By: Ayecia White, female powerlifter born and raised in Lakeland, FL. Ayecia has been invited to compete in the World Cup. This is Ayecia’s story.
I was born in Bartow and raised in Lakeland all of my life. I have seen just how much this county has grown over the last 30+ years in diversity and culture. My father Samuel Bryant Sr. is a Polk County native who is very active in the community in both social and political events. My mother Carolyn Bryant, who has also lived in Polk County for over 30-years, is an assistant principal at Rochelle School of the Arts.
I intend on making my mark in my hometown just like my parents and do so via health, fitness, and showcasing just how beautiful being strong really is!
Seven years ago, my life took a dramatic turn. I was severely overweight, depressed, and barely surviving each day. I was trying my best to adjust to my new normal after escaping a domestic violent relationship of 5 years.
I desperately wanted to take my life back, but I just didn’t know how. I started working out 6-7 days a week and sometimes twice a day to drown out the voice’s depression. While doing so, I lost 80lbs on my own with a combination of clean eating and exercise. Fast forward 3-yrs later, and I was introduced to the sport that would change my life forever…powerlifting.
After losing 80lbs, I soon grew tired of the same ol’ treadmill for an hour dance. So, I hired a coach and got started with my strength training. In the beginning, I struggled with the lifts because it started to really sink in that I was attempting to lift an unimaginable amount of weight that I have never dreamed of touching before!
I began to tell myself that I could not do this and that I had to be completely out of my mind to think that I could do this. But with me being a prior high school athlete, I was naturally competitive, so I had a long pep talk with myself and reminded myself as to why I started this in the first place. I told myself when I started that I was going to get my power back, by any means necessary!
I began competing in various meets and to my surprise, I was winning! I have since won the National Title in the Open and Submaster division with the APF Federation and have qualified to compete in Worlds which will be held in Portugal. I have also broken and set numerous Florida state and national records with the said federation.
Of course, with being a woman in a strength sport, there are many stereotypes and false statements that you face along the way. Some being that women will look like men, we will become too bulky, we will not be able to bear children, or just that it is not a feminine thing to do.
I am here to tell you that those statements are all FALSE! Women are capable of being in strength sports and still be able to maintain their femininity. Women are also now competing in strength sports during pregnancy and after.
I have made it my mission to use myself as a vessel to break these stereotypes in my community by leading by example and educating those who are willing to listen. I want women to know that their strength is indeed their beauty.
I have now been a competitive powerlifter for 3 years and have since started coaching my own all-female powerlifting team; Queenz of Power. We are currently prepping for our first competition, which will be on Saturday, December 4, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, FL at Iron Compound Gym.
Our team is currently sitting at 8 members and we are steadily growing. Our team is a mixture of mothers, active military personnel, teachers, businesswomen, and entrepreneurs.
Queenz of Power is a movement that has been created to showcase that yes, we can do it all and look good while doing it.