Kara Swankie - Powerlifter Interview

Author: Jonathan. L, owner - Models Observer
October 2017

1. Tell us about yourself and how long have you been powerlifting?

I am 21, born and bred in Dundee. I began powerlifting about 2 years ago after getting a little bored of doing crossfit. Iím still a junior so I really am just beginning still.

2. How did you get into it?

Crossfit was a great started but I really wasnít interested in all the other aspects, I just liked the strength. There was some guys in my gym who were just about to do their first competition and it just carried on from there.

Body is STILL playing catch up (sorry @nickwhitecross89 your star pupil won't take another holiday), so what was supposed to be 3 or more at 150kg only turned out to be 4 instead of 6. Not ideal but considering until next week I'm still training alone, it's probably okay! . . Can't I do singles at 175kg and get strong??? Oh and form police, I know rep 4 isn't pretty but I genuinely DO NOT CARE ???? . #Scotland #Dundee #roadtothecommonwealth #instafit #scottishpowerlifting #girlswholift #gymmotivation #gbpfgirls #strong #gymblogger #ipf #britishpowerlifting #dieting #compprep #deadliftdiva #motivation #instadaily #girlswhopowerlift #squat #bench #deadlift #powerlifting #gymmotivation #fitblog #fitnessaddict #Strengthshop #picoftheday #competition #gbpowerfed @ipf @gbpfgirls @girlswhopowerlift @scottishpowerlifting @strengthshopuk @powerliftingmotivation @pwrlft_community @rockstarenergyuk

A post shared by Kara Swankie (@karaswankie_powerlifter) on

3. What are your best lifts?

My competition bests are 140kg squat, 75kg bench, 170kg deadlift however I have pulled 175kg in the gym.

4. In a strength sport such a powerlifting, which factors dictate how well you perform in competition?

For me, itís a huge mental game. Everything needs to be just right. In an ideal world, on comp day, I want my boyfriend Ross and my coach Nick there doing all my warm up and handling my lifts. I eat the exactly the same food and listen to the exactly same playlist. I try to switch off from everyone else.

5. How do you utilize your diet as a way to maintain your weight while increasing strength? What is your caloric intake?

My diet is a huge part of my performance, as we speak Iím enjoying my last scope of Ben and Jerryís after having a wild 2 weeks post comp. Monday morning, I am back dieting for my next comp in 9 weeks. Off season, I sit at 75kg and peaking/competing weight is -72kg. I eat roughly 2500/3000 calories per day, I try to stay nearer 2500 and leave the extra 500 for a Saturday night. I am aaaaaaallll about balance but donít like Ďflexible dietingí.

6. Please describe your daily/weekly training. Which muscles do you target to improve lifting?

My training is programmed. I recently opened a gym so I know train twice a day, mornings usually isolation/weaknesses then 4 nights a week is compound. I train bench 4 days a week in a drastic attempt to grow some upper body size/muscle. I also do a lot of mobility work and I have found huge improvements with this.

7. What were the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?

Powerlifting takes serious commitment. You canít just miss a session. I get my programme and my coach knows if I miss a session. Again, there isnít really any money in powerlifting and it isnít a cheap sport. You need to love it.

8. Tell us about some of your most memorable moments in powerlifting so far.

My first competition was pretty good, I broke a Scottish Record. The best by far is winning 4 gold medals at the Commonwealth Championships. I will have them forever.

A post shared by Kara Swankie (@karaswankie_powerlifter) on

9. Depcik & Williams (2004) found that women who strength-train experience greater reduction in body-image-disturbance than women who do not lift weights. How do you successfully grow your mental strength in addition to physical strength?

I think powerlifting is where I get my mental strength from. I also surround myself by people who support me and train mainly with guys, that's a pretty big one. I try not to spend my down time who are negative about body image as my attitude is very much, if you're not happy do something about it. For me, itís all about only letting positive people be a part of your circle.

10. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

When Iím not training, I am usually working with at Dundee Strength Unit. The rest of my time I like to spend with my boyfriend Ross, he keeps me grounded and likes to remind me that thereís life outside training. I also love a cheeky G+T with my best friend, Kirsty.

11. What is your favorite motto/quote in life?

Iím not a big quote/motto person but I do firmly believe that you get out what you put in. I am also frankly uninterested in other peoples opinion. Social media creates this total circus, the perfect life etc but really to me, the people who care about me are the only opinions I want to know about. As you can see, Iím pretty blunt haha!

12. Future goals?

My future goals, well for this year I want a 400kg+ total. Next year, I want D.S.U. to be successful and to have a whole team, especially girls competing from here. A 200kg deadlift is on my list too!!

Contact info:
IG: @karaswankie_powerlifter
email: dundeestrengthunit@gmail.com

Female Powerlifting e-Book

Unapologetically Powerful
Powerlifting product geared towards women, including two 12-week training programs, a user manual explaining all the nuances of Powerlifting (and competing), and a complete video library with more than 140 exercises filmed.

Download e-book
Click to Download