Leeds City College tutor Aliya Rashid to compete in Las Vegas powerlifting championships

Posted: July 6, 2022

A huge congratulations to Leeds City College teacher, Aliya Rashid, who has been making waves in the world of powerlifting and will be going to the Mr. Olympia competition in Las Vegas this December. Now a member of the Events, Enterprise & Employability team, Aliya discovered powerlifting in her teens when doing a work placement at a local gym.


“They used to have  a weightlifting and powerlifting squad in the weights room and I arranged to go down there one day to see what my starting point was. I was 17 at the time and they were impressed with what I was lifting.”


Aliya tried both boxing and powerlifting, but enjoyed lifting more. “I was powerful, but not quick enough for boxing.” The decision paid off – a couple of months ago Aliya won the British Powerlifting Federation Championship award for Best Overall Female Lifter. She also came 1st in the Women’s 75kg category, and broke the British bench press record of 90kg. 


This success saw her entering the European and Commonwealth IPL Championships, where she came first in her category, curled 50kg to win the strict curl event and set a European record of 207.5kg for her deadlift. Such competitions require a strict routine and work ethic.


“I need to make sure my bodyweight remains low, 75kg or under, but also eat enough to keep my strength up. For this competition, I worked up to the weight that I had in mind to lift and worked around that. I have a coach who I have been seeing once a month to use weights that are similar to the ones I use in competition.”


Aliya defines the links between her hobby and her job as patience and determination. 


“The drive is contagious, I have energy and enthusiasm and this does spill into teaching. The learners that are in my lessons have the pleasure of being greeted by a can-do and positive attitude, which is reflected in my work.”


She is proud of the positive representation she offers as a female Muslim and, in her time working in the fitness industry, encouraged women to strive to go beyond cardiovascular machines and incorporate strength training into their routine.


For those interested in trying out powerlifting, she recommends finding someone who is knowledgeable about lifting, who can encourage, support and give you the best advice. “From there, everything will fall into place for you to absolutely give it everything you have got.


“Set yourself a goal. Don’t be afraid of tripping up on the way to your destination. Even if you fall, you will be tougher next time. Always keep the end goal in mind.”

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