May 3, 2012
CSKT Police Department weight lifting training effort translate to healthier minds and bodies
By B.L. Azure
It’s a good thing these fellows pumped up because they needed that extra muscle mass to haul away all the awards they won at the Montana State championships of the World Association of Bench Pressers and Dead Lifters competition. The next stop for Craige Couture, Leverne Hewankorn, TJ Haynes, Louie Fiddler and Sika Ulutoa (left-right) is the national championships in Las Vegas. (courtesy photo)
PABLO — Several members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Law Enforcement Department, aka Tribal Police Department, have been on a weight lifting kick as a part of a healthy lifestyle that has had a positive effect on their police duties, according to TPD Chief Craige Couture. And recently they have taken the healthy hobby to another level and competed and won or placed in state weight lifting competition.
The tribal police officers work out at the Joe McDonald Health and Activities Center at Salish Kootenai College. And they aren’t the only ones working out there.
“The college has been very good and accommodating to us. It is a very good environment over there,” Couture said. “There is a very diverse group of lifters working out there and none are afraid to lend a helping hand or share words of advice. Each one has something to offer. The interaction gives us a chance to show people that we’re not just a badge, gun and uniform. We’re friends and neighbors, we joke and laugh. It’s good community outreach in an informal environment.”
The weight lifting seed was planted awhile back, Couture said.
“Some of the guys here were getting ready for the certified SWAT training and we pushed them to do the ‘Big Fun’ workout method,” Couture said. “It’s very hard and very miserable; do it and you get stronger or you ‘die’ trying. ”
Couture said no one actually dies but sometimes it might feel as the easy way out. Part of the Big Fun workout included weights which some of the TPD officers we already doing somewhat informally. Once it became semiformal they began to set their sights on weight lifting competition but successful weight lifters don’t just focus on the weights, it is a holistic process that includes, among other things, good healthy eating habits.
“It can’t be a cops and doughnut diet, which by the way is not as prominent as people joke about. Proper nutrition is an important part of staying fit,” Couture said. “People who train with weights are often discouraged that they don’t see the body change they expected. They reason is usually because they aren’t eating well.”
A high protein with low to moderate carbohydrate and fat content diet is the proper fuel for a healthy body. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be part of a good diet as well as small portions five or so times a day, Couture said. It all adds up to the muscled physique with broad shoulders and six-pack abdominals prized by healthy and fit people. The TPD officers incorporated the light-weight diet with the heavy-weight lifting and it paid out spades in recent state championship competition.
The TPD weight lifters competed in the Law Enforcement-Firefighter category of the Montana State Championships of the World Association of Bench Pressers and Dead Lifters recently. Several of them won their age- and weight-class categories and set state records in the process. The top three placers are now eligible to compete in the WABPDL world championships this November in Las Vegas and you can bet that anything they win won’t stay there.
And the winners are.
Police officer TJ Haynes won the double bench press with a state record press of 325.5 pounds. Haynes also won the single dead lift with a state record lift of 424.2 pounds.
Dispatch officer Laverne Hewankorn won the single bench press with a state record press of 297.5 pounds. Hewankorn also won the single dead lift with a state record lift of 451.7 pounds.
Police Chief Couture won the single bench press with a state record lift of 501.5 pounds. Couture also won the single dead lift with a state record lift of 501.5 pounds.
Tribal Police Captain Louis Fiddler won the single dead lift with a state record lift of 424.2 pounds.
Samoan Sika Ulutoa, who trains with the TPD, won the civilian bench lift category with a state record lift of 584 pounds. Ulutoa also won the dead lift competition.
Shane Morigeau of the Tribal Prosecutors Office placed second in the dead lift in the civilian category.
“All of our guys who competed placed,” Couture said. “Now we’re looking forward to the world championships and that will be a new and very unique experience for us.”
The state competition featured some inspirational lifting by some senior citizens.
“The cool thing there was the late lifting category for the elderly. There were gentlemen there in there late-60s competing,” Couture said. “Then there was an elderly lady, 87 years old that competed in both the bench press and the dead lift. She was a real crowd pleaser and testimony to living a good life. People were screaming and cheering for her.”
Couture said he hopes all area law enforcement personnel hop aboard the weight lifting training train.
“We’d like to see all of them compete in the some sort of physical fit effort,” Couture said. “It helps build strong bonds through training and competition. There is encouragement and a bit of playful trash talk that helps set the pace to reach higher than your buddy. All the officers involved can testify to that and they are excited to hit the gym.”
There are presently 10 TPD personnel involved in the informal weight lifting and aerobics program that has been going on for nine months now.
Couture said there are plenty of Tribal Health and Human Services gyms and equipment throughout the Flathead Reservation for people to use. They are located in Elmo, Ronan, St. Ignatius and Arlee. There are also privately owned workout facilities available on the reservation and Lake County. He encourages members of the general public to take advantage of them. The THHS are free for the tribal membership and have a very affordable nominal charge for the public.