Athlete Bio – Arlyn Smith

Arlyn Smith
Weight Class
Where do you live?
Squat PR:
Working on it!
Bench PR:
105 lbs
215 lbs
Years lifting?
About 3 on a Smith, 9 months unassisted
How did you come to powerlifting or Olympic lifting?
A strange route. By way of curling a soup can in a wheelchair post cerebellar stroke.
Do you have any previous athletic or lifting experience?
Trained for Olympic track and field as a child. To say that did NOT come to fruition is a massive understatement!
Do you compete? Why or why not? If you compete, what do you like most about the competitions?
Yes. This is not exaggerating. Having a global community encouraging me inspires me to keep pushing. Strangely enough, the bar and crowd encourage me to keep going in life. So, competing actually helps me live!
Equipped or Raw?
Do you have a coach or trainer? In person or online? How did you find your trainer/program? Do you have any advice for women looking for a trainer?
Yes! Melissa O’Keefe. Currently through video, text, etc. Her business is located in Michigan and I am in VA.
My advice is this: when a trainer or coach notices that you give consistent effort, they will be excited to work with you. When I found a coach who believed in me like I did, there was no turning back. When you’re coach ALWAYS tells you that they believe in your abilities, sometimes reality is upended! Best to cling to a coach who defies logic! But I had an interesting journey to find my coach!
Where do you train? Gym, garage?
What is the hardest part about beginning lifting as an older woman?
Being told it’s too dangerous.
How has lifting affected your health?
Reversed osteoporosis. Reversed hypothyroidism. Created new neural pathways associated with both cerebellar stroke and ataxia. Helped recovery from substance abuse. Helped me recover from anorexia and bulimia.
Allowed me to walk when science said otherwise.
What would you tell women just beginning this journey?
Keep going! Don’t EVER give up! EVER!
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