After one year of weightlifting, Tooele resident and local barber Kevin Clement took home second place in a powerlifting competition.
Clement, who owns Black Cat Barber Company in Tooele City began lifting weights at Bison Strength, a local gym owned by his friend Tyson Hunt in October 2022.
“I got into working out because I really wanted to feel better and have more mobility,” Clement said. “My posture and my stance was starting to become affected from barbering. I didn’t want to have to become like a lot of the barbers I’ve seen who have really bad backs and don’t look good physically. I didn’t want that quality of life and I didn’t want to be in a lot of pain anymore, so I joined the gym. I wasn’t intending it really going anywhere.”
Clement found that he enjoyed working out and lifting weights. As the months went by, he grew into a routine and became comfortable with weight training. He also became stronger, and his mobility began to improve.
In July of this year, Hunt told Clement about a powerlifting competition and informed him that he thought he would be a good candidate for the event. Although Clement had his reservations about participating, he agreed.
“I wasn’t really confident in myself, because it was a semi professional meet,” Clement explained. “I knew you had to know what you were doing there, but Ty convinced me and assured me that I was capable of it.”
With nothing to lose, Clement began intensive training at the gym four times a week for an hour to an hour and a half at a time.
“Within four months, I learned the lifts that were required for the event and worked those lifts everyday,” Clement said. “I got really good with them. Powerlifting is a specific type of weight training. It’s not something where you go to the gym and hit the treadmill and do some cardio. It’s geared towards increasing strength.”
During his training, Clement also learned the specific commands from the judges used at powerlifting events to avoid disqualification. He also ate around 4,000 calories a day including a gram of protein for every pound of body weight.
Finally, the day of the competition rolled around on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Ironground Gym in Murray. The event was called “Nightmare on Deadlift Street,” a play-on-words with a Halloween theme put on by the group Utah State Powerlifting.
Clement showed up to the event with his Power Ranger-themed singlet ready to enjoy himself and show off the skills he had been working towards perfecting. He was almost certain he wouldn’t receive any awards.
During the competition, Clement participated in the 165-weight class in three lifting categories including squat, bench press, and deadlift. In each category, he completed a total of three lifts. He squatted 231 pounds, benched 176 pounds, and deadlifted 363 pounds for a total of 770 pounds.
Clement completed 7/9 lifts correctly, or roughly 77%.
“I was super happy with what I’d done, because being able to compete at that level is really hard,” he said.
After he finished his lifts, Clement decided to skip the awards ceremony and head back to Tooele for a trunk-or-treat event, thinking he hadn’t placed in the competition.
Later that night, Clement found out via Instagram that he had taken second place in his weight division.
“It was a nice surprise to close out the day,” Clement said. “I was really not even upset by the fact that I didn’t think I’d placed. It just felt good that my trainer was ecstatic with my performance. I felt good that I had gotten outside of my comfort zone and done something I’d never done before, but to find out that I had won second place was a really cool feeling.”
Throughout his journey, Clement has enjoyed the way weightlifting has made him feel.
“I enjoy the strength and the feeling that has come with this,” Clement said. “I really do feel a lot better. It’s really helped me with my self-esteem and building discipline. It’s one of those sports that’s really easy to give up on. As Americans, we love to see results fast, and I had to wait and keep working and working. For a lot of months, you don’t see anything, especially if you’re like me and you’re really skinny … It’s not a fast process, but it was really cool seeing where I started to where I am now.”
When he started, Hunt told Clement it would take around three years to get to where he wanted to be. Clement plans to continue weightlifting until he reaches his goal, but he is proud of the 22 pounds he has gained in muscle so far.
Moving forward, Clement plans to participate in at least one powerlifting competition a year and train intensively for three or four months beforehand.
“You can really get hooked on this and do tons of shows a year,” he said.
Clement encourages those who would like to pursue weightlifting to find a trainer and get started.
“I can’t emphasize enough to people how important it is when you get into this kind of stuff to have someone who knows what they are doing,” Clement said. “A trainer really cuts out the learning curve and the chance for injuries in this type of a sport … Find a good gym and a good trainer.”
Clement opened Black Cat Barber Company in 2018 shortly after graduating from barber school. The shop is located at 1196 N. Main Street in Tooele City.
Clement enjoys helping the community throughout the year.
“We’ve had a lot of good success with the shop and a lot of good opportunities,” Clement said. “We’ve done good.”
When Clement isn’t barbering or weightlifting, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four children. He said being a dad is his favorite thing in the world. He also enjoys working in his yard landscaping and planting.