Shari Duncan


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge.”

Martin Luther King Jr.


After placing 5th in my class at the Yorton Pro-World Championships in November 2009,  I needed to revisit my goals. I had been competitive in bodybuilding for three consecutive years, and achieved more than I thought possible.  It was time to re-focus on training, take on new challenges and other ventures.

And then when I thought I had a plan, my life took a turn.  I was confronted abruptly by new challenges and had come to a crossroad both professionally, personally, and financially. Now I faced some tough decisions.  Suddenly, I found myself  out of my comfort zones and in a vulnerable and uncomfortable place.  It was a time to reevaluate and reflect on some of life’s fundamentals; like friends and relationships…  and what words like integrity, fear, belief, attitude and strength really meant to me.  Many things in life happen to us that are beyond our control but we are in control  in how we respond to life’s curve balls. And this makes all the difference.

My husband and family supported me during this transitional time.  But as grateful as I was knowing they were there for me, I alone had to confront and overcome.  The decisions to be made were mine. After all, we  are each responsible and  accountable for the choices we make and the attitudes we project.  Thankfully, there was one place that  I could always go to to clear my head.  THE GYM.  It had always helped me make sense of things…  It never criticized, judged, and always accepted.    I know of no better therapy.  As I poured my energy into my workouts, my new gym quickly became a kind of refuge for me.   This is where the real work gets done and the mind gets clear. Here is my safe place.

This is also where and when I became introduced to the world of power lifting.

At my very first meet: Pelion, SC. Jan 2011.

I’m not exactly sure of the moment, or day or even week that I can say I “became” a power lifter.  But it could not have come into

Aug. 2012. Breaking 300 barrier. Age 50, & body wt 112.5

my life at a better time.  Power lifting is so much more than squatting and benching and being “strong”.  It is an evolution. It is an incredible journey into self discovery.  Through powerlifting,  I am learning about myself;  my capabilities and potential, my strengths and weakness – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Powerlifting in itself is a potent metaphor for many aspects of  how we approach life.  Through powerlifting, I am learning what it truly means to be strong. Strength is not just about the number of plates on the bar. Strength is keeping on when things aren’t going according to plan and overcoming adversities. Strength is saying no to peer pressures and learning to stand alone and knowing that you will be okay. The very nature of strength training forces you to learn to check your ego at the door and appreciate and respect the weight.  It really has a way of humbling you.  Power-lifting has given me a renewed sense of  confidence, compassion, insight,  and respect for life.

We are what we think we are and we can become whatever we believe we can be.

We learn about humility and failure when we are under the weight of the bar.

We learn to face our fears, deal with pain, and overcome all obstacles.

We set goals and then we go after them.

We train with focus and intensity, with purpose and a plan and without excuses or regrets.

As the physical body gets strong, the mind grows even stronger.

The body will do what the mind wills it to do.

See any parallels in life and power lifting?

The only limits in life  (and power lifting) are those we impose on ourselves.

Yes, It ‘s all beginning to make sense.

"Strength is a matter of a made up mind."

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