How this Fitness Guru Beat Food Addiction to Break Guinness Book of Records in Powerlifting

by Xara Aziz
Instagram @tamarawalcott.shw

A mother of two who defied odds in the world of powerlifting and made the Guinness Book of Records is breaking new ground in her latest feat.

Tamara Walcott, 37, said that it took her losing over 100 pounds to become a powerlifting champ. She weighed in at over 400 pounds and was going through a divorce when a voice inside her told her to pursue her passions.

“I remember taking one of [my son’s] little socks and putting it under my bra, because the bra was cutting into my skin,” Walcott told Good Morning America. “That’s when I kind of realized like, this is enough. Tomorrow you have to do something. You are getting to the point where it’s just out of control.”

She said she began by taking it one day at a time. Simple acts like taking a walk and drinking lots of water would be the impetus for her making national headlines. She also decided she would change her diet, stating that “What you put in is what you’re going to get out.”

Soon later, she started adding fitness to her lifestyle. She began by doing cardio and kickboxing, but said she fell in love after joining a powerlifting class at her local gym.

“The first day I walked in a squat rack, I knew this was it,” she said. “Something about powerlifting just felt right. If I can control the weight on my shoulders, then I could take control of everything else in my life.”

Through powerlifting, Walcott lost 100 pounds in one year. But she said admits it wasn’t easy in the beginning.

“Walking in was nerve racking, because I was still really heavy. I do remember the snickering and the remarks of,’ Why is she here?'” she said. “But I tuned things out. I’m here for a goal. I’m doing it for me.”

Up until today, she says she still is usually the only woman – and Black woman – lifting and competing.

“It felt very uncomfortable, but I had to feel a new kind of uncomfortable, because I’ve always been uncomfortable,” she said. “I was uncomfortable in my body at 415 [pounds], so this was a new uncomfortable for me, and I just had to live within that uncomfortable state and just do what I needed to do.”

In 2021, Walcott broke the world record deadlift of 636 pounds at the annual World Raw Powerlifting Federation’s The Showdown in Kansas City. She also set a personal record in the bench press, benching 363 pounds, and a competition best in the squat, at 584 pounds.

“There’s a lot of times I told my coach this prep, ‘I can’t do this. I cannot. I’m tired,'” she said. “But I go back to, I’m not doing it for motivation anymore. I’m doing this because I’m dedicated to it, and I love it and I never quit.”

She continued: “And when I look at my kids, I realized one thing that I’ve instilled in them is if you want something bad enough, you’re going to work hard for it.”

She also hopes that she can inspire more Black women to join the sport and embrace the bodies they are in.

“I want to grow that brand because plus-size in my mindset means so many different things. It’s not to society’s standards of what plus-size is,” she said. “It means bigger, better and stronger than the rest.”

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