Nick MacPhee won the 198 pound (90 kilogram) title at the American Powerlifting Federation New England Power Lifting Championships, held Nov. 14 at Dyna Maxx Training Systems in Westbrook.
Participants lift three different weights of their choosing in three events in the powerlifting competition. They usually start out with a safety weight, one they can easily achieve. Their second weight is one they are confident they can lift, and the third is one they have hit before in practice and are hoping to hit again.
It is always a gamble when choosing what weights to lift. The top lift in each event, including the squat, bench press, and dead lift, are added together for the overall score.
A nagging hip injury, forced MacPhee to be a little more conservative than he would have liked to have been at New Englands. “I hit my attempts wrong,” he said.
MacPhee lifted 551 in the squat, 364.8 in the bench press, and lifted 634 pounds on the dead lift. The 634 was a personal best for him in a meet, although he has lifted 650 in a gym.
Powerlifting with the APF is of a raw format, meaning athletes lift weights using just a belt. He has tried geared lifting, where participants wear a squat suit, dead lift suit, and bench shirt of single ply or multi-ply.
“I’ve done both,” MacPhee said of lifting raw and geared. “The geared is fun, but I don’t find it a true test of strength. If I can’t lift it without putting a suit on, I don’t want to do it.”
MacPhee usually enters two APF powerlifting tournaments a year. He also competes in strongman competitions and recently placed second in Maine’s Strongest Man competition. “The man I lost to weighed 330 pounds, so I was alright with that,” the much lighter MacPhee said.
He took first place in the Lionheart Strongman competition in late June in the lightweight division. The division went up to 231 pounds, so he competed against “guys who were 30 pounds heavier. That earned me a ticket to nationals,” he said.
The national competition was held in Florida, so MacPhee did not attend.
In strongman, participants lift objects instead of a bar filled with weights. In one competition he lifted a 1968 Firebird, which was backed onto an implement that athletes lifted with a lever.
MacPhee is his own trainer. He chooses his own workouts and follows a strict diet. “My wife (Sandy MacPhe) has been very good helping with my diet,” he said.
He works out at the CLC YMCA, Waldoboro Fitness Center, and the Universe Gym in Bath. Lately he has been working out more at Waldoboro Fitness Center because “there are stronger guys there. It helps push you,” MacPhee said.
Of the New England championships, MacPhee said “I really like doing that one. All the proceeds go to a veterans’ fund. I really like to do it because it is about helping veterans. It’s nice to give back.”
MacPhee’s goal is to make the top 50 of all time in the nation. He is within 50 pounds of his goal. “If I hit everything and add another 25 to 30 pounds, I would have been close to 1600 on the last meet, and 1630 will put me in (top 50).”
Currently he is ranked in the top 30 in the nation in 2015.