ME, MYSELF & MY SISTER

Ola!

You surfed over here to get some intel right? Well get some tea and enjoy  I’d say because for everybody who did not see the GWPL interview we did last year or doesn’t understand Dutch and can’t read some of the online articles that were published about our powerlifting journey recently,  I did a lil’  searching, some updating and mashing up and turned it in to this post right here full of things about me myself & my sister Iris. Voila!

An introduction of us !

BOTH: We are sisters who happen to have set out their goal to become the strongest sisters in the world.  We hope we are able to inform and inspire as many people as possible to keep pushing and work towards their own goals in lifting and in life!

ILRISH: I am a theatremaker & professional by day, a soy-no-water-chai-tea-latte – addict by night and a certified powerlifting fanatic all day, every day.  But first things first #inmyJayzvoice: please allow me to reintroduce myself. The name is ILY, that’s short for Ilrish and an anagram for I love You : –)  I’m 31, hail from Utrecht, The Netherlands and have a bloodline that goes all the way back to the borders of Senegal & Gambia, as both of my parents are of Creole – Native American – Surinamese descent and the Dutch and the Surinamese share a long history between one another.

Theatre is my middle name and when I am not making it, teaching theatre class or directing theatrical plays you can be sure to find me either in your nearest Starbucks, shopping mall or if you are lucky, at the gym where I’m likely bending some bars. London & Jamaica are my favorite places in the world, I love me some hiphop, gangsta rap and poetry  and I have made it into an art to workout anywhere, whenever I can so do not be surprised if you see me and my sister Iris getting a workout in anywhere outside of our hometown.

IRIS: My name is Iris, I’m 34 and I’m from Utrecht, the Netherlands just like Ily. I am a dreamchaser by day and a vampire by night who eats kryptonite for breakfast :-). Although I consider myself as being strong there is one thing I can’t conquer or overcome and that is sleep!

Besides my love for powerlifting I’m also into dancing, especially Latin-American styles. The sounds of bachata, merengue and samba music always make me want to get up and move as listening to such tunes, and being able to dance just gives me life.  Even when I should be acting all civil and business appropriate I always feel the need to take out my 15 seconds of fame and bust a move on-the-spot, even after completing a heavy lift.
I think I got it from my momma :-

About our relationship. When did we start lifting individually and then together?

ILY :  I’d love to tell you I have been a sports fanatic my whole life and have always had a lot of role models, but I would be flat out lying to you so let me be real. I grew up being the fat kid. I use the word fat on purpose because that is the best way for me to describe how I felt back then. Since the age of six I had always been obese and when I turned 16 this spiraled into the morbid version of that disease. Call it genes, call it nutrition, call it a combination of both but weight, body image and depression (because of it) controlled a big part of my childhood and adolescence.  When I was in my last year before graduating high school and got my class picture, a picture where I was sitting on a chair, looking more like one of my class mates mothers or aunts, I died a little inside. I looked at the picture and saw a person I didn’t want to be anymore. From that day on I made a promise to myself to change my habits and be the best possible version of me, I possibly could be.  This promise to myself did come at a price, though. I had setbacks, lost tons of weight being a ‘ cardio bunny’  for ages, gained all of it back, lost it again, developed an eating disorder, went to therapy, trained with a personal trainer, lost the weight again, gained some of it back and at one point almost gave up. I say almost and I say it proudly because during these years of struggle there was one person who kept me going and never gave up on me; my big sister Iris.

During all of these years, Iris supported me. She therefore was and still is my biggest inspiration.  Even when I was at my lowest point, emotionally not stable, tipping the scale at almost 120 kilo’s and barely hanging in there, she was there. When I was down she always picked me up, made sure I worked out, worked out with me,  drove me to my appointments, sat on my couch, made me eat food; even when I didn’t want to and above all, she never, ever judged me.

As of December 2014, I can proudly say that I have been able to maintain a stable and healthy lifestyle that allows me to live, enjoy life and be successful in all endeavors I take on. And this only got better when both of us decided to take on powerlifting in January 2016 and put all of the strength we gained over the years to work.  For the first time in my life, I enjoy being active, feeling soar, putting my body to work, eating healthy, being competitive at sports and taking responsibility for my health all by myself. I take just as much pride in my work accomplishments as I do to the one regarding my athletic accomplishments and have come to the conclusion that I feel more comfortable being ‘strong’  than I have ever felt while I was trying to be ‘slim & normal’. I approach powerlifting as taking care of myself and see my training sessions as appointments I’m in control over, just like a boss. And you know this thing about bosses, they never cancel on themselves.

IRIS: For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in various kinds of sports. I ran track, played basketball and took on kickboxing for a while.  Doing the exact same thing over and over again though has become something I’m allergic to. That is why in the beginning of 2016 I  was in an everlasting searching for a sport or activity that could keep me entertained and challenged for a longer period of time. I found what I was looking for when I decided to join  Ily when she approached me and said she wanted to take on powerlifting seriously and started to train for it specifically. We went and jumped in to the adventure together, – then coached by Floris van Melis  (@nursefloor) from whom we learned a whole lot-  and quickly realized ; Being a powerlifter is one thing, being a competitive athlete another. We learned it was going to be hard and we weren’t at the gym anymore to ‘play’ or to chat but  that we were there to #WORK.’

What are the benefits of having a lifting partner & how do we help each other through tough training sessions?

ILY: Having my sister as a lifting partner has benefited my athletic ability and has enabled me to grow into the level of fitness where I am now.  Working out together stimulates me to make a bigger EFFORT every training, makes me hang in just a little longer and pushes me to put in those few extra reps. Iris’ background in martial arts and track equipped her with a sports mentality and luckily for me, it was a contagious one which has become something I now live by; winners aren’t people who never fail, winners are people who never give up. At the gym where we train; Golds Gym in Nieuwegein –  @goldsgymnl- , just like in life I can be found mostly doing that, not giving up.

IRIS: Sharing is caring and this also applies to my powerlifting work ethic.
I love to work out on my own but get inspired and get serious damage done with that special someone that motivates me to be the best version of myself. For me, that’s Ily my sister, partner in crime and workout buddy.
I have mad respect for her. Knowing that what she has accomplished on her personal athletic journey didn’t come easy. Seeing how she picked herself up and made big changes, makes me proud and the fact that she allowed me to reach out to her and be a part of all of that and make some serious steps in powerlifting together, even more.

IlY: When things get really tough in training we often refer to and remind each other of our training sessions with our – now –  trainer & coach,  who happens to be  former IPF international powerlifter -120 Wim Wamsteeker (@wimwam1). Wim has been around in the powerlifting scene as long  the both of us are alive, has coached many great strength athletes long before we ever picked up a barbell and has been working with us on our strengths and weaknesses. The no-nonsense approach he uses to get us to work through difficult training sessions most of the time is all we need to get our minds and bodies back into the game.  Wim also advises us when it comes to making long-term plans regarding lifting and provides us with the best lifting gear from Titan (@titannetherlands), making sure we only use the best material out there.

What are your individual lifting goals?

ILY: We have come to love powerlifting very much and in these past 2 years  it has brought us a lot of good. When we started lifting our first goals besides becoming good technical and strong lifters individually, was to compete.

IRIS: In September 2016 we competed in our first meet, SBD Cup 2016 where Ily placed first in the +84 class, breaking the national deadlift classic record for her weight class with an 185kg deadlift.

ILY:  Iris placed second in her weight class -84 and we both qualified for Dutch Nationals all at the same time.

IRIS: After this meet, Ily set her eyes on deadlifting 200kg or more at those Nationals  and on December 10th 2016 she became the first woman in the Netherlands to deadlift more than 200kg in an official classic powerlifting meet. Ily took the national deadlift classic record for the entire open (and her weight class) lifting 201kg  with room for more and couldn’t be happier.

In 2017 she topped that performance  with 210kg, first at the DRC Cup 2017 and later in Hamm, Luxembourg where she became Western European Champion.

In December 2017 she managed to pull 212,5kg at Dutch Nationals, taking home the silver again. Doing all of this at a bodyweight just shy over 84 kilo’s. At the moment she is preparing for Dutch Nationals 2018 were we both will be lifting and are excited for.

ILY: Iris did absolutely amazing at her first nationals, taking home the silver in the -84, putting 17,5 kilo on her total in less than 10 weeks and squatting a fabulous 147,5 kilo in contrary to her 60kg  (yes sixty) 1rm of January 2016.

After that it went fast. In 2017 she deadlifted 210kg when she also became Western European Champion in Luxembourg and later that year she managed to squat 165 kg and pull 220kg at Dutch Nationals 2017 at a bw of 79,04.

In 2018 she started to lift equipped as well, put the equipped Dutch deadlift record in her name with 230,5 kg. Currently she is preparing for IPF Worlds 2018 in Calgary where she will be lifting and the European Equipped championships 2018 in Pilsen were she will be lifting as well.

IRIS:  We aren’t fortune tellers but do of course have goals for the future of our lifting careers.  Besides staying healthy, strong and injury- free,  a few of them are exploring equipped lifting even more, a deadlift with at least  four reds on each side to be the standard, a bigger bench (make that two 🙂  #prayingtothebenchgods, a 200kg classic squat for the both of us, qualifying for Europeans and Worlds as sisters and a 500 point wilks 🙂

Why do you think it’s important for women to continue to uplift each other, especially through powerlifting. 

IRIS: We both love powerlifting dearly and think  a lot of people are doing amazing work  in creating platforms and brands catering to the strength community and giving women a voice to be empowering  and uplift each other. All while lifting heavy ass weights, juggling careers,  and everything else life throws at them.

We also believe that by uplifting each other, especially through powerlifting we as women show ourselves and others that we are capable of absolutely anything and everything. We get up, move and get things done. Life shows us all the time that being healthy and strong isn’t something we should take for granted and as long as we can (slightly) control that part of life we see it as an obligation to put everything in our power into it.

ILY: Coming from a family where we were thought to be a strong individual mentally, must also have something to do with this, but in fact becoming it physically and spreading the ‘ word’ is just as important.

We love to see the growing community of women who go from picking up heavy stuff a.k.a. lifting weights like it’s nobody’s business, believing in themselves and following their dreams. In our eyes they are the future, they are great examples for young people growing up,  for their environments and this ever changing world altogether.

Find us on Instagram @ilyscious and @inspirised, we’d  love to talk to you!

 

 

 

WHAT IF |

o   1+1 was 3

o   I was a boy

o   I played the violin

o   I was part of a twin?

Well…..I can’t tell you how life would look like. Because that is not the case and my imaginition does not reach that far.

WHAT IF:

o   I was scared to get in to my brand new squatsuit

o   I was excited for every central training

o   My sister and coach where the best company I could have on a Saturday

o   Three is not a crowd and four is a party

Well….I know all bout that….so let me tell you how that looks like in this blog.

I am four weeks out of the Ducth Nationals Powerlifting Championships and four weeks in for my training. This trainingcycle is al so part of my preperation for the European Equipped Powerlifting Championships in Pilzen. Last week I received a brend new squat suit as a gift from my sponsor Titan.

Yeayyyyyyy……Titan should change their name in to TIGHTan if you ask me.
Coach suggested me to try it on (on my own) this coming week. Well I tell ya: It scared the hell out of me. I procrastinated trying the suit on for a week….and ofcourse during the last central training coach asked me how it fits. Well I told him….I can’t tell ya, cause I didn’t. He laughed at me and sad…..you know what to do.

This central training we had the privilege to be joined by some amazing company. The one and only Sandra Wildeman. Internationally known as Sandra WILDman. She’s known for being one of the females who took equipped powerlifting in the Netherlands to another level. She and coach go a long way back. Sandra has an amazing BENCHpress. I look up to her. Besides that she is also a great referee. And her sense of humor is unique just as her vivid personality. It was very nice seeing her and train with her.

The central training went good. Technique is way more complex than just moving weights around. I am in a phase were I am fine tuning stuff and working on my mobility. Al so I am learning to appreciate the fact that even after long days and stuff to do at home I’m able to focus on training and my technique helps me to push through every training. The coming weeks I’m allowed to use my equipment even more (knee sleeves and belt). So I can recover during training.

Today I am going to recover from yesterdays Central Training but even more trying to get in to my squat suit. Please don’t laugh….! Chicken dance anybody…click > here?

 

STEPPING IN TO MY WHY

Ola!

After Ricky stole my monday spot last week for his blog
I AM BACK  with a vengeance to share some thangzz with you all about my powerlifting WHY. Why? you might think…. well lemme tell you.

A while back I was gifted the opportunity to talk to Maarten Gulickx about  my profession, goals and my life. One of the most important things he shared with me in this conversation was the finding and defining of my
‘WHY’, because at the time my WHY
had been turned in to a complete messy and disastrous  HOW :-(.
Maarten promised me that when I would get back in touch with my WHY, everything I wanted to do, accomplish and go for would sort itself out. It would take time he said, because he is no magician and neither am I , but it would turn out for the better if I just focussed on this essential thing.
And so I did.

Flashing forward; the focussing on my WHY  eventually gave me the space and peace of mind I was looking for.  As expected it took time, effort, moving on from people, places and jobs,  more than several rivers of good ol’  tears but it also blessed me with the love for the sport of powerlifting and the opportunity  to find space in my ‘ life WHY’   to implement  and define my own ‘powerlifting WHY’.

Key ingredients  of powerlifting that influence this last WHY are not only the fact that I strive to better myself everyday but also the fact that in doing so I like to give back to others #representationmatters.  Going the distance, getting my hands dirty and having long term goals also play a big role and of course one  should never forget,  the power of competing for everything you once thought or was told you’d never have or couldn’t do,  can have on a person.

I am really happy that finding my WHY has helped me in my powerlifting journey that  just only passed the two year mark and has already  brought me so much more than I figured it would  around the time my convo with Maarten took place. As we arrived in week 5 of this cycle, my WHY has steered me in all kinds of directions already and April is around the corner with a platform waiting to be directed towards next.   And while coach has been slaughtering me softly on Saturday’s (last saturday he had me do a back-off set of 10 on squats…..)  and I am still figuring out the WHY on these RDL’s that suck the life right out of me every time I look at them,  I will keep at it because in the end  it will be worth it. Because as coach always says; Powerlifting is a metaphor for life. 

Adios!

ILY

 

 

THREE KINDS OF FEELS I HAD IN WEEK 2

Ola!

After a Sunday well spent doing absolutely nothing I am geared up for what is already week 3 of zhe program. But not before I inform y’all about some of the ways week 2 had me feeling’ of course. I’d be lying if I said everything I  had to do was super easy this time around because it was not . But even some of the things I suck at  aka loathe aka hate with a passion as big as my pretty-sizeable-behind, are starting to grow on me 😉 Soooo there it goes;

THREE KINDS OF FEELS THAT ACCOMPANIED ME TO THE GYM THIS WEEK.

ONE
Confusion. After thinking I just murdered my  first – heavyish -training on Saturday, I managed to mix everything up on Monday, again misreading my program (what else is new) and going in and out of my style during squats.  I told Wim and he said I couldn’t  execute my plan to play catch up on the things I missed in a session later in the week,  which first  actually really pissed me off  but turned out to be for the better once I put it in to perspective. Being confused about this has me fired up for the new week, were I aim to do not want to miss a thing #aerosmithvoice.

TWO
Hunger. And I mean that in every sense of the word. Most of you reading this will know that I am not the heaviest of super heavies around, in fact at my last meet I was just over 84 kg. Nevertheless  the weight thing doesn’t stop me from being as hungry as I can possibly be stepping in to the gym everyday and putting all of the kilo’s on me to work. Some say I ‘ SHOULD’ be bigger/ heavier , not knowing I actually know how it is to weigh 120KG  for example and I do not find anything amusing about it for me as a person. Taking that in mind helped me to stay hungry this week. I am hungry for kilo’s. On the bar. I am hungry for reds. Reds, on reds, on reds.

THREE
Fried-ness. Mid-week, after doing my umpteenth set of RDLs the thought of  me doing a doublebodyweighted anything just couldn’t be processed by my mind (or my body). I find correcting some things in my technique challenging with a vengeance,  but I know it is necessary for me to achieve my goals that consist of  maintaining and gaining strength, being a more complete lifter and growing as an athlete everyday. If feeling like a piece of doublefried chicken is part of  that I’ll take it , because my last session on saturday  proved  again that part of the ‘ i cannot….’ thoughts are made up in the mind.  And as you might have guessed by now my confused & hungry-fried-up-self managed to do everythang on zhe program. I think Wim would have locked me in the WimWamgym without food and water if I didn’t.

Adios!

ILY

THREE THINGS I LEARNED IN WEEK 1

Hi!
From now until forever
(because that is how long I’m in the gym as of late)
I will write about the things I learned about myself, life, powerlifting and all that jazz here. As I am not longer invading the Wimwamgym as a spectator and visitor only, but because I can call Wim my trainer & coach now,  I think there will be plenty of things I want to write (read complain) about 🙂
The direct link to all this madness is www.powerliftster.nl Bookmarking  is free 🙂
To keep it fresh and frisky I will serve y’all weekly with a  ‘things ILY did’ segment starting right away with :
THREE THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT LIFTING ON A LIGHT PROGRAM MADE FOR A POWERLIFTER WHO CAN’T DO MATH. 
ONE 
Read! And if you think you understand, read it again. My sister got me a new notebook , i wrote the program down and still managed to do more reps than coach put down. Coach laughed at me when he saw my videos…. nice try honey.
TWO
Improvise! After getting pretty irritated about not having a 15 kilo dumbell for wobbly squats I managed to make my own with a 14 and my kilo plates. Doing my wobblys with a dumbell instead of a plate was kind of a thing to adjust to. I still loathe them with a passion but hey…. it is a small sacrifice if it enables me to squat 200 classic right 🙂
THREE
Go! On Saturday I had to do the ‘ heavy‘ sesh on my own because my sister Iris wasn’t training right before her debut at Equipped Nationals. I slept like crap but just told myself to GO GO GO and to suck it up. After 6 years, because that is how long that session took :-), I was rarely delighted to have squatted using my belt only on all of my topsets and managed with no equipment on bench and deadlift. Happy campergoals!
Looking forward to this week, I saw paused squats on there ; the joy 🙂
ILY

I AM WHATEVER I SAY I AM

And that is being equipped in powerlifting: not only setting goals but achieving them 😶😃

10 weeks ago I decided to give equipped lifting a try. And I discovered that the difference between a wish and and a goal is: ACTION. I did not only strived to learn how to master at least a tiny bit of this style of lifting. I worked my ass of to do so and complaint just as much 😉.

While writing this blog it’s saturday 14.00 o’clock in the afternoon and am waiting for Sunday ‘competitionday’ to peep its head around the corner. I AM SET on giving all I have got and more. It’s time to let my technique, strength and focus come together and work MAGIC.

By speaking it in to existence I know it will be all right. SO NO MORE FEAR ONLY the right mindset I AM ON FIRE. I got my coach there…my sister there and (gym) friends who care for me and want to see me shine.

COMPETITION DAY |And how did it actually go?

Everything I wished for and more. Eager to continue with equipped lifting. I will with the though love from coach @wimwam1 who got me this far.  It would not have been able to do this without his help and persistence.

THEY NEVER SAW  US COMING. During the day I dealt with some turbulation. Missed my weigh in. Bench did go as  aspected….I gave it my best shot. But was not able to show all I have got in my 2nd and 3rd attempt. But most off all I am uttermost satisfied. Squats went and felt great. I know what I have to work out. Especially my WALK OUT and wearing a tighter suit. Deadlifts need some extra love on my lock out and using the suit more. I lift classic in the suit and that works against me. But hey….that only means that I am getting stronger right 😶✅✅

Broke the DUTCH EQUIPPED Deadlift record with a pound!!! Pretty AWESOME. . .

SQUAT 185 ✅ 195 ✅ 200 ❌
[ FOCUS ]
Bench 80   ✅ 87.5❌  87.5❌

[DETERMINATION]
Deadlift 220   ✅ 230.5✅ 238   ❌

[TECHNIQUE ]

Leave a comment if you want me to write a about a particular subject relating to my equipped journey.

◇ Untill we meet again ◇

Video of all my attempts:

Variations deadlift & bench press……

Still awesome feeling about the performance of Iris yesterday at the Dutch Nationals. Read here blog www.powerlifter.nl and mine (click here!)

My leg felt good and during my sets with squats I felt the reaction in my leg. Nevertheless I squatted 3×3 140kg (sleeves for some extra sability) After that I deadlifted and did some 2-1 sets with 2 reps 190kg followed by 2 reps 170kg. I did the same on bench press with 2 reps 110kg followed by 3 reps 100kg. This felt both good. Also I ordered some new bar at Fitness-Seller, just for fun so I can continue my light training sessions with some other variations squat, bench press and deadlift 🙂

Today training session (60 minutes)
Squats 3×3 140kg
Deadlift 3 sets 2x190kg + 2x170kg
Bench press 3 sets 2x110kg + 3x100kg

Iris Kensenhuis debut at the Dutch Nationals Equipped Powerlifting, 3rd place overall & National record deadlift 230,5 kg

Today Iris had her debut at the Dutch Nationals Equipped Powerlifting.  After 10 weeks training and 5 equipped training, she did a great job! Awesome to be at here side 🙂 For me also a comeback as coach on a meet. I can imagine she will write her own blog this coming week at www.powerlifter.nl

Nevertheless below some facts of her meet and below the video of all her attempts, including the Dutch National Record deadlift with 230,5kg

Squats went great. 1st attempt 185kg followed by 195kg. Unfortunately 2 reds on her 3rd attempt of 200kg. In my opinion it was a good attempt. Nevertheless you have to accept the referees decissions.

1st attempt bench press was very nice. On her 2nd & 3rd attempt the plate on the right side hits the safety racks. The safety racks were not locked at the rack and therefore moved too much outside 🙁 Also with that kind of a mather you have to deal with.

Deadlifting went awesome. Iris 1st attempt was 220kg (equal to here classic record) followed by 230,5kg. And that is a new Dutch Record Powerlifting Equipped. Her 3rd attempt 238kg was a little bit to heavy for today.

Overall she became 3rd place on her 1st Equipped Powerlifting meet. Hopefully she will be invited for the European Equipped Powerlifting Championship in May 2018. If she does 🙂 it will be Time for really tight suits. I can imagine at least 1 person will like that very much 😀

Again Iris you did a very good job!!! proud!

New PR | reps with 120kg bench press & 2 reps with 162,5kg with Titan Super Ram

Yesterday I didn’t train. I didn’t felt a  100%, so in the afternoon I took some extra sleep. Yesterday morning I also had physiotherapy, so some extra rest was welcome ;-).

This morning I still did not feel 100%. I was planning to skip the training again. After I had taken a painkiller I felt good enough to train.

During my sets squat I used my Titan Yellow Jackets knee sleeves (click here!) to protect my right leg. This worked well. With the deadlifts I could add some weights, compared to previous trainings. After the training my legs felt much better than the previous work outs this week.

Bench press where a BLAST of went fantastic :-). That is an advantage if an injury has less effect on an exercise. Then you immediately see what happens when you put more focus on that excercise. Because you push yourself there, it de-stresses your feelings about your injury. A wise man said: every disadvantage has its advantage (number 14)

 

Tomorrow Iris Kensenhuis will make here debut on the Powerlifting Nationals Equipped. Pleased to be on here side. Curious what 10 weeks hard training will bring her.

Today work-out (60 minutes)

SQ  3×3 130
Dl 3×200
BD 5×120! plus 2×162,5 (with Titan Super Ram, click here!)

Small squat test and overall light weights

Today I wanted to test my abductor with some ‘heavier’ weights. So I finished with 3×3 120kg (instead yesterday 3×5 90kg). During the sets/reps I felt that abductor started to react and generate some pain. After that I did front squats 3×3 60kg like I did yesterday. Due the reaction I deadlifted just some light weights. Bench press just some recovery sets. Curious what the reaction in my abductor will be tomorrow on my restday 🙂 ?

Friday some light weights again and I hope I can add some weights on the bar on Saturday.

Squats 3×3 120kg
Deadlift 3×3 150kg
Bench press 3×3 95kg

50 minutes work-out