Moving Up

by Rhaea Stinn

by Stef Puddicome

With nationals in the books and a gold medal secured the prep for IPF Worlds begins! I’ve had many ask and heard the buzz about why I went up not one but TWO weight classes. Was this strategy? Was this a team Newfoundland combined effort (Maria also moved up)? If you are interested to know why keep reading!


Eleven weeks prior to nationals I had major abdominal surgery. Contrary to the live stream announcing it was not my appendix; contrary to a few inquiries I received it was not a hernia. The medical issues leading into surgery had me off training for 8 weeks prior to this emergency surgery. I was also off 4 weeks post-surgery (supposed to be 12 but let’s be real a powerlifter cannot sit idle for that long). That is 12 solid weeks with not one squat, bench or deadlift. When I did start back I was at bottom of the chain, lifting dumbbells, then lifting 50kg for squats and deadlifts. I was thankful to be lifting at all so took it all in stride. Interesting side point: I have not done one lift post-surgery without a belt. Not one. Not even the bar. My back feels happy and my insides didn’t fall out of the incisions on my belly so I feel it was a wise choice!


Pre-surgery I didn’t think nationals were in the cards for me this year. Post-surgery it was still quite iffy. I registered anyways and remained hopeful. I was sitting lean probably because I was losing muscle due to my “vacation” from the gym. The 47kg class seemed reasonable. I wanted one more stab at this 47kg class. The diet started right after Christmas. I was losing, I was hungry, but strength was moving back up (of course post-surgery this will happen anyways as I started with 50kg squats). Fact: I have lifted in the 47kg class in 5 different meets so it seemed realistic to register there. My weight hovered around 51kg and the diet was strict. I knew this meant a hard sweat again. After my nationals experience and sweating off 5kg in 2016 I wasn’t sure my recovering body was up for that challenge. Normally a 4kg sweat is manageable (not recommended) but manageable for me. I was tired and recovering and lacked the motivation to torture myself this year.


Fast forward a few more weeks, still at same body weight, still dieting hard, doctors follow up appointment. At this appointment I was advised by the doctor my body needed to sit around 55-57kg at a minimum for the further medical treatments that I require. This made my decision for me right away, health first. Always health first. Bye-bye diet. Perfect timing too, a few days before weight class cut offs.


My coach, Tom Kean, and I still needed to decide on the 52kg or 57kg class. Keeping health in mind we opted to move into 57kg class and try to get my weight around 55-57kg. FOOD! =) This was decided right before the cut off and emailed in last minute, sorry Avi!


I registered for this class full well knowing Maria Htee was THE 57kg lifter in Canada/the world. I was 100% okay and honoured to stand second besides her, any time, any day. I mean who’s beating Maria Htee anyways!? As luck should have it the final roster was posted and Maria was taking a step up into the 63kg class. So no, team NL did not have any strategy. I choose me and health and moved for my own reasons not knowing what anyone else was doing.

How did it feel eating up to a class opposed to cutting? OH MY GOD. Warms up have never felt so good. After a cut it feels like you are lifting in a swimming pool. You try to rehydrate as quickly as possible and feel bloaty and floaty. Regardless if it is a 1kg cut or a 5kg cut you still don’t feel as optimal as no cut. Your legs still fire and you still have strength but it’s just not quite the same.

At nationals I felt like a beast not cutting =) I weighed in as a light 57kg lifter at 53.9kg – this was after consuming a large breakfast, lunch and dinner while drinking 3L of water (and coffee!) that day. I went 9 for 9 on my lifts that day which has not happened in quite some time, no max effort lifts and left more in the tank for next time. As always sending a huge thank you and love to my coach Tom Kean and my bro Robert Perry. Prime meet day coaching and handling from these two fine lads.


With worlds coming up I am getting the question - “will you go 52kg or 57kg”. The final decision is not made, as this has to be approved by team Canadas coach and we have until 21 days out for final decisions. It was my understanding that the class you lifted in at nationals was the class you had to lift in at worlds so I went into nationals knowing, if I won the 57kg class I would lift 57kg at worlds. There are apparently some grey areas and changes may be considered. My thoughts at the moment are: I have never gone even a 6 month period without cutting (even if just a little bit) for a meet, every cut sets training back for me and takes away some potential gains. What if I kept pushing, kept the calorie intake high, gain the 5kg bodyweight I have room to gain? The what ifs are making me wonder. I want to know what my potential is. I want to know what my strength can achieve. Although no solid decision is made I am leaning towards trying to keep weight on and adding some kgs to my lifts.


Still curious what the heck was wrong with me? If you know me well enough message and ask ;) I have had dozens and dozens of questions and I’m not shy or closed off about it.

I think it’s important that I point out I also won Jenga and table tennis in the athlete lounge against competitor Tom Kean.

Shout out to Avi and his team for throwing a wonderful 2018 Nationals. Nationals are no easy undertaking and this event was fantastic.

Sending big love and big lifts from this 57kg? 52kg? 47? Newfoundland lifter =)