March Athlete of The Month

The Amazing Ali Goodsell will be defying all the odds when she hits the Strongwoman Arena at the Arnold Classic Australia 2017 to compete alongside the strongest women Australia has to offer.

While most would have given up on lifting weights after undergoing emergency brain surgery and disc replacement surgery – Alli G held strong. In fact it wasn’t until after undergoing disc surgery on her lumber, neck and brain that Alli took an interest in Strongwoman at all. 

When Ali G accepted my invite to be Strongwoman Australia’s March Athlete of the Month I was so excited as I have been personally inspired by her journey.

Keep reading to hear what Alli has to say.




Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m married and a Mum of 2, my son is 13 and my daughter almost 10. I love watching Rugby League and have followed the Bulldogs all my life. I have a sweet tooth and love to bake… and eat. I work in retail. I completed a degree in Exercise Science in 1999, but due to a series of unfortunate events, I have never used it for a career, but have for personal development. 

We know you have had medical issues and that you have had undergo surgery, could you please elaborate on  what medical procedures you underwent  and how this has affected your training.

Ironically, 2 days after I graduated, I ruptured two discs in my lumbar spine which left me  with severe bouts of pain and lengthy periods of forced immobility.  I was finally diagnosed correctly and scheduled for disc replacement surgery. 

Unfortunately, I suffered a brain haemorrhage in the days before my back surgery was due and had to undergo emergency brain surgery to repair the ruptured aneurysm.  I’m lucky to be alive.  I view every day as a bonus many don’t get.

After recovering from the brain surgery, I became the youngest recipient of a two level disc replacement in the southern hemisphere.  The surgery was horrendous, but I woke up with a functional back and an extra inch of height. There is still a degree of pain, but I know it can’t damage me. Two years later I also had a disc replaced in my neck due to the postural changes from when my low back was injured. 

The positive effect on training has been that I began doing a lot more core and back work and I really focus on correct form always. 

The negative was that for a long time there was a massive fear of re-injury. I take longer to warm up and sometimes take extra rest days because of ongoing pain.

I have no doubt this would have had a big impact on motivational levels with training. How did you deal with this?

Sometimes I feel a bit low, but then I think of where I’ve been, where I am now and where I  could have been,  and count my blessings. 

How did you come to Strongwoman? What drew you to it? How long? 

I’d enjoyed weight training when I was in high school and have always loved being active.  But, I followed a girl, Lela, on twitter and she was competing in a Strongwoman comp not far from my home. So I went to watch her. And that was the starting point.  The atmosphere was great. The crowd was really getting behind all the competitors and the enthusiasm and excitement was fantastic.  It was so inspiring that I really wanted to have a go myself.  I competed in my very first comp in November of 2011. 

Who/what inspires you and why?

People who don’t give up, when they have every reason to.  They inspire me. They’re broken and hurting and have every reason to quit, but they find some inner strength, some spark, and persevere. They may or may not finish an event or reach a goal, but they give  it absolutely everything.  That is inspiring to me and that is what I aspire to.   Mike Burke was about to quit, in his last event of his competition at FitX, 2012. It was a loading event and he had busted ribs. On the last implement, he was about to give up as he was clearly in agony. But the crowd lifted him to keep going, and he found the guts and determination to just keep going, and he loaded the last implement. That was a courageous moment that has stuck with me. 

Do you do any other type of training/ sports?

Conditioning, hiking up Mt. Keira. 

What is your favourite gym movement and/or Strongwoman event and why?

I love stones for reps, and I have a love/hate relationship with any sort of pain fest e.g. Conan’s wheel

Least favourite and why?

Easy! Log press! It’s easy to hate a movement you are weak at. I never feel like I am progressing with this movement. I would happily swap some strength from another event in return for some overhead strength. Anyone?  My least favourite used to be deadlift, but now I love the challenge, so that gives me hope that one day I will love log too. 

What are you training for next?

2017 Arnold Classic Strongwoman

What is your favourite Strongwoman specific memory / achievement / PB ?

Finishing an 80-120kg stone medley in Dawn of the Barbarians, after not having trained stones in a couple of years.

How do you stay motivated?

Fear of failure 

What is your best piece of advice for beginners?

Don’t let fear stop you. You will surprise yourself. Just sign up. Have a go. You’ll be hooked. 

Are you a sponsored athlete?

 I wish. 

Strongman achievements to date

1st Brisbane’s strongest woman 2012

3rd Australia strongest woman 2013

1st NSW strongest woman 2014 ( under 75 kg)

Where do you see yourself in five years time?  

Sipping cocktails in the Caribbean, with my own personal masseuse… but I’ll settle for another 50kg on my deadlift.

Written by Joanne Greagen


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