Canberra powerlifter Vanessa Schimizzi is shattering glass ceilings – with Barbells.
Her passion for powerlifting started back in 2015 where she qualified for her first nationals tournament after just six months of training, before finishing second in the GPC National Championships in Adelaide last month.
In just her second nationals, Schimizzi managed to achieve a 160-kilogram deadlift at three times her bodyweight of 52kg.
The 27-year-old started off in gymnastics and competed at a national level for 12 years, but it was once she transitioned into powerlifting that her true passion was found. She currently trains at the Burley Strength gym, which is specified to train powerlifters in the nation’s capital.
Schimizzi recalled the 160kg lift that highlighted her rise in the sport, made even more meaningful by her family cheering her on through the ordeal.
“It is the best feeling bringing it all together on the platform, and seeing how much you can push your body and strength,” Schimizzi said. “It all comes from a sense of knowing that with a lot of discipline and hard work you can and you will get stronger.
“I looked at my videos from three years ago when I was doing a 30kg deadlift with no idea what I’m doing, so it was awesome to see how far I have come.
“My family were proud, they are always proud.”
She found her love for weights in 2015 when she trained at FUNC Fitness in Mitchell before transitioning to Burley Strength to focus on powerlifting.
Her mindset to start competing began when she performed a 130kg deadlift and realised she wanted to test the limits of her strength. In order for her to progress in powerlifting, the move to Burley Strength meant surrounding herself with people who were going to help her.
“I knew that if I wanted to take powerlifting to the next level it was better to go to that environment with other powerlifters all training to achieve a common goal – to be the best version of themselves and to get strong.
“It’s just an awesome place to train, it is really community-focused, everyone knows each other, there are no mirrors on the wall, no egos, it is really good.”
Vanessa likes seeing women giving it a go and hopes more girls in Canberra will get involved.
“I think it is a really good thing to see women and men of all ages and all body types doing powerlifting,” she said. “We have a competition and that is Ladies Lifting and there are 60 or so women in Canberra that jump in and do it.
“You don’t need to be professional, you can just jump in. It’s really encouraging and good to see women involved in it.”
Ladies of Lifting is an annual, female-only powerlifting competition. Each year over a hundred women across three locations step onto the platform in a unified show of strength to raise money to continue Burley Strength’s ongoing support for Karinya House.
Ladies of Lifting – Canberra
10am – 5pm, 4 August 2019