Strong Not Skinny Mindset changed my life

Strong Not Skinny


The “Strong not skinny mindset” is something that has often become a conversational point during my training sessions. It appears that lots of women in Powerlifting come through to the sport after training with a high focus on working towards achieving that perfect bikini body.

This led to our interview with Jo Beck

Jo is 51, looking at her photos above is hard to believe. She speaks candidly about her roller coaster relationship with food and the fact that she was bulimic for about 20 years. In the photo below she weighed 56kg at 5 foot 8.

“I was an emotional eater, pounding the treadmill became a way  to burn off the calories, rather than using food to fuel my workouts.”

“I hated PE at school, but as a young adult began to exercise to burn off everything I’d eaten. Being diagnosed with Coeliac disease helped me to re-evaluate my relationship with food.”

How did strength training actually help?

Copious amounts of cardio led to her eventually tearing the meniscus in her knee. This injury combined with being diagnosed with Coeliac disease led her to a rehabilitation program whereby she took up strength training and calcium supplementation. The combination of the pair has led to great bone density results.

Jo is now undeniably strong and a successfully competing Powerlifter. In fact she even holds several records including the Masters 2 Squat, Deadlift and overall Total in the YNEPF in 2017).

Jo’s life as a whole is a perfect demonstration of how strength training can benefit women as we get older. The icing on the cake, however, is not just that her bone density readings are now excellent or that she has achieved Powerlifting records.

One overwhelming fact is that she is now happy with her body. Through working on her strength she is now focused on the weights she is achieving as opposed to the numbers on the weighing scales. An added bonus is that the sport also provides numerous strong inspirational female and male role models in all weight categories.

“In Powerlifting the focus is on what the body can do as opposed to what the body looks like.”

This appears to be the switch for many people who have gone from concentrating on how many kilos they weigh to picking up their own body weight and occasionally going on to smash out weights they’d never dreamed of. Jo goes on to say that:

“powerlifting has  made me happier in a bigger body.”

Perhaps it’s a mid-life crisis thing but we all need to see a bit of progression no matter what age we are. Strength training and indeed Powerlifting is a great way to see and feel breakthroughs as you make strength gains. This can be empowering and eating well now becomes a way of nourishing your body, if you don’t eat well this will

“put barriers up when trying to make gains.”

As we get older it can be incredibly satisfying to see and feel regular improvements rather than feeling like you need to:

“get ready to take the chair” as Jo puts it.

Through strength training you will get a stronger, leaner and more capable body, staving off depletion of muscle mass.

Jo has also been motivated by ladies like GB Bronze Medallist Melissa Hall in the ladies categories and GB Medallist Camille Holland in recent years to name a couple of inspirational lifters. If you’d like to find out more about the sport check out the GBPF website or talk to one of our strength club coaches.