As I mentioned before in a previous blog post, I managed to burst open my previous powerlifting belt made by Strength Apparel. Having felt the difference between a proper powerlifting belt and a cheap lifting belt, I knew that I had to buy another powerlifting belt; the security during a final set is real and not a placebo effect kind of thing. Another fellow "competitive powerlifter" (you can train and have a day job, or should I say need one) suggested that I buy an IPF-sanctioned belt so that I can compete in IPF-sanctioned meets, which have 2 distinguishing features: there is drug testing (so the playing field is much more fair), and weigh-ins are basically just prior to the meet (so you can't play around with weight manipulation which can lead you to be competing with athletes up to at least 5 kg's heavier than their weigh-in weight). And so I stumbled upon Zealfit, who apparently sells such a belt, made by Eleiko.
Online it’s difficult to find a price internationally to compare the value. This is basically the best I got:
After getting in touch with the rep (it's basically a one man shop selling stuff from his house at the moment, but having good enough business to even be fitting commercial gyms like Celebrity Fitness with heavy metal), he managed to give me a discounted price of 950 ringgit. That's more than 4 times what I paid for the Strength Apparel belt, but I've made more "expensive purchases" (think fountain pens). And so we made a deal to meet up, tried out the belt and bought it (no credit cards accepted at the moment, just hard cash). And so here's the belt:
It actually appears as thought the Eleiko belt is a bit thinner than the Strength Apparel belt; otherwise they weigh more or less the same (the Elieko belt weight is stated as 1 kg while there is no weight stated for the Strength Apparel belt on the website). The circumference of the loop of the Eleiko belt this better; the one on the Strength Apparel belt is too small, making it difficult to thread the strap in (important for lifts such as the deadlift and squat). The Eleiko belt feels a bit softer when trying to bend the belt in the superior-inferior direction as well as when trying to wear it. Performing single rep lifts with the Strength Apparel belt felt sturdier because it is much tougher, but it is not so suited for doing lifts with multiple reps. Only a few weeks prior to the belt bursting did it feel comfortable enough wearing it, where it did not pinch my skin at my chest/lower abs when in the bottom position of a deadlift or squat (this made my tempo slower and made it harder to deadlift multiple reps with my weak grip strength).
So I've run it through it's paces of a "training week" and this is what I'll say about it: So far so good. There's a balance to be ensured between stiffness (and hence support) and comfort and I believe this belt is more in the middle than the stiffness extreme. No more bruising at my lower ribs/lower abs from pinching by an extremely stiff belt; there is no acclimatization period. And yet it is still stiff enough to give proper support. I think that the slight softness of the belt may provide some longevity by allowing it to withstand the stresses of lifting. But I do not really like the white color; it's just asking to be stained. Unfortunately, there is no black option (my favorite color). The strap length beyond the first set of holes is also a little short, making it a little bit harder to slip it into the loop (not needed when performing military presses), but at least the loop isn't too small such that I have to use strength to pull the strap in.
According to the seller, this belt was with him since 2016 but otherwise untouched. Let's see how long it lasts; preferably at least 2 years to make the belt worth it's expense (as well as the brand's reputation) compared to the old belt.