A competitor goes through a myriad of emotions leading up to a competition. Excitement, anxiety, nervousness, and second guessing your training preparation in hopes you are peaking at the right time. After recovering from shoulder surgery and getting back to your first meet back, the emotions are amplified tenfold.

Leading up to this meet my training wasn't as intense as normal. Trying to be cautious and ensure you don't get re-injured while also progressing is a delicate balance. Your expectations change and you wonder if you'll even get close to lifting what you've previously accomplished. Preparing and competing at this meet was more of a mental than a physical challenge for me. 

Training didn't go the greatest, mostly because of trying to cross mental barriers. The slightest feeling of pain during training set me back emotionally and physically. I was limited on my training during the past seven months, as I needed to ensure my repair had enough time to grow and heal properly. I followed my doctor’s orders and trained smart. 

Coming into the meet, my expectations were low. I wanted to treat this competition as a training day and keep in mind that the main goal was to get back under the bar and gain some confidence — maybe a 275-pound squat, 160-pound bench, and a 380-pound deadlift would have been sufficient to gain some confidence back for future meets. My best lifts in training post shoulder surgery were a 155-pound bench, 2750pound (ugly) squat and a 365-pound deadlift.

On meet day everything felt good. Warmups went really well and I didn't have any pain in my shoulder either squatting or benching — NO PAIN. This alone was a huge boost stepping onto the platform. 

My opening squat was 245 pounds. It flew up and moved fast. My second attempt of 270 pounds felt even better. Ken and I decided on 300 for my third and it blew up. It felt like 320 or 330 would have been possible but my third was already 30 pounds more than my planned attempt, so I was excited about this.

On bench my first attempt at 145 pounds moved effortlessly without any pain. We decided on 160 pounds for our second which was our planned third for the meet and a post-surgery PR. I took it out of the rack, brought it down, and boom three white lights. It moved fast. I went to 180 pounds for my third and nailed it!This is only 20 pounds shy of my best bench ever. I was 6/6 going into deadlift.

My opening deadlift was 350 pounds. It moved fast and felt light so I jumped to 380 pounds for my second attempt, which also felt light and moved easy. I tried my third attempt at an aggressive (maybe greedy) 410 pounds and I got stuck at the knee — no lift.

I was happy I at least moved the weight and I went 8/9 setting new RPS World Records and Canadian National Records for each lift and total. I placed first in my category and also competed in deadlift only open category taking first place in that as well. My total was 860 pounds in the Raw Classic (no knee wraps) division.

It was an amazing competition only seven months post shoulder surgery and the best thing that has happened is that my confidence has returned and everything is moving in the right direction. Now my training can move forward unimpeded by doubt. I am physically and mentally back in the game and excited about my meet prep for the WPC World Championships in November. I will be representing Team Canada and Team EliteFTS in November. I want to thank Dave and Traci Tate at EliteFTS for all their ongoing support. Big thanks to Ken Whetham for his coaching, handling and PT treatments getting me platform ready. To my Doctors, Ken Kinakin for the PT treatments and my surgeon Dr. Samir Chhabra for the very successful surgery, thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I could not have done this alone.


Lessons Learned

Being strong leading into surgery proves for a better and quicker recovery. Just because one ride is broken, the entire park does not have to shut down. I kept my legs, core and body as strong as possible when I was not able to use my arm. There shall be no excuses.

Overcoming adversity, I was told by many, “Oh, you won’t be able to lift anymore." Being driven and having the desire to not just settle is a quality most athletes need to have. I have proven time and time again: tell me I can’t or won't and I will prevail.

Take each injury as a gift. This little setback is huge for me. I feel like I have learned so much and I have already improved my technique on my lifts. Sometimes starting over is the best way.

Never feel sorry for yourself. Self pity does not look good. Lead by example, be that person people look up too or aspire to be.

“To be inspiring you must be inspired.”