February 2018 Featured Lifter

USAPL-NY would like to spotlight some of the stand-outs in the state. We will feature a new lifter each month, and ask them some random questions to get some insight into what makes them tick…..

This month’s featured lifter is EMILIA SAINATO.

Training Facility

ABC Sports & Fitness (Albany Barbell Club)

Question and Answer time!!

USA Powerlifting – NY: What got you interested in Powerlifting?

Emilia Sainato: I’ve been competing in athletics for basically my entire life…once I graduated from college and finished my time as a Division I track & field athlete (hurdles, not shot put!), I felt an urge to compete in something again. I initially thought about pursuing Weightlifting, as I had more experience with those lifts in college. However, I met a group of powerlifters @ ABC Sports & Fitness and the rest is history.

USA Powerlifting – NY: When and where was your first meet?

ES: The Northeast Iron Beast 2016 ABC Sports & Fitness…such a blast!

USA Powerlifting – NY: What things have you learned since your first meet?

ES: When you are patient with your own work and your own training, you will appreciate YOUR progress, YOUR journey, and the struggles that you may have overcome in order to hit whatever numbers you’ve been chasing. It puts a lot more value into the sport for me. I look back where I started and can’t believe I have added as many pounds to each lift as I have.

USA Powerlifting – NY: What does the future hold for you in regards to powerlifting (PR’s higher total, weight loss, etc.)?

ES: I would like to keep breaking some NYS records! I won’t die happy if I don’t hit a 400lb raw squat! I am also always looking to improve my total. I haven’t competed since March 2017, and due to some of life’s circumstances and not making powerlifting a priority, I have lost some weight and some strength. However, I’m looking for a big comeback to the platform in 2018!

USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

ES: My total! At the end of the day, that’s all that matters right?! Kidding. If I had to choose, anyone who knows me knows that I would choose the Squat. It comes the most natural to me. I also find it the most fun to train. It is oddly satisfying to feel like you are being crushed by the weight, and then you are able to stand all the way back up. I lift with a big group on Saturday mornings and it is everyone’s squat day…it’s an exciting morning with a lot of energy & hype.

USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your least favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

ES: These days I would say the Bench Press is my least favorite. I find it difficult to make fast progress! But that can also make it that much more rewarding when you do hit a personal best. I also understand that the more years you spend lifting, the slower the PRs may come.

USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you follow a specific training program? If so, is it a custom program for you or a template style program like 5/3/1 or the Texas Method?

ES: I don’t always adhere too strictly to a program. I usually run some type of 5×5 program for squats and I have had success with 5/3/1 for bench & deadlift. I basically do whatever Sean Culnan tells me to do! He knows what type of lifter I am after almost 3 years of training together. I have learned that an enjoyable and motivating gym environment has a lot to do with the can do a lot more than any program can.

USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you lift as part of a team or a group? Who are they and how did you become part of that group?

ES: I wouldn’t call us a team but I definitely have a group that I train with. We compete across all different federations and have different lifting experiences, which makes for a uniquely cohesive group of training partners. I met them at ABC Sports & Fitness which is where I work and train. I was very lucky to be taken under the wings of some of the areas top competitors.

USA Powerlifting – NY: What advice would you give a newbie powerlifter?

ES: Leave some of your gym life to the imagination and stop worrying about what other lifters are doing! Social media definitely has it’s pros and cons. CON – It is easy to get caught up in trying to be like everyone else in a sport that is becoming increasingly more popular among so many different types of people. When you compare yourself to everyone else, you will most likely end up holding yourself back or being unsuccessful. I can still be a competitive lifter without stalking others on Instagram. Stay true to yourself and don’t feel the need to do, say, and train like every other powerlifter.

USA Powerlifting – NY: Tell us something about you that those in the powerlifting world wouldn’t know about you (guilty pleasure, vice, anything at all)?

ES: I’m addicted to HGTV & Food Network! On the rare occasion that I have a TV on, I am watching endless reruns of Fixer Upper or Chopped.

Bonus Question

USA Powerlifting – NY: Who is your favorite powerlifting athlete and why?

ES: Is this a trick question? Am I supposed to say Sean Culnan? Okay without be a kiss-ass, I’m going to also add Natalie Hanson in there. When I first started competing, I remember looking up other 84kg women to see what I was getting myself into and I stumbled across her records and her Instagram page. I was in awe of the numbers she was hitting, and she too has come such a long way since her first meet. I was a total fangirl when I met her at the Arnold Expo a few years ago. Lifters like her remind me that everything takes time for everyone.


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