I did something I’ve never done before, and it was great! I realized going to this meet that I hadn’t been to an actual meet before this. As I helped Sivan prepare and advised her on training up to this event, I realized I have coached so many athletes to lift through these lifts but, until the past two years, I haven’t really pushed to get anyone interested in powerlifting. I have never actively pursued any PL competition, aside from bailing on a meet I probably could have placed well in when I was 17.

I didn’t think I was ready since I always want to win. I dropped out a couple weeks before then later found out I would have placed with my lifts if successful. I’ve always competed in several sports but never considered powerlifting my personal strong point for a number of reasons. I have been a bit more passionate lately and was glad to have the chance to help coach Sivan through her first meet ever. It was very exciting and filled me with pride to see her so happy, doing so well.

I have competed in a number of events and sports, so I knew what to expect as far as being at the gym all day — since it was an all day event. It was similar to a wrestling or Jiu Jitsu meet in a sense, since you are just waiting for your turn to come up while just hanging out, trying to stay warm until that time.

Sivan was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, so we arrived very early and got her weighed in with the other early risers. This was good since she wasn’t sure if she was going to make the lower weight class. She ended up weighing just enough to make her class and did so without really having to diet down, which was great because there was no stress of cutting for anything. This was what we wanted since it was her first meet, and it’s good just to get the experience with things like this.

Events like this never start right on time, but they did fairly well at keeping this as on track as they could with the amount of competition there. I think in total there were 40-to-50 lifters, and I know Sivan will correct me if I’m wrong here. As you’ll see in the video, one of the more interesting points was to witness an 85-year-old man fully participating in a powerlifting me. I thought that was pretty cool and inspiring for everyone. I think it brings an overall message to the athletes that if we do things right, we will be able to lift for a very long time, possibly competitively!

I got to meet and know some of Sivan’s friends as the day went on and they came through, which was cool. I felt like I made some new friends, and that’s something I find rare at points that I can value. It was interesting to watch all the lifters get into their zones, how they chose to warm up, and what helped them get into that special mental space that steers us into our focus. This is something I’ve always found interesting, since it’s one of the more important things in sports, especially during very heavy lifting. Her friends did a great job hitting almost every lift. One particular friend, Mark Pasternak, made 8/8 attempts and lifted some pretty serious weight. It’s not hard to pick a challenging weight and hit every single lift, but that’s what he did. I was impressed with his focus and lifting IQ as well as his overall awareness of his own abilities. Self-awareness is huge with making all your attempts in a sport like this.

Overall this was an awesome experience, and it was good to see people supporting each other, for the most part. Getting to be involved in coaching my girlfriend up to this event was a pretty unique experience in itself and I learned a ton. I feel pretty confident in knowing what I can expect in future meets, at the very least for USA Powerlifting. The judges did pretty well, though I think there were some calls I questioned — I’d say about 3 or 4 to be precise — but other than that the judging was fairly consistent. The PA system and announcer got better as the day went on. Understanding the muffled speech was a bit difficult and the announcer seemed to get annoyed at times, but I’m not sure he understood how hard it was for lifters and the audience to understand what he was even saying. Like most events and meets like this it went longer than most people there would have probably have preferred, but that’s kind of how these things go. And you’re lucky if these types of organized events finish on time, let alone early.

I want to thank Adam Hamdan for his advice to us leading up to this event. Adam is only 18, but was squatting 600 lbs at 17 years old and had enough experience and is intelligent enough that I trusted his advice and experience. I think he’s going to develop into an awesome coach over the years if he chooses to and is already an amazing lifter who is very committed. I also would like to thank Lyle McDonald, whose advice I also used going into the event to help coach Sivan. It’s an honor to get a chance to get advice from someone who is so knowledgeable and helpful. Every bit of advice that helps us reach our goals and create success is always a win. I’m a big believer in creating support teams and surrounding ourselves with the best possible advisors and support system we all can. That with a good plan and hard work will bring you far, no matter what sport you compete in.

I was very proud to watch Sivan and her friends succeed on this day, and they definitely didn’t go unnoticed. Each one of them received an award of some kind for being at the top of their class, which is pretty good considering there was stiff competition. I’m definitely going to keep working on my own lifts and encouraging anyone interested in powerlifting while helping them any way I can. I’m sure if Sivan and her friends continue to compete they will be met with great success and pride along the way.