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Profile: Josie Penfold Follow Up

This week Her Campus Leeds finds out all about the Powerlifting Competiton our very own Editor-in-Chief took part in 5th March. We interviewed Josie in February after she got a last minute place in the YNE Spring Open and so we’re finding out how it all went.

Firstly, for those of us who don’t know, talk us through what happens at a Powerlifting Competition?

Well, I wasn’t sure myself to be honest…It was a long day. We had to be there for weigh in at 8am and my flight wasn’t lifting until around 2pm. Once we weighed in, we had to get our height measurements checked for the squat rack and then give in the first weights we wanted to lift for our opening of each lift. After all that, we just had to sit and wait. Flight A and B were in the morning, lifting off at around 10am. Once they were done around 1.40pm, there was a half hour break and then Flight C lift and we warm up and then Flight D (my flight) will finally lift. 

What preparation did you undergo?

Well, my coach wrote me a ‘peak’ program, which basically means you push your body so that on the day you wil ‘peak’, i.e. you wil get the best lifts your body can possibly lift. I had to be careful about what I was eating too – I was in the 63kg weight catagory – so I couldn’t be over 63kg or I would have had to compete against girls in the 72kg catagory – obviously that’s a massive step up and those girls will be crazy strong. Lots of people were water cutting – which means you drink loads of water and then slowly dehydrate your body – I don’t know too much about it because it wasn’t something I needed nor wanted to do – but it is popular. I am competitng in the 57kg in May so I think I’ll be testing this water diet out which is scary but I’m sure it’ll be an experience. Some guy cut 10kg in a week from water cutting!!! Crazy. But I had been weighing in at 62.5kg so I figured if I eat small portions I’ll be fine. On the actual day though, after having eaten very little the day before, I weighed in at 60kg!!! Hence, why I’m now dropping 3kg (or trying to) for my next comp. 

Did you eat a special diet on the day? 

Not really special – but I ate a lot. Obviously you don’t eat anything in the morning before your weigh in because you want to be as light as possible in your catagory – if not to make that cut then to make your Wilks score higher. But after that I had a huge portion of pasta, lots of Haribo’s for sugar/energy and lucazade! And I had a coffee for some caffiene. The best thing to do is eat lots of carbs and things that are easy to eat – you don’t want to struggle eating when you then have to go and lift heavy weights! The good thing about being in Flight D and therefore the last group to lift was that we got to eat loads in the day to ensure we had loads of energy! I stopped eating about an hour, hour and a half before I was lifting and then just stuck to lucazde and haribo for sugar rush!

What was it like lifting solo in front of a huge crowd of people?

Horrible. I was so so nervous. And because my squat opener was the lightest in my flight it meant I was first! Oh I was a right mess – couldn’t stop shaking!!! But it’s weird, you have all these people watching yuo and cheering you on but you honestly feel like it’s just you and the judge – like you’re so focused all the sound just gets blocked out. So after the first squat and all yellow lights (you need at least two yellow to pass the lift) I felt better and was excited. But my hands couldn’t stop shaking when I was trying to fill out the piece of paper that had the number of my next lift on!!

What scared you most?

One of my biggest worries was that I’d be the ‘weakest’ person there. As I said my squat was the opener and i was worried that I was going to open every lfit because I was the weakest – luckily I wasn’t! But even if I had been, it’s impressive that we’re al there – so it shouldn’t matter what we’re lifting! But apart from that, I was worried about the commands. There’s all these different commands and signals you have to follow in a lift and you have to make sure you pause for long enough on your bench press – lock out all your joints in your deadlift and get enough depth in your squat. If you rack the bar after you squat before you are told too you fail the lift! Its so strict so I was really worried I would fail a lift over something silly! OH and of course I was scared of failing a lift – the third attempt at each lift is okay or reasonable to fail because that’s the one you’re going for a Personal Best on but even that I was scared to fail – but I was terrifiesd to fail a lift I should get – such as my openers. I only failed bench in the end – my last attempt – I got a little bit cocky and ended up increasing the weight by 7.5kg which was a bit ambitious – but oh well! Learnt my lesson!

What did you get over all then?

My over all total was 265kg. It’s okay for my weight catagory but it’s not amazing. My squat was 90kg, bench 55kg and deadlift 120kg. The bench would have been 60kg had I not gone for the 62.5 instead and that’s a strong bench for this weight. However, the squat and deadlfit defintely need to be increased. However, they both came up really easily, so I’m hoping that I do have more in me I just didnt have enough attempts to try them! So I just need to keep working hard and see how I go. But I will be dropping to 57kg, there I think I’d be considered relatively strong. 

How did you feel after the comp?

Fantastic. Honestly it was such a fun day. It was nerve racking but so fun! But my gosh, my body was in agony. I’ve never experienced pain like it – the next week after I could hardly get out of bed and just slept stupid amount of hours!!!! I was so tired. In fact, I still haven’t got back to a normal training routine – next weeks the week though!!!

What’s next?

I have a friendly LUU Powerlfting Comp at Implexus Gym 25th March – it’s just with the society and some members of that gym and we are basically just going for the experience and a bit of fun. I’m not expecting any big PB’s because as I said I haven’t been training properly and my body is still recovering after the Spring open. Then 6th May is the Northern Uni’s comp in Ashington again. There we’ll be competeing as a team (Uni of Leeds) against other Northern Unis – that’s the one I need to get down to 57kg for so I need to train hard and be mindful what I’m eating…! Which will be interesting considering it’s Easter soon…! But no, it’s all good, it’s exciting :) 

Photos Josie’s own. 

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