Denise DuBois: What I thought was impossible, isn’t so much

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It’s time.

This weekend I’m going to be doing something I never thought I’d be doing. If you’ve been following along the last week or two, you’ve probably read about two important events happening in my life this coming week. One is my birthday (yay!), and the other is my first powerlifting competition.

I started weight lifting about four years ago at Anytime Fitness. I was working with a trainer and gaining some strength. I started working out with Jim more than two years ago. At the time, it was just fun. I needed to physically feel better. I needed to mentally feel better, too. I needed to sleep at night because that just wasn’t happening.

When I started powerlifting (that’s weight lifting that focuses on squat, bench press and deadlift at maximum weights), I never dreamed of competing. I didn’t even want to. I was lifting hundreds of pounds and people in the gym would ask me if competing was something I wanted to do. My answer was always “no.” It was a struggle for me. Then again, anyone just starting out lifting a couple hundred pounds doesn’t expect it to be easy. My desire was never to stand in front of people on a platform and lift weight off the ground.



Then something happened.

I got close to deadlifting 300 pounds and my mindset changed. With my coach by my side, we agreed that when I could pull 315 pounds off the ground every time, I would compete. In February, I went to my first meet. I wanted to see what it was like before I put myself out there as a competitor. The atmosphere was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. The first lifter came out to squat and the audience started screaming, cheering her on. The woman on the platform was over 60 years old. There were three women in that meet who were over 55. I was amazed. I watched each one come out and squat and the cheers never died down. I watched as men put 600 or more pounds on their backs. I watched some fail, but it didn’t faze them because they were pushing their limits and sometimes you just can’t get the weight. Maybe next time though.

That’s when I absolutely fell in love with strength sports. The camaraderie, the encouragement, all of it was great. I knew then that I should have signed up for that meet. I continued to watch bench presses and deadlifts with the same enthusiasm. I came back and told my coach that it was time. It wasn’t too long after that, that I could indeed pick up my goal weight every time I approached the bar.



Fifteen weeks ago, I signed up for my first local meet. It’s in Wetumpka and it’s on Saturday. I never imagined I’d be in this place – a place without high heels and a girly atmosphere, but instead filled with chalk and iron and back slaps.

Earlier this week, I convinced myself I was no longer nervous. Before now, every time I thought about the meet, I would feel nauseated and my heart raced. This week, I’ve adopted the mantra “Some days a princess, some days a warrior.” This weekend, I’m going to be a warrior.

I’m excited that a few friends and family are planning to be in the audience as I attempt to squat, bench press and deadlift all the weights. I’ll have my coach behind me pushing me the whole way. Prayerfully, at the end of the day, I’ll have had insane courage and strength and completed something I never thought possible.

I pray you are also doing something you never thought was possible. If you’re not, I encourage you to take 30 seconds of bravery and set out on a new goal. You never know what might happen.

Email me at ddubois@citizenea.com.