When entering the Canadian Powerlifting Union Nationals in Calgary, Jake Allison sought any advantage he could get.
His engineering internship in Edson, Alta. has helped, as the lack of local distractions has been a boon for his training, while he's also made other conscious decisions to help put him ahead.
"I've been pretty quiet about my training. I didn't post any of it on social media for over a year so my competition wouldn't know what my numbers were going to be so they wouldn't know what was coming for them," he said.
Allison said he kept an eye on his main competitors, as they continued to publicly discuss their recent accomplishments and benchmarks online.
"I was able to see exactly how their training was going while they didn't know too much about mine," Allison said. "Most of them thought I had quit powerlifting. A month out, they saw my name on the roster."
The element of surprise paid off at the national meet, held from Feb. 19 to 24, as he captured the 66-kilogram category after pulling off a 237.5-kg squat, 127.5-kg bench press and 277.5-kg deadlift. Also, Allison was the top junior competitor across all weight categories.
"This was a meet where my competition was pretty close to me. There was a chance I could not win this meet. There was more pressure this time because it was a closer competition," he said. "I definitely went there ready to perform and did everything to start fresh and to do the best I could beforehand."
Allison's deadlift total at nationals, which was a new national record, is roughly eight kg off of the unofficial world record, and it's a total he hopes to surpass at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships in June. It's a record he also hopes to make official, which can only be done at an international event in front of judges from three countries that aren't the competitor's homeland.
"I have three months, so I'm hoping to break it by a lot instead of a little," he said. "I'll still continue to not post my training so they won't know how it's going."
In addition to his own circumstances, Allison also figures to have an advantage at worlds since they'll be held in Calgary, essentially his adopted hometown and where he attended university, and will minimize travel, which will also be a significant leg up.
"It's really helpful because last year, it was in Belarus and that can really mess with the weight cut that you're doing. I cut about 10 pounds two days out, to make weight," Allison said.