A 16-year-old youth who has been living in Terrace broke two records and won gold at a recent Canadian Powerlifting League (CPL) competition in Vancouver.
Originally from Telegraph Creek, Brandon Mclean moved to Terrace in Grade 9 in order to finish high school and has been training at the North Coast Health & Fitness Centre gym.
He won gold and broke league records in both deadlift and bench press in the under-17 age category (sub-junior flight) at the CPL competition, which was part of a huge bodybuilding expo on July 9-10. The weight racks were set up in the front, with crowds of people milling around and a group of powerlifters warming up to the side.
He said that the best part was how other powerlifters pumped him up just before he went up, shouting encouragement and challenging him to make his attempt.
“It felt really cool because everybody is just screaming for you, like ‘come on Brandon!’ and you don’t want to fail because everybody is there,” he said.
“When you are back there (warming up), it’s not even really like a competition. Everybody pushed each other to get their personal record,” Mclean said. “No body is like ‘oh yeah, I’m benching more than you today.”
“That’s what I really like about doing powerlifting,” he said.
Out of seven other sub-junior powerlifters, Mclean took home a gold medal for his overall score, as well as broke two league records.
The prior CPL deadlift record was 363 pounds and Mclean opened with 369 pounds. In his next two attempts, he deadlifted 383 pounds, then 390, and finally lifted 403 in an extra set given to record breakers.
In the bench press, the prior league record was 215 pounds and Mclean opened with 226 pounds. He then pressed 237 pounds in his next attempt and then tried and failed for 253 in his third attempt.
He broke a personal record in squats with 314 pounds, but did not reach the 374 league record.
This is the second competition Mclean has been in. His first was the Northern Powerlifting Classic in Prince George, where he broke all three of his personal records last April.
He is planning to compete again in November at the CPL Northern Power Wars competition in Prince George.
Mclean said he started his personal training at age 13, inspired by his older brother Alan Vance.
“My brother started working out two years before that and he got really jacked,” Mclean said. “So I asked him, I was like ‘bro, can you start training me or something? … he took me for a couple workouts and showed me what to do.”
Mclean started eating healthier at the same time, and his family adjusted to it, but he said that he didn’t see any results until 4-5 months later.
He grew up in Telegraph Creek just over ten hours north of Terrace and attended the Tahltan School. The community has close to 250 people and the school only goes up to Grade 9, so Mclean moved to Terrace to finish high school.
“I wanted to explore the world a little bit more… meet a bunch of new people and stuff,” he said.
With the okay from his parents, Mclean moved in with relatives in Terrace in September 2014 to take Grade 9 at Skeena Middle School.
He says walking through the halls on that first day, he was both nervous and excited, and though he felt a bit awkward those first few days, he soon made friends.
He moved in with his buddy Craig Konst and family during Grade 10 this past school year, and his family plans to move here in September.
Mclean got a job at the North Coast gym here in Terrace for the summer, after working out there all year and competing in the powerlifting competition last December.
‘Gym troll’ Adam Yawrenko said Mclean impressed everyone at the competition with his strength and his respectful manner.
“He caught everyone’s eye… He had a big smile that just took you. He was well-mannered and had none of that cockiness that sometimes comes with this sport,” Yawrenko said.
“He’s just an all around great kid — so respectful.”