Athlete of the Month: Shawn Perry

Shawn is diligent and extremely focused. His passion for powerlifting is apparent to anyone that’s ever trained alongside him – the words “phone it in” mean nothing to him. He’ll aim to move perfectly AND push the limits of what he’s capable of lifting in every session. This focus and drive inspires the other lifters to do the same. He also cares about the WHY of it all – he asks questions and clearly thinks about what he’s doing now and what he could do in the future to improve. He sets an example worth following.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a high school teacher and school administrator that is currently on a contract working at the Ministry of Education. I support schools with student achievement improvement planning and professional learning. Most of my life I’ve always been very active, from backyard hockey and swimming to yoga and competitive volleyball. Right now, outside of powerlifting I play curling 2x/week. When I’m not “closing my rings” you can find me reading, listening to music, or catching up on the latest Marvel series.

What is one thing people may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a huge nerd! (Actually, maybe that’s not very surprising. LOL.) I play Dungeons & Dragons and board games, read X-Men comic books, and love everything Star Wars and Star Trek!

How long have you been doing Powerlifting? At 6S?

I started powerlifting at 6S at the beginning of Sept 2021. I’d never done any weightlifting or training like this before.

Why did you start Powerlifting training?

In Jan 2021, I was feeling my worst… feeling both physically and mentally unhealthy. I started a new exercise plan including regular long walks and using Apple Fitness to do yoga and functional strength workouts. In June, I joined the 6S Summer Nutrition Challenge and ended up winning! My prize was some personal training sessions that led directly into powerlifting.

What is your proudest 6S moment?

The first time I deadlifted 315 lbs (three plates per side)… that felt like I had reached a new level in my lifting. Achieving three PR’s in the Hank’s Lift-off competition is up there too!

What impact has 6S had on your life inside and outside the gym?

Powerlifting at 6S has had an immense impact on me as a person. Not only am I realising that I really love lifting heavy stuff (It’s pretty addictive!) but I’ve been able to challenge and change many of my personal self-doubts and negative mindsets. One big change that came through powerlifting has been in my concepts around competition and success. Instead of comparing myself to others and feeling inadequate when I wasn’t achieving the same as others around me were, I’ve learned to really focus on where I am now, today, compared to before and the growth and progress I have achieved. In other words, the person I’m mostly in competition with is my yesterday-self. With this new mindset I think I’m a happier and more confident person overall.

For someone just starting at 6S, what advice would you give them?

Stick with it, even if gains seem slow at first. The skills and habits you learn, plus the support and camaraderie you get from your 6S fam, will help you through the challenges and are setting you up for a lifetime of fitness and health!

What’s your biggest health & fitness goal right now? How close are you?

Increase max squat. Increase max bench press. Increase max deadlift. There’s no finish line… the goal is always moving. Forever. 🙂

Other than 6S, what do you do for fun?
See above.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Not a piece of advice, but a ‘mantra’ that I regularly use to motivate and push myself, particularly when things get tough and I start doubting myself: “Our bodies are powerful machines that are built to do hard things.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

(1) Travel the world.

(2) Home with secluded lake view.

(3) Compete in an official powerlifting competition.

If you could have any one superpower, which would you choose?

To turn to steel and be super strong/invincible… like Colossus from the X-Men.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Not sure. I guess I’m most excited about our current plan that when we retire my husband and I will move back to Newfoundland. I know I’ll miss living here in Toronto though… this is a pretty amazing city to live in.

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