Powerlifter survey part 4: experiences & body image

credit: Harnek Rai

In case you missed the others, here are all the posts in this series:

  1. Part 1: Female Masters Powerlifting Survey Results (the quantitative portion)
  2. Powerlifter Survey Part 2: training volume, injury, and fear
  3. Powerlifter survey part 3: Age is just a number
  4. Powerlifter survey part 4: experiences & body image
  5. Powerlifter survey part 5: I have no more words

What is the most rewarding experience that you have had in powerlifting?

My most rewarding experience was competing three months after Nationals 2015 with a total that was 12.5kg better and all lights but one were white.

Meeting people and building friendship

Making my deadlift that I needed to qualify for my first nationals. 132.5. Which was the total of my squat and bench. Had to get that. Splattered pee all over. The whole room was cheering for me and I heard nothing. Just the voice in my head that said “don’t stop don’t stop”.   And then getting my 140 dl at NAPFs which is my former body weight. A nemesis that needed to go.

I think competing at the Arnolds Sportsfest after only lifing for a year was the most amazing experience I had. It was just such a big event and I dont get out much, or I hadn’t at that stage of my life

The most rewarding was coming back after a couple of bad meets and winning best lifter at a Provincial championship. It was less about physical strength than mental fortitude to get out and keep going.

I think all the women i have coached to a medal (of any level).

Having my grandchildren cheer for me and being in a World competition.

Progressing faster than I had ever imagined!  I never thought that within my first year of competing I would set two National records and qualify for Nationals. I love setting goals and I especially love the journey towards meeting them.  Progress has started to slow now, which was predictable. I love working on improving my lifting every day, whether it is the actual training, doing reading and research, improving my diet, improving my technique, improving my mental preparation, etc.  The gym is my happy place, I have met the most awesome people through powerlifting.

Squatting my own weight; I have a knee that has been partially rebuilt twice. Lifting teaches me that it isn’t a barrier to strength.

Meeting others; Creating friendships
Every training session is a rewarding experience!
Every competition is a rewarding experience!

Being recognized by other powerlifting peers as a role model.  And winning a world championship isn’t too bad.

PB’s and medals!

Being selected for international competition…….

Squatting at a provincial comp 22 kg more then before.

Seeing that there is now a women’s powerlifting team at the gym I formerly trained at.  When I started there I was the only female lifter of any age.  Now there’s a team!

Nothing beats the feeling of achieving a PR.  Each and every time, I hit a new PR, I am on a continual high, until my next PR.  I think my last PR would be my most memorable, when I deadlifted 358 lbs @148 BW.  And I am sure this will be replaced by another memorable moment when I compete again and deadlift more.

I received the Master’s lifter of the year from my state federation the 2nd year I was lifting.

Getting a 110 pound bench when I had a 106 training fail. It didn’t “count” because I racked early, but I still got it up’n

Receiving the Bill Jamison award from the CPU for my years of commitment and dedication to the CPU; and any chance to represent Canada on an international stage; the World Games were amazing!

Reaching all my PB’s.

volunteering and meeting the people in the community

Earning a spot on Team Canada.

Achieving goals, making new friends

Pulling 132.5kg

 Seeing how supportive everybody was at my first meet.

Meeting other women who powerlift. I have never encountered such a warm, welcoming group of women who want to see ALL women be the strongest and most successful they can be.

2 national records (squat/dead) in my first meet

continuing to improve over time

Being recognized by other powerlifting peers as a role model.  And winning a world championship isn’t too bad.

Helping my daughters high school sports teams learn to add lifting in their conditioning programs and how to lift safely.

DL 350lbs at Senior Olympics.

Hitting my first bench in a meet, even if it was only 88#

Competing for the first time and having my family there to watch me and cheer for me.  Especially my daughters.

Either worlds in Finland for the team experience or the Iron Sisters Camp for meeting a whole new group of fantastic lifters. Or maybe the meet last year where I finally felt I was able to put on the platform some of my best abilities. That was a great feeling.

Setting goals and exceeding them. Overcoming adversity to break record or win

The meet I competed in!  I set two state records and met some amazingly strong ladies.

My son telling me he wants to lift, compete, and get stronget than I am….. I love that I am inspiring him

Winning an international open bench title, when 20 years older than the next competitor down.

Too many to name,   Maybe setting all new prs at worlds

Competing and getting validation for my lifting techniques

I hit 2 adrenaline-fueled PRs on the platform. The euphoria lasted for days, both times. I have more than doubled my bench press since I started.

Has powerlifting altered how you feel about and treat your body?

Yes – can’t possibly miss more than a few days at the gym. It’s part of my life. I feel great about my body. I have muscles!

It has altered my perspective in that it has given me a better awareness of my capabilities.  I’ve always thought I could do quite a bit but having lifted for years and being in my 50s, I’m more likely to pass on doing something that I think would injure me than I would have in the past.  For example, hiring movers rather than doing it myself. This may seem counter intuitive but when you develop a close relationship with your body’s abilities, you also become aware of your disabilities and frailties and are more likely to husband your strength and not squander it on stupidity.

Yes I realize you are what you eat so I try to eat healthy I grow most of my food and have a farm and have 24 laying chickens. I snowshoe  or walk every day,I don’t smoke and rarely drink and never take drugs

yes. I want it to stay strong.

I lift for my health, first and foremost.  I take much better care of my body and now have a much healthier relationship with food.  I see food as fuel for my body and my diet has improved a great deal.  The physical aspect of lifting also has huge benefits for my mental health – it is a tremendous stress reliever and helps me to think more clearly.  I am more mobile and have more flexibility and strength than a few years ago and my arthritic knees are so much better!  My overall quality of life has improved a great deal.  Mentally, I train in a very positive and inspiring environment with lifters ranging in age from early 20’s to my age.  It gives my ego a boost when I am able to keep up with some of the younger lifters!

I feel like my body serves a purpose.  I don’t sit and worry about how much extra weight I might be carrying; food is something that my body will use for real fuel…it’s overall highly positive.

Powerlifting has allowed me to be more free in my body – I have never had extreme body image issues (says the gal that spent 15 years yoyo dieting for bodybuilding). But, bodybuilding certainly created an awareness of my body – more negative than positive – that I felt eventually had to be addressed. Powerlifting allowed me to exhale, put on my singlet and celebrate 63 kg in all its glory (63 kilos was my pre-dieting bb weight and it would be anathema to show any of my bits at that weight). Now I don’t give a f*&#!
I find it easier to be disciplined with my diet when I am lifting. Workouts always have a purpose and I try and take care of myself with physio, chiro, massage, osteopath.  I still have no patience for injury!

I treat my body with more respect than ever and I am more attuned to my body since powerlifting.

I eat veggies now

Yes.  I am 35 lbs lighter and much stronger.  I like and respect my body much more than before I lifted.

Yes, I feel strong and powerful and confident.  I eat better, I train hard, and stay fit.
“Not sure — I have always had issues with my weight even though I am quite small.  Powerlifting has increased my weight and I often “”freak out”” about this and then stop eating which makes my training go down the tubes.  The weight based categories cause some problems for me — I can’t stand to be in anything higher than the lowest category but that is not a reasonable expectation for me.”

So. Much.

I feel less stressed about some of the extra “”mom pudge”” around my mod-section. I wear booty shorts to the gym–cellulite be damned! I don’t try to restrict calories and starve myself–I follow IIFYM, so I really focus on hitting my protein, and I LIKE eating “healthy” but I allow for treats and beer.

I also recognize the power of rest, off days, and talk time to heal. In my younger days, I’d play soccer despite huge hematomas, nagging pain, a broken nose, strains, sprains, etc. I can’t do this now, but it also insures my longevity in the sport.

One way…I have been conscious of my body weight forever!! As I age I sure realize the importance of rest and recovery and making sure I do all I can to keep my body happy and performing.

i treat my body much better; i learning to accept that aging does change it; this helps to slow the pace of aging.
at bottom, the only stress i feel about lifting is my own performance

Most definitely. I take care of my body through “diet” 99% of the time. I am much more in tune with how food makes me feel. I am still amazed when I see my muscles 😊.

Not particularly

More defined muscle def

Absolutely. I care more now about what I can do than I do about how I look.  Both are important, but I now take better care of my body in terms of paying attention to things like recovery and proper nutrition.

100 percent yes. I weighed 300 pounds when I started working with my coach. Lifting has helped me lose almost 70 pounds, and for the first time in my life I believe I’ll achieve my goal weight.

My body is powerful…I am not a slave to the scale and being as skinny as i can anymore
nutrition is key.  food is not the enemy

I find it easier to be disciplined with my diet when I am lifting. Workouts always have a purpose and I try and take care of myself with physio, chiro, massage, osteopath.  I still have no patience for injury!

I try to be kinder to my body and my mind but I know both can take a lot. I’m never going to be a size 2 but I am strong and can do things that most women and men cannot do and I’m loving every minute.

Yes. I consciously eat to fuel my body the best I can and try to get enough sleep for recovery.


I love my body now for what it can do.  Which, in turn, makes me much more kind to it for how it looks.  I notice myself focusing much more on the things that I like in the mirror and less on the negative.

Yes, I take good care of it for performance

Yes, I feel like I feed my my body better, and keep my training in mind.

I drink less alcohol, but I didnt drink much to start with, I worry less about what I eat
Hugely. Yes.


Yes, I am more aware of what I eat and resting adequately

Well…i am sore 100% of the time… But I know I look better and carry myself better than many women my age.

Yes, I have a greater respect for it now because I depend on it more. I need it strong and healthy so I take better care of it and I’ve come to really love my body and how it works and what it can do.

credit: Kim Milani

4 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s