A powerlifting grandmother from Lincoln is in training to represent Great Britain in a prestigious world championship competition – the ultimate challenge after a staggering six-stone weight loss journey.
Lincoln dog walker Michelle Franklin, 50, began her journey after a photograph of her at size 22 shocked her into action.
On her journey to weight loss Michelle joined Darkside Training, an all-female strength training group based at Pacific Gym.
She entered her first competition last July and after setting some impressive divisional records she has now been asked to lift for Great Britain at the World Classic Bench Press.
She said:”I am so excited. I’ll be standing alongside a lot of strong British women and some really big names too.
“At the minute I am training for the British Masters on March 19. Last night I was doing 92.5 kg squats and I am aiming for 95kg at the masters. I was also on 122.5 kg on deadlift.
“Photos can certainly spark things in your life and my weight loss journey was started when I saw a picture of me at size 22 hiding behind my size 8 daughter at her graduation.
“I decided to do something about my fitness and get to a stage where I was happy to compete, which I feel so good about.”
The World Classic Bench Press takes place in Potchefstroom, South Africa from May 14 to 21 and Michelle is facing both the physical training for the competition, and she must also raise around £2,000 to fund her flights, accommodation and insurance.
In order to document her journey and raise funds, Michelle set up a Facebook page This Granny Can and she says she has been overwhelmed at the support she has received and the stories of others who have been inspired by her progress.
“I want to put it out there that anything is possible at any age. I didn’t come into it until I was 49. People, especially women, put so many barriers in the way and it’s amazing how many people you can inspire by just putting yourself out there. My advice to any woman thinking about making changes is ‘just do it’.
“I’ve actually been quite selfish about it. I do so much as a mother and a grandmother and I wanted to do something that was just for me. My husband hasn’t even seen me lift.
“My family are so proud. I feel amazing and I can function so much better now. I can get on my hands and knees and play with my granddaughter. Before I couldn’t do anything.”
Michelle says she is feeling confident about the competition in South Africa: “I’m feeling really positive, I’ve no hesitation I can get up there and do my thing.
“The competition atmosphere is electric. I can’t wait.
“Parkside Training has done so much for my confidence and the community of ladies there are really supportive. Power lifter Shantelle Svarc is doing amazing things with the group and is really an ambassador for encouraging women to consider the sport.”