News - November 24, 2016

‘Two seconds to get everything right’

Marijn Flipse

Iris Brunsmann (24) is doing a Master’s in Food Technology and Nutrition and Health. She also has a passion: powerlifting. She has only been doing this for about 18 months and yet she will already be competing in the Dutch championships in December.

Master’s student Iris Brunsmann will be competing in the Dutch Powerlifting Championships in December. Photo: Aart-Jan van de Glind

Iris won gold this year in the Dutch Student Championship (NSK) Powerlifting. That meant she qualified for the ‘ordinary’ Dutch championship. If you ask her how she expects to do, she is quite explicit: ‘I don’t have any expectations. I haven’t even looked to see who I’m competing against because I’m afraid then I’ll start thinking about it and setting myself unrealistic objectives. I will go there with an open mind. I’m really pleased even to be able to take part in such a major event.’

Iris will be competing in the under 73 kg weight class, with the goal of improving her personal best. ‘If you’re at a higher level, of course you want to beat everyone but I don’t yet know whether that’s realistic at this stage. I’m pleased I already got some experience with the NSK; I was very nervous about that. You have two seconds to get everything right. Now I understand more how it all works.’

Lonely kilometres

Powerlifting consists of three different exercises: the squat, the deadlift and the bench press. It is all about correct execution and lifting the maximum weight in one go. ‘Before I started this sport, I used to cycle and go running. But after a while I got bored with those lonely kilometres. I decided to go to the gym one time and I turned out to be far too keen because I just wanted to lift more than everyone else. So it got a bit out of hand,’ laughs Iris. ‘My two brothers and my sister also do a lot of strength exercises because of their skating. And my boyfriend does powerlifting, so you get into it automatically.’

‘What I like about this sport is the individual aspect. I can continue to challenge myself. In a competition, I’m competing against myself as well as against the others.’ In the run-up to the championships, Iris is training mainly by lifting increasingly heavy weights. ‘It feels very different when you’ve got more kilos on your shoulders, so you have to train for that. Here too, I’m trying to think as little as possible about expectations. If I start thinking about that, I get nervous. That has the wrong effect on me.’

Brunsmann trains with Wageningen Beasts in De Bongerd sports centre. ‘It is an individual sport, but we train together with a trainer. Everyone has their own programme. My boyfriend writes out my workout schedules so I know what I have to do during a session,’ explains Brunsmann. ‘We’ve reduced the number of training days a bit as we get close to the championship. I’ve now got four proper training days and on the other three days I cycle or do stomach exercises. I normally train every day.’                                              

Enjoying food

The Master’s student doesn’t follow a strict diet. ‘If I know I’ve eaten enough and slept enough, then I feel good. I can start worrying about all that if I ever get to a higher level in future. At the moment, it relaxes me to eat food I enjoy and not to have to think about that. If I had to start doing that, I’m afraid I wouldn’t get any more pleasure out of my sport.’

Iris doesn’t find it difficult to combine her powerlifting with her studies. ‘When I hear how many TV series other students get through in one day, I realize how much less free time I have,’ she laughs. ‘But I find it quite easy to combine the two. I mainly schedule my training for after lectures or in the morning. That means I have a couple of free hours in the evening for relaxation. The only thing I don’t do much is go out on the town, but I don’t really feel the need for that any more.’