By day Chloe Warburton and Karina Joy are Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) employees, who work respectively as an online content coordinator and senior hydrogeologist.
But outside of work, they are each a powerlifting force to be reckoned with.
Chloe became interested in the sport in mid-2016 when a lot of women were posting on social media about powerlifting in what had previously been a male-dominated space.
“It’s inspiring to see women taking part and breaking down these gender barriers,” she said.
“Karina and I each became interested in it about the same time and we were tagging each other on Instagram, so it was a natural progression to train and compete together,” Chloe said.
Chloe had been following a basic training program, and met Karina at her local gym. They took part in a novice competition in early June in Melbourne – returning with impressive results.
Chloe achieved a 52.5kg bench press, 100kg squat and 110kg deadlift, while Karina achieved a 60kg bench press, 100kg squat and 140kg deadlift.
“We were stoked with those results,” Karina said.
“It was a good way to cut our teeth and see how far we can push ourselves,” Chloe said.
“You get to meet other women involved and see where people are at. It was amazing.”
Karina’s introduction to powerlifting came after battling a chronic illness – small vessel vasculitis.
“It was affecting my joints, my nervous system and my energy levels.
I got into lifting weights to build up my strength and balance again,” she said.
“I was happy to be back in the gym and enjoying the workouts,” she said.
Chloe and Karina began incorporating powerlifting into their gym routines until they enlisted the professional help of trainer Fabian Villani in October 2016, who owns GV Crossfit and GV Weightlifting and Powerlifting.
“I actually broke my ribs twice – once in June and again in December of 2016 – so that was good motivation to get some professional advice on powerlifting,” Karina said.
“Since then we’ve been training three to four times a week with him.”
Karina said the sport has noticeably improved her strength and nervous system function.
“As a woman, I’m confident and proud of what our bodies are capable of. The powerlifting has contributed to me feeling strong and fit.
“The focus is less on body image and more on looking after yourself, eating well and building strength.”
Karina is now focused on preparing for upcoming novice powerlifting events in September and October.