proud to represent Girls Who Powerlift and all that it stands for. As I may have mentioned in my previous blog, I contemplated the end of my "powerlifting career" in the middle of the year, but after experiencing Raw Nationals weekend & representing this brand, it especially made me feel like there is so much left for me accomplish! I am so ready and excited for what lies ahead, knowing that I can fight through and mental adversities I'll come across. Let it be known, powerlifting! Ya girl is back and ready for more! 


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