Getting to Know Your 'REP' Athletes
To state ‘Sharif El-Kady’s’ weight-lifting capabilities anything other than animalistic would be erroneous! While he’s managed to set a standard within our own app inspired lifting community through his weekly challenge submissions, his experience goes much deeper! Now 24, he first approached the sport of powerlifting at 18 and has been hooked on the thrill of strength-gaining ever since. His first lift was at the ‘Ottawa Summer Showcase’ with and has gone onto to compete in challenges with IPF (International Powerlifting Federation), RPS (Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate) and EPC (Elite Powerlifting Canada). With an impressive 523 Wilks score, Sharif remains motivated to continue his strength gains and he’s shared his lifting story as well his profound connection with us at REPerformance!
Gaining a Grip on Strength
Training in the intermediate level of powerlifting has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. Adapting to new levels of strength gains, fatigue, and overcoming dreadful plateaus modify a lifter in ways that will keep you pushing to where you are never quite satisfied. The feeling of fulfillment after hitting a personal best in a lift is but a temporary stage until you are overcome with a wave of determination to excel much further. The power struggle of continually finding improvement vs being content with a new personal best is the motivation that keeps a lifter engaged with ongoing growth.
That being said, there needed to be something that kept me going in the off-season; a time where I don’t compete and thus experience lower than optimal levels of internal motivation. I found myself lagging behind my earlier years of training, both in strength and work ethic. I was a tired mess to say the least, and I even felt uneasy at the very idea of even going to the gym. As for progressive overload, there was none of that. Neither was there any solid methodology for gaining strength. Training was just kind of something I did in my later off seasons, rather than something I strategically calculated and followed through with. I genuinely felt like I was missing something, like a final piece of a puzzle. Then I found the next big thing: a mobile app.
Tagging along with some training partners at the University of Ottawa, I stumbled upon a conversation that didn’t really catch my interest at first. In complete honesty, I didn’t even know what it was about, but the only general detail I could recall was that there was some sort of squat challenge to be held at our University gym. Reluctantly, I agreed, as that little spark of competitiveness in me seems to never go away. Later on, I was invited to the Facebook group, and it was then that most of us were introduced to the source of this competition: an app that calculates working weights based on your physical characteristics, level of athleticism, and lifestyle choices. Needless to say, when I found out that it tracks your personal bests in certain lifts, as well as actually paying you upon the completion of however many repetitions you achieved, I was hooked. I quickly entered my information into the app and away I went. At the time, there was an open bench challenge that pays $0.50 a rep (REP challenges award the top submissions) and if I recall correctly, I managed 71. At the time, for 135 pounds, that was the best I could do, and I was ecstatic! In my mind, this was definitely something that could get me back into my groove, and I was definitely right!
Upon completing the first few challenges, I started to feel an increased sense of confidence both in and out of the gym. The app turned my exercise time into a sanctuary of increasing my overall well-being and self-worth. I became myself again, diving deep into thoughts of what made me enjoy improving myself every time I held a barbell. Not only was I more internally motivated, but the app provided a source of external motivation. Even to this day I think “Am I really getting paid to do what I love to do?”, and that was a revelation towards a different kind of approach to the world of lifting, where most people pay good money to sustain both casual and competitive lifting. You feel more in control of your goals, and seeing yourself improve month-to-month is such a gratifying experience. The very fact of having something in your life that pushes you to improve and move past plateaus can do wonders in improving your overall self-worth as a lifter/athlete.
Working with REPerformance myself, I cannot even begin to explain the joy I have when I facilitate an event, or even getting people to download the app and watch them improve over time. That kind of element is really lacking in the lifting community and there needs to be greater incentives to keep everyone going. Of course, there are the athletes that have a lot going for themselves already, but rest assured, there is always room for bettering yourself. Looking back at the beginning of this journey, I still remember the day where I did a high-rep bench and squat challenge at my University within the span of a couple hours then rushing to the other side of the campus to get to class. That feeling of fulfillment and euphoria sitting there with the biggest pump that I’ve ever had was exactly what I needed to keep going. Every single one of my main lifts (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, and Military Press) saw a dramatic increase in strength and conditioning, and I highly doubt I will ever stop with REPerformance!.
REPerformance launches weekly lifting challenges (Bench Press, Military Press, Squat and Deadlift) with top submissions earning real $$ aiming to reward your hard work with an interactive, social competition with the active gym-goer!
Check us out – Download our Mobile App and start competing!