What is your name and where are you from?

Terri VandeVegte from Lowell, MI! (Only Michigan lifter in NASA?)

When did you start powerlifting and was there a reason for it?

Started training in December 2012 for a March 2013 meet. I’ve always loved competition, but the last time I was able to do anything competitive was company softball teams in my 20’s. Once I “retired” from that, my weight started creeping up and soon I was feeling too fat and tired to do much of anything. At age 51 I decided something needed to change, began working out with a trainer and over the next couple years lost over 100 pounds! He often runs friendly competitions at the gym, and while I did pretty badly at the jumping and running events, we discovered I could really move the weights, so I started looking around online for some type of outlet for that. Came across powerlifting, had never really even considered it before but it caught my interest, especially when I saw there are so many women getting into it…and all ages! I knew I had found my passion! Looked at a few different federations and their meet locations/dates, but even though I knew nothing about any of the federations, good or bad, I kept feeling drawn to NASA. I also liked the fact that I had the option to compete in Power Sports. Eventually got up my nerve and signed up for my first meet.

What are some of your best lifting accomplishments so far?

Deadlift is by far my favorite lift, and I remember how ecstatic I was to set a national record with a 314-lb lift! And I’m kinda proud of a 3rd attempt bench press I got (verrry slowly!) at the Flora, IN meet this past December, after having failed the same weight on my 2nd attempt. Getting past the failed lift, shaking it off and then being able to do it on 3rd attempt was huge for me.

What are some lifting goals that you have set for the future?

I had rotator cuff surgery 1 year ago and now that it’s healed I really hope to see my bench improve this year. That’s always been my weakest lift. I’d like to get to a 160 lb. bench, 350 dead and 90 curl in 2016.

What kind of training program do you follow?

I’ve never really followed any specific program before, as I’ve only worked with the personal trainers at my gym so far. But I have several of Rich Peters’ DVDs and have tried to incorporate his advice and techniques as much as possible. I have a powerlifting coach now too, though, and he is going to try me on the 5-3-1 program this next training cycle.

How long have you been involved with NASA Powerlifting?

My first meet was in March 2013. I think I’ve done 5 meets so far (all NASA), working around a couple of long breaks to heal from total knee replacement in 2014 and rotator cuff surgery in 2015. (And of course I had to find surgeons who wouldn’t order me to stop powerlifting after surgery!!)

Can you recall your first NASA powerlifting competition?

Yes! I was SO nervous and intimidated on the drive to Kokomo, until I arrived and found everyone to be so friendly, welcoming and helpful. I had a great time. Pat Frock and Larry Donahue gave me several tips too, so I learned a lot that day. I especially remember the emotional high immediately followed by kicking myself around the gym when I easily got a new PR on my 3rd attempt curl…but then forgot to hold at the top and wait for the down command. Sigh – live and learn! But I was all smiles on the drive home – I had my first-ever trophy and medal at age 53!

If you could lift against anybody else heads up in NASA who would it be?

Well, there just aren’t too many 50-somethings in my weight class (198+)! So I don’t really have anyone in my sights. I just keep working on improving my existing records.

What are some of your favorite moments from being at NASA meets?

I’ve had a great time at all of them! But I really enjoy lifting on a team (Pat Frock’s Underground Barbell Club). Whether lifting on a team or not, though, I’ve always felt a good camaraderie amongst the audience, staff and fellow lifters, like everyone supports you and really wants each lifter to succeed. I’ve also really enjoyed working with Rich on some recent graphics projects, helping out with designing meet banners, t-shirts, awards, etc.

When can we expect to see you step on the platform again?

I plan to lift in the Open Nationals on June 25, and Kokomo in September.

Is there anything else you’d like to let the NASA Powerlifting world know?

I’m SO happy to have stumbled across this federation. I’ve gotten to know a lot of really great people and I’m very proud to be affiliated with a federation that has such class and sticks so firmly to its values. Being in Michigan I always have to drive quite a ways to get to the meets, but it’s well worth it! I have a lot of respect for Rich, Tad and Devin for their tireless work and dedication to the sport, but also for ALL of the people I see giving so generously of their time to support the organization. NASA for life!