Athlete Bio – Shelley Collett

Shelley Collett
Weight Class
90 kg
Where do you live?
Virginia, USA
Squat PR:
205 lbs (USPC Meet)
Bench PR:
125 lbs (unofficial)
Deadlift PR:
215 lbs (unofficial)
Years lifting?
How did you come to powerlifting or Olympic lifting?
I needed to lose weight and get healthier. I was also rehabbing a knee injury from a Tough Mudder run. I’d plateaued with my own rehab and needed to do more. So I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer. He started me lifting and I just loved it, so we focused on strength from then on out. You would think that doing squats and deadlifts would have hurt my knee even more, but it didn’t. My knee is so much better than it was because I strengthened all the muscles around it. It’ll never be the same as it used to be but I think it’s as good as it can be now.
Do you have any previous athletic or lifting experience?
Athletic, yes. Lifting, no. In my 20s, I was a whitewater rafting guide, climbing guide, and worked Ski Patrol. I’m also currently a SCUBA diving instructor.
Do you compete? Why or why not? If you compete, what do you like most about the competitions?
I just competed for my first time this weekend (2/27/21). I did enjoy it, though I think nerves and lack of experience got to me, so I wasn’t performing at my best. But I want to do more!
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 have an in-person trainer I see twice a week. The rest I do on my own. I use a couple of different apps for different workouts. I just started a calisthenics program! My advice is to find a trainer that suits you best. Even though a trainer might be good, they may not mesh with your personality (or you with theirs). The two of you need to mesh in order to work well together.
Where do you train? Gym, garage?
My trainer’s garage and my own equipment in my living room. I’ll return to the gym some days when it’s safe for me to do so.
What is the hardest part about beginning lifting as an older woman?
Realizing I don’t build muscle like I used to – or lose weight as easily as I used to.
How has lifting affected your health?
It’s still early in my own journey but I think it’s helped a lot. I feel better. I love that I’m able to do day-to-day things easier now. (moving heavy things)
What would you tell women just beginning this journey?
It can be intimidating to start lifting. When my trainer had me start lifting, I was skeptical and hesitant. But I trusted him and I’m glad I did! When I finally did my first heavy(ish) squat, I felt so powerful and strong, so I was hooked! Just give yourself time to adjust and learn how to do the lifts, understand that you’re going to make mistakes. (I rolled over backwards more than once learning to squat properly, LOL). Take those mistakes in stride and learn from them!
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