IPF Open Classic World Championship
2021 - 66kg - 5th
2019 - 66kg - 6th
CPU Open Classic National Championship
2023 - 74kg - Gold
2020 - 66kg - Gold
2019 - 66kg - Gold
CPU Junior Classic National Championship
2018 - 66kg - 4th
Classic Squat - 280kg
Classic Bench Press - 155kg
Classic Deadlift - 287.5kg
Classic Total - 722.5kg
I have been powerlifting for nine years and competing for eight. Not many people know my upbringing, so for those interested, keep reading; I'll keep it brief. Since the age of 3, I have always been involved in sports - gymnastics, figure skating, taekwondo, competitive swimming, provincial level soccer, elementary school sports where I would consistently go to "cities" for track and cross country, and OFSAA in high school for soccer, to now my powerlifting era!
My powerlifting journey started in 2015 when I tore my L meniscus while playing soccer. My physio recommended squatting/ leg pressing to "strengthen the muscles surrounding & supporting your knee." I became obsessed with getting stronger and seeing how many plates I could leg press. After overcoming the knee injury, I was leg pressing 775lbs for 4x15 at the earth-shattering body weight of 130lbs. I was working out and playing soccer four days a week. Needless to say, I was trying to balance my two loves, working out and soccer. After a few months of working out (wrong), a friend of mine came up to me and asked, "Yo Mark, what's your goal in the gym?" and my response was, "To be as small and strong as possible!" and that's when he recommended Stronglifts 5x5. Hours were spent researching, analyzing techniques, and understanding the methodology behind this program. Before I knew it, I was squatting 335lbs 5x5, benching 135lbs 5x5, and deadlifting 335lbs 1x5 after three months of the program. After seeing (in my opinion at the time) rapid progression, I started looking up competitions for lifting, and that's when I learned about the CPU, OPA, IPF and powerlifting as a whole. For hours, I would watch YouTube videos of IPF World competitions, PowerliftingToWin, Dan Green, Mark Bell, Eric Lilliebridge, Jonnie Candito, Mike Tuchscherer, and many influential powerlifting pioneers.
I wanted to learn as much as I could about the sport because I knew I had the potential to be great if I put 100% of my effort towards it. I would constantly compare myself to the 59kg and 66kg World-level athletes every day with the utmost confidence that I would one day be there with them. This hobby/ sport became an obsession. I was re-watching powerlifting competitions from local meets to worlds, and it was all before I even competed. Then in 2016, I competed at my first meet, Durham Summer Classic, where I squatted 210kg, benched 90kg, and deadlifted 242.5kg, totalling 542.5kg at 66.6kg and won best lifter. Since then, I have become a 3-time National champion, two 2-time 66kg Champion, totalling 637.5kg, and recently, the 74kg National champion, totalling 722.5kg. Also, I competed on the World stage 2 times and even directed a sanctioned event!
What is your favourite lifting memory?
My favourite lifting memory was winning Nationals for the first time and achieving the coveted 500 Wilks in 2019. I finally felt proud of the hard work and many hours I dedicated to powerlifting.
What is one piece of advice you have for up and coming athletes getting into strength training or strength sport?
Hire a powerlifting coach. Whether it would be powerlifting programming, personal training, or nutrition, you have to hire someone who knows what they are doing to maximize your potential quickly. Don't waste time figuring it out yourself, or you'll be left in the dust.
What is your favourite lift or event?
My favourite lift is the Bench Press because you get to lay down and its overall less fatiguing. All jokes aside, it's because it was statistically my worst lift, and I put a lot of time and effort to make it what it is today. For reference, I benched 90kg in my 1st competition to 165kg now.
What is your favourite product and why?
The standard knee sleeve SBD produces is 100% the best knee sleeves in the market. As someone who tried other reputable brands, SBD has the best fit with the most amount of support. I squatted 280kg with them, which is 3.5kg from the World Record. The results speak for themselves.
What 3 other items are your go to and why?
Flexible Medium Wrist Wraps
The 13mm Belt should be a staple in everyone's gym bag. There's no "breaking in period." It fits like a glove after your first use. The Flexible Medium Wrist Wraps I have used since SBD released them. I opted for the flexible version, so it's both comfortable and supportive. I use them because they're functional while looking nice. The World Team singlets are absolutely beautiful. They are supportive, stylish, and a collector piece.
What colourway is your favourite and why?
The Eclipse line was as classic as it gets. There's no beating a Black and White combination. In my opinion, your lifts should be flashy, not your outfit.
Why do you believe SBD is the gear all athletes should use?
SBD is an industry leader for obvious reasons. Build quality, consistency, and customer service.
As someone who always strives for the best, I will only partner with the best.