Danielle Ternet is carrying a big load these days, including nearly 1,000 pounds of state records last month.
The 24-year-old has been competing for only a couple of years, but she recently made her mark at a United States Powerlifting Association event in Huntington.
On March 25, competing in the open women's classic division in the 165.2-pound weight class, Ternet had a record total of 931.4 pounds, setting records in squat (352.7), bench (209.4) and deadlift (369.3).
It ranks her 28th in the nation in her division and weight class, according to the USPA.
All this while the 2010 Carroll and 2013 IPFW graduate is constantly dealing with Type 1 diabetes and – oh, yeah – she got engaged in February and is planning a June wedding.
Not to mention Ternet is a technology specialist at Stoller Dental Laboratory in Bluffton.
Ternet's passion for powerlifting started when she was at Carroll in one of Jeremy Hartman's strength and conditioning classes. Then a couple of summers ago, she started competing in sanctioned USPA events. Two years later, she is setting records.
She trains out of and is sponsored by Sud'n Impact gym.
“I like how unique it is,” she said of powerlifting. “Social media is making it a lot more popular now, but I like it is the start of a conversation. They are generally pretty surprised when they are like, 'Wait, you are 5-2 (5-foot-2, 156 pounds) and you lift how much?' ”
And the diabetes? It has its challenges but is a big reason why she competes in powerlifting.
“For a lot of my life, I haven't really been in control of it, and lifting was the only thing I could control,” she said. “I could control my attitude when I go in there, I could control the weights I put on the bar, I could control my programming, and I could control everything. Rising to that physical challenge empowered me … in just about every way.
“Diabetes, I feel, is a true blessing. It has helped me grow a lot more, and it helps me be more responsible, especially physically. I like to do physical things to help keep me in shape so bad things associated with Type 1 diabetes don't happen.”
Sure, there is checking her blood sugar constantly when training and competing and having to take off her insulin pump to lift because of the expense of the pump itself and because it is uncomfortable to wear with her lifting belt. Her blood sugar, whether it be too high or too low, can certainly affect her strength.
Ternet said nutrition is a matter of “finding your sweet spot.”
“(Competitions) play a lot on your hormones, and that can be affected with insulin,” she said. “On a meet day, my blood sugars will always run so high, which is dangerous but all the adrenaline makes your blood sugar a lot higher. I have to check my blood sugar constantly, like between lifts, before we even start and after we end; that whole entire day in two-hour increments – or less.
“It is challenging to try to get your blood sugars to cooperate with adrenaline and the stress lifting puts on your body and being off your insulin pump while you are training.”
Just before the big meet in Huntington, Ternet got engaged to Ty Douglas. Douglas does a little bit of lifting as well but mainly supports Ternet and is an almost constant spotter.
“He is a true blessing to me,” Ternet said. “He has supported me, and that is so important in power lifting and sports in general, to have someone to support your passions.”
And the wedding plans haven't been as big of a burden to the couple as diabetes is to Ternet.
“It was fun to try to get everything together and train, but we are not very stressed about it,” Ternet said.
The competitions, though, aren't a major priority for Ternet right now. She said it will probably be November before she competes again, but when she does the goal will be adding 50 pounds to her total to help her go from the USPA Elite category to the Elite International category.
“I am taking a little bit of a break,” Ternet said.