Sunday 18 March 2018

Irish mum who began powerlifting just eight months ago will now to take on the world

Tara Mooney began powerlifting eight months ago
Tara Mooney began powerlifting eight months ago

Claire Fox

A woman who only began powerlifting eight months ago has been chosen to compete in an international competition alongside some of the world’s most renowned competitors.

Tara Mooney (31), from Tullamore, Co Offaly began powerlifting in January when her boyfriend suggested that she try to lift some dead weights at the gym.

The mother of two children, a boy (5) and a girl (3), Tara told she had never considered the sport having previously only attended regular gym classses.

She said: “I’ve only been doing this for a short time. I used to lift light weights at the gym and do classes and things like that but had never tried a dead lift before.

"My boyfriend said to me one day to try a dead weight. I lifted my first dead lift of 107.5 kg which he said was really good and then I started training with him after that.”

Fast forward to the present day, Tara has competed in a range of events and can now dead lift a weight of 125kg.  She has been chosen to compete in the Strength Wars 2017 competition on September 10 in Berlin, which has a cult following on social media.

Tara Mooney says women are deterred by the negative image that powerlifting sometimes has
Tara Mooney says women are deterred by the negative image that powerlifting sometimes has

“We would watch the competition on Youtube and my boyfriend follows their Facebook page and he put my name forward when he saw that they were looking for competitors. They then contacted me and asked me some questions and asked would I be able to fly out to Berlin on September 9? I was shocked,” said Tara.

Having only entered into the sport a matter of months ago, Tara feels that she is the “underdog” in the competition but can’t wait to give it her best shot.

“I’m so nervous but I’m really excited too. All the other girls in the competition are incredible. I feel like the underdog in this. Everyone else is professional. I’ve only been at this for eight months,” she added.

During the competition, which is broadcast online, she will be expected to complete a range of gruelling tasks from burpee pull ups to strenuous dips.

“In the competition you’re expected to lift 40kg over your head 12 times, 90kg of dead lifts 12 times, 15 pull-ups, 20 dips and 15 burpee pull-ups. You’re given about 9 minutes to complete each task.”

Tara, known as “Tiny Power Mom” on Instagram, fractured her back in a horse riding accident when she was 14-years-old and injured herself in a cross-fit competition in Galway two weeks ago where she came eighth.

On top of this, the young mother has a kidney infection but hasn’t let these setbacks affect her training regime, which she balances while working in sales and marketing in the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

“My regime is still the same. If the kids are with their father I can train more and might train during lunch and after work but some days I can’t do as much. It depends. You’ve to fit in housework as well. People at work think I’m crazy and say: ‘Oh here comes the Tiny Power Mom’, but they've been very supportive,” she added.

Tara Mooney says women are deterred by the negative image that powerlifting sometimes has
Tara Mooney says women are deterred by the negative image that powerlifting sometimes has

As the only female member of her local Tullamore powerlifting club, Tara said she would love to have more women to train with but feels that they are deterred by the negative image that powerlifting sometimes has.

“Women are 100pc put off. They think they’re going to get big and look like a man. It’d be nice to have more women in the club to train with.

"It’s going to get popular though. Everyone wants to look toned and have a shape and powerlifting can give you that.”

Tara, is a petite 5ft 1' and weighs 57kg. She believes that if she can be a power lifter, then anyone can be.

“If you want to do it, you can. Any mother can do it. You don’t need to diet. It’s a therapeutic sport and great if you’re stressed. It’s great for your head and you’re fuelling your body with good food all the time.

I’d love to become a strength athlete and compete in competitions and maybe get some strength qualifications and help other women to get interested in the sport. You don’t have to dedicate loads of time to it. It’s great for your well-being and if I can do it anyone can.

Tara will be documenting the Strength Wars event on her Instagram account @tinypowermom.

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