Thursday, April 10, 2008

Master blaster

Kingsley turns advice into national powerlifting title

By Susan Shemanske
Journal Times sports editor
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 11:38 PM CDT
Some might call it beginners luck. Dan Kingsley prefers to credit his wife’s work ethic. As for Jennifer Kingsley, the whys aren’t as important as the hows.

Kingsley, a 46-year-old Franksville resident, took some well-meaning advice from her husband and turned it into a national championship in powerlifting in less than three years.

Kingsley, an underwriter consultant for HumanaOne, a health care specialty company, won the 114-pound weight class in the Masters II Division (ages 46-49) at the 2008 USA Women’s Nationals Powerlifting Championships Feb. 15 at Kileen, Texas.

In the competition, Kingsley topped out with a squat of 243 pounds, a dead lift of 292 and a bench press of 148.

What may have been most impressive, though, about Kingsley’s achievement was that it came in her first national meet and in only her fourth competitive powerlifting meet overall.

Kingsley was a three-sport athlete at St. Francis High School in the late 1970s, participating in basketball, track and volleyball. After high school, she had even dabbled in bodybuilding and had won a Miss Wisconsin contest.

But Kingsley had gotten away from athletic competition while she and her husband were raising their son, Brandon, now 19 and a freshman at the University of North Texas in Denton.

While Brandon was in high school, Dan, a high school state powerlifting champion at Kenosha Tremper in 1981, tried to introduce his son to the sport of powerlifting. But Brandon chose to stick with hockey, the sport he had been playing since middle school.

When Jennifer mentioned to her husband that she was thinking of training for a triathlon, Dan suggested she try powerlifting instead.

Jennifer took Dan’s advice and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I think it’s a combination of her work ethic and discipline,” Dan said of his wife’s success. “And she’s open-minded. There are a lot of new things that even I had to learn, about the equipment and training and nutrition. A lot has changed over the years.

“She’s just very disciplined. She’s got an athletic, driven, disciplined background.”

With Dan serving as her coach, Jennifer competed in her first powerlifting meet in June 2006, taking second at the Badger State Championships. She competed in two meets in 2007, then decided to try the national meet in February.

Now Kingsley is looking ahead to the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Master Worlds in Palm Springs, Calif., in October. Kingsley received a verbal invitation to the meet after her finish at the national meet.

“I just want to go in and do as well as I can at the worlds and learn from it,” Jennifer said. “There’s so much I have to work on. I’m still new. I’m still learning. I just want to see how far I can go and keep competing as long as I can.”

Jennifer trains at the World Gym Fitness Center, 3701 Durand Ave. Dan serves as her coach and she also works closely with Frank Jones and Dustin Merritt, who coach the Case High School powerlifters. “They help me out a lot,” Jennifer said. “They’re up on the equipment and they’re very helpful.”

Jennifer trains four times a week, alternating workouts to focus on specific muscle groups. For instance, she trains shoulders and triceps on Tuesdays, back and biceps on Thursdays, chest and bench press on Saturdays and legs, squatting and dead lifts on Sundays. She also works out on a treadmill about three times a week, mostly to help keep her back loose.

“In a typical week, I’ll put in 8-10 hours (training),” Jennifer said.

And what has she gotten out of the sport?

“Overall, it gives you a lot more confidence,” Kingsley said. “That’s something my husband has seen in me. I feel better about myself. I did a lot with my son’s sports while he was growing up. Now, it’s my turn. This is something for me.”

Dan agreed. “She had done some competitive bodybuilding years ago, but that was a 13, 14-year gap,” said Dan, a police officer for the Town of Silver Lake in Kenosha County. “As her interest (in powerlifting grew), her strength grew and her body composition changed. Her body’s been kind of revitalized.”

Jennifer admits there are days when she wakes up “feeling like I’m 100 (years old)” because of aches and pains. But that feeling doesn’t last long.

“There was a woman at the national meet who’s 67 and she’s still going strong,” Jennifer said. “I’m just going to keep going until I physically can’t do it anymore.”

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