I’m Not Strong For A Girl, I’m Just Strong
Grace Hayes is not only a master lifter, she is also a mother of two, a personal trainer and fitness coach among other things. Grace has been competing professionally for four years, but has been lifting weights for over 15 years. She represents not only the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), but also the nation in master weight lifting. Grace’s next major competition is in June 2019, at the Australian Commonwealth Masters/Oceania/World Cup event on the Gold Coast.
She recently competed at the Australian Nationals in Darwin after recovering from shoulder surgery, where she won silver. I spoke to Grace about her weight lifting career and the importance of being strong and healthy.
Q: What made you participate in weight lifting competitions?
A: I have always been strong and loved the feeling that weight lifting gives me. I started off in a cross fit gym and was approached by a weight lifting coach who thought I had the potential to compete, so we had some one on one PT sessions and coaching and participated in my first national event The Australian Masters/Oceania/World Cup and Pam/Ams, within three months. I medalled silver in Australia. After that experience I got a buzz and wanted to continue to go for gold and be the best version of myself as a master weight lifter.
Q: Why should women lift weights?
A: Because the power, positive energy and the endorphins that it releases is something that no woman should deprive themselves of. Especially as you age, the risks of osteoporosis and hormonal imbalances change the way our bones and bodies deteriorate. Lifting any type of weight increases your muscle mass which protects your bones and hormones, plus it releases serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain which makes you feel fantastic.
Grace looking super strong warming up on Super Saturday 👌we look forward to training with Grace and the masters team…
Q: Truth or Myth: Lifting weights makes you bulky?
A: MYTH! Stop looking at old magazines and social media ‘picture perfect’ or ‘jacked up’ women. That is not real life! We do not have the testosterone in our body or take any illegal drugs/steroids to enhance our body to look that way. It’s sad that women associate weight lifting or any lifting with being too bulky. All I can say is try it and reap the results of a fantastic toned and tight body.
Q: Stop, you might hurt yourself!
A: The amount of people who ask me this or are concerned about my welfare or my ageing body fascinate me. They are usually people who are sitting on the lounge and are unaware or uneducated about their body or fitness, or the benefits of weight training or weight lifting and being strong. The way I see it, if I don’t weight train or lift weights I will end up hurting myself by having brittle bones and genetic issues that run in my family, which in the long run will cause health issues.
Q: Where do you want to be in five to 10 years time with weight lifting?
A: I train with 60-70 year olds that have competed for 20+ years at national and world level. I suppose they are my mentors and where I see myself when I get to their age. I want to continue lifting as long as I can. I look at my friends and family who are at the same age as me, and see myself in a better place physically and mentally. They all have health issues and joint issues and are either on medications or have got limitations to their fitness. So I know I am heading in the right track to take care of my body and mind for a long time, and as you get older it doesn’t mean you should stop. I want to be a good mentor for my kids and show them that if Mum can do it I can do it.