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Athabasca-area powerlifter qualifies for World Championship

COVID-19 will allow Maria (Mimi) Frank more time to train for August event
20200324 Maria Frank Powerlifting 2019_SUB
Maria (Mimi) Frank competing in the 2019 National Powerlifting competition. Frank has qualified for the World Championship which has been postponed to August. Submitted
ATHABASCA – Local powerlifter Maria (Mimi) Frank will get some extra time to train after qualifying for the World Championships March 7. 

Originally scheduled to be held in May, the event has been postponed to August due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving the 35-year-old Frank more time to hone her craft. 

“I'm actually quite excited that it was postponed just because if it had taken place in May that's quite a quick turnaround to nationals,” she said. “So, more time to train and hopefully make more substantial improvements.” 

Frank started consistently lifting in 2012 and first tried her hand in physique competitions but didn’t think it suited her so she moved into powerlifting, which is the squat, bench press and deadlift. She’s been training for powerlifting since 2016 under the Edmonton-based coach Shane Martin. 

“I competed in some physique shows and it just wasn't really a good fit for me or my personality,” Frank explained. “But I did enjoy lifting weights. So, I heard about powerlifting and tried it and enjoyed it.” 

Last year Frank went to the World Championships with Team Canada to Tokyo, Japan where she finished fourth but at nationals earlier this month, she won two gold medals while competing in the bench press. 

"I compete in what they call classic powerlifting and equipped powerlifting,” Frank explained. “The difference is that in equipped powerlifting in the bench press you wear a supportive shirt so it allows you to press more weight.” 

At nationals she won the Golden Classic and equipped as well as for her weight class, best overall classic and best overall equipped. 

“Lately I've competed a little bit less and focused on the bigger competition,” she said. “So, I see nationals every year and then worlds last year and this year, and then usually I do only about one other competition a year either a smaller one, or provincial.” 

She has been working with Martin for a year and a half, with Martin setting up the workouts and Frank either using her home gym or the equipment at the Multiplex when it’s open. The workouts have paid off with the 125-pound Frank able to lift over twice her body weight in the equipped bench press. 

“For classic bench press, I lifted 95 kilos, which I think is 209 pounds,” Frank said. “And then in equipped bench press I lifted 120.5 kilos, which is 265 pounds. And I'm a 57-kilogram lifter, that's 125 pounds.” 

Frank is using the postponement to try to achieve her goal of lifting 100 kg, or just over 220 lbs. 

"For the classic bench press I'd like to lift 100 kilograms because it's nice round numbers, that a triple digit number,” Frank said. “So, that's my goal for classic bench press and I don't necessarily have a number goal for equipped bench press.” 

Frank does a lot of accessory exercises besides weight lifting, like making sure that she’s healthy, that her muscles are healthy, doing mobility work and a lot of mental training.  

"To kind of get your mind around with being heavier weight and then also in a competition setting not getting overwhelmed and being able to stay focused,” Frank explained. 

Food is an important part of training as well and is tailored to where Frank is during her workouts in comparison to competition. 

“I eat a pretty balanced diet,” Franks stated. “I do make sure I get enough protein; that my calories are at an appropriate level depending on whether I'm trying to gain weight or to lose weight and then I also have to hydrate.”

Heather Stocking,
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