Powerlifters bring home some heavy hardware

News Apr 24, 2008 Flamborough Review

Weighing in at 151 lbs. and 164 lbs. respectively, Justin Van Schyndel and Karen Allison have incredible strength. And the two Flamborough residents, competitors in the recent Canadian National Powerlifting Championships, now have some heavy hardware to show for their efforts.

Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squat, bench and deadlift. The lifter is allotted three tries for each of the lifts and the best-of-three lifts are added to determine the winner. Just 18 years old, Van Schyndel lifted a total of 1,036 lbs. His best results for his bench, squat and deadlift at the championships were 308.6, 358.2 and 369.3 respectively.

Allison lifted 270 lbs. for her squat, 170 lbs. on her bench and 290 lbs. on her deadlift.

"Not bad for a 47-year-old woman huh?" she noted.

Competing in the 75-kilo Masters I division, Allison brought home the gold medal and is moving on to the World Championships, slated for September 30, while Van Schyndel competed in the 75-kilo Junior division and ranked third.

Both athletes have always been fitness conscious, and when they started training at the Steel City Powerlifting Club in Caledonia, they were instantly hooked.

Allison started powerlifting nine years ago out of a gym in Mississauga, until family circumstances forced her to take a break from the sport. In June 2006, she registered with the Caledonia club and has been an active member ever since.

Van Schyndel told the Review that he always wanted to compete in some sort of weight lifting sport. Both lifters train at the club twice weekly for a total of about five hours each week.

Although their workouts vary, Allison explained that powerlifters train by doing several repetitions of lifts, all the while perfecting their technique.

"It's all about technique," she said, adding that the workout is progressive to give the body a chance to adapt to the weight.

Prior to joining the club, Van Schyndel worked out on his own, lifting heavy weights, which consequently caused him a lot of pain in his shoulders and hamstring. That's when his father, Larry, became concerned for his son and suggested he join a reputable club to learn how to train correctly.

"We wanted to find a place where he could be mentored properly, and since then, he's excelled quite a bit," said Larry.

Van Schyndel had to start from scratch and learn the basics of powerlifting. "He had to go right down from where he thought he was, right down to really light weights to perfect his form," explained his father.

When competing at the national level, athletes are judged on each lift they perform. Allison explained that the amount of weight you lift isn't as important as the form and technique. Competitors can be disqualified if they double bounce at the bottom of a squat lift, step backwards or forward, or if their elbows or upper arms make contact with their legs.

Three judges surround each lifter and, in order for a lift to pass, two of the judges must agree that the lift fits all of the qualifications.

"It's intense, but it's fun," said Van Schyndel of the sport. Both Allison and Van Schyndel were nervous prior to entering the National Championships, which took place April 10-13.

As a result of an ongoing injury, Allison's nerves particularly affected her before she started her bench press. When she was nine years old, she was hit by a car. Then, ten years ago, she was in a car accident that partially dislocated her shoulder. "It's something I battle with all the time," she said.

Opening "really light" for her bench press and accomplishing the lift gave her the confidence and determination she needed for the nervous jitters to disappear.

Although powerlifting is not yet registered as an Olympic sport, the club has joined the World Anti-Doping Association, which means that all competitors can be drug tested to ensure that they are clean of any strength-enhancing drugs such as steroids.

Van Schyndel is very strict about his diet and noted that he's only consumed three protein shakes in his life.

"He eats right," said his dad. Sometimes eating between five and six meals daily, Van Schyndel has recently been eating a diet high in carbohydrates. "He eats lots of fruits throughout the day," explained Larry.

Focusing on being naturally strong has allowed Van Schyndel to become an expert on the grill. Allison's diet, too, is natural, but is different than Van Schyndel's. Eating a high protein and high fat diet, the mother of two stays away from bread, rice and pasta.

"It's not because they are good or bad for you, it's just that my body doesn't like them," explained Allison. "I feel better and I get better results out of my training on that diet."

Allison obtains her carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, but admitted that following a competition like the one held in St. Catharines, she allows herself to take a break from her regular food regimen and treats herself to some French fries.

Working on obtaining various fitness certifications, Van Schyndel aspires to work in sport-specific training and help athletes get a higher level of strength training. "It helps increase strength, endurance, just everything," he said of the benefits of powerlifting.

"It's quite an amazing sport, people don't realize how much goes into it," added Larry. Allison explained, "You get such a sense of accomplishment from it because really, no matter who else you compete against, ultimately you are competing against yourself."

With just a few months to go before the World Championships, Allison is heading back to the gym for training. Although she believes she will be a "little tiny fish in a great big pond," competing against women from Europe and the United States who are much stronger, she expects that her trip down to Palm Springs, California, will be a great experience.

Motivated to get more women involved in the sport, Allison hopes that women will see its benefits, as it helps "your strength as you age, helps keep your body fat down and it keeps your bones really strong.'

Currently looking for sponsorships for her travels to California at the end of September, she also hopes to launch a website to help promote the sport and provide a means for free advertising for her sponsors.

Van Schyndel, on the other hand, continues to train at the Steel City Powerlifting Club to better himself, all the while looking for employment in the sports and/or fitness field.

More information on powerlifting is available at www.ontariopowerlift-ing.org. Local residents or businesses interested in sponsoring Allison or seeking to employ a young, dedicated fitness buff like Van Schyndel can contact Allison at karen.allison@sympatico.ca or Van Schyndel at justinvs@cogeco.ca.

Powerlifters bring home some heavy hardware

News Apr 24, 2008 Flamborough Review

Weighing in at 151 lbs. and 164 lbs. respectively, Justin Van Schyndel and Karen Allison have incredible strength. And the two Flamborough residents, competitors in the recent Canadian National Powerlifting Championships, now have some heavy hardware to show for their efforts.

Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squat, bench and deadlift. The lifter is allotted three tries for each of the lifts and the best-of-three lifts are added to determine the winner. Just 18 years old, Van Schyndel lifted a total of 1,036 lbs. His best results for his bench, squat and deadlift at the championships were 308.6, 358.2 and 369.3 respectively.

Allison lifted 270 lbs. for her squat, 170 lbs. on her bench and 290 lbs. on her deadlift.

"Not bad for a 47-year-old woman huh?" she noted.

Competing in the 75-kilo Masters I division, Allison brought home the gold medal and is moving on to the World Championships, slated for September 30, while Van Schyndel competed in the 75-kilo Junior division and ranked third.

Both athletes have always been fitness conscious, and when they started training at the Steel City Powerlifting Club in Caledonia, they were instantly hooked.

Allison started powerlifting nine years ago out of a gym in Mississauga, until family circumstances forced her to take a break from the sport. In June 2006, she registered with the Caledonia club and has been an active member ever since.

Van Schyndel told the Review that he always wanted to compete in some sort of weight lifting sport. Both lifters train at the club twice weekly for a total of about five hours each week.

Although their workouts vary, Allison explained that powerlifters train by doing several repetitions of lifts, all the while perfecting their technique.

"It's all about technique," she said, adding that the workout is progressive to give the body a chance to adapt to the weight.

Prior to joining the club, Van Schyndel worked out on his own, lifting heavy weights, which consequently caused him a lot of pain in his shoulders and hamstring. That's when his father, Larry, became concerned for his son and suggested he join a reputable club to learn how to train correctly.

"We wanted to find a place where he could be mentored properly, and since then, he's excelled quite a bit," said Larry.

Van Schyndel had to start from scratch and learn the basics of powerlifting. "He had to go right down from where he thought he was, right down to really light weights to perfect his form," explained his father.

When competing at the national level, athletes are judged on each lift they perform. Allison explained that the amount of weight you lift isn't as important as the form and technique. Competitors can be disqualified if they double bounce at the bottom of a squat lift, step backwards or forward, or if their elbows or upper arms make contact with their legs.

Three judges surround each lifter and, in order for a lift to pass, two of the judges must agree that the lift fits all of the qualifications.

"It's intense, but it's fun," said Van Schyndel of the sport. Both Allison and Van Schyndel were nervous prior to entering the National Championships, which took place April 10-13.

As a result of an ongoing injury, Allison's nerves particularly affected her before she started her bench press. When she was nine years old, she was hit by a car. Then, ten years ago, she was in a car accident that partially dislocated her shoulder. "It's something I battle with all the time," she said.

Opening "really light" for her bench press and accomplishing the lift gave her the confidence and determination she needed for the nervous jitters to disappear.

Although powerlifting is not yet registered as an Olympic sport, the club has joined the World Anti-Doping Association, which means that all competitors can be drug tested to ensure that they are clean of any strength-enhancing drugs such as steroids.

Van Schyndel is very strict about his diet and noted that he's only consumed three protein shakes in his life.

"He eats right," said his dad. Sometimes eating between five and six meals daily, Van Schyndel has recently been eating a diet high in carbohydrates. "He eats lots of fruits throughout the day," explained Larry.

Focusing on being naturally strong has allowed Van Schyndel to become an expert on the grill. Allison's diet, too, is natural, but is different than Van Schyndel's. Eating a high protein and high fat diet, the mother of two stays away from bread, rice and pasta.

"It's not because they are good or bad for you, it's just that my body doesn't like them," explained Allison. "I feel better and I get better results out of my training on that diet."

Allison obtains her carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, but admitted that following a competition like the one held in St. Catharines, she allows herself to take a break from her regular food regimen and treats herself to some French fries.

Working on obtaining various fitness certifications, Van Schyndel aspires to work in sport-specific training and help athletes get a higher level of strength training. "It helps increase strength, endurance, just everything," he said of the benefits of powerlifting.

"It's quite an amazing sport, people don't realize how much goes into it," added Larry. Allison explained, "You get such a sense of accomplishment from it because really, no matter who else you compete against, ultimately you are competing against yourself."

With just a few months to go before the World Championships, Allison is heading back to the gym for training. Although she believes she will be a "little tiny fish in a great big pond," competing against women from Europe and the United States who are much stronger, she expects that her trip down to Palm Springs, California, will be a great experience.

Motivated to get more women involved in the sport, Allison hopes that women will see its benefits, as it helps "your strength as you age, helps keep your body fat down and it keeps your bones really strong.'

Currently looking for sponsorships for her travels to California at the end of September, she also hopes to launch a website to help promote the sport and provide a means for free advertising for her sponsors.

Van Schyndel, on the other hand, continues to train at the Steel City Powerlifting Club to better himself, all the while looking for employment in the sports and/or fitness field.

More information on powerlifting is available at www.ontariopowerlift-ing.org. Local residents or businesses interested in sponsoring Allison or seeking to employ a young, dedicated fitness buff like Van Schyndel can contact Allison at karen.allison@sympatico.ca or Van Schyndel at justinvs@cogeco.ca.

Powerlifters bring home some heavy hardware

News Apr 24, 2008 Flamborough Review

Weighing in at 151 lbs. and 164 lbs. respectively, Justin Van Schyndel and Karen Allison have incredible strength. And the two Flamborough residents, competitors in the recent Canadian National Powerlifting Championships, now have some heavy hardware to show for their efforts.

Powerlifting consists of three lifts: the squat, bench and deadlift. The lifter is allotted three tries for each of the lifts and the best-of-three lifts are added to determine the winner. Just 18 years old, Van Schyndel lifted a total of 1,036 lbs. His best results for his bench, squat and deadlift at the championships were 308.6, 358.2 and 369.3 respectively.

Allison lifted 270 lbs. for her squat, 170 lbs. on her bench and 290 lbs. on her deadlift.

"Not bad for a 47-year-old woman huh?" she noted.

Competing in the 75-kilo Masters I division, Allison brought home the gold medal and is moving on to the World Championships, slated for September 30, while Van Schyndel competed in the 75-kilo Junior division and ranked third.

Both athletes have always been fitness conscious, and when they started training at the Steel City Powerlifting Club in Caledonia, they were instantly hooked.

Allison started powerlifting nine years ago out of a gym in Mississauga, until family circumstances forced her to take a break from the sport. In June 2006, she registered with the Caledonia club and has been an active member ever since.

Van Schyndel told the Review that he always wanted to compete in some sort of weight lifting sport. Both lifters train at the club twice weekly for a total of about five hours each week.

Although their workouts vary, Allison explained that powerlifters train by doing several repetitions of lifts, all the while perfecting their technique.

"It's all about technique," she said, adding that the workout is progressive to give the body a chance to adapt to the weight.

Prior to joining the club, Van Schyndel worked out on his own, lifting heavy weights, which consequently caused him a lot of pain in his shoulders and hamstring. That's when his father, Larry, became concerned for his son and suggested he join a reputable club to learn how to train correctly.

"We wanted to find a place where he could be mentored properly, and since then, he's excelled quite a bit," said Larry.

Van Schyndel had to start from scratch and learn the basics of powerlifting. "He had to go right down from where he thought he was, right down to really light weights to perfect his form," explained his father.

When competing at the national level, athletes are judged on each lift they perform. Allison explained that the amount of weight you lift isn't as important as the form and technique. Competitors can be disqualified if they double bounce at the bottom of a squat lift, step backwards or forward, or if their elbows or upper arms make contact with their legs.

Three judges surround each lifter and, in order for a lift to pass, two of the judges must agree that the lift fits all of the qualifications.

"It's intense, but it's fun," said Van Schyndel of the sport. Both Allison and Van Schyndel were nervous prior to entering the National Championships, which took place April 10-13.

As a result of an ongoing injury, Allison's nerves particularly affected her before she started her bench press. When she was nine years old, she was hit by a car. Then, ten years ago, she was in a car accident that partially dislocated her shoulder. "It's something I battle with all the time," she said.

Opening "really light" for her bench press and accomplishing the lift gave her the confidence and determination she needed for the nervous jitters to disappear.

Although powerlifting is not yet registered as an Olympic sport, the club has joined the World Anti-Doping Association, which means that all competitors can be drug tested to ensure that they are clean of any strength-enhancing drugs such as steroids.

Van Schyndel is very strict about his diet and noted that he's only consumed three protein shakes in his life.

"He eats right," said his dad. Sometimes eating between five and six meals daily, Van Schyndel has recently been eating a diet high in carbohydrates. "He eats lots of fruits throughout the day," explained Larry.

Focusing on being naturally strong has allowed Van Schyndel to become an expert on the grill. Allison's diet, too, is natural, but is different than Van Schyndel's. Eating a high protein and high fat diet, the mother of two stays away from bread, rice and pasta.

"It's not because they are good or bad for you, it's just that my body doesn't like them," explained Allison. "I feel better and I get better results out of my training on that diet."

Allison obtains her carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, but admitted that following a competition like the one held in St. Catharines, she allows herself to take a break from her regular food regimen and treats herself to some French fries.

Working on obtaining various fitness certifications, Van Schyndel aspires to work in sport-specific training and help athletes get a higher level of strength training. "It helps increase strength, endurance, just everything," he said of the benefits of powerlifting.

"It's quite an amazing sport, people don't realize how much goes into it," added Larry. Allison explained, "You get such a sense of accomplishment from it because really, no matter who else you compete against, ultimately you are competing against yourself."

With just a few months to go before the World Championships, Allison is heading back to the gym for training. Although she believes she will be a "little tiny fish in a great big pond," competing against women from Europe and the United States who are much stronger, she expects that her trip down to Palm Springs, California, will be a great experience.

Motivated to get more women involved in the sport, Allison hopes that women will see its benefits, as it helps "your strength as you age, helps keep your body fat down and it keeps your bones really strong.'

Currently looking for sponsorships for her travels to California at the end of September, she also hopes to launch a website to help promote the sport and provide a means for free advertising for her sponsors.

Van Schyndel, on the other hand, continues to train at the Steel City Powerlifting Club to better himself, all the while looking for employment in the sports and/or fitness field.

More information on powerlifting is available at www.ontariopowerlift-ing.org. Local residents or businesses interested in sponsoring Allison or seeking to employ a young, dedicated fitness buff like Van Schyndel can contact Allison at karen.allison@sympatico.ca or Van Schyndel at justinvs@cogeco.ca.