Records will fall
with Amanda Lawrence
We’re less than 2 months away from the Sheffield 2020 competition now, and I’d like to thank SBD, and SBD USA for helping me to get an interview with one of the lifters from the event, Amanda Lawrence. The event promises to be an awesome occasion, with the top 24 lifters from around the world, fighting it out for a cash prize fund of £250,000, world records and the chance to be number 1! To buy your tickets, follow this link on British Powerlifting https://www.britishpowerlifting.org/news/ipf-sbd-sheffield-2020-international
You can follow Amanda on instagram if you don’t already at @miss.amanda.ann. She’s the IPF -84kg World Champion, and has an absolutely amazing total, but an even cooler attitude, check it out below!
You're thought of as one of the strongest women in the world right now, how does that make you feel?
It doesn’t really feel like it. I train in a gym with all guys, so when I compare myself, it doesn’t feel like [I’m one of the strongest women in the world] when I’m training day to day, just because Minnesota powerlifting isn’t that big on the women’s side where I live. When I get to these bigger meets, or gyms in the cities it’s just crazy because it feels like I have to lift with the guys.
I didn’t expect my strength to explode the way it did. I knew from my mom’s side growing up that I would be strong and that 's where I get my strength from. I knew it was there but I didn’t think that I’d be squatting and deadlifting 500lbs (227.5kg), almost 600lbs (272.5kg) at this point. It just shows that if you work hard at something and be consistent with it, good things can come from it.
My friends in the gym treat me like any other lifting partner, which I appreciate, because it’s uncomfortable to feel like an outsider. Training would be difficult if people were to stop me mid set or just watch me all the time. In a training crew you’re there for each other to help spot and load, it doesn’t matter what weight is on the bar. We all come to the gym and try to do our best every day.
How did you get started in the sport?
I played soccer and basketball growing up and I always excelled in those sports, and then I fractured my tibia in my senior year in high school and had to give up on the college sports idea. My mom suggested I try out bodybuilding so I gave that a shot and I liked it. Then a buddy at the gym asked me to try out powerlifting so I figured why not? I just did my first meet and it was history from there.
I’ve never found something in the gym fun to train for consistently other than powerlifting. With cardio or dumbbell work I feel I can’t really push myself, and pushing myself is what keeps me going. This started out as a hobby and it’s turned into something more than that.
How do you feel about other women in the powerlifting world looking to you as a source of motivation?
It surprised me honestly. I just started posting all my lifts on Instagram from the start to track my own progress, and it blew up into not just a lifting diary, but a place for people to look for motivation and my name just got out there quickly. It’s not something I anticipated happening.
Powerlifting used to be really male dominant, and now I feel I’m helping to bring more women to the forefront. It’s cool to see everybody come together and cheer each other on. Being strong is empowering. Now women are showing everyone that this is not a male sport, and that we’re strong too.
Has your training changed now you're at a world class standard? Does it cross your mind that you're lifting weights that are world records?
To be honest I don't think about it at all. Really. I wasn’t able to make the world record for a couple of years or so because I wasn’t at an international meet for it. Or when I’d get to a meet I’d underperform because I was training on plates that probably weighed less than those in competition, so what I thought the number I was lifting was was actually way off.
Now I’m using calibrated plates a good day for me is to hit 551lbs (250kg) on squat or deadlift. I wouldn’t want to say that I’m actually slowing down right now, but it’s harder for me to add weight, five pounds is a win at this point.
I don’t really try to think of it like a world record in the gym I guess, just because I have this higher standard of myself and this constant desire to perform and to perform at the level I know I can. I think I’m starting to show that as I had this reputation for coming too heavy into a meet or being unable to hit lifts, and it was just bothersome.
That’s a part of powerlifting, that mental aspect, and sometimes it means you have to ignore people. That was really hard for me to do at the beginning, but as you are in it for a little bit longer and get used to it becomes easier. An example is meet day nerves. I never used to be able to sleep the night before a meet because it made me so nervous. Now I can get a good night’s rest beforehand. It just feels like second nature.
How do you manage all the work you need to do outside of the gym to stay competitive?
What I do outside of training is going to affect training. So I need to be making sure that I'm hitting my meals, getting enough protein in, and getting enough carbs in before training, and making sure I'm getting enough sleep.
Believe it or not, the more you sleep, the better your training sessions go and like that's not something that I like was always able to do when I was working a full time job before. Now I'm fortunate because I'm able to coach athletes online and then with the help of sponsors I'm able to keep a free schedule. So I'm able to kind of like control these factors better and train at the same time every day, so there's a full day of recovery.
I don't skip days except on very rare occasions. I work out six days a week. Five of those days I’m benching which is why my bench has blown up. Two days of squatting and two days of deadlifting just because while I used to squat every day once you get up there with weight it’s not really attainable to sustain. My legs are so sore from yesterday!
How excited are you for your next big competition?
This past month has felt depressing in a sense for me. When the next meet feels so far down the road it’s difficult. I feel like I'm starting to come back right now because we’re less than 10 weeks out from the Sheffield championships. It’s motivating because now it feels like we’re training for something. Because 16 weeks out sounds like forever!
I’m competing at Sheffield because it’s the biggest meet in powerlifting yet and I’m trying to make history, and Sheffield is where it’s going to happen. It’s just going to be exciting on a platform that you may never get to be on again. I’ve only ever competed against other 84 or 84+ lifters in the same session. It will be cool to be in the same session as different lifters like Heather Connor.
It’s going to be different when we’re sat there on our chairs behind the curtain and you see different faces back there. With Daniella [Melo] and I are normally at the top we’re looking at each other, and not those below us, but at Sheffield we’ll be looking side-to-side and seeing all these other champions.
The pressure will be on because these people are hungry and they want to eat too, and they’ve all proved themselves too, and this is for best overall. We’re not just winning our weight class, we’re looking for world records and winning overall. We might be friends outside of the meet but once it comes to meet time, we’ve never been in a situation where we’re in competition mode against each other.