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Australian powerlifter Glenda Presutti has continued her streak of record-breaking lifts with a strong performance at a recent all-woman’s meet in Brisbane.
The 62-year-old vegan, who has been plagued with injuries in recent months, chose to enter the open category in Brisbane – rather than her own age group in which she’d have been the only entrant.
In the 11 weeks between this meet and her last, Presutti had taken a measured approach to her training, ensuring no further damage was sustained to injured areas.
“I had six weeks of light squats, bench, and deadlifts but concentrated on heavy leg press, rows, bicep and tricep work that didn’t impact so much on my spine, shoulder and knee,” she told Great Vegan Athletes.
“The past five weeks, I added rapidly increasing weight to my comp lifts, and two weeks out had a mini strength test which was my three attempts in the squat and bench and less for the deadlift.
“The last two weeks I did only 60 percent of my one rep maximum. I have had two treatments of Plasma Rich Platelets injected into my knee and shoulder and fluid drawn off my knee twice since the last comp.”
Weighing in at 60.55kgs in the 64kg open class, Presutti started well, registering three good squats and a new national record of 115kg, breaking her own record by 2kg.
Turning to bench, she lifted 52.5 and 55kg before attempting 57kg which would have been a new record, but she was not given a good lift.
“I locked it out but had a foot call,” she said. “But that lift was much better than the last competition.”
Better was to come.
“Deadlifts were amazing!” she said. “I got 127.5/137.5/148.5 and a new National M3 record. Also those lifts got me the new National M3 total record of 318.”
This also meant that Glenda won the Open 64kg weight class, beating women much younger than her.
Taking the records
“I went in to get four records and got three – I nearly got that bench!” Presutti reflected later. “I was confident in squat, not sure of bench and pretty confident of deadlift. I wanted that deadlift so badly.
“I’m so thrilled I was sobbing.”
As well as training her lifts, Presutti has made sure she’s been eating well.
“My nutrition was mostly as normal as I had all my food at my disposal and we had cooking facilities with us,” she said. “Just tofu, fresh veggies in the air fryer and steamer, and some fruit with plant protein.
“I probably ate a bit more [than usual] though, and had more coffees. We had to travel for 1600km to get to the destination with a new camper trailer and the two whippets. I trained on the way up at AnyTime fitness gyms that I joined prior to have access.”
Next for the athlete is a break – but not retirement.
“I’m not planning my next comp until well into next year,” she said. “Our Masters Championships are in Cairns in Queensland in June 2019 so 3000km or so from my home.
“I’d say that’s my next challenge, so in the meantim, I will try to get this knee and shoulder bit better.”
Presutti turned vegan in 2016. “I discovered PETA and I began to read about all aspects of animal agriculture and all the cruelty related to use of animals in entertainment, products, testing etc,” she said.
“I was horrified and began sharing these things. I was privately contacted by a vegan powerlifting friend who reached out to me and gave me some information so I thought, ‘I want to do this’.
“I was being a hypocrite to continue being an omnivore now that I knew the facts.
“So I did four months of research and I stopped eggs and dairy, then after I competed in USA, I went vegan. I didn’t want to fail and going overseas I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be so I waited until I got back. It’s been easier than I ever imagined.”