I am delighted that I managed to sneak in a quick chat with the crazily nice Donna Moore before she goes off to her next competition. So without further ado here is my first ever ‘Jacked & Classy’ interview, I hope you like it!
TG – So tell me the Donna basics. Age, where do you live? Attached? Kids? Pets? Where do you train?
DM – 35 North Yorkshire 2 kids 2 dogs I’m a single parent And I train in quite a few places to fit in with my job where I work shifts and my kids etc
Powerburn with Gemma Magnusson Spartan Performance Consett with Jenny Todd Absolute Fitness with Darren Sadler The Shed with Gary Gardner Grants Gym Darlington All over!!!
TG – Wow you really do get around. So for those that don’t know tell me what your chosen sport is and why?
DM – I get around in a good way!
My chosen sport is Strongwoman. Strongwoman is a challenge. It’s fun and empowering all at the same time. There are so many different events it’s never boring and it’s accessible to everyone.
TG – How long have you been strong womaning?
DM – I have been strong womaning since 2012. That’s when I did my first strongwoman competition
TG – So this is you 5th year competing. How did you get into Strong Woman?
DM – My first lifting comp was a deadlift only challenge held at my local gym in Inverness where I lived. I had been training there after previously doing regular gym classes at the local leisure centre. I absolutely loved the gym classes but felt like I wanted to lift a bit more. One of my friends Peter, showed me how to deadlift and I fell in love with it. I went to The Forge and trained there. I entered the Deadlift challenge and really enjoyed myself. I was then approached by Louise Blades who was running a strongwoman comp and asked if I wanted to enter. I spoke to the guys at the gym. We did a plan and off I went. I competed in that in April 2012 and loved it, really loved it and I knew it’s what I wanted to do.
Nothing as bad-ass as pulling a truck!
TG – Do you have a sporty back ground?
DM – No not really.
I used to swim on the school team and I was quite good but I never wanted to really take it up at a higher level. I had a horse I was more interested in looking after him and competing with him than swimming.
TG – So what made you go to the gym in the first place? And how has that initial reason changed if at all?
DM – Ok so after I had my kids I was very obese. I was sad and depressed and I just couldn’t seem to shift my mood or my weight. I went to the doctor for help and she suggested that I should go to the gym, that doing more exercise would help me on all those things. I just had to take the initiative to actually go! It helped me no end. I met new friends, I lost weight I felt happy. I really believe that exercise changed my life for the better.
TG – How has being strong changed the way you feel about yourself? Because you are fucking strong!
DM – That’s hard Can we come back to that?
TG – We can….
From what I can tell from the very little I know about you, your rise in SW has been pretty meteoric. What exactly is you comp history? Hit me with the highlights.
DM – British International (Scotland ) 2012 4th Progressive training systems comp 3rd British International (Scotland. Qualifier for World’s in Finland) 2nd World’s Finland 7th Britain’s Strongest Woman 2014 1st Europe’s Most Powerful Woman 2014 1st Midnight Sun Comp Norway 1st Sweden’s Strongest Woman Open 1st Arnold Strongwoman Championship 5th 2015 Britain’s Strongest Woman 2015 1st Bodypower 2015 1st Norway Invitational 1st Queen of the Vikings Sweden 1st Europe’s Strongest Woman 2015 1st
DM – I think that’s it
TG – Wow that is pretty impressive! And you next big outing is in a week right?
DM – Yesssssssss
DM – And where is that?
DM – I leave for the Arnold on Wednesday 2nd It starts on the 4th
DM – BOOOM!!!!!!! And what will be happening there?
DM – Arnold Strongwoman World Championship
TG- I take it you are pretty excited about this one then?
DM – Yes I am
TG – I know you have been training really hard. How do you run into and prepare for such a big comp?
DM – I was pleased with last year but now I know what to expect it’s not like any other competition I have been to It’s quite overwhelming
Well basically since I got back from last year my goal has been to qualify to go again. Everything i have been doing is with that goal in mind. It’s been a busy year for me competition wise and the last one was only in December. I have been consistent across most events training a variety and of course regular gym work and conditioning it was just a case of tailoring the training to the specific events when the list was published.
TG – How far in advance are the events published & what are they this year?
DM – I think it was about November time. The Europe’s Strongest Woman was December 13th so after that work was started on planning Arnold
This year it’s Log for reps 84kg ish Frame Carry 225kg Loading Medley 2 x keg 1 x Sandbag Deficit 4″ deadlift on an axel 181kg ish (It’s all in lbs)
That’s day 1
You must be in the top 4 to go to day 2
Then it’s a mystery event
And a stone of steel over a yoke for reps 92 kg ish So an atlas stone made from steel No tacky allowed
TG – They all sound really scary to me lol. What is your favourite event and what is your least favourite?
DM – I don’t mind any of them this time. Not crazy about sandbags but thats just 1 implement. I’m curious as to what the mystery event is but I hope that I’m now rounded enough that I can do most events quite well.
I like a deadlift. Deadlifts make me kinda happy
TG – You sound like you feel really well prepared for this competition. How have you mentally prepared?
DM – I have talked A LOT with a few people mainly about controlling my nerves and negative thinking. I have also been to a few competitions alone including overseas ones. This has made me have to get a grip. I had to deal with it all…getting to the comps, preparing, getting all supplies together, paying attention to warm up, listening to rules and watching other competitors so I knew what I had to do. Be self sufficient Visualise all the lifts, all the cues, all the training points. I’ve learned a lot about competing as you can lift all you like in the gym but if you don’t know how to compete then you have already lost.
TG – That is so true. I am getting really excited for you now too lol
How many competitors are there and who are the big players? I am totally clueless as t who is who in SW so talk me through the top 5 in your opinion.
DM – In my weight class I think everyone is a contender. We all had to qualify to get there so must have placed in national comps so I wouldn’t like to say. Top 4 go to the final and I want to be in that this year.
TG – I will be keeping everything crossed for you that is for sure.
Who has been your biggest influence?
DM – Thank you Oooooooo… Well the first Strongwoman I ever saw was on TV and it was Jill Mills. She was squatting some keg loaded rack and I remember thinking that it was so cool and that she was amazing. So firstly her but really all the strong ladies I have come across have influenced me. I train with Gemma Magnusson and she is also a very successful strong woman. Also Jenny Todd and Kikki Berli-Johnsen. I watched Kristen Rhodes in Finland in awe of her total power. So I can’t really say just 1 person.
Donna with one of her coaches & fellow Strong Woman Gemma Magnusson
TG – What about influences outside of the sport/gym? Is there anyone that you really admire or are inspired by?
DM – Iv come across many people I admire, people who have worked hard to overcome adversity and I can’t just pick one. I am daily inspired by my kids. They bring me such joy and make me want to be the best person I can be for them and my Mum. My mum is an amazing lady.
DM – How do you fit training in around family and work commitments? I mean you are training for something at a very high level. How the bloody hell do you do it?
DM – I plan it all around it all. If something is important you make time for it
TG – So like a big wall planner type of thing? My saviour is Google Planner lol
DM – Lol no I just know when I’m working When the kids are doing stuff and I plan it that way
TG – Man you are GOOD! Lo Go on and hit me with your best lifts?
DM – 240kg dead 125kg bench 111kg log 115kg oh press And let’s not talk about squatting it was 175kg last time I checked a 1rm
TG – How have they progressed over the years? I mean where did you start weigh wise?
DM – At the beginning I my first pb deadlift was 125kg Then 137.5kg After that I’m not sure but it just gradually increased. I kept consistently on with it I remember I was stuck at 160 for a while then I went to Finland and pulled a very ugly 190 where I thought I was going to die but that was the Turning point/ plateau break for me. I got the biggest wake-up call in Finland. The other ladies were sooooooo far ahead of me. After that I really knuckled down. Paid attention to nutrition, rest, and conditioning. I saw the bigger picture. What it took to actually compete at that level and I worked towards it with the help of my coaches. I researched stuff I asked questions. I tried different methods till I found what worked for me.
My 125kg bench came as a surprise. I don’t train flat bench often
Il keep on with my oh press and o hope to get nearer to the record log press after Arnold
TG – Your hard work and dedication really are paying off.
Getting back to how you fit everything in, talk me through a typical day?
DM – My training up to Arnold has been hectic as I’m all over the place to fit it in. I do strength and conditioning type training with Gemma usually 3x a week. I deadlift/squat another day, o/press another and then events. Sometimes I have to train twice a day to fit it in with work and family. It’s not ideal but right now it’s the only way.
Deadlift makes Donna Happy
TG – A little bird tells me you have been bullied into trying some powerlifting this year :0) would you care to elaborate?
DM – Yes bullied is a quite an accurate description…Tania!!!!! And basically I know I will not be left alone until I do get on the platform.
I have thought about having a go at Powerlifting for quite some some time but this past year has been so busy with Strongwoman I never really got the chance. I wasn’t even sure how well I’d do with the technicalities of powerlifting but I am going to give it a try and see if I can set a decent total.
TG – Well I for one can’t wait to see you on a powerlifting platform.
Thank you so much for taking the time for a chat and I hope we can catch up with how you did at the Arnolds?
DM – Definitely I’d really like to meet you in real life
TG – Yes let’s definitely make that happen.
If you want to watch Donna at the Arnold’s then there is a FB page link to live stream below.