A formerly obese woman from Mansfield Woodhouse is set to take on the heavies when she competes in an international strong-woman competition.
Claire Bramley, aged 37, will represent Great Britain in the World Heavy Events Association natural woman powerlifting competition in Finland in October.
Claire is currently Britain’s strongest natural woman under 85kg and the natural woman British deadlift record holder under 85kg, and now wants to compete on the global stage.
Claire got into weight lifting after joining a crossfit gym, which combines cardio with weights, and is now training to coach other strong women.
Claire said: “I used to run a lot to lose weight – I weighed 18 stone and wore a size 22 to 24.
“I was poorly at that weight.
“I was on medication for depression and high cholesterol, and my liver and kidneys were failing.
“I lost weight running, but then joined a crossfit gym to get stronger and improve my running.
“After six months of crossfit I was lifting heavier weights than the women and some of the men.
“A friend told me about a competition in Doncaster for first-timers, so I got into competing through that.”
The world championships are held over two days, and Claire says she will ‘really push for it’ to win.
The care worker added that weightlifting has not only helped her mental state, but has given her confidence.
“It does give you massive self-confidence, you have to be strong mentally to complete some of the lifts,” she said.
“I go to a powerlifting gym where I’m surrounded by strong people, but not many women.
“It is empowering to be fit and strong.”
And Claire has advice for any woman thinking of starting to lift weights: “Weight rooms are for everyone.”
Claire trains at Old Tyme Strength on Victoria Street, and credits her success to her coach, Daniel Ashcroft.
“I wouldn’t be where I am or be representing GB without his programming,” she said.
Claire has started a GoFundMe appeal to fund her trip to Finland to compete.
n You can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-me-get-to-the-world-championships