In 2019 we learned more, gave more, and achieved more than ever before. We’re proud to share our Top 10 2019 year in review highlights with you.
The Strength Guys athletes and coaches celebrated huge success at 2019 IPF Worlds in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Mark Tobias (@mark_tbs8) competed in the Open u66kg division. He earned himself a bronze in squats and sixth overall in his first IPF Worlds
The Strength Gals Hit The Platform
The Strength Gals sponsored athlete, Teresa Parsons @teresaparsons had a great day at 2019 IPF Worlds.
She finished with a 160kg squat, 97.5kg bench, and 187.5kg deadlift for a 445kg total, which was good for 6th place in the very competitive 63kg division.
Carli Dillen (@carli_dillen) competed in the u63kg division at 2019 IPF Worlds. She ended up placing 8th in a very competitive class, going 9 for 9, setting person PB’s, and best of all, setting a new New Zealand National Record!
Carli with coaches Kedric Kwan (nutrition) and Alfred Jong (programming).
Taylor Atwood 74 kg Champ
Taylor Atwood @t_atwood – Historic 790.5 kg total from the 74 kg division at the 2019 IPF Worlds. Taylor broke the World Record in Squat and shattered the World Record in Total by 33 kg en route to his 2nd World Championship and the Best Overall Lifter award.
Best Overall Lifter – Taylor Atwood
Owen Hubbard @ohubb competed in the Open 83kg division at 2019 IPF Worlds placing 6th overall.
Owen finished off the day placing 6th out of 23 athletes, along with a new World Record in bench press (215.5kg). He also squatted 275kg & deadlifted 267.5kg.
Owen competed for Great Britain, and is coached by Alfred @alfredtsg & Jason @jasontsg
Congratulations to all TSG athletes and coaches for your success at 2019 IPF Worlds in Sweden!
A Year of Learning and Lifting With The Strength Guys
My first year of working with The Strength Guys as Sponsored Strength Gals Athlete has been an incredible experience learning and lifting! Having this opportunity has given me a fresh perspective on the sport of powerlifting. I have made a lot of progress in the way I move, think, and approach the ups and downs of training. I attribute these changes to my program design and the support network that TSG has provided me.
Since day one of joining on with TSG, I have felt like I was part of a team. I don't just have a coach, I have an entire group of people who help and support me in my lifting ventures. TSG very much has the feel of a community. All of the TSG athletes and coaches, who I have had the chance to interact with, have been extremely welcoming and supportive.
Learning and Lifting Coaches
Jason and Ben have been my coaches and done my programming since I started with TSG. I enjoy having the combined expertise of two coaches, it allows for more conversation, thoughts, and ideas. Together Ben and Jason have provided me with a ton of guidance and information. They are excellent with communication and make a point to ensure I understand what they are telling me. Over the year I have had the opportunity to spend some time with them both. They have both handled me at different competitions, I attended a seminar put on by TSG and the three of us have had the chance to train together. I feel that in addition to online coaching the time we have spent together has enhanced our ability to communicate and has been a major help in my ability to understand the lifts. Jason and Ben have gone above and beyond what I ever expected from powerlifting coaches.
More recently, in the weeks leading up to CPU Nationals, Kedric joined in to help me with my weight cut. He has continued to do my nutritional planning as I prepare for Worlds. Kedric has shown me an incredible amount of support by making sure my diet is sustainable, removing any worry of not making weight and answering all the food questions that I have. Like Jason and Ben, he goes beyond just giving me something to follow and is continuously checking in to make sure everything is going well.
The Strength Gals Community
In addition to Ben, Jason, and Kedric as my coaches, I also frequently interact with Nicola and Debbi. Nicola the Strength Gals rep was one of my first lifting role models. When I joined TSG and The Strength Gals she was a big help in navigating the transition from my previous coach to Jason and Ben. She is always available when I have questions or to have a chat. She has been a supporter of my lifting and continues to be an inspiration to me as a fellow female powerlifter and person. Last but not least, Debbi the TSG Mom, has been extremely welcoming to me from the start of my time with TSG. She always shows support to me on my lifting ventures. She is easy to get in touch with and has helped me stay organized with a variety of things.
As a whole, the thing I value the most about this team is the amount of their own time which they have invested in me. They have shown me that they want me to succeed just as much as I want to succeed. They have all played an important role to keep me moving towards my goals!
Learning Technique From My Coaches
From the beginning of my time working with Jason and Ben, my technique was a major focus for change. When starting their programming they asked my perceived knowledge of the lifts. I realized I didn't have a solid plan or understanding of how I would initiate each lift. I was given checklists on the bases of how the lifts should be performed. These lists combined with video analysis and recommendations all added depth to my lifting knowledge. With time, practice, patience, and continuous feedback I am still progressing in this area. With the help of Jason and Ben, my checklists have evolved to thoughts and cues that best resonate with me. Becoming engaged and having a plan has made every single training session a learning experience. The time I spend in the gym practicing my technique combined with frequent feedback and reminders from Jason and Ben on what I am doing well and what I am missing has been a huge help to me. Even though my training hasn't been a direct line to technical perfection and instant gains; I have had far more good days than bad.
Practice Makes Perfect
Apart from joining an amazing team of people and learning a lot about lifting the style of program that Jason and Ben provide me is different than anything I have followed in the past. I train with a major emphasis on the three competition lifts. In the beginning, I thought I might miss my variety of lifts and movements, but so far I don't. Now that I understand the main lifts better, there are more things I want to improve upon. By repeatedly performing the squat, bench and deadlift I have been able to make positive changes in my movement patterns. Practice makes perfect! The thing I love the most about my programming is that it is never easy or boring. Between the technical changes, weight increases and volume demand I have been physically and mentally challenged more so than I can explain at times, but that's why I love it! The good days are evidence of my progress the hard days build on my resilience and patience. Regardless of how I feel there is never a day where I do not come out of the gym feeling some amount of accomplishment for my efforts.
I feel very fortunate to be part of The Strength Gals and Guys community. We have covered a lot of ground in a year and as we prepare for IPF Classic Worlds I couldn't be happier with where we are! I am very excited to represent the team on the platform!
What Does It Feel Like to be a World Record Holder?
by Strength Gal Jordanne Panton
People always ask me “What does it feel like to be a world record holder?” or “What does it feel like to be the best in the world at something?”
I usually respond by telling them how cool it feels and how proud I am of myself because that seems like the way I’m supposed to respond. But, to be honest, when you break a world record you don’t suddenly feel like you’re better than anyone else or feel the need to go around bragging. Now don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying that breaking a world record isn’t something to be insanely proud of. There really is no better feeling than seeing “WORLD RECORD” flashing on the screen under your name and seeing those three white lights once you complete your lift. It’s actually pretty similar to achieving any other goal, except when you achieve this one, it gets put in the record book.
In the end, it’s not really about the record. It’s about something much deeper. It’s about the countless hours in the gym when you almost gave up but you pushed through because you know what you’re capable of. It’s about all of the small victories that no one knows about other than yourself. It’s about all the losses along the way that made you hungry enough to do better. When I finally accomplish one of my goals, my favorite part has always been to look back on everything I sacrificed and seeing that it was all worth it.
I think what most people fail to realize is the amount of sacrifice and dedication it truly takes to reach the top. I wasn’t always a world-class athlete. I began powerlifting 5 years ago when I was just 13 years old- only an 8th grader at the time. As I continued to grow and succeed in the sport, I started to recognize that reaching my potential would require my absolute dedication. As a high school student, this means not staying out too late on a Friday night because I’ve got an important training session the next morning. It means no vacations over spring break because I don’t want to take that much time off from training. It means training comes before all else. Everything I do revolves around my training because that’s my priority. It’s a mindset that most kids at that age don’t have.
The first time I broke a world record was at the 2016 IPF Sub-junior World Championships in Poland. It was my first world championship meet, and I had some pretty high expectations for myself. I had set a goal to break the sub-junior deadlift world record when I first began training for worlds, which was about a year before the meet. Leading up to this meet, I had deadlifted more than the record a few times in training but I think it’s pretty safe to say lifting in a meet is very different than lifting at the gym. You have to take into account things such as the stress on your body from traveling, the fact that you have an audience, and the mental toughness of getting through all 9 lifts when it might not be your best day.
By the time the deadlifts rolled around that day, I was prepared to leave everything on the platform. After scratching my 3rd squat attempt to conserve energy for my deadlifts, I really had nothing to lose. I vividly remember staring at the bar before setting up, repeating to myself “It’s only 424 pounds, it’s only 424 pounds,” as if that wasn’t a lot of weight to pick up.
From this point on, I enter into my own world. Nothing else matters except me and the weight. Every sound gets tuned out, from my teammates cheering to my coach telling me to set up right. It feels as if I’m a robot that’s been programmed to do one thing and that one thing only- lifting the weight. The next thing I knew, I was locked out with a new world record.
Fast forward two years to the 2018 IPF Junior Worlds this past September in South Africa. I was given another chance. This time it was to break the junior deadlift world record. Now a sophomore in college, the sacrifices continue to build up. It’s learning to balance academics, a social life, and powerlifting. Still, powerlifting trumps all.
This time at Worlds, once again the world record was well within my grasp. For my 2nd deadlift attempt we loaded 474 pounds on the bar which I successfully pulled, giving me my 2nd world record. I went on to try 510 pounds for my 3rd attempt, but lost my grip. The experience I had pulling my 2nd world record was really no different than the first. It was just as exciting, if not more exciting being able to do it halfway around the world. Five years of hard work and consistency led to that moment.
So what does it feel like to be a world record holder? It feels pretty darn good. Not just because of the record itself but because of my journey getting there. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
USAPL Nationals TSG Team #Bluetakeover
USAPL Nationals is coming up! And our TSG Team USA is looking stronger & more ready than ever Check out our roster and a small preview to the powerlifting platform.
Carlton Wan @bacon4prs – New York State Open & Junior 66 kg Record Holder in the Deadlift. Taylor Atwood @t_atwood – 2018 IPF World Champion & Record Holder in Total, Arnold Classic Grand Prix Champion, 4x USAPL National Champion, National Record Holder in Squat, Bench Press, & Total.
Rob Ali @robalistrength – Winner of Pennsylvania State Championships.
Sean Moser @seanmoser19 – 2018 Arnold Classic Pro American Champion, 2016 IPF Collegiate World Champion, Jr. National Record Holder in Bench Press.
Lauren Hite @miss_mx – Alaska State Champion, Winner of the American Open.
Eli Burks @eliburks3 – 2016 IPF World Champion, 2017 Arnold Classic Grand Prix Champion, 2015 USAPL National Champion & National Record Holder in Deadlift.
The world better watch out for a huge #BlueTakeOver! If you are interested in becoming a TSG athlete, click here
Being a graduate student and a powerlifter, I see a lot of my peers give themselves completely to their science or to their sport. I always thought I was in the wrong because I didn’t want to be just one thing – I wanted to pursue multiple passions. Even Ron Swanson, whose advice I’d usually take to heart, says, “Don’t half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.” Well, I’m here to tell you that Ron Swanson is wrong. You can whole ass two things… but it’s going to be pretty hard.
I study microbiology at the University of Illinois, and I’m kind of taking the scenic route to my PhD. I keep getting involved in new side projects and collaborations. And this summer, I took seven weeks away from my actual work to go to a totally optional, zero-credit, microbiology course halfway across the continent. Now before you say, “Danielle, you idiot, you’ve been in graduate school for almost six years, just graduate already,” let me explain.
I got to spend my summer in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It’s kind of a marine science Mecca. It is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutio (the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the U.S.), the Woods Hole Research Center (a top think tank on climate change), and NOAA and USGS research centers. Woods Hole is also home to the Marine Biological Laboratory, a place with such a huge impact on biology that it’s hard to wrap my head around. Here is some idea of how incredible the MBL: 34% of the Nobel prizes awarded for Physiology or Medicine have been given to MBL scientists. (This makes Nobel Prizes kind of a casual thing at the MBL, they let even me hold one.)
The MBL offers a six and a half week intense microbiology course. When I say “intense,” I mean at minimum 12 hour days for six days a week. But they also say this course is “transformational” for its students (now that it’s over, I know this is true). You get to learn a lot of advanced microbiology from some of the world’s best microbiologists. And, if you’re a real microbio nerd like me, they say it’s a ton of fun (also true).
I was excited for the course, but nervous for my powerlifting training. I spoke to students who took the course before and I was told again and again to just take that time off from the gym. Well I’m pretty stubborn and I didn’t like that answer. So I called my 92-years old grandfather instead. He told me, “If you care about it, you’ll make it work.” That’s more like it. (Thanks, Grandpa!)
I prepared for battle my trip. I researched gyms, I packed all my gym gear, I asked my coach for a training regimen I could handle (shout out to Jason Tremblay for being so accommodating), and made the 18 hour drive from Illinois to Massachusetts – so that I’d have my car to easily get to the gym.
The next six and a half weeks flew by. I scienced hard every day and I trained even harder twice a week. I was almost never running on a full tank of fuel; my mind and body were exhausted, sleep was scarce, and the food left me questioning how something so calorically dense could taste so bad. But I stuck to my “no excuses” attitude, kept up with my training plan, and finished every single workout.
As you can imagine, I had some good days and some bad days lifting, but that’s not any different than at home. The biggest difference, I think, is just really planning ahead to make it work. I couldn’t skip the gym in the morning if I’d already scheduled all my experiments to accommodate a rushed morning, moved my car to the closest parking lot, packed my gym bag, and slept in my workout clothes (this, right here, is the real pro-tip in this post). It didn’t matter if I had a crummy night of sleep (many very hot nights without air conditioning), a bad day in the lab (scientists fail way more than they succeed), or a big day tomorrow (that would be every day). Once I planned a lifting session, it was set in stone.
So, that’s my best advice: You can whole ass two things. You make it work. And now I am going to put this advice, and myself, to the test again, as I travel to Yellowstone National Park to collect microbiological samples from acidic hot springs! (I don’t even study hot springs, but this is a pretty amazing opportunity!)
TSG Athlete Rhonda Wong Bronze Medalist
2018 IPF World Championship Women’s Open 47 kg
Congratulations to Rhonda Wong Bronze Medalist 2018 IPF World Championship
TSG Coach Alfred and athlete Rhonda Wong had an epic Worlds Performance last week! We are so proud of them both, a true coach-athlete dream team . Rhonda went 9 for 9, finishing with a silver in squat (125kg/275lbs), bronze in deadlift (152.5kg/335lbs) and bronze over all in the women’s open 47kg weight class.
The best part was all the smiles!
Huge Congratulations to Rhonda and Alfred from our entire TSG family!
Read more about Rhonda here
The Strength Guys is very excited to share that we recently sponsored and presented two youth lifting scholarships in Zimbabwe through our partnership with the charity Lift4Life!
Since February, TSG has started a #CoachingForACause initiative where a portion of all our coaching fees go towards spreading strength around the world to underprivileged communities that need sport the most.
Lift4Life hosted a local community meet over in Zimbabwe on Sunday, June 3rd, led by Team Member Nicola Paviglianiti. Here, The Strength Guys sponsored scholarships were presented for both the Best Junior Female and Best Junior Male lifter. It is intended that these scholarships go towards helping these lifters complete their schooling and pursuing their career aspirations, while also supporting their passion for powerlifting.
Kelly Chiripa was the female youth scholarship recipient. A Zimbabwe Strength Gal at its finest!
Kelly weighed in at 64.8kg, with a best squat of 60kg, bench of 30kg, and deadlift of 80kg. This strong gal is 15 years old and in Form 2 (the equivalent to Grade 10) in the suburb of Mabvuku in Harare. Kelly trains after school and on weekends on the Lift4Life donated powerlifting equipment within her community.
It was a special moment witnessing her receive her scholarship, as she was in absolute shock and was close to tears of joy during the presentation. Speaking with Nicola after the meet, the young girl spoke about how her favourite lift was the squat, and how the best thing about powerlifting was that it makes her feel “confident” and her “body strong”. Kelly is still unsure of what she wants to do after she completes school, however, she says she wants to teach other girls about powerlifting and inspire them to also join the sport.
Isaac Zinyembe was the male youth scholarship recipient. This young lifting lad is 22 years old, and has already been lifting for 7 years! He started when he was in Form 2 (grade 10) at the age of 15 after a friend introduced him to lifting weights – he hasn’t looked back since! At the meet, Isaac weighed in at 53.4kg finishing with a 90kg squat, 70kg bench, and a huge 140kg deadlift.
Isaac completed highschool, however, has been unable to pursue any further studies and is currently unemployed due to Zimbabwe’s economic situation. He has a dream of pursuing a career in the area of sports and physical activity, and this scholarship will hopefully motivate him and provide him the means to do so. Isaac has “a love for speed” and enjoys making weights move fast. He hopes to compete again soon, and has already been back to the weights and training this past week.
TSG is so honoured for this opportunity to impact lives, and we are excited to continue to work together with Lift4Life to spread the power of powerlifting.
The Strength Guys would like to congratulate Nicola on her Alberta Council For Global Cooperation (ACGC) Top 30 Under 30 recognition. Nicola was honoured for her focus on Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
My desire to make a positive impact in the world took shape from a young age through travel with my family. In 2015 I discovered strength sports, and as a current Team Canada powerlifter, my passion and niche combines my humanitarian heart with sport. I conducted my master’s degree in Zimbabwe studying how grassroots weightlifting activities can address humanitarian needs through women’s empowerment, community development, and sustainable livelihood programming. Now I am putting my research into action by supporting sports for development programming in marginalized communities.
Read entire feature here