The South West Powerlifting Open was actually quite fun!

deadlift_0013_deadlift28.jpgdeadlift_0033_deadlift8.jpgLast weekend, I took part in the South West Powerlifting Open that was held in Cheltenham.

It was an awesome day, if not a slightly tense one! The best part was when Abi made a surprise appearance, which helped a lot with the nerves!

Other than that, I broke all of my previous PBs and was able to get over my fear of lifting things that are extremely heavy and not just a little bit heavy!

I’ve always suffered from bouts of anxiety, so being able to say to myself when I’m feeling a bit funny that I can squat 92.5kg, bench 47.5kg and deadlift 115kg really helps! If you’re physically strong, I do believe that the mind will eventually follow and feel like a cracker too!

The support and atmosphere at the comp was equally amazing. Everyone cheers for you, and vice versa. There’s no hostility, everyone knows it’s hard and are there to show support.

There were some complete begginers there, but also some Team GB lifters, it didn’t matter because it was about everyone reaching their individual goals. I think that’s why I prefer it to team sports. It’s just you on the platform, nobody else is relying on your result but yourself and that really appeals to me.

Our Deadlift Divas team of strong ladies absolutely rocked it!





Powerlifting champs time

The South West Open Powerlifting Championships are upon us! On the 1st and 2nd April, pretty much the entire Powerlifting community at MyGym – where Abi and I train, will be heading down to Cheltenham to either cheer others on, compete, or a mixture of the two! Bristol Barbell Club will be represented, as will Deadlift Divas, coached by the inspirational all-round good guy Christie Civetta!


I’m getting slightly nervous now, having said I’d never compete again just a few months back! However, I have my new lifting belt, SBD knee sleeves and a renewed confidence that I AM doing OK with it all following my 2 rep maxes that I tested out the other day. Currently, I can squat 80kg for 2, deadlift 100kg and bench 45kg. These far surpass my one rep maxes at the last competition, so this time I’m hoping for:

90kg squat, 52.5 bench press and 115 kg deadlift. Let’s see how it goes on the day! Whatever happens, A LOT of food will be consumed.

Interested in coming along or finding out more? I know you are. Find out more info here!


Smilin’ through the pain

Every Wednesday, Anona and I go to a Hatha yoga class after work at Bristol City Yoga. The instructors there are always fantastic, but tonight it was especially lovely because the teacher (Ashley Russell) brought so much humour and warmth throughout the session. He made lots of jokes, and chatted to the class throughout, and you could tell that everyone felt a lot more comfortable because of that.

Let’s face it, you look silly a lot of the time doing yoga (see picture of me above in ‘Happy Baby’ pose for evidence). To be honest, you often don’t look your absolute best doing a lot of exercise – you’re sweaty, red and mostly grimacing like you’re in a medieval torture chamber. When you have an instructor that makes you forget all of that, and encourages the whole class to feel comfortable enough to look weird or makes sure that you don’t feel embarrassed if you cock-up, it really does make a big difference.

Abi x



Just a little re-post of a blog that I’m now going to be doing more frequently on behalf of  MyGym, the best gym ever, with the nicest people ever!

Ladies of Bristol: have you ever wondered what all those people are up to in the weights area of the gym? Perhaps you’ve been interested in giving it a blast, but haven’t know who to ask or where to start, or maybe you’re already into weight lifting and are looking for a friendly place to train…

If any or none of the above applies to you, I encourage you to come along to Deadlift Divas at MyGym 6-7 pm on Tuesdays.

Run by the wonderful Christie Civetta, 2016 English and Western European champion Powerlifter and all round inspirational woman, you’re bound to pick up a thing or two. Christie is passionate about sharing her love of lifting and uses her exceptional coaching skills to ensure that you’re getting the right tuition and guidance based on your ability.

The best thing is, if you have a Bristol Barbell Club or MoveGB (use code “119” for a £40 credit) membership it’s included for free, or you can pay as you go for £5. You are getting personal training and tips from one of the World’s finest.

If you’re looking for a strong, fun and supportive group of women to train with, learn new lifting techniques from and generally kick ass with, you’ve found your place.

I can guarantee that it’ll make you stronger, make you laugh and enable you to reach for your goals whilst uncovering new ones along the way!

Lift like a diva2What a typical session may look like (group photo non-compulsory)

Deadlift Divas is not just for one type of person, it’s an accepting, friendly community and all abilities and ages are welcome.

Here’s what some of the ladies had to say about it:

“I can trace the moment I regained my self-esteem to the day I came to Deadlift Divas. To finally have a support network of strong women around me has been genuinely life-changing. Competing in powerlifting was a faraway pipe dream before; now I’m already on my way to do my second! Even just one night a week of training with these awesome ladies is enough to boost my self-esteem and motivation for an entire week.” – Emma Shepherd, Animator

“Divas and powerlifting in general has made me feel the most confident I’ve felt in myself in years. Such a supportive community we are building and even if I haven’t made it to sessions this year, I know I can still go to you for advice and just a general chat!” – Grace Paxton, Veterinary student

A recap of the facts:

Deadlift Divas takes place on Tuesdays @ MyGym between 6 and 7 pm.

For more info, please visit the Deadlift Divas Facebook page here.

Divas is for everybody – from someone who has never picked up a weight right through to those who compete. You needn’t be a pro. Yet.

Anona x

Why I’m doing another powerlifting competition even though the last one terrified me

A lot of people may think I’m a masochist because when I finished my last powerlifting competition, I was one more lift away from a panic attack and in such a state of intense shock that even an all you can eat buffet, with all its carby goodness, could not relax me.

In hindsight, I just really really did not know what to expect, and in spite of being so well prepared by all the lovely women at Deadlift Divas, fear of the unknown got the better of me!

All this being said, it has not stopped me from entering a comp again, and I’m all signed up, training plan and cool deadlift socks in tow, for the South West Open Powerlifting Championships 2017.

What does a competition entail?

For those of you who know little about powerlifting, it involves performing your one rep max on your squat, bench press and deadlift. On the day, you get up early and weigh-in on arrival. Last time, the room was a sea of strong people eating loads of chicken and meat after their weigh-ins dressed in singlets. A sexy sight. The atmosphere is very friendly, and you normally have to go and find out from one of the organisers what ‘flight’ you will be in, meaning roughly what time you need to go ‘backstage’ to warm up in advance of your lift.

img_0346Backstage area

There’s a stage at the front where the lifting takes place, along with barbells and chairs for judges and a score board. In short, you wait ‘backstage’ following your warm-up with the other men/ women in your flight, until you are called up.  When it’s your turn to lift,  you walk onto the platform,, and the bar is already set for you according to the weights that you give to the organisers on arrival (these can be altered before each attempt).

img_0371The lifting moment!

You have spotters by you to make sure if anything goes wrong that they can rescue you in time, and then you just take a deep breath and commence lift off! It’s all over so quickly that you barely remember what you just did, and then the people sat down in the audience clap and you feel happy/overwhelmed in my case!

Why, you may ask, would I choose to do something that frightened me so much again, out of my own free will? Because, the things in life that frighten me the most are also the same things that intrigue and inspire me. I have a rather worrisome disposition, and so I sometimes have to ignore the feelings to run away and actually face situations square on in order to prove to myself that I am able to do things in life that may at first seem frightfully impossible!

At the end of the comp that I did last Autumn, once I’d gotten over the panic and the nerves, I felt incredibly pleased with myself and so well supported by all the lovely people I was competing with that day.

If you are even considering entering one of these events, I’d say go for it! You’ll learn so much and hopefully not be as scared as I was to begin with!

Anona x


Chin-chinny chin chin – chin-up!

Today was the closest I’ve been to a bonafide chin-up. Sadly by the time I got round to taking a video, I was pretty exhausted so it looked better than this to begin with – no word of a lie!

The happiness at being able to do this was off the chart! It’s been a goal for over a year now that seemed utterly impossible. The prospect of using brute force to leave the floor?! What what what?!! Needless to say, it just took some strength building and a bit of confidence for good measure and I was away. Probably helped that I was wearing the fake skin of a snake and a tiger – two of the coolest animals known to man were on my side tonight. Thanks guys.




Let’s go twinkle toes!


Hissing helped



A few of my favourite things.

The world is feeling pretty bleak at the moment – the news seems to become more awful each time you look, money is still tight after Christmas and winter seems never-ending. It’s really easy to focus on the negative, but never fear! I have a list of joyful bits and bobs that will sustain you until the summer/Trump is impeached/you win the lottery.

  1. Exercise

I know I preach about the beauty of exercise, but it honestly is the best thing you can do for your mental and physical health. Before I found the type of exercise that I love, I too used to find it a chore and absolutely dread it, but now I look forward to it every day. I recommend trying loads of classes and different activities until you find something that works for you and fits into your schedule realistically. Then do it regularly, until it’s just so normal that you don’t think twice about going. You will notice physical changes within weeks which’ll make give you a great lil boost, and you will feel approx. one million times better mentally for letting out some of that pesky stress.

2. No Offence

Such. A. Good. British. TV. Show. It’s on Channel 4 now, and the first series is on All4 if you haven’t already watched it. I have had big love for Joanna Scanlan since The Thick of It, and she is similarly fantastic in this. What a woman.

3. Books 

Read, read, read! You learn new words, so you’re automatically more impressive at dinner parties which is the holy grail of adulthood. Bonus points if you ask someone for a book recommendation and read outside the genre that you would usually pick up.

4. Desert Island Discs

Well, it’s just so calming isn’t it? You can just pop it on BBC iPlayer Radio, and Kirsty Young’s voice sounds the same as always, and all feels right with the world.

5. Beyoncé’s Womb

Beyoncé is our Lord and Saviour, and she is having more babies, so I’m taking that as a strong indicator she has insider knowledge that all is going to be okay.

6. My Dad Wrote a Porno Podcast

I know this is old news, but if you haven’t downloaded this podcast, you are missing out. I often listen to it on the walk to work and I have to stop myself from chuckling out loud, because other commuters do not trust someone that happy on the way to work.

7. Sainsbury’s Online Delivery

I’m not being over-dramatic when I say that this has changed my life. Other supermarkets do deliver obvs, but Sainsbury’s will always be my first love. You can buy a delivery pass which is quite cheap if you shop weekly (and you can always find a discount code online), do your shop online from your list of favourites and then get it delivered to your door. No faff! No weekend trips to the supermarket! No scrambling for pound coins for the trolley! No interaction with other stressed humans! It’s the lazy millennial’s dream! Mark my words, it’s a game changer.

8. Pancake Day

Put it in the diary guys, Tuesday 28th February. Best celebration in February by a country mile. It’s so great because you think it’s just a normal weekday, not even a nearly-the-weekend weekday, and then bam! You get to eat pancakes for dinner. Whaaaaat. So good.

Abi x

Liftin’ looks

How cool is this stuff by Doughnuts & Deadlifts? I know it doesn’t really matter what you wear to the gym, I once wore a pair of blue suede boots because I’d forgotten my trainers, and another time I had to wear jeans to do Kettlebells! It was very uncomfortable, and I would strongly dissuade anybody else from doing so.

That being said, I do find it helps when I look and feel cool, even if it’s just for myself! I am loving what this brand promotes too – a healthy love of eating and being strong.



However, my favourite fitness top of all time is the one below (I don’t yet own it, but some day my puffers will become even tuffers):


Acroyoga yo!


Abi and I went to Acroyoga tonight – a combination of yoga, acrobatics and massage/bodywork stuff.

We were pretty lucky to have an experienced yogi helping us out as a spot, showing us the best way to Base (the person with the most points of contact on the ground), and how to ‘fly’ – the Flyer being the person elevated off the ground by the Base. See Superman and Mr Batman above for a mental picture.

It was surprisingly relaxing to have someone raise you up to fly but a degree of trust is involved so it was a bit wobbly to start with!

I really enjoyed the human contact too – I think all too often we go about our days not really coming into contact with anybody. This practice established a warm and welcoming atmosphere where you had to trust people you’ve never met before to suspend you in mid air!

Really recommend for a good laugh if nothing else. We had some great welcoming and approachable instructors from Flying Monkey Yoga, so if you’re in the Bristol area, do look them up AND they’re on Move GB.

Deliciously eat whatever the hell you want


Okay, so is anyone else a bit confused about what we should and shouldn’t be eating these days? I know that I am!

Today, the papers have been slamming so-called clean eating diets from the likes of ‘Deliciously Ella’ and ‘Hemsley and Hemsley’ for creating neuroses in women everywhere as well as being based on pseudo-science that at best is just a load of hog wash, but also has a more sinister side.

My general position is that these cook books aren’t the devil incarnate but should possibly be taken with a pinch of salt. As a rule of thumb, cutting out meat, dairy, wheat and gluten is pretty restrictive but for some people, this may work just fine. I know that personally this diet would leave me feeling fatigued and empty, but this is because meat and dairy make my life.

With strength training, if you don’t eat enough of the right stuff, you really could run the risk of feeling pretty unwell afterwards, leading to what an ex-boyfriend described as ‘spatching out’ – the sensation you get where your head makes a fizzing sound and your limbs go a bit shaky before you don’t know who you are anymore until someone revives you by wafting a burger under your snout.

I’ve tried a number of the Deliciously Ella recipes and they’re really nice! I’m pretty sure too that men and women out there aren’t all going to be following every word these people say as gospel, are they?!

It is a minefield of confusion out there though in regard to ‘eating healthily’. No bread? No potato? Surely it’s OK to eat the odd baked potato?! As Abi pointed out, they’ve been a food source for our ancestors for thousands of years if not more! Too much meat – I can see why that’s kind of gross and it’s bad for the planet, but again in moderation, surely we don’t have to cut it out?! And the latest one today in the Guardian – burnt toast can cause cancer. Are we all going to be looking at our crumbs with a colour chart to make sure from now on?

Seriously, we all need to get a grip! In a world where more and more people are unhappy with how they look and what they’re eating, I think we just need to relax a bit and perhaps look at why we eat bad stuff – are our jobs unmanageable and making us unhappy thus leading to having more naughty ‘pick-me-ups’ throughout the day? Do we have time to cook a healthy meal around everything else that we’ve got going on?

Avoiding too much choc, eating only until you’re full and avoiding an excessive amount of ready meals should do it, right? Easier said than done, I realise. When we associate having a treat more and more with relaxing and enjoyment, it becomes a bit of a psychological battle. I wish I had the answer for you, I certainly haven’t sussed it!

I’d say that for me, doing a bit of exercise and eating veg helps things along, and my coach David suggests listing something that you like about yourself every day, even if it’s as small as your little toe, or that you made someone else smile.


Above: my Friday night delight

It’s a shame that these news articles are aimed at women when I think that men are just as susceptible to not being comfortable with their bodies, although they may not talk about it so openly. Obviously playing to other people’s insecurities in order to make book sales is a real issue, but I don’t think that Ella and co are consciously doing this, they’re a product of the same looks-obsessed society after all.

In a world where instant gratification is the norm, we are all looking for an easy answer and a set of rules to accomplish living a healthy lifestyle by when perhaps this just isn’t the way it works. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves what we really want that will make us truly happy instead? I often think that if you look back a few generations ago to those who lived through WWII that their attitude to food back then was very different. Not to mention the fact that there was scarcity, my Nan maintained the same healthy weight her entire life by simply stopping eating when she was full, not snacking between meals and having desert on the odd occasion rather than every day. She wasn’t unhappy or miserable about her body, rather this was just the way she’d been taught to eat.

As a takeaway (sorry, no Chinese involved) thought exercise, please can you mentally note one thing that you like about your body today?