After I completed the Iron Maiden Challenge in 2014, I thought to myself, “What next?”. For 3 years I trained for the IM and needed to set a new goal.

During the 3 years that I trained for the IM, I trained with ONLY kettlebells and bodyweight. Weekly, the heaviest I would deadlift was double 48kg kettlebells (212lbs) for 5 sets of 5 reps.

After training with only kettlebells and bodyweight for 3 years, I wanted to get back to the barbell and learn more about powerlifting.

Before I hired a coach, I decided to see how much I could deadlift. I put 225lbs on the bar and the weight flew up. At 115lbs that it was almost 2x my bodyweight!

1 week later I decided to try 245lbs, which was 2x bodyweight+15lbs. Even though I needed to work on my technique, I pulled the weight with ease.

The years of training for the IM helped me to build Mastery Experiences in my training that gave me the Self-Efficacy to believe that, even though I had never deadlifted these weights before, I could indeed do it.

I was so excited with how strong I had become just by training with kettlebells and bodyweight for 3 years, and the potential of the strength that I could build from there! I believed that strength was limitless and was on fire to learn more about powerlifting and about how I could get crazy superhuman strong with barbell lifting.

With this fire and excitement, I attended Optimizing the Big Three powerlifting seminar with Greg Robins and Tony Bonvechio. At that seminar, I added 5lbs to my deadlift and pulled 250lbs!

After that, I hired Tony Bonvechio as my powerlifting coach and signed up to compete in my very first powerlifting meet 1 month before my 40th birthday. I set a goal to deadlift 300lbs at this meet. I was only 50lbs away, I knew it was possible.

Within 6 weeks, Tony helped me to add 25lbs to my deadlift and I deadlifted 275lbs!

6 weeks later, at the powerlifting meet, as I was on deck to deadlift 300lbs, the butterflies in my stomach were filled with a mix of emotions – fear that I would fail, exhilaration that I would succeed.

Before I stepped onto the platform, Tony looked me in the eyes and said, “THIS is what you came for!”. When he said that, a switch turned on in my brain and thought “YEAH!”.

As I walked up to the bar, I kept repeating to myself, “THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR” and blocked out all sights and sounds except for the judge and my coach’s voice cheering me on. I secured my set up and as I pulled the dead weight, said to myself “GO GO GO! THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR!”.

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Yours in Strength,



Artemis Scantalides


EmpowerU Online Coaching

I Am Not Afraid To Lift® Workshops


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