November 2018 Featured Lifter

USA Powerlifting-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 NIKHIL THOMAS.

I’m a 66kg lifter in Brooklyn that trains and coaches out of Murder of Crows Barbell Club. My day job is a software engineer. I’ve been involved in the sport since late 2014 and hopefully for a long time to come.

A little about Nikhil Thomas

Training Center:

Murder of Crows Barbell

Question and Answer time!!

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

Nikhil Thomas: I first got into powerlifting because I was a fat kid. I started getting into strength training because I had a little over a hundred pounds of body fat to lose, and the internet told me lifting weights and diet was the way to go. I really enjoyed lifting and thanks to some good influences (aka Paulie Steinman) I started competing and fell in love.

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

NT: My first USAPL meet was the American Open in December 2014. It was in Washington DC. My first meet ever was the month before, an RPS meet in Long Island.


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

NT: Progress takes way longer than expected. When I look at my numbers now, I’m much stronger and bigger than I used to be but at the time the rate of progress felt glacial.


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

NT: I have lots of goals. I took a little time off competing this year to rehab some knee tendinitis and I’ve been able to step up as a coach and help a ton of people get stronger and accomplish their platform goals. Now that Raw Nationals has passed, I’m eyeing my chance to get back to the platform. Hopefully put together a nice competitive total locally early next year and at Nationals I can do my best for an Arnold’s spot.


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

NT: I think my favorite lift is the bench press. While I’m not nearly a competitive bencher (compared to my squat) I keep learning and tweaking how to refine my technique. It also tends to just favor bigger, more muscular lifters so I enjoy just hammering accessories after some heavy bench, getting bigger and watching the numbers creep up.


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

NT: I think my least favorite lift is the deadlift. It’s enjoyable to LIFT but my pull has been so temperamental. Hook grip or mixed, sumo or conventional, I’m not too certain where I’m strongest. So I think once I just figure out how to build my deadlift as well as my squat has moved, I’ll enjoy it more.


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?

NT: Sean Collins writes my programming. It’s custom to me, and typically I squat 2-3x a week, bench 3-4x a week, and deadlift 2x a week. I tend to train 4 days a week but we’re currently experimenting with 5 days to see if I can push volume a little harder and improve faster.


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?

NT: I think our gym is a community in itself, so while I don’t always lift with the same people I see everyone as a team member. I was introduced to this team out of sheer luck. When Sean ran his first meet in February 2017 he was looking for referees and asked me about two weeks prior if I was free. Originally I had told him I was traveling, but those plans fell apart so I agreed. When I came by I was blown away by the space and how enthusiastic his lifters were and the support they had for each other. The next week I asked Sean to coach me and I’ve been around ever since.


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

NT: I think the best thing a new lifter can do is find a lifting community! My favorite memories are the jokes, text messages and meet day hype we all share. Even when I look at old training footage I see the same faces spotting my squats and handing off my bench presses as I do now.


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)?

NT: I think a lot of people know this but I’m currently maintaining a ~120 lb body fat loss.


Bonus Question

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

NT: I have a lot of people I respect for so many reasons. I think Mike Tuchscherer’s articles has taught me how to think critically about programming and training. Dave Ricks and Jen Thompson have given me an appreciation for consistency and long-term vision. If I had to pick one person I respect the most though, it would be Matt Cronin, co-owner of Stoked Athletics. He’s only 20 but is one of the hardest working and most intelligent people I know. I think what Matt has taught me the most is just the constant desire to learn and realize that education can come from a massively diverse group of people. He also has a great beard.

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