Lo­cal pow­er­lifter wins medal

Spa­niard’s Bay na­tive third in pro­vin­cial pow­er­lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Tyler Coombs of Spa­niard’s Bay re­cently medalled at a New­found­land and Labrador Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion in St. John’s. His achieve­ment is fairly re­mark­able con­sid­er­ing it was his first time com­pet­ing in the sport, which tests your men­tal and phys­i­cal strength.

A week away from his first pow­er­lift­ing com­pe­ti­tion, Tyler Coombs was not feel­ing up to it.

The 22-year-old Spa­niard’s Bay res­i­dent was in the midst of a six-pound weight cut with eyes on mak­ing his 105-kilo­gram (231 pound) weight class for the New­found­land and Labrador Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion, held in St. John’s on June 27.

Ask any pro­fes­sional fighter or pow­er­lifter about the weight cut ex­pe­ri­ence — they’ll likely tell you it’s the worst. It could en­tail rid­ing a sta­tion­ary bike in the sauna while wear­ing some mod­ern tor­ture de­vice called a sauna suit. That’s one of the many prac­tices aim­ing to help ath­letes lose ex­cess wa­ter weight.

Rou­tinely, pro­fes­sional ath­letes can go from a reg­u­lar weight of 200 pounds to a com­pe­ti­tion weight of 175 pounds.

While Coombs did not go to that ex­treme, he did start con­sum­ing large quan­ti­ties of wa­ter in or­der to flush his sys­tem. Trips to a lo­cal con­ve­nience store to pick up litre jugs of wa­ter be­came a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence. He con­sumed 12 litres of wa­ter the first three days of the cut. That dropped to 10 litres the fol­low­ing three days be­fore he fin­ished the last day by drink­ing four litres — a sig­nif­i­cantly small amount by com­par­i­son.

If that wasn’t enough, 12hours out from the weigh-in, he cut out food and wa­ter.

“I felt run­down and al­most sick,” said Coombs.

Through­out the process, he was men­tally and phys­i­cally drained. There were times Coombs did not be­lieve he’d be able to starve his body for seven days and com­pete at a high level on June 27.

That’s where coach Carla Ram­say fac­tored in. She was there to pick him up when he needed it. She asked for his trust and Coombs found she “was a re­ally big help.”

“The day be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion, I was two pounds over­weight,” he said. “It was the same thing the morn­ing of (the com­pe­ti­tion). I mean, you can’t eat or drink any­thing. I re­ally didn’t think I was go­ing to make it.”

He did make it, how­ever, as Coombs weighed in at 104.2 kilo­grams. With the cut suc­cess­fully fin­ished, he made sure to re­hy­drate and re­fuel his body just hours be­fore com­pet­ing.

Even with the ex­pe­ri­ence of his first weight cut and fight­ing the nerves that come with be­ing a new com­peti­tor, Coombs came through with a third place fin­ish for his weight class. Not a bad for a first-time com­peti­tor, re­ally.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder,” he said. “I re­ally had to push through and do it.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder. I re­ally had to push through and do it.

Tyler Coombs

The com­pe­ti­tion

Pow­er­lift­ing com­pe­ti­tions are di­vided into three stages and nine lifts. Ath­letes per­form a trio of lifts in each of the squat, bench and dead­lift cat­e­gories.

“I ex­pected to fin­ish last,” he said. “It was re­ally good though.”

Clad in a red and navy sin­glet with a blue Su­per­man T-shirt un­der­neath, Coombs banged out a high squat weight of 407 pounds, a bench high of 248 lb. and a 515 lb. dead­lift high.

Those num­bers were good enough to fin­ish in third and qual­ify for the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in the fall.

“I felt like I rep­re­sented my­self re­ally well,” said Coombs of the pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion.

Change in stream

A year ago, Coombs had no plans on en­ter­ing the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships. He in­tended to mould his body in time for a pro­vin­cial body­build­ing com­pe­ti­tion later this sum­mer.

How­ever, a cou­ple of months af­ter start­ing the process he switched gears. Coombs found he was “pretty strong” and de­cided to pur­sue pow­er­lift­ing.

That meant con­sum­ing high lev­els of pro­teins, car­bo­hy­drates and fats, which re­sult in up­wards to 3,000-3,500 calo­ries a day, and adopt­ing a gru­el­ing train­ing regime.

Train­ing usu­ally meant do­ing squats four days a week, bench press four days a week and dead­lift once a week.

“It was more men­tally drain­ing than phys­i­cally,” said Coombs.

With the first com­pe­ti­tion out of the way, Coombs said he still has eyes on com­pet­ing in the body­build­ing com­pe­ti­tion. It was a goal he set with his fa­ther, Philip, and he wants to see it through.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Spa­niard’s Bay’s Tyler Coombs gri­maces as he pushes through a squat lift at the New­found­land and Labrador Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion held in St. John’s on June 27.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Tyler Coombs read­ies him­self just mo­ments be­fore com­pet­ing at the New­found­land and Labrador Pow­er­lift­ing As­so­ci­a­tion pro­vin­cial com­pe­ti­tion held in St. John’s on June 27.

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