NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Crucial Conversations: PRs Falling in NIFS Powerlifting Competition

PLM_2015.jpgThe NIFS 3rd Annual Powerlifting Competition is less than a month away, and the expectations for this year are high. From its modest beginnings, the powerlifting event at NIFS has doubled in the number of athletes registered, and the audience tripled from the first event to the second event. With big attendance and even bigger lifts, the outlook for this year’s event is very promising.

For me personally, the very cool part of this growth is that although we are currently a non-sanctioned event, the competition rises year after year. It’s about a community coming together to celebrate strength, competition, and sportsmanship. There is no shortage of high-fives and attaboys and attagirls on this fall Saturday morning. It is a great thing to witness previous strangers become warriors fighting the same war together; it’s quite moving, and impossible not to join in and feed off the energy.

A Conversation with Lifter Aaron Sparks

I had the opportunity to speak with a two-time (soon to be three-time) participant in this great event about what it takes to compete and what struggles he had to overcome to be at his best on event day. Aaron Sparks is a longtime lifter and athlete, and also works for us here at NIFS, so he is constantly around the barbell and plates. Aaron was gracious enough to take time out of his schedule to answer some questions and to share his experiences with you. Join me as we learn what it takes to take down personal records and compete at this level.

Tony: Tell the readers a little about yourself.

Aaron: My name is Aaron Sparks. I am 25 years old and currently a student in the DPT program at Indiana University. I love fitness and everything involved with it, including bodybuilding, nutrition, and powerlifting.

Tony: How long have you been lifting for strength and big numbers?

Aaron: I started lifting recreationally about 10 years ago while playing high school football, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until about 4 years ago when I started actually watching what I eat. I have been powerlifting and really trying to get stronger for the last 3 years.

Tony: Have you competed in any other fitness competitions?

Aaron: The only other fitness competitions I have been in are the two previous NIFS powerlifting competitions.

Tony: What made you take the risk and compete in the NIFS Powerlifting Competition?

Aaron: I have always loved competition and really miss it since my high school football days are over. This was an opportunity for me to show off how hard I have been working in the weight room. For the most part, not many people see all the hours you put in, so it is nice to have the chance to show people how much it has paid off.

Tony: What did it mean to you to compete in the first two NIFS Powerlifting Competitions?

Aaron: Competing was an overall great experience and the atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was there rooting for the person next to them to hit a PR, but at the same time, everyone wanted to lift more than the next guy or gal. It is always great to get a group of people together a common goal and see what they are made of. It gives everyone an opportunity to show off what they have been working for.

Tony: What struggles have you endured to lift and train the way you do?

Aaron: I’ll admit the hardest part for me with working out has always been the nutrition aspect. I love food and pig out every chance I get. On a more powerlifting related note, the hardest part is approaching each week to beat the numbers you hit the week before. Sometimes you have good days, sometimes you have bad days, but you never want to regress from the week before. It’s mentally exhausting to have to push yourself over and over again on such heavy reps so that you can continue making progress toward your goal.

“It is always great to get a group of people together with a common goal and see what they are made of.”

Tony: As a three-time competitor in this event, what brings you back year after year?

Aaron: For me, the main motivation is trying to beat my numbers from the year before, but I also absolutely love the atmosphere of the competition. Everyone is rooting for each other, but at the same time they are trying to beat the person next to them. It’s great seeing people new to the sport make progress and hit PRs. It is also a low-stress competition since it isn’t sanctioned, but it also gives people the opportunity to get exposed to the sport.

How Far Can You Go?

Aaron has placed in the top 2 of his weight class each year he has competed in this event. I know what he is after this year: VICTORY. And with his dedication to improvement, through countless workouts and nagging injuries, he is determined to be better. Aaron took a risk a few years ago in signing up to represent himself among a strong group of competitors and has reaped the rewards. T.S. Elliot once said, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." Are you ready to see how far you can go?

There are a few spots remaining, so don’t wait to get registered for the NIFS 3rd Annual Powerliting Competition. Sign up today to be a part of a very special event hosted only once a year!

get registered for Powerlifting

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS weightlifting powerlifting competition Crucial Conversations

5 Reasons to Compete in the NIFS 3rd Annual Powerlifting Competition

risk.jpgFor all you Rocky fans out there (and I am assuming that is all of you), the name Frankie Fear should instantly take you to Rocky’s basement in the fifth installment of the series, where the Italian Stallion is introducing Frankie to Tommy Gun. Frankie Fear is regarded as your best friend, because he keeps you sharp, hungry, and focused on survival and victory. Rocky goes on to explain that fear is like a fire deep inside, and if you learn to control it, it can make you “hot,” but if you don’t, it can “burn you up.”

Now I am not doing this powerful scene much justice, but the meaning of it has stuck with me for a very long time. Fear can be paralyzing, and can keep you from taking a risk that could change your whole life. Or, fear can push you further than you have ever gone before. So is Frankie your bestie? Do you control the “fire,” or does it control you?

Risk = Reward

A few years back, before my first 12-mile Tough Mudder, fear was definitely a fire lit up inside me for a month leading up to the event. I’ve been a competitor my entire life, so I have experienced the fear of competition many times and could easily control it. The fear that was overwhelming was the fear of taking a risk at a brand-new obstacle—12 miles of obstacles, to be exact. I saw some of the YouTube videos of this event: mud, tall obstacles, high falls, electricity! That fire was being stoked, and I was beginning to question the risk-reward relationship of this event. But with the help of a true friend, training, and controlling that fire, I completed the 12-mile crazy track.

The risk, of course, was both physical harm and mental defeat. But the reward was redefining who I was and what I was capable of. You find out a great deal about yourself during intense challenges, and what I learned that day has carried me through so many more challenges and battles. Not only during the event, but in the training leading up to it, I defined some new physical heights and a motto that nothing is impossible.

Top 5 Reasons to Compete

So why would you risk competing in this year’s Powerlifting Competition? There are plenty of reasons why, and you should have a few reasons of your own. But here are my top 5 risk = reward reasons to compete in the NIFS 3rd Annual Powerlifting Competition:

  1. Learn to control Fear. This will serve you well not only in this competition, but in life.
  2. Visit 3 bars (squat, bench, deadlift) for one low cover charge. Unlike the other bars, you will gain perspective and a medal!
  3. Dare to be GREAT. It’s been written that the “enemy of great is often the good.” Don’t settle for “okay,” or “good enough”; dare to be better than that.
  4. Surround yourself with like-minded people. The competition will be filled with others who have taken the risk to compete; share the experience and the gains
  5. Find out what you are truly capable of. Gain the mindset that nothing is impossible, and bring out that inner Warrior that will carry you through so many challenges in your life.

A Testimonial from a First-Time Lifter

Still not convinced you should compete? Here is what a first-time lifter at our first meet had to say:

"This was my first powerlifting meet, and I was a little nervous coming in not really knowing what to expect. However, EVERYONE was very nice including the staff running the event and the competitors. After doing several powerlifting meets after this one, this one ran the smoothest and fastest by far. It was an amazing atmosphere with lots of spectators and everyone cheering you on every single lift." —Bailey Schober

Don’t let fear burn up your opportunity to be great and to find out what you are ultimately capable of! The risk that you will take will be worth the reward.

get registered for Powerlifting

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS challenge weightlifting powerlifting competition risk fear

Five Life Lessons from the NIFS Powerlifting Competition

NIFS 2nd Annual Powerlifting Competition happened November 14 in front of a packed house filled with excited onlookers, friends and family of the athletes, and “heavy metal” enthusiasts. The event doubled in size in one year’s time, with competitors from all over the state as well as some of our strongest NIFS members!

power-1.jpgThe fitness center floor was transformed into a makeshift coliseum so all could witness the battles that took place on those power racks and platforms. One could easily learn a great deal about the art of powerlifting, but I witnessed some rather big life lessons on display that were just as powerful as our two champions!

1. Success Favors the Prepared

From the athletes to the support team, success in this event was determined by the level of preparedness and not leaving anything to chance. Preparing for that day resulted in personal records and championships for the athletes and a smooth order of events for the support team. And although the training was difficult and time consuming, putting everything you have into the preparation for anything that you want to achieve is a surefire way to accomplish what you seek.

2. Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

The 2015 Female overall champion weighed in at 124 pounds and pulled 300 pounds off the floor! Now that’s a small package with a HUGE detonation! Although many challenges in your life will be bigger than you, it is possible to overcome them no matter the size of your resources; just keep pulling.

3. Sportsmanship Is ALIVE

Unfortunately, hardly a week goes by that we do not witness an act of disrespect and lack of sportsmanship in some arena of sport in the media. Some are worse than others, of course, but it sometimes can be hard to believe that athletes are competing solely for the thrill and reward of the competition itself. I was reminded at this event that sportsmanship does live on, and it was so inspiring to see athletes support and motivate their fellow competitors. Being more excited about someone’s accomplishments than your own is contagious, and it’s an overall victory for those involved.

4. Failure Breeds Success deadlift.jpg

I have always been a strong believer that failure does breed success, and that sometimes you win and other times you learn. Seeing an athlete fail to complete a lift, almost immediately learn from any mistake that occurred in the preceding lift, and step up and knock out the next one is the truest example of this philosophy. Learning from a mistake, correcting what needs to be corrected, and having the heart to try again is true success.

5. The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team

NIFS’s first attempt at hosting a powerlifting event was a modest, yet very successful venture that set the tone for future competitions. Due to its success, the event doubled in size and challenges in providing a quality event. Having likeminded and supportive people involved in planning, staging, and putting on an event like this makes those challenges shrink. The staff and volunteers who showed up that Saturday and worked tirelessly is what has allowed the success of this event. And I can’t help but realize that everyday, our lives, is an event; and it takes a strong support team to be successful. We can’t do it on our own! Be sure to thank those that make your everyday events a success!

I know I speak for the rest of the team, NIFS, and the community when I say we are already counting down the days to next year’s big event! Keep your eyes and ears open for the details!

***

LIFT_logo_white.jpgNIFS introduces a new Lifting program in 2016! LIFT is for all levels wanting to learn proper Powerlifting and Olympic lifting techniques. Our expert trainer will teach fundamentals, evaluate movements and help build a customized training program around your lifting goals. If you would like more information contact Aaron at acombs@nifs.org

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

  

Topics: NIFS fitness center NIFS programs weightlifting powerlifting competition

Top Ten Reasons to Compete in NIFS’ 2015 Powerlifting Competition

We are less than a month away from the Second NIFS Annual Powerlifting Competition, to be held here at NIFS on November 14. We have already exceeded last year’s registration, so the competition will be stout and the energy in this building will be palpable.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of competition, and I would argue that it is even greater in a sport like powerlifting. You against the weight is what it boils down to, and the accumulation of months of training and preparation come to the forefront for seconds to grasp victory. It’s almost poetic. 

If you’re not the Hamlet type, here are 10 more reasons to compete in the NIFS 2015 Powerlifting Competition, coming at you David Letterman style!

10. To answer the age-old question: “Do you even lift, bro?”

9. A whole bunch of free snacks and coffee!
8. Show off your new weight belt and shoes!
7. Be an ATHLETE again, or for the first time!
6. Have someone load and re-rack your bar for you!
5. Test your physical and mental toughness, something you can’t do playing Halo.
4. Collect a tremendous amount of high-5s!
3. Visit three bars (squat, bench, dead lift) without paying a cover charge!
2. The SWEET FREE T-SHIRT!
1. Finally take that leap and DARE to be GREAT!

So do it for the poetry or do it for the T-shirt, but just do it! Dare to be great and demonstrate to your fitness community (and more importantly, yourself) that you are strong, you are prepared, and you are an ATHLETE! 

This year’s competition is shaping up to be epic, and the 70 available slots are going quickly, so do not wait! Grab your slot today!

get registered for Powerlifting

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS NIFS programs challenge weightlifting powerlifting competition

Are You Ready to Race a Triathlon?

Tri-training-Are-you-ready3
Topics: exercise running swimming triathlon race competition biking