SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
There is a certain technique to deadlifting more than 300 pounds, and one Airman here has become very good at it.
5 feet 1 inch tall weighing 125 pounds, Staff Sgt. Patricia West, 52nd Command Post senior emergency actions controller, showed her award winning technique when she competed and won first place female competitor in the 2017 and 2018 annual Spangdahlem Powerlifting Competition held in the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center here, Oct. 13, 2017 and Nov. 9, 2018, respectively.
“I got into powerlifting about five years ago after my deployment to Al-Udeid. I realized bikini competitions weren’t for me, but I wanted to get into some sort of competitive competition,” said West. “My friend in Ohio was into powerlifting. Seeing the way the powerlifting community supported her and were like her second family, even as her competition, is what inspired me to pursue it.”
West and Jessica Jendro, her workout partner have trained together for about ten months and have become motivators for one another in preparation for powerlifting competitions.
“Her actions motivate me. She impresses me because she doesn’t need a pep talk, she never complains, she just goes in and does the work and it makes me want to do the same,” said Jendro. “She has helped me dig deeper than I have ever before and helped me push myself to the limit.”
Since becoming serious about powerlifting about three years ago, West has competed in numerous competitions and has taken home several medals for her efforts. Even though West makes lifting look easy, a lot of work and preparation goes into getting ready for contests.
One of the most important components of her preparation involves sticking to a diet that will get her body ready for the upcoming meet.
“I consume a lot of carbs,” said West. “Lucky for me, the diet for powerlifting isn’t as restricted as it is for bodybuilding, so I have a wide variety of foods I can choose from before a competition.”
Powerlifting does not completely deter West from eating a few foods that are not in her diet.
“On contest days, the competitors bring a snack of choice for after the meet, and this last time I brought Sour Patch Kids,” said West.
The proper diet isn’t the only factor that goes into preparing for a powerlifting meet. West starts preparing for a meet eight to 12 months prior to the competition, making sure to stick to a consistent workout schedule.
“I train in segments,” said West. “Hypertrophy training, strength training, and peak training.”
Hypertrophy training consists of three sets of eight to 12 repetitions and is performed for the first couple months when beginning to train for a meet. Strength training is three sets of five to six repetitions performed for a few months after the hypertrophy training. Peak training is done about a month before a meet and consists of lifting as much weight as a person can handle, but only doing one to three repetitions.
“Before the 2018 Spangdahlem Powerlifting Competition, I trained for eight months,” said West. “It is hard work and dedication, but it’s a lot of fun and worth it in the end. Getting all sorts of tips from the girls, feeling the help they are willing to give, and hearing the cheers when I attempt a lift, is what keeps me coming back for more.”