Student athletes are not the only ones on Point Loma Nazarene’s campus breaking records. Public safety staffer Garrett Blevins recently broke three powerlifting world records at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival.
Powerlifting consists of three elements: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. The only objective is to lift as much weight as possible. Blevins, who lifts in the 205-231 pound weight class, broke the world records for all three of the events in a single competition. This competition, held in Columbus, Ohio, subsists under the International Powerlifting Federation, which is the official organization that governs powerlifting.
Participating in a sport after college is not nearly as common as it is during college, and Blevins shows that it is very fruitful to continue or start after college ends. As a student, Blevins attended PLNU and majored in philosophy and theology. He did some lifting at that point, but did not seriously begin until he came on staff at PLNU full-time. He then had more time, and started lifting at the gym here on campus.
“The expression is that you get hit by the iron bug and you can’t get rid of it,” Blevins said. “You’ve just got that itch to go lift. And so I started training, and I haven’t really looked back since then.”
Currently, Blevins trains in his garage, and as time nears closer to the competition, his training becomes more focused based on his upcoming events. Normally, he trains four times a week, but it drops down to three times closer to the competition date.
“A lot of lifters will say there is no overtraining, only under recovery, and I absolutely agree,” Blevins said about his training philosophy. “Now I have learned what things should feel like, and after competing enough times, I basically have a loose structure, but whatever weights I am working with [that] day is based on feel.”
His road to the world records started four years ago when he first began competing in local competitions. He competes in three competitions a year, and has been to nationals three times. This June, he will be competing at Worlds for the first time at Minsk, Belarus, the capital city of the country. Competing along with him is Bryce Lewis, a lifter who beat him by the smallest possible margin at the previous national competition.
While Blevins did not get his start in lifting until later in life, he was always interested in strength.
“I was always intrigued by strength, even as a little kid,” Blevins said. He said that he appreciates powerlifting because it will continue to be available to him as he gets older. He explained that it is possible to compete into your fifties and sixties, and said it is “absolutely possible” to keep gaining strength into your forties. Lifting occupies a place in Blevins life, but lifting is not solely a sport for Blevins.
“I don’t think that lifting heavy stuff really amounts to much of anything of importance,” Blevins said. “It is far more about how your relationships function and what you do as far as how you treat people. Those are far more important things.”
Along with lifting, Blevins utilizes his passions in both religion and lifting. He continues to work for campus’ public safety office, and works part-time at Mission Church of the Nazarene with fifth and sixth graders. He recently finished his masters in art and divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary.
He also runs an online business where he coaches people through their own lifting programs. He started the business two years ago, and uses it to help others excel at the sport. Blevins explained that his faith is central to his life, and also to his lifting endeavors.
“The earliest prayer I can remember praying is to be the strongest Christian,” Blevins said. “And that has come to mean many things to me throughout my life. I think I meant at that time actually physically strong, but now it definitely means something different to me and my understanding of it is quite different.”
Blevins works to keep spreading this understanding in his life and in the lives of others. With this in mind, Blevins continues to prepare for Worlds, and shows by his example that it is never too late to start something new.