Carrie’s Heavy Lifting Worth Weight in Gold
Appearances can be deceiving, especially with regards to Carrie Reese, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters last November in Phoenix, Arizona.
Carrie, who moved to Paradise Valley Estates in 2016 and is a former Resident Council member, is 85 and weighs 125 pounds. Yet she can deadlift almost twice her weight. She has set records in more weight classes (seven) than any lifter ever in WABDL and more than any lifter ever in any federation. Carrie won her most recent contests by lifting 226 pounds. Those medals were added to many others accumulated over 11 years. “My top lift was 280 deadlift and 98 bench press when I weighed more,” she said. “My current top lift was 226 deadlift and 88 bench press in Phoenix.”
Her looks also belie the fact that she once weighed 285, which she attributes to poor eating habits while working 12-hour days during her 25 years as a lawyer at Liberty Mutual. Later she ran marathons until she blew both knees that were replaced in 2008 and 2010. Physical therapy for another injury, a broken wrist, introduced her to powerlifting. She contends her sport is “not all about muscle. It’s part mental, part discipline and part nutrition plus dedication to practice.”
Her regimen is not for the faint of heart. She drives to Vacaville on Wednesdays for a 5 a.m. workout with coach Eric Cranage at Old Skool Iron powerlifting gym. Then, after five days of 2:30 a.m. workouts for three hours at Anytime Fitness in Fairfield, comes her “very much treasured” rest day. “I like to practice early so I don’t have to wait in line for the machines,” she explained. Plus, she follows strict eating procedures. “Diet is one of the most important aspects of being a competitive powerlifter,” Carrie explained. “PVE enables me to keep it by providing a clean diet: no salt or seasonings, double portions of green vegetables and putting all sauces on the side. “By delivering meals, free of charge, during these COVID years, PVE has ensured we are safe from potential contact with infected staff or residents. That enables me to continue competing. “I was devastated when COVID hit, causing the gyms to close. I could not sleep, gained weight and was very depressed with no energy. Our Wellness Department let me use some weights, bands and balls in my home so I could maintain my strength and sanity.”
The Hall of Fame designation, awarded after 10 years of competing, is the highest honor a lifter can receive. Carrie credits Cranage, who reciprocates by saying “She continues to impress me every week. She is always early to our workouts and never complains. Carrie is a fantastic role model, and more people should follow her example.”
Urging her fellow seniors to get off the couch, Carrie said, “The challenge keeps me motivated; the reward is talking about the sport and showing others how much activity can enhance life.”