I’m thankful for all that I’ve lost and gained. I appreciate everything as it is. I will crawl and move forward. For death is the only thing that can stop me. ~ Vishant
A Dutch version of this article was recently published on the website of SME Sport; some adjustments have been made in this version by my friend Sasha.
After missing out on the National Powerlift Championships in 2016 due to an injury and personal circumstances, Vishant “Superman” Poeran made his comeback at the National Powerlift Championships on July 22nd 2017 with a boom.
Overall results and accomplishments
Breaking national records in the squat (165kg), bench press (115kg) and deadlift category (240kg), he seems to be the first Surinamese athlete to lift 4x his own bodyweight (59.3kg) thereby raising the bar for other athletes subsequently. Some of his amazing accomplishments till date are:
- 5 national records in two different categories
- 3x national powerlift champion
- 2x best lifter
- 1x best deadlifter
Competition day: a mentally draining start
He stated having had a very hard time at the start, being almost overwhelmed by the pressure after a year’s absence. For example, during round 1 and 2 in the squat category, he forgot to put on his belt; a routine he executed perfectly during his training regime. Also, during the bench press category he lost focus in the second round which he set right during round 3. This illustrates how mental preparation during training can completely differ from the actual competition itself and sometimes affect your routine and results.
According to Vishant, this years’ Powerlift Championships have improved, in terms of the amount of competitors which have increased significantly, thus making the event and sport even more competitive. He personally doesn’t focus on rival competitors, because time and energy should be utilized more efficiently i.e. on one’s training regime. He stresses on the importance of such, because during any competition it’s nearly impossible to deviate from your fixed plan. Your abilities, strength and limits are known to only you and if someone happens to outdo you in a competition, there isn’t much one can do about it at that given moment.
The purpose is to stick to the plan, minimize errors and hope it’s good enough to ace a win.
Support from the world
When asked if he had any personal coaching, Vishant revealed that he has a powerlifting network from the USA, Canada, Netherlands, all the way to Puerto Rico. He receives lots of support and tips from people all over the world on powerlifting and so on. He received a video from Matt Gary, a USA Powerlifting Coaching Committee Chairman & Senior International Coach who coached Ray Orlando Williams, the best lifter in the world, during the 2017 World Classic Powerlifting Championships. The link to this video is posted down below.
Competing to give back
Vishant, who trains solo at home, represented the Power Gym, his former training school, because they had no athletes to compete this year. He also reached an agreement with Power Gym, if afterwards they could, together, do a special give back to society. This time, the plan and purpose is to do something fun with and memorable for disabled children (An update about this will be posted soon).
He dedicated this competition to friends who had been ill and those who supported him.
The walk on rehabilitation road
About a year ago Vishant suffered an injury and had to withdraw from all competition. It posed a significant obstacle to his training regime and he turned to Bastiaan de Boer (Boeroeswing paramedische praktijk) to obtain rehabilitation success. In order to prepare for the 2017 National Powerlift Championships he received further professional support from physiotherapists from Physiocare and an American therapist.
He did not feel 100% ready or fit, but learnt from other top athletes that reaching that state is quite uncommon and that sometimes one has to learn to train with small injuries or around them. A lesson he also learnt recently is that character is not what you show when things go smoothly, but when plans fall apart.
Development and future plans
Regarding developments and regulations in powerlifting, he usually seeks knowledge on an international level, as the Surinamese Bodybuilding & Powerlifting Confederation is not always on par with the recent developments. It’s also an athletes’ responsibility to share updates and knowledge with the confederation.
His main focus is to completely recover from minor injuries and continue his training regime. At the moment there are no direct plans to compete on an international level. It entails a massive amount of money and energy; things that are currently spent carefully and purposely. If, in the future that scenario should come into play, the purpose would be to win, not break his own records. And such a plan already exists in Vishant’s mind. But for that plan to unfold, it will cost him about 3-4 years of preparation time during which he needs to increase his strength phenomenally. He states that he won’t be part of the local competitions in November; his focus is primarily on the 2018 National Powerlift Championships. And if it’s meant to be, he will regain his national powerlifting title and perhaps break some more records along the way.
The take on the use of banned substances
Vishant is known as an athlete who refrains from drug use and other illegal substances (and even chocolate!). He states that it’s quite a pity that local powerlifting athletes are not subjected to doping tests. It’s unfair and unsportsmanlike to pit “natural” athletes against those who resort to illegal means in any competitive sports event. His belief is that one should build upon one’s own strength, which is naturally more time-consuming but eventually more worthwhile. According to Vishant, one cannot force strength. Optimal strength development encompasses 4 fundamental characteristics: 1. Train smart, 2. Eat smart, 3. Take sufficient rest and 4. Time.
Strength can be measured annually, but it’s not always a certainty or invariable. Sometimes there’s no increase in strength within a year’s training, but one should continue training, persevere and above all, have faith in oneself. Within two years of training Vishant exceeded his maximum powerlifting weight by adding 7.5kg to aforementioned in total. He adds that he doesn’t use stimulants (pre-workouts) and has quit the intake of protein powders. During the last five months he got his nutrients from his food intake and says to prefer quality above quantity. If the execution of our body’s momentum lies in our locus of control, it’s only evident that our bodies should get the intake they deserve, albeit if quality is the purpose one has in mind.
The sacrifices made are almost incalculable, but serve a higher purpose: being an example for those who think they can’t. There’s no rocket science or secret behind his strength, it’s all blood, sweat and tears. Skeptics or those who question his statements, are welcome to subject him to a doping test any time, any place, anywhere (Do not fret about the expenses, Vishant will cover them gladly). Alcohol use or nicotine intake have never been part of his life-style. (So much for offering him a cup of coffee). The day he’s tested positive on any drug or illegal substance, he will immediately retire from powerlifting and discard of all his trophies. Very bold words from Vishant.
The return of “Superman”
His comeback was meant to give people Hope, especially those who fail against the odds. People may not realize that constant failure is a condition to success, and failures are only useful if we draw the lessons from them. Whatever the odds, we are capable of overcoming them if we set our mind to it. And that’s exactly what Vishant did in this comeback; he displayed grit and improved his mental and physical abilities. He states that one does not necessarily require special equipment or means to become a powerful athlete. As mentioned earlier, a healthy lifestyle significantly contributes to his powerlifting success and accomplishments. He has made it his mission to share messages with people around the world through these accomplishments, combined with his experiences and life stories. The ultimate goal is to give more to people rather than taking from them. People need each other and we can only accomplish so much if we stand united and support each other. Breaking records and winning trophies are fun, but do not provide any warmth or compassion. He seeks to inspire others who have hit rock-bottom to climb out and live; not just live, but to live consciously and grateful.
A source who wishes to stay anonymous, explains that Vishant does not only represent a role-model to other people, but is also a very down-to-earth person. “This is very pleasant, because role-models should be approachable by any person, big or small, healthy or ill, regardless of ethnicity, age or gender. Considering his massive amount of followers, the scope of his messages should be quite large and come across just right. And I believe many people are very grateful for these messages and draw inspiration from them. It’s not only a delight seeing people like him live selflessly, but it’s the impact that’s so important and should not go unnoticed. Because a good and consistent example tends to be followed. Unidirectional actions are rare, as well as the person carrying out such actions. Something I respect about him is not only his determinacy, but also his grit. That’s a trait one can detect in only successful people, across the board. I know and believe he will be successful in his endeavors and I wish to thank him for everything he is doing for those in need, knowingly or unknowingly. I hope your motivation and goals will rub off on others, so as to create a movement. For the sake of humanity.”
- Again, Sasha for al the help with my writings.
- Everyone who has been there and still is during all the years. I Appreciate all the messages.