My Powerlifting Journey Leading Up to My First Nationals

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by Natasha Hochstein

 A little background on my powerlifting journey. I started powerlifting training Wednesday nights with Ryan and Rhaea Stinn back in February 2016 at Crossfit 161 in Moose Jaw. I competed in my first ever competition December 2016 at Last Chance and I was hooked. From then on I continued to powerlift one day a week and competed in my second meet at Synergy Strength in April 2017 where I qualified for Nationals. I decided to up the ante and train powerlifting 2 days a week to prepare for Westerns. After westerns, I really started to focus on powerlifting and put Crossfit aside. I wanted to be able to train as much as I could and know that I was putting my all into it. This is where my journey got interesting.


Photo Credit: Mava Brydges

Deciding what weight class to compete in was something Ryan, Rhaea and myself had talked over and 52kg was what we were aiming for. Side note, I put on 12kg of body weight since my fitness journey started back up in 2016. Now, I have never ever had to cut in my life, so this was something new to me. I started tracking my macros, and everything seemed to be going really well. I was eating more food than I ever had, and I was dropping body weight. It wasn’t until I hit a certain number on the scale that my whole mind set had changed. I thought to myself, why am I doing this? To me powerlifting has become my passion and it was starting to feel more like a chore than anything. I put so much work into gaining weight that taking it back off was just mentally draining and something I really didn’t want to do. After my decision to stay competing as a 57kg things started to get exciting. A few weeks out from nationals I had PR’d all my lifts and that got me feeling extremely excited to compete at Nationals. Finally the big day rolls around, and I am feeling the most confident I have ever felt at a meet which was kind of weird because usually I am a ball of nerves. I spent the whole day until my weigh ins at 4:15pm watching and getting more and more excited. After weigh ins, it all started to kick in. I was nervous, but more excited than anything. Warms ups were feeling good and I was ready to have some fun.


Photo Credit: Mava Brydges

I remember walking back stage up the stairs for my first squat, and it all started to become nerve racking. I couldn’t believe how confident I felt all day, and that very moment the tears started flowing and I didn’t want Ryan or Aaron to see so I tried my hardest to hold it back. First two squats went well, accomplished a new PR and sunk the third squat so low there was no way I was getting back up. Next up, bench. Things felt good during warm ups and I was back to feeling calm. On my second attempt, my back started giving me grief and I felt frustrated at this point but knew if I missed my third I wouldn’t be too upset. Third attempt came up and as soon as the bar got to my chest I knew it wasn’t going back up but I just shook it off because I knew if my body was cooperating I would have got it as I recently moved this weight in the gym!


Photo Credit: Mava Brydges

Now for the exciting part of the day, my favorite lift of all, deadlifts. First two attempts went awesome and I told myself I have to get the third one, no ifs ands or buts about it. Up I go onto the platform, feeling every emotion I possibly could. I got into position and went for it. I don’t think I have ever pushed myself that hard but I was not giving up! I was driving so hard through the floor and it felt like nothing was happening until I ended up closing my eyes and it just shot up! It was the best feeling I have ever had during powerlifting. I had the biggest smile on my face along with Ryan, Rhaea and Aaron. As soon as I was off stage, I started bawling tears of joy!


Photo Credit: Mava Brydges

I felt like my whole day was a huge success, but I was most proud of my last lift. I am very proud of how I did at my first nationals for the length of time I have been training and I can’t wait to see what I will be able to do in a years time from now. If you want something you have to put in the work for it and no matter the outcome during a meet, just know that if you’ve given it your all that is an accomplishment in its own!


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