Guest Blog - Powerlifting from a Female SHW point of view

Sponsored athlete Amanda Price was asked to write a blog on her insights into lifting

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I’ve been asked to write a blog entry about my relatively short time as an SHW Woman in Powerlifting.

We’ve all heard the myth that if a woman lifts weights she’ll become bulky, but what if you come into the sport already bulky?

And by bulky, I mean fat.

When I first found PTC Sydney I had been on a year long health kick, eating 1200 calories a day, exercising and burning 500-1000 calories a day by doing mainly cardio and a little weight training with a Personal Trainer. I’d lost 24kg but had plateaued at 105kg. I felt healthy, but I also felt I wasn't strong, and I was not getting challenged with weights by my PT.

I then had my first assessment with Trent and my results were a rough 60kg squat, 40kg bench and 110kg deadlift. I was also painfully shy and not at all confident or comfortable in my own skin.

I did not even know what Powerlifting was when I joined PTC but in a matter of months I was doing my first Novice Comp.

This was a huge overcoming for me because I was not at all comfortable with scores of people watching me potentially fail. (I did not fail, I finished with a 310kg total and 3rd place overall).

I did a few more novice competitions after that, slowly gaining strength and confidence, but there are only so many novice comps you can do before being inevitably asked to join a federation and start ‘officially’ competing.

I decided that I would not. I wanted to do novice comps forever.

The reason?

Two words – soft suit.

As a fat woman who struggled with body image and an eating disorder my whole life, there was nothing worse than the thought of donning what was essentially a 1920’s swimsuit and exposing my pale fleshy thighs to the world.

I watched the live stream of the GPC 2013 Nationals, admiring the strong women.

There was only one women’s SHW lifter in the Rebecca Aichholzer I started thinking, “Well if she can rock a soft suit with confidence then maybe I can too?”.

Then I came across Heather Davidson and Anita Millington both strong SHW women. They did not seem to care what people thought of their thighs, so maybe I should not either?

I’ve competed several times since then in that dreaded soft suit and each time it gets a little easier and I cringe a little less at the sight of my flesh on display.

Women’s Powerlifting has exploded recently, and the SHW ranks have grown so much in the time I’ve been competing, and it is amazing. So many strong women are lifting incredible weights and defying what society tells us fat women should do – cover ourselves.

I am right behind the body positivity movement and firmly believe that everyone is beautiful, valuable and has the right to take up space regardless of his or her shape, size, colour, etc.

I believe athletes come in different shapes and sizes. I’ve seen it in Powerlifting.

I’ve also experienced first-hand the confidence that lifting heavy weights brings. I am now heavier than I was when I started Powerlifting, but I am infinitely more comfortable and confident in my own skin.

Powerlifting is not easy. It can be physically exhausting and mentally tough; no one gets stronger lifting baby weights forever. However it is extremely rewarding, and it is a sport for everyone.

I am constantly amazed at what our bodies are capable of achieving.
When I found PTC and Powerlifting, I felt like I’d finally found a place where my body shape did not matter, all that mattered was how much weight you lift.

Some women’s magazines suggest you should wear nice underwear to feel confident about yourself. I now go through the day confident, knowing I can squat more than many men can.

Editors notes:
Amanda currently holds the #1 all-time Australian Raw SHW total and 3rd biggest of any female in australia and has been lifting for just over 2 years.