Oro-Medonte’s Kayla Casey earned a silver medal at the recent 2021 Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) Central Championship.
By accumulating the most points in her lifts, she was also named the "best female open lifter" at the competition, which she admits is a "pretty big deal" to be recognized among all the female lifters aged 24-39.
With the impressive performance, she has now qualified to compete at the CPU national championships in Newfoundland this March.
The 33-year-old Park Street Collegiate Institute graduate says winning silver proves that her hard work and dedication has paid off.
“Some days, I was lifting at four in the morning before heading off to work,” she said.
“I actually just started powerlifting in late 2019 and since then I’ve put in five days a week for anywhere from an hour to two hours at a time.”
Casey comes from a CrossFit background, which she says helped prepare her for powerlifting.
“CrossFit was a lot of fun and I enjoyed competing in local completions and coaching here in Orillia. However, I found that my strength is more strength. I enjoy lifting, it’s something I realized I’m pretty good at and it’s worth a shot to see if I can go somewhere with it,” she said.
Casey said her commitment to her training can be a challenge alongside her job as a paramedic in Rama and Muskoka.
“It can be a little tricky balancing work with powerlifting sometimes. After work sometimes I’m exhausted, but toward the end of my training for competition I just remember that I have a goal in mind and I have to put in the work,” she said.
Some days, Casey has to rearrange her training schedule because of work, but she usually finds a way to reach her daily training goals. However, Casey admits that some days the drive isn’t there.
“If I finish a shift on a regular training day and I don’t really feel like working out, I don’t, and I don’t beat myself up for it either,” Casey said.
“Some days it’s OK to just go through the motions, but other days it’s beneficial to just take that rest so I can hit it hard the next day.”
Casey trains out of her garage-turned gym, which is a dream come true for her.
“I always had the goal of having a sick home gym and over the years I collected all the equipment I needed,” she explained.
“When I started powerlifting, I decided to just do it at home," she said. 'That way I can just do it on my own time, listen to my own music at whatever volume I want. I can take my dogs outside with me, in the summertime, I can open the garage doors ... I just really enjoy working out at home.”
Casey is now turning her focus to preparing for the nationals.
“I know there is going to be a lot of strong girls in my weight category - a lot of them are inspirations to me. To be able to lift on the same platform as them is an honour in itself,” she said.
“I’d like to hit a personal best on my deadlift at that time, and I’d like to finish middle of the pack.”
Casey competes in the 63kg weight class. To date, her best deadlift is 368.5 pounds and has a goal of hitting the 400-pound mark. Powerlifting includes three lifts: a squat, a bench press and a deadlift.
After nationals, Casey would like to keep up with powerlifting as long as her body keeps up with her.
“When I turn 40, I would become a 'master' in the sport. I’d like to maintain what I’m doing now and compete" in the masters division, she said.
“I just really enjoy the training. I see myself in it for the long haul.”