My sister-in-law Ninette who is a certified personal trainer has guest posted on my blog before, offering tips on healthy living and being active. I had to have her back when she told me some exciting news. She has taken her training up to a whole new level by entering the ultimate competition of strength, the powerlifting competition. What I truly love about her is her modesty. She is an accomplished athlete, with incredible strength, yet so very humble about her achievements. Ninette was kind enough to return to trextotigress to talk about her journey to powerlifting and current training goals by answering a few questions.
Me: Hi Ninette. You have always been an active person. How did you make the transition from weight training/body building to powerlifting?
Ninette: I’ve been a trainer at several gyms in the city before I started to work at Fortis Fitness in 2008. Sean Kelly opened his gym a few months before I came on board. As a novice powerlifter himself, he was passionate about sharing the message of training differently than that of the conventional fitness industry; the use of isolating machines and too much focus on aesthetics instead of building strong, functional muscles. He wanted to build a training facility completely different from the typical “Good Life” and he soon filled his gym with only qualified, knowledgeable trainers and clients from professional athletes, competitive powerlifters, and Olympic lifters as well as those who practiced CrossFit. His enthusiasm was contagious. I quickly embraced powerlifting.
Me: Wow! I love the idea of focusing on strength rather just the aesthetics. What is powerlifting in a nut shell?
Ninette: Powerlifting is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. There are different weight categories and in some meets age categories as well. Once all three lifts are completed your scores are added up and the contestant who has lifted the most is given first place. Most people enter these competitions to compete with themselves; they want to challenge themselves to keep getting stronger. It’s a way to set strength and fitness goals not necessarily to win.
Me: That’s great! Setting personal goals to challenge and push yourself. Tell us more about the three core movements.
Ninette: The three lifts are the squat, the bench press, and the dead lift. To get stronger in these lifts, one would train variations of these movements. For example to improve your squat you may do box squats for speed or belt squats to improve the lower part of your squat. A strong back is essential for power in your bench press so pull ups, and any type of rows would help as well as any shoulder/military press. Training the hip hinge movement would help both your squat and dead lift.
Me: How are you training to prepare for the competition?
Ninette: I train 4 x per week. Day 1 I do dead lifts and a back workout, Day 2 I would focus on my squat and bench press and Day 3 and 4 is dedicated to a full body workout consisting of assistance exercises (assistance exercises are any exercises that are not one of the main strength training lifts; so for example I would do dips or bicep curls.) On Days 1 and 2, I would do up to 8 sets of up to 80% of my 1RM. So although the prime focus is just 2 main exercises, the intensity is high. On Day 3 and 4 the workload is high and the intensity is lower. I actually run 5 km on 2 days of the week as well. It keeps my body weight down. Lol! Hey, a girl still has to look good! 😉
Me: I agree! Tell us about your diet in order to sustain this type of training.
Ninette: To maintain strength, a diet with enough protein and some carbs are necessary. If you completely eliminate carbohydrates, your strength is compromised. Remember, you are judged by how much weight you can possibly lift, and not by how ripped and cut your muscles look.
Me: I see. So bulk is an important component. And lastly, for anyone who is interested in learning more about the sport, is there a link or website you can provide us with?
Ninette: There are two federations that hold meets in Canada for powerlifting; the OPA http://ontariopowerlifting.org and the CPU http://www.powerlifting.ca so for anyone interested in competing, these two sites would provide you information on upcoming meets.
Me: Thanks Ninette. You are really such a strong inspiration in my life. I know I will be there to cheer you on all the way!
Ninette works on her deadlifts:
To learn more about Ninette Cruz-Longsworth visit http://www.noexcusesfitness.ca