Most of us are familiar with the expression, ‘third time is the charm.’ I think that sums up how I feel about this competition experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed each time I participate in a Strongman Competition at my gym, Lion’s Den Elite Training Facility in Colmar, PA. However, this one felt different right from the start. This may be due to the fact that it was rescheduled after the Global Covid-19 Pandemic closed down the country for more than three months, took place during a time when large gatherings were few and far between, and wearing masks has become part of the new normal. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful experience and the culmination of hard work in the gym and preparation by our gym owner, manager, and wonderful coaches to make it come to life.
To back up a little bit, I think it is worthwhile to share some background about how I got here. If you have read my blog closely, I have posted about my fitness in the past and I continue to attend the same gym I spoke about nearly 18 months ago on this blog. This gym has literally changed my life. At a time when I mostly just ran for physical activity, and using a machine at Planet Fitness made me nervous, my Brother-in-Law found a gym that would become so much more than a place to work out. The Lion’s Den felt different right away. Not just the classes and equipment, but the people running and attending the gym are unlike any other place I have personally ever experienced or heard about. I did have a very close friend who introduced me to a barbell and Crossfit. However, I always knew that particular type of gym and community was not quite for me. The Den, however, felt like home right away. Looking back from my first days/weeks/months at The Lion’s Den I have come a very long way. As someone who was pretty much only running, I just assumed I would only ever do modified push ups, never attempt a pull up, and definitely never attempt lifting nearly twice my body weight. However, here I am on September 12th 2020, dead lifting a 500lb tire 8 times in 1 minute.
Strongman events are, in my opinion, one of the coolest things about this gym community. I love all different types of fitness (running, HIIT training, rowing, yoga, strength), but nothing surprises me more than when I accomplish something new in the area of strongman. Something that is awesome about Strongman at The Lion’s Den Strongman is it is not just huge, strong men! So many amazing women participate in the Strongman classes and competitions. This competition was no different, and the ladies I competed with this time around are a very special bunch. I feel so inspired and encouraged when I am surrounded by women who want to work hard and accomplish a goal, but also have fun and lift each other up. This is exactly what these ladies, and others not pictured here, do for me.
So let us get to it. The event. This competition consisted of 5 events. I have competed novice all 3 times so far. In the novice women’s class the events went as follows:
- Tire Deadlift: 1 minute to get as many reps as possible (tire weight approx 500lbs)
- Hammer Hold: As long as possible 25lb hammer
- Zercher Carry: 500ft walk down (300lbs)
- Viking Press: 1 minute to get as many reps as possible (100 lbs)
- Stone to Shoulder: 1 minute to get as many reps as possible (115lb stone)
I have gone into each competition feeling very prepared thanks to the programming and training that The Lion’s Den provides for members. I am also the type of competitor that strives to do my best no matter where that leaves me at the end. For this competition I was worried a couple weeks out specifically about the tire-dead lift and the 300lb Zercher carry. So my workout buddies and I put in some time on these specific events and I was feeling like I had prepared the absolute most I could. This is a good place to be before a competition so no matter what happens, you know you put in the most work and were as ready as possible. I was able to dead lift the tire 8 times and successfully complete the Zercher carry in pretty damn good time (I do not know the exact time, but if you read this far and really want to know drop a comment and I will try and find out LOL). Additionally, two years ago in my first Strongman Competition I completed 3 stone-to-shoulders (with the 115lb stone) in 1 minute. This time, I got 5 (it might be 6). But the point is, I improved! And that is the victory, that is winning. These personal accomplishments are what makes these competitions really special. Of course, I want to be great and getting 1st place in anything will never suck, but what will keep me working hard and wanting to sign up all over again, are the wins unique to me and my growth.
Something else that keeps me coming back. The community. These competitions are filled with strong and determined individuals who work very hard. It would be easy to assume everyone comes out and is super zoned in on what they have to do and getting it done. While this may be part of the day and very present on everyone’s minds, there is so much encouragement and joy as well. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for my gym community, and days like this allow for even more people to see and feel it.
Well, by this point in the post, I guess you’re wondering how I did. Like I mentioned earlier in this post ‘third time’s the charm’ because after 3 competitions in the Novice Women’s class, this lady made it onto the podium. I am pretty sure my smile says it all. I was so thrilled.
Felt pretty spectacular for the hard work to come together and culminate in the retrieval of a 3rd place medal. I was so proud to compete alongside the strong women in our Novice class and the other weight classes. I enjoy fitness and working out is part of my everyday lifestyle. I am happy to resume my day to day activities at The Lion’s Den and look forward to the opportunity to compete again.
I hope for everyone that you find something to inspire you on a daily basis. This can come in many different forms. But we all deserve to be lifted up, pushed outside our comfort zones, and to be loved and supported every day. I thank my Lady Lion’s and entire gym community for being this place and these people for me.
*Special shout out to my sister (and most loyal blog reader) for taking so many awesome photos this day so I can remember it always.