Even from the young age of 2, I made decisions based on what other people thought or did.

I ditched the bottle and went straight to a sippy cup because that’s what my sister did. I showed up on my first day of 5th grade with red streaks in my hair because that was the “trend”. Even when I got older and all of my friends tried out for the Cyprus High School Drill Team, I of course felt like I needed to too.

I used to live for trends and to impress others…until I learned to live for ME.

I danced, managed a football team, and presided over the Cyprus High School DECA all because I thought it was what I should be doing, but then I found competitive powerlifting and I realized that it was finally something that was just for me!

As my deep passion and love for powerlifting has grown, it has become so much more to me than just a sport. It has taught me how to love myself, let go of the number on the scale, and to recognize my true self worth. I transitioned from a girl who hid her body in sweatshirts to a girl who is able to stand in front of the mirror and love my body because it allows me to do what I love.

 

In April of this year, I competed in my first “big” meet, Fitcon in Salt Lake City. For months, I put hours of blood, sweat, and tears into my training to prepare to do my best.

I knew that my senior prom was the same day as the meet and even though I was a little upset at the thought of missing it, I brushed it off with the excitement of competing.

However, 4 days before Fitcon, I found out I had been nominated for Prom Queen. Some of my family and friends, with good intentions, told me to skip out on Fitcon and go to my senior prom. I thought about listening to them and blowing off the meet, but that wasn’t what I really wanted. That girl who used to listen to what everyone told her to do instead of doing what she knew was best was gone and I knew what I had to choose.

I decided to compete in Fitcon and follow my heart. I took home 3 world records and had an amazing day competing beside my gym friends. Once the meet had ended and I was waiting for awards, my phone began to blow up with texts from my friends telling me that I had won Prom Queen.

I showed up for the last 5 minutes of my dance to pick up my sash and crown and apologize to the Prom King for making him dance alone..oops.  It was a little bittersweet, but I knew that I had chosen what I wanted to do and that sometimes you have to give things up to pursue your dreams, but it can help shape you into the type of person you hope to be.

Sometimes, being an athlete feels like a full time job. I’m in the gym training for 3 hours at a time four days a week on top of balancing my college classes and focusing on good grades as well as working and making time for family and friends. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Being a youth athlete is all about learning how to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally early on.  I am lucky to have a coach who spends hours making sure I am successful, an amazing gym family who stand behind me in everything I do, and an incredible group of women who I coach that inspire me every day.

Although I’ve given some things up to get to where I am today, I have gained SO much in the process. I recently had the opportunity to go to Kearns High School and talk to a Girl’s Weight Lifting class about how lifting has changed my life. Seeing their faces light up when they were able to deadlift and use a lot more weight than they thought they would be able to was a surreal experience. I was quickly reminded that moments like that are what being a coach and youth athlete is all about. I am so grateful to able to share my knowledge so others can learn not only about the amazing sport of powerlifting, but also about how to love themselves.

I’m writing this in the hopes that anyone who reads it will think about taking a step outside of their comfort zone and pursuing something that interests them. It’s never too late to stop living for other people and never too early to try something new.

 

Written by someone who wants to change the world one squat at a time

-Taylor Vigil

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