Powertlifting might not be the biggest and baddest sport around these parts, but it’s more accessible to the average person than one might think. Enter NDG’s own Kacey Baines of the Epicentre gym, located in a not-too-far-away corner of St-Henri.

“Right now, it’s a relatively unknown sport – not just in NDG but in Montreal in general. But it’s a great sport that’s very accessible; it doesn’t take a

Trainer Kacey Baines with her student, Nick Lalonde-Fogel (Photo courtesy Kacey Baines)

ton a fancy equipment to get started – you just need a good coach whose focus is technique and safety, proper programming, and access to gym,” Baines said. “The powerlifting community here in Quebec is also very supportive of new lifters who want to come out and give it a shot. Lifters range in age from 14 right up to their seventies and the weight classes range from 44 kg to 125 kg-plus! Big, small, young, and old – all are welcome.”

Not to be confused with Schwarzenegger-style bodybuilding which some may say is more about style than substance, powerlifting is about, well, power. “The great thing about our sport is that it’s not about how you look like in bodybuilding, but about how much you can lift per pound of body weight,” Baines explained. “It’s about being strong and it’s very empowering.”

One of Baines’ pupils is Montreal West’s Nick Lalonde-Fogel.

“Powerlifting gives me something to strive for with strength training. It helps me stay motivated ’cause I would like to be more flexible and stronger, and that won’t happen without putting some effort in on my part,” he said. “The most I’ve ever squatted so far is 155 kg, the most I’ve ever benched is 90 kg, and the most I’ve ever deadlifted is 170 kg.”

Just to put that into perspective for those of us who still don’t fully comprehend the metric system – 170 kg is 375 lbs. That’s like lifting both your parents over your head at the same time.

“The tough part about powerlifting is getting the techniques down and making sure everything is legal,” Lalonde-Fogel said. “So, it doesn’t matter how much you can lift if the judges don’t approve it. For me it’s beating your personal bests, and the meets are what make your lifts official. I’ll never be the strongest guy out there but I’ll be stronger than myself; and that feeling is what makes it worth it.”

Baines agreed that the beauty of the sport is being able to improve oneself. “I love that I am constantly trying to beat my own numbers. Every time I train, I’m competing with myself, trying to push out just a little bit more. There will always be someone better than me out there and someone worse than me – I just have to focus on working as hard as I can and challenging myself,” Baines said.

“Coaching is also very rewarding for me.  It’s amazing watching a lifter get out on the platform for the first time and lift a weight that they never thought they could. In Nick’s case, he has been training with us for one year for general strength and fitness, and in the last few months, he expressed interest in competing in powerlifting.

“We worked together more closely to get him ready and he had a great first experience. I cheer my heart out for him and my other lifters like a proud parent!”

For more information on Baines’ Epicentre gym, visit www.epicentretraining.com.

You can always reach me at noahsidel@gmail.com.