Interview with Heather Connor – 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals Champion
I think just about everyone knows who Heather Connor is from your performance last year at the 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals! For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into powerlifting?
My name is Heather Connor, from Holden Beach, North Carolina. I was always in the gym to just stay in shape while in school, and was approached by another member in the gym, wondering if I would be interested in doing a powerlifting comp with them in the coming weeks. I literally knew NOTHING about it at all, but decided why not? I then had my focus on seeing how strong as was on the lifts by working on 1RMs like…every week. It was cool to see the weight that I could lift increase….but…never once heard about commands….first ever comp….I bombed out…even worse, I went in there eating away and weighed in with my clothes on. Haha, I had zero guidance in the whole thing. But that was a huge wake up call for me…I have never been one for losing and seeing that I worked my butt off to do well in the comp, it hurt to fail…after that competition I instantly signed up for another comp. Kind of like a redemption for myself. Went to that comp and went 9/9 breaking every junior record at that time. (still hold the deadlift record) I never looked back sense. I got stronger, I learned a lot more continued to strive in what I was doing.
You were able to secure the Women’s Raw American record at 47 kilograms (103.4 lbs) for the squat and deadlift at Nationals. What was this experience like for you, and what would you attribute your success to?
The experience was amazing. I had recently switched to low bar right after worlds leading to nationals. So, I didn’t really at the time know where my squat was. My 2nd attempt I broke the current AR and then went on to rebreak it on my 3rd with a lot more left in the tank. (probably why I am still being called sandbagger) upping my own current deadlift record and total is always a confidence booster and allows me to set more goals for myself leading into future competitions. Nationals was a big competition for me… a very emotional one. 2 weeks prior to Nationals I lost my nephew while my sister was giving birth to him. It was probably the hardest thing I ever had to experience thus far…When that happened, I really didn’t know what was about to happen with my training, was I going to fall back and allow this hurt to affect me or was I going to turn a negative into a positive. I dedicated that whole competition to my sister and her son Noah. With them on my mind, there was no way I wasn’t going to win. Ended up being my best comp to date with PRs in every lift.
How is your training currently set up?
My current training is currently set up by %s of how I did at my previous comp. Early in the week is usually lighter weight with higher volume and later on in the week we build on that weight. Every bit of my training goes in through “My Strength Book” where we can see how I am progressing with each week that passes and what I have gained from it thus far.
I understand that Arian Khamesi provides you with some great coaching both on the platform and all throughout your training cycle. How do you start working with him & his team?
Arian and me got together after my first Nationals in 2015. The coach I had ditched me THE DAY OF THE COMP with no word about it or anything, I had been told that whole week that he was coming and then nothing. So, subtracted that out of my life and started talking to Arian, after one of my videos came out on the web. We started that very next week. Haven’t looked back since.
That’s awesome for Arian pulling through! It’s great that you get to work with a world class team that has seen a high level of success. You posted recently that your team has 4 lifters who won at the 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals, and need some help raising funds for travel to 2017 Raw Worlds in Belarus. Can you tell us more about that?
Squats and Science coached by Arian, has a great number of lifters. 4 of us were able to get invited to worlds. Myself, Alyssa, Jenny, and LeeAnn. All whom have the high high potential of winning the world title in their weight class in division. Unfortunately, it comes with a cost. Yes, some of us are blessed with sponsors…but, it’s not just about a single person…its about a team. These girls are still in school, working part time jobs…money doesn’t come so easy as it would for someone that is full time and has it spend. This is a huge opportunity for these women to be able to experience this and find out if in fact they are the best in the world. Which in my honest opinion. They are.
What is the link I can access to buy a shirt?
goo.gl/forms/RxiY2SrEYREEbsQy2 is the link to our shirts created by Jenny and Alyssa. Any support at all would be greatly appreciated!
Heather, thank you so much for doing this interview and helping out your team reach Worlds! Where can people find you on social media if they’re interested in following your journey in powerlifting?
I can be found on Instagram as @stayfit_with_heather to catch my Q&A, advice and journey to the Arnold for a 520 Wilks!