Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

The life of a student-lifter

MJ Tareq
Bulanhagui warming up with 245 lbs on the squat.

Everyone has heard of the moniker “a student-athlete,” but North Penn Junior, Cameron Bulanhagui is different. Bulanhagui is a student-lifter. Bulanhagui has competed in two powerlifting meets whilst balancing time for school work, content creation, and camera work for local gyms’ social media pages. His lifestyle is busy, but it is manageable for the multifaceted young man.


Talk about what got you into lifting, and specifically, what made you want to compete.

“Originally, the reason why I started working was due to boredom during lockdown in 2020. I started with home workouts, then eventually, in October of the 2020-2021 school year, I started to go to the gym. At first, I focused on bodybuilding and getting bigger. I wasn’t too concerned with maxes at the time, but eventually, after around a year and a half, I started to enjoy getting stronger on the big three compounds: squat, bench, and deadlift. I knew at some point in life I would want to compete, but at the time not anytime soon, until I was hired to take pictures at a powerlifting meet in October 2022. After seeing the process of how fun powerlifting meets are as a spectator, I knew I wanted to compete sooner rather than later. In November 2022, I signed up for my first meet in March 2023.” 

Describe balancing the process of preparation for a powerlifting meet with the school.

“Balancing the process of preparation for a powerlifting meet with school is a huge challenge that many people overlook and don’t understand. For me personally, how I approached having to balance preparation for a meet with the school involved doing most if not all of my work, including homework, in school. The reason for this was that most days, I would be lifting at the gym after school. It’s not the lifting part itself, it’s the mental burnout that I felt for long periods. This in turn would make it very hard for me to complete any schoolwork that I had left for that day. Some may seem odd, but lifting heavy almost every day makes it hard to think properly considering your CNS (central nervous system) is receiving so much strain on a day-to-day basis.”

Submitted Photo

What goals did you set for yourself for these meets and how did you think you did?

“My general goal for these meets was to become stronger across my main three lifts. I did fairly decent in my first meet, placing second, but knowing I could have pushed myself a lot harder. My second meet on December 2nd, 2023, did not go so well. I dropped a weight class (now 75 kg/165 lbs, before it was 82.5 kg/181 lbs) and suffered the consequences of this. I was not expecting to lose as much strength and size as I did. This in turn set me up for failure in certain aspects of my meet. I missed my squat max on the third attempt of 330 lbs which dropped my total by a ton, considering my second attempt was only 297 lbs. My bench went fine actually considering I hit 187 lbs for my max, that was impressive for me. My deadlift was the most disheartening. My opening attempt was perfectly executed, 359,  a perfect lift with all white lights. My second attempt, 396, was okay with 2 white lights and a soft lockout at the top causing me to get a red, but also matching the state record. In my 3rd and final attempt, I executed the deadlift perfectly until I received the down command. On my way down I moved both of my feet slightly inwards and this caused me to receive 3 red lights, therefore fumbling the state record. Although I placed first, this is not one of my meets that I’d like to remember. I am dedicated to using the failed state record as motivation for my next meet.”

What words of advice do you have for any athlete?

“It’s important to keep pushing. As often as people say that, it’s true. Your mind will beat you more than anything. Stay focused on the goals that you set in the beginning and make the adjustments you need to, but never give up.”

What are your plans for lifting/content creation?

“I definitely am going to keep lifting without a doubt. As for when I compete next, I have no idea when that will be. Content creation will always be a thing for me. It’s something I have a big passion for.”


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    anonJan 9, 2024 at 9:55 am

    What a mentally and physically strong guy!! The mental burnout is real, and that feeling of failure is enough to make someone quit overall. The most important thing is to look to the future, of what you could be if you continue to work hard and discipline yourself. Keep it up!!