Today’s post is courtesy of long-time reader, contributor, friend, and chili-maker, Jake Brisket. You should already know who he is. Keep the submissions coming! – Brian
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve contributed anything substantial to this site. Long time readers may remember the writeup I did of my first powerlifting meet; it’s a shock to realize that was two years ago. I guess it’s time to start fixing my incredibly high ratio of lurking to contributing.
Anyway, it’s Monday again, so I thought I’d give some publicity to an up and coming female lifter who I started coaching last summer. Iris has a solid athletic background outside of the gym, and excels as a hockey defender. Since she started doing dumbbell curl and presses (AKA Arnold presses) in her basement around the age of 7, she has enough natural swollertrophy that more than one random person has told her that she would make a good powerlifter. Surprisingly, she had never actually been on a structured lifting program until last fall, when she asked me to put together something that she could follow around her practices and games; at time of writing, she just finished a third season captaining her university’s club team while also playing a few games each month for the Honey Badgers, her local men’s rec team. Now, I don’t know jack about hockey, but I can confirm that Iris plays hard for all four periods, and she brings that attitude into the gym.
I first saw Iris lift in July when her best friend brought her to Cambridge Strength and Conditioning. At the time, CSC’s upper echelon was experimenting with an advanced Russian system called “put everyone on an LP and have a Woodchuck“, so Iris just jumped in with what our other trainees were doing. First impressions were good, when she easily squatted 135x5x3, benched a couple sets in the low 100s, then deadlifted 205×5. Those are reasonable numbers for a 130lb woman, but I wasn’t really surprised until I found out that she had just returned from a semester abroad in New Zealand, and hadn’t touched a weight in over six months. Not bad imo.
Fast forward to the present: hockey season is over, so Iris has put on about 10 solid pounds and is hard at work getting ready for her first powerlifting meet, date to be fixed for this summer.
Finding a new trainee with good natural ability is always reason to celebrate, but her 70sBig attitude is the real reason I think Iris deserves to be featured here. As hard as it is for men and boys to find good training information in the ocean of broscience that is the internet and print media, it’s at least twice as hard for women, because unfortunately many women have also internalized sexist attitudes about what is “appropriate” for them. Remember being a scrawny and confused teenage boy, bouncing back and forth between TNation and bodybuilding.com, searching desperately for a clue? That’s a hard enough time, but at least your quest for swole wasn’t being hampered by friends and family pointedly wondering why a lady would want to lift weights (read: be useful), or magazines reassuring you that no really, that low-fat Yoplait is a great source of protein. Gag me with a pink dumbbell.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that Iris never internalized any of this, so her attitude is refreshing change from all the issues that cause Justin to completely lose his shit. She didn’t need to be cajoled into lifting heavy, and I think she already eats more protein than half of the guys reading this post. I’m not making that up. The first time I asked to see her food log, I looked at the summary for a single week, Monday-Friday and the row “Protein (grams)” read: 210, 215, 204, 283, 243. Read that again. A 140lb woman ate over 200 grams of protein every day for a week, and on Thursday she cracked 2g/lb of bodyweight. If any of you guys want a safe space to discuss how this makes you feel, I would check out http://mopeilitywod.com/ imo. I know that’s where I was headed after comparing my own poor eating habits.
But despite having a few good reasons to feel self-satisfied, Iris doesn’t like getting on her high horse (which is why she wanted me to introduce her) and prefers to just quietly show up and do work. As she said to me the other day after seeing one of her peers doing 3lb dumbbell front raises “there’s no attendance credit at the gym.” Make a note of it, and stay tuned for updates from Iris on her meet prep. Over and out.
Iris is squatting 200×5 and deadlifting 210×10 these days.