EATON — Mandi Vorhees and Chris Smith, both from Eaton Barbell, placed second and first in recent competitions.
Smith competed in the WPC Global Bench Wars on Saturday, July 19 and placed first in his weight class of 242 pounds. He said 90 lifters from all over the country and seven or eight other countries competed.
Smith won with a 727-pound bench press and also took the title of best open lifter and broke the WPC bench record. Smith broke the record with each of his attempts, his first attempt being a 677-pound bench press.
Smith said he likes competing in higher profile meets.
“I like lifting with better lifters,” Smith said. “It kinda brings out more in ya, I think.”
Smith said he hopes to eventually be invited to qualify for the Arnold Classic. He will be competing again Oct. 25.
Vorhees competed in the Julie Palmer IFBB Fitness Professional Competition in June and placed second, nine places higher than when she competed in April.
“Honestly it’s not an adrenaline rush because I’m in front of hundreds of people less than half naked,” Vorhees said.
“When I did my first figure show, learning the poses and learning kind of like a new style of how to pose, that was a little unnerving, but I think what has helped me is being a gymnast for 22 years, so I’m kinda used to being out on stage,” Vorhees said.
She said until she gets first place, there will always be that drive to win. Vorhees said during the next few years, she hopes to get her pro card.
Eaton Barbell has been in business sicne 2008. Smith, the owner, said the gym’s main focus is on strenth sports. He said of the about 100 members of the gym, about 20-25 percent compete.
Smith said he’s always wanted to open his own gym, espcially one that caters to people who enjoy competitive lifting.
“It’s adrenaline rush,” Smith said. “It’s neat going up there. It’s an individual sport, so it’s just you and the weight.”
Smith has been competing for about 16 years and Vorhees has been participating in figure competitions for two years.
Smith and Vorhees both said their gym is like a family and many times they will all travel together to support each other.
Smith said it’s important for him to have a goal in mind, otherwise he might be as determined to work out.
“I think for me it’s all about competing,” Smith said. “If I don’t have something to compete for, then I’m not very motivated.”
Vorhees said her goal is to always better herself and figure out what she can do to better herself. Vorhees said she usually trains about 6-7 days a week and Smith said he usually trains for about four days a week.
Both said they hope they be a positive influence in the community and a good example of the importance of staying in shape.
“People like seeing how we train and it carries over to them, too, I think,” Smith said.