Kayla Casey is making a name for herself in the powerlifting world.
The Oro-Medonte native struck silver at the North American Powerlifting Federation (NAPF) Championship in Panama last week. It was Casey’s first international competition.
“It was definitely different lifting against girls from other counties,” she said. “It was a super-cool experience.”
The 34-year-old Park Street Collegiate Institute graduate says competing in a different country was a challenge in itself.
“There were a lot of things that were out of my control,” she said. “The food I was eating, having to do air travel, and things like that were a whole new experience.”
To prepare for the competition, Casey did two-hour training sessions five days a week in her home gym. Leading up to the big day, she was nervous but determined.
“I was pretty excited,” she said. “It’s all still sinking in for me because it took a lot to even get there.”
While winning the silver medal was a major accomplishment, Casey is proud to even have an opportunity to compete on such a large stage.
“Obviously, my hard work is paying off,” she said. “To stand on the podium next to the other girls was kind of surreal.”
Casey’s journey started in 2009 when she started doing CrossFit. In 2019, she discovered powerlifting as a sport.
“When I was doing CrossFit, I preferred lifting,” she said. “It’s right up my alley and something I wanted to focus on.”
Outside of powerlifting, Casey is a paramedic in Rama and Muskoka, which can be difficult to balance.
“Finding time to train while working shift work can be hard,” she said.
She also must maintain certain nutrition goals to be able to compete in her desired weight class.
“I’m still able to go out and be social with my friends,” she said. “I just know what my limits are, and because I have a goal and I’m determined to do well, it keeps me on track.”
The next time Casey attends the NAPF Championship, she plans on leaving with gold.
“I have a good coach, a good powerlifting coach, a great nutrition coach, and I have the dedication,” she said. “I just need to keep chipping away and, hopefully, one day I can take away the gold.”
She says her support system is also crucial to her success. Her boyfriend, Chris, family, and friends always have her back. She also has the emotional support of her two pups, who hang out with her in the gym.
Next for Casey is the provincial championship in November.
“I want to be on the podium for that,” she said. “I want to do my absolute best and come away with a medal.”
She hopes to pull off a 400-pound deadlift during the event.
“That’s on my radar,” she said. “I feel like it’s within my reach.”