(Introduction written by Gren Elmore - President of the British disabled powerlifters association and senior coach with the British amateur weightlifters association.)
Pat Reeves, lives in the West Midlands,
an accomplished marathon runner, personal trainer, BAWLA coach and
fitness consultant, who has retained her British Masters' Powerlifting
title for many years, representing Great Britain twice, and holding many
Divisional, Commonwealth and Masters' records - despite the ever-present
threat to her life. Diagnosed more than ten years ago, the cancer has
changed its form to a degenerative bone-condition, which was considered
terminal several years ago. This manifested as a result of a strong
Pat is one of those rare people who by overcoming huge obstacles is an inspiration to all of us who haven't suffered any major diseases. If she can do it what excuse have you got?
For most of the last twelve years, given
some variations between off-season and pre-competition training, I train
every day, and usually twice! However, this encompasses cardiovascular,
assistance work and the three disciplines of Powerlifting. My training
is very short - no more than 45 minutes duration. I am fortunate to be
enabled to train at home in my own gym with a variety of cardiovascular
equipment - from a skipping rope to a sophisticated elliptical
Very early morning - cardiovascular
training, never less than 30 minutes, usually quite intense, a shower
(!), followed by abdominal work - lots of variety here and one or two
Later in day --
One of the powerlifts, plus three or four
I asked Pat for some advice on assistance exercises and what she recommends is: -
Training is very individual - you need
your weaknesses assessed, so that assistance exercises are not the ones
you enjoy doing - usually the ones you're good at! - but ones that
improve these 'weaknesses' Obviously to powerlift, you have to be
super-good at the three disciplines, squat, bench and deadlift - these
make up a major part of my plan. A look at which muscles are involved
also determines the other exercises, for instance when benching it's not
just chest. Shoulders, triceps and biceps are involved, as is the back,
depending on your grip. So if you strengthen these muscles individually,
it adds to your bench strength - at least in theory!
Personally, I find the best way to improve a lift is to do the lift! - but variations hit the muscles at different angles - all promoting a higher total - the only ultimate reason for doing it!
For the Squat : -
Leg pressing, hamstring curls, lunges, front squats
For the Bench Press : -
incline benching (dumbbells),
For the Deadlift: -
bent-over rowing and lat work, chins, etc are complementary for deadliftng. Most important though are addressing your 'weaknesses' i.e. is it harder for you to pull from the ground than lockout with the deadlift? One way of addressing this is either deadlift from blocks (improves lockout), or place your feet on blocks (improves drive from floor). So really, apart from whatever is printed in general books, it is not possible for me to give a 'one and only way' of training, because it's different for everyone.
Pat does not eat a 'traditional' powerlifting diet. Being trained in nutritional therapy she has created a diet that suits her metabolism and her need to fight off a predisposition to develop cancer. Although the diet is tailored to her needs, with some modification to suit your personal goals, this sort of diet can produce astonishing results (as Pat demonstrates).
Here is what Pat had to say about diet: -
I don't personally believe people should add anything to their diets just because they want to do powerlifting, weights etc. Obviously, if you want to compete with the best you are always going to come way down the line (i.e. not in top three) unless you involve steroids, pharmaceutical drugs or at least major supplementation - I'm talking bodybuilding competitions here. Most people are not going to aspire to that. For the average guy or girl looking to increase lean muscular tissue, i.e. improve bodyshape, feel fitter, etc only the need to consume sufficient quality calories, depending on individual metabolism, is required. It's more about are people following a vegan lifestyle incorporating sufficient 'quality calories' ? - beans on toast is ostensibly vegan, but low in nutritional requirements and high in undesirable sodium. So, follow a high nutrient-dense philosophy in this respect. When talking strength i.e. powerlifting the same applies. However, ensuring sufficient balancing of amino acids in a form that takes almost no energy from the body (raw, sprouted) is perhaps the best of all. I've been raw, vegan for close on thirty five years now, so I cannot compare to how I 'was' as a meat-eater, but it sure didn't do my totals any harm! I eat in the way I do to survive cancer predominately, but will up the balance of bio-available amino acids when training gets heavy. Basically, I sprout everything - Living Foods - and turn them into every conceivable modality that takes my fancy, from 'bread' to 'cheese' and 'ice-cream'! Basically, I endeavour to take in 75% in vegetation, grains do not figure highly for me, the only ones I use are amaranth, quinoa, millet, groats in any quantity, with maybe rice and buckwheat once a week. Sprouted quinoa is phenomenal for providing amino-acids. The rest is sprouted pulses, seeds and nuts and, of course, fruit. Every day is different, I aim not to use the same food within a three day rotation. So a particular day could look like this:-
Breakfast: - Sprouted groats, plus fruit, homemade soy/almond yoghurt, sometimes dehydrated into 'biscuits' and topped with fresh fruit and seeds
Midmorning: - Nut/seed milk, fruit
Lunch: - At least 8 types of sprouted greens, plus tofu (I make this,and yoghurt and this is basically my only cooked food), or sprouted pulses, plus a dressing,
Mid-afternoon: - Vegetable pate with crudities, a sprouted grain and fruit,
Evening meal: - Similar to lunch, perhaps a raw warmed-through soup, but I will use different vegetables, grains etc.
It is unusual for me not to include over thirty different foods each day, albeit in small quantities. When you're four-feet ten and compete at 44k you don't need much in terms of quantity! - but quality is a must!
By 1975, I had already ascertained that, given my familial genetic situation and experimental medical treatment which I had undergone - I was at considerable risk of developing cancer and I knew I had to attain a high level of fitness to postpone eventual carcinomas. I established a strong connection with nutrition to assist in this task. My studies, research and application of nutritional therapy as a preventative measure were so successful in this respect, that I eventually became a practitioner of Nutritional Medicine.
In my quest for fitness. Initially dance
enticed me and I steadily worked my way through all the medals in Latin,
disco and ballroom. I learned how to swim, became a coach and
long-distance swimmer - moved to cycling and running and combined these
disciplines in triathlons, with some success. However, running,
particularly marathon running, became a major focus for several years
when I was training on average approximately eighty miles each week.
This carried me through races of all distances, but I was particularly
drawn towards the marathons. I was fortunate to win five out of the nine
marathons I entered during the eighties and early nineties.
Flushed with this success, I turned to other sporting activities and in the late eighties I began weight training and competed at bodybuilding for a short time before switching to powerlifting. This sport captured my heart early on and has thus sustained me through many years of major health problems. Ironically, although initially diagnosed with osteoporosis before the bone-cancer, I have reversed this condition, through repeated application of anaerobic training and a non-dairy diet!!
This sport has been good to me, giving
many years of holding the British Master's Championship and success in
the 1994 World's in Bratislava and European's in Valencia in 1995.
Unfortunately Pat has had several setbacks in 2002/2003. In 2002 she discovered a tumour in her arm that restricted bending around the elbow joint. Turning to nutritional therapy & some other alternative methods she beat the cancer back once again, but because of the loss of motion in the arm she was forced to have an operation to remove tissue that was restricting motion, this was very near to the 2002 British Powerlifting championships. With only weeks to recover before the contest it looked very doubtful that she would be able to compete. But with sheer guts & determination she not only competed, but retained her title for an unbelievable 12th time! 2003 has had it's share of problems too, with the discovery of 11 tumours in her legs & arms (2 of which were active & very aggressive) Pat has once again had to turn to her knowledge of therapies to attack the tumours & hopefully recover enough for the British Powerlifting Championships in 2003, let's hope she gets there & once again 'flies the flag' for vegan strength training at this years contest, good luck Pat!!!
Best total 260 Kg consecutively in training
Best recorded lifts in competition 247.5 Kg at the World's in Bratislava 1994
247.5 Kg was also achieved in Valencia (The European's in 1995)
Pat also held the British bench record of 55 Kg at 42.9 Kg bodyweight for sometime
The British Deadlift record of 130 Kg at 42.9 Kg may still stand
Individual personal bests are as follows: -
Squat 90 Kg
Bench Press 55 Kg
Deadlift 130 Kg
Pat is a fully qualified practitioner of nutritional therapy and has a holistic website that gives useful advice on the benefits of food for their medicinal qualities.
PAT REEVES, DN. DthD. BSY.Kin. BSY.Irid. BSYAlex.. BSY.Mag. BSY Advanced Biochemic Medicine
Both Robbie Hazeley & Pat Reeves are in the book Vegan Stories, by Julie Rosenfeld, available from the Vegan Society UK. To buy the book click here
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