Local Powerlifter Yvette Fox is Not Your Typical Grandma
by TERESA SCHIFFER
Some people spend their senior years slowing down and doing less, physically. Yvette Fox is heading in the opposite direction, and smashing records on her way. The 60-year-old grandmother of six is turning heads and taking home wins at powerlifting competitions and running events not just locally, but globally.
Yvette Fox was a typical mother of two boys. She had a gym membership, she was involved with her sons’ athletic endeavors, and she coached the girls’ track and field team. She was busy, and she was involved, but she wasn’t really spending much time participating in the athletics herself. Once her sons had graduated from high school and then college, Fox found herself with more free time on her hands. She filled that time with fitness activities.
The three components of physical fitness, according to Fox, are weightlifting, cardiovascular training, and mobility. Weightlifting is the base component, with many benefits both physical and psychological. It strengthens muscles and bones, creating a healthy musculoskeletal system. Fox enjoys the challenge found in going one-on-one with a weighted steel bar. During the 2018 Polk Senior Games, Fox completed a 120 lb. bench press and a 285 lb. deadlift, both records for the 60-64-year-old age group.
For cardiovascular health, Fox began running 5K races about three years ago, when her son paid her entry fee into the Miles for Moffitt 5K race for a Mother’s Day gift and asked her to run with him. How could a mother refuse such a worthy cause and thoughtful gift? Most recently, she ran the Bok Tower Carillon 5K on March 10 and won first place in her age group.
CrossFit is an inclusive exercise regimen that Fox says “challenges an athlete to go beyond any perceived limitations.” This is where she gets the essential mobility component of her fitness routine, though she has her eye on gymnastics as her next goal. Fox is motivated to learn new skills and challenge her body through its full range of motion. “I am looking forward to my first ring muscle up and my first bar muscle up…even if I am 65 when I achieve my goal!”
“I was first introduced to powerlifting as a teenager by a friend who loved weightlifting,” Fox reminisces. “It was only for a short period of time, but the feeling of wrapping my hands around a steel bar and the thought of being able to lift heavy weights was so intriguing that the hope of being able to pursue that passion more aggressively stayed with me during those years when I had other priorities.”
When Fox’s sons became teenagers she was finally able to spend more time in the gym and was glad to see more women engaging in bodybuilding. She picked up a copy of Dr. Lynne Pirie’s Getting Built; For Women! A Bodybuilding Program for Beauty, Strength, and Fitness and devoted herself to the training programs outlined within. Eventually, she got the opportunity to participate in her first competition. She won third place in the novice category, with no professional help or training.
Since then, Fox began training with local veteran powerlifter, trainer, and gym owner, Scott Lamb out of the Vanilla Gorilla Strength Athletics gym in Lakeland, FL. Following a much more dedicated and strict training regimen has done nothing but bring Fox’s game to the next level. She has continued to hone her skills on the platform, participating in numerous local competitions. Through that avenue, Fox found herself invited to participate in the Florida State Games, and then the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC). After that, she competed in the World Powerlifting Congress’ Raw National Meet, which garnered her an invitation to the World Championships in Moscow last year.
“The WPC World Championship experience in Moscow, Russia was a wonderful experience from start to finish,” Fox says. She credits the support of her friends and family for making her dream a reality. SBD, a worldwide manufacturer of powerlifting apparel, even sponsored Fox and gave her a singlet to wear. Her first international meet was a rousing success, where Fox set and broke records in bench and deadlift events.
So what motivates Fox to continue to push herself and expand her limits? She attributes her energetic attitude to her faith, “My relationship with God supersedes all other relationships and activities. If you do not know who you are and why you are here, what is the point of being fit?” Fox is a woman with drive and determination, and we are excited to see what challenges she tackles next.