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Sault female powerlifter prepares for worlds

Holly Lasante will return to the international stage for the first time in three years

The chase for powerlifting stardom continues for Holly Lasante.

The personal trainer discovered her passion for powerlifting around six years ago when she began training in her own gym.

Since then, Lasante has achieved countless feats on the national and international stages of competition.

Lasante recently got back from the national powerlifting championship in St. John's Newfoundland where she won gold in the women's masters 2 (age 50-59) 69 kg category.

The win marked the third time Lasante has earned gold at the Canadian championships, and her first in the masters 2 category.

The gold medal secured her a spot at the IPF Powerlifting International Championship in October, which will also be held in St. John's.

While Lasante has earned some remarkable accolades during her six-year career, the road to success hasn't come without its challenges.

"I had actually been dealing with depression," she says. "My daughter would drag me to the gym with her, and I used it to help with my recovery and started competing. It was awesome, I always found it really helpful to set goals and achieve them."

Lasante had worked in human resources for over 15 years, but her true passion existed through fitness, running, and gymnastics.

Since the beginning of COVID, Lasante has worked as a personal trainer full-time.

"I love sharing what I know with other people," she says. "It's so much more than just lifting weights. It's about improving and growing your self-confidence, and there's no reason you can't apply that same focus and determination to other parts of life."

Powerlifting focuses on a trio of lifts: the squat, the deadlift, and the bench press.

Lasante has broken the Canadian records in all three of those categories.

This year's international competition is slated to be one of the biggest worlds yet, as approximately 60 countries will be represented by over a thousand athletes.

Competitors will have three opportunities to go up on stage per lift, with the goal of lifting the most weight.

The pandemic made it difficult for Lasante to find the motivation to continue training and remain focused on competing.

But she found a way.

"When you're used to competing and have those goals in mind, it's kind of tough to just do it every day," she says. "It feels like you're following that program for nothing. It was tough, but I was able to do it. It made me a stronger lifter overall because even when I didn't want to do it, I had to tell myself it's going to work out, and I came back stronger than ever which was awesome."

International competition was held in Sweden last year, but Lasante opted not to go because of the pandemic. This year, she will make her long awaited return to worlds, this time competing on home soil in Newfoundland.

Lasante encourages those who might be interested in powerlifting to get involved.

"I recommend finding someone who understands proper form and good body mechanics," she says. "You want to be doing these exercises safely. There's a lot of little intricacies that you need to be aware of, and you want to make sure you're in the sport for the long haul. You don't want to do it for a year and then hurt your back and be out of it forever."

The support from Lasante's husband and kids has meant everything to her as she looks to continue to her incredible run on the world stage.

"My family is really amazing," she says. "They're my biggest cheerleaders. I work out with my daughter all the time. I'm lucky in so many ways."

Lasante will make her fourth appearance on the international stage, competing against the world's best in October.