Wendy Chan – 3rd Ever Woman To Secure A 500 Wilks Score!

Wendy Chan – Elite 1 Powerlifter, Member of Powerlifting Australia in affiliation with World Powerlifting.

 

Powerlifting is the sport of strength. Men and women of all ages and sizes compete.  It consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift. Similar to Olympic Weightlifting, it involves a single lift at maximal effort of a barbell loaded with weighted plates. Each athlete assigns themselves to a federation, age category and weight class in order to compete. 

Wendy Chan Oceania Champion MedalsMy name is Wendy Chan and I am an Elite 1 Powerlifter.  I am a member of Powerlifting Australia that is in affiliation with World Powerlifting.

I began my journey in October 2014 under affiliation with IPF (International Powerlifting Federation). I competed in my first competition at Iron Underground in Albion. As this was my first competition, I was classed in the junior age category (18-23 years) weighing in the U52kg class. I gave it my best shot with only 2 hours to ensure I would be 52.0kg or less. I attained a 115kg Squat, 55kg Bench press and 122.5kg Deadlift; totalling 292.5kg at 50.35kg BW (Body Weight). This gave me an unofficial national record in this class, however as I had only been a member of Powerlifting Australia for 3 months, I was unable to receive this record. I did walk away with a Gold medal in my weight category and overall ‘Best Female Lifter’ on the day (this is a calculation of strength level against relative body weight).  

Due to this unfortunate formality; my hunger to attain a record sparked.  

The year later, March 2015 I competed in my second ever competition. Once again, I had signed up at Iron Underground in Albion to help build my confidence in an environment that was familiar. This time round I managed 107kg Squat, 57kg Bench Press and 127.5kg Deadlift, Totalling 292.5kg. Now, when you look at the numbers, I Wendy Chan squat focusdidn’t make much growth between the two competitions. However, when you consider the body weight difference; progress was evident. In 2015, I decided to drop down to the lighter weight class of being U47kg or less. So, for this competition I weighed in at 45.35kg. I scooped up my first of many Junior National Records in the U47kg weight division and a secured spot to compete at a National level.

August 2015 was my first time on the big stage, National level! 115kg Squat, 62.5kg Bench Press and 130.5kg Deadlift. Total 308kg @46.3kg BW. I was speechless when I was announced Junior National Champion of Australia! I took a short break then ended the year in December with 120kg Squat, 65kg Bench Press and 132.5kg Deadlift. Total 317.5kg @47.7kg BW. This was an emotional competition as I didn’t quite make the weight class…I was 700g’s too heavy. Thankfully because it was just a local competition the meet directors allowed me to compete. This year ended on what felt like a low…

Then I was invited to compete at an International level come 2016.  This was my redemption year travelling to Killeen, Texas in June. I was crowned U47kg Junior World Wendy Chan Deadlift smileChampion! Receiving Gold in Squat 120kg, Bench 67.5kg and Total 315kg, Silver in Deadlift 127.5kg. I broke a number of National, Oceanic and Commonwealth records. I also competed in my first ever Open National Championship in October securing: 125kg Squat, 70kg Bench and 132.5kg Deadlift. Totalling 327.5kg at 46.5kg BW. I became not only Open National Champion as a junior but Junior World Champion.  

2017     I began my year competing in the U52kg weight division before knuckling down into 2 major competitions towards the end of the year. Open National Championships in Melbourne gave me gold once again with a 125.5kg Squat, 72.5kg Bench and 145kg Deadlift. Totalling 338.5kg. My final competition in 2017 would be my last as a junior (under 23 years of age). Travelling to Singapore for the first time and wanting to secure some World Records under my belt. I weighed in at 46.6kg the morning of. My nerves were through the roof, nothing familiar but the weights and my coach. I was placed in the second group for the morning with the lightest male class. I was even more nervous and concerned with the unknown. As I stepped out onto the platform, I knew it was my last chance to give it my all. This was and is my proudest moment to date. I walked away winning Gold in my weight division once again. I also received numerous Oceanic, Commonwealth and Australian National Records. But my day wasn’t done there. Walking onto the podium I was awarded with breaking the World Records in the IPF for: Squat 132.5kg, Deadlift 150kg and Total 355.5kg.

2018     a change in affiliation to WP (World Powerlifting). I had a small break; only competing twice. Nationals in Melbourne was a stressful time. I went out to dinner with family the night before and woke up 1.3kg overweight!! I had to try every trick in the book. Tears flowed and I was on the verge of giving up. With 15 minutes to spare I pulled myself together and decided to give it a go. Stepping on the scales I made it. Totalling 358.5kg. Following this competition, I decided to no longer chase numbers but work on securing a higher Wilks (total to body weight score).Wendy Chan Medals Collection

2019     I am working towards maintaining my new weight category and building strength. This year’s goal was working towards being the 3rd ever female to secure 500 Wilks points. June lead me down for yet another trip to Melbourne to hold onto the Open National Championship for the 4th time running. A total of 370kg and 494.57 Wilks. With only 5.43 Wilks points to go it was in my near future. I had all fingers crossed for this to be my end of year celebration…so as of Saturday 7th December 2019 this was achieved. At a local competition, once again held at Iron Underground in Albion; I walked away with a 134kg Squat, 78kg Bench Press and 167kg Deadlift. Totalling 379kg @ 47.4kg BW and 506 Wilks!!! I achieved 8/9 lifts. Missing my 2nd attempt squat at 134kg and having to reattempt. The moment I wasn’t able to stand up with this weight on my back I lost all hope to achieve my goal. I ran back to the warm up room and out the back door in tears, kicking myself for setting up such a high expectation. Little did I know once I had my cry and reminding myself to calm down and that it wasn’t the end of the world, everything came together. The stars aligned and the cards were in my favour once again. I won gold in u48kg class and overall best female lifter.

Arief Hunter & Wendy Chan

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support and programming that Arief Hunter does for me. Whether I believe it or not “trust in the process” he always says. It seems he knows me better than I know myself. Always growing and learning by living in the moment.

Shelley Stark – Bodybuilder; Deadlift World Record; Nutrition, Lifestyle Coaching & Education.

Shelley Stark – Bodybuilder; Deadlift World Record, Lifestyle Coaching & Education.

Everyone has a story!  You don’t have to be famous, successful or an “influencer”.  Our stories, the culmination of our experiences, can truly help and make a difference in someone else’s life.

Shelley Stark WR Deadlift 2015

 

I wrote my story once, long ago, in the form of two self-published books.  To be honest, I cringe at those now due my lack of knowledge and understanding and I’m no longer that person anymore.  I’m older, wiser, and a lot more educated.  However, those experiences helped me become who I am today, as cliché as that sounds.

 Until recently I sat behind the scenes, not wanting to put myself ‘out there.’  I was happy in life.  I worked in a job I loved, a lot, and when I decided to leave that position, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was left with what now?

Shelley Stark INBA trophies

 

Being involved in powerlifting, although no longer competing myself (maybe again one day), at the recent Masters Championships in Cairns I was speaking to a few people about nutrition and they all said you should be doing coaching yourself, you have so much knowledge around this.  So, I came home, thought more about it, and now here I am, providing nutrition/lifestyle coaching and education and helping clients achieve their goals in a safe, effective and sustainable manner using evidence-based practices.

Rewinding a bit, in 2008 and 2009 I competed in figure bodybuilding competitions, placing 2nd & 3rd in my first year and 4th in my second.  Prior to this I had a long dieting history.  After this I was diagnosed by a sports psychologist with binge eating disorder.  It took me a few years to overcome this and get some semblance of normalcy in my life again involving eating.  In 2013 I started powerlifting.  My greatest achievement in this sport was getting the World Record for Deadlift in both 2014 and 2015 in the 67.5kg Women’s M1 category.  As others’ have said I love that powerlifting focuses on what your body can do rather than how it looks.  I’ve been involved in powerlifting ever since.

Nutrition is simple, yet we over-complicate it.

I believe this is partly due to the misinformation spread by the media.  Rubbish like; you need to omit carbs if you want to lose body fat; fasting will produce greater fat loss; clean eating is the only way you should eat; donuts and burgers are out of the question.  With garbage like this spread, it’s no wonder we are confused about and how and what to eat, especially if we want to decrease body fat percentage.

Shelley Stark Coaching at Brisbane Fitness Expo July 2019

 

There are many ways to go about fat loss.  The bottom line is you must be in a calorie deficit in order to get rid of fat.  The best diet is the one you can stick to, without too many feelings of deprivation, one where enjoyment is kept high and you are consistent week after week for as long as it takes.  Patience and persistence are keys to fat loss as well as behavioural changes made along the way in order to maintain fat loss once the diet has ended.

Shelley Stark posing at the after party

 

 

I have been feeling quite vulnerable, if I’m honest, with my posts on social media but when I receive messages such as “I’m loving your posts” I know I’m doing good and on the right path.  I love helping people and I want to make a difference so that we can all be free of the neuroses and stigma surrounding dieting and fat loss.  Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The best piece of advice I can give is to educate yourself, work with a nutrition coach if needed, or read as much as you can from reputable sources on the internet.

 

If you would like to discuss your Nutrition with me, please get in touch by sending your details in the Contact Form below…



Jenelle Schultz – from ‘Gym-Bunny’ to Oceania’s 2018 Champion!

Jenelle Schultz – from ‘Gym-Bunny’ to Oceania’s 2018 Champion!

Jenelle Schultz Powerlifter

 

I used to be your typical ‘gym-bunny’ – for most of my 30’s, daily workouts consisted of bodybuilding splits (light weight; high reps only) mixed with pump classes and spin classes. Cardio, cardio and more cardio, sometimes 2 classes a day, before and after work, along with every variation of diet or eating plan I could find, all to achieve the perfect sports model look.

Like 99% of humans on the planet, that combination didn’t actually work.  I didn’t look like a sports model and I was continually trying every type of new workout or exercise and/or diet I could find, looking for the magic combination. 

I don’t know whether turning 40 was some kind of tipping point – I have often heard that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so I was probably keen to stop being nuts! I also had some nagging from a good friend to try powerlifting, so early in 2018 I turned up at yet another new gym and met Graham McDonald. The brave man agreed to give me shot at being a powerlifter, I’m still not sure why! I didn’t really fit into the powerlifting community – I don’t like heavy metal or donuts, and I have no tattoos, so I’m kind of a sparkly outlier – but the whole team embraced me anyway and my powerlifting adventures started from there.

Jenelle Schultz Powerlifter SquatMy first comp was in May 2018 up at Airlie Beach (North Queensland, Australia) – I was super nervous and so grateful to have the McDonald Strength team, along with my husband Rob there to cheer me on – I actually got a medal in my first competition, coming 3rd in the 63kg class.

From there I started to see significant changes in my body (remember, more muscle = more energy burnt!), and with some sensible nutrition I was able to go down into the 57kg class for Master’s Nationals 2018 where I won gold in my section.  I have great memories of that day, and that whole trip, where I got to share a flat and some great late night chats with my team mate Libby.Jenelle Schultz Powerlifter Bench

The Oceania Championships in December 2018 was my absolute amazing, proudest and most devastating day in powerlifting to date, all in one. The amazing part was that I not only got to wear the green and gold and again won my section, but also came 1st overall in Master’s Women with a total of 330kg (Wilks 384.52).  I also had half the crowd cheering me on as a lot of family and friends came to see me lift – one of my best friends even made me a sparkly sign! But I was devastated when I missed my last deadlift – 150kg came off the floor easy but I couldn’t lock it out. This was my first failed deadlift in a competition and I felt like I’d let everyone down very badly. I know that sounds silly when I won literally everything I was eligible to win on the day, but it’s a personal goal that I was really looking forward to nailing… more to come on that. Jenelle Schultz Powerlifter Deadlift

Oceanias was where I got to get more involved in the behind-the-scenes part of the sport too, by learning how to be involved on the technical desk, which also gave me a front row seat to the heavyweights session! I am also lined up to be a spotter & loader at an all-women competition later in the year.  That’s another thing about powerlifting – everyone helps out, which adds to the community spirit of the sport.

Training is now my happy place, rather than just where I got to try and burn calories – the focus that each session requires means that the day’s problems are soon forgotten once warm ups are done. And no matter what my day has been like, I know that I’ll get to go and do something amazing when I get to training – what sort of person puts double their own body weight on their back and crouches down then stands up with it?! It really helps me put things in perspective – i.e. if I can do that, then the bad meeting I had with my boss, the slow traffic or the HR issue I have to deal with probably isn’t going to break me.

Jenelle Schultz 2018 Oceania Best Womens Lifter

Life feels very different now that I’m a powerlifter (and yes, I identify myself like that often enough to bug people!) – I no longer pine after the sports model look, I eat carbs, I wear short shorts. Life is good. I feel like I have found my thing, and my people.

Of course I’m inspired by the superstars of powerlifting like Liz Craven and Marisa Inda – and more recently Jess Sewastenko – watching them always reminds me that any lift I attempt is actually possible. But I also love the diversity and opportunity for people of all shapes, sizes and ages to achieve.  I like to think that one day I’ll be an M5 lifter, still wearing sparkly stuff and listening to techo!

For now my next goal is to defend my title at Master’s Nationals 2019 in Cairns. I also have that missed 150kg deadlift to reclaim from Oceanias – it had better be getting it’s affairs in order.

Jenelle Schultz support crewI’m so happy that my story resonates… I can’t tell you just how much finding this sport has meant to me – the sense of purpose and belonging… hard to put into words but I hope I did it some justice… thankyou again for the opportunity to do this – it means a lot xxx – Jenelle Schultz

Sarah Wheal – From CrossFit to Oceania Powerlifting Championships!

Sarah Wheal & Liz Craven

Sarah Wheal – From CrossFit to Oceania Powerlifting Championships!

My name is Sarah Wheal and I’m an Elite Master’s Powerlifter. I feel like this would be a good introduction at Powerlifter’s Anonymous…

Sarah Wheal Oceania Powerlifting Championships 2018

I can probably count the number of sporting successes I had before I turned 40 on one hand. I joined the Air Force in my early 20’s, but was by no means “fit” – I could barely pass my fitness test. I smoked, drank, was a little plump, and didn’t go to the gym except when I had to do “remedial” PT after failing my fitness test each year.

Sarah Wheal Crossfit Training

In about 2008 I decided I wanted to be an Instructor at Officers’ Training School and thought I should probably be at least as fit as the students I was planning to set an example for. I finally managed to quit smoking, lost some weight and started going to the gym. Over the next few years, I did some fun runs, cycled, tried the 12 Week Body Transformation a few times, and then in 2012 started doing CrossFit.

 

Sarah Wheal Crossfitter

CrossFit became my happy place for the next 5 years, taking me to some cool places, doing some great fast exercising, entering local competitions, volunteering at major events and finding an amazing community. I dabbled in competitive Olympic lifting, but the reality was that I was much better at squat and deadlift than anything else. I persisted with oly because I actually saw it as superior to powerlifting (I was so wrong!).

Sarah Wheal Crossfit

Roll on to December 2017 and I decided that I wanted to aim higher. I set myself a 5 year goal of making the top 200 in my age group for CrossFit. I started training twice a day. In January 2018 we did the CrossFit Total (squat, strict press and deadlift) and I added another 20kg to my total.

A chance conversation inspired me to enter a local powerlifting competition. I turned up with no idea, the wrong socks, CrossFit technique and no handler or coach. I was really lucky that this tiny woman called Liz decided I looked lost and took pity on me. She got me through the meet, and I came second to the incredible Jesse Akister in 72kg class, with a total of 330kg.

Sarah Wheal & Liz Craven

 

Liz (who turned out to be none other than Liz Craven) suggested that it would be a good idea if I trained with her. She was right. Over 2018, I competed in the Matti Tikka Challenge, then Masters Nationals. At my first nationals appearance I came third, and was able to secure a place in the Australian team for the Oceania Powerlifting Championship, where I won my class and came second over all in Masters Women with a total of 362.5 (Wilks 356.48).

 

 

I love powerlifting. I love that it’s about what you can do, not how you look. I love the strong women I have met and look forward to learning more from them all as I grow in this sport.

Author: Sarah Wheal

Lauren O’Sullivan THRIVING!

Lauren O’Sullivan is THRIVING!

Growing up in a household where sport was the basic undertone of day to day life, I always knew that in one way or another it was going to guide and shape who I am. I never could have imagined though how influential the synergy between powerlifting and other aspects of my life would be.

Lauren O'Sullivan QBL- 2017I’ve played basketball since the age of five and always had promise surrounding my ability. Being a solidly framed girl, I was constantly swinging between owning my power and not feeling worthy because I didn’t at the time for the stereotypical basketball body type. I played strong and hard and while I did achieve some great things in basketball that I am proud of, I can honestly say I never really felt like I thrived.

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Kathryn Chilton’s Story

Kathryn Chilton focused Worlds 2016 girlswhopowerlift.com

As I stood on the worlds podium in 2016, having just won 3rd place for squats, it was a real moment of reflection and somewhat disbelief. How did I get here?

Kathryn Chilton flag Worlds 2016

April 2015: So, here’s me, 22-year-old Kathryn, meeting another commercial gym PT. I’d been through a few, not really knowing what I was doing. Just knowing I should probably work out and get healthier. It had been this way for 3 years. He took me over to the squat racks and we got started. I was weighing around 54kgs at the time, still in the mindset of wanting to be skinnier. Then I squatted 75kgs. No knee sleeves, just a belt. Then we benched. I managed 50kgs. Finally deadlifts. 82.5kgs. Oh yeah, this is pretty fun. He told me this was powerlifting, and I was hooked.

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