My First Powerlifting Meet (Guest Blog by Emme Whiteman)

I know many of you who follow Zach’s stuff have probably heard about me or seen me demonstrating various exercises in Zach’s videos, but today, Zach has asked me to properly introduce myself.  I am Emme Whiteman, Zach’s girlfriend and, as of Saturday, April 14th, a competitive powerlifter.  🙂

I competed in the SPF Women’s Pro/Am run by one of the strongest women in the world, Laura Phelps-Sweatt.  The meet was held at the gym she owns with her husband, The Sweatt Shop Personal Training, in Cincinnati, OH.

I had two goals for my first powerlifting meet:  1) To go 9 for 9 and 2) To total >511 lbs, which would designate me as a Category 2 lifter in the SPF for the 132 lb weight class.  The day before the meet I weighed in at 126.6 lbs!!  I spent the rest of the day with Zach and my parents resting, rehydrating, and refueling.  The next morning I foam rolled and warmed up in the hotel room and then walked over to The Sweatt Shop.  What happened after that is best summed up by my video because like they say, “Pics… or it didn’t happen!”  Enjoy the show!



I did all my training at Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training where Zach works.  To say I am an IFAST regular is an understatement – I am in that gym six days a week!  While I love IFAST and everything about training, I found myself needing to have a goal – something I could work toward and look forward to.  For awhile, Zach, Mike Robertson and others at the gym would throw out the idea of me competing in a powerlifting meet, but it wasn’t until last October that I saw the callout on the Girls Gone Strong Facebook page for the Pro/Am in Cincinnati that I made the decision to sign up.


Six months may seem like a long time to prepare for a powerlifting meet, but there are a couple of things I feel like I should mention.  In October of 2011, I weighed 148.4 lbs.  Also, I had been training at IFAST for a year and had never bench pressed with a barbell (Advanced PE class in high school DOES NOT count!  How I bench pressed then and how I bench press now are so different they might as well be two totally different lifts).  Over the course of these last six months, with programming and nutrition guidance from Zach, I learned how to bench press and lost over 20 lbs.


Laura Phelps-Sweatt and her crew deserve all the praise in the world for the meet they put on.  Everyone at The Sweatt Shop was so kind, so helpful, and so energetic!  They all truly went the extra mile to make sure that all the women were supported, encouraged, and pumped up (especially the first time lifters – Did you hear how awesome the announcer, Barb, was in the video?!  They even played our favorite lifting song prior to our attempts!)  Any women out there who are considering doing a powerlifting meet should definitely add next year’s Women’s Power Weekend in Cincy to their list.


I had a perfect day in more ways than one on Saturday, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all the love and support they showed me along the way.

I want to thank Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman for the amazing training facility they own and are kind enough to let me hang out in.  If you live anywhere even remotely close to IFAST, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

I also want to thank Mike Robertson for all of his words of encouragement and advice during my training.  Oh, and for letting me borrow the onesie I wore at the meet.  Pretty sure I was the only girl there wearing a singlet once worn by the great Mike Robertson!  🙂

Huge thank yous go out to all of my friends at IFAST that train with me – Lance Goyke, Kristin Hendricks, Allen Tucker, Alison Chestovich, and Rachelle Corwin.

I also want to thank everybody that drove all the way to Cincinnati to cheer me on.  You are all wonderful! – Kristin, Allen, Alison, Lil Stevie Gabrielsen, Debby Gabrielsen, Brittney Evans, Kenny and Donna Carlisle, and my parents Terry and Sarah Whiteman.

More thanks to Lil Stevie for all the SPF meet tips and advice.  I probably asked this poor guy a thousand questions about the meet, but really I couldn’t help myself, Lil Stevie is a walking SPF rulebook – the dude knows his stuff!  🙂

Special thanks to Jeremy Hartman for all his expert squat advice and for teaching me about knee wraps and more importantly how to use them!

Finally, I have to thank Zach for being the most amazingly supportive and smart coach.  Zach was by my side everyday writing my training programs and giving me nutrition advice.  This was a true case of brains and brawn.  Zach was my brain… I just did what he said, and I think the results speak for themselves.

Zach and I at the meet


Becoming a powerlifter has been an incredible, challenging experience for me, and I would love to see more women getting involved in this awesome sport!


If there are any ladies interested in how to prep for a meet then definitely shoot me or Zach any questions you may have.  You can also check out Zach’s online training services where he can provide you with a training and/or a nutrition program to help you prepare for a powerlifitng meet and/or help you get stronger and leaner just as he did me.

8 thoughts on “My First Powerlifting Meet (Guest Blog by Emme Whiteman)”

  1. So proud of you Emmer! Great write-up of your first meet. Let me know when your next meet is and we will do our best to be there to cheer you on! =)

  2. Wow, I am so impressed! I have considered doing a powerlifting competition but am not sure how to get started. My boyfriend is a trainer so I could definitely use his expertise. They have weight divisions right? I ask because I am on the petite side (5’1, 115 lbs) I consider myself strong, but training for something like this would kick it up a notch!

    Thanks for sharing!


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