Denise DuBois: Lifting more than spirits

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Saturday was one of the top three greatest days of the year for me. I stepped on the weight lifting platform for the first time and lifted weights that I would have previously thought I had no business lifting.

My first powerlifting meet was in Wetumpka, hosted by USA Powerlifting. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and I hope to be able to replicate in the near future.

We got to the gym early in the morning. It was still dark outside, and we had to get checked in. There were 59 lifters, men and women. There were coaches, parents and friends there, too. The Auburn Powerlifting Team was also on the roster. There were 10 women total in the meet.

Friends and family have been praying over me and my nerves for over a week leading up to Saturday, and I felt every one of those prayers. I wasn’t even nervous.

In a meet, each lifter gets three times to squat, benchpress and deadlift weight in an effort to succeed in lifting the most weight. That weight is then calculated in your total.

Squats are first. There were 16 people in my flight and we warmed up in the gym before stepping on the platform. I got under the bar with all my equipment on to warm up, and the weight felt light on my back. Granted, it was still a warm up weight of 185 pounds, but my confidence skyrocketed.

I stepped on the platform twice for squats and after my second, I decided to risk it all and jump from my second attempt 251 pound squat to a third attempt of 271 pounds. It was almost easy, and I was on Cloud 9.

I had more about two hours before it was time to benchpress. I ate and fellowshipped with lifters. It was a first meet for 60 percent of us, so we chatted about how the day was going. While I was warming up for benchpress, an audience had gathered. More than one person told me I had the meet in the bag, but I wasn’t getting too comfortable because we still had two lifts left.

Benchpress went well. I lifted 133 and 136 before taking on 147 – a weight that is seven pounds more than I have ever lifted successfully. I failed that weight, but I didn’t let it shake me.

Then came time for deadlifts. That’s my favorite lift, but it’s also the scariest because I’m never certain what’s going to happen. But Saturday, I had my Super Girl cape on, at least it felt like it.

I completed 313 and 336 before begging my coach to let me attempt 352 (I had only previously lifted 340 pounds). They put the weight on the bar, I approached and prayed for the best. It wasn’t easy, but I gave it everything I had. I successfully pulled the weight, but it didn’t count due to a slight pause in my lift. It didn’t matter to me because it was an accomplishment that I was proud of.

I can’t wait until my next meet.

If you’ve ever had anything in your heart that you’re thinking about doing and just haven’t yet, I encourage you to try whatever it is. You never know what might happen. I lifted more weight than I thought I could and it was a blast. I came in second in my class and fifth overall. The accomplishment of lifting personal bests was worth more than the hardware I brought home.

Let me know what you’re doing if you decide to try something new or if you accomplish something seemingly impossible.

Email me at