Here it is! Interview with Sue Metcalf Aussie Power

Posted 07 Sep 2012 in Articles

So…I got distinct pleasure of getting a little “sit down” with Sue Metcalf over the weekend to discuss, the sport of strongman, strongwomen and a little bit about her and her training.  I will say the first thing about her I found impressive…is yes…you know it….her hair…it’s good hair.  But if any of you know me…it was going to be either that or shoes.  The next immensely impressive characteristic I discovered, is her extreme passion and intensity for this sport we call “Strongman”.  She is overtly dedicated, determined and very driven…or other words, stubbornly persistant!! And won’t be pushed back! OK, so…lets see what we can get into…btw ..for those of you that don’t know, Australia is 14 hours ahead of East Coast time… know it, I’m smart like that.

 BVP:  So Suzy, what is your height and weight when you compete?  What’s your weight usually…walking around?  And do you mind if I call you Suzy?

SMM:  I’m 5’ foot 6” inches tall and when not competing, I generally walk around at 150-160lbs. I actually feel best at about 150lbs but I do adjust my weight depending on the weight category I’m competing in.When competing in the NAS middle weight, I try to leave Australia no less than 158lbs and weigh in as close to that as possible – I usually loose a few lbs in the taper week so I try to beef up a little before then! … …and no…Suzy is fine, my mother calls me that…I like it.


BVP:   How many days a week do you train?

SMM:  Right now, Jill Mills ( has me working 4 days a week – which is less than my 2011 nationals prep but heck so intense.  In saying this, I get up at 5am every morning to walk, stretch, roll on my PVC pipe and have a sauna…my prehab routine.

BVP:  Jill, now there’s a name people know.  She’s been in and around this sport for quite some time, but not like a long time, you know, cuz..she’s like…only like 22 or something, just uh, like …ok..i’m going to hush now.

Prehab, that’s a big time buzz word these days.  Training technology has come a long way in the past few years.  Prehab routines truly aid in keeping you healthy and limits your risk of injury.

SMM:  My focus 7 weeks out is stamina/conditioning/strength! The first two weeks always hurt so bad but I’m into week 3 so things are better once conditioning improves.  I also train one day a week on accessory type work and conditioning with the crazy Simon Colley (Pride Personal Training he always picks a weakness and SMASHES it out of me.

BVP:    Do you have core lifts?  What are they?

SMM:  I’ve focused a lot on my weaknesses over the past 12 months. Olympic lifting – clean and press and snatches with Australian Olympic champion Damon Kelly, he is such a great coach.  Also Jill Mills has been helping me to increase my overall strength in Deadlift, Squat, bench and overheads.  She has really helped me get my overall strength up with my powerlifting moves as well as my strong woman events.

BVP:  So many are utilizing Oly techniques in their Strongman training, How often do you train strongman events?

SMM:  Jill has me training events one day a week HOWEVER events such as frame deadlift and axel clean and press are incorporated into my other sessions so events are my focus 3 days a week right now!

BVP:  So, you incorporate your heavy strongman deadlifts and overhead events in with your “gym” lifts and standard training… cool.  Have you ever boxed a Kangaroo?

SMM:   No – but I often feel a desire to box the head of idiots using the squat racks for any exercises other than squats and heavy push press!

BVP:  What do you mean other than squats?  The rack is for curls, duh!!!  Have you ever thrown a boomerang?  Do you incorporate this in with your cardio?

SMM:  Of course – us Australians must learn to throw a boomerang in school….boomerang 101!

BVP:   LOL…you are a funny one …Suzy, Would you say your main passion now is the Sport of Strongman/woman?

SMM:  Without a doubt – YES.

I love lifting heavy AND feeling conditioned.  It’s just how I love to train and strong woman is the platform for me to be able to push it to the absolute max.

However it’s been an amazing experience working with Jill – she has really refocused me on getting strong in all of my static lifts, when I’m not prepping for a SW contest.  So she has helped reignite my love of wanting to just move big weight – we’ve already spoken about doing a powerlifting meet in 2013 to get my big three lift numbers up.

BVP:  Even your answers are full of passion and excitement for the sport and your desire to lift big, its very apparent and I so could see how this could be contagious when others train with you.  Those that do have no idea how fortunate they are.

BVP:  I guess your last answer kind of goes into my next question… Have you competed in other sports/competitions such as Body Building, figure, powerlifting? What is your background leading up to Strongman? How did you get involved with strongman and how long have you been involved in it?

SMM:   I actually started training serious back in 2006 because I wanted to do figure.   At the time my coach told me I needed stop focusing on heavy weights and up the reps!  It was genuinely soul destroying. The diet kinda sucked too!

 BVP:  Yeh, that dieting for figure and BB is very very difficult and such a huge mental game. 

SMM:   So … I just went back to lifting heavy and did a powerlifting meet in 2008. I qualified for the nationals but opted not to go.  For a punishment the guys I trained with told me I had to lift the 180lbs atlas stone – I did – I loved it – I crossed over!!!

BVP:   LOL…you got HOOKED!!…they had no idea the “monster” they were creating.

SMM:  In 2013 under the coaching of Jill Mills I will venture back to powerlifting – although the only reason to have a target date is to hit some big numbers at under 150lbs bodyweight.  I’d love a 176lbs (80kg) bench, 420lbs(191kg) deadlift and a 320lbs(145kg) squat! I’m not far off…

 BVP:   You definitely keep yourself busy.  That truly sounds exciting, and you definitely know what you want! …right down to the pound…or Kilo…How many strongman contests have you been in? 

SMM:   Before the 2010 Americas Strongest Women i had done three small contests in Australia which did not in any way shape of form prepare me for the wrath of Jamie Kovac who kicked my ass so badly!   In fact that contest was the beginning for me – it showed my how inadequate my training was and how if I wanted to do well I needed to step it up!

So to test myself I did 2 “stupidly” heavy men’s shows in Australia in 2011 and came back to the US and got Runner Up Americas Strongest Women (middle weight)

In 2012 I’ve only chosen to do one show so far – Washington’s Strongest Apple!  Another heavy  heavy show put on by the wonderful Grant Higa! This also gave me a chance to catch up with the awesome Kristyn Whisman and her husband John!  Such an awesome trip and I will do it again in 2013.

BVP:  Kristyn is quite the competitor!  She’s done well over the years, that’s good people to be hanging around with for sure.

BVP:  Today’s society and media puts such pressure on women with regard to body image,  Do you worry about your weight?  Do you have to watch it?  What is your daily diet like?

SMM:  I’ve tried a lot of different diets under the guidance of various trainers over the years. Ketogenic, high calorie low calorie blah blah blah. I obsessed over it – probably like 99% of women in today’s society do, for a long time and struggled with finding a balance with my diet and training but a few tips that help me find fuel that works for me:

  • if youre not trying to make weight for a contest DO NOT EVER obsess over the scales
  • Do not deprive yourself of foods – but do track how foods make you feel
  • Know how many calories your body can tolerate before getting fat – the best way to do this is to get an app like myfitnesspal – keep a food diary.

But now I just know what works for my body – I know exactly how many calories I need and what I need to consume to maximize my recovery. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to come across Mammoth Kitchen (www.mammoth they have really helped me refine my diet whilst keeping it interesting. Their pre-mix shake and bake cakes and meat spices are AMAZING. as well as coconut oils, recipes and other goodies have really made my life so much easier. Lisa Tresch and Zac Williams are athletes who cater for athletes and I’m so glad to have them help me out with all my diet needs.

BVP:   That is some super duper advice Suzy….Do you take any supplements?

SMM:  Due to my high training loads I do supplement my diet with protein, pure carbs, glutamine, branch chain aminos and creatine. GenTec Nutrition ( makes amazingly high quality supplements and I don’t trust anyone else with my supplementation. They keep it really simple and I’ve learned that this is KEY to progression. GenTec make an awesome intra-workout P2P (power to perform) – I use this during and after heavy workouts. I also hit their liquid pre-workout pretty hard leading into contests – both thermo fuel and power fuel. Nick Jones and Ang Tsiougos are absolutely awesome athletes and amazing people, their products reflect this!


BVP:   How often do you incorporate vegemite into your diet? 

SMM:  Actually – vegemite makes me feel better when im sick – so maybe once a year! But it is like squats, do it properly or not at all because it will hurt you 😉

BVP:  That’s pretty awesome, you are kind of funny when you want to be.  Vegemite just reminds me of the band “Men At Work”, anyway….As a woman, with a “strong” look and body, are you at all self conscience about how you are perceived?

SMM:  I used to be really scared of what people would think when I told them I did powerlifting or strong woman~ and trust me I have had my fair share of rude comments about “looking and acting like a man”! Interestingly always from women….I used to really care and get really hurt!  I moved on…I love what I do – I’m proud of my achievements to date and I don’t think you’ve seen the best of me yet! I made a promise (to myself) a while ago that I will keep doing this until I start regressing – in strength / as a person! It’s not happened yet (*sigh* the hard work continues).

The world’s a funny place and people are weird – there is ALWAYS someone with something critical to say – too fat, too lean, too skinny, she must be on steroids, she’s too much of a showcase….who really cares! Quite frankly I don’t have time for criticism! It’s wasted on me-I might get hurt for a moment but to be honest it fuels my fire! It makes me want to be stronger-if I’m lean doing it great but I also learned a long time ago appearances are deceptive! The most beautiful lean person can be an absolute tool! I’d rather be confident and have a big booty haha!

BVP:  Uh…wait…big booty?  What’s wrong with that?  LOL….Do you have particular body parts or a certain way you look that you are self conscience about?

SMM:  To be really honest I used to care a LOT about my belly and arms – now- I just care about pulling a 420lbs(190kg) dead lift and killing the nationals and qualifying for the arnold-as long as I make weight – I just dont care anymore! Its nice to be pretty but WAY MORE RESPECTIBLE to be HUGELY strong haha!

BVP:   or …Hugely Strong AND beautiful!  You are a great role model for women out there, showing you can be athletic, strong and still feminine. 

BVP:  Like a lot of women these days and again the whole body image thing, Have you ever had weight control issues?

SMM:   Yes I used to be fat! Just bad diet and partying (BVP: too many Cosmos? hehehe)….it was connected to being pretty unhappy with life in general! I found my happiness….

BVP:  It’s amazing what happens when you find something you are passionate about and how that can bring so much happiness, and really, make your life complete…

BVP:  In your training, do you incorporate calorie burning cardio and have you ever thrown a boomerang?  Do you incorporate this in with your cardio?


SMM:  Of course – us Australians must learn to throw a boomerang in school….boomerang 101!  But to answer your “cardio” question, No… I do conditioning for strongwoman – I do hillsprints (8 repeats at between 30 and 45 seconds), I walk every other morning for 45 minutes but just to keep my muscles loose!

BVP:  Every time I see that pic of you doing that 250 atlas stone I’m like…How do you keep from getting tacky in that gorgeous hair of yours?

SMM:  Its a skill – I cannot reveal my secret!

BVP:  It’s definitely a spectacular skill.  What is your vocation? 

SMM:  Currently I am working for the Department of Justice and Atourney-General in their Youth Justice Services Practice Improvement unit-simply I provide practice support to staff across the state of Queensland in the youth justice conferencing program. I interpret legislation, policies and procedures, support the use of our electronic database, and work with various stakeholders to ensure high quality services are delivered to clients.  I worked in Child Proteciton Services for many years – which is a real passion! I may go back some day?!

BVP:  I knew it!!  I knew you were special, helping children, parents…I could see you doing that and doing it well.  Do you make any money doing strongman?

SMM:  No!  I’m lucky enough to have amazing sponsors – Mammoth Kitchen, GenTec Nutrition, Pride Personal Training (Simon Colley) and Alexandra hills Chiropractic (Hans Lindgren) who all look after me.  But I never went into this expecting to make a thing from it – I do it because I LOVE it – it’s my life.  I don’t want money or things.  And with all of my sponsors I really really believe in their products and we entered into a partnership based on mutual respect.  I really love my sponsors as people and I feel so blessed to have them on the journey with me.

 BVP:  I don’t think any of us went into this looking for fame and fortune…except maybe the dream of making it to the Big Show..WSM…WSW…. You seem to have a very purposeful, well thought out training routine with your prehab, saunas ..chiro..etc…but Have you had any serious injuries during your journey with strongman?

SMM:  Never.  I do as much prehab as training – i roll on my PVC pipe daily for 30 minutes and stretch in the sauna. I am blessed to have my Chiropractor Hans Lindgren on call ( which i needed earlier in the year when my back kept popping out) and I have weekly massage.   I’ve had soreness never injury

BVP:  The proper training, does and will work.  How is your body holding up, in terms of joints or other issues (we all know how it’s doing aesthetically lol)

SMM:  Haha… Really really well – I take glucosamine and Fish oils for my joints which I swear by, I roll my legs with my PVC daily which helps my knees. My necks always been a problem but I manage that through massage and chiropractic and when I’m really messed up I turn to acupuncture.

BVP:   You definitely have a good handle on your training, knowing your body, taking care of it, preventative maintenance ….you have a great system.  Do you think from a woman’s standpoint, that strongman training could aid in losing weight and “getting in shape”?

SMM:   Any movement done with enough intensity and a good clean diet will aid weight loss.

I would suggest to women to find exercise you love and do it with passion! The results will come. What i really HATE is the shit that the fitness industry feeds women! Dont lift heavy, high reps, long cardio sessions, dont get too bulky! Its all a heap of misinformed rubbish! If you want to “look toned” you need muscle, you want muscle you need to put your little muscles under stress, which equals progressively lifting heavier and doing a mix of high and low rep training.


BVP:   So from what I know you are currently training for NAS Nationals and going to compete with some of the strongest women in America.  When training for a competition does your training change at all leading up to the comp?

SMM:  Jill Mills has really provided structure to my last 6 months of training.  Essentially the first 10 weeks was focused on increasing overall strength the 10 weeks leading in to the contest are all about stamina/conditioning and cycling in to the stupidly heavy contest weights with control haha! So hard not to go like a bull out a gate – but Jill has planned it all out for me!

My focus is to get really conditioned – it’s killing me right now ! I love it!

BVP:  That’s awesome, seems Jill and you really have a great coach/athlete thing going on.  She’s keeping you on track.  Does your diet change at all leading up to contests?

SMM:  I try not to change things too much.  I have more GenTec P2P – I tend to go through the Power Fuel preworkout quicker!  I can get away with eating a little more in the lead in as the conditioning amps up – so I’ll be eating more Mammoth Kitchen shake and Bake muffins and cakes too haha!

BVP:  LOL…muffins and cakes????  What the???? … lol you are funny.  By the looks of this years nationals though, you best be eatin’ lots of cakes and muffins…and Wheaties too!! …What do you think of this years NAS Nationals events and weights?

SMM:  I absolutely love the events and the weights.  It feels like the biggest challenge yet! And I’m scared but I LOVE it!

BVP:  Geesh..are you always this excited??  LOL…

SMM:  The 2012 nationals will REALLY be a real test of the work I’ve done with Jill the events being:

Day 1 (divide all weights by 2.2 for kg equivilant)

       140lbs axel clean and press for reps 60 seconds

       550 yoke/400 Frame carry over 50feet 60seconds

       590 Frame Deadlift 60seconds

       220 stone over a 50 inch bar 60 seconds

Day 2

       80lbs DB press for reps 60 seconds

       240lbs H-stone for distance

       Suicide medley-150lbs keg, 175lbs sandbag,

       230lbs duckwalk, 400lbs sled 50 feet in 90 seconds


BVP:   YEH!  That medley looks beyond brutal…gonna be a lot of DNF’s with that one.  There are a lot of great women out there now, I’m seeing more and more great athletes coming out…Who will be your most prominent competition this year at nationals?

SMM:   Alanna Casey scares me, she’s freaking strong, firey and determined. Gina Melnik, Erin Waterman, Melissa Johnston are all super strong and contenders. I’m waiting for Jamie Kovacs come back – always a pleasure getting beaten by her! But to be honest I’m …head down – I don’t want to think about who may or may not turn up – my goal is to set Personal Bests – if I place awesome if not I want my personal records it’s all I can control!

BVP:  “Fiery and determined”??? sounds like someone I know.  Those are some great athletes.  But you said it right, that’s what I tell all the kids….number one..just do what you trained for, second..have a BLAST doin it….if you walk away healthy and with a few PR’s..then it’s a huge win…and remember..this sport is more against that atlas stone, that log, that yoke than it is…you against that other athlete.  There’s a lot of steel, concrete and gravity between you and the next athlete…  gotta deal with that first.  Thanks so much Suzy for taking the time to answer my pestering questions and for being such a great sport.… Good luck at Nationals (like you need it..pfft) …and travel safe!


SMM:  Thanks so much Barry for allowing me to do this.  It was a pleasure.






Posted by Barry

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