Anyone who reads my log on the Propane forum will know that I’m Sophie, I’m a girl and I’m a powerlifter (not necessarily in that order).

For everyone else, hello, hi and Gutten Tag, I’m Sophie, I’m a girl and a powerlifter.

A very brief bit of background about yours truly: I started lifting just under two years ago. I know Yusef from University and one day was complaining about being fat, not losing weight despite doing endless cardio, and wanting ‘toned’ arms. He took me to the gym, threw a barbell at me and taught me how to bench.

Almost two years on and I’m addicted to lifting. I have finally found a sport I’m good at, I enjoy and that enables me to constantly keep pushing myself. I genuinely feel on a complete high when a training session goes to plan and I look forward to going to the gym.

I had done two previous competitions before the GBPF British Nationals, the first of which was in Glasgow and after I had been lifting for about 5 months. I got a 75kg squat, 50kg bench and a 105kg deadlift to make a total of 230kg. I believe I weighed in at 69.5kg.

The second comp was this past August, again in Glasgow and after I had been lifting for about a year and a half. I took it seriously, but as preparation had been sporadic at best, I was not too hopeful. However, I got a squat PB of 110kg, a 65kg bench and a 130kg deadlift to make a total of 305kg, at a bodyweight of 71.5kg.

Unknowingly, this comp was a qualifier for the British championships to be held in Timbucktoo in October (actually in Lincoln, but having returned from there I’m still not sure where it is). A few fellow lifting friends, from Scotland also qualified, as did Yusef, and we decided to all have a bash at it together.

I returned home and promptly got a job working night shifts at a National newspaper (any Diana fans out there…?). I started consulting with Jonny and perpetually chewed his ear off about my constant lack of sleep and how I was never going to find the time to train; how I would clearly lose strength and generally what was the point in life? I was wrong about all of this.

Jonny started me on a program of RPE, similar to the one I had been on with Ben some months ago. The idea was I would ramp to an almost max lift two weeks before the competition, one week before I would practice commands and de-load.

Night shifts really did take their toll, on my lifting as well as my social life. I maintained going to the gym three, sometimes four times a week, hit my protein and calorie goals and for the first time possibly ever in my life, was completely consistent with both diet and training and not just the latter.

The competition went brilliantly. I had a fantastic day chatting with other lifters and waving to my parents who had come to support. The turn-out was pretty good and for a change there were nine other women in my weight category. Prior to this the most in Scotland had been two, so a victory up there didn’t really taste all that sweet.

On the day I fasted until weight in and made a weight of 69.3kg, I then went to town on caffeine and sugar but managed to maintain it and not crash until right after my last deadlift.

Onto the numbers:

Squat: I opened with 105kg which felt comfortable and I believe I squatted pretty deep. 115kg next which felt terribly heavy unracking but lighter when I started to squat, which was ideal. Third lift was 120kg which I’d done some weeks ago and was pretty nervous about. If you take a look at the videos you can see the struggle, the shouting and the red face popping, but I got it! So at this point ten kilos up from the Glasgow competition and a comp PB.

sophie sq

Bench: my lover and my nemesis. I used to adore benching. I have done reps on 70kg and generally felt comfortable with it. At the qualifier in Scotland I failed 70kg twice and have since lost a little strength in my chest, which shows how psychological this sport can be.

First attempt was 62.5kg which flew up so easily I forgot where I was and racked it. After hearing Marc ( and Ali ( shouting at me for being an idiot I sneakily tried to un-rack it again and hope the judges wouldn’t notice. Obviously they did seeing as they all have eyes and it was red lights all round.

Second attempt at 62.5kg which flew up again except this time I kept it in a steady position until told to rack. Third attempt was 67.5kg which was not difficult but not easy. So another comp PB and up another 2.5kg from last time.

Deadlift: first attempt 122kg, second 132kg at which point Marc and Ali told me I needed to pull my last attempt of 137.5kg if I were to place in third position. If not into the obscure ranks of fourth I would go. It felt good and didn’t fly up but comfortably locked it out. Another comp PB and an extra 7.5kg on the total.

All in all a brilliant competition; a new total of 325kg, three new comp PBs plus a teeny tiny trophy to call my own. I also had a laugh with my friends and enjoyed watching some of the other girls who were quite frankly, in a league of their own.

Since the competition two weeks ago I’ve found training incredibly hard on my joints so taken some time off. Back to it now though and as a glutten for punishment I’m doing an open federation competition at Dave Beattie’s gym in Wembley in approximately three weeks. Not hoping for too much as I really did go for broke on at the Brits but a 140kg deadlift would be delightful.

Yusef recently reminded me of when I said to him about a year ago ‘Do you think I’ll ever be able to get a 140kg deadlift?’ Now I’m asking him, ‘Do you think I’ll be able to get a 140kg squat in under a year?’

Here are the videos of my last attempts if anyone would care to take a gander:




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2 responses to “Sophie’s Journey: Powerlifting

  1. Impressive and inspirational. I especially understand where you wrote:

    I genuinely feel on a complete high when a training session goes to plan and I look forward to going to the gym.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Looks amazing, i’m a girl looking to get into lifting- I too feel like my weight loss/toning efforts are not producing the results I want. Maybe it’s time to go hard or go home. Very inspiring to read, well done Sophie!

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