The Norths Strongest Woman

A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink. 

90% of people you meet will never know, or even believe that you can lift those sorts of weights or take part in an activity of such… until they see proof. 

It is difficult to understand why many more women don't part take in weightlifting, predominantly due to the fear of / misunderstanding that weightlifting makes you ‘bulky’, but this is a whole other realm of conversations that I could waffle on for days about. 

Turning up to work, with random brusies, walking with a weird waddle and struggling to sit down / get up, isn't something that is uncommon to me. Taking part in crossfit for nearing two years, I myself am most certainly accustomed to strange bruises, giving everything a go ‘leanbean style’ a.k.a a hazard in the gym. I’ve always taken the approach in life to give everything a shot once, you never know what you are capable of until you give it ago, and you never know what you may fall in love with, it could be a sport that you least expect. 

Like Madonna says “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and i know exactly what i want. if that makes me a bitch, okay’ 

Being a strong woman is definitely a challenge that many have grappled with. If you ask for a definition of a strong woman, you will probably receive a million different answers. For me, being a strong woman is knowing what you want, and trying you damn hardest to achieve it, setting goals and sticking to them 100%, no matter what anyone says about you along the path, being true to yourself and believing in your ability is how I define a strong woman. 

I was asked 6 days prior to The Norths Strongest Women if I would like to compete. I am a crossfit athlete by heart, but train at a predominantly strongman/ strongwoman gym. Given the opportunity and challenge I grabbed it! A great way to make more friends, and see the potential I have as an athlete in a different field. 

I weighed in a 67kg 6 days out of competition. I wasn't nervous, in fact I was excited and pondering about the process whilst I was  indulging in some delicious treats at a farm shop in the Lake District. Sunday evening, I sat down and decided to calculate out my own nutritional requirements, factoring in activity and weight loss to be able to compete in the U63kg category (the next category was under 83kg, which was a massive jump - so dieting was my answer) at The Norths Strongest Women on Saturday. 

I wont go into details about my diet plan, as every athlete is different and all plans are tailored towards individual athletes in achieving their own desired goals. My plan being a calorie deficit, was tailed to ensure I was still adequate in my macro and micronutrients. Training intensity didn't necessarily increase but the duration of work I put in significantly increased, i still took part in all my usual crossfit training, with the addition of fasted cardio in the mornings.  

The competition day I weight in at 62.8kg at 9am, two hours to refuel and rehydrate to ensure maximum performance. To be honest, I was a little fearful that I had lost strength due to the short time scale for weight loss. The first two events my legs felt empty, but refuelling at breakfast and between events, I felt fighting fit again. This prep has definitely taught me a few lessons, which I feel can only be obtained from practical experience and knowing first hand how the athlete feels and how to manipulate their nutrition to benefit performance 

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The competition ran smoothly and promptly, with only one 20 minute break for lunch mid way through. The events are listed below. 

Event 1: Max effort Log Press 1 minute (40kg) 

Event 2: 160kg Yoke 15m drop & turn 15m 

Event 3: Max effort deadlift 1 minute at 110kg 

Event 4: 10m Keg run & load with 40kg, 50kg, 50kg, 60kg 

Event 5: Max effort squats 1 minute (60kg) 

I placed second, absolutely over the moon. I still cant believe that I am going to England’s in 4 months competing against a load of inspirational and strong ladies! 

So what I'm trying to say in this long winded blog post is that If i hadn't said yes and put myself in the position to challenge myself i would have never of discovered a love for a new sport. We all have dreams and goals, but at times it can be difficult to stick with them. Starting out with good intentions, but dwindling and unable to maintain consistency for a long period of time is a common pathway for many. 

Which leads me to think whats the difference between the best athlete and everyone else… genetics? luck? talent? maybe so, but in most cases its mental stamina and consistency.  Emotions do not need to determine your actions. Show up, do the work and reap the benefits, thats the difference between professionals and amateurs.

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Lindsay Benson