Athlete Bio – Debbie Thornton

Debbie Thornton

Debbie Thornton
Weight Class
Where do you live?
Squat PR:
175# unofficial (I use the smith bar)
Bench PR:
95# unofficial
Deadlift PR:
275# official (285# unofficial)
Clean & Jerk PR:
85# unofficial
Snatch PR:
60# unofficial
Years lifting?
5 1/2
How did you come to powerlifting or Olympic lifting?
I’m really not a powerlifter or Olympic lifter, just a crossfitter who likes to lift. Joined Crossfit just before my 59th birthday. It was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done for myself!
Do you have any previous athletic or lifting experience?
No previous lifting experience and I didn’t participate in any sports when I was young.
Do you compete? Why or why not? If you compete, what do you like most about the competitions?
I just did my first competition in the United Ladies of Iron. I only did the Deadlift, as I didn’t think my bench was good enough to do. I got first in Oregon for my age/weight as well as first in the National competition. I’ll definitely include the bench if I get to compete again. I can’t do the squat because I use the smith bar due to shoulder mobility.
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?
I just have my Crossfit coach, who is awesome. We live in a small community so there’s not any powerlifting coaches.
Where do you train? Gym, garage?
What is the hardest part about beginning lifting as an older woman?
I think recovery is so much different as you get older. You definitely have to rest more. I think naps work wonders. Also it’s hard not to compare yourself with younger athletes who might lift more but also have more stamina. When I’m sucking air during or after a workout I have to remind myself that I’m only competing against myself and it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.
How has lifting affected your health?
I was diagnosed with osteopenia and after about 2 years of lifting my bone density improved by 11.5% and no sign of osteopenia. I’m also stronger than I’ve ever been.
What would you tell women just beginning this journey?
Just keep showing up. That’s what my coach told me when I first started Crossfit and I’ve never been sorry I did.