From top competitor to trainer


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Four years ago, a friendly quip from a co-worker spurred Master Seaman Laura Allan to raise the bar on her fitness.

While working in HMCS Victoria’s engine room on a repair, a fellow submariner commented on her impressive strength and said, “You should compete as a powerlifter.”

She decided to test his idea by venturing to the gym weight room. Powerlifting is a strength sport and she quickly found she had a natural aptitude. 

“Today I am in the best shape of my life,” said the 34-year-old Marine Technician. 

Beyond elevating her fitness, she has stepped on to the IPL World Powerlifting stage and competed in multiple international events.

She hired local strength and conditioning coach Stephen MacKinnon, who works mainly with elite athletes in different sports.

In her most recent competition, May 18 in the Kabuki Strength Pacific Northwest Classic in Portland, she had an unbeatable combined score in squats, bench press, and deadlift. She finished top in the women’s 90kg category and went nine-for-nine on her lifts, finishing the day with a 202.5kg/446lb squat, 97.5kg/215lb bench press, 200kg/441lb deadlift, totalling 500kg/1,103lbs.

Less than 48 hours later, she returned to Victoria and competed in the 2019 Highland Games Strongman competition at Topaz Park, finishing as the top female. She defeated her closest female opponent in three of five events, one of which she carried two 220lb weights in each hand a distance of 50 feet.

“I am not an overly competitive person. I am more competitive against myself,” said MS Allan. “When someone else at an event scores a personal best I am the first one to congratulate and admire them for that success.”

She’s sitting out at IPL Worlds 2019 to give her body a rest. Instead she’s heading there to coach a client and friend to compete Oct. 25 in Limerick, Ireland.

“My coach and I decided it would be smarter for me to take some time off from competing and not risk burnout,” said MS Allan. “I am not done with competing as a powerlifter, but I need to be sensible and think about longevity and preserving a healthy balance between work and my private time.”

Powerlifters Rachel Burgess and Corporal Kayla Miller are two locals benefitting from her experience and coaching. 

“I really like coaching, it gives me time to focus on my training, not think about competing, all while helping others achieve their own fitness goals.” said MS Allan.

Competing as a powerlifter and now coaching has also been beneficial in overcoming the symptoms of an operational stress injury, which she was diagnosed with during her days as a submariner.

“I used lifting weights as an outlet to solve my issues and then turned myself into something I never thought I could be,” said MS Allan. “I like to treat the athletes I am coaching the way I was treated by my coach – it’s nice to hear from them how much more confident they are, and to know I am helping other people build their confidence.” 

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