Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E70: Neurodiversity & Powerlifting

February 9th 2023

In this episode, fellow powerlifter Rachael discusses how she’s navigated with a late diagnosis of ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and sensory issues both in the workplace and in strength sports. Aside f... More

This is disabled girls who lift. We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time. It's Mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that able comfort zone. All right, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of disabled girls who lift. Thank you so much for your support here on Patreon um on anchor on Spotify. It's just been amazing to see how far we've kind of, we're on like episode 70 now, who knew that we'd continue after the 1st 10? Um But it's just been amazing to see the community that we've been able to grow both here and online. Um And the incredible guests that we've had on so far. So, um my name is Mary Beth. I'm in Northern California, sitting on Olo Land and I'd love to introduce um our guests who we've been chatting with for a long time now.

Um So I'm so excited to have you on now, Rachel, uh sitting in Geneva Switzerland, um but grew up in the UK, so the southeast of England, I believe. Uh she works in Visual U X design, a fellow powerlifter for about five years now competing in the Swiss branch of the IP F and um, I'm just so excited to talk to you about, you know, neurodiversity and powerlifting. Your experience is there kind of your experience, you know, getting diagnosed with a DH D just 34 years ago or? Yeah, two or so years ago. Sorry. Um, and you know, the experience is there as an adult because a lot of us are getting diagnosed in later ages, I think with social media has become a factor as well. Like, oh, I didn't realize, you know, a lot of my traits compared to what I've seen online, um outside of, you know, self diagnosis.

So, yeah, why don't you tell us a little bit about that and how it's kind of um the relationship with powerlifting. I, you talked a little bit about having to advocate for yourself and um navigating kind of finding coaches. Sure. So, yeah, thank you so much for having me on. It's an absolute pleasure. I've been uh quite an avid listener for a long time now, so it's just an amazing opportunity and I'm super excited in terms of um, yeah, finding out I have a DH D I think I'm in a, a boat with many people uh on that and other neurodiversity, other neuro diversities. So I was around four years ago searching on the internet because at my job I was forever making like little mistakes and it was something that was brought up to me a lot and, you know, that I'd always have like bosses saying, you know, you're, you're never on time to work, you're always making these small mistakes.

And like, I know you're an intelligent person and I, I don't understand like, why you can't get your act together kind of thing. So I was sat there desperately googling, like, how do I stop making small mistakes? And I found bits of advice like, oh, um you know, print your work out, like, read it back. And I was like, this stuff doesn't work for me. Like I need some other method obviously. And then I found it was either a um cure. I think it is the Q and A website or reddit. And there was a question from someone who sounded very, very much like me. And then I was like, oh, wow. She has the same issues as me. Maybe it was like a good answer here. And then I read a line in the replies and it said, have you ever considered that you might have a DH D? And I was like, oh, and then I went on, she put like, they put a link of the sort of diagnostic criteria.

And I went on and I was like, check, check, check, check. And I was like, oh, wow, ok, like, and then I thought, oh, there must be a way to like, you know, deal with this. And then it was like, yeah, this is a lifelong condition and it has to be managed. And I was like, whoa. And I had to take quite a step back because on the one hand, I was pretty certain, but I was also at that point due to move to Switzerland. So I really buried it and procrastinated on it for around three years. Um And then eventually things really just got too much and too overwhelming for me. Um I mean, I'm someone who has had a lot of issues with exhaustion and like for a while I thought I might have like chronic fatigue syndrome or something, but I would go and get my bloods and it would kind of come back normal. And I realized that this exhaustion that I was dealing with was perhaps a feature of a DH D and I started to see a lot more online um around like on social media and it gave me the courage to go and get an assessment done.

Um which wasn't easy, but I eventually found someone who could do it and I got it done and yeah, I was like kind of like a star. So in terms of it being like, yeah, put a diagnosis. So I got that around one year ago. And then since then, I also discovered that I am dyslexic and dyslexic. So it's like I got a little present bundle of them together, which is actually pretty common. Um It's never usually just the one on its own. So, yeah, that was kind of a lot. And I would say like how that sort of relates to power lifting. So I have some again as an A DH D or I think I've always kind of struggled with, um, like my eating. So binge eating is a, a DH D thing. It's quite a common trait that a lot of us have because we're looking for dopamine.

So, like, I kind of got into the whole bodybuilding fit golf thing. Oh, wow. That spurred on that binge eating, kind of that restrictive behavior. And then I was kind of like, I'm done with this at one point and I came across me squats and I was like, ah, there's maybe another way to go and lift weights that doesn't involve like, strict dieting, which does not work for me. So I got into power lifting and I wasn't really a very good power lifter. Um, I mean, I loved lifting the weight but I definitely struggled with learning the moves, learning the commands and the cues. And I almost always felt like, kind of quite floppy compared to other people. It's a lot, a lot of tech technical rules that they're even piling on every year.

So I could imagine. Like, it, it's, it's, it's a lot for a new, um, lifter. Not a lot, like, especially coming from another sport where it's just, um, you know, focusing on isolating muscles, you know, versus competition and, you know, all of the commands and, oh, wow. So it was a lot. But I competed and I had so much fun. Um Like, I didn't have a huge total at all, but I went to like a local meet and I had a blast and uh I managed to get the technique to get the commands on the day somehow. And so them a few times. But yeah. And then did you, when you found Para li, did you know of some folks like in the gym that had already been practicing it competing? Did you find a coach to guide you to your first uh competition at first or? Yeah. So basically, I followed another girl online um called Lizzie, uh who was in the British IP F and I watched her sort of go from lifting not much to quite a lot and going to nationals as a junior and stuff.

And I then thought, OK, maybe this is somewhere in my area. I can train because I was just going to a commercial gym at this point. And by chance there was a weight lifting gym just down the road that you never knew about because it was so small, it was on industrial estate and it was in like an old warehouse. So it was absolutely freezing in there. But there were a few power lifters who could kind of help show me the ropes. And I started working with a friend of this power lifter and she was very diet focused, which was kind of a shame because that's what I was trying to get away from. And she was very much like, oh, why didn't you go in the 50 sevens? Then we can do this small cut because you'd be more competitive. Oh, no, for your first time. And she was very volume heavy. Um, like, and, but no, R P just kind of like going to max on every set, that kind of vibe.

And yeah, after a few months, I, I was so exhausted, I just couldn't carry on with the program. And I found, yeah, the dieting again, it's, it's not good for me. So anybody would be exhausted from that going to Max. And the fact that you kind of saw that as a red flag early on was quite impressive. So you, you started talking to somebody else. Yeah, I started working with another person who coached a, um, another girl. I followed him online who's a power lifter. And thankfully he supported me going in the 63. So I went in 63 which was where I weighed for my first meet. And yeah, I had, I had a lot of fun. So I was, I was happy about that, but the new coach was very competitive minded. So my sort of slow progress and he was always saying like, oh, you know, if you work hard enough you can do really well. But the way that I progressed, like between sort of my 1st and 2nd year, it was quite small and then my 2nd and 3rd was very small compared to some of his other clients.

And already that kind of niggling feeling was coming. That yeah, I'm not as good as others. Um I need to work harder. I need to do better. So I very much like internalized it And you did a lot of, yeah, self criticism. Oh, that's rough. That's rough. And I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that. Especially going in for the first time. I feel like coaches, you know, it's hard to find those who don't recognize that competition shouldn't be everyone's goal in power lifting. It's yes, it is a sport. Yes, it is a competitive sport in some, but some folks just want to get strong or want to learn some barbell movements, get healthy, um, and learn their body in other ways rather than, you know, losing 5 £10 to not necessarily break a record, but kind of show off in your weight class locally, right?

Where in the long term, where is that gonna get us, especially for hurting ourselves, finding ourselves exhausted after, you know, one working set. It's not good long term. So, so, um, you've been able to stay kind of in power lifting and, you know, just finding the right group for you to work with. Um, you, you don't have a coach assigned to you now. That's that. Oh, you do now? But, yeah, so I've, the coaching thing, I've had four coach, the second coach I worked with for a while. But, yeah, there was a lot of pushing and also I, I injured myself from just before my first Swiss Nationals. Um, I got an intercostal strain and when I actually got two while working with this person, so I got an intercostal strain.

And, um, yeah, I, I basically met a coach over here because I, I'd moved by then, like, just before that meet and, um, I kind of thought like the coach that I had before the competitive minded one, oh, you know, you really don't respond well to online coaching. You should go and get someone who could coach you in person. And I wasn't, I mean, at the time, like, at least I thought, well, maybe if I have someone who lives in the same country as me, I can go see them. And I mean, it was a very good decision, the change. Um, he's a very good coach. I mean, very, very knowledgeable and powerlifting kind, uh, gentle, um, and sort of be willing to, you know, not push me too hard to just said, you know, your, your goal should be to be happy not to be like, number one. And he was a lot more sort of caring and a bit more sort of human I guess that I really enjoyed working with him for three years of my journey.

But with all the, the diagnosis, especially the diss praxia, I kind of felt like I wanted to work with someone who had a bit of knowledge in like neurodiversity. And I actually saw, um, Gabby Bross Posts on the subject and I was like, maybe, you know, we could have a good fit because there's clearly a lot of knowledge here and while my coach is great, he doesn't really have that. So, so, yeah, I just started working with Gabby. So, you're Gabby's client? That's amazing. Oh, for the last six weeks? Ok. Last six weeks. That's amazing. Yeah, I mean, it's just, I think you hit a keyword there which is treating us like human. We are not machines even though, um, some sports can make it seem that way. Right? Some people commit 20 hours a day to this because they get paid to do so when they are seen as machines.

But we aren't like, we have to function off of, off of so many other qualities in our life, especially like our work life balance on top of the sport. I'm so so glad that you found her. Yeah. How has that been for you? It's been really, really interesting because I had a lot of ideas with my previous coach. Like, not working with R Pe. And I think like, a lot of people are taught that R pe is the gold standard for power lifting. And the problem is um I think, I don't know where my sensory issues come from. Exactly. But probably within the dyspraxia, I know that it affects my abilities with proprioception, which is the awareness of your body if you're not looking at it. So putting your hand behind your back and where that might be, for example, and also in interception.

So how you feel in your body and the both of these for me are hypo. So that means that they're kind of turned down so you can get hyper sensitive, which is where, you know, it's, you have a lot of sensation and hypo which is where you don't have much. And I'm hypo in both of these. So it makes R pe quite difficult to utilize because my six and my eight are kind of the same and then my eight and my 10 can be the same. So grading it to how it feels is I have to use the video basically, you know, I can't do it or somebody else has got to tell you what it looks like too. Yeah, I had to kind of rely on my old coach to say that's a six, that's a seven. I didn't really, I wasn't really, really able to tell and it gave me a lot of frustration and so we're not working with much R pe only really like accessories but been told that it kind of doesn't matter too much.

So I just kind of go, ok, maybe this has to be hard and this can be easy. And I don't, but for the main lifts we do have percentage based, which is much better for me because I don't have to waste mental energy on thinking about. Was that a six? Was that a seven? I just got a number and I hit it or if it feels a bit ropey in the warm ups, I can go slightly lower. But yeah, that's been a really positive thing. Yeah. And, and for those that don't really know what R P I is, that's, you know, rate of perceived exertion and that's gonna, um, depend not only on each set but how much you slept that night or if you have a lot of stress on your mind and you worked a 14 hour day and for some people that works because they can change that right daily or depending on, on if they're doing squats or bench that day and if they sat for long periods of time, you know, whatever the case may be.

Um, but for someone who, who's nine can feel like a 14 also to somebody else that's just very confusing and, um, leaving you more frustrated than anything else. And then, um, you know, working with somebody like Gabby coach Gabby, um, you know, she, I assume has helped you adapt to some days too where you can't, um, necessarily reach that percentage or, you know, you, you decide what you feel will work for you and give you the option to jump down 5% in the percentage should I need or if I can't hit it, I don't. Um So yeah, I mean, it doesn't, I haven't worked like with super heavy loads yet, so I only had one day where I couldn't hit something, but then I just accepted it and walked away and carried on with what else I was meant to do?

Um So yeah, but if I'm feeling particularly ropey, then I would basically reduce the percentages by 5% and take 5% less. Or of course, there's the thing of actually, should you be training at all? Um If, yeah, if I'm feeling really bad, then maybe the best course of action is to stay home and rest or do some gentle light movement in my house and not go to the gym. So there's that to consider as well. Oh, yeah, that's very important, especially, um, you know, straying away from a very competitive, uh a competition focused coach that's not necessarily in the books for them, right? You lose one day off your schedule and that ruins the whole plan that they built for 12 weeks or whatever. But we all have to be able to adapt, you know, with neurodivergent athletes, disabled athletes, like every day is going to be different, um, mentally and physically.

So I, I'm glad I'm so happy that you've been able to find that, that balance because I, I would hate for you to hate the sport of powerlifting because of those interactions, um, and those experiences. So I'm happy you've been able to advocate for yourself. Is this the first time that you've kind of voiced your, um, a DH D and neuro diversions with a coach or have you felt comfortable enough to discuss that with them in the past? Yeah, previously I've discussed it with my, my other coach and yeah, he's pretty understanding and pretty nice, but doesn't, at the same time, he didn't really know what to suggest. It was kind of like, could you tell me what you need? And sometimes I don't always know what I need. Um, so I'd try and suggest things and actually like my sort of reasons for writing this kind of book were to show coaches like what the experience is like and how they can adapt.

Um, so it came from that, that yeah, I'm quite comfortable to voice it and to talk about it, but I don't always know what the strategies are and actually they change depending on the person as well. So, yeah, and, um, I'm not sure if you want to touch on this, but you mentioned something about being bullied as a result. Um, I'm not sure if that was within the sport or outside, but, um, what happened? So, I mean, through my life I have experienced that in, in general, I think, um, in most areas of my life. So going through school very obvious that I was different in some way and that attracted attention, the wrong kind. So, yeah, there was a lot of name calling and things like that. I've had it within work as well from, yeah, just generally being seen as different as neurodivergent and kind of being called, like cold or, um, sort of strange and not wanting to always go to all the social events and things like that.

But within the gym specifically, I had a lot of comments on my form at the start because I took a lot more time to learn the squat bench and dead lift to a power lifting standard. Um I experienced quite a lot of like rounding in my back and I still do on the dead lift and I didn't know at the time that, you know, some flexion is ok. Um So I had a lot of comments about that. I had a lot of comments about my squat, um like how it looked because my back would also curve on my squat. That's something that's got a lot better, but it took time for me to learn how to get all that tension together and actually work with the top and the bottom of my body together because that's something I really struggled even on a heavy load. Sometimes I feel like the top of my body and the bottom of my body and not working together. So yeah, I had a lot of questions and about even about my bar placement, like I would be doing low bar, what some people would walk past me and go oh Is that, is that, is that high bar and just these kind of little comments and then I think sometimes sensory wise, like I can get quite overstimulated.

So particularly if there's a lot of noise or a lot of people, I can get quite overstimulated. So I've had to duck out a few times and that's not been so pretty. So i it's more of a kind of like, oh, ok, she was crying in the gym and we don't understand why kind of thing. And definitely it's been hard to like integrate into this culture and where, you know, people are strong and people don't show their emotions and gym, my therapy and all of this and that just for me, just not me at all, right? And you know, the the experience of high criticism from strangers, people not minding their own damn business and not staying in their lane, they're all um former police, right? Yeah, but this is to the max for every single set of yours things that you know, um because you have a coach, mind you um know the things that you're working on.

You don't have the time to explain to random people why you do this in a certain way, just mind your own business. That's so frustrating. It's definitely um it's definitely as well because a lot of neurodivergent people actually have like kind of a lower tolerance to criticism. And apparently this comes from like generally hearing or criticism growing up. So there's a term for it, which is called R S D. So it stands for rejection sensitivity, dysphoria. So it's basically that neurodivergent people will have a much more um how can I say intense reaction to criticism um than a neurotypical um in general. So, yeah, I'd sometimes deal with with this as a result, which can be very intense and I can feel almost like pain from physical pain from those kind of comments. So yeah, it was a lot to deal with. Yeah, I'm really sorry that you had to go through that.

It's, it's just incredible seeing to um I don't know the differences in generation of the sport. What happened to us, like wanting to support each other in a more inclusive environment rather than pick on each other from afar like you are no better than me, sir, like you and a lot of the times it's men, I like straight men that speak their mind, like um especially when they see women or, you know, other folks just putting on more weight than them. There's, it's, it's horrible. Yeah. So I kind of just want to go back to what you said about your boss saying you're intelligent. But dot dot dot Like that you're intelligent period, you're a hard working person, period. If anything you're working harder than the average um colleague, right? Um And the things that people don't understand is that those, those like productivity tools, those to do list that's not gonna work for everyone.

And just as important it is as it is for you to have a coach that understands um what comes along with a DH D dyspraxia, dyslexia and sensory issues like you need, it's important to have um a boss that understands your productivity levels in some way as well. Um Has there been kind of better ways to have conversations like that or? Yeah, I would say that is still a work in progress um for me. So like when we go back to the, your intelligent but um kind of comment. So I remember when I did my dyslexia assessment and um they do like a cognitive assessment as part of that. So it's an I Q but they re weight the I Q for actually dyslexic or, or neurodivergent people. So that less emphasis is put on the working memory and the um cognitive processing uh parts.

So then you get this sort of more true score. And I remember she sat down and she's like you are an intelligent person like period and it was very validating to hear that because I've always heard things like, oh, you, you have a lot of potential or you could be good if you did or there would always be caveat. So for her to say like, yes, you are intelligent and here's what you're good at. You are dyslexic, but you're also very good with telling stories of having good narratives of um processing information. So with advocating for myself at work, um I mean, I try to sort of explain my challenges but then also to explain um actually what, what my strengths are. So I sort of say, you know, to do this, I need that, but also I could do this task that may be I'm more naturally um attribute it to, let's say.

So I say like I here are my strengths and these are the things that may be more challenging for me and try to plan the workload that way. I also moved to my job from at the time when yeah, I was doing all this googling. I was working as a researcher. I move now to the user experience and the imagery um like visual design because I'm better with images than I am with like words and numbers. Um So that's helped, but I still have to say things like, you know, in, in meetings. Um I'm not going to be the note taker in the because I need my brain power for focusing and, and following what's going on and my note taking is going to be minimal. So if we want minutes, it shouldn't be me who does it or like trying to use tech to help. So not productivity tools, but there is a tool that I use that helps me put everything in one place in terms of what I do have to do.

So I can put things like emails and um tasks from tools all into one place and I can assign how long that'll take. So it helps me be kind of realistic about what I can do in a day because I'm often someone who over promises and realizes that I don't have uh you know, a week in one day. And so that helps me just, yeah, the productivity tool I use just helps me to be realistic about my time. So that one's been quite helpful. It's called Sun Sarma for anyone who wants to look. But yeah, it's um that's been very useful and also I can record um calls or meetings and things and if I need to, if I don't have anyone to take notes and then I can revisit things that were discussed and that's also a helpful accommodation. But with everything, whether it's a power lifting coach or a boss, the main things are uh kindness and flexibility, I think.

So find an understanding, someone has a different way of processing information or a different way of carrying out a task and then also just being flexible if one way doesn't work, try another way. And neurodivergent people generally are quite good problem solvers. So it can be quite nice if there is an issue at work. I say, ok, let's sit together and let's, I on the problem, let's explore how we can solve it and try to find, yeah, try to find a different way of doing things that's gonna work. Yeah, I mean, first of all, what a very empowering conversation to have with someone else, you know, and, um, listing out your accommodations and the two biggest things, setting expectations of them and um setting those boundaries for yourself with them. Um whether that be work zoom meetings or work in general, that's, that's incredible.

And just knowing like dating back to like my first encounters with a DH D in college and um the accommodations that like U C Berkeley had for some students, which was giving notes, you know, there were paid student note takers who shared those notes with folks that needed it in the disabled community. Um That's incredible that work is starting to, you know, take that on. And I mean, but are you the one taking the notes on the side or is somebody else kind of sharing those with you? I usually, if we have a meeting, I'll actually ask one of my colleagues, please, could you take notes um or there's also a tool that's available for some companies called O dot A I which uh transcribes. Um Of course. So it means that you can get a full transcription at the end. And then also for, if I do have to take notes, I can use um something like notability if it's in person or I have to call on loudspeaker and it can record it.

And if I make a note at one point I can press on it and it will play that snippet. So, oh my gosh is really pretty amazing and, and pretty helpful. I mean, I haven't cracked it but I just have to tell people that I struggle with taking notes and explain to them why and kind of it does seem to go in, albeit slowly. I find there's a bit of resistance because I don't think anyone enjoys taking notes. So being asked to take notes on someone else's behalf is a bit, they don't always enjoy it, but I usually give my reasoning and, and just if I don't ask or I don't explain, then it'll be assumed that I'm fine and I can do it and it's not a problem. So, yeah, I have to try and be brave and, and speak up and hope for the best, I think. Yeah, good on you for voicing that. Um And that's a, that's a priority because you can't do your job without it.

And if, even if it's not a colleague, I feel the company has some responsibility to hire a note taker for an hour, you know, like find ways to accommodate for those things. And um I'm just so happy to see that, that it, we've come to a time where you've been able to advocate for yourself. That hasn't been an easy journey. I'm sure. No, there's a lot of like imposter syndrome that, that happens with that. So, the, yeah, I think for the years of my life where I didn't know I'd always be just saying, you know, be normal, try harder, try harder and there's only so much harder you can try. So I've only, I've realized that if I'm gonna do my best, then sometimes I need the other person to meet me halfway. Oh, yeah. And I shouldn't have to keep going to the end for them. Exactly. And it doesn't, it doesn't help that somebody might look at you and say, well, you look normal, you look like you can take your own notes.

Why don't you? It's that again, that criticism from somebody who doesn't truly know you is what's frustrating. Um But I'm, I'm happy that I'll, you know, we'll bookmark a lot of these tools that you use. You said Selma Otter dot A I and notability. We actually used Otter a few times for the pod. Uh Not, sorry, not for the podcast, but for posts on Instagram where it would um caption it for us automatically. They're just amazing tools that, you know, podcast hosts to companies to classrooms can discover. Um especially when it's a long meeting. Um Like this to re you know, record or just have files of those available for everyone to, to use and see. Um So it's, it's been great just hearing and sharing those tools in our own community. You know, we, they don't realize it's not just for hard of hearing folks, it's for um folks with a DH D um dyslexia or um you know, people who are just, who are losing their hearing and um it's, yeah, it's, I'm, I'm seeing more and more of that even on tools like our cell phone and social media.

Um So I do want to talk a lot about um your book project that you have going, I know you mentioned it a little bit but I want to expand so that some, some of our listeners can, um you know, I'm, I'm sure a lot of people have experiences similar to what you just described. Haven't found a way toward a diagnosis or tools to help quote unquote manage it, right? Um But can share those stories with you. And um I that could either be within the powerlifting community or Barbell sport community, right? Um What, what exactly is it that you're working on? So basically, it came from me trying to look for strategies for myself and reading your child in sport, your child, your child, your child. And I was like, yeah, adults deal with this as well.

The Children grow up and become adults and there's like nothing I really searched. Yeah, and I found hardly anything tailored to strength sports at all and you're divergent lifters. And that frustrated me a lot. And then I also had a little bit of an unfortunate conversation with a well known, uh, female power lifting coach online where she, uh, was asked if she took autistic clients and her response was, um, oh, well, it's the coach, you know, the program is the same. It's just a difference in communication. And I was like, oh no, but I was like, oh no, because yeah, it just the difference in communication. I was just like, oh no, like it's not at all because there's a lot of com comorbidities. Um There's higher rates of um I think, sorry if I pronounce this wrong Ella Down Down Syndrome.

Um The one where you're hypermobile, the hypermobility, there's much higher rates, there's uh higher rates of things like eating disorders. And I was like, no, it's, it's not communication. Like the communication is made, it is different in the way that someone might need to give feedback for instance, so that it doesn't cause R S D but it's so much more. So I was basically like, if no one's gonna do this, then I take it on myself to start working on this. So I want to basically have like all the things that a coach would consider when coaching someone who's neurodivergent, the things that they'd have to take into account. So, yeah, things like is R pe the appropriate programming strategy for someone, right? Like how should you structure a program in terms of how many days should, should someone train? Should they have more rest? Should they have longer or shorter sessions?

Like, how do you give feedback in a way that's not going to upset someone that it's going to be constructive and truly constructive because, yeah, I mean, a lot of feedback I've seen has been things like that wasn't an a a was it or rather than, you know, I think with neurodivergent people, it's very important to give feedback and say what the action the follow up is rather than what they did wrong. Um So quote unquote wrong, it's more important to say this is what I want. I'd like you to do next time or this is what could help and also structuring a more like collaborative approach because every person is different and what works for one person might not work for another. So I wanted to kind of get these guidelines and then share stories in with those guidelines. So talking about so not just having the what but also having the why. And so perhaps we can learn from some of the mistakes that have been made in the past and have a much more sort of inclusive future.

Yeah, I mean, it's amazing you're, you're essentially building a tool book, not only for coaches but for athletes who are stepping into this for the first time, what they should look for, what they should ask for and what should be expected of them. Right. They should expect from other people. So, yeah, not being told to diet to a lower weight class on the first. Me, I mean, that's not good for anyone that's for everybody. Especially bad. Yeah. And, and that all comes with a mindset that, um, again, we have a diverse group of power lifters in the sport. We have a diverse um population in general and we have to be able to adapt to different environments um and different programs. So, um it's really just like calling out all those coaches that build those cookie cutter programs and say, no, you're all getting the same thing. All I'm doing is changing the language and changing the communication.

That shouldn't be the case. Um I'm sorry, but I'm not going to pay you for that. I can get that off of an online Google search, you know, um It's not fair. Um because that relationship should be symbiotic. I'm giving you my work in the gym. Yes, it is for myself, but you should be giving me something else in exchange and that is your attention really. Um So this is, this is an amazing project that I am so excited about. Um you know, just um kind of strengthen that community as well in strength sports and getting um more feedback, building something on paper for it. Um And I know that's a lot of work for you. It's not something that, um, you know, it's, it's not fair that it's something that we have to build. But that's kind of the case.

A lot of the times where we are the first in our sport, we are the first in our community to experience something like this. It feels. Um, yeah. Yeah, it should already exist. But, you know, as it, as it doesn't like, I think those with lived experience are the best writers um for this rather than an expert sort of saying, you know, oh this is how it should be. And I think that's a lot of what the mistakes that have been made in the past um with why so many people are being diagnosed late. It's because no one looked at the lived experience um just looked at a very small subset of the population and decided that's what this was. So, yeah, I think if I can do a small thing in changing that, then it will be worth the hours. Um And if I help even one person, it will be worth the hours. So if um somebody wants to contribute to the project and to the book or just really have a conversation with you, how can they reach you?

So they can either find me on Instagram. So it's Rachel Elizabeth Lifts and um I can spell that out or we can put that in the description as you wish. And then also um perhaps an email would be great as well. Um I can put that in the description as well. Um And that might be another way to reach me if people don't have Instagram or your social media. Definitely. Um and I don't want to put your personal information out there, but um if you guys want to also email us at disabled girls who lift at gmail dot com, we'd be happy to forward that to you Rachel or just start that conversation. Um Put this out on our own Instagram as well because it's, it's a conversation that has been kind of ongoing, but, you know, we haven't necessarily built tools for it just directed folks to um you know, more inclusive gyms, uh powerlifting federations, coaches making those connections within the community, but it hasn't um you know, gotten as far as building a tool book.

And I think this is just an incredible feat that you're doing. It's something that's been needed for centuries, you know. So, um uh it's incredible and let's see, the, yeah, so we'll go ahead and put all that information as well as the tools, the productivity tools you've used in the episode notes. Um Before we go, is there anything else that you wanted to share or something that we didn't touch on? I think the main thing I wanted to share was that um if you're someone who is not progressing in the same way as everyone else, like, please don't internalize that in the way that I did or please try to have compassion for yourself, that your body is doing the absolute best it can with the resources it has available.

And yeah, I mean, I was very hard on myself for a long time. And if I had to choose to do like to go through my journey again, that would be one of the things that I would change, that I would give myself space for where I was at and what I was doing and compassion. So if there's space to do the same, I understand getting access to things like diagnosis is not easy, but trying to be as compassionate towards yourself as possible is, is one of the steps that can be taken and it can help things a lot. So yeah, that would be my final, my final note, that's very well put, I mean, patience and kindness. We had, those were the two words we use when we were in customer service for performing arts venues, right? Show all of our patrons, patience and kindness. And for this, not only should, I mean, you should um give yourself what you see others deserve and that's really be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself and give yourself a break sometimes you deserve it and, and you are intelligent, period.

Yeah, there's no but well, thank you so much Rachel for joining us. And um I do want us to continue this conversation online offline on your new book. It's so exciting and if you ever want to come back on the podcast and talk more about your ongoing experience with this new coach, Gabby. Um You're always welcome back. Uh You are after this no longer guests. You are family. So thank you. Thank you so much. All right, disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe, rate or write a review of our channel. We're on Apple Podcasts, Spotify player, F M Google Podcasts and more. You can also find us on Instagram at disabled girls who lift.

E70: Neurodiversity & Powerlifting
E70: Neurodiversity & Powerlifting
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