Swift Current powerlifter wins silver at provincial championships
Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier won a silver medal in the bench press only competition at the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association's 2018 provincial championships.
The competition took place in Saskatoon on Sept. 29 and 30, and Cormier competed at his 17th provincial championships since 1981.
“It's always exciting to compete at the provincial level in front of family and friends and old training partners, old competitors, and exciting to see the younger lifters again,” he said.
He has been struggling with a shoulder injury since his previous competition in February, when he won gold in the bench press only competition at the national championships in Calgary.
As a result of that injury he was unable to compete at the international bench press championships in Finland, for which he qualified in Calgary.
His preparation for the provincial championships was only focused on the bench press, because the combination of recent and older injuries did not allow him to train full-out for the three-lift competition, which also includes lifting in the squat and deadlift.
After so many years of powerlifting, his approach to competition is not merely focused on winning a medal, but to achieve long-term goals.
“I didn't go there to worry about first, second and third,” he said. “That's not why I went there. I went there because I had a number in my head.”
His goal for the provincial championships was to lift 319 pounds (144.7 kilograms) in the 105-kilogram weight class in preparation for an attempt next year to set a new national record.
His approach during training is to have a higher body weight than the weight class in which he will compete, and then to lose weight before the event.
“You're able to handle more weight,” he explained. “The broader the body, the platform, the more weight you can handle. You can shift more weight, and if you can use more weight, you can build more dense muscle fibre. It's an old school way of training, but it's still relevant, and then you slowly diet it down.”
He planned to lose about 11 kilograms in 12 weeks, but he just missed the mark and therefore had to compete in the 120-kilogram weight class in the Master 2 age category (50-59 years). That placed him at a disadvantage, because he weighed in at the bottom end of that weight class at 107.5 kilograms.
“You give up too much size,” he said. “That's the first time that I didn't make weight.”
It was a disappointment, and for a brief time after the weigh-in his frame of mind for the competition was disrupted.
“At that point you have to take away the mindset of failure,” he said. “So that negativity, that thought, you have to throw that away. You have to stop thinking about the negative and focus on the positive. So I had to reframe it. OK, you're in a higher weight class, competition is going to be tougher, but you need to lift what you came here to lift.”
He therefore made a first lift of 137.5 kilogram, which was the weight he was planning to start with in the lower weight class.
He then moved to 142.5 kilogram for his second lift, but it was not allowed on a technicality He lifted the same weight for his third attempt, but he was called again on a technicality.
“So I didn't get to even attempt my 319 [pounds], but the 303 was good enough for silver in the heavier weight class,” he said. “I was happy with that.”
He feels he is making progress on achieving his long-term goal. He is now starting to lift at over 300 pounds in competitions, while he previously opened with a lift of around 280 pounds.
“That's the third contest in a row now that I've lifted in the 300's,” he said. “So I'm there now. I'm in the ballpark. ... That's the progress that I've made since February nationals in Calgary. I've taken my 303, which was my third attempt, and it's now my opening attempt. I'm that much more confident and I'm that much more stronger that I can take my last attempt and make it my first attempt. There's progress there.”
While Cormier has missed the chance to qualify for the next national championships in the 105-kilogram weight class, the outcome of the provincial championships was an opportunity to review his powerlifting goals. He decided to lose more weight and to return to the 93-kilogram weight class, where he started to compete when he came out of retirement in 2015.
“I experimented going up to 105 at nationals, because that's where my best possibilities were,” he said. “The experiment worked. I did pretty good at nationals. I won, but now I'm going back to 93 kilos.”
His provincial record in the 93-kilogram weight class was broken at this recent provincial championships in Saskatoon, and he wants to take his record back.
He will therefore start another cycle of training and competition to qualify for various competitions in the run-up to his new long-term goal.
His preparation will now focus on the Trench Open in Regina in June 2019, where he will have to qualify for the provincial championships taking place in September 2019.
Thereafter his goal is to compete at the Western Canadian powerlifting championships in Edmonton in October 2019 and then finally at the Canadian national championships in Winnipeg in March 2020.
“I've had much success in Winnipeg over the years,” he said. “I won three national championships in Winnipeg. Winnipeg has been good to me. So I'm starting the three-year cycle to qualify again.”
He is often asked by family members, friends and retired powerlifters why he is still competing after all his success in the sport. He finally came up with the answer while travelling to the recent provincial championships, when he was trying to take a nap in the back of the vehicle.
“It's because that's part of who I am,” he said. “I am a powerlifter. I've been doing this since 1977, when I was 14.”
He will therefore continue to lift until his body tells him it is time to stop, which was the reason he had to stop competing in 1999. This time it will be different when he eventually retires, because he will remain involved with the sport.
“I don't think that I could walk away from this sport again for 15 years,” he said. “I just don't think that I could. So the story is not over, this is just another chapter.”
Swift Current powerlifter Wayne Cormier won silver in the bench press competition at the recent provincial championships.