Interview With Bench Press Star Gina Benton As told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar - October 2007
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Gina, Critical Bench is very happy to have you with us today. Can you tell us about yourself?
I live in Monroe, North Carolina, which is located just south of Charlotte. I work in Charlotte as a Certified Personal Trainer. I graduated from Western Carolina University in 1997 and went to work for the City of Monroe as a Law Enforcement Officer for a brief amount of time. I became certified as a Personal Trainer in 1998 and found that Fitness was the field that I truly wanted to be a part of. I went to work at a Charlotte YMCA and I've been there ever since!
2) CRITICAL BENCH: What Federation do you compete in?
I've competed in USAPL, AAU and 100% RAW. My first meet was with AAU in Dec. 2005. I went just for fun, with no serious preparation, just to see how I would do. I only entered the RAW Bench division and won my weight class and set a new NC State record on my opening lift. After that I was hooked. Most of my competitions now are done with the USAPL.
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Congratulations setting a new NC state record! That's awesome! What is your height, weight, and age?
I am 5'3" 123lbs and 32 years old.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: So far in your powerlifting journey what has been the moment that changed you the most?
By far it would be competing at the 2007 IPF World Bench Press Championships in Denmark this past May. Every competition before than was simply a "local" meet for me, but when you travel across the world to compete against the best in the WORLD, it is an unbelievable experience. I compete in the 56k class (123lb) and I very rarely have anyone in my weight class. It's no fun winning first place, if there is no one to beat. At the World Level you are up against the best and it is an honor to represent the USA at that Elite Level.
Gina Benton With Chris Wilson of Critical Bench
5) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about the records you hold.
I currently hold the NC State Bench Press record for USAPL, AAU and 100% RAW. I also hold the 100% RAW World Bench Press record. I am the 2006 USAPL National Bench Press Champion and the 2007 100% RAW National Bench Press Champion. All records are for the 123lb class.
6) CRITICAL BENCH: That's awesome! What are your future goals?
I am currently training for the 2007 USAPL Bench Nationals and my goal is to represent our country once again at the 2008 IPF World Bench Press Championships in Prague.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: We wish you the best. Gina, what is your advice for the beginner, intermediate and advanced bencher?
My advice for a beginner interested in powerlifting, would definitely be to work with someone who has a complete understanding of the sport and the lifts. So many people seem to get started on the "wrong foot" with training and they pick up "bad" habits from other people in the gym. This will only hinder your efforts.
Intermediate- PUSH YOURSELF!!! You've got to want it bad enough to push your self to the next level. And if you don't have a training partner with the same goals (powerlifting goals) than get one! You can't push yourself to your limits if you don't have someone there to pick your a** up off the floor or the weight off your chest :)
Advanced Bencher- Don't let it go to your head. There's always someone in the gym that could use your expertise and there's always something more you can learn.
8) CRITICAL BENCH: Great advice Gina. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I've enjoyed speaking with you. I would like to thank INZER for sponsoring me in my competitions as well as Eric and Eileen Jones, owners of the Fitness Factory in Charlotte, NC and Danny Plyer owner of Carolina Fitness in Monroe , NC. And I can't leave out my training partners for all their continued support: Chris St.Clair and Jenn and Donovan Thompson.