Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Feb

Powerlifter Goes Primal, Lifts Very Heavy Things for the Win

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

On Primal I’ve gained about 10 pounds – 10 pounds of muscle that is.

Over the two past years, I’ve been trying to increase my strength and add muscle mass.

The first year, even though I was lifting heavy weights, I didn’t add much, if any, muscle. I was eating a low-fat, low carb diet (which was extremely flavorless and hard to maintain) and just got plain old skinny. Not toned. Not jacked. Just skinny.

I then of course fell off that diet and put on a bit of fat, which is when my fiance and I decided to start Primal.

Since starting Primal about a year ago, I’ve seen the scale jump up 10 pounds, but I look lean and more muscled than I’ve ever looked before. And my strength has also really increased over the past year.

It actually increased so much that two months ago I decided to train for my first powerlifting competition.

When I started training, I was told by another trainer at the gym, that I would need to eat carbs, like bread and stuff, if I expected to really see results.

I just shook my head and kept eating Primally and my numbers just kept going up. And actually the couple of times I did cheat, I had my worst workouts EVER the day after!

Although throughout the two months I planned to compete, I didn’t actually enter the MA/RI Powerlifting State Championship meet until right before the deadline. I was super nervous and could think of a bazillion reasons why I wasn’t ready.

One of my reasons not to compete was because my training wasn’t true powerlifting workouts. The second reason was that I’d gained a bit of weight throughout the training and especially over Thanksgiving.

But I’d committed to doing it, so I refused to back out. That last week before the competition, I threw in some longer fasts and only ate meat and vegetables. Everyone at the gym told me that I shouldn’t fast and that I needed to eat “real” food.

I didn’t listen to them when it came to fasting because I was eating real food just later in the day. Delicious meals like pulled pork, oxtail, rib-eye and chili.

And I dropped every ounce of fat that I needed to and felt super strong on the day of the competition. (I also did throw in some potatoes the day before and the day of the competition just to feel extra energized.)

Anyway, on the day of the competition I sat there in my wrestling unisuit, with no equipment and no belt, eating my Primal snacks (potatoes, apples, macadamia nuts and 100% grass-fed whole milk yogurt and protein) while everyone else sported some sort of equipment and chowed down on peanut butter banana sandwiches, protein bars, candy and Gatorade.

I definitely felt slightly out of place, but my fiance thought it was pretty “gnarly” and “bad-ass” that I didn’t wear a belt or use chalk or anything that lifters were supposed to use.

And the meet was a success even though I didn’t lift as much as I had in practice. I won both my weight class and received the MA/RI Powerlifting State Championship award for Best Lifter – Women’s Raw Division (PDF).

The Best Lifter award is a measure of relative strength, which means that this Primal Powerlifter, weighing in at 118, was the strongest woman in the Raw division at the meet!

I was thrilled to receive the award! And so was my fiance. He also ended up loving the fact that I kicked all of their butts while eating Primally. He liked it so much that he encouraged me to send my success story in to you! Actually he was SO excited that he told you I’d won when we saw you in the Boston airport. :-)

(Here is a video of the competition if you want to check it out!)

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Awesome!

    Garrett wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  2. You are seriously bad-ass! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    JennF wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  3. Is it bad that when I first started reading I thought this was a man posting? Then I scroll down and I swear I have never seen a cuter powerlifter! And that is totally meant as a compliment! You go girl!

    Maureen wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • haha thank you!

      Cori wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • I did the same thing, just reading along thinking this was a guy, and Pow, Right to the Kisser! You go girl!! Congrats!!

      Kari wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • I totally did the same thing! Awesome girl.

        Trish wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • I did the same thing! Awesome!

          Deanna wrote on February 5th, 2012
    • Wow that’s impressive and super inspiring! I too thought initially I was reading about a man, Awesome work!!

      Dollface wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Haha me too…but I have come to learn the hard way that plenty of girls at my gym are stronger then me! They are some strong as primal females!!

        Frank Sabia wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • I thought the same thing! LOVE that it is a woman kicking some ass out there!

      Raclbaby2000 wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Really glad I wasn’t the only one… the pictures are blocked for me at work so I was just reading thinking it was a man until the 3rd to last paragraph.

      I always like reading these success stories every Friday at work without pictures and then getting to put a face to the story once I go home.

      Congrats on being primal and kicking ass!

      PN wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • hahaha me, too! Exactly! Big Congrats, Cori – you do us women proud!

      When I was reading Cori’s description of her body pre-prlmal, I thought – “that sounds just like my husband and his diet – he doesn’t seem to be carb intolerant. He is super healthy, no meds, perfect blood work. If anything what he might benefit from going primal is to preserve/add lean muscle mass and strength – and at age 60 that is really important.”

      So, of course I am mentally adding Cori’s story to my list to share with him. Then, I see – oh, its not a guy its a girl – so maybe not. THEN I watch the video and YOU BETCHA I’m sharing this story with him! He’ll love it!

      Thanks for sharing!

      rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Ditto for me. Cori TOTALLY surprised me. And I just smiled watching the video, because yes, I’ve never seen a cuter powerlifter, either. I’m also totally inspired!

      Joy Beer wrote on February 5th, 2012
  4. Yaaaa that is awesome! Primal powerlifing.

    Abel James wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  5. I love how this story unfolds…my preformed impression after reading the title and first paragraphs was that this was about a lifter who is a man. LOVE that you had so much success, and that you are a woman. Congratulations!

    mommymd wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  6. Good job! What does raw mean?

    Ryan Allie wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • “Raw” means the lack of any gear. No belts, gloves, bench press shirt, squat suit, etc…

      Great job on your meet! Congratulations.

      WS wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • I don’t know any raw feds that ban belts, but otherwise the rest is true, hehe :)

        Erica wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • Raw allows belts and gloves, and some bodies allow wrist wraps under the theory that the wrists are static in all the lifts they recognize (squat, bench press, deadlift, strict form curl).

          Belts are debatable and the studies are inconclusive, but I swear to grok if I have one more crossfitter with torn up hands try to explain to me that not wearing gloves is somehow good for you I’m going to choke myself on one of the gloves I wore every day when I did manual labor for a living.

          Mike wrote on February 3rd, 2012
        • Which federations allow gloves?

          Erica wrote on February 4th, 2012
  7. So impressed this story is about a women, I mean really. If that isn’t motivation, idk what is. Good job for shunning CW!

    Ande wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  8. Oh, and it’s also awesome you do not look like a man with big bulky muscles. I guess I had to see to believe. Great job again!

    Ande wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Yeah, I have to agree. She looks great!

      Alison Golden wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • This is so encouraging! Thank you for posting. We have a particular hour during the week in my CrossFit gym called “Power Hour” which is dedicated to lifting heavy things and I’ve started going to this class.

        BTW, I’m surprised gloves are frowned upon in CrossFit because my gym allows them.

        Keep lifting! :-)

        Russell wrote on February 6th, 2012
    • That’s another way that Cori defies CW! Makes me almost want to turn the clock back so that I could take up competitive powerlifting! LOL

      rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Agreed!! You are gorgeous! I absolutely love this story! Who says women can’t power lift?? (other than rob below…)

      Alyssa wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  9. It’s a woman … thought it was going to be about a powerlifter who lifts very heavy things … it’s cute when women lift weights.

    rob wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Cute?! She is moving almost 2.5x body weight my friend. “Very heavy things” is a relative term. She’s not out there doing bicep curls with 2.5 lb dumb bells, she has put in some serious work to get where she is…I don’t think cute is the word you are looking for.

      Dave wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • No kidding!

        rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • She IS a powerlifter who lifts very heavy things. Probably heavier than you can lift, buddy.

      SmokeFan14 wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Yeah, rob sounds a little threatened or envious.

        rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  10. I love Fridays. Your story and the others before you really keep me honest and inspired. Keep Grokking Power Cutie!!!

    Carlo Coles wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  11. Very cool. You would kill me on the squats. That’s some serious below-parallel you’re doing!

    Moshen wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  12. Bad ass! That is some inspiration, right there…

    Graham wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  13. this is awesome, as a crossfitter turned mixed powerlifter i can agree to this 100% eating a nearly 100% paleo/primal diet i have seen strength increases almost nonstop as well as size and definition increases with minimal to 0 fat increases

    Brook wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  14. Fantastic story. Congrats. Job well done!!!

    Scott wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  15. More than just about anything I’ve read or seen, this makes me want to start lifting heavy things. I weigh just about the same as her, and couldn’t come close to doing that. Awesome job Cori!

    LizMc wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Thank you!!! Definitely start heavy lifting. It honestly makes you feel wonderful and so empowered!

      Cori wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Thanks Cori! I will definitely look into an avenue to turn my serious envy into muscle mass :)

        LizMc wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Cori,
        First, congratulations and you look awesome! Second, I have been a regular in the free weight section of my gym for 10 years now, and it frustrates me that it’s such a boys club. I love that not only do you lift, you lift heavy, and you look great. I always feel stronger, emotionally and physically, after lifting. I have heard tons of other women in the club say they feel like they’re “in the way”, or more typically, they’re afraid to get “too bulky”. While you definitely are cute, it is NOT “cute” when women lift weights, as another MDA reader stated above. Great job Cori, and thanks for being an inspiration to women, and men I’m assuming, everywhere. I’m passing your story on to those women at the gym!

        LizS wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  16. That is completely badass!

    Tasha wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  17. Bad-ass indeed!!!!

    Alvaro wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  18. Great story (and video)–thanks!

    Samantha Moore wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  19. Awesome!!

    Danielle wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  20. Congrats! Continue to inspire!

    Primal Toad wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  21. Great story Cory! You’ve inspired me to get back to olympic weightlifting! I started lifting 15 years ago but the last 4 or 5 years I haven’t lifted or competed. I’ve been primal for a year now and looking back on the training that I did with my coach years ago, it was really crossfit with the classic lifts thrown in! I miss the workouts and the competitions.
    Keep up the good lifting girl!

    Deana wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  22. Wow, you *are* bad-ass! Good for you. I bet the power you get from lifting transfers into the rest of your life, too! And wonderful you have such a supportive fiance. Sounds like you’re on the same wavelength – bodes well for the future. :-)

    Alison Golden wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  23. Great story. I feel like quite the chauvinist, though, since I, too, was expecting photos of a guy! But now I see how really impressive a 10 pound muscle gain can be!

    Diane wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  24. Kick Butt! Way to go!!

    Kustom wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  25. I find this story kinda hot.

    ChocoTaco369 wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  26. Wow. Great job. That’s a legit deadlift (not that you need my validation). Also, it looked like you could have squatted about 10 more kilos no sweat!

    Andy wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • haha thanks! We went light on squat just because I was so nervous!

      Cori wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Hey, just think what you might do now that you are over all the nervous self-doubting about being ready and all!

        rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  27. You are seriously my new hero. Awesome story, you rock!

    Oh, and lol, that guy sitting in that second photo is totally checking out your behind. :)

    Ashley North wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • OMG I thought I was the only one who saw that!!! He’s totally oogling your primal goodies

      Maureen wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Lol, I was waiting for someone to call him out.

        Trish wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  28. Wow. I’m super impressed.

    Melissa wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  29. Wow! That was my first thought and second, and third. Super impressive. I bet you’ll have some people in your gym wondering if they should go primal so they lift more. Thanks for sharing!

    Linda wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  30. 259 deadlift at your weight is insane.

    Why sumo vs. conventional, though? Is there a benefit?

    Skateman wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • IDK what Cori’s reason is but I also pull sumo, there are two reasons:

      1) Almost every female powerlifter I’ve seen pulls sumo, and I think it’s because there is more posterior chain involvement. We ladies tend to have more PC strength as relative to upper body.

      2) The wider stance artificially shortens your legs so if you have long legs as relative to your back, or short arms, it may be useful biomechanically speaking.

      Erica wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • I do it because it allows me to use my legs more than my back and my legs are stronger!

        It was funny. Actually most of the women at the meet pulled conventionally.

        Cori wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  31. Awesome!! Cheers from a fellow primal female raw powerlifter. And yay for sumo DL, for some reason almost every female powerlifter I’ve ever seen (myself included) pulls sumo :) I think high-carb is way overrated for powerlifting.

    Erica wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  32. Awesome story! And cheers to your fiance for supporting your efforts.

    They say “Behind every strong man is a strong woman.” It’s good to know that someone is behind strong women.

    Primal Texas wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • Amen!

      rarebird wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  33. That is extremely cool, good for you!

    Jessie wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  34. This is so bad-ass!!!

    chocolatechip69 wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  35. One of the most impressive personal posts I’ve seen! Loved the video.
    I’m working on my pull-ups. (And I thought they were tough!)
    Congrats on you win!

    Beth wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  36. You Rock Cora! Way to follow your intuition, your understanding of your body and what works for you. You are a an example of how conventional wisdom isn’t always wise.

    Lynn wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  37. WOW! That is really impressive!! Congrats on the win and for being such a bad@ss, in general!!

    AustinGirl wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  38. Holy crap, Cori! You make those look so easy! I’m 123lbs and my 3×5 max on all those moves are lower than all your first attempts! Haha, I guess I better cut out the chocolates…

    Reiko wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  39. Well done, fair play and keep it going!

    Kohhal wrote on February 3rd, 2012
  40. I like those shoes you’re wearing. What kind are they?!

    justin wrote on February 3rd, 2012
    • They are Saucony Hattori…essentially Vibrams without the individual toes.

      Cori wrote on February 3rd, 2012

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