Julia’s XPC Arnold Meet Recap

Wow. I’m pretty speechless considering I got to lift on one of the biggest platforms in the sport of powerlifting. It was an awesome venue (although it would’ve been cool if we were on a main stage), but to be lifting at the Arnold Classic has been on my “bucket list.” Dang, it feels good to check that off!

I’ve got a lot to say about this meet. From making weight and putting weight back on…to each of the lifts and the friends who have supported me along the way…to my thoughts on the training and what I learned and what I can do better…Bear with me here because there is some really good thoughts coming here.

I ran into Chad Walker (almost literally) on Thursday at the compound, and I brought him some triple double Oreos…because I’m a good friend like that. It took him all of 0.36 seconds to open the package, grab four cookies, and toss the rest into his trunk so his friends wouldn’t find them.

Friday: weigh-ins

I slept like crap Thursday night, so we were up really early. I therefore decided to hit the road and drive the 20 minutes to weigh-in and hope someone was there at Lexen. Thankfully, and to my luck, there was, and I weighed in at 123 pounds exactly. Time to fill up!

Protein/carb drink, eggs, and french toast…yum!

I snacked on a few more things over the course of the morning and also stopped by the Elitefts™ office to brainstorm with some of the staff about some new women’s apparel. I then went with Dave’s wife to Subway (where else?) to grab some lunch for Dave and then stop by the house to see how he was doing. Dave was all cute in his compression socks, watching Dexter. I had a footlong, some salty chips, and a (gasp) regular Coke…the bloat was starting to come on. However, it didn’t stay long.

I headed back to the compound and checked in to our hotel just in time for a (bloaty) nap. Upon waking, I quickly chugged a protein/carb drink before heading out to dinner to fill what little space in my tummy was left.

Texas Roadhouse was the restaurant of choice….a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, a sweet potato, a couple of rolls, and a lemonade graced my plate. Needless to say my little tummy was stuffed. I even got made fun of for not finishing my sandwich.

On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the grocery store for a few meet-day snacks. I found some Oreos and remembered Chad Walker’s advice; it was a no-brainer to get some. I dipped them in a chocolate shake and we were good to go for the night. Now, I just needed the bloat to hang on until game time so my gear would fit like I wanted it to.

The nerves were starting to hit and the meet was set to start at 8 a.m. Early start, so early to bed.

As usual, I had zero appetite in the morning. It was a good thing too because I typically train on coffee only. This always works to my advantage.


I opened with something nice and easy since I always want to make sure I get in a good first squat. There’s nothing worse than missing your first squat.

Opener: 350 pounds—good.
Second attempt: 380 pounds—good. Real easy!
Third attempt: 413 pounds—good! A six-pound PR at 123 pounds!

I’m happy with going three-for-three on squats, and I definitely have some more in me—both strength and gear-wise.


I’ve been handling 250 pounds like it’s nothing this entire training cycle, so that’s what we opened with. I knew it was a weight that I could hit any day of the week.

Opener: 255 pounds—good. And butt stays on the bench!
Second attempt: 275 pounds—good. Pretty smooth but not as smooth as I had wanted; however, it was still a solid lift.
Third attempt: 303 pounds—miss. Misgrooved it just a bit.

We came into this meet looking for a PR in squat and in deadlift by a little, but I was looking for a BIG bench. So, we went for just over the 300-pound mark. It was a solid attempt and something that is JUST around the corner for me.


I typically open light in the dead. Gotta solidify the meet. There really isn’t anything dumber than opening too big. Plus, we weren’t sure how my hip would hold up. Luckily it was good, but my back was tight from benching.

Opener: 325 pounds—good.
Second attempt: 358 pounds—good.
Third attempt: 385 pounds—good! A 10-pound PR at 123 pounds!

Total= 1,073 pounds (That’s 71 pounds more than the Semi-finals in October!)

Stay tuned to my log for more thoughts on the meet cycle and my raw, honest thoughts about the outcome.

For now, enjoy the video…

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About the Author

Julia Ladewski, CSCS, is a coach to athletes, women, men, powerlifters, crossfitters, fitness enthusiasts, recreational lifters and those seeking body transformation. She takes pride in helping people from all walks of life to see and reach their full potential. Julia was a Division I University strength & conditioning coach from 2002-09 at the University at Buffalo, where she worked with every sport on campus. From 2009-2014, she was Director of Sports Performance at Parisi Speed School in Schererville, IN. As an elitefts.com sponsored athlete and Q&A staff member, Julia is an elite-level powerlifter in three different weight classes. She is also a physique competitor, mother to two children, and wife to husband Matt. Julia also owns Bella Forza Strength Apparel (www.BellaForza.me). She continues to write and speak about youth sports performance, female strength sports, and nutrition. She is one of the best hands-on technical coaches in the country. Her writing can be found on elitefts.com and JuliaLadewski.com. She is also a member of the Institutional Review Board for MusclePharm. You can find more about her on her blog www.julialadewski.com and Twitter. View Julia’s training log.