…’She Believed She Could, So She Did”…
I don’t want to sound completely cliché when I talk about how I became a strongwoman athlete, but I guess it may come across that way. I’m hoping that talking about my experiences will encourage other women to venture out of their comfort zones to potentially find something they love doing. For me, this is more than just a sport; it really has changed my life in so many ways.
When I found the sport of Strongman, I had just gotten back from a trip in Thailand. I had originally planned the trip to get breast implants for my 30th birthday. My reason for wanting implants was so I could compete in my second body building competition feeling more “curvy”. There was an increasing number of women going down this path and I really felt like this would help me improve on my results. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bagging implants, I just don’t think I was completely happy within myself when I decided to book the surgery and in hindsight the decision wasn’t entirely for me.
I hadn’t felt right when I leaned down for bodybuilding. Even after 5 years of being a “gym bunny”, when I got lean I lost so much of my shape. This included my chest shrinking. I think due to my low calorie comp prep diet, my lack of muscle development really became apparent during this time.
Two weeks out from the surgery all the hidden costs that the Cosmetic company neglected to mention came to light and forced me to cancel the surgery. I still had my holiday without the surgery but returned still feeling a little lost.
Shortly after my return I was invited to come and try out the sport of Strongman in a women’s only session. I hadn’t trained this way before, picking up awkward objects and putting my body through its paces. I fell in love with it. There were some things I picked up quickly and some things I tried that day I still struggle with. I had such a great time mixing with a new group of people and being in a fresh environment, much different from the weights room of an ordinary gym.
During my first session I was encouraged to compete in a novice comp that was to be held 2 weeks later. I didn’t think I was strong enough but I gave it a red-hot go! I think I finished last but I had a really great time and the comp atmosphere was very positive and encouraging.
Since then I have competed in a number of competitions and I’ve noticed that strongman competitions are pretty positive as a whole. Women from various strength levels, ages, sizes and athletic abilities all get together, support each other and have a great time doing it. I have met some amazing people including the other women in the Strongwoman Australia team.
The last 2 years being involved in this sport have done so much for my self-esteem. I am very proud to be part of a sport that has helped me let go of body image issues. I have developed a more confident body image, no longer being ashamed of my imperfections or feeling like I have to live up to someone else’s expectations of what I should look like. We all have things we’re good at and things we’re not so good at, things we like about ourselves and things we don’t like so much. The things I used to dislike about myself have actually helped me in becoming the strongwoman I am today – thanks small boobs, and giant calves!!
If you have thoughts about trying this sport, or any other for that matter but don’t know how to get involved – just throw yourself in. It may be the thing that provides the positive outlook that you need.
“You never know if you don’t try”
– Jade Cranwell