I’ve wanted to write something about all of the women who have inspired me through my journey of Strongman training. You may expect me to list some of the top ladies in the sport, and I can’t say that I blame you. There are some incredibly fierce women competing. Some are stronger than some of the strongest men I know, so of course, you would think that they would be the ones making me push a little harder. Move a bit of weight. Do the extra rep. And while some of their clips do inspire, they are hardly the reason I continue to participate. There are some key women I’ve met through my training, and I’d like to share little bits of each of them so that you can get to know them too.
Kristen is pretty much the closest thing to Wonder Woman I’ve ever seen. Standing at 6ft’ tall, this Amazon warrior inspires me through her unique story. Mom of 2, student, strongman competitor and now figure competitor. Kristen recently lost a significant amount of weight and is re-defining what strong physics looks like. And while our goals are completely different, she is focused, determined and unstoppable. And I dig it. I met Kristen at Provincials last year and was immediately drawn to her. She was witty, snarky and so freaking persistent. We quickly became friends, and I am ever so happy about that! Kristen reminds me that there are no excuses. She cares for her two children, studies, trains and somehow maintains her sanity. She’s more Wonder Woman than I could ever be, and I’m grateful to have her in my life.
I’d like to now introduce you to the tiny little force that is Laurie. This lightweight competitor blew me away at my very first CAASA event in March 2017. Appearances can be deceiving when it comes to the sport of strength, and Laurie is a perfect example. Oh, and did I mention she recently competed at the 2017 Official Strongman Games? She’s a software developer with a playful style on competition day. Every competition she is equipped with the most unique accessories. I’ve seen her lift in hamburger earrings, fashionable skirts, and so many unique hats. Laurie reminds me that individuality is important. It’s what sets us apart from the crowd. That it’s okay to be quirky (omg am I ever), and to embrace our originality. Even in a sport. I’m thankful that without knowing, she inspires me to keep doing me. No matter how different that may be.
Chantal is not a strongman competitor. Her sport isn’t lifting heavy things and putting them down. She enjoys running, and I know she loves to be outdoors. I’ve known Chantal indirectly for some time, but as of late we’ve communicated here and there. An advocate for health, she quietly and subtly shares small tidbits of information about her running and outdoor adventures. When it comes to physical activity, it’s easy to feel like you need to hop on the latest trend or follow suit with others. Strongman isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. I love it. It’s what gets me moving every single day. Nobody needs to understand it but me. Chantal reminds me that it’s important to do the things you love and to do it for you. And even though someone may not relate to what you’re doing, your story and the way you tackle the projects you love may just inspire those around you to find their path.
After winning the title of Saskatchewan’s Strongest Woman through CAASA, Jackie made her way to New Brunswick where I met her for the first time just outside the ladies room. We chatted a few moments about training and discussed how great of an opportunity it was to be at Nationals. Humble and kind, this lady wowed me with her uber strength. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are better. Train with them, follow them online, stalk them in person. Whatever you’ve got to do. (Well maybe not that last bit.) But I genuinely believe that’s how we grow. Jackie went on to win the National even in the heavyweight category, and she’s currently training to head to the Arnold’s in the coming weeks. Jackie reminds me that hard work really pays off. I follow her on IG, and I’m always in awe of what she’s accomplishing. She also tells me that our sport really is full of opportunity. And while I don’t ever expect to make it to the Arnold’s, I hope to inspire someone who is a fan of the sport to give it a good go. Opportunity awaits.
Emilie is a powerlifter. A heck of a good one too. She recently snagged a few Canadian records, and she’s now putting the work in to give Strongman a go for the 2018 season. We haven’t officially met yet, but she was in New Brunswick when the Nationals took place. On route back home, she followed me on IG and moments later we were chatting away. It didn’t take long for me to realize I really liked her. In fact, I’m headed to Quebec City next week to train with her! She’s going to destroy me, and I may take my last breath trying to keep up with her on the log press, but that’s fine by me! Surround yourself with people who are better, remember? Emilie reminds me that a new connection is just a click away. We can’t be afraid to reach out to folks whose interests are the same. That’s how we build a tribe. Our own little community. A force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to officially meet her next week AND compete alongside her this season!
I saved Marta for last because, well. Girl crush. This lady is the very first competitor who inspired me. She also scared the sh!t out of me! The faces that came along with some of her heaviest lifts last season were fierce! Marta is a light heavyweight competitor, but has been known to compete with the heavyweights, AND win! Honestly, this woman is incredibly strong, and she became a household name quick. “I wonder how much Marta can do on this? Do you think Marta can do that?” She works over at Carleton University in their Fitness and Recreation Program, and indeed breaths the sport of lifting. I’ve had the opportunity to train with her recently, and she really shifted my mindset about the whole thing. Her dedication and focus are admirable. Marta reminds me that you need to pay your dues. If I am successful at reducing my body weight to the required number, I would compete alongside her next season. Trailing behind her would be a great honour mostly because I spent all last season learning from watching her compete. Always focused. Always precise. Always humble. She is a true sport-wo-man, and I am so grateful to now call her my friend.
I’ve recently received some pretty kind message in my inbox. Messages of thanks for sharing my story and doing so in a way that’s real and authentic. I really try to stay true to who I am, no matter how weird that may be sometimes. I suppose those messages reminded me that not everyone you are inspiring is liking every post, or replying to every story. But if you’re doing it right, like these ladies up here, you may just be putting enough positive vibes out there to inspire someone to take the first step or to push a little harder. I will forever be grateful for the ladies listed above and the many more that I am meeting along the way. Because of strong women like all of you, the world is a better place.
Coffee count: If you’ve read all of this 20 points. An additional 5 points for every one of these fantastic ladies you now go and follow. No pressure. I’ll just sit here and wait.