Middleton’s Zach Doucette went to Canadian Powerlifting Union Nationals last year and came back with silver. He did it again the first week of March this year in Ottawa, and one of his coaches said he’s training right and he’s got lots of room to grow.
“Yeah, Zach’s doing well,” said Jim Nickerson at Fitness Experience where Doucette has been training since he was in Grade 9. “Zach is very goal-directed now. For the past several months he’s been training by percentages. His workouts have been consistent. He’s training with a method now in terms of increasing his percentages over time and keeping his form correct to do that.”
A few years back Zach wasn’t on track at all, and transferred from school in Middleton to Lawrencetown Education Centre where experiential learning and teachers like former CFLer and heavy games star Danny Frame figured out how to help.
“They got me into it when I went there,” Doucette said. “I wasn’t going through a great time. So when I went there they tried to get me into something I enjoyed doing and keep me out of trouble.”
It turned out he enjoyed lifting weights and Frame decided maybe it was a good idea to get him into powerlifting and see how he did. “So that’s what originally got me into powerlifting - Danny Frame. I kind of stuck with it since then.”
Doucette returned to Middleton Regional High School for Grade 10 and is set to graduate this year. Nickerson said he was training hard over the years, but needed to train smarter.
“So we just had a few conversation with him about rejoining the group because he had trained with us once before,” Nickerson said. “And if he wanted to work towards nationals or worlds we could help him out with that.”
As for Fitness Experience, Doucette’s been working out there since his stint at LEC. It’s almost like a refuge.
“It’s a place where I can go and powerlift without worrying about any life troubles or anything,” he said. “I can just go and forget about everyday life stuff. Just go and do what I do. It’s kind of like my place to get away from everything.”
“Zach would have competed as a Sub-Junior,” Nickerson said of Doucette’s medal wins. “Now he’ll compete as a Junior. So that means he’ll be in with competitors that are just a little bit older than what he’s used to, but that won’t be an issue for Zach because what happens is you move up in an age bracket but you also compete for your body weight. So he’ll compete with other teenagers the same weight category that he is. ”
Doucette explains powerlifting.
“There’s three lifts – squat, bench, and deads,” he said. “There’s nine lifts in total. You do three of squats, three of bench, and three deads. There’s about a 10-minute interval times between each lift. So it takes about – in competition – probably close to two-and-a-half to three hours. It depends on how many people there is.”
Doucette sees powerlifting as a sport where you compete against yourself.
“There are people you compete against, but it’s more of an individual sport,” he said, “but you kind of want to lift more than the people your lifting against so you can get a higher placement. In the end, they take the three heaviest squats, bench, and deads you did and combine them for a total to see how much you actually did.”
“Some youth will focus on just getting bigger numbers and their form isn’t that good,” said Nickerson. “What happens is you’ll plateau and things won’t get that much better for you. So we have Zach really focusing on the foundational parts of the form for those exercises. And if you keep following that then you just have to get stronger if you train consistently. So that’s the point he’s at now and he’s got lots of room to grow.”
“This is a great place really. There’s lots of supportive people here – Danny Steele and Jimmy included. Danny Frame helped me a lot. Derek (Smith), when he was here, helped me quite a bit. It’s just an all-around really good place to train because there’s a lot of supportive people here.”
“Gyms are hard to keep open no matter where you are and in small communities it’s even harder,” said Nickerson. “The ownership group here -- who a lot of us are friends with, that’s why we work shifts here -- they’re dedicated to this community and giving young athletes a chance to get started and athletes that are a little more focused a chance to excel even more. Anybody from any age group and any background can come in and increase their fitness level. It’s a pretty wide open gym.”
Co-incidentally, gym owner Jamie Peppard was also Doucette’s principal at Lawrencetown Education Centre.
The gym trains athletes for heavy events in highland games, powerlifting, weight training in general, volleyball, basketball, soccer, football, rugby, hockey.