Amanda Lawrence, a graduate from Monticello high school back in 2015 is now titled the female International Powerlifting Federation Champion of Champions.
At just 22 years old, Lawrence has accomplished what serious lifters work their whole life for – on top of that she only has a little over three years of training under her belt.
Lawrence was always an athletic kid, but she never thought she would find herself powerlifting and breaking records so soon.
At Monticello High School she played basketball and soccer. She had a handful of offers to play soccer at the collegiate level, but turned them down to pursue a degree in pre-med.
When the record-breaker started college she joined a gym to stay fit. Lawrence said her goal was, “to lose weight and start bodybuilding.”
In January of 2016 her friend, who is also a physical therapist, was training for a meet in June and he encouraged her to try powerlifting because she was able to lift more weight than the average girl.
“I started a squat every day program for four months straight, which actually isn’t recommended, but I did notice my strength skyrocketing from doing this,” Lawrence said. “I would literally squat every day.”
She knew she was putting in work, but was still shocked by her results.
“When meet time came around I knew nothing about the record numbers or the competitors I’d be up against. I ended up taking a junior national record for the squat without even knowing it.”
She squatted 167.5kg (369 pounds) for her first ever competition at the USA Powerlifting Twin Ports Raw Open in Duluth.
She was a natural to say the least.
But it’s not just her natural abilities that keep her in the game. She works harder than anyone else.
Lawrence currently lives in St. Cloud and trains at Lions Fitness, but she also has a home gym that she uses.
“I’ve always been the type of person that wanted to put more weight on the bar and to push the limits for womens strength,” she said. “It’s always me versus me. You can never live your life comparing yourself to others, it will just set you back. Try to get better yourself every day.”
Though she pays no mind to the competition, she has blown everyone else away with her scores.
The champion has progressed immensely since her first meet in 2016. She has added 167 pounds to her squat and continued to set new records.
In the 2019 World Classic Powerlifting Championship in Helsingborg, Sweden, which she attended on June 4, she earned first place for her weight class, -84kg (185 pounds). She scored a 243kg (536 pound) squat, a 117.5kg (259 pound) bench, and a 252.5kg (556 pound) deadlift, totaling 613kg (1,351 pounds) and breaking world records for her squat and deadlift.
As Lawrence looked back on her progression over the years she said, “I’ve always been second place and it’s crazy to think that I finally made it to the top. With that said, I don’t think it’s good to be comfortable just knowing that I won. I continue to train thinking that I am not at the top, that I didn’t win, because second place will always out work first place.”
She has her coach to thank for that as well. In March of this year she hired Joey Flexx, he helped her get on the right track and opened her eyes to new equipment so she can continue to surpass her previous scores.
She’s also been very open about her natural abilities and her zero tolerance attitude towards steroids.
Lawrence is flattered that people think she uses performance enhancers, but she has come by her world records honestly.
“They could drug test us at any time,” Lawrence said. “Most would say the International Powerlifting Federation is the strictest federation for drug-free athletes.”
The next competition she plans to attend is the 2019 USA Powerlifting Raw Nationals on Oct. 19 in Lombard, Chicago. If she performs like she’s proved she can, then she will qualify for the International Powerlifting Federation World’s competition and the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival.
In Lawrence’s off time she’s training as always, inspiring others through her Instagram account, and just recently she started offering an online powerlifting coaching/meet prep at email@example.com for anyone who is interested.
As for her Instagram account – @miss.amanda.ann – she posts daily and lives by the mantra, “strong is the new skinny”. She is just shy of 130,000 followers.
“My initial goal for the account was to be a training diary so I could track my progress, but the account quickly grew into what it is today,” Lawrence said. “My goal now is to inspire more women to start powerlifting, show them that it is O.K. to be strong, it wont make you look manly, this isn’t just a men’s sport.”
Moving forward, Lawrence has a goal of improving every day. She’s going to continue to put more weight on the bar and break records.
Reach Jessie Meyen at firstname.lastname@example.org