Lifter Profile: Amalia Lytle

Age: 28-yrs-old

Training Age: 1 year and 4 months

Squat: 226lbs

Bench: 93lbs

Deadlift: 237lbs

What did you think about your first competition? Were you nervous going in?

I was! I made the mistake of being overly concerned about being the weakest in the competition. It made me hate training. A couple of weeks beforehand I tried to shake off the feeling of needing to be “the best”. I’m super competitive, so it’s hard for me to do that, but the meet ended up being a blast! It was so much fun.

Prior to signing up for my first meet, I thought it was total BS whenever someone told me not to wait for certain numbers before you compete. Now post-meet, I am so much more passionate for the sport and way hungrier to get better. I thought I was enthusiastic for the sport before the meet, but that enthusiasm doesn’t even come close to how much I love it now.

I just feel really happy whenever I'm touching a barbell.

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A lot of competitors express similar thoughts after their first meet! The fear of being the “weakest” on there can be nerve wracking, even if you know you “shouldn’t” be focusing on that. Was there anything you did in particular to get rid of your nerves?

I went to the Murder of Crows USAPL meet a few weeks before the one at Squats and Science, just to hype myself up and see some fellow beginners lift. I wanted to reassure myself that not everyone is so strong going into their first meet; everyone starts somewhere. That got me excited to go back into training and do what I could to have my best meet day.

That’s a great message to share. Everyone has to start somewhere; there should be no rush. It takes years of hard work and dedication to the sport in order to be competitive!

What drew you to the sport to begin with?

I found a bikini competitor on YouTube and I thought: I want to do this! So I started lifting, but I quickly realized that an aesthetic goal isn’t a strong enough goal for me to try and pursue. I started enjoying squatting a lot and really enjoyed trying to squat more weight than the day before. Around that time, I found MegSquats on YouTube, and I realized that powerlifting was a thing! Although, it took me a long time before I started training bench and deadlift.

So how long have you been training bench and deadlift?

My bench I’ve only been consistently training since December, and my deadlift, well, I go through phases. For a few months I was afraid to deadlift, so I didn’t do it. I was scared of peeing my pants!

Full meet report time w/ videos of my highest squat/bench/deadlift. Squat: 3/3! My final squat was 102.5/226lbs. Squats are my favorite but I was so nervous during squats, which I actually think worked to my benefit because all the breathing exercises and prayers to God to help me stand up forced me to focus. I walked up to bar saying, "I'm gonna fucking get this." I was either going to get the squat or die trying. And when I unracked the weight and felt how heavy it was on my back, I thought for sure I would die. So thank goodness I got the squat. ▫️ Bench: 2/3 – 40/88lbs, which was a breeze. I had hit 42.5 in the gym before so I wanted that PR at 45/99lbs but I just didn't have it in me. I was also way too relaxed and unfocused during bench. I felt so brilliant after squats and knowing that my bench and deadlift are really weak, I thought I'd just have fun from there but I regretted that when I walked up to my third bench, laughed at a joke that was made while I was setting up, and then failed. I'm glad I learned this lesson now though! ▫️ Deadlifts: 3/3. My final deadlift was a PR at 107.5/237lbs. I hate deadlifts. I've only been consistently training these since I signed up for the meet (same with bench for that matter). Not much to say here but I really loved watching all the tiny ladies in my flight pull some big numbers! ▫️ The most important thing is that I had a freaking blast and I can't wait to get back into the gym. I didn't think I could love powerlifting more than I already did but my heart is so much fuller after this meet.

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Oh! That happens to some women. Have you done some reading about that, or looked into physical therapy?

Yes, and I’ve found a product called Poise Impressa that is similar to a tampon, but is bigger, and supports your bladder and pelvic floor. I’m going to look into physical therapy when I get health insurance.

Well, continue deadlifting. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a common problem, but you do need to address it sooner rather than later, with a physical therapist.

Do you have a powerlifting coach?

I train at Squats and Science and Jordan Berke does my programming and helps with my form when I’m there. He does a powerlifting class on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 7pm. If you go to the gym at those times and ask him for help, he’ll do everything he can to help you!

That’s great!

I would have never started powerlifting I hadn’t stumbled on S&S Barbell. MegSquats mentioned the gym in one of her videos so that’s how I found it.

Would you say powerlifting has had a big impact?

It’s changed my life. Before I started powerlifting, I didn’t really have any goals or stick to the ones I did make. I moved to NYC in 2015 and my first year here was a hot mess. I was drinking all the time. I was either drunk or hungover all the time. I just wasn’t functioning like a normal person.

When I started powerlifting, I realized I couldn’t be drinking and partying all the time and still be able to work towards my goals. I learned to prioritize what was important to me and sacrifice the things that didn’t help me achieve them. Partying wasn’t going to get me a 300lb squat.  

In honor of NEDA awareness week, here's my #transformationtuesday 💁🏼 ▫️ My driving goal is to inspire people to find their strength. I want to show people that change is possible no matter how deep in mud they are. ▫️ Lord knows I've struggled with the some destructive behaviors but I've defined myself by the strength and the courage it took to change rather than by my struggles and mistakes. ▫️ Change is freaking uncomfortable and old habits die hard. But you have to keep pushing. You have to keep trying. You have to accept the uncomfortable and step into it anyway. ▫️ Picture on left, January 2009. Just before second hospitalization. Middle picture, December 2015. Right around the time I stopped drinking and started lifting. Right on right, Today. A bit over a year of lifting and eating and loving life. #nedaawarenessweek #timetotalkaboutit #prorecovery #bodyposi

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Before I started powerlifting, I’d hear people use the phrase, “Follow your passion,” and I’d think, “wow, that’s so stupid.” I didn’t even understand what passion was. Then, when I started lifting, I became so consumed with passion for this sport. Especially after my first meet. I have such a deep love for it; I understand what people mean now when they say, “find your passion, and pursue it.”

Why do you think that is?

I was a gymnast growing up but I quit gymnastics for high school sports. Because of my that background, I was naturally gifted at cheerleading, and diving, and dance. All of those things came so easily to me. Powerlifting is the first thing that hasn’t come easily to me. I like that challenge. I like pushing myself and trying to achieve a better me. Even if I’m not really great at it yet (keyword: yet).

What are you doing to prepare for your next meet, to make yourself even better? Any goals, or any mentality change?

I do have number goals for my next meet, but I don’t think it’s really necessary for me to be thinking about numbers at this point. I just need to focus on getting stronger. I’m not rushing to get into my next meet.

Any tips for the first timers?

Own your strength. Own the work you’ve put in. Don’t get caught up in your numbers or being better or worse than other people. This is about your journey and your love for squatting, benching, and deadlifting.

For meet day, vocalize to your friends and family what you need them to do. Be assertive and let them know if you need them to leave you alone to focus or cheer certain cues (I had one of my friends yell, “stay tight”).

Lastly, it’s okay to take this sport seriously. I sometimes get self-conscious that people think I take this way too seriously but I do it because I love it and I want to be powerlifting for a long time. My numbers might not say serious competitor yet, but I want my lifestyle and attitude to reflect where I want to be more than where I am.

Has your family had any reaction to this sport?

My dad loves that I lift! We never really connected before, but now that I started powerlifting, we’ve bonded. He’s so excited about. And my mom is really happy that I’ve found a sport that I’ve stuck with and that brings me so much joy…

I hadn’t really been that person that sticks with anything for very long. But this is the thing.

This is my thing now!

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