Three years ago, Team elitefts welcomed Meana Franco as a novice lifter who had yet to compete in a full power meet. A year and a half later, with a couple meets under her belt, we covered her online coach-client relationship with elitefts coach Steve Goggins. At the time, she was preparing for CPU Nationals, but her less-than-stellar meet performance left her wanting more.
Since then, Meana has packed on more than 100 pounds to her total while continuing to work with Steve. She trained in a single-ply bench shirt for a brief period and, since starting her powerlifting career, has competed in USPA and RPS, but stuck to raw powerlifting in the CPU for the most part. Now, she’s switching things up.
She’s scheduled to compete at the IPL Anaheim Fit Expo, where she hopes to total over 1000 pounds and squat 400 pounds. Her best wrapped squat in training to date is 369 pounds for a double.
“I’ve done one USPA meet in the past (2016 USPA Drug Tested National Championships) and found it had a much more enjoyable energy to it. All the competitors were strong and there was a good balance of fun while still taking it seriously,” Meana said. She totaled 918.5 pounds in sleeves at this meet in the 148-pound weight class.
Another change — she will be cutting to the 132-pound weight class, her lightest competitive weight class yet. “This being a 24-hour weigh-in, I’m confident I'll make it to 132 pounds so long as I don't eat too much pizza,” Meana said. She will also be competing in wraps for the first time since her first full-power meet in 2014. These changes are significant for a competitive powerlifter, but her strong relationship with Steve, her coach, makes the transition an easy one.
“I know that he has the long term in mind and always makes smart programming decisions to keep me healthy and consistently progressing,” Meana said. “He also tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear. That is something I absolutely value.” It’s this honesty and trust that takes Meana’s training to the next level.
At a private UGSS held at the S4 compound on June 17, Meana reunited with Steve with the primary objective of testing her squat max in the elitefts Maverick knee wraps. Working in the same monolift as fellow elitefts athlete Julia Ladewski and one of Julia's clients, Meana worked up to a PR single.
One of Meana's greatest assets as a competitor is that she is able to objectively identify her strengths and weaknesses. “I've learned to be patient. I'm less focused on adversity and more focused on consistent self improvement,” Meana said. For the last year, she has been challenging herself to minimize self-doubt and has seen the results on the platform.
“I'm much more comfortable and confident in my own skin. Powerlifting has changed my body in a way that makes me very proud and happy,” Meana said.
Looking forward, she is looking to do a big meet next year and continue to work her way up the all-time rankings. “This is something that I’ve never publicly said, but I’ve set out to have an all time world record bench press in five years,” Meana revealed. Even though she plans on sticking to competing as a raw lifter for the foreseeable future, she has considered trying on a squat suit. “I’ll never say never when it comes to equipped lifting and I am definitely entertaining the idea.”
Watch for her performance on August 26, when she will take the platform at the IPL Anaheim Fit Expo. Check out her log for updates on her training and meet prep.
Video shot and edited by Ellie