Mighty Kat does virtual powerlifting meet


Proud to say I am the first female to complete a virtual powerlifting meet.

Virtualmeet.net is a grassroots project founded by Kristoffer Lindqvist in Finland warmly welcoming lifters at any powerlifting level. The vision is online meets in a global community. Participants have been in Iceland, Austria, Finland, Puerto Rico, Canada, the U.S. and more, and the list continues to grow.

Here's how it works: you register for a meet, say you accept the rules and are drug-free. (Both full and single lift events are scheduled). You perform the scheduled meet wherever you are, film it,
produce the morning newspaper to prove when you performed the lift, and submit it for judging. There are rules on lifts, clothing, gear, etc., like in any other powerlifting meet. The project relies heavily on the honor system and thrives on good sportsmanship.

The individual lift attempts are edited together, three judges weigh in, the pass/no pass lights are represented to show validity of attempts. (This is strict - currently the failure rate is 56.7%!) There are no weight classes. Scoring is based on relative strength formulas - Schwartz for men, Malone for women - so competition is truly with oneself.
Sound serious? Well, it's not. No one will claim that our results are "official" or "true meet results". This is all done for the fun of it, for the fire of a clear goal to shoot for, for the novel challenge. (Virtualmeet.net)
What a wonderful concept! Although I'm not a powerlifter (that's for my world champion sister), this scratches me right where I itch. I used it for incentive and as a fun diversion, to keep me on track with my Olympic-style weightlifting training and personal development.

I loved it. Kris is great, the quality of everything involved is first-rate, it was low-stress and just plain fun.

The hardest part was waiting for the judging results.

My Virtualmeet.net lifts

I'm thrilled to see there's a virtual Olympic-style weighlifting meet scheduled for October. Kris tells me he wants to run powerlifting and weightlifting meets parallel eventually.

Meanwhile, there are more fun events scheduled for the remainder of 2008 - a BP, DL, military BP, and another full powerlifting meet.

Related articles

Introduction to powerlifting competition by Gary F. Zeolla

Bill's glory days

We were a bunch of competitive farm kids. We did combat with ornery cattle, heavy machinery, feed bags, hay bales.

One of our contests was climbing the silo ladder hand over hand - one-arm pull-ups. My friend could go the whole 60-foot silo, but I could only make it about 40. I was a wuss.

In the feedmill, we handled a steel-wheeled handtruck with twelve 100-pound bags of feed at a time.

On the farm, we were just kicked in the ass and told to get to work. If I had a more typical youth, I would not be gimping around with a cane and taking methadone to be able to sleep today. Poor kids don't get much choice.
. . .

In my 30's, I was lifting and running. At one point, I could bench more than 300 pounds and run for distance.

My partner was a marine. We would hit hill country around Robert Morris University and run up to four hours at a time. We would lift heavy three days a week and do a six-mile run. The other four days we ran 10-20 miles per day—60-70 miles a week.

A deadlift was always good for me. I was used to picking up stuff. The varsity basketball players were stunned—they struggled with the machine stack for deadlift and I did the stack, with about 450 pounds of them standing on it, for a set of 10 reps.

I did Roman chair sit-ups with 200 pounds of plates on my chest, too.

Any wonder why I have a sorry-ass back now?

It felt GOOD. I'll never have those rushes again, but it has been a good life.

(real life poetry)

seals hanging out

Started off my Saturday by snoozing on the beach. They made it look like a good idea.


...wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon

Relative strength formulas

Scholars make distinctions between intelligence and memory. Just because someone has a photographic memory and can retrace routes eerily well doesn't necessarily mean that person is super-smart, for example. Similarly, weights bested do not necessarily make for accurate indicators of strength. When someone wants to challenge who's stronger, you or him, or her, rather than pick up a barbell, pick up a calculator instead.

Kristoffer Lingqvist, founder of Virtual Meets and Under the Bar, has written a great article on what powerlifting relative strength formulas are, how they work the different ones that exist, and their histories. He also created an ingenius calculator engine to figure out one's stats across the board. It's online, free and straightforward. Enter in lift data, watch it go. Once more, passion is the mother of quality creation.

From Kristoffer's article

"Maximal strength is dramatically affected by such variables as the bodyweight, age and gender of a lifter. If you want to be picky, you could add anything from muscle fiber proportion and individual leverages to mental factors, such as whether you are wearing your lucky Mickey Mouse underwear or not, but since blaming a poor total on your leverages is not generally acceptable and since the formulas we are about to discuss only concern themselves with the major differences of bodyweight, age and gender, we need not concern ourselves with minutiae. Let's just say that an 80 kg/177 lbs bench press would be a mediocre lift for a 100 kg/220 lbs 28 year-old male lifter, but an awesome lift for a 50 kg/110 lbs grandmother aged 78. We could say that the masters lifter is very strong relative to her strength potential whereas the man isn't anywhere near his. That's relative strength in a nutshell."
I've always said I'd love to be as strong as an ant. Ants can move 5x their bodyweight!

"If a human had strength "equivalent" to that of an ant, he could lift 2000 (maybe even 10,000) pounds over his head. Or, to put it another way, if an ant were as big as a human it could lift 2000 or more pounds over its head." (flying turtle exploring website - source of graphic as well)

progress - affirmative!

I am in phase three of Jim Schmitz's Olympic-style weightlifting program. I am constantly amazed at the genius of this program. I'm getting stronger, bigger and better in the lifts continually. This phase involves continually increasing weight maxes for four weeks, and if that sounds amazing, it is. Boolyah!!

The adventure & romance of exploring gyms

Reverie of a gym adventurer

When I gush and glow over my life in weightlifting, I don’t talk rattle off my competition stats, titles or records. Not that my modest achievements would mean much to anyone anyhow. When I want to talk lifting, I talk of my gym travels – the gyms I have known, the equipment I have used. I relate to the skiers and climbers who talk not of their performance high points, but the high points of their journeys. They’ve hit Hood and Everest; I’ve hit a gym in nearly every pocket of the Northwest.

I’m a junkie. When I travel on business, my idea of unwinding is to check out the local gym. I delight in seeing what kind of squatting set-up they’ve got, pull-up arrangement, how their platforms are built. Different lifting cultures offer different landscapes to explore. There's the chic, state-of-the-industry gym, with scalloped stainless steel wanescotting and tri-angular machines; full-range, multi-angular, ergonomic devices that most of the world only reads about in magazines. I get giddy over eccentric loading capability. Then there's the rustic romance of the dusty, bare-floored gym with duct-taped heavybags, spilling chalk bowls, and faded handwritten signs (Don't crush the chalk!). If I don’t have time or forbid – the energy – for a work out, I’ve even been known to stop into gyms just to get the tour. If I have to fake being a prospective member, I rise to the challenge. Just let me in.

I’ve been to Gold’s Gyms and privately-owned bodyshops on the south coast, the midcoast, to the chains around Portland, to a kettlebell gym, weightlifting gyms, NIKE World Headquarters, to the earnest physical therapy/lifting combo outfits on the border of Idaho, to university weightrooms in Ohio, to YMCAs in Pennsylvania. I’ve lifted in a golf course fitness center and more hotels than I can count, from the west coast to NYC to Florida, and I’ve broken out my dumbbells outside my tent at sunset on windy South Dakota prairie.

Different places have different energy. A work out performed in a unique place can burn into your memory eternally, so remembering the vision can take you back into the moment.

Close to a bodybuilding competition, I found myself in a new experimental Gold's Gym in Boise, Idaho, a slick, brand new facility with a twinge of The Matrix. I can still see the diamond-plate swooping over the lower half of the walls, and feel the shadowy power of the freshly powder-coated equipment. I was in top condition and so was the gym. I finished lifting at 10 p.m., and can still feel the pump, like a rosy rush of memory over my skin.

There were the nights after I closed down the Gold's in downtown Salem, Oregon, when I'd lock the doors, crank up the reggae and have the bench area all to myself for chest work. I can instantly relive that moment in the Youngstown State University football team weightroom - vast, orderly, heavy and slightly dark - when I forced myself through one last dip and felt the pop in my chest, stopped, dropped and walked into the nurse's station to find out I'd yanked cartilage off my sternum. Not a great moment, but a solid memory rooted in place and motion, part of my evolution that makes me smile.

The tall, white walls and light pouring through the windows at Bally's in Wilsonville, Oregon filled me with such energy every day during the years I worked there. Three floors tall, open and airy, black mats on the floor sliced by light through the vertical blinds - it fed my creativity, and I led clients happily through some of the most unusual work outs of their lives, attaching bands at unexpected angles on the white Hammerstrength frames. Saturday mornings, my leg work outs drove me hard - inspired personal best squats, headphones cranked high, the camaraderie of the clutch of serious lifters waking ourselves up with the power of our blood.

These days, I prefer the magic of the mornings, middays and evenings in my primitive studio, where the elements of nature and lifting merge. Covered in chalk, visited by cats, swelling with the smells in the air, the uninsulated and light-leaking shop is more a segue between the landscape and me than a separation, where the outdoors and indoors overlap. I can open the garage door to the elements. Spiders, bats, rats, bees, flies, raccoons, deer - they're as free to pass over my platform as I am. In the spring, to warm, I step out into the sun; in the summer, I step inside for the coolness trapped inside the old wood walls; in the winter, I brace with the chill, dart to the studio through rain. It's my connection with nature, both inside and out; I feel every nuance of every season.

But I do belong to an excellent small weightlifting gym populated mostly by high school athletes, where handwritten rules include "No stinkin' up the joint" and "No looking outside waiting for your ride to come." And weightlifting competitions have taken me to some major high points - Ironworks Gym in Creswell, Oregon, which is one of my very favorites, and University of Oregon, which some say has the best weightlifting facility in the country. It was awe-inspiring, a real pilgrimage point.

Different places have different stuff. I’ve used straight cast dumbbells, ergonomic handled dumbbells, dumbbells with rubber-coated ends and the square-plate dumbbells that can hold 2 to 100 pounds each. I am a connoisseur of cable pulleys. One look and I can tell whether the set-up is old and neglected enough to add 20 pounds to the marked weight amounts or whether it’s the bliss of smooth-moving mechanical ease. I’ve worked out on machines like astronauts use, forcing air pressure for resistance, on digitally-controlled machines which allow me to program in what percentage of weight I load onto my eccentric versus concentric contractions. I’ve squatted on contraptions that load me vertically, horizontally and on a slant. I've deadlifted with a thick bar at U of O. And you know what? I can’t get enough. At home, while channelsurfing, I pause the remote on makeover reality shows when gyms pop up in the background and subject my husband to flash reviews.

(I have to interject on my own diatribe here and add that you don't need anything too fancy to work out. My own gym is simple. Like tasting unexpected free gourmet treat samples and playing with baubles at hoity-toity clothes shops, fancy stuff is just fun.)

With the exception of the original Muscle Beach site in Santa Monica or its successor Muscle Beach Venice, there are few pilgrimages ensconced in the weightlifting/weight training traditions. Personally, I would love to lift in Toffe's breathtaking outdoor studio in Finland. It's surely the pride and joy of the powerlifting fellow who calls it home. How at one he must feel supported by equipment made of wood and steel, looking up into blue sky from the bench, surrounded by trees.

I don’t know whether this romance for "lifting spaces" is shared by anyone else. I’ve yet to find anyone else to babble on with about gym travels and get drunk on equipment sightings. But I’d like the world of fringe athletes to know there is a different way of talking about one’s lifting career. If surfers paint their histories in litanies of beaches and climbers name their mountains, why not revere our passion of choice with the landmarks of our adventures, and show the world just how worldly we lifters can be? That it’s so much more than a mirror and a trophy.

Want to see my photos of different gyms I've known? Click here.

* Also see Johnny Cash's "I've been everywhere, man"

Photos - My gym; Hiram College, Ohio; NIKE headquarters in Beaverton, OR; Kettlebell Elite Gym in Tigard, OR; Ironworks in Creswell, OR; Five Rings in Portland, OR; U of O in Eugene, OR; Toffe's outdoor gym in Finland; Muscle Beach.

competitive overeating injuries

Worry about athletic injuries? So do the world's biggest eaters. Freakish champion Takeru Kobayashi has contracted an arthritic jaw. Slate has this very interesting article by Jason Fagone on the history and future of the injuries of competitive eating, with perspectives of thought that I find unusual.

The apparent frivolity of competitive eating has always colored our response to its bad health outcomes. An eating injury or death has never seemed tragic or heroic, just … sad. Kobayashi's injury ought to change that. It deserves to move competitive eating past the joke/jeremiad dichotomy and into the framework of actual sport—with all of sport's narrative dignity, its metaphorical richness, and, most importantly, its empathy for the human bodies it churns through and spits out.

Image from Slate

kebobs! classic summer cookin'

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. And so easy. Here we have red potatoes, Walla Walla sweet onions, red and orange bell peppers, and chicken. Drizzle, brush or spray olive oil, add herbs and spices, put tray with foil directly onto grill on a high fire. After a few minutes, move kebobs directly onto grill, turning over as you place. Lower fire some, let 'em grill.

The flavor has nowhere to hide (Kramer, meat slicer episode).

build muscle with caffeine!

At last! When it comes to ingesting copious amounts of caffeine in the gym, this study gives better justification than "I couldn't stop my ass from dragging."

Great as the headline plays, this study's finding really isn't that surprising. Caffeine speeds anything into your system, especially when it's in full-bore depletion mode. Carbs do, too(just a spoonful of sugar helps the Creatine go down).

The more substantial, subtle subpoint is this: take in carbs after a work out in order to build muscle, rather than the popular misconception that you need protein right away. Protein isn't what your body needs at the moment. It needs energy to recover from depletion and to keep going right NOW - carbs, the simpler, the better. When adequate carbs are in your system, it will draw on the protein later to repair the damage you just did - primarily while you sleep that night.

So feed the furnace to recover from a hard working out - whether it's fruit, an engineered replenishment drink, or that candy bar or ice cream you've been coveting (seriously - now's the time to have it). And enjoy it with a cup of Joe or iced tea, to hurry it into your system. Live a litte.

Also, there's no need to wait until you're finished with your work out to take in this recovery stuff. Depending on your body, you may need it a lot sooner. Know thyself - your body knows best.

From Exawatti - Glycogen, the muscle’s primary fuel source during exercise, is replenished more rapidly when athletes ingest both carbohydrate and caffeine following exhaustive exercise, new research from the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology shows. Athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66% more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense, glycogen-depleting exercise, compared to when they consumed carbohydrate alone, according to the study, published by The American Physiological Society.