January 2015 2XL Lifter of the Month Jennifer Gimmell
Interview by Jackie Stone
When did you get into powerlifting and why?
Back in 2005 when I was in graduate school and working at Fermilab, my roommate wanted to join a gym! I lived a pretty sedentary lifestyle up until then… always sitting, always in school, always studying… It was time for a change! I started receiving personal training at Lifetime Fitness in Warrenville. Although it was hard, I really liked how “academic” it was… if you do your homework, and if you work hard, you’ll succeed! While at Fermilab, I became friends with another lifter, Dan McCarron, and in early 2007, he lead me to join a gym in Aurora to be coached in powerlifting by Pete Arroyo. I ended up competing in the October 2007 inaugural “Rise of the Deadlift” meet to pull a personal-record of 240lbs. The following March, I competed in the 2008 APF IL State Meet (from memory: squat: 319lbs? , bench:120lbs? , deadlift: 303lbs, total: 720lbs?) From there, I was hooked! The rest is history 🙂
If you could give advice to yourself as a beginning lifter, what would it be?
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS! STOP IT! 🙂
What the newer lifter probably does not realize is that everyone has their own story; you cannot compare a chapter in your book to a chapter in theirs. Your story isn’t in the same book as theirs… it’s not even on the same shelf! Compare yourself only to the person you were yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. We are all human and we all have ups and downs. What’s important is that your story is going in the direction you want.
What are your best lifts in meets? In the gym?
My best lifts all came in mid- to late-2012:
My best gym lifts at SHW (over 198lbs) using multi-ply gear: squat: 550lbs, bench: 325lbs, deadlift: 405lbs,
My best meet (the ones that count!) lifts at SHW (over 198lbs) using multi-ply gear: squat: 518lbs (UPA national record), bench: 270lbs, deadlift: 402 lbs (UPA national record), total: 1190 lbs.
Another lift I’m especially proud of is my APF IL State record squat of 507 lbs, SHW.
My best gym lifts at 198lbs, raw: squat (raw with knee wraps): 330 lbs, bench: 185 lbs, deadlift: 405 lbs.
My best meet lifts at 198lbs raw: squat (raw with knee wraps): 314 lbs(?), bench: 203 lbs, deadlift: 418 lbs.
When you are not lifting, what do you enjoy doing?
I am usually working two jobs, so when I’m not lifting and have some time off, I like to be a total couch potato! I love to watch marathons of stupid reality tv shows, and my favorite board game is Scrabble 🙂
Since you enjoy gear, what is your favorite piece and why?
I love squatting and I would have to say my favorite piece of equipment is my squat suit. It makes me feel invincible! 🙂
You’ve done a number of meets. Which one or ones were most memorable and why?
The most memorable meets aren’t always my best ones… the most memorable for me is the UPA Power Weekend in Dubuque, IA in 2012. I went in cocky knowing that I came to get my 551 squat, 303 bench, and I was ready to deadlift the world for some awesome personal-record total and some national records. I hadn’t paid much attention to the scale and I was heavy (over the 198lb cut-off)… so I needed to diet pretty severely the last few days to make weight. I ended up barely making weight (mainly by not eating enough the day before and morning of) and then did one of the DUMBEST things ever: I went to an all-you-can-eat buffet and stuffed my face (mostly on Chinese food…)! I ended up feeling MISERABLE the rest of the day, woke up on the meet day feeling terrible (stomach cramps and a pounding headache!) only to have my squat suit feel loose and everything in the warm-up room for squat felt heavy. Before the meet began, I ended up dropping my squat opener over 30 lbs… only to MISS it THREE times in a row and be disqualified from the meet! I had never been disqualified before, and my ego definitely took a hit. After some soul-searching, I sucked up my pride and sent in my entry for a raw (no squat suits or bench shirts!) USPF meet at Lances Gym in Chicago a couple weeks later. I ended up having the best meet! I believe I squatted 314 lbs, benched a 203lb-personal record, and deadlifted a 418lb personal-record. Coming back from bombing at the previous meet, I ended up getting “Best Lifter”. It seems that I needed to get myself back in check and come to a meet with no expectations in order to reset my ego and do what I came to do: lift 🙂
What inspires you to work hard?
I am a very competitive and goal-oriented individual (many would blame it on my “only-child syndrome”). I love the way I feel when I’m on the platform… anxious and excited. I love feeling the adrenaline and I love working under pressure. I continually replay lifts from previous meets and I’m always chasing the feeling of completing the lift I set out to get… putting the bar down… and seeing three gleaming white lights out of the corner of my eye. It’s all about achieving the goals I set for myself.
What is your next meet?
After taking almost a year off of lifting (from late 2013 through early fall of 2014) I have decided to make my “comeback meet” the same first full power meet I did in my career: the APF IL State Meet in March. If all goes as planned, I’ll be able to set some APF/AAPF Women’s Sub-masters (33-39) IL state records, and maybe even some national ones! I’m excited to get back on the platform… my last meet was back in July of 2013! It’s about time!
What is your next big goal?
I have a few goals in mind, and the more I think about this question, the more ideas come to mind!
My first goal in the near future is to repeat my best SHW lifts (550 squat/325 bench/418 deadlift) at 198lbs. I think that would definitely be an indication that I’m stronger in my come-back.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I’m really excited to be part of 2XL Powerlifting and to return to the APF for my come-back year to the sport. I’m excited for our team’s future in powerlifting, and I cannot wait to compete! 🙂