(Oct 25, 2007)

Powerlifting is a strength sport consisting of three events -- the squat, bench press and deadlift.

Lifters compete in bodyweight classes and the maximum weight lifted in each event is totalled for a final score.

Wright, who's in her early 40s, started focusing on powerlifting last February after fitness experts she worked out with commented on her exceptional strength.

Wright entered her first competition -- a sanctioned Ontario Powerlifting Association event -- in July, placing first in her weight class by deadlifting 237 pounds, squat lifting 170.9 pounds and bench pressing 110 pounds.

She also placed first overall in the women's novice masters division. Those results earned her a place at the provincials this December and the nationals next spring.

"That took me by surprise, completely," says Wright. "I never expected to qualify for provincials and nationals at my first one."

HER REGIMEN: To prepare for the provincials, Wright is working out at least four times a week for 90 minutes a session with award-winning powerlifter and strength coach Krista Schaus of Athletic Edge Sport and Strength in Haldimand County.

Each session, Wright works a different muscle group to its maximum.

The secret to being lean and muscular is high-intensity training combined with clean eating, says Wright.

"I tend to eat leaner and cleaner so the calories consumed will go directly to making muscle, being used as energy and less likely to be stored as fat."

She's lean now, and becomes even leaner when training for a competition.

HER DIET: Wright eats a lean, high-protein diet. Buffalo meat is a staple because it's so lean.

Other foods she favours include chicken, fish, protein bars, egg whites, fruits and vegetables.

Dried goji berries, sold at health food stores and rich in antioxidants, are a favourite snack.

"You have to acquire a taste for them," says Wright. "I love them. They are my junk food."