Diary of a powerlifter

So with the inaugural 100% raw European Powerlifting Championships being held in Ireland this year the pressure to qualify at this year’s IDFPA National Single Lifts was intense. I’m very proud to say that 10 lifters from Maximum Results got through. 19 weeks out now and they’re all being put through an Anatomical Adaption phase to help them recover from the training for Single Lifts and get them ready for the INTENSE training that is to come.

Ive asked 3 lifters, Jo Breunig, Isla Shanley & Laura Scully to keep a training log in their build up to Euro’s 2017.



Before I get to the lifting part, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Johannes, 30 years old and I am from Wuerzburg, Germany. I moved to Galway in March 2015 because of a job offer and before that, I would describe myself as the normal β€œaverage” gym person. I was going to the gym on a regular base, training for myself but without any real goal. The only thing that I knew is I wanted to get stronger. I never even thought about starting with powerlifting during that time. I taught myself the technique for squat, bench and deadlift with the help of Youtube videos. Not the best, I know, but if there is no personal trainer around and the gym staff is not skilled what options do you have?
This all changed in April 2015 when I started to look out for a gym in Galway. I went to two gyms, one was the standard type and the other one was Maximum Results. When I first walked into Max’s basement, I thought I will never be able to train here. But as it turned out I was wrong. Max welcomed me with opened arms and explained to me, how things would work if I would like to join the competitive powerlifting class. Me at a powerlifting competition lifting in front of different people? We will see how that goes. I always wanted a coach, who can actually teach you the right technique and improves your training knowledge. This was my chance, so I took it.
I had to move to Ireland to start with powerlifting and I really love it. I never ever regret the step into this extraordinary place of training wisdom. Max and all the other lifters are more than just friends. If you share the hard work, effort and passion we all put into our training. Fighting for every extra kg with all you have. This is like family, a strong powerlifting family.


So I started training in maximum results about two years ago. I spent my first six months there training in booth camp and warrior classes with Shane coughlan. I got the hang of his classes but it got to the point where it wasn’t a challenge for me. I knew there was more in me. That’s when Laura O’Shea (beasht O’Shea) introduced me to the wonders of powerlifting and I haven’t looked back since. She trained me 3 days a week and convinced me to enter my first competition which was the national deadlift championship down in cork. I went for the experience only and ended up getting bronze. Once you start competing in powerlifting, that’s it, you’re hooked and you become more and more hungry for PBs and medals. Sooooo fast forward another year and I’m now being trained by the main man himself, max Lauth. He’s gotten me through 4 competitions including the national single lift championship, and now I’m through to the euros with deadlift, squat and bench. Can I get a woot woot?! So once again, hungry for more medals, so the next few months are probably gonna be the most challenging in regards to training as this is the biggest competition that I’ll be competing in, however I’ve never been so pumped and excited to train so bring it on! πŸ’ͺ😁


So what’s my story?
I’m Galway born and bred. I grew up in the shticks where I spent more time out and about kicking a football around with my brother or meeting friends then I did indoors. My main form of exercise was cycling as the trusty bicycle was the main way to get around. I played a bit of football in National School and dabbled in Basketball in Secondary School but that was the extent of my sporting activities. This, teamed with an unbalanced diet led to a slow weight gain.

I guess, looking back, it was the college years that did the main damage. The inactive lifestyle, the nights out and the bad food choices. I should probably mention too that I’m a tea-a-holic. This teamed with an obligatory biscuit or two with every cup, not to mention the two spoons of sugar I used to take also added to my weight. I’ve earned the nickname Mrs Doyle from my friends; I drink that much tea. Restricting my tea intake would be like cutting off my right arm!!!

I guess I’m a stereotypical Irish person because I also love spuds. Growing up it was spuds everyday for dinner. I still look forward to a good feed of them every now and again. Mashed and fryed are my favourite! So bad but yet sooo good πŸ™‚

At my heaviest I was about 70kg. This my not sound much but I’m somewhat vertically challenged, just about surpassing the 5 foot mark ( I’m the tallest woman in the family though πŸ˜€ ). I knew I was unhappy with my weight but I could never motivate myself enough to do anything about it. I kept telling myself β€œI’ll start next week!”. I never did.

My fitness journey began when I decided I finally wanted to get rid of my excess weight in time for my Brothers wedding. My Sister had been going to Maximum Results at the time and she suggested that I should do one of their Bootcamps so I did. I almost died on the first day. I was struggling to do a push up while everyone else was making it look easy. I could barely move for 3 days after that session and by the time I was recovered, it was time to do it all again. It slowly got easier and I began to enjoy it more.

I was like a duck out of water in those early days. I knew nothing about exercise or nutrition so I relied heavily on my trainer to set me on the right path. Everyone at Maximum Results was so friendly and supportive. We had good craic and and I enjoyed the process which is why I stuck with it. My only goal at the time was to lose weight. I did not have a number in mind. I started to notice changes in my body and I liked what I was seeing. I began to set; and meet; goals for myself.

I slowly introduced light weights into my sessions through Strength & Conditioning classes. I enjoyed this and eventually advanced to a Beginners Weightlifting class where I learned all about the different types of lifts and proper technique. I was hooked from the first time I did a strength test and found out how much I could squat, and bench press and pull from the floor in a deadlift. Although I continued on for some time with a mixture of HIIT and cardio aswell, I always looked forward to the weights sessions more.

Fast forward about 3 years…I no longer workout – I train! I lift 1,000’s of kilos every week and I love it. I lift HEAVY things so I can lift even HEAVIER things soon. Searching for my body’s limits is an addictive pursuit and I cant get enough. I’m in the best shape of my life, healthier than ever before and I regularly compete in powerlifting competitions, from which I recently qualified for the Euros which I’m SUPER EXCITED about! πŸ˜€

I love being part of a group of like minded awesome athletes with a shared goal of getting stronger, lifting heavy and making their mark on the powerlifting world. Together, we are a positive, unstoppable badass force of nature. Seeing my fellow teammates lifting heavier than me, lifting new PBs, winning medals and setting new National Records is fantastic and it inspires me to push myself harder and gives me something to aspire to.

Powerlifters are some of the friendliest, most supportive people you will ever meet. Everybody spurs each other on, shares in the highs and lows and most importantly encourage each other to be the best they can be!


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