Powerlifting is Tyrone woman’s ‘escapism’

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A Cookstown woman who took up powerlifting to help improve her mental health says she would strongly encourage everyone to get involved.

Mother-of-one Lisa Bell describes powerlifting as “her escapism” and has progressed to competition, recently enjoying success at the World Drug Free European Championships in England and the World Championships in Germany.

At the European championships, Lisa came first in the 90+ kg weight category and Master 1 age class (40-45 years) - making her European champion in Squat, Benchpress and Deadlift.

At the World Championships, she came third overall in 90+kg weight category and second in Master 1 age class - placing her third in the 

She trains and coaches regularly as part of the AG Barbell Club at Aaron’s Gym in Cookstown and wants to encourage more people to get interested in powerlifting.

Lisa, a civil servant, welcomes the fact that more people - from all age groups and abilities - are getting involved and later this month the gym is running a competition which has already attracted 13 girls and 20 boys of all ages.

“I only began competing in powerlifting two years ago at age of 42 and it’s best thing I ever did,” she said.

She said for people struggling with mental health issues powerlifting can give them more self confidence and a sense of wellbeing.

“If you’re having a really bad day just the act of going into the gym and lifting weights can give you a great buzz,”
she said.

Lisa, who is also the national record holder and champion for each discipline with the Irish Drug Free Powerlifting Federation, thanked Mid Ulster District Council for providing her with a grant towards her travel costs.

She also thanked her coach, Thomas Cardwell, who has been coaching her since May of this year and “has helped me reach my achievements this year to date and planning for better things to come in 2020.”