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Girl Power And Then Some: An Interview With Mariam Power!

I had the opportunity to talk to Mariam recently regarding her training, diet, and philosophy for success.

Women are often told that they cannot get as strong as men. Moreover, many women believe that they will look like a gorilla if they pick anything up that is heavier than some color coded "Ken and Barbie" dumbbells. Mariam Power shows clearly that women do not have to compromise their femininity to get super strong.

When I say super strong, I do not mean strong for a woman, but strong under any definition of the word. In addition to holding several powerlifting records, Mariam is a fitness model, personal trainer, and is preparing for the Women's Tri-Fitness competition in Las Vegas this July. I had the opportunity to talk to Mariam recently regarding her training, diet, and philosophy for success.

The Interview

Mike Mahler: Hi Mariam, how is it going today?

Mariam Power: Great! It is actually my birthday today and I am talking the day off.

Mike Mahler: Happy birthday and thanks for taking the time to do the interview.

Mariam Power: Thanks! Glad to do the interview.

Mike Mahler: What motivated you to compete in Powerlifting?

Mariam Power: Initially, I had no interest in powerlifting at all. I was a college soccer player for a while and decided that I wanted something more individualized to compete in. In addition, I wanted to get in better shape. My father stated that if I really wanted to get stronger, I would have to start doing some compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press. I pulled 275lbs on my first deadlift attempt and my father was impressed. He encouraged me to compete in a contest that was coming up. I did that and broke several records and qualified for the Canadians. I broke all of the junior records there.

Mike Mahler: What are your best lifts?

Mariam Power: My best personal lifts in the gym are 415lb deadlift for three reps, 275lb bench press, and a 400lb squat.

Mike Mahler: Wow, at what bodyweight?

Mariam Power: 149lbs.

Mike Mahler: Very impressive! Are you still competing in powerlifting?

Mariam Power: No, I finished in February. I am focused now on going to Las Vegas in July and competing in the Ms. Tri-Fitness.

Mike Mahler: What motivated you to want to compete in that?

Mariam Power: I was working part-time as a bartender and saw the event on TV one day and knew immediately that it was for me.

Mike Mahler: Sounds like an event like that allows you to apply overall fitness rather than just brute strength like in powerlifting?

Mariam Power: Totally! Although, I enjoyed powerlifting, there is not really a feminine side to it. Don't get me wrong, it was fun and a big stepping stone for me. However, I really want to do something more fitness oriented. The Tri-Fitness event offers a military style obstacle course, a grace and physique round, and then a routine round. There are world records involved as well.

Mike Mahler: Sounds very exciting. What is great about your powerlifting background is that once you tap in to those deep levels of strength, you pretty much have them permanently. You can tap into them at anytime.

Mariam Power: You have got that right.

Mike Mahler: You have it as part of your arsenal and can compliment that arsenal by adding in the cardiovascular training and muscular endurance.

Mariam Power: Absolutely. I felt good when I was powerlifting. However, I have never felt as good as I feel now. I feel more energetic and healthy than I ever have.

Mike Mahler: Give me an example of what your training routine looks like now?

Mariam Power: I get up each morning at 4:30am, go to the gym, and run for twenty minutes. I do one minute all out and then one minute walking.

Mike Mahler: Sounds like interval training?

Mariam Power: Correct. After that, I do some skills training that are sports specific to the contest. That usually takes about forty-five minutes. Later in the day around 7pm, I will go back to the gym and train with weights. In addition to that, I will do plyometrics three days a week.

Mike Mahler: How do you break down the days?

Mariam Power: With weights, I train Monday-Friday. With plyometrics, I do them Monday-Wednesday-Friday. In addition to that, I do interval training six times a week. I take Sunday as a cheat day and just relax. This type of training is much different than what I used to do as a powerlifter. As a powerlifter, I would only hit the gym four times a week. Powerlifitng is just too intense to do daily. However, training for a Tri-Fitness event involves three rounds that require much more preparation.

Mike Mahler: Does anyone help you with your training regimen?

Mariam Power: My dad and Dr. Sal Arria design everything for me. The first month of training is relatively easy. The purpose is just basic conditioning. Then I will move into a more intense training phase. About three weeks before the contest, I will tone down the program and train three days a week.

Mike Mahler: As you get closer to the event, you tone down the program to avoid going into the event overtrained?

Mariam Power: Exactly.

Mike Mahler: Do you do a lot of bodyweight exercises such as gymnastic type movements?

Mariam Power: Yes, I do a little bit every day and feel that it is very sport specific. In addition, I am training some women that are going to be competing in an upcoming fitness contest. I use my time with them to get in all of my stretching and practice my one arm-pushups, splits, etc.

Mike Mahler: How important is flexibility training in your routine?

Mariam Power: It is extremely important. Fortunately I manage to get it in when I train my clients which has worked very well for me. I can do a full split now and there is no way that I could have done that a month ago.

Mike Mahler: How important is visualization and meditation for an athlete?

Mariam Power: Both are extremely important not only to athletics, but to everything in life. I do visualization and meditation daily and as a result experience deja-vu all the time. When I competed in powerlifting, every lift felt like something that I had done before. In fact, everything that I have achieved in life was visualized in my mind first.

Mike Mahler: I have had a chance to talk to a lot of successful individuals over the last several months and the one thing that they all have in common is the application of visualization. Moreover, they all developed a laser-like focus to achieve goals that they were going after. Where do you get your drive to do the amazing things that you have done?

Mariam Power: I think that it has a great deal to do with one's upbringing. My parents were awesome role models. My father always told me that I can do anything and that I can match or beat any man out there. He told me that if I believe strongly enough in what I want, I will get it. I have always believed that and still apply it today. I also think that you either have the personality to go after goals, or you do not. You do not just wake up one day and have it.

Mike Mahler: What do you think are some of the mistakes that a lot of people make regarding their workout regimens?

Mariam Power: The biggest mistake that a lot of people make is not being consistent. Many people will take a program and stray after two weeks. They don't keep journals and follow training programs to the letter. When I want to achieve a goal, I am very disciplined and follow every detail of a program to the letter.

Mike Mahler: What is your nutrition program like.

Mariam Power: Monday through Saturday, I pretty much have the same meals every day to make sure that I am getting everything that I need. I have oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder every morning. I have 2-3 servings of fish a day with vegetables, two glasses of fresh fruit juice, and three protein shakes daily.

Mike Mahler: Do you take any nutritional supplements?

Mariam Power: I took creatine when I was powerlifting. However, right now I just take protein shakes and a good multi-vitamin.

Mike Mahler: Thanks a lot for doing the interview Mariam. It has been a real pleasure and good luck with the tri-fitness competition.

Mariam Power: Thanks Mike. For more information on Mariam, visit her site at!

Check out her first interview on, click here!