Lady’s First Meet

Last week’s posts were dominated by our experience from Raw Nationals. A lot of you have written in saying how much 70’s Big has inspired you to compete, and I enjoy every one of those e-mails. 70’s Big is an attitude, and part of that attitude is putting yourself to the test and risking failure along the way.

I’m going to periodically share some stories from people who have written to me about their competitions. Today I want to highlight Antoinette’s journey into her first powerlifting meet earlier this month. You may remember her from this post when she deadlifted 250lbs. Antoinette is coached by her boyfriend Eric, and he did a solid job on teaching her the barbell lifts and helping her develop a great strength base. On a side note, Antoinette told me that when she got into lifting, she dropped bodyfat and even though she was eating a lot more. I’ll let her comment on that, but typically when girls start getting stronger they have an improvement in body composition.

Eric and Antoinette having a rough time with the 70's Big Face

The first time Antoinette e-mailed me, she was asking about the best way to taper her “Texas Method” program into the meet. TM programming works really well with people shifting from novice programming to intermediate, and once the lifter has been on it for a few months, it can be transitioned pretty well into a short taper for a meet. I recommended she start doing 3 rep maxes (3RM) so it would paint a more accurate picture of what she could open with.

Antoinette kept in touch with me as she got ready for the meet, and unfortunately she was hit with various types of the black plague for the three weeks leading into the meet. In any case, she didn’t let it deter her from having a solid day. Eric wrote me a recap, and I’ll give it to you from the horse’s mouth:

So our plan was to open conservatively and make reasonable jumps for the second attempts on each lift so, worst case, she could go 6/9 and put up lifts in the neighborhood of her training PRs. Seeing how she was coming off being sick for most of the three weeks prior to the meet, and the fact that her Tuesday recovery day hadn’t gone very well, we definitely wanted to keep things on the low side. Add in the fact that she was on the verge of having an anxiety attack prior to her first lift (she can tell you more about that) and I was still a little worried going into the squats.

We decided to open at 105kg on squats, which was a weight she had tripled without too much struggle two weeks ago. You can see that it looked a little more difficult than it should have, which was mainly due to her nervousness preventing her from getting a good deep breath before starting the lift. So we only went with a 2.5kg jump for her second attempt, which put her about 9lbs short of her gym PR of 245lbs. 107.5kg went up without too much problem since she had calmed down a lot once she got the first lift out of the way. She had a slight knee turn-in and loss of back angle, so we knew she could handle quite a bit more weight if she fixed that. For her third attempt we jumped to 112.5kg, and even with a slight knee turn-in (looks like it was due to toes not being angled out enough in the stance) it went up without any problem.

Bench was definitely her weakest event–on her last intensity day she had put up 125lbs (which was a PR for her) but it didn’t go easy. We opened at 52.5kg which went up easy enough, but I was still hesitant about making a big jump on bench so we only went to 55kg for attempt #2. That went up easy enough that I felt comfortable calling for 60kg on the third attempt. By this time she had gotten over the nervousness and was able to channel the pressure in a productive way and get amped up for each lift. 60kg went up far easier than I had expected, giving her a 7lb PR on bench.

With deadlift we wanted to use the first attempt essentially as a final warmup lift so she would have something left for her second and third attempts. So we opened at 102.5kg, which she has done for a set of 5 before. That went up easy enough for us to feel comfortable jumping to 110kg on her second attempt…again short of her gym 1RM but something that would let her get a solid number on the board without too much trouble. After hitting that attempt easily we jumped to 115kg, 3lbs over her gym PR. She pulled 115kg like it was a warmup lift, and it looked far stronger than when she set her previous deadlift PR a few weeks ago.

So in the end, she went 9/9 and totaled 287.5kg, good for 2nd place in her weight class in the raw open. Tracee Patterson, the winner in her weight class, hold several national records in that class, so it was no shame to take second place to her. All three lifts were PRs and it looked like she could have handled about 5kg more on the bench and 7.5-10kg more on the squat and deadlift, but being her first meet we thought it was a better idea to leave something on the table rather than taking a chance bombing out or getting hurt.

That, my friends, is how you handle someone at their first meet. Antoinette had e-mailed me, and we went back and forth with strategy. I mentioned that they could take the last warm-up for deadlift on the platform, and that’s what they decided to do in order to help her go 9/9 in the meet. And really, PR’s on all the lifts and going 9/9? I can’t think of a better way to motivate anybody, especially a girl in her first competition. Nice job Antoinette, and nice job Eric.

Here is Antoinette’s last deadlift (you can see her other lifts here):

24 thoughts on “Lady’s First Meet

  1. “…having a rough time with the 70’s Big Face.”

    I think people need a bit of practice before being put on the spot to perform the 70’s Big Face.

    Luckily, I practice 3 times a week for just such an occasion.

  2. Congrats on your first meet. Meets are fun and everone is so supportive.


    You should just sign up for one and then just keep training and try for some PRs at the meet. At my last meet there was a guy who opened with 225 lbs which isn’t that much for a lot of people, but it was a lot for him. He missed it the first two attempts. He ended up getting it on his third attempt and the crowd was cheering him on. It’s more about challenging yourself. Everyone just wants to lift well and wants you to lift well.

  3. Great Job Antoinette, second place at your first meet! As long as there were more then two lifters in your weight class that is impressive (9/9 is impressive regardless!).

    This brings me to my next point. Where can I find a 70’s BIG woman for myself?

    Work on your suave ability, since there wasn’t any in the second sentence of this comment.


  4. Congrats Antoinette! I’ve been trying to get my girlfriend to do a meet and she was for it until she found out she had to wear a singlet. Haha. Oh well, Ill keep workin on her and hopefully she’ll come around.

    Well, she would wear a shirt under it. Show her Antoinette’s video.


  5. Great coaching and approach to the meet, and I like the write-up. The vids do make the lifts look easy, but you can’t go wrong with 9/9 AND pr’s!

  6. so i’ve been working with my elitefts belt since friday. loving it so far. today was my first time deadlifting with it and it made apparent what I have been doing wrong. i’ve noticed that when i deadlift instead of pushing out my belly, i am sucking it in and somewhat flxing it, if that makes any sense. I tried with the belt and couldnt make myself push out against it. i know it’ll take time to learn that but have you guys any advice? on squats it works great. and even over head pressing works like a charm

    I don’t like the “pushing out the belly” cue because it alters the position of the lumbar spine on most lifters. It would be applicable to guys that are close to 300 pounds since they typically have a bit of a belly to push into the belt.


  7. @ Justin,
    Oh she knows she would wear a t-shirt, and I told her everyone else is wearing a singlet too so there’s nothing to be worried about, but I think she was just using it as an excuse.; Several other people from our gym used singlets as an excuse to not do the local power meet. Freakin wusses. Singlets are what sold me! Haha

  8. Nice job Antionette! Hopefully you’ll be an inspiration for other women out there to get out of the pilates class and start picking up heavy things.

    So I’ve decided to finally get a belt for myself, and after looking around I think I’ve settled on the retro series power belt from Elite FTS:

    Justin mentioned this belt in one of his posts a while back. My question is on the sizing of the belt. I measure up where I put on the belt and it’s right around 40″ which puts me right between the size options for L: 37-40″ and XL: 41-44″. For those of you that have this belt, would it be unwise to be at the higher end of a size category?

    I know some people that like the EFS belts and that are very unhappy with their belts. I’ve always heard good things about Inzer. You’re on your own with sizing. You obviously don’t want it too small or large, so have fun with that.


  9. @ big_mike

    Imo it would be unwise, ESPECIALLY if you are buying a 13mm (ie. very stiff) belt. As I go too fat (strong?) for my old 13mm belt, I had a HELL of a time fitting the end through the loop (when I was at the end of the drilled holes).

    The end sticking out was problematic for cleans / deads / etc.

  10. Hey guys, thanks for the great feedback! A couple of notes: (1) Yes, wearing a hideous singlet was completely unflattering as well as the big purple belt hiding my svelt hour glass figure. lol. I was thinking of making my own singlet in pink and then bedazzling it. But, I did get the unofficial award for ‘most colorful and best dressed.’ (2) Yes, I did have trouble with the 70s big face…obviously I don’t practice enough in the mirror at home on a regular basis (3) We went conservative so I could hit 9/9 and I am prone to anxiety/panic attacks when performing in a large audience. I start sucking in air uncontrollably and my pits start sweating. This meet really helped with my confidence and I didn’t care that I scaled my weights back. Especially since I was disillusioned as to how much I could really lift coming off Bronchitis the month prior to the meet. As Justin says, competition lifts are different than gym training. So true. It’s very different when you can hit it strong at the gym and then try it in front of a crowd and having 3 judges making sure you are doing the right thing. Can be quite nerve racking, but that’s why you have to keep going to meets! (4) To JMOvechkin…if you walk around with a gallon of milk in public, she will find you. And if she’s got some quadzillas, I think you found “the one.”

  11. Big_Mike – for belts, I’d go a little shorter rather than longer, unless you plan on growing a lot. My Titan is too big since I’ve lost 25 pounds, and the extra strap hanging out is annoying. I’ll probably list it up for sale here soon. BTW, of all the belt companies I dealt with, Titan had BY FAR the best service – worlds above Inzer and APT (both screwed up my potential orders at least once). Titan is also Texas-based, which automatically gives them extra points. ;)
    I would pick up the phone and chat with customer service for whoever you are planning on dealing with. Titan went out and measured the exact holes when I ordered mine, whereas the Inzer service guy barely knew what a belt was.

  12. I second We’ve had several clients order from them. They offer a lot of options, they are cheaply priced, shipping was free and they all got the belt in about a week. I waited 6 weeks for my belt from Elite FTS. Also, best belts throws in a set of suede coasters for your favorite beer or glass of milk.

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