The All England Powerlifting Championships Experience.

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An Interview with Elizabeth Morissey Coach & Athlete – 8 March 2019 

What did you have to do to qualify to compete at this competition? 
AI had to get a qualifying total (325kg across all three lifts) at an approved competition which for me was the All England championships in May 2018 

QWhat challenges have you had in the lead up to this competition? 
Probably, like every single one you can imagine really. A lot if niggles going on and one main illness that sent my body into a bit of a melt down and knocked me off my feet completely for about three months. I then had a couple of months of building myself back up again but still not feeling very well. Once I started to feel a bit better I had a couple of weeks of seeing what I could do and how my general fitness was, doing circuit work, but when I started to realise my circuit work was getting easier I started to test the weights out again. Once I realised the natural strength was still there and I had a chance of getting weights that I could hope for, I thought well why not go for the British comp as it is something that I’ve aimed for over the last couple of years.

How did you overcome those challenges whilst you were facing them?
AThere is a couple of things that I think you need to have in place. Good people around you that believe in you, not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind, belief in yourself and having a plan, but not becoming so focused on that plan that you don’t allow for setbacks. I had a good balance between being excepting of my situation but still being determined to reach my goal. I think it’s also key to do other things to help you chill out and feel good, such as going for a walk, or having a laugh with friends, all of those things combine and help you get to where you want to go.

QHow were you feeling on the morning of the comp?
AI don’t really know, and still don’t! Excited mainly. I don’t know how or why but I was just really relaxed. I think everything that I’d been through last year has just made me accept that stuff happens and whatever you achieve is brilliant, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but you can still do that whilst still being driven and wanting to achieve those goals. The only thing I was slightly nervous of was the logistics and making sure my kit passed inspection. I was just so excited to be going and to see all these women that I’ve looked up to for the last few years.

You weren’t lifting until 3.30pm – what did you eat on the day in preparation for that? 
ALifting later on is quite different for me and something that I’m going to take into consideration because I normally train first thing in the morning, I’m now going to start incorporating going training after work so I can shake it up a bit, but I didn’t really eat any differently to how I would normally eat, nothing out of the ordinary or special, I don’t think you need to go crazy you just need to keep it as normal as you can. You don’t want to upset your body with anything new but I did have extra potatoes the night before and a supply of caffeine and sugar on standby for the day!

QWhat was the atmosphere like in the warm up area?
AThe best! The only point I got nervous was when I signed in and went down this corridor which was hot and crowded, I took a breath and thought oh my goodness – as it was just filled with women that I’ve looked up to the last few years and have been following on Instagram. They were just the nicest, friendly, approachable people. They were all sat feeling nervous too! 

The competition had quite a relaxed vibe, everyone was chilled through the warm up and just doing what they needed to do, they are in control of their training and know what they need to do to get themself platform ready, there was just so much laughter and support for each other.

QHow did you get on? 
A Bearing in mind a month ago I’d have been happy with getting 90% as my last lift, I actually started at just over my 90% on the day so already for me that was a win. I went for larger weight increases than I normally would in competition, but I’ve been training for bigger jumps recently.

In squat I went 135kg opener, 140kg 2ndlift and 147.5kg(PB) for my last lift and I noticed that coming back out of that last squat that was when my body kicked in and though OK I need to start working now, so that gives me quite a boost and something to take away for next time, as that’s the point that I could almost be going for my second lift next time. Then bench was 67.5kg opener, 70kg lift 2 and 72.5kg(PB) and Deadlift I was not expecting at all, it has been really challenging and taxing for me through my training as my blood pressure had been all over the place due to being ill and deadlifts were something that really affected me, but in the last few weeks its settled down and deadlifts started to feel a lot better  So I went for 135kg opener, 140kg 2ndlift and then 147.5kg (PB). I managed to go 9/9 and get a PB in each lift. This was quite overwhelming for me, as I really didn’t expect to do that well but it just shows how you can turn things around if you really want to. 

QSo what is next for you?
My main focus right now is to continue to get myself back to being really healthy and fit. I think where I only had five weeks to madly get ready for the comp, I’ve got time now to decide which competition I want to do next and just get myself stronger and healthier. Also this is a great opportunity to really focus on technique and start seeing how low bar squat and sumo may work too as all my lifts have been conventional to date.

For anyone else out there thinking about competing in the future, what would you say to them?
Do it! Do it! It’s scary and you think that everyone is watching you and you can put a lot of pressure on yourself, but it turns out to be just one of the most fun things you can do and you meet the most amazing, supportive people and you feel so empowered and strong. I think that’s really important in this day and age for men and women to feel.

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