Discipline propels PAC student to top

August 25, 2017

Public Relations

First-year student Bianca Martinez attends Palo Alto College full time, works a part time job, and spends up to 12 hours a week training at the College’s Fitness Center. Still, Martinez strives to earn high marks in all of her courses and managed to take first place in the USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals this past spring.

Martinez competes in the lowest female weight class, and she was only five pounds away from breaking the USA Powerlifting Collegiate National bench record at this year’s competition. Next year she hopes to shatter that record. Martinez says that many people are amazed when they see what she – a petite, young woman – can do. Her success has given her a confidence she had never experienced before. 

“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt confident in what I can do and my ability. When they see people like me – my size – lifting heavy weight, they’re amazed. Most girls can’t bench more than 10 pounds on the bar, maybe,” said Martinez. “I don’t like that people underestimate me, so I like to show them what I can do.”

That confidence has spread to her grades as well. Martinez said she is “book smart,” and school usually comes easily to her with adequate studying. However, during her first semester of college, Martinez said powerlifting took up a lot of her time because she was both training and judging high school meets. 

“It was a lot to juggle,” said Martinez. “I love powerlifting so much that I would not give it up.”

Martinez says she met a lot of her friends through powerlifting at Palo Alto College, and they have helped her stay on track with her training and school work during her first year of college. 

“Without a community, you have no support. You don’t have motivation from others to keep you going,” said Martinez. “You can’t always be motivated. I lost it, and having friends and a community there to keep me pushing through it was good.”

In summer 2017, Martinez looked forward to having a break from school and work to focus solely on powerlifting – but her schedule didn’t lighten up much. She was preparing to go to Orlando to represent the North American Powerlifting Federation’s Team USA at the North and South American Powerlifting Championships in July.

“I want to break records,” Martinez said in May.

She did just that; Martinez came in first place in the Pan-American Women Junior Equipped Division by squatting 102.5 kilograms, bench pressing 55 kilograms, and deadlifting 117.5 kilograms. She lifted a total of 275 kilograms, the most she has ever lifted in a competition.

“I hit two personal records out there [for bench press and deadlift],” said Martinez. “It was one of my best meets, and I had a lot of fun competing.”