CAPO FEMALE AMBASSADOR

FEMALE LIFTER OF THE MONTH-

Helen Fegan

Federation: CAPO

Weight class: 75kg

Category: Open Raw Women

 

Current best lifts in competition:

·         Squat: 130kg

·         Deadlift: 165kg

·         Bench: 75kg

 

(Just coz I wasn't too impressed with these numbers, I included my best gym lifts- SQ 145kg, B 80kg, DL 175kg)


 

What is your athletic or sporting background?

 

As a kid I was very active (it seems like such a cliché to say that), but if I wasn't playing Aussie rules with the boys, or riding bikes with my dad I was in the pool swimming my little heart out. Of course as a teenager the lazy hormone kicked in and I was much happier sitting in various places or power sleeping. When I started uni I got into soccer pretty heavily, but as I am fairly loud, vocal and aggressive, the position of goal-keeper seemed ideally suited to me. Unfortunately this didn't lead to much running or conditioning, so it seemed my sedentary lifestyle was doomed to continue. It wasn't really until I reached 100kg that I woke up and thought “Hang on. What are you even doing?” After that I kind of got serious about my health and made some pretty dramatic life changes. Joined a gym, mucked around with nutrition, started doing pump classes, smashing the cardio etc.

 

How did you get into powerlifting?

 

This is sort of a continuation of the last question, so more back story required…

After uni I was stuck in a fairly low-income job, so I didn’t really have the option of a PT. Everything I did at the gym was based on personal research (thank you Internet?) and friendly advice. At the end of 2012 I decided that I was sick of not earning any money and decided it would be a good idea to move to Sydney and be a train driver. My deal with myself was that once I started earning X amount of dollars (and had a certain amount saved in my bank account) was that I would treat myself with a PT. I definitely felt that I had reached the peak of what I could accomplish based on “popular fitness blogs”. So in August of 2013 (when I had been learning to drive trains for a few months) some friends on mine got me in touch with Jim Tulun (now Bondi Strength Co. Jimmy). Jim was suitably horrified about my Pump and cardio enthusiasm and set me onto a fat loss program. This introduced squats and deadlifts into my life. A few months into this part of the journey Jim himself got into powerlifting and said “You're pretty strong Helen. Wanna try this?”

I said “K”, and thus the powerlifting saga began.

 

What are your biggest achievements in Powerlifting?

 

I don't feel any of my achievements are competition based, but more personal in nature. I think I felt the happiest with my hard work when I finally cracked the body weight bench press and was able to deadlift double body weight. My next goal is the double body weight squat.

 

What do you enjoy about powerlifting?

 

This may sound a bit silly, but I really enjoy feeling strong. I think that feeling physically strong helps me with both mental and emotional strength. The sense of capability, the thought that “I can do this, I’m unlimited” is a very powerful motivator. What I really love about this sport is the amazing people that I'm constantly surrounded by. Like minded individuals become awesome friends, and often these babes can be the difference between a lacklustre session and a OMG SO GREAT AMAZING lifting bonanza. Developing these wonderful relationships leads to those little soppy moments of “THEY BELIEVE IN ME SO I BELIEVE IN ME *sob*

 

Does your nutrition change or do you follow a particular eating plan when in prep for a comp?

 

My nutrition remains pretty consistent whether I'm competing or not, however depending on what my weight is doing in the lead up to the comp I'll react accordingly. I follow the IIFYM concept so that there is a lot of flexibility in my diet, but if need to drop one or two kgs I try to cut the amount of carbs in the week leading up to a come. I will admit that I’m pretty pedantic about my nutrition- I usually know exactly what I'm going to eat and when I'm going to eat it. Just the little control freak in me.

 

….how do you balance between work, sleeping and training?

 

My roster can be pretty stuffed up, one fortnight I'm working a 2am shift and then next I'm on 1pms. This means that a lot of planning is involved in every aspect of my day.  Alex (Bondi StrengthCo. ) is always very accommodating about training times (I think it's because I'm the favourite), so I can always factor in when I need to have a nap after work or train in the gross baby hours of the morning. Fatigue definitely has a huge impact on my performance every week, so sometimes “one scoop” looks like 2 jugs full.

 

What is your favourite lift and why?

 

My favourite would have to be the deadlift, purely because that's the heaviest I can lift. It's hard to pick a favourite, especially as I love the ridiculous looking arch that we have to contort to for benching and the puffy smooshy faces we make when squatting.

 

What is your biggest asset as a lifter and your biggest weakness?

 

My biggest asset would have to be Alex. He’s so super supportive and dedicated, even when we have a disappointing session (I miss the weight, take a stumble, have a crappy day) I still leave happy and motivated. I think that these are extremely important with any sport, but especially powerlifting as once you reach a certain point, progress comes more from your attitude to training then slogging day in and day out monotonously.

 

My biggest weakness is confidence. Especially with my squats. Sometimes even when I know I can get the weight (and have sone previously) my technique falters and I tip forward. It can take me a few weeks to get over the fear of tipping again, so we've had to drop down a few times just to solidify the technique again and again.

 

What is your mindset going into the competition?

 

Even though I have been powerlifting for over a year now, I still feel like a novice. So with this in mind I go into every competition not so much prepared to fail, but prepared to use it as a lesson if I don't perform to my own high  standards. The problem I have (and I know a lot of other lifters suffer) is perfectionism. I want to be the absolute best version of myself that I can be at all times. But this is unrealistic. So I find that I have to take a step back at times and say to myself “What is realistic? How are you feeling? Are you mentally present?”

 

I try to take the attitude of “I'm not here to compete against others, I'm here to do better then past Helen (that bitch)”. Even a little progress is still progress.  

 

What advice can you give to new female lifters?

 

There's bullshit in every sport. This is a fact. What you need to do is find the bullshitters, and cut them out of your life. You'll know who they are after a little while. Once the bullshitters are gone, the awesome babes will stick around. They'll support you, encourage you, make you laugh and inspire the shit out of you. They'll still be there after the honeymoon stage of “OMG I’M GETTING SO STRONG SO FAST MY LIFT JUMPED 40kg IN 2 WEEKS!” and they'll be the people you look to for that much needed spark when you plateau.

 

After States what is your goal?

 

Honestly I haven't really thought that far ahead, I'm more focused trying to beat my current PBs.

I dunno, maybe I'll try and find a dude to date who’s stronger than me. It's getting pretty hard, that pool is rapidly getting smaller and smaller.

LOL jks. Seriously I'm not that shallow.

My next goal. Lift heavy. Lift heavier. Be awesome.

 

Fin

 


 

 

LUCIE THOMPSON

 

I know for me personally, Lucie Thompson has been in inspiration for me from day 1 of my powerlifting career. I remember that she was the current record holder of the 75kg Open female Deadlift [single lift] and it was her benchmark that I sort to aim for when I was prepping for my first powerlifting meet. We became friends on facebook before we met in person but she was always offering advice and guidance online when I would post my lifting videos. This girl is a wealth of knowledge, very humble and an all round awesome person [with one of the strongest bench presses in Australia] – and I was lucky enough to interview her. Enjoy.

 

ATHLETE: Lucie Thompson

FEDERATION[S]: CAPO 100%      

CURRENT BEST LIFTS IN COMPETITON / CATEGORY:

UNDER 75/82.5kg Open Raw

SQUAT – 140KG, 2011 NATIONALS 3 LIFT

BENCH – 110KG, 2013 QLD STATES

DEADLIFT – 185KG, 2012 NATIONAL DL COMPETITION

 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO POWERLIFTING?

I’ve always been competitive and been involved in some sort of sport.

From 10-17 it was swimming at a competitive level, In 2001 I was playing around and decided I wanted to get healthy, fit and toned (gee I hate that word now) but I really didn’t know much about training. It wasn’t until 2005 after doing boxing (I was way to slow and not at all agile) and running  (which wasn’t for me) that I started to take weight training seriously and focus on improving body composition. I had began seeing a nutritionist Leanne Grindrod in New Zealand and I started to learn how to train properly.

In 2006 I met Tom Terry, my first coach, who was involved with the NZIFBB federation; he suggested I give body building a go. I was actually training at BTS, which was run by two nationally renowned powerlifters - Jody and Frank Boulgaris. So I guess powerlifting was always around, however, I actually found it very intimidating - so much screaming, slaps and chalk dust. I just focused on body building, competing successfully placing for two years straight.

 

After I returned back to Australia in early 2010 I felt bored with the training, I was just going through the motions.  My sister, who is a boxer, started training at a local gym in Wollongong, Rock solid Fitness, this is where I met Peter Weatherall, who was/is my coach.

Peter introduced me to strongman, and after a month or two of training with atlas stones, log presses, yokes and farmers I competed in a few strongman competitions. It was September of that year that I entered my first novice powerlifting comp in Sutherland - in all honesty I never used to squat, bench or deadlift with my body building prep back when I first started so learning all 3 lifts was a challenge.

I competed, won and I was hooked!

It was December 2010 that I entered my first CAPO comp, the National Deadlift Competition.  I’m not sure what the record was at the time, but I remember breaking it and placing 3rd overall on formula nationally. Since then I’ve competed in many CAPO competition.  I’ve also trained with a few different strength coaches Peter Weatherall, Australian Strength Coach, The Guv [Mike Jones], Bondi Strength Co and Adonis in Sydney, so I've learnt a lot, and I thank them for helping me achieve many goals on the way. 

 

WHAT ARE YOU BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN YOUR LIFTING/STRENGTH SPORTS CAREER SO FAR?

In 2014, 3 in a row:

-March, IFBB Australiasia, 1st place, Body Building division

-May, CAPO NSW state titles, 1st and overall in bench press raw

-August, CAPO nationals, 1st and overall in bench press raw

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT POWERLIFTING?

I love the camaraderie of the sport, the fairness in judging, and to attempt to be better than my previous lifts - it's about me and the bar!

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LIFT AND WHY?

It would have to be the bench press these days.

It was only after the 2012 National Deadlift where I sustained a back injury and then again re-injured prior to FitX 2013, that I had to stop deadlifting and squatting to let the inflammation subside - my mediocre lift has now become my best lift.

I’m a realist, and as much as I love the sport, I have to manage injury. I’ve only recently started deadlifting a modest number of 100kg - nowhere near what I used to, but that’s ok, instead of throwing it all away. There are people worse off and are suffering pain constantly so I’m lucky that I’m still able to lift and compete. It’s exciting to watch the girls pull big numbers in deadlift especially of late.

 

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Taylor Young, she is an amazing lady, powerlifter and bodybuilder - I’ve had the privilege of competing with her on both stages. We’ve had many chats together and she has always been supportive and encouraging.

The Guv [Mike Jones], because he has helped guide me in the right direction, given me great advice on managing injuries, and he is a wealth of knowledge and just a gentleman in the sport - top mate!

 

YOU’VE HAD MUCH SUCCESS ON BOTH THE POWERLIFTING PLATFORM AND THE BODYBUILDING STAGE – DO YOU HAVE A PREFERANCE OR DO YOU THINK THEY BOTH COMPLIMENT EACH OTHER WELL?

 

I am an all or nothing person, when I commit to competing I give it 110%. As I look back to when I started as an under 55kg physique competitor, to now a 65kg body builder, I feel as though both sports compliment each other.

Powerlifting and particularly the style of training in the off-season have improved my physique immensely - the compounds have given me more thickness.

With powerlifting, people from all shapes and sizes, backgrounds etc are in there giving it a crack, and this is something that I love to see, it’s the camaraderie.

I also enjoy having a cinnamon donut before max bench sessions. Lol.  I prefer not being so strict with dieting and being depleted and weak, which is what I feel like in the final weeks before a building show.

 

FOR ASPIRING FEMALE LIFTERS, WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE THEM WHEN STARTING OUT?

 

Listen to your coach!

What are you training or paying him/her for? Expertise right!

Don’t talk to too many people during competition preparation - it can be distracting and confusing. If you have a program follow it to a tee. You have a coach, seek his/her advice.

I once made the mistake of being swayed by others on comp day, being swept up in the movement with adrenalin pumping and ego stroking, I ended up totally throwing the plan out of the window.  Stick to the plan, you’ve trained towards this goal, discuss it beforehand and implement on game day. It’s Simple!

 

Pick your comps!

I’m a lot older and it can be a lot more taxing on the body, keep on top of stretching massage and prehab. I believe 3 comps maximum, States, Nationals, and Invitational/Worlds

Prevent burning out by prioritizing and managing your work, study and personal commitments first.  Comp prep is a lot to juggle on top of everything, but it’s great if you have an understanding and supportive partner like I do.

 

Get off social media!

If you're worrying about someone else, you’ve lost focus on yourself!

This is your journey - it’s about you and the bar.  Benchmark against yourself, it’s about you improving, not worrying about what someone else is lifting or thinking your not good enough or inadequate.  We all start somewhere, so be the best you can be.

 

WHAT’S YOUR NEXT GOAL? WHAT ARE YOU TRAINING FOR?

I’m currently in preparation for CAPO invitational at Arnold classic in Melbourne.

After that, it may be time for a break, I’ve been competing since 2008 straight. Time to rest the body for a bit, however I would like to give back to the sport and get involved in more of a mentoring and judging capacity. 

 

Thank you CAPO and Lyndall for this opportunity - I am proud to be apart of CAPO!

 

xx Lyndall Vile