(Photo via SBD)
An athlete in their element is truly an amazing thing to see in person. Someone who you can see lives and breathes their sport. Samantha is one of those athletes. She is truly a wonder to watch at meets and it was an honor to be able to chat with her about her career as a powerlifter.
Introduce yourself to the GWPL NationHi Everyone! My name is Sam; I’m a 63kg powerlifter and coach in the USAPL. I’ve been powerlifting for 3 years now and have competed in 11 meets to date. I am the current USAPL 63 kg Raw National Champion and the owner of the IPF Deadlift World Record and USAPL American Record Deadlift. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno where I accepted a full track and field scholarship. I recently earned my Masters degree in Exercise Science from Old Dominion University.
When did you get into lifting and why?
My first meet was August 2015. I decided to compete because I needed an objective goal to strive for. Signing up for a meet gave me a reason to train hard and consistent. I wanted to showcase my strength in a competitive environment and most importantly, I wanted to be an athlete again. I lost that identity when I graduated from college in 2013. I didn’t know what being an athlete and having specific goals and objectives meant until I was no longer one and had nothing to strive for.
Best meet total to date?
My best meet was this past 2018 Raw Nationals. I totaled 1103 lbs (500.5 kg). My first meet in 2015 I totaled 865 lbs.
Which of the big 3 is your favorite and why?
My favorite lift to train is the squat. It is the lift that I have struggled with throughout my powerlifting journey. I’ve bombed out of meet before by missing my squat opener on depth and completely missing my two subsequent squat attempts. I’ve had to rebuild my squat multiple times to get it to where it is now. Today, I have one of the top squats in my weight class. That is definitely something that I am proud of.
(photo via 9for9 Media)
I read your post about the process that went into winning your weight class at Nationals this year. At what point did you realize that you had it and how did it feel?
Honestly, you never really know how a meet is going to go until you take that first attempt. But, even then, you have to take it one attempt at a time and stay in the moment. But, If I had to pinpoint a moment, it was after my 3rd attempt squat. That attempt moved way better than I expected it to. At that moment, I knew it was going to be a great day. I just had to execute each lift and the day would take care of itself.
What advice do you have for young women getting into powerlifting?
Be a student of the sport, but don’t be afraid to try and fail. I think where some go wrong is that they strive for perfection and they want to be “competitive” before they even start the journey. This mindset can be crimping. It doesn’t allow you to grow as a lifter, learn and develop along the way. Strive for progress. Chip away at your goals and everything else will follow.
Take me through a typical meet day for you? What do you eat, when and do you have a pre-meet routine?
The last two meets I’ve done, I had to compete at night. This makes meet day a bit tricky. The morning of IPF Worlds, I was actually 1 lb above weight and it wasn’t until noon of meet day that my weight came back down to 63 kg. Therefore, I had to spend the entire day being really careful about what I consumed. The night before the meet I knew I was heavy, so I purposely woke up at 6 am to weigh myself. I did this so if I was still above weight, I could still eat breakfast and give my body time to fast. The most important thing is to not freak out. So, I went ahead and ate a decent breakfast. (3 whole eggs and fruit) and went back to sleep. Around noon I weighed myself again and magically was now at weight. To hold me over to weigh-ins, I ate a yogurt and sipped on some Gatorade. Weigh-ins were at 4 and immediately after I had a chicken fajita that I bought from a nearby restaurant.
For Nationals, I made a promise that I wasn’t going to put myself in that position. I really hate testing my luck. So I took control of my nutrition throughout the training cycle and actually was 135 lbs when I woke up on meet day, so I was able to eat as I would on a normal day. I had a full breakfast (pancakes, sausage, muffins, orange juice) and for lunch, I had rotisserie chicken and rice. Post-weigh ins I had a whole bagel, yogurt, and protein bar. This is what I would typically eat prior to training. Having my nutrition dialed in made a dramatic difference in my training.
How do you manage and balance training and "regular life"?
I balance it all by being comfortable with the uncomfortable. If I have to lift at 6 am I will. If I have to lift after a 10hr workday, I will. If I have to change training days to spend time with my fiancé, I will. I may not want to do any of those things, but I do it because not training isn’t an option. However, I still have to make a living and I want to spend time with the people I love. There’s always a give and take and you just have to find a system that works for you.
Do you have any specific goals in powerlifting?
My agenda for 2019 is to win IPF Worlds in Sweden, rebreak my deadlift World Record, and break the 63 kg Total World Record.
What's next for you?
I will be competing in the Grand Prix which is a meet held by USAPL in the main expo hall of the Arnold. This is a very prestigious meet and it has been a goal of mine over the last couple of years. There will be only 8 females and 8 males competing so I’m honored to be able to share the stage with some of the strongest lifters in our federation.
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