From Strong Woman to Strongwoman: Geelong’s Kerryn Taylor is empowering the next generation of female sportswomen

From Strong Woman to Strongwoman: Geelong’s Kerryn Taylor is empowering the next generation of female sportswomen

Photo by Grant Williams from GWP Lens

Kerryn is the definition of a goal kicker.

The sport of strongwoman and powerlifting isn’t an entirely a new thing, but in recent years we’ve seen females take the world by storm with their incredible feats of strength.

Cultivating a deep field of strong women who have worked their way up the ranks to become record-breakers, and powerlifters who deadlift, squat, and bench more than you could ever dream of lifting, the sport and the competitions associated have become the home for female empowerment, with women of any age, shape and size stacked against one another to lift heavier barbells than the person before them.

For Kerryn Taylor in Geelong, powerlifting competitions and the sport of strongwomen is not just a place to lift a heavy thing and put it down, it’s an opportunity to metaphorically lift up the women around her.

Having recently opened a personal training studio in South Geelong, Kerryn is the definition of a goal kicker. Beginning her brand – KSS Personal Training – in 2016, Kerryn’s goal has always been about empowering women through strength sports in a non-judgemental environment. A renowned strongwomen athlete and powerlifting, the South African native began her own fitness journey almost a decade ago, with a pursuit to become a healthier and happier version of herself through competitive weightlifting.

“I got into weightlifting competitively about seven years ago after my first Strongwoman Competition. I wanted to know everything about the sport, it absolutely fascinated me seeing women lifting crazy weights and finding out more about their journeys into the sport,” Kerryn reveals.

“It seemed like a place where people who had gone through certain battles had found themselves and their inner and outer strength through lifting weights.”

Dedicating to building up her physical strength, speed and power, Kerryn has competed in several strongwoman and powerlifting competitions in the past few years, with accolades including winning Australia’s strongest woman u65kg title in 2017, placing the fourth-strongest woman in Australia 2018, runner-up in Victoria’s strongest woman 2017 and 2018; placing first in the powerlifting Melbourne Cup in 2018, and taking out a mighty second at the Arnold Classic Strongwoman Championships in South Africa in 2018. She even holds multiple national records in Strongwoman. Talk about an absolute boss.

Coached by local strongman Tyson Morrissy out of Strong Geelong and inspired by her own personal experience and fitness journey, Kerryn was eager to establish a female-only training studio where her clients could thrive in a positive fitness realm.

“I often get asked “why only women” and the simple answer is that I struggled with body dysmorphia and bulimia nervosa for 18 years before getting help and I really wanted to help other women overcome what I found to be the most debilitating way of doing life,” she says.

“The studio was a vision that I had to create a safe space for women to learn to lift weights and love their bodies without the intimidation of walking into a commercial gym for the first time. One of the things that makes me so happy is when my ladies tell me they have decided to join a gym because it means I’ve done my job and they feel confident enough to put themselves out there!”

Though she’s only been in the personal training industry for four years, Kerryn has created a sound reputation in Geelong amongst her dynamic clients. With a determination to empower women to try their hand at heavy lifting and demonstrate that this is not just a sport for men, Kerryn is not only offering strength training to clients but is also running an all-female strongwoman competition this weekend to coincide with the one-year anniversary of her studio.

Bringing together amateur lady lifters to test their strength, the competition will be separated into four events: a farmer’s carry, max deadlift, overhead press medley and a stone to rising platform event. While Kerryn is all about empowering women to get involved, the event is designed for women with some form of resistance training experience.

“It’s not the type of competition I would advise someone who is fresh into the gym to compete in, but anyone with resistance training experience (i.e. Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Overhead Press) would definitely be able to give it a go!

“I want to create something that feels safe for women to dip their toe into the world of Strongwoman without the pressure of being a Nationally Accredited (Sanctioned) Competition.
“Strongwoman Events are incredibly awkward which is what I find makes them the most fun!”

Alongside the lifting, the pressing and the carrying, the event will run a ‘Truck Pull’, sausage sizzle and raffle, with all money raised going towards the charities, Headspace Geelong and Two Good.

“Both of these charities are close to my heart as Headspace supports youth struggling with mental health battles and Two Good supports women leaving abusive relationships. I have chosen these two organisations as they are essential services that have served the community enormously, especially over the last twelve months.”

Running from 12pm to 5pm, you can expect a day full of cheering, grunting, and perhaps even a few tears. Spectators can come and watch for free if they want to check it out and there will also be a smoothie van on-site, a Spartan Suppz stand and fun challenges along the way.

If all the lifting has you inspired for kick-on’s, Kerryn is also hosting an after-party to officially celebrate one year of KSS Personal Training. It’s BYO alcohol with snacks provides. RSVP’s are a must for this one and you can do that here.

If you would like to find out more, all info is on the Facebook Event Page. It all goes down at 102 Balliang Street, South Geelong.