A few years ago I was looking up local adult gymnastic classes in London and came across some at a Crossfit gym near London Bridge - I'd vaguely heard of Crossfit before though didn't really know much about it, but something caught my eye. Training in boxing and pole dancing at the time, it wasn't uncommon for me to try things slightly out the box, but when I broached it with my now-ex boyfriend I didn't get the reaction I'd expected. I wasn't asking him to come and be my cheer squad, or even to train with me, but he was so passionately against it. I remember the argument...he couldn't understand why on earth I'd want to do Olympic lifting. The problem was, I didn't have a good answer. All I knew was that something about it had piqued my interest.
Fast forward a few years and I was still poling. Boxing had slipped by the way-side and I was continuing to make token efforts at the work gym, joining a circuits class once a week and dabbling in the weights room without any real programme to follow. Last summer though I started work in a new town and after continuing to have a niggling hamstring injury sought out a sports massage at a local personal training gym. Now this place looked fun - shiny new equipment, monkey bars, a prowler run and dumbells that looked heavier than my total bodyweight. After a few sports massage sessions hearing about the training there and a recent competition they'd run, that interest in lifting heavy stuff up that I'd had a few years ago sparked again, and my boyfriend and I began training in the New Year.
And since then, I've been hooked.
I've lost hours reading articles and blog posts about training and nutrition and discovered a whole new world beyond just working out. I've followed countless IG accounts of women of all shapes and sizes lifting, competing and performing, from newbie lifters to the pro athletes. I've pulled results and records from women my size to compare what is even in the realm of possibility for my weight class. I was coming across new words and phrases I'd never heard of before.
Bulking? Cutting? 5x5? Macros? Carb cycling? Volume training? Deadload? Hypertrophy? Peak week? Compound exercises? The only seasons I'd ever been aware of related to the weather.
I bored my other half to tears with new facts I'd learnt daily - training tips, new recipes, information supplements were considered a waste and which were invaluable. His email address was bombarded with links to training sites and Instagram posts of people sharing their stories.
I'm not a powerlifter, or an olympic lifter. I'm not a strongwoman or a bodybuilder. Honestly, I don't know what I am yet. I just like to lift heavy stuff.
I did compete in strength competition last month, mostly just as a way of seeing if I enjoyed the commitment of training for a goal and to see if I really did love it as much as I suspected. That day really was a steep learning curve for me, but one of the best parts of it was the atmosphere. Everyone was there supporting everyone else, and for the first time I got to chat to other women about what it was like to lift. You see other girls training in the gym but unless you're a natural extrovert, it normally takes a good few sightings in there before we feel familiar enough to broach a smile, or perhaps a 'hello' in the changing rooms.
We're naturally sociable creatures, and what we learn best we learn from each other.
The female side of lifting is becoming big in America (isn't everything?!) but it's something that's still developing in the UK. I love coming across others that train like I do and I'd love to help more of us connect. Bringing the best of British strong women together in one place. Sharing the best gyms and favourite local brands, and taking any fear out of showing up to a competition day not knowing anyone else there.
This site isn't about me or my story (I have my own blog for that!) - I'm not a personal trainer and I don't have any qualifications in nutrition. This is just my place to bring together the best of what I've found, sharing the stories and experiences of girls who lift every day and what has worked for them. Quite frankly, my boyfriend probably has little interest in the heaviestt deadlift of the U57kg weight class squat at the most recent power lifting regional, so I'll stop boring him with it and bring it here instead.
There's no benchmark for being a lifter...you don't have to have stood on a stage or a platform in front of any number of people to have proved yourself. There's no pre-requisite to lift any proportion of your bodyweight in any pull or press to allow yourself to have a lifting label. Whether power lifting, strongman, olympic lifting or physique is your thing...no style is better or any more 'official' than the others.
We don't all have the same goals - the only time a power lifter might care about their physique is when they're trying to make weight for a meet; equally, a bikini model doesn't always care about PB's unless what they're doing is making their muscles pop. Whatever the end goal, there's a huge crossover in the journey and there's a lot to be learnt from each other, whatever stage you're at.
You simply need to lift shit up, and put it back down again.