The weights room at UniRec, like many gyms around town may often be dominated by men, but keen lifter and UniRec Exercise Consultant Erin Mascelle wants to encourage more ladies to get themselves into the weights domain to improve their strength and even compete in the powerlifting competitions that she’s become such a fan of.
In Erin's first competition during April last year, she managed a total lift weight of 285kg (Bench press, Squat and Deadlift). Not bad for a newbie who had completed just 6 weeks of training! She repeated the experience last weekend and came away from the comp with PBs and the golden ticket – qualification for the North Island Nationals in Tauranga in July.
UniRec caught up with Erin to find out what makes her tick:
How did you get the Powerlifting bug?
I started last year after a friend of mine who is a keen powerlifter suggested I try it out. After my first comp I never looked back!
The first comp went well... How did you do last weekend – one year on?
Really good. I got all PBs in my lifts and ended up getting a 295kg total (10kg more than last time) - 102.5kg squat, 62.5kg bench press and 130kg deadlift. I’m really happy with that as I did minimal powerlifting specific training and reached all the goals that I had set. I placed first in the Junior U72kg and have qualified for North Islands in July.
Is there a lift that you prefer or are they all quite even?
They're all pretty cool... it’s a tough choice but I’ll go with squats. My heaviest lift is a 130km deadlift. Bench press is the lightest lift for me due to my body shape and muscle distribution. For some people through, they have stronger chests therefore it’s a better lift category for them.
Did you know much about powerlifting before you started?
Very little actually, but it’s not difficult to learn - it’s pretty straight forward.
What’s different about a comp vs training?
I have to wear a leotard for competition! I also wear a belt to keep my core tight and back stabilised. Most people these days wear a belt as back injuries are common. I also use straps for the deadlift. What’s also quite crazy is the atmosphere when you’re competing. Strangers are shouting your name and telling you that you can do it, it’s quite surreal. I think I’ve improved a lot since I started competing. Your confidence grows each time. I find I enjoy the gym a lot more. It’s fun.
Has your physique changed since you started?
Not really. I’m still active in other sports – kayaking and general resistance training. If anything, I think it’s really helped with my strength and endurance, and complements the sports I’m competitive in.
Do you consider yourself a strong woman?
I didn’t until recently... Turns out I am which is pretty cool!
Would you like to see more Women in the weights room?
Absolutely, it’d be great if more women could join me! I’ll help you out too! When I started I went in with a friend and we did it together and we forgot about all the boys in there!
What I find a lot of women saying is that they’re not sure of their technique and don’t want to injure themselves that’s why it’s so good that UniRec is kicking off the 6 week Activity Course (Learn your Lifts) to build technique and confidence. PLUS – it’s rumoured that guys like girls that are active and can lift! Come on girls come and join me!
Powerlifting is fun and rewarding. Each time I get a PB I get a real buzz. If you haven’t tried it, I reckon it’s worth giving it a go. It’s simple, get the technique down, improve your strength and hey, it’s something different.