By Nathan Ham
It has been a busy year of competitive weightlifting for Avery County native and Marion resident Blake Stanley. In February of this year at a competition in Georgia, Stanley set the North Carolina all-time record for 242-pound weightlifters in the squat, bench press, deadlift and total weight. He squatted 255kg (562.17 pounds), bench pressed 175kg (385.8 pounds) and deadlifted 275kg (606.27 pounds). All of those weights combined to reach 705kg (1,554.25 pounds).
Stanley, 29, will next compete in the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Drug Tested South Carolina State Championship on August 15 in Columbia. Stanley has also qualified for the 365 Strong World Powerlifting Games in Wilkesboro, October 16-17, and the International Powerlifting League (IPL) Drug Tested World Championship set for November 4-7 in Costa Mesa, California.
Stanley got into lifting weights in high school but has only been competing for the last three years. He took some time off from weight lifting after spending time in the United States Marine Corps.
“My best achievements so far are second place at the 2020 United States Powerlifting Association Drug Tested National Championship in the deadlift-only competition, third place at the International Powerlifting Federation Drug Tested North American Championship in the deadlift and a second place at the meet in full power (squat, bench press and deadlift combined),” Stanley said.
Looking ahead at his competitions the rest of this year, Stanley has one big goal in mind.
“My goal is not to just have a good experience but to become Avery County’s first-ever world champion. We’ve had multiple national champions, Josh Johnson in football at App State; Tommy Burleson in college basketball at NC State; John Mark Bentley in wrestling in high school, and we had one come close to a world champion when Tommy Burleson earned a silver medal with the US Olympic team,” Stanley said. “I want to be the first to win it.”
The training that is needed to succeed in competitions like this takes a lot of time, discipline and energy. Stanley is no stranger to any of that, detailing how each day of his training breaks down. He trains five days a week, roughly 2-3.5 hours per training session.
“Day one is dedicated to squat, day two is dedicated to benchpress, day three is dedicated to deadlift. Day four is a lower-body accessory day where I target lower body weaknesses. Day five is an upper-body day dedicated to upper body weaknesses. Then a week out from a competition I’ll dial the weight back and just focus on my openers for the competition so that I can be 100% at the competition itself,” Stanley said.
You can follow Blake and his workout routines and competition updates by following him on Instagram @thecarolinaforklift. Anyone interested in donating or sponsoring Stanley during his competition run can learn more about him here.