Athlete Bio – Tommye Arnold

Tommye Arnold powerlifter

Tommye Arnold
Weight Class
Where do you live?
Ormond Beach Florida
Squat PR:
352.5 meet
Bench PR:
159.5 meet/185 gym
Deadlift PR:
352.5 meet
Years lifting?
1.5 powerlifting
How did you come to powerlifting or Olympic lifting?
I bodybuilt for 9 years and was prepping for NPC Masters Nationals and was miserable. On my 53rd birthday I met my coach and hired him as a birthday present for myself. I have not looked back or regretted it for a minute.
Do you have any previous athletic or lifting experience?
I was a competitive tennis player and in my mid 40s turned to bodybuilding.
Do you compete? Why or why not? If you compete, what do you like most about the competitions?
Yes I love competing as it fuels my competitive spirit. Bodybuilding was difficult for me as it is so subjective. I love that powerlifting it is so clear if you get a PR and how you stack up against others your age and weight. I also love being able to compete in open against the younger women. However the best part is the friendliness of competitions and everyone rooting for each other, it is unlike any other sport I have found.
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 a coach who I use in person during meet prep and online all the time. I found him when he came into the gym I own to train another lifter. Look at your coaches accomplishments personally, length of time in sport, how other lifters with him/her do, style of coaching and where he or she places emphasis. My coach is only 31 but is top level lifter who started at 16. I thought he would teach me main lifts and I would move on, but he has become a part of my life. He worries about my health and has gone as far as going to doctor with me. He emphasizes mobility and execution. I can not imagine being with any other coach.
Where do you train? Gym, garage?
I own a gym that focuses on competitive athletes bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman and Highland games. In addition we have members that just want more than commercial gyms offer.
What is the hardest part about beginning lifting as an older woman?
Hardest was making decision to go for it in powerlifting. Once I made the decision it was full steam ahead.
How has lifting affected your health?
My health was pretty good coming into it with the exception of a back injury from early days bodybuilding and a c spine injury from my 20s. Unfortunately I have lost heavy training time the past 5 months due to it. Though I have continued to train 4-5 days a week pretty much throughout rehab. I am anxious to get back to it and make a switch to equipped lifting.On a more positive note my metabolism that bodybuilding wreaked havoc on is now better than I can ever remember.
What would you tell women just beginning this journey?
Find a coach, learn a solid technique foundation and then go for it. I highly recommend competing as soon as you are technically proficient with the lifts. Don’t let yourself get hung up on needing to be able to lift a certain amount first as I see to many people set expectations and then never compete.