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    Do You Even Powerlift, Bro?

    Power lifting

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Walker | Logistics Specialist 1st Class Joeny Rathavongsa, from Oakland, California, assigned...... read more read more

    Do You Even Powerlift, Bro?

    By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brett Walker
    USS Gerald R. Ford Public Affairs

    ATLANTIC OCEAN — Logistics Specialist 1st Class Joeny Rathavongsa, from Oakland, California, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) safety department, power lifts competitively in both state and local competitions.
    Rathavongsa has been powerlifting for almost 10 years and does not plan to stop any time soon. He is preparing for an upcoming USA Powerlifting (USAPL) competition this October in Richmond, Virginia.
    “I started powerlifting in 2012 when I was stationed aboard [USS Abraham] Lincoln (CVN 72),” said Rathavongsa. “My friend, Jose Cortez, showed me powerlifting when we were on deployment. We had a 1,000 pounds challenge on Lincoln and a bunch of us would get together and compete for fun.”
    Powerlifting is a sport that consists of three lifts, squat, bench press and dead lift. Each athlete gets three attempts at each and the weight for the best lift is counted. Rathavongsa’s best combined weight is 1,569 pounds.
    “I’m not the biggest or tallest guy,” said Rathavongsa. “I want something to separate me from everyone else. I constantly work on my form and technique. It’s satisfying to be able to lift all that weight.”
    Rathavongsa participates in the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) and USAPL competitions, along with local gym powerlifting competitions.
    “I’m 33 years old right now, but I feel that I’m at my best,” said Rathavongsa. “I have won a few local competitions and I placed second in a state competition in 2019. The state competition was a USPA hybrid competition in Richmond, Virginia. That’s been the highlight of my time powerlifting so far. I definitely feel that if I did that state competition in the shape I’m in now, then I would have done way better.”
    While underway it can be difficult to maintain the dietary requirements to achieve the protein intake requirements for a powerlifter. Navy ships have an array of four meals every day underway, ranging from hot dog and corn dog Thursdays to a daily salad bar. People on diets have to overcome the temptation to eat the more desired fatty foods and choose the day’s healthy option.
    “I mostly eat salad and grilled chicken every day,” said Rathavongsa. “People would think that would get old and I’d get tired of it. I do a pretty good job at changing up the flavors by adding hot sauce or some kind of seasoning to keep it different enough to where I don’t get sick of eating it.”
    Rathavongsa works out every day and does his best to keep his positive attitude. Powerlifting is as much a mental workout as it is a physical workout.
    “It’s easy for people to get in their own heads,” said Rathavongsa. “I’ve had bad days where I get upset because I don’t lift as much as I did previously, and that discourages a lot of people when it happens to them. It’s important to do the same workout every day, because going in a workout with a bad attitude will definitely affect it. On the ship, I’ll get on a bike and watch a show to get in a good mood before I start powerlifting so I can get the most out of my workout.”
    With the return of physical fitness assessments (PFA), Sailors have been hitting the gyms to meet both weight and performance standards.
    “For anyone struggling to get back to working out in general they just have to ask themselves why they are working out,” said Rathavongsa. “I work out not just for myself, but for my kids. I want my kids to see me working out and be motivated to work out too. We go on runs together, work out in the gym in our house and go outside to play and be active.”
    Ford is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST). The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under the harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.
    For more news from USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78),



    Date Taken: 07.02.2021
    Date Posted: 07.19.2021 13:12
    Story ID: 401195
    Location: US
    Hometown: OAKLAND, CA, US

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