An Interview With World Champion Powerlifter Kathy Roberts
Posted Dec 03 2009 6:17am
World record holding, lifetime drug-free powerlifter, Kathy Roberts, was kind enough to allow me the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her incredible career.
Kathy is truly an inspiration, not only for all of her powerlifting accomplishments but for her dedication in speaking out against steroids, drugs and alcohol.
Question: Kathy, how did you get started in Powerlifting?
Answer: I started off in sports as a runner at a young age. I participated in track and field in high school and did a lot of long distance running. I used to run like there was no tomorrow. If I missed a day, I wouldn't feel good. That's how much I love sports and staying healthy.
I tried bodybuilding and I did not like the sport. For one, I remember doing a competition and the judge, who was not in the best of shape, was critiquing me about what he thought I needed to work on.
Even though he may have had a point, it was like going to the gym and having an out of shape trainer telling you how you should look. Not much credibility.
In addition, I didn't agree with the large amount of enhancers and steroids that were used in the sport (bodybuilding). I wanted to gain weight naturally and a few people at the gym encouraged me to start doing power moves. This is when I first started getting in to powerlifiting.
I found myself gaining muscle mass and strength very quickly. I liked the fact that even though there were judges in powerlifting, the lifter is in charge of their own destiny. It is the lifter versus the weights, with the lifter determining how much weight they will lift.
Question: What adversities have you had to overcome?
Answer: I recall one competition that I did in Connecticut. The whole crowd was cheering for me, even the spotters and loaders. They were all impressed with my lifts.
When the award ceremony started, the meet Director took the Female Best Lifter award and gave it to a man. Let me explain. At the time I started competing the trophies were all male statues with the only difference being a plate on the front that said either "Male Best Lifter" or "Female Best Lifter".
What the Director did was remove the "Female Best Lifter" plate and replaced it with a "Male Best Lifter" plate.
No one could believe it, not even the staff who worked for the Director.
When I approached the Director he was very arrogant and gave no real legitimate answer as to why there was no Best Female Lifter awarded.
The following month when the results were supposed to be formally announced, they were not. Those results would have listed me as one of the top female lifters and would have put me in the Top 20 for those lifts in my weight class. That particular year I could have actually been in the Top 5.
This occurred early in my powerlifting career. I did not let it discourage me. I learned and grew from this experience. It made me a better, stronger and wiser person.
Question: Kathy, you have so many great accomplishments in the sport. Is there one in particular that you are most proud of?
Answer: Two really stand out. The first occurred early in my powerlifting career. While not my greatest accomplishment, it is something that made a tremendous impact and kept me motivated in the sport.
I did my first sanctioned competition in Delaware. I did not win that competition, but I received the Female Best Lifter Award. The Best Lifter award is awarded based on pound for pound lifts and bodyweight.
That meet Director was very encouraging and I could tell she was happy to see me in the sport.
The second is when I competed in the 165 lb weight category in my first National Competition in Pennsylvania. I had my heaviest deadlift at 425 lbs. I also had my heaviest bench and squat.
The crowd was really behind me and I remember everyone in the audience standing during my lifts. It was a very thrilling moment for me but at the time, I was so in my zone that all I could think about was my lifts.
I received the best lifter award at that competition.
Question: How many days a week do you train?
Answer: I train 4 days a week. I used to train 5 and even 6 days, but I cut back on my training to reserve my joints and ligaments and to ensure I'm getting enough rest so that my body can recuperate.
Question: Do you believe in supplementation?
Answer: I do not believe in using supplements. I try to eat properly and to get my nutrients from food. Unfortunately, even supplements are "processed". So many companies have approached me about using their products but I'm a firm believer that you are better off making your own drink or shake using natural products.
Question: So many women have what I refer to as "pink weight syndrome". They are afraid to lift heavy for fear of becoming a Ms. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you have any thought on this?
Answer: I've heard this for so many years and find it disappointing to hear women speak like that about themselves or each other.
To believe that women lifting weights will make them look like a man is a lack of education in weight training.
There are many ways that you can use weights without gaining muscle mass - lighter weights, more repetitions. Even if one were to lift heavier that doesn't necessarily mean that they will bulk up. How much muscle you gain has a lot to do with genetics and calorie intake.
Some people can lift weights their entire life and look as lean as ever. Putting on a lot of muscle is like trying to take off fat - you really have to work hard at it.
Taking care of one's health is what really matters. Don't worry about the scale. Focus on gaining lean muscle.
Times have changed. Women are faster, stronger and healthier!
Question: Can you tell Catapult Fitness Blog readers more about your mission and efforts to teach the world about the negative aspects of using steroids, alcohol, nicotine and other enhancers such as GhB?
Answer: My main focus is to educate children and adults on the importance of 1) getting an education, 2) the importance of taking care of your health and 3) the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
This is in no specific order; all of them are important. All of this is done through GIFTOFSTRENGTH™ services.
I would like to do this more on a worldwide basis, but unfortunately today there are schools that do not use the money they are given for programs like this in the right manner.
I normally do a lecture and demonstration. This is something that the kids do not normally get to see, but they can definitely relate to. An example can be seen in my YouTube video with the Red Ribbon Week assembly.
Question: Is there anything else we should know about Kathy Roberts?
Answer: I am a lifetime drug free world champion powerlifter, meaning that I have NEVER used any type of enhancers in my lifetime.
I am also involved in a lot of tennis events on the USTA Pro Circuit and on the junior level.
As the Owner of GIFTOFSTRENGTH™ Services, I provide Personal Training, Professional Photography and Videography, expert training for all sports, Motivational Speaking, Mentoring, Coaching/Athletic Development, Promoting/Advising services.
You can find more information on my website - GIFTOFSTRENGTH™ Services, including a link to my gift shop where I am offering my new T-shirt designs.
I cannot thank Kathy enough for being so generous with her time, and hopefully we'll be able to get Kathy to answer a few more questions on CFB in the not to0 distant future!
Train hard; stay strong.
Susan Note: The interview with Kathy Roberts is solely for publication on Catapult Fitness Blog.