What Powerlifting Has Given Me

Taylor Langlais is a Canadian junior powerlifter in 63 kg weight class in the CPU. She is a nationally qualified lifter and the strongest in her weight class in Ontario when she won the 2017 OPA Provincial Championships. 

Taylor is also our first sponsored athlete as she exudes the strong attitude that we promote. Taylor's vibe is all about having fun while empowering those who are around her. She takes her training seriously and it shows with her performance on the platform. She also balances it out by having fun goofing around and not taking herself seriously outside training. People forget that powerlifting is supposed to be fun - and we want to hype up people like Taylor to remind everyone to get back to that attitude.

We asked her to write an article for us so she can share her story on how powerlifting can uplift women and how they can use the sport to find solitude, peace and confidence. 

 

        Powerlifting has long been considered as an inherently masculine sport. With the premise it to be to be the strongest version of yourself while simultaneously being stronger than everyone else around you, it is easy to assume the sport would be largely male-dominated. In contrast to this idea, more and more women are actually starting to experiment with making strength training a priority and a hobby. Though this is an incredibly powerful and progressive direction to be moving in, there is still an atmosphere of intimidation to women who are new to the sport and who are thinking about getting into it.

        Self-worth and self-confidence are complicated things for someone to find peace and understanding with - this is especially true for younger women. They are also attributes and qualities that are important to have when participating in competition. I remember that from the age of 13 I directly correlated my own perceived self-worth and importance with how I looked, while completely ignoring the fact that I wasn’t even close to being fully developed. I started working out frequently with the intent and goal to be as skinny as possible and to keep it that way. I realized that this is a destructive mentality that is far too strongly developed and maintained within society for both young men and women. This is very evident when potential personal training clients that are barely in their teens come to me with the goal of losing weight even though they have no business in caring about this in the first place.

        There is something incredibly powerful and freeing that comes from rejecting the damaging and oppressive ideals that are pushed upon women from birth. When a woman makes the decision to stop judging herself based on the size of her body and instead puts more emphasis on what her body can do, there is an important shift in the way that she begins to perceive her own importance. This was exactly the case for me. When I first discovered lifting, I finally began to care less about what I looked like and more about what my body could do. Instead of worrying about how to shrink myself, I began to develop goals of getting bigger and stronger. I allowed myself to take up space and in doing so, I rewrote all I had known about what was or was not an adequate reason to love myself. It is important for young women to find something that pushes them to grow in a way that challenges them and encourages them to love themselves and be confident throughout the process.

        Even though getting into powerlifting made sense for me, I was still intimidated jumping into it. Far from that expectation, I was instantly welcomed into the most supportive, knowledgeable, and uplifting community out there. I encourage women who are contemplating competing to take the leap and sign up for a meet. The best and most lasting thing that I have taken away from competing is not strength but rather the family that I’ve built. Strength is entirely subjective and powerlifting is about celebrating individual successes. It is about competing with yourself more than you worry about competing with anyone else. To take it a step further, it’s also about supporting and encouraging your fellow competitors even though they might beat you.

        I encourage women to continue to prioritize strength and sportsmanship in their character development instead of mentally and physically restrictive behaviours. I encourage women to support other women in a way that is transcendent of our differences in a selfless and intersectional manner. Lastly, I encourage the development of shameless and guiltless self-confidence, self-love, and self-worth without justification or explanation.

Follow Taylor on Instagram at @taylorlanglais ! She also does personal training in the Sault-Ste. Marie area so holla at her for your personal training needs! She does in-person and online coaching - contact her at tlanglaislasante@hotmail.com