A great-gran on a mission to stay youthful took to POWERLIFTING because plastic surgery was too expensive – and has now smashed a British record.
Superfit Val Swaine, 61, said cosmetic surgery and botox was too expensive so she turned to pumping iron instead as a way of toning up and keeping in shape.
And now the retired chemical plant manager said she is feeling fitter than when she was in her 50s.
She said: “I thought it was all a bit mad at first. I don’t look like the typical type of powerlifter.
“People expect to see muscles like on the world’s strongest man.
“I couldn’t afford plastic surgery or botox so I thought I’d try a fitness regime.
“I feel great. I’ve got new drive and ambition. It’s given me a different outlook on life and just shows you can achieve anything at any age.
“Age is not an obstacle.”
It was last month, at the Global Powerlifting Committee GB Finals, when Ms Swaine smashed the British dead-lift record for her age and weight with 100kgs, and took the British record in the same category for all three lifts totalling 187.5kgs.
Her strength was put even more to the test as she waited for a cancer diagnosis after discovering a lump on her leg that turned out to be a malignant melanoma before it was successfully removed.
Ms Swaine had spent seven years living near Carcassonne in France enjoying early retirement and good wine before returning to Bradford, West Yorks., to be nearer her family.
She said: “I’d given up the wine and started jogging on my own before we left but when I got back to Bradford I wanted to be keeping fit with other people so I joined a gym and joined classes.
“After a while I wanted to do something else to improve my fitness and that’s when one of the trainers came up with strength training.
“It was a bit daunting at first but my trainer knew all the right techniques so I just did as I was told. After a month he suggested a competition and it went from there.”
The competitions involved three lifts; squat, bench-lift and Ms Swaine’s personal best – the dead-lift in which a loaded barbell or bar is lifted off the ground to the hips, then lowered back.
After her success in the UK she is planning to grab more records at the European and World Championships in Poland and Slovenia next year.