See what it takes to compete on the international stage as one of team GB’s Powerlifting athletes!
Every now and again Velocity PT Academy gets the chance to interview recognised athletes in their different sporting disciplines. Today’s interview is a special one, we are talking about the world of powerlifting. A sporting discipline that isn’t for the faint hearted. Sam Hinks is a junior powerlifter that competes in the under 93 Kg class. Sam has had a year to remember this year. In 2015 he was introduced to the world of powerlifting and it has only taken him a year to compete on a world stage representing his country. Sam has recently competed in the World Bench Press Championships in South Africa where he has competed in were he won the silver medal only missing out on gold through bodyweight. Anyway, we don’t want to spoil the interview for you, we will let Sam tell you all about his diet, workouts and what it takes to be the best in Europe at what he does.
• Hi Sam, could you just give some background on yourself? How did you get into competing?
I got my first set of weights/dumbbells when I was 13, this was probably not the best idea for someone that age, as it caused me to completely fall in love with weight training. From then, I continuously tried to get as much equipment as I could find/save for until I was old enough to attend a gym. Firstly, being able to attend a gym was nothing short of a dream come true for me, I was finally able to train how I’d been trying to with plastic/plaster dumbbells at home. From here, I have constantly tried to progress my lifts and become stronger all round. Five years later, I heard about a powerlifting club (Five Towns Powerlifting) based quite local to me. I started to train fully for powerlifting in February 2015 and did my first comp in July 2015.
• What are your most recent accolades and achievements?
Since winning my first comp in July (Yorkshire North East Championships 2015) I competed in the British Championships taking 4th place. I then competed in January 2016 in the British Bench Championships taking 1st position. At this competition I broke the British Record on my second lift and again on my third. This qualified me for the World Bench Championships based in South Africa in May 2016 were I managed to take silver medal putting me officially 2nd in the world.
• What do you think your strong points are as a competitor?
As a competitor my bench is definitely my relative strong point. This gives me a big advantage over many lifters in my age and weight group following squat in which often leaves me behind as it is my weakest lift. My bench usually brings me back up and in front going into the deadlift.
• Are there any areas were you would want to improve?
As I mentioned previously, my squat is my weak point. This being such a lagging lift (current PB – 227.5 Kg) gives me a huge disadvantage on competitive platforms like national competitions with some of my competitors hitting squats at 250-280 Kg (562.5 – 630lbs). If I want to become the British Champion in the three lift side of powerlifting, I really need to bring my squat up considerably.
• What would a brief day in the life of Sam Hinks look like?
I am known very much for having a ‘boring’ personality. For this reason, many of my friends/colleagues call me ‘Stanley’, implying I am like an old man!! Generally and specifically more in the past I have been very rigid and disciplined with my diet/lifestyle. I have always stuck to the same meals day in day out and at the same times etc. I have an office job working Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm which suits me perfectly, I’m a creature of habit without a doubt.
• Have you changed anything with your diet in the run up to the World Championships?
My diet has remained pretty much the same as mentioned above. I’m pretty strict with my core meals. Since qualifying for the Worlds, I have been instructed by the GB coach to maintain a bodyweight close to my competitive weight (93 Kg). Usually in off season I deviate right up to 98-100 Kg. I find it relatively easy to manipulate my bodyweight for competitions without too many issues. A perfect example of this that for the British Bench Championships in January, I had to drop 1 stone and 12lbs in 4 weeks. This by no means is healthy, but I managed it and performed exactly how I wanted/expected.
• What would a days worth of food look like for a Great British Powerlifter?
My food varies based on my training that day, but taking a training day for example it would look as follows: Breakfast – 6/7 Eggs & 60-70g of high fibre cereal (e.g. oats/weetabix) 10.30 – 200g Chicken breast & 50g (dry weight) rice 13.00 – 200g Chicken breast & 50g rice 16.00 – 200g Extra lean minced beef & 50g rice 20.00 – 200g Extra lean minced beef These are what I call my ‘core meals’. Around this I tend to eat more food based on how I feel day to day in terms of recovery etc. For example, I tend to find easy calories through milk, this is a great and simple way to get additional calories in without having to eat more than I already do. Some days I will drink 4-6 pints of milk to accommodate for all the compound movements I’m doing throughout the week.
• What kind of supplements do you use daily?
I compete within a federation called ‘IPF’ (International Powerlifting Federation) which is a tested fed, this means all athletes are subject to drug testing by WADA (the same group that test Olympic Athletes). What this means is that I have to be VERY careful what supplements I take. For this reason, I tend to only look at the following supplements: whey protein, creatine, omega 3, zinc, magnesium and multi vitamins.
• What would a normal workout routine look like for you?
Most of my training is looked after by my coach Tom Dunning. He works out my training plans established on discussions we have together built on my current weaknesses and strengths. He will write out several weeks of training which by bare bones are based mostly on progressive overload. However, a lot of the accessory work he sets will adapt me as a lifter in order to help me become stronger and more efficient in the SBD (Squat, Bench and Deadlift).
• What is your favourite muscle to train and why?
As a powerlifter I tend not to train ‘a muscle’ as such. We tend to train a lift. So, we may go in and train squat along with a few accessory lifts to assist that particular lift.
• Do you have an inspirational saying or quote that keeps you motivated?
Until recently I didn’t really have anything like this but, someone said to me prior to my World Championship ‘Clear eyes, Full heart – Can’t lose’. This is simple and effective.
• What workout split do you use?
As mentioned above, I tend to go in the gym and train one particular lift. I usually go in the order of bench, squat, bench then deadlift, 4 days a week in that order. When hitting these compound lifts, it’s very important to ensure recovery is sufficient.
• Do you have any plans for the future?
My plans for the future right now are not really clear. I’m tempted towards a few different things. My long term intentions are to compete internationally again before I leave the Juniors, which is anytime before December 2017.