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Maclay breaks world lifting record at Vegas championship

Chaz+Maclay+in+Las+Vegas
Chaz Maclay in Las Vegas

Chaz Maclay in Las Vegas

courtesy of Chaz Maclay

courtesy of Chaz Maclay

Chaz Maclay in Las Vegas

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Do you even lift, bro?

For Chaz Maclay, sophomore at JSC, he surely does and he has a world record to prove it. At a weightlifting competition in Las Vegas, he set a world record for his age and weight class, deadlifting 645 pounds.

Five years ago, Maclay wasn’t even thinking about breaking world records. At the time, he was just looking for something else to do after school.

“I started around my freshman year of high school,” he said. “It was something to do after school. I just worked out for the fact of working out, then I moved into competing two years after.”

The competition where he set the world record was called IPL Worlds, an event that saw over 300 athletes compete over a four day period. In order for Maclay to compete at Worlds, he had to qualify to earn his spot at the competition.

“To get qualified, you have to do a masters total,” he said. “There are three qualifications, which are masters, elite and initial elite. I got the masters by going to Rochester, New York, to get qualified to go to IPL Worlds in Las Vegas.”

After he had punched his ticket to Worlds, he knew that he had to train constantly throughout the year leading up to the event. He was back and forth on setting the world record due to pain in his joints, making his training an issue.

“Before the competition, my only goal was the world record,” he said. “During the summer, I wasn’t lifting that well so it kind of discouraged me. I was like, ‘Well, I already signed up for it, so I’ll just go anyways and just try.’ At the beginning of the semester, I started coming up with other goals, as well as the world record, just in case I didn’t get it so at least I would meet a goal. I can still get a personal record (PR) in the squat lift, a PR in the bench lift, and a total PR, which is all of it put together. I added those to my goals so if I didn’t get one, I could get another.”

Adam Ferchen, personal trainer and organiser of the event in Rochester, was influential in Maclay being in the right mindset to be successful in Vegas, whether he broke the world record or not.

“The last three months before the competition are really focused on certain lifts and some extra workouts, but mainly working on the bench, the squat, and the dead lift,” he said. “I hired Adam Ferchen just to help come up with new workouts. Since I hired him, my training got better. I’m really thankful for him.”

After an extensive training period, it was time to compete at Las Vegas. With his family and friends in attendance, Maclay was ready to show his talents at powerlifting.

“In a competition, there is an order,” he said. “It’s squats, bench, and deadlift. You get three opportunities to lift within each category, and in my second attempt of doing the squats, I got a personal record. I’m like, ‘Okay, cool,’ and then I missed my third. Usually I would get really pissed, but I was like, ‘I got a personal record, it’s okay. I have bench and deadlift now.’ With bench, it was the same thing. I got a PR on the second and failed my third, which would have been the world record bench but I only got halfway up. For deadlift, I actually changed that day because you pick what your first attempt is. I originally was going to open with something like 584 pounds, but then I started feeling more confident and changed to 600 pounds. Then after I was done with the bench, I calculated my weight total, which is a combination of all three events. One of my other goals was to lift 1,500 pounds total over three events. If I opened with my 600 pounds, it would have brought me to 1,499 pounds. So I was like, ‘This is too close, I’m going to up my opener at 611 pounds.’ I lifted my 611 pounds, which got me over my lifted total goal. That got me motivated enough to do the world record. There was so much adrenaline rushing through my body that got me in such a mood to go out and just do it. I had my mouthguard in and it made me sound, along with the adrenaline, like I was barking like a dog. I yelled, ‘This is what I came here for!’ and did the lift.”

Even though he lifted the 645 pounds, it came so close to not counting.

“I was so excited that I just ran off the platform and everyone was like, ‘Chaz, come back!’ If you get a record, you have to get your equipment checked by the judges in order to determine that everything is okay,” he said. “I was about to take off my equipment belt and if I did, the lift wouldn’t have counted.”

Maclay still has goals he wants to obtain in powerlifting. Looking past powerlifting, he wants to still stay in the gym by opening one and helping train others.

“I want to open up a gym that caters to all aspects of health and fitness, not just powerlifting, but also for other workout techniques such as yoga, spinning classes, everything really,” he said. “I want to be a personal trainer to help other people find their way. Powerlifting is my way, but it’s not everyone’s way.”

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Maclay breaks world lifting record at Vegas championship