By Corporal Jérôme Lessard, CF Military Police Group –
Corporal (Cpl) Marc Cardinal lifted the Canadian Armed Forces’ spirit by breaking a feats-of-strength record at the 2019 North American Powerlifting Federation Championship (NAPFC) in San Jose, Costa Rica in August 2019.
The 30-year-old member of the Canadian Forces Military Police had already lifted 372.5 kg (821 lb) in the deadlift in the 120-kg weight class during the Canadian Powerlifting Union Nationals in Ottawa last March, but in August 2019 he made it a world-record.
“When I lifted it during the nationals it was an unofficial world record,” said Cpl Cardinal. “To set a world record you need to compete at an international competition. The sole purpose of going to the NAPFC was to set that International Powerlifting Federation record.”
On 8 August, 2019 the member of the Canadian Forces Protective Services Unit (CFPSU) was confident he could lift the load off the ground and to his hips, again. Listening to his go-to song, AC/DC’s Hells Bells, kept him calm and ready to rock.
“That song brings me into that moment where I feel calm and aggressive at the same time,” said Cpl Cardinal. “Once I got out on the platform and pulled the bar it felt pretty easy. I feel like that at the next competition I could pull at least 10 to 15 kilograms more.”
In addition to lifting a world-record load in his weight class in the deadlift, Cpl Cardinal returned from Costa Rica with a silver medal, thanks to a 290-kg (630 lb) squat and 190-kg (419 lb) bench press. Cpl Cardinal broke the ice in his international powerlifting career by breaking the 372.5-kg record only six years after he started competing.
Cpl Cardinal joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) 13 years ago. He served as Infantryman with The Royal Canadian Regiment for four years, before transferring to Military Police in 2012. Since being posted with CFPSU in 2014, Cpl Cardinal has deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan twice.
Cpl Cardinal trains four to five times per week for a weekly total of about 10 hours. Balancing his intensive powerlifting training, preparation and nutrition regime with a very busy work and International-travel schedule at an operational CAF unit is not always simple, but Cpl Cardinal is supported by his chain of command.
“Luckily, I am given some time to do physical fitness training in my gym in my garage here (Aylmer, QC),” said Cpl Cardinal. “I have all the specific equipment that I need here in my gym for my powerlifting training. My unit is very supportive of my training. I am very fortunate for that.”
As a CFPSU Operator, Cpl Cardinal offers close protections services to the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, and the Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC), Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau. Though access to a suitable gym is not always an option during overseas taskings and deployments, the power lifter always finds a way.
“While overseas it gets a bit hard to find the time to train, but normally I try to take time out of my own day to go and find a local gym. Whether it’s in Europe or other places in the world,” said Cpl Cardinal. “Sometimes I’ll just have to manage it where if I’m gone for a week I’ll try to do more training than normal before leaving, have a few more recovery days during my tasking and get to normal training when I come back.”
Next on Cpl Cardinal’s powerlifting calendar is the Quebec Powerlifting Federation Provincials in Drummondville, Quebec in November 2019, which will qualify him for the next Canadian Nationals in Winnipeg, MB in March 2020.
Feature Image Credit: Cpl Jérôme Lessard – CF MP Gp/OPTIC
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