Identity Crisis!! Am I a Bodybuilder or a Powerlifter? Can I do both?

IMG_0594By Jaime Rice

In 2012, I competed in my very first NPC bodybuilding competition; I did not place and frankly did not enjoy the process or show one bit. Fast forward to 2014, and I decided to give bodybuilding another try. I hired a coach, which I did not do before, and stuck to a customized meal and training program. My experience in 2014 was far better and more gratifying than I ever would have imagined. I fell in love with the sport of bodybuilding, and it was full steam ahead.

During my 2014 offseason, the period of time between shows competitors use to build muscle mass, I began to lift heavy in my squats and deadlifts and really enjoyed reaching new personal bests in the gym each week. For those of you who know me, you know that I always need a new challenge, and I am a dreamer who comes up with wild and fantastic ideas for things I want to accomplish. Some of these dreams never make it past my initial outburst, but some actually come to fruition.

That being said, I decided I wanted to be a bodybuilder and power-lift in the offseason.  Powerlifting gave me a new goal and it was definitely a new challenge. I had to work on my form for each of the three lifts: bench, deadlift, and squat. I assumed that if you lifted the weight, then it would counted. The more I researched and asked friends, the more I learned there were specific techniques and “rules” to a good lift. Learning proper form and technique also made my lifts that much stronger and better, and I was seeing gains in strength and muscle mass within weeks of changing my training to a powerlifting schedule.

While I was seeing progress in the gym, it was time to decide which National NPC bodybuilding show I wanted to compete this year. I was conflicted; I was seeing great progress in my powerlifting, but needed to start prepping for my bikini show. I knew as soon as I started prepping for bikini, my strength would go down and I would have to train differently. With bodybuilding, you’re judged on appearances, not actual strength or what the muscles seen on stage can actually lift. Therefore, competitor’s meal plans and training are centered on appearance. I decided to compete in Jr USA’s in Charleston, SC at the end of May. This would allow me plenty of time to gain strength back for a future powerlifting meet in the fall of 2015.

My decision was made and here I am four weeks into my contest prep when a friend suggests I compete in an upcoming powerlifting meet. I decided to go for it because it would be great experience and why not right?!

So this weekend I did it! I weighed in at 119 which meant I competed in the 123lb weight class. I was concerned about my lifts because I am on a calorie deficit and carbs are low, but I was going to try my best. I ended up hitting personal record in my bench, 135lb, a lift I have never been able to complete! My deadlifts were disappointing. I was going for 225lb, a weight I can get weekly in the gym, but I struggled with 220lb. I eventually pulled 220lb on my 3rd lift, but knew I was capable of more.

I ended up taking first in my weight class and novice! A solid first-time performance when I wasn’t able to give it the proper training needed for meet. After the meet I started thinking, maybe I should pick between powerlifting and bodybuilding, would it be too hard to do both?

Then I realized, I am doing both. Halfway through my prep I competed in a powerlifting meet and put up solid numbers (for a novice).  I still love the bodybuilding stage but I most certainly found my second love, a place I can show what my muscles are actually capable of lifting.

I have learned that it is possible to compete it two very different sports at the same time. This lesson can translate to any aspect of life. No matter yours goals in life, if you want to accomplish something then try! If you fail then at least you can look back with no regrets or the nagging question of “What if?”

3 thoughts on “Identity Crisis!! Am I a Bodybuilder or a Powerlifter? Can I do both?

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