Campus Celebrity: Susie Butler, Powerlifting Champion

Name: Susie Butler

Course: Nutrition, second year

Claim to Fame: Powerlifting Champion

More and more girls can be seen in the gym these days, not only running on the treadmill, but also shifting their bodies under weights and having a go on the machines. Nonetheless, bodybuilding is still considered a masculine discipline, and when it comes to competing, girls seem to prefer to occupy the spectator seats and melt at the view of the strong sportsmen.

Susie Butler didn't let herself be intimidated by these general conceptions when she decided to join the power-lifting team at Bournemouth University this fall. ''Guys tend to not believe me, and I have to bring photos up on my phone to prove it !'' she exclaims, ''Then they usually ask to see my guns and ask how much I can lift. This sometimes gets embarrassing as I can often lift more than them..'' As for girls, their typical reaction is 'but you're so tiny !'. Susie laughs and comments ''Lifting will not make you big, ladies !''

She had been training weights at her hometown gym over the summer, to try to put on some muscle and slim down. It all happened unexpectedly, as she explains, ''I really enjoyed doing the 'big lifts', so bench, squat and deadlift. When I came to BU and found out they had a powerlifting team, it seemed natural to join. At first, I was just going to use it as a supplement to my own training, but it really drew me in ; especially the promise of competing.''

So far, Susie has competed twice and won her weight class both times. Once at the BDFPA All England University Championships, and once at the GBPF South-West Divisional.

This success doesn't come easy, as it takes a lot of strong-will and daily discipline for Susie to achieve good results. Her intense weekly routine includes training with Bournemouth Barbells four times a week, practising hobbies such as MMA, Jujitsu or boxing on two other days, running or walking in the early mornings, and stretching on a daily basis for recovery and mobility.

To make it even more of a challenge, Susie can't just lead her life as she pleases outside of training. She has to keep a strict eye on her diet since powerlifting competitions are done in weight categories. She also has to get lots of rest, as it is paramount to recovery and performance. Susie says she has to go to bed quite early by student standards and has to limit her nights out. In fact she says ''I basically never go out, late nights and excessive drinking are just not conducive to my progression as a lifter. Have you ever squatted with a hangover ? It's not fun''.

Susie gives key advice for perseverance : ''Throughout your training you need to try and remind yourself of how excited you were when you first started competing, then succeeded ; and hold onto that excitement''. She also recommends doing things in the present that your future self will thank you for, like stretching, mobility work and resting.

Susie's current raw weight record is 80kg squat, 50kg bench, 107.5kg deadlift, and with supportive equipment she can go up to 112.5kg squat, 70kg bench, 115kg deadlift. Her goal is to reach 100kg raw squat, and over body-weight in raw bench-press.

This little power-lifter sure seems on her way to reaching these goals, as she will be competing equipped for the first time mid-April. She is hoping to qualify for the British Equipped in the summer, and from there she is hoping to be selected for the Equipped Worlds in Hungary in the Fall.

One thing is for sure, any girl reading this will be sure to find the motivation she needs to complete those 40 daily squats.. go on then ladies !

Check out Susie's training and nutrition blog here :