SAVANNAH, Ga. - Walk into the 165th Airlift Wing fitness center on Savannah Air National Guard Base at zero dark thirty and you will see a handful of Airmen exercising on treadmills, fitness machines, and free weights. Look toward the bench press, squat rack, and deadlift area and you will see Tech. Sgt. Michael Lloyd, a vehicle mechanic for the Georgia Air National Guard, pressing multiple 45 lb. weights attached to a 45 lb. barbell. Total the amount of weight and you might assume that Lloyd holds a USA Powerlifting Georgia state record. Before Jan. 25, 2014 your assumption would be wrong because Lloyd had never competed in a powerlifting event. Today, Lloyd holds four state records for the Masters division (45-49 year old) in the 220.26-242.5 lb. weight class. His 402.4 lb. squat, 336.2 lb. bench press, and 1091.3 lb. three event total (bench press, squat, and deadlift) broke the old state records set in Nov. 2011. His 336.2 lb. bench press only record was a first for his weight.
Lloyd’s inspiration for strength training began as a child. He started weightlifting as a way to improve his performance in sports. Since returning from multiple deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Lloyd now uses powerlifting as an outlet to overcome feelings of anxiety. The gym is a safe haven that allows him to control his environment and excel in the sport of powerlifting. Lloyd also uses the gym and weightlifting as a venue where he spends time with his three sons sharing in the sport he loves. Maintaining muscle and improving his squats, bench press, and deadlift motivates him to eat healthful foods while passing on pizza and wings. Ultimately, the cornerstone of his heath is his dedication to his faith, which provides the spiritual inspiration to keep mentally and physically fit.
For Lloyd, the road to competing in the USA Powerlifting Winter Classic and Single Ply Invitational began with a simple flyer posted on the fitness center wall. He made a mental note of the details and looked up the current USAPL Georgia state records for his age and weight class. He was surprised to read that he consistently trained with the record holding weights. Lloyd signed up for the event and with the support of fellow powerlifter Mike McTier and Earl Leverett, began training for the invitational.
The day before the event, Lloyd pre-weighed at 1 lb. over his intended weight class. He used the night to burn off excess calories and reduce as much weight before the official weigh in. The next day, Lloyd stepped on the scale and, with a sigh of relief, made the weight. Next, officials measured him for the bench press and squat rack height. McTier and Leverett began to assist Lloyd with warm up squats before he was called to the stage. He easily squatted his first attempt of 352.7 lbs. but missed his second attempt of 402.3 lbs. because his squat was not deeper than parallel. Prior to his final attempt, Lloyd mentally reviewed his technique then he squared up with the rack, squatted the weight then placed the bar back on the rack. He looked over to the judges to see three white lights, which indicated a good lift. His final attempt broke the USAPL Georgia state squatting record for his age and weight class. Lloyd went on to break three more records in bench press, three event total, and bench press only.
Lloyd is now training to compete in the USA Powerlifting Military Nationals in Killeen, TX on Mar. 15, 2014. His current state records are within range of breaking Armed Forces records at this meet. “I want to be an example to my sons and the men and women of the Air National Guard. In the gym or in life, I put my relationship with Christ first which motivates me to be the best at everything I do”, said Lloyd about his current records.