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Apr 8, 2022

On the Bright Side: Powerhouse Alida Sharp on Power lifting Competition

Many people think having arthritis or other conditions means they can no longer enjoy certain sports. Well, tonight on the Bright Side, Sabreena Daly meets a woman who uses weight lifting to not only ease her pain but enter competitions. And as you will find out, Alida Sharp didn’t start her weight training in her twenties, thirties or even forties. Instead, she is now super fit in her fifties.


Sabreena Daly

Sabreena Daly, Standup

We are days away from the Easter holidays and if you haven’t gotten that Easter body ready, you might want to prepare for summer. Here at Powerhouse gym in Belmopan, one woman is testing her limits. And you’d be interested to know that she’s done more than get that Easter body ready. At 58, the oldest competing female power lifter is getting ready for a power lifting competition.


Alida Sharp

Alida Sharp, Fitness trainer/Power lifter

“I started working out when I was 50 years old. I was singing at church and I told my trainer I just wanted my arms to look good when I’m holding the microphone. ‘Cause you know, as women, we age, this is one of the first places that we start to notice that sagging skin. So, that was my first goal and I know that it sounds a little vain but that’s where I started.”


If you’re ever training in the gym beside Alida Sharp, you might end up feeling intimidated, amazed or both. But what started as a modest attempt at getting toned arms, turned to a drive to reverse her health conditions.


Alida Sharp

“I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and I feel so much better on the days that I work out. It helped relieve a lot of the physical pain that I was carrying around. After I got my diagnosis for osteoarthritis, I could barely lift my right arm, so lifting even a five-pound weight with that arm was excruciating pain and I made myself do it anyway. So, I never saw myself doing something like this.”


And that something she speaks of is power lifting.


Alida Sharp

“Before COVID, I had already reached my weight loss goal. My trainer asked me what my next goal was and he suggested bodybuilding. So, I started bodybuilding in preparation for a competition in March of 2020. With bodybuilding, you have to gain weight, work on the muscle development and then cut the weight so the muscles get revealed. Well, because of COVID, the shows that I was going to compete in kept getting canceled. So, I had to bulk, cut, bulk, cut about three times. And I was considering doing that again last year because I wanted to compete in a competition that was going to be in November. But I saw somebody doing the bench press which is an event that women don’t typically do and I was watching her do that and I thought, I want to do that. And my trainer said, well, you have to make a choice. Either you’re going to body build or you’re going to power lift. And that’s what when I decided I wanted to power lift.”


And as luck would have it, her trainer in the process was the best of the best — three time winner of the strongest man in Belize title.


Alida Sharp

At my age I don’t want to lose muscle mass. Muscle mass is so important to our health especially as we age and I knew that as a power lifter, whatever gains I have I get to keep, whereas when you’re bodybuilding, you only look a certain way for a specific amount of time. I did a bodybuilding photo shoot and the way I looked in that photo shoot is not how I looked an hour after it was over because I was completely dehydrated so you could see every muscle. With power lifting, the gains that I get, I get to keep; my strength, I get to keep that. I just keep getting stronger and I’m so grateful to be a part of that process now. When I think about the functional part of fitness, we do squats to be able to go to the bathroom, you got to squat down. I was helping someone after she had knee surgery… and helping her get on and off the toilet, you have to be able to hold on to those types of movements as you get older. It’s important to do some resistance training because that helps strengthen your body for everyday tasks.” 


And while mobility is one part in keeping the body healthy, Alida says her diet was also important.


Alida Sharp

“For the fibromyalgia, I learned that what I needed to do was give up gluten. Gluten can cause pain in the body. For the osteoarthritis, arthritis is connected with inflammation and sugar can cause more inflammation. So, there were some things that I had to take out of my diet so that I could minimize the pain. That was a way of pain management for me.  The competition next month is going to be put on by the Belize power lifting association. It’s going to be May 22nd.  Its starts at 9 o clock in the morning and the females go first then the males will compete after that. Like I was explaining earlier, we’re all divided up into different categories. I believe the youngest competitor this year, I want to say he’s 12 and I believe I’m the oldest on the competition day I’ll be 59. So, there are all different categories and all different weight classes in between that sub junior and myself and I expect it to be really exciting.”


Looking on the bright side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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