From Gym Rat to Competitor: Why YOU should compete in Strength Sports

Today I want talk about one of the things we love most: COMPETING.

What are Strength Sports you might ask? They are basically competitions designed around seeing who is the strongest at the events and exercises alot of you already do in the gym! We have Strongman/Strongwoman, Weightlifting, Powerlifting and most recently Crossfit.

What an exciting time we gym lovers live in my friends! Right now, in our very own province, there are 5 THRIVING competitive avenues for people wanting to graduate from strong person in the gym to competitive strength athlete. We love our bodybuilding friends but are so excited to be a part of the strength community and offer an alternative fitness route. We find that strength sports are very objective vs subjective. In bodybuilding/figure etc somebody tells you your physique is better (subjective) than your competitor’s where as if I squat 1kg more than you in a powerlifting contest its pretty objective that I have beaten you!

So why should you the reader get involved in this world?

First – it speaks to your inner athlete. The way these sports are set up initially there really is only one person to compete against and that’s you. You all wouldn’t have read this far if you haven’t felt the incredible surge of awesomeness in the gym that’s known as a Personal Record. Well, imagine doing that in front of referees and testing yourself against other like-minded individuals. Now imagine yourself with a few competitions under your belt and those personal records start turning into provincial, national or international records. With the increase in popularity these sports have seen there are so many opportunities to spark your competitive spirit. If you compete in weightlifting or powerlifting even at an older age you will have multiple opportunities to compete on the national and international stage should you gain some momentum. With the recent surge in popularity seen in Crossfit, Strongman and Strongwoman your smiling face may even end up on TV. The last 2 Strongman competitions we held drew hundreds of people (thousands come out for July 1st Westerns) and multiple news outlets covered them.

Second – These are sports you can really “grow old into”. I have personally used powerlifting as a second sport career and am still climbing the ladder to my own strength potential. Hell I’ve even made Team Canada twice in the last 3 years. At 34 years of age I’ve been able to represent Canada on the world competition stage in a meets with over 100s lifters from all over the world. It has most definitely been the highlight of my entire athletic career. At 32 I also held a national squat record and it was recently beaten by a 44 year old man. Strength sports offer a lifting career that is as fulfilling as it can be long. I have spoken to many athletes that tell me their strength didn’t peak until well in their 40s!

Third – the environment. Don’t get me wrong these are INCREDIBLY competitive sports at the top but the camaraderie seen at all of these events is something I have never seen at any other type of sport(s). While it may look like and in fact at times can be a very adrenaline filled environment the competitors realize what it takes to lay it all on the line and are always incredibly respectful and supportive. You can go to any of these events and see competitors cheering for their opponents and offering advice on technique or anything else needed.

Lastly – its all about girl power. I could not have written this article without giving a shout out to the women of our sports. The incredible growth we have all enjoyed has largely been due to a MASSIVE increase in the amount of women competing. Some time not long ago you all decided it was not up to others to tell you what was manly or girly. Women of Popeyes, rise up and take what’s yours! If you love to lift heavy, show your strength off!

I hope that gives you a little insight into the world of competitive strength athletics. Next week we will start getting into the nitty gritty of the lifts, techniques and nutrition side of our world.

Stay Strong!

Tyler Harnett

Here is how YOU can get involved (in Saskatchewan anyway):
Sask Weightlifting: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saskatchewan-Weightlifting-Association/261140133951487
Sask Powerlifting: https://www.facebook.com/saskpowerlifting?fref=ts
Sask Strongman/Strongwoman in Regina (watch our space) : https://www.facebook.com/MettlePTC/?fref=ts
In Saskatoon (watch Synergy’s space): https://www.facebook.com/synergystrength