Even in his first major competition, Jake Allison already knew the tricks of the powerlifting trade.
The 19 year old, whose father Bob owns Whistler Core Climbing and Fitness Centre, easily claimed the title in the unequipped junior 66-kg division as the only competitor in the BC Powerlifting Association Winter Open in Richmond on Feb. 22 with a combined score of 505.00 kg (the score is made up of the best lifts in the deadlift, bench press and squats).
With no challenger in house, he set his sights on history, shattering the division's previous record of 460.00 kg, set by Navin Abeysundara at last June's provincial championships. Allison set new marks in all three divisions, but most impressively demolished Abeysundara's deadlift record with 220.00 kg to the old mark of 192.50 kg. He also beat the squat mark by 15 kg while eclipsing the bench press record by 2.5 kg.
Setting the records didn't come as much of a surprise to Allison, who said he was prepared to edge out Abeysundara's scores.
"I'd already lifted those several times in the gym," he said. "I was happy to break them."
Additionally, Allison won the unequipped best junior lifter title based on Wilks points, a system taking a lifter's weight into consideration to calculate results. Allison, weighing 65.2 kg, scored 400.818 Wilks points, edging out Gabriel Gomez, weighing 94.4 kg, who tallied 396.113 points.
His confidence shifted throughout the day, Allison recalled, as he came in feeling good, but his optimism was slightly diminished after he saw what he'd be up against.
"I was thinking there might have been a chance of me getting it before the competition," he said. "I was pretty surprised when I won it in the end because it seemed like there was a lot of great lifters there."
Allison noted he may not have earned enough Wilks points had his foes stringently watched their weight as he did.
"The one trait I had that no one else paid too much attention to in the competition — there were some lifters there that could have beaten me if they used some of my tactics — was manipulating your weight," he said. "I did some water manipulation (minimizing water weight leading up to the weigh-in) before stepping on the scale.
"The lighter you are, the more points you get per kilo you lift."
In his first-ever competition, Allison saw both the benefits and drawbacks of the competitive process, explaining he received a "motivating" jolt from the crowd but struggled early on to align his timing with the schedule.
"For squats, I didn't schedule enough time to warm up and that was the first lift. I had five minutes to warm up, so I put 165 (lbs) on the bar and squatted that a few times. Then I put 275 (lbs) onto the bar and I squatted that and then a minute later I went out and squatted 365 lbs," he recalled. "It was really nerve-wracking, but it still went decent."
Having only been taking powerlifting seriously since last May, Allison has made great strides already. Since moving westward to attend the University of Calgary last fall, he stepped his training up a notch from there, taking inspiration and gaining knowledge from other people intensely training in his gym.
Allison is now getting set to compete in the provincial tournament in June and has an eye on taking part in the International Powerlifting Federation World Championships as early as next year and the Olympics further down the road.
"I want to be a lot more competitive by the time I go (to worlds)," he said.
Provincial records tossed aside, Allison now hopes to set a national record in the deadlift. The current mark is 235 kg.
"I only need to break that by half a kilo," he said. "On the platform, when I did my third attempt of 220 kg, I felt I had about five more kilos in me."
Fellow Whistlerite Andrew Gormley also took part in the competition, lifting a combined 485.00 kg in the unequipped junior 93 kg division.