…’She believed she could, so she did’…
I relate to this quote so strongly because it represented the mindset it took for me to not only realise my goals in this sport, but life in general.
I had no exposure to strength sports when I first started playing around with a buckled old barbell and some rusty standard plates. My brother was a powerlifter but I had no idea what powerlifting was or what it entailed.
This was a great way to get started I think because I didn’t compare myself to others. I just trained. I still remember swinging some ten pound plates on a chain like a kettlebell in my yard while the kids crawled around in the mud. I remember running back and forth on the grass and doing burpees to try get my heart rate up. I remember dragging my sleep-deprived butt (kids!) out of bed before everyone woke up, lifting weights and doing sprints in the rain to fit training in with family and work commitments. With consistency, I saw results and felt encouraged and began to see a potential future opening up. A future I hadn’t envisioned before. I began to set more challenging goals and worked towards them.
These were tough times that taught me valuable lessons about myself, who I was and who I could be. No one else saw the effort and no one knew what I was going through and I had to stay self-motivated because no one would have cared if I’d just thrown my hands up and given it all away.
Over the next 12 months I worked hard towards my training, family and life goals and found that I was outgrowing my backyard gym. I’d also sustained a hip injury that was not resolving and my progress stalled. It was time for me to get outside help. I managed to save some of my pub-work acquired salary to hire a trainer for a while and my brother, who had been fantastic – writing me some programs, providing me with some equipment – made me realise how far I’d come and suggested I head down the highway to get some experience and guidance with his powerlifting buddies at Elite Sports Performance, Melbourne.
It was a great move that required more travel and more time and more sacrifice. My knowledge of strength training increased, my lifts improved, I thrived around a positive and supportive community and was soon investing some more of my dwindling financial resources into a course to become a personal trainer.
The investment was a big decision; the cost was huge for me at the time, but I was looking to the future and saw this as a way to better myself physically and I could set myself up with a rewarding career in an industry that I had developed a passion for.
In the past few years since then I’ve had to maintain my focus through some tough times, from a relationship breakdown, to being pretty much homeless with my children, to the less impacting niggly injuries, training setbacks and moments of severe doubt. There have been times I’ve almost walked away but somehow the effort was always there, and with support from friends and family I was able to stay strong, focus on the positives and maintain my belief. I kept lifting my vision and focusing on my goals.
I now run a Strength and Conditioning gym, Be Strong Fitness Geelong, with my partner David Tran-cong. I compete at an Elite Level in both Strongwoman and Powerlifting and train others competing at both Elite and Entry level. I’ve competed internationally, broken national records and I hold rankings at world levels. I mentor gym owners who are starting to introduce strength training into their facilities. I’ve had the chance to run a workshop at the Australian Institute of Sport. So, ultimately I wouldn’t dare complain about the path I’ve taken to get to where I am today.
Now I plan to continue my journey towards helping others in an effort to inspire and lead by example. Not just for women in the strength industry but women who need to believe in themselves, women who can believe in themselves.
It’s another strong motivation for me and the reason I’ll never give up. No matter how tough it gets I’ll still drag myself up to that deadlift platform, or walk out a squat over three times my body weight. I won’t give in to the tearing calluses and the burning skin or the ongoing frustrations with injury. I’ll keep going hard to beat my bests and do what I can to be a motivating member of the strength training community no matter what gets in the way.
This, in short, is why I relate so strongly to above quote and why it’s informing my next venture – Strongwoman Australia. My story is unique but every woman has a unique story, her unique battle with adversity, and I want to play my small part, to be there when another female lifter has paved her own path to achievement and self-realisation, so that I can applaud along with everyone else and say
…”She believed she could, so she did”…