Barry powers up

Paulette Barry (right) celebrates her national powerlifting gold medal with coach Tony Tomra. - Photo Submitted
Paulette Barry (right) celebrates her national powerlifting gold medal with coach Tony Tomra.
— image credit: Photo Submitted

Paulette Barry feels stronger in her 50s than she did 10 years ago. She’s got a national gold medal in powerlifting to prove it.

Barry, a 54-year-old grandmother, topped the competition in the women’s Masters 2 division at the Canadian championships recently in Calgary. She compiled a 237-pound squat, 185-pound bench press and a 301-pound deadlift to secure the title.

Lifters are given three attempts at each event, with the highest weight from each style counting towards the total.

“What’s exciting about powerlifting is I feel stronger in my 50s than I did in my 40s,” smiled Barry. “The real goal is about having fun and being stronger.

“I’ve always liked being strong and weight training. We train not only our strengths, but also our weaknesses.”

Barry trained for more than a year to reach nationals. She qualified at an event last year in Vancouver.

“Who would have thought I’d be able to show my grandchildren a national power lifting medal?” she beamed.

Barry, who works as a landscaper and as a personal trainer at Breakaway Fitness, got serious about powerlifting two years ago. She now trains with Tony Tomra and Barry Antoniow at Predator Barbell, and at Breakaway.

“They invited me to give it a try and I got hooked pretty good on it,” said Barry. “Never once did they ever make me feel I wasn’t part of the powerlifting team. And they don’t take it easy on me because I’m a woman and a grandma. They really pushed me to my potential.

“Although it is an individual sport, it is very much a team effort. It’s really about progression.”

Barry trains on weekends at Predator Barbell. She says lifters from all over the Okanagan and other parts of B.C. will drop by to work out.

“It’s a real community sport in the powerlifting world,” she explained.

Predator Barbell is hosting a world qualifier on July 7 at the Vernon Recreation Complex. It will feature local athletes and other lifters from Western Canada. Barry says some of the lifters will be capable of squatting more than 1,000 pounds and pressing 600 pounds.


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