I remember clear as day my coach Dave saying I wouldn’t just compete but win this in a few years. He wasn’t wrong. I walked away with the English title this January.”

Sarah Glanvill, 24 yrs, – 58 kg English Champion, team GB squad member. Also a student at the University of Birmingham, completing a PhD in metallurgy and materials engineering.

“I found simply doing sport empowering. But now, with weightlifting it’s a little bit different. I found lifting weights helped me lift myself.”

Being a kid:

“I was always outside and messy hair and dirty palms were just a part of that I suppose. I loved adventure. You would rarely see me inside so dolls’ houses and makeup sessions were out of the question. You would have usually found me out playing with my ferrets in a giant run I built or somewhere hiding in the woods on our land building dens or shooting cans off a wall with my air rifle (no really… I was super cool).”

sarah as a kid

“I quit sport when I first came to university, sadly. Just stopped. Like I mean everything. I asserted myself in the party lifestyle, going out pretty much every night of the week for a long duration of time. Once I pulled myself together and got out of this lull, I got my butt down to the gym.”

The first squats:

“I then met a 140 kg angel in the form of my current and only coach ever, Dave. He introduced me to first to just training properly. Doing, WODs and MetCons.  Slowly but surely, his master plan would come together when I finally learnt how to squat, then deadlift, then front squat, then clean, jerks, and then last but not least, the snatch.”

sarah and dave

The battles:

“The shock that I dropped all sport when I went to uni wasn’t just a result of the physical, such as breaking my ankle, but the result of a mental battle I was having too. Lifting weights and taking back control of my physical strength helped me mentally piece myself back together. Quite bluntly it did save my life. It got me back to the 15-year-old I once was. Driven, competitive and constantly building, but instead of my dens in the woods it was my body and my mind.”

“Taking my mind and my body and seeing it become stronger is what empowers me. And the reason I want so many more women to take part in weightlifting. When there is you and the barbell nothing else matters.”

sarah wl 2

Building herself stronger:

“Lifting weights didn’t just make my body stronger. It’s made my mind stronger too. Having tremendous issues growing up with being gay, the years did chip away at me. From being one of the strongest in the class to suddenly being knocked to my knees after being forced out of the closest literally destroyed me. Weightlifting gave me back my life, it changed my life and it saved my life.”

“Having respect and motivation for a goal for no other means but personal improvement is a beautiful thing.”

Hard but not impossible:

“The evening after I bombed was hard. I was lucky to be surrounded by my closest friends (and pizza) at the time. I was sent a message by a fairly new friend I had the pleasure to meet at this year’s body power.

He shared this with me: ‘ Strength is permanent. Competition is temporary.’ – James Godber”

sarah wl 3


“Once I get myself back to full health and training I will be trying to qualify for the 2017 Europeans. I hope to do this at the next English Championships in January next year. This will be a huge opportunity for me to get onto the international stage before selection begins for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which is a life-long dream for me. I hope to finish my PhD next year, or at least get my thesis submitted. Either way I’ll be ready to graduate in 2018, at which point I’m going to have to make a big decision to move my training to full time in the 2-year run up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. I dream big. But you achieve nothing if you don’t dream big enough.”

Photos by Karen Glanvill and Under The Bar.

Friends, sponsors, fans… Contact Sarah:
W: minibiglifts.com
IG: @_minibig_
TW: @_minibig_
FB: Sarah Glanvill – weightlifter