Local powerlifter wins medal
Spaniard’s Bay native third in provincial powerlifting competition
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.
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.
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.
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.