What Strongman Has Done For Me
Before Strongman I was in college living a very typical college girl life (parties, class, stress). I was also living with some serious insecurity and uncertainty. Fitting in was important and peer pressure seemed to be the only motivation I had for social activities. In essence I was just going through the motions. Then, my junior year, I found Strongman. I was desperately trying to find myself and was at the point where I’d do just about anything anybody told me for some attention. When I first started Strongman, I didn’t intend to compete or really take it anywhere, I just wanted to get strong and do something different. It was my way of turning my back on the normal, and climbing out of what felt like a prison that society had put me in.
When first starting out in this sport it never occurred to me that I was one of the only females in my state training this way. It didn’t matter to me, because there was this awe and power in getting strong that I soon became addicted to. There wasn’t this male dominated vibe either. In fact the men in this sport have only ever been encouraging, motivating and inspirational.
What has been the most surprising to me has always been the reactions I get from other women who are not in the sport. A typical response is bewilderment and disbelief as they cannot fathom that a small woman (5’2” 140 lbs) is involved with strongman. They just can’t believe that I’m capable of such feats and that I have enough confidence to do it without apology. This reaction seems to implode in on them as they go onto to say, “I could never do that”, “I’m too weak for that type of thing” or “aren’t you afraid of getting too big?” My passion now lies in helping these women truly understand that being strong is not about the males or the competition. It’s about you and it’s about putting yourself out there enough to do what it takes to get strong and leave all the doubts behind. Of course that means taking care of your body, working hard, and being disciplined when training gets hard and life is pouring down the rain.
For me, being female in a male dominated sport has never actually bothered me, on the contrary, it’s helped me. You know how you always hear motivational quotes about surrounding yourself with people who you want be or the people you want to be like? Well that’s exactly what I did when I started Strongman. All I have ever wanted to do was be the strongest version of myself (mentally and physically) possible. By surrounding myself with the people who are strongest (and that has mostly been men up to this point) I have gotten really strong and am well on my way to fulfilling that potential in myself.
As a woman in a man’s world, I’ve been more inspired to work harder than ever. The strength world has exploded and now more than ever females want in on what strength is and how it can change their life. So for me, being in strongman I don’t look at it as a “male dominated sport” I look at it as an opportunity for women to see my journey, and want in on how amazing this experience can be.
Before strength training and Strongman I had no idea what it was like to be strong. I was self conscious, worried about what the guys in the gym thought and would never go in the free weight area. When I discovered what strength training could do for me, I was no longer concerned with the opinions of others. This journey was about ME and it didn’t matter how male dominated it was. I wanted to be strong and nobody was going to take that from me.
Again, no men in the strength community has ever discouraged me from training, competing or accomplishing my goals. In fact, most promoters I’ve met have been ecstatic that there are females willing to compete. The Strongman world has been pretty awesome to me. Sure you’ll always have the dudes outside of Strongman who will say something negative, but it’s not something I let phase me. To me, strength will always matter, and excuses will not. I will not allow someone else’s opinion become an excuse for me to deny myself.
For me it is more about building women up and wanting them to get into something that pushes their limits and changes their lives. It is not about being a female in a male dominated sport. It is about getting strong, being resilient, staying consistent, learning discipline, working hard, and then taking those qualities from the weight room and applying it to your daily life.
Through Strongman I have not only become confident, but I’ve become the person I used to dream about. I worry much less about what people think and I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I ever thought possible. I look at myself as a fierce Shieldmaiden crusading for my cause that has brought me so much happiness and gratitude! This weekend I’m headed to compete at the Arnold Sports Festival for the largest strongman competition in America. Strongman has taken me places that I never conceived possible and this is just the beginning for both of us.
Hannah has spent the last ten years in the weight room being as an athlete and coach. The last few years she has become a champion powerlifter and Strongwoman. Holding several state records and placing in the top 7 at at the 2018 Arnold Amatuer Strongman World Championships. Hannah has been putting her love for lifting to good use. In addition to lifting heavy weights, she also holds a Masters degree in Coaching and Sport Education. Hannah continues this journey through her writing where she educates others on how to build strength through Strongman training. Her passion is to share with the world how lifting weights-specifically competing and training in Strongman-has changed her complete outlook on life. Hannah’s goal is to help women gain confidence, strength, and build healthy mindsets using strength training.