Missing a flight can really put a damper on weekend plans, but being sleep deprived didn’t stop EWU junior and exercise science major Brian Totey from winning the Washington State Power Lifting Championship March 7 in Olympia, at the Tumwater Athletic Center.
Before the meet, Totey ran into travel complications. He missed his flight out of Spokane International Airport and had to be put on standby. The next flight to Seattle didn’t leave until 12:30 p.m., too late to make it to the competition in time. From the airport he caught a cab to the bus station, and after a six-hour bus ride he arrived in Seattle at 1 a.m., the day of the meet. He had to leave for the meet with his coach at 6 a.m.
“I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I’ve made it this far and why put all that training I did for three months down the drain,” said Totey.
Totey has been competing in the Washington State Power Lifting competitions since 2006 and has yet to lose. Out of the six meets that he has entered, he has set four records in Washington.
Totey explained that he found his passion for weight lifting during his senior year at Kent Lake High School in Covington, Wash.
“I took a weight training class and ended up benching 300 pounds when I only weighed 150 pounds,” Totey said. “That was a high school record, and as far as I know it’s still a record and probably will be for some time.”
Totey entered the March 7 competition with a body weight of 178 pounds and by the end of the competition had broken the Washington state record for squats by lifting 451 pounds, and his effort in bench press with 341 pounds and the dead lift at 501 pounds was not enough to set a new record, but still enough to win the meet. Totey set the Washington state bench press record at the meet the previous year at 352 pounds.
“I’m undefeated, that’s a pretty good feeling. It kind of makes you want to train even harder,” Totey said. “I have never lost before and I don’t think that there is anyone that trains as hard as I do.”
Lifters are separated by age and weight into different classes, and get three chances to lift the most weight they can in the bench press, dead lift and squat. Totey competed in the 181-pound weight class in the junior division for athletes ages 20 to 23. This would be his sixth professional competition for power lifting. The meets are held in “raw” fashion, says Brian, meaning lifters are competing without the aid of equipment like squat suits or bench shirts.
For Totey, power lifting is a challenge not only in competition, but also in training, especially without the benefit of lifting equipment.
“It’s kind of hard to set a goal and then maintain your [body] weight; a lot of it is coming down to setting a reasonable goal and taking your time so that you don’t get injured,” Totey said.
His totals qualified him for the National Power Lifting competition to be held in Virginia in July. There, Totey will compete with the best power lifters from around the country. Winning nationals would get him to the world championship.
“It’s definitely going to be more of a challenge,” said Totey. “But my chances look really good.”
Totey says that he benefits from weight lifting not only in simply being stronger, but from the increase in confidence, having the notion that anything you set out to do you will finish and be successful.
“My ultimate goal is to be a strength coach for a college team, or maybe even an NFL football team. As far as power lifting goes, if I can find a way to make money doing that it would be great because it’s something I really like doing and I’m good at it, so why do something you’re good at for free?” Totey said.