Reader mail 2

Dear Krista,

In 1996 I broke my back in a construction accident. I had to do something in order to show the male dominated world that I could still pull my weight! In order to do this I had to start to lift weights. And so my training started, a program I wrote. After 3 years, I decided to put my training to the test. I challenged the California State bench press record (that was 110). I ended up benching 203lbs. That was my
first meet back in 2000, I am now up to 231.25 lbs. My love of weights is what allows me to continue. Keep up the good work in encouraging other women!

Oh I forgot to mention my weight class, I am in the 67.5 kgs. Anyway, thanks again for your positive outlook for women, we all need it!


I dig your website! I’ve read it all and check it frequently for new stuff.

I’m 47 and have been powerlifting for almost a year. Along with the beauty of lifting for exercise, I’ve discovered the joy of competing. I’ve done one deadlift meet and one full power lifting meet now and am anxious to get on to the next one! It’s pretty cool to be a peri-menopausal woman becoming a competitive athlete at the same time.

Probably one of the most important things I’m learning is to never, ever play the “age card” during a workout or competition. I don’t ever say that I can’t do something because I’m too old. It’s a wonderful attitude to carry over into the rest of my life.

Thanks again for your site. I can tell it takes some work on your part; and I can see a kindred spirit from the iron world is at work there! I will especially love reading anything you add in the future regarding masters lifters and competing!


Leah Smith

Dear Krista,

Well, I have a story. Better yet, I “AM” a story. You might get hundreds of these so I apologize if I bore you. But you did ask on your web site, it’s your own fault, so here’s another one. *G*

In January of 1999, I had what I call a “revelation” that changed my life forever. I was away on business and awoke right on time to get ready for my day. I was perfectly organized, my hair was perfect, my make-up was perfect, all was well, perfect, till I went to get dressed. What I had brought with me to wear for my “presentation,” was now too small. It was 4:30 AM, I am six hundred miles away from home, and I was going to have to call my clients and tell them I canceled because I was too fat to fit into my clothes. I couldn’t
stop crying. I needed a new wardrobe, and it was going to have to be a size bigger.

See, when you dislike someone else, you can write them off and chalk it up to a difference of personality. “We don’t like each other, see ya ’round.” But, when you hate yourself, there is no escape. I’ve never hated anyone or anything like I did myself, that morning, in that hotel room. Because of that day, and because I could no longer kid myself with denial about my own self-hatred, I came home, and changed my life.

Over the course of the next eleven and a half months, I lost one hundred and twenty pounds. When I reached my goal weight, I had gone from a size twenty-six to a 9/10 and I went from 260+ lbs to 140 lbs. I did it strictly all on my own, with no help from pills, shots, doctors or even Jenny Craig. Yay me. How does this tie into weight lifting, you ask? After I reached my goal weight, I joined a gym.

It took a few months but I discovered something else new about myself. I liked weights. If I could press fifty, I had to try sixty. And then sixty was too light. And I liked it even more. I built up pretty nicely and started getting all kinds of helpful info from those who saw how dedicated I was. After about nine months, the suggestions of competition started cropping up. I also went from that size 9/10 and 140 lbs, to the size 6 and 154 lbs that I am, now. *big smile*

Well, okay, I took the plunge. I joined a “pro” gym and hired a trainer. I started only three weeks ago. He’s excited with me because I am already strong and I have a great head start. He estimated that he could have me on the stage in six months but of course, we shall see. I had been powerlifting (I ‘almost’ benched my weight, I wanted that one) and now, I’m bodybuilding, but I slip the heavy stuff in once in a while, I just can’t help myself. *G*

I love to jog, big switch from being out of breath just to walk to the back of my property. Yeah, I’d say that I’ve changed a lot.

I sometimes take it all for granted, but all I have to do to feel humble is think back on that day in January, when I felt hate, anger and despair like never before in my life. I am a strong lady, I always have been. It’s always been there, just like it is in every one of us. The key is tapping into your own power and grabbing a hold of it.

I now have power in my body as well as my mind. I’m never going back.

Enclosed you will find a pic of me from this past Christmas, I know, it’s a terrible flex, even my daughter says so. And I have become more cut, I’ve dropped my bodyfat percentage since I started at the new gym so I think I’m even better. *G* But, it gives you an idea, anyway. Hopefully, you’ll eventually be seeing this name on ESPN. Geeeez, that thought is kind of intimidating.

I think what I am the most proud of all to say, is that because of the immense changes I’ve made in my life, my daughter has lost sixty pounds and my sister, eighty. Both now also work out and that thought brings tears to my eyes. To save my own child from her own day of hell, like mine was, is the greatest gift I could ever have given her. She is sixteen, and I don’t ever want her to feel about herself the way I did about me, that one time that seems so long ago.

If I never do anything else, I have done that one thing right.


Jana Radney

Hi Krista

Thanks for your web site – it’s great to read stuff written by/for women. I visit the Dr Squat forum regularly, and although sometimes I pick up helpful information, the testosterone level is a bit much sometimes!

I live on the NSW Central Coast in Australia, and train in powerlifting with another girl and guy, in our garage gym. Another girl & guy lift with us once a week. At 38 years old, I only started powerlifting 4 years ago after about 6 months at a local gym doing “pump” classes… Before that I was a total couch potato.

Robyn deadlifting

I have a thoraco-lumbar scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine) so was initially fairly nervous about loading my back with weight… I remember 4 years ago, trying a “heavy weight” — and walking out with 30 kg on my back and yelling at my (male) friend to “get it off me — it’s too heavy!” On Saturday, I did my “garage comp” and squatted 100kg, benched 50kg and deadlifted 110kg. (I weigh 62.5kg). Form is a continual issue with us. “Do it properly or don’t do it at all”.

We are really a bunch of “mongs”. I have a scoliosis, the guy I train with had major abdominal surgery a few years ago, and has a thoracic weakness, and the girl I train with has a major hearing (& balance) loss and had never exercised before (ever). We are constantly watching each other, and working on weakness areas. Anyway, thanks for the web site. I have attached a photo of my latest
achievement – 110 kg deadlift!


Robyn Gleeson

Just wanted to say that your website is an inspiration to all of us fatties out there. One day, during a bout of depression over my ever-increasing weight, I happened across your website. I read everything on your website and finally got down to your reader’s yak back letters and that is what sold me on everything you had written about…. the letter from Melanie brought tears to my eyes. Her before picture was me. I wore those types of tank shirts and jean shorts and I saw myself right there… fat and tired of being
that way.

It has been 6 months and the changes in my body have been spectacular. I lift heavy. I work out to failure. I sweat. I hurt. And I’ve gone from a size 18/ 20 to size 7 / 9, having lost OVER 50 pounds. And I love it. I’m a 38 year old woman who looks better now then she ever did in her 20’s. All thanks to you and Melanie.

My body is still in progress. But I love the new me. Thank you for letting women know that its OK to lift. Serious weight lifting was the ONLY thing that worked for me.



Christine Jones

Hi Krista,

I love your website! I, too, love to pump iron and am very much a girl.  It is sad that so many women think that it’s only for the men or for chicks who want to be men. I surf around looking for others like myself and I find sites which are devoted to predominantly men or ‘professional’ and/ or drug using women. There are very few women online (that I know of) who are just ‘normal’ and love the free weights as much as I do!

I used to think I would ‘get too big’ and of course it makes me laugh my ass off now, years later when I would love nothing more than to add some natural muscle size to my shape! FYI I am a 31 yo, married 7 years, mom of 2.



This picture is from my first bodybuilding show in October 2000. I got second place.

I read your site today and wanted to give you a kudo!! I was 338 lbs a year ago. I got TONS of the most ridiculous advice. I decided to go it on my own and read books and finally became a certified personal trainer.

When I started I could just do the treadmill for 30 minutes. I did 1/2 mile in that time. But I stuck with it and then started to weight train. Later I also incorporated light yoga/pilates for flexibility. I switched to a natural mostly organic diet.

What I lost and what I gained is unbelievable. I haven’t had even a cold in a year. I’ve lost 110 lbs so far but gained tons of muscle. I now can walk/jog 5 miles with no problems and bought a bike for the first time in 25 years. But my entire life changed. My house is cleaner, I am much more active, and I feel incredible.

It is so nice to see people give good information to others. I related so much to your site as I had arthritis in my hips from the weight when I started. People keep asking me “How did you do it?” and I tell them there is NO magic. You must eat healthy and exercise sensibly… for life.

Thanks again,

Andrea Jaffe

My primary athletic focus is martial arts, but I have always been fairly strong (especially for a 5′ 2″ woman), and got started lifting weights my senior year in high school while training to pass the physical fitness test for the Air Force Academy.

I have recently returned to lifting weights after being away for a number of years, using my upcoming black belt test as an excuse to increase both my strength and cardio training. I am doing machines for a number of exercises, but am gradually transitioning to more free weights — the fact that they help improve stability makes them more desirable for a martial artist.

I am insulin-dependent diabetic, and am working to lose some excess body fat. While I am not lifting massive weights like competitive lifters and bodybuilders do — yet — I find I am a LOT stronger than even many of the athletic-looking women that work out at the Y. For me, it is motivational to follow one of these women, who look so much fitter than I do, on any given machine and have to double or triple the weight just to get a good workout!!! Sometimes I actually chuckle to myself inside.

And although I have both diabetes and asthma, I can do things that my “healthy” female co-workers (and even some of the men) can’t do — like changing the 5-gal bottle on the water cooler. I have been in there changing it and had the men just watch me do
it! I may not be as trim — yet — as some of my fellow women, but I don’t have to wait around helpless for some man to do everything for me. I am not knocking men here, rather women who actually take PRIDE in not doing anything that takes effort. For me, that keeps me motivated to keep pumping the iron and working up a sweat. That, and some of the women who see you lifting a lot more weight
than them sometimes look on in awe.

At the moment my primary focus is endurance and weight loss, because those are the weaker areas that I need to improve for my martial arts training. But I have to get in a weight workout at least once or twice a week. And I find that even that makes a big difference – I have an easier time with kicking, etc.

I just discovered this website, and I am really enjoying it. Useful information, to be sure, but I especially like the sense of humor. It’s too easy to forget this is supposed to be fun, too!

Thanks for the site,

Ellen Reddick