View Full Version : Littlebigman Interviews Jawine

02-18-2011, 09:10 PM
One Strong Sister!

Sheís been around BBR several years now and has accomplished a lot in her chosen sport of Powerlifting. With tenacity and a colorful personality to match, we know her in our forums as Jawine of Belfast, Northern Ireland, strong for her size and strong in wit. Now we have an even better insight into where she came from what she is doing now, and where she may go in the future.

Were you born in Belfast?
I was born in Huizen, The Netherlands (aka Holland though thatís only part of the The Netherlands) and moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland 8 years ago. So I am Dutch or as they said on a BBC TV program here: ďThe crazy sexy DutchĒ ;)

Not born in Northern Ireland?:confused: This whole time I believed you were Irish to the core. In what ways has living in Ireland changed you?
Living in Northern Ireland is more relaxed, sometimes this can be a bit annoying as it means things are often done more lackadaisical, but at the same time you donít need to prove yourself and rush all the time. And now I speak English with a Dutch accent, an Irish brogue and use Irish colloquialisms.

What can you do for fun in Belfast?
Having lunch with friends, the occasional night out and going to the cinema, watching movies at home with friends, I going through an Asian movie phase atm. Belfast is a very friendly city to go out in, I just donít have the time/money and of course I canít drink much at all with the training and when I do go out I want to really go for it.
Have you acquired the famous Irish temper? I already had a temper Ask my colleagues when they annoy me, then they go and accuse me of "roid rage" lol.

What are you capable of doing if you get angry?:2guns:
Better lifting! I tend to overthink it occasionally; therefore Jamie sometimes pisses me off on purpose. Have to say I never lost it with someone, but I suspect it wonít be good!

What is your day occupation?
Project Coordinator at a multinational IT firm.

What are your stats, ie; age, weight height?:detective
I am 30 years old, 1.65 meter (5 foot 5 inch) and compete in the 60KG (132 lbs) class in powerlifting. I normally hover around 61KG.

What got you interested in Powerlifting?
I started doing cardio with my mum, then picked up weights once my high school built a small sports room everyone could use after school. Once I moved to Northern Ireland I took up weight lifting again, started working with a personal trainer and got taught how to squat/bench/deadlift.

After a while I wanted a goal in weight lifting as it can be hard to drag yourself to the gym after work when youíre tired. I felt bodybuilding/fitness modeling wouldnít be right for me due to the dieting necessary, and aesthetics donít ďdoĒ much for me. I canít remember exactly when/where, but I read about powerlifting on the internet and felt I would enjoy doing that.

After messing about a few years on my own, I went to a GPC meet in March 2008. I was the only girl there, but I guess because I worked with mostly men in most of my jobs it didnít faze me much. It was a bit of an insight, I was there on my own aside from a friend who gave me a lift, but I had no other support at all.

In 2008 I got pregnant and Alexander was born in 2009.

In 2010 I went to two others powerlifting meets and made contact with my coach Jamie Burke, whoís currently GPC World Champion in the 100KG class. In July 2010 I started working with him, and lifting in powerlifting suits (equipped) and this made a huge difference. I donít train unequipped (raw) anymore, but benched 75KG raw in the gym which I never thought I would be able to do. I also deadlifted 115KG and squatted 75KG raw on meets.

Equipped I benched 80KG, deadlifted 130KG and squatted 140KG in single ply suits in the gym while training. I am working with a new bench shirt and, squat briefs atm, and have a GPC meet March 26 to qualify for the GPC Worlds.

(Thereís different types of powerlifting clothing, singly ply has one layer of reinforced material. Most leagues accept double ply, or single ply with squat briefs, but not all, knee wraps/belts are always allowed)
Along with holding down a full time job, being a mom and powerlifting. you bike 40 miles to work each week and play 5 a side soccer. How do you find the time & energy to keep up with all that?
I am lucky that I donít need to work a lot of overtime in my job, and the possibility is there to work at home and finish things there if needed. And I am lucky that Alexander is pretty chilled out and me and his dad share care of him.
Of course, I donít have time to watch a lot of television, go out drinking etc. my days are generally work, go home, take care of Alexander, and train or study. (Yes, nutter that I am I am also doing a part-time undergrad university degree in Java Programming/Mathematical Sciences) So itís a pretty disciplined lifestyle. But I donít mind, Iíve always lived like that.
In regards to energy, I guess good genes help, my parents are pretty fit still, healthy diet, and enough sleep and no drinking/smoking. I am lucky that I donít have a lot of stress in work or with Alexander.

Most of us at BBR were introduced to Alexander a few years back as a newborn, how is he doing now?
Alexander is very independent and stubborn (you can blame both his parents for that!), friendly and smiley towards pretty everyone, loves playing with Duplo, cars and making a mess of the house. Also, he has to place every item back to where it came from (that will probably change as he hits teenager stageÖ)

Can you tell us about the other sport you play?
I cycle 40 miles a week to get to work and back, on a 3 speed hudgeared 18KG bike. Yes, crazy Dutch people. I also play 5-a-side indoor soccer with the guys at work whenever itís on and my energy levels allow it. My nickname at work is Jawine ďThe MachineĒ for some reason!

If you had to choose between competitive lifting and soccer, which would you keep? ( I think I already know the answer):rolleyes:
Powerlifting! Soccer is just for fun.

How do you find that sports form the mind etc?
I have a general issue about trying to apply the intellectual side of my mind to lifting, so I have to work on trusting my body and not getting in my own way. You canít lift 140 KG with your mind, itís not something you can understand rationally, so you have to learn to ďswitch offĒ and let your body take over. And let it do what itís made for.
I do find that if you work on the right focus in the gym, your ability to focus in other tasks of life also improves as focus is finally a state of mind. This form of focus can also be used for rather intellectual tasks like math / programming.
And of course, it is good for your self esteem to be able to lift heavy. I lift weights I never thought I could lift, that I bet my teachers at school never thought I could lift as I sucked massively at PE, this gives me confidence for other aspects in my life, and confidence that things you think you are bad at can be improved with the right training and attitude.

Has lifting weights changed your mental outlook or empowered you for the rest of life?
Definitely, I learn new mental ďtoolsĒ and I find it empowering to be able to do things I thought not possible for me.

Where do you train, how many days a week ?
I train twice a week with Jamie in Holywood (a small town near Belfast) in a small gym called Motiv8, then I sometimes do some assistance work on Saturday some chin-ups in door frame, grip work.
What particular training program are you on now?
Jamie works out my training for me. One cycle is done for maxes, then back to conditioning work, etc. Itís quite a basic training program, but as he says itís best to keep it simple, until the simple things stop working.

What kind of reactions do you get at the gym, meets, and everyday life with family and friends?
I donít look very muscular so in every day life people wouldnít say I am a lifter. At the GPC meet last year (2010) some guys were rude; some were nice, one English lifter tried to help me and borrowed me his wrist straps. I didnít do great, so no pats on the back. Though I I think I got some applause at the 110 KG deadlift. RE the NI meets, I did get a nice PM on Facebook from one male lifter who complimented me on my 115 KG deadlift.
Of course I get plenty of flak at work the guys are joking I am on the ďroidsĒ and tease me about my copious use of whey protein. But they do respect what I do, and my line manager is cool about it and lets me leave a little earlier for training if needed.
Most people just donít understand it, so for them itís hard to have any kind of reaction. Especially big numbers, or as Jamie calls them; phone book numbers. Itís weird for me lifting that much, so how can a non lifter even imagine how this feels?

Has your strength surprised people?
I did have people look at me in gyms or comment I am stronger than I look. One day in Fitspace I was doing some chin-ups and one of the guys there said to his friend something like: ďLook at that wee girl doing chinsĒ in other words if she can do it, so should you!
When I deadlifted 97.5KG two years ago in another gym one of the big Polish lifters gave me a look of approval which was nice for me as he was super strong. In the end you will get respect by giving your all, not by being a male of female.

Do you think it is harder for a woman to break into powerlifting?
Itís harder to be taken seriously in NI as itís such a male orientated sports here and due to being a women of course you canít lift nearly as much as a man. Thereís a lack of female role models, and most girls see weightlifting as uncool. So you end up training with men, and itís harder to find people who will teach you.
However, willingness and persistence can overcome such obstacles and there are parts in the world like the USA/Eastern Europe where you donít have such issues as weight lifting in all its forms is much more common and there will be plenty of other girls as it wonít have the ďfor guys onlyĒ and ďuncoolĒ stigmas.

What do you believe is needed for a woman to succeed in powerlifting?
Willingness. Confidence. The right training and attitude. No different from men.

What differences do you see between yourself and other women?
Not using pink weights

Why do you prefer competing raw versus equipped?
I donít compete raw anymore, I donít have the right built/genes for it and equipped also helps with injury prevention.

Aside from use of suits, belt, etc, are there other differences training raw versus equipped?
Thereís a whole new technical aspect to it as every suit has different properties, there are different materials, manufacturers etc. It turns lifting from a raw strength sports into a technical sport that is more accessible to people that donít have ďperfectĒ genetics.

Just watching your progress journal this past year, when you broke through that plateau you surprised me that training equipped made you even stronger at raw. Did you think at first that it was going to work?
To be honest, I was a little doubtful at first. But I decided not be stubborn (like I normally am) and trust Jamieís judgment. And it worked! The movement is more or less the same as with equipped, but as your nervous systems learns to handle heavy weights your technique improves and overcompensation helps you with raw lifting also.

Tell us about your new trainer Jamie Burke, and why you have a new optimism for what you can do?
Jamie has been lifting for 19 years, and is current GPC World Champion in the 100 KG equipped class. Aside from training powerlifters, he is a very experienced personal trainer who gets results for a wide range of trainees, both disabled and able bodied. Someone else described him as a real gentleman, and I second that. What I really like is that he has found ways to overcome his own plateaus, so he knows what itís like to be stuck and how to overcome this.

He managed to get me out of my comfort zone and helped me unlock an innate ability for lifting I didnít know I had. And thereby has given me confidence. Also as heís GPC World Champion, and of course you do feel honored when someone in that position shows an interest in you. And you never, ever want to disappoint them. It would be totally disrespectful.

Have there been days when you wanted to quit lifting?:surrender
Yes, I was so frustrated getting stuck with my bench press, had been stuck on 52.5 raw for ages! Then with the break up with Willem I felt depressed, that with not having someone to coach me it was hard to get to the gym for some days. But what alternative did I have? And I always loved lifting since I took it up at age 16. So I persisted, and by coincidence and with luck I got Jamieís contact details, and he decided to coach me when he felt confident I would not waste his time.
Of course, personal issues can get in the way, this has happened to me a while ago as well while training with Jamie, because of this my pin press that day was a complete and utter mess. However, your body doesnít ďknowĒ about emotional issues, so within limits you can learn to leave these behind, have to learn how to leave these behind. When I realized this, and was able to find a way of dealing with this that worked for me, a week later instead of bombing on the pin press again I did a PB: 82.5 KG from 1 inch above chest, raw. In a way, the training and the life skills I acquire with it have been a lifeline this year.

The $2 question - which is more important to be successful: Attitude or genetics?
I always thought genetics was more important. Of course, all other parameters being similar, the person with the best genetics will yield better results. But by controlling what you can, the right diet, the right training, the right equipment, the right attitude, the right coach/lifting buddies (you canít go it alone) even someone like me with non optimal genetics can exceed expectations.

At 30 years young, you have lots of time for growth, do you contemplate going pro?
Thereís no pro circuit here. I have to pay for training, supplements, equipment etc. myself. If I can financially and practically manage to keep training and improving, and would ever get an invite to a pro contest I would consider it a massive honor.

Didnít you once you beat a man in the same class at a competition, can you tell us more about the experience?:D
Thatís a misunderstanding, he beat me. I do deadlift/squat more than my colleagues at work! But in all fairness they donít train for powerlifting, whereas for me as one of my colleague said itís not my main purpose in life, but nearly.

Can you drop us some names of people who have been a help, inspiration, or just a big shoulder to lean on and anything else you would like to say about them?
Dave Tate from Westside, I never met him, but his articles helped me start with powerlifting.
Plague (Cory Levins) who used to be on BBR and helped me with tips.
Gina Quin, who used to powerlift and helped me get in touch with Jamie.
Jamie of course, for showing me the way, so to say, and being my friend in a difficult year.

Note from Littlebigman:
Many thanks to Jawine for the time and patience (with the interviewer) it took for her do this.:) I'm sure that the readers will agree with me that Jawines walk is an inspiring one and there are certain to be even greater achievements ahead for her.
It is my hope that what we have covered in this interview will stimulate even more discussion. Please post any questions of your own that you have for Jawine in here. Check out her attached photos too of Alexander, Jawine & Jamie and course proof that a gal who trains hard and lifts big metal also looks very feminine.:cool:

02-18-2011, 09:53 PM
Excellent stuff. Good to see you back doing the interviews again LBM. See, you do serve a purpose after all.;):D

As for Jawine, well done on all your hard work in the gym.:hammer: You have a very cute kid as well & maybe another Robert Van Persie on your hands.;)

02-18-2011, 11:23 PM
That was fun! Good work. ;)

02-19-2011, 02:14 AM
Great stuff! Really fascinating to read about the background of how you got into powerlifting and what keeps you going, Jawine. Very inspiring to see the progress you have made over the last couple of years. :clap:

And well done on another thoughtful interview, LBM. :cool:

02-19-2011, 06:58 PM
LBM: Thanks for doing the interview :)
@IDH sheesh, with such friends LBM doesn't need enemies huh? ;)

Thanks guys!
Anybody any additional questions? :)

02-19-2011, 10:30 PM
Anybody any additional questions? :)

Yes: Whoís the sexy model in the black outfit?

She kinda resembles you, but itís hard to tell without the straining, sweating, and heavy barbells in your other pics. ;)

02-20-2011, 09:51 AM
Are you suggesting my squat suit isn't the height of sexiness?;)

02-20-2011, 05:58 PM
Letís just say that there is a different type of attraction generated by each outfit. ;)

02-20-2011, 06:39 PM
Great interview and great job to both of you!

02-21-2011, 09:35 PM
LBM: Thanks for doing the interview :)
You are very welcome and fun to work with.
Your pictures really lit things up too!;)

@IDH sheesh, with such friends LBM doesn't need enemies huh? ;)

Well, Jawine I'll just say I've been called worse by better:D

02-21-2011, 09:40 PM
Forgot to say my coach is on Facebook name: Jamie Burke, if you are on the Facebooks and want to say something nice to him about his training with me, go ahead and post on his wall. Can say I couldn't have done it without him :)

He's also started writing a blog, CHECK THIS OUT: Includes Footage of a 420 KG Squat: BLOG 1: WHEN ALL SKILLS ARE EQUAL.....THE STRONGEST WILL ALWAYS WIN.. | INTOUCH (http://www.intouchrugby.com/magazine/2011/02/21/check-this-out-includes-footage-of-a-420-kg-squat-blog-1-when-all-skills-are-equal-the-strongest-will-always-win/)

He deserves a bit of promotion IMHO as most trainers are not great as you all know and he is just excellent, hell getting me to squat 150KG for a double is nearly a miracle :)

02-21-2011, 09:40 PM
You are very welcome and fun to work with.
Your pictures really lit things up too!;)

Well, Jawine I'll just say I've been called worse by better:D

That was a compliment LBM. Or at least that's the nearest I can come to giving one.:smartass:

02-28-2011, 03:39 PM
Jawine, great job, so very admirable and you're an inspiration to us all! Aren't you glad we aren't the kind of gals who think of weightlifting as uncool??

04-12-2011, 01:01 AM

I am a new boy on the block but hat's off to Jawine.

I do often find myself in trouble for being a little over-familiar with folk, but have been glancing through the thumbnails pictures of yourself at the bottom of the post and felt obliged to offer some critique - if you would be so kind as to permit me to present an unbiased but constructive analysis of your current physique?

I will keep it short and to the point: