Name: Roxy Firmani
Height: 1.7 m
Current weight: 59 Kg
Current city: Sandton, South Africa
Occupation: Personal Trainer and Nutritional Advisor
Sine we spoke last you seem to have changed your focus a little bit, tell us about what sparked your interest in powerlifting?
I competed in the Fitness industry from 2012. After placing 1st in my fourth show (Miss Body Beautiful 2013) I felt like I had reached my goal in this specific industry.
I needed another challenge; something based more on performance than the aesthetics.
At the time my cousin was busy competing at the Power-Lifting World Championships so I thought I’d ask her what it was all about. She explained the concept and told me to ‘just try it out’. I’ve been hooked ever since!
How does your training now differ to before when you were training for a fitness competition?
Firstly I do a lot less cardio ;)
- I train twice a week with my Power Lifting Coach.
- On Tuesdays we work on our Bench Press (and we include a little bit of Triceps and Shoulder Strength Training).
- On Thursdays we Squat and Deadlift.
This training is quite relaxed in the sense that we rest very long between sets and our rep range is between 1 – 8 reps per set, but it still intensive as we work at about 70 – 100% of our 1 Rep Max.
What does a typical training week look like for you?
The rest of the week (Mon, Wed and Friday) I train like I used to before, but taking into account the fact that I need to schedule my days so that I am well recovered for my Power-Lifting training days.
So I train:
- Back and Glutes on Monday
- Arms and Abs and Wednesday
- Chest, Triceps and Shoulders on Friday.
- I also try to get an additional Leg day in over the weekend.
I make sure I do at least 10 – 20 minutes of cardio on these days and my rep range is between 8 – 15 reps per set.
What do you love about it? Do you prefer this style of training or do you incorporate a lot of different styles into one?
I love that the training for this sport is based purely on setting goals and demolishing them. I also love how you can see your progress in the improvements in your lifts.
I love my powerlifting training BUT I also love all different types of training. So I guess I get my fix by switching it up between Power Training and Strength and Fitness Training during each week.
What are your top tips when training for strength/power?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Your body can only recover at its own pace – so don’t push past your limits – you WILL injure yourself and put yourself out of the game. Then of course, ensure that you always have proper form and if you are beginner I would highly recommend getting a coach.
There are specific methods and techniques to Power training so having a knowledgeable person to teach and guide you will produce better and safer results.
What are you future plans?
At the moment my plans are to keep training and better my lifts. I am still a baby in this sport and it takes years of training to get to your peak.
This year I am competing in the South African Championships (which was my goal when I began Power Lifting) but next year I hope to qualify for World Championships and represent South Africa!
Will you go back to competing in competitions like body beautiful or the WBFF?
To be honest the thought does cross my mind every now and then but it just doesn’t work well with my current sports training routine.
Power lifters eat a lot! So dieting for a show would almost be impossible. BUT that being said I might decide to step on stage one last time, you never know ;)
Advice for someone wanting to get into powerlifting? How do they find out about competitions and the like?
Like I said before, start with a coach.
You need someone to teach you the rules, the basics, the correct form and technique and the correct training methods.
In terms of competitions, the International Powerlifting Federation website has the big competitions listed internationally, otherwise you can follow the SA Powerlifting Federation on Facebook.
What are the criteria in powerlifting meets?
It is pretty complicated to explain but really simple once you understand the basics.
- Firstly we are divided into gender categories (Male and Female)
- Then by age (Sub-Junior: 14 – 18 | Junior: 19 – 23 | Open: 24 – 39 | Master I: 40 – 49 | Master II: 50 – 59 | Master III: 60 – 69 | Master IV: 70+)
- Then by weight (under 47kg | 47 – 52kg | 52 – 57kg | 57 – 63kg | 63 – 72kg | 72 – 84kg | 84kg plus)
You only compete against the people in your specific division.
On a competition day we do only 9 lifts:
- 3 squats
- 3 bench-press
- 3 deadlifts
Our first attempt at each lift is usually set at a weight that we are comfortable we can complete on a normal training day. Once your first lift has been achieved, your coach will decide on the next (increased) weight for your next attempt.
You need to complete each attempt to be able to up your weight on the next attempt.
Once you have completed all three lifts per exercise, your heaviest lift is recorded. After you have completed all your lifts, they tally up your highest lift for all three movements. The person with the highest total in your division wins.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- I am up between 4 or 5am, depending on when I have my first client.
- I shower, have green tea with lemon, make a fresh juice in a sippie cup and shoot through to work.
- Once I’m done with my morning clients I have breakfast and then its gym time for me.
- In the afternoons I au pair and then it’s back to the gym for my evening clients.
- When I get home I prep everything for the following day (food, clothes, etc) and then its bed time.
Give us a description of your philosophy on your diet. Has it changed much from before?
Yes it has!
With Fitness it was all about counting calories, weighing your food, and eating as lean as humanly possible. Now I’m all about balance and moderation.
I eat a lot more carbs (the good type) and I never worry about portions or timing. I eat when I am hungry, I don’t weigh my food and I’m not too strict on small additions like adding mayo to my tuna, or cooking with oil, etc.
I also find that I eat a bigger variation of foods especially my fruit and vegetables.
Do you still monitor what your body looks like and your body fat percentage?
I will always monitor what my body looks like; after all I am a female. But I don’t do body fat percentage and set goals on that.
If I fit into my clothes and I am happy with what I see in the mirror then I know I’m good :) And then obviously I also just monitor my weight so that I am within my Power Lifting weight division restrictions.
Do you include much cardio in your routine now?
Yes but minimal. I do at least 10 – 20 minutes when I train by myself. And I’ll always have one day when I decide I need to do a bit more.
But I’m not going to go to the gym just to do 60 minutes of cardio!
What do you think are some of the common mistakes people make when squatting and deadlifting? And how can one correct them?
The most common mistake with squatting is not going deep enough (ass to the grass!).
With Deadlifting it’s not keeping a straight back.
The best way to correct this is to be mindful of your form, do the movements in front of a mirror so you can see your form for yourself and maybe ask for a second opinion from a Personal Trainer or Coach in your gym.
Favorite female fitness icon(s):
To be honest I have a few but I haven’t really looked into the Power Lifting scene.
I think Michelle Lewin, Paige Hathaway, Bella Falconi, Jessica Arevalo and Ana Delia all have amazing physiques and I love how they share their lifestyle tips on social media with their fans and followers.
“I don’t work hard because I hate my body, I work hard because I love it.”
“Limitations exist only if you let them.”
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
Best piece of advice you ever received?
Relax. Breathe. Focus on what you are about to do.
Don’t let anything distract you. You have worked so hard for this moment. Don’t let the small things ruin your months of dedication. Be in this moment fully and give it your all!
What is the most common question you get asked?
The most common question I get asked is “Aren’t you scared you are going to look like a man?”
Hahaha! I’ve been powerlifting for a year now and I still look exactly the same as I did before I started! It all comes back to the misinformation people have been fed about diet and exercise.