APF Special Strengths Invitational: My First Powerlifting Meet – Though She Be But Little…

I wanted to do a little recap on the experience I had at my first powerlifting meet back on April 7, 2018.

A brief background on myself for those who are new to my blog. I’m a 35 year old married mom of three boys who has been lifting seriously for about ten months. I originally started as a crossfitter a year ago where shortly after I was introduced to Mike Denmon, who trains a handful of high school kids known as the Cross Trainers in his home gym.

I started training with Mike’s Cross Trainers group on Mondays when they were doing deadlifts in order to help build strength for deadlifts in crossfit. I loved the professionalism, integrity, and down right love that Mike showed his group. Mike soon became a coach that I could believe in and trust.

It wasn’t only a couple of months later that I was wanting to gear up to do my first powerlifting meet. I had gained a sponsorship with Anderson Powerlifting, who equipped me with all the gear I needed for training and competition.

My best lifts in powerlifting have been where I managed to squat 295×2 and deadlift 300×2 at a body weight of 122 (my bench is forever lost to poverty, so it needs not be mentioned 🤣).

Mike decided to put on a powerlifting meet to benefit a great cause, Adaptive Sports for Kids which is a non-profit, 501-(c)(3) organization which provides year round sporting opportunities for children and young adults with physical and/or disabilities. They currently provide baseball, Tae Kwon Do, Cheer, soccer, flag football, and basketball.

I was originally set to compete in the 123lb weight class with a body weight of 122 until two weeks before the meet. After looking back at my training progress, I had talked to Mike about his thoughts and advice on competing in a lower weight class and going pound for pound rather then just weight. In order to compete in a lower weight class of 114, I would have to drop eight pounds of body weight before the meet 😱. I was up for whatever I needed to do in order to compete in the lower weight class and since I had already been on a healthy eating diet for some time now it wouldn’t be too hard (so i thought) to maintain strength while dropping weight.

The day before weigh ins, I weighed in at 116.5 🤨 having dropped from 122. I dedicated my day and evening to cardio workouts and fasting. I ended my evening with a 1k row/3k bike/1k ski erg/1k row/2k bike/1k ski erg. I left the gym exhausted and hungry, straight home to soak in a hot bath and take a hot shower before calling it a night.


The morning of weigh-ins, I woke up with only one thing on my mind…food! I drove to Orange County Convention & Expo Center in Orange which is about a twenty minute drive from my house. I arrived a little before 8am so that I’d be one of the first ones to be weighed-in. When I was ready to weigh in, Mrs. Lee (Mike’s wife) had me follow her to the ladies bathroom. I stripped down, stepped on the scale…115.4. I almost cried right there in front of my team. I quickly dressed myself, said some not so nice things to myself in my head with a smile on my face and walked out of the bathroom telling Mrs. Lee that I’d be back in a bit. Walking through the ballroom where the event would be held, I was asked if I had made weight and where I was off to. I just shook my head no and gestured towards the back door.

I threw on my running shoes, sweats, head phones in, music turned up and went for a hard run. Need I remind you that I haven’t eaten nor had anything to drink since 6pm the following day?!?! I figured I’d do a hard run out and back from the convention center towards Bridge City. As I was running down the highway, all I could keep telling myself was “there’s no way I’ll make weight doing this.” I ran out a little over a mile before turning to head back. Coming back, someone blew their horn at me waving as they passed by me. I didn’t realize that it was my team mate, Mad Max til she had already passed me. I ran two miles then took a little breather while I talked to TJ about why I was out running. I was exhausted running on empty and just in the dumps. TJ wished me well and I headed back out to run a bit more. I ran another half mile and honestly felt like I couldn’t do anymore. I was hot, sweaty and down right drained. I sat on the tail gate of Ricard’s truck trying to collect myself before making a second attempt at weighing in for about twenty minutes. I walked inside, found Mrs. Lee and off to the bathrooms we went to weigh. On our short walk to the bathroom, I told her that there was no way I had cut enough in my two and a half mile run to do any good but I’d go ahead and weigh in to see. A couple of my other team mates were waiting to weigh in so I let them go first so I could prepare myself if I missed weight again. The girls weighed in then I was up. I stripped out of my soaked clothes to bare skin, stepped on the scale and I had cut exactly 4lbs in weight with my run. Thank you sweet baby Jesus!!!! I so wasn’t looking forward to having to go out to run again. All I wanted now was water. I was so dehydrated and felt as if I had been hit by a bus but once I had some aminos and water in my system I was good to go, definitely not 100% but better then before.


My in-laws, Karen, Johnny and Lynette drove down four hours just to watch and cheer me on while I lifted some heavy weight all day. Having family there meant the world to me for my first meet. They will never know just how grateful I was that they were there start to finish.


I officially weighed in at 111.4lbs, which was 10.6 pounds lighter than I was two weeks prior to the meet when we decided competing in a lower weight class was better. Coach decided to give me pretty conservative openers because I definitely wanted to get on the board and keep my confidence up. My opening squat was 253.5 (115kg), it moved fast and easy so we went for 286.6 (130kg) on my second attempt.

Walking 286.6 out of the rack felt easy even though I was a little off balance at first but I was confident I had it in the bag. The weight moved fast but coming out of the hole it was heavy and slow but I knew I had it. I stood up, waited for the rack command, and set the weight down. 3 white lights. Sweet!

I decided that I didn’t want to know what my third attempt was going to be so I didn’t even bother asking because there was no use in overthinking it. In my head, anything over 295 was a magic number. I had only squatted 295 for a double once in my life, and I did it when I weighed 10.6 pounds more than I did that day.

While I was on deck, I kept telling myself that I would have to give it everything I was going to have to give this everything that I’ve got, I knew that it was going to be heavy. I had problems getting the weight off the rack and the head judge had me rack it while the spotters moved the pins down because they were set too high. Coming out of the rack after the pins were lowered was better but I was still a little off balance walking it out but not as bad. I took one deep breath gave the head judge a quick head nod and I was given the squat command. It ended up being one of the slowest squats of my life, but I was feeling strong and I finished the rep. I looked up at the board: 2 red lights. Dangit.

I ended up being called for depth. I thought I was just below parallel but it was really, really close. I barely missed it. I looked at the monitor, “303.1”. I was upset that I missed the depth but also elated. Although the lift didn’t officially count, I still squatted that weight and it was a huge win in my book and a PR.

There wasn’t anything worth noting about my bench portion of the meet. I am not a very good bencher and ended up going 1/3. My first attempt was 115 (52.5kg) which I got easy. My second and third attempts were both 126.7 (57.5kg) and I gave both my all but alas, bench was not meant to be that day. Onto the deadlift.

At this point in the meet, I was starting to get tired. The deadlift is one of my strongest lifts during training. We decided to open at 275.5 (125kg) and I was pretty certain I would have that easy. I managed 275.5 with zero difficulty.

Judging how 275.5 looked, coach set my next attempt to which I had no idea what it was going to be and I didn’t ask. I was confident about pulling whatever the next weight was set to be. The lift took me 4 seconds to pull, I locked it out and felt proud. I asked Richard what the weight was I had just pulled and he told me to guess lol. I figured about 300. It was 303.1 (137.5kg) which was a PR for me.

At this point, I decided that the meet was a success for me. But I still had one more attempt to go. Walking up to the bar for my third attempt, I had no idea what the weight was but I knew it was going to be heavy. I knew I had to give it my all no matter the outcome. My coach said it was time to work just as he does in training on our work sets. I started my pull and barely got the bar off the ground before things started to really grind to a halt. The bar didn’t feel like it was moving at all but I kept pulling til I just couldn’t pull anymore. As I left the platform, my coach patted me on the back and said, “it’s ok, I loaded you up.” The weight was 314.1 (142.5kg) and it felt heavy.

All in all it was an exhausting day but I got to show everyone my Baby Groot grit and it was an amazing first time experience being able to compete in my first powerlifting competition with an amazing team and coach.

I walked away setting the APF National records for my weight/age division in Squat (286.6), Bench (115), Deadlift (303.1) and Total weight (704.7) as well as broke the current APF State record for both squat and deadlift and 1st Place in my division.

I couldn’t be more proud of the group of people that choose to let me train with them every week. I’m so incredibly humbled that I was given the opportunity to compete along side each and every one of these amazing individuals pictured, who I now consider family. I’m thankful to be part of the Cross Trainers Powerlifting team!

The weekend would have not been possible without the caring and selfless leaders, Mike and Lee Denmon. We truly can’t thank you both enough!

I have mad respect for what they both have done and continue to do to help each of us succeed!

A huge thank you to my sponsor, Anderson Powerlifting for always equipping me with the best gear for training and competition!

#AndersonPowerlifting #CrossTrainers #SSAHFitLab #powerlifting #FitWithAprilontheRun #fitspo #fitspiration #thoughshebebutlittlesheisfierce #BabyGroot

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