Meet Abbey Moon. She’s one of the 2021 Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes, and she’ll be sharing updates on her health and wellness journey through the rest of this year. Abbey, age 76, is a survivor who turned trauma into triumph through her mastery of powerlifting.
“To begin my journey, I need to share that I was a domestic violence victim for about 10 years, and even after my divorce, I walked around feeling scared all the time. I tried therapy which was helpful and I went to the gym to work out, but I had no plan of action. I finally realized the only way to not feel scared was to be able to defend myself.
“When I started this journey, I was hardly able to do anything; but I was determined to be strong plus powerful, and able to take care of myself.”
“In 2012, I started doing CrossFit workouts which were challenging, but I kept coming back. Eventually I could finish all of the workouts – and got stronger. In 2014, a young man who was teaching a powerlifting class I was attending suggested to me that I should compete.
“I fell in love with powerlifting — it made me feel strong and now all my working out has a purpose.”
“I participated in my first powerlifting competition in August 2014. Despite being scared to death, I performed quite well…and secured an American record in bench pressing by being the best in my weight and age group! I fell in love with powerlifting — it made me feel strong and now all my working out has a purpose.
The exercise program
My exercise program today consists of a morning workout class five times a week, with three evenings of powerlifting, and three afternoons of accessory work. My morning Zoom exercise class started with COVID-19 and the closing all of the gyms. I and three of my friends decided to do a morning workout in order to not lose strength. The beauty of these workouts is we only need barbells, a thin red band for pull-aparts, and a timer for wall sits and planks. I love starting my morning this way because it is fun, it continues to be challenging, and I get to hang out with my friends.
Below: Abbey demonstrates a squat, one of the core exercises in powerlifting.
It’s not always easy!
“I want to point out that there are days when I drag myself through my workouts, and even some that I miss altogether. I have learned to accept it as part of being a powerlifter. Sometimes I do not want to go and just want to lie on the couch and watch Netflix — which happens — but, whenever I go, I feel challenged and much better about my lifting when I leave. If you work consistently on your lifts, you will be able to lift more weight and your numbers will improve.
“I have a big competition coming up on September 23rd, and I am determined to obtain a world record in bench pressing.”
“My first competition I was only able to bench 88 pounds, and now I am up to 125. Sometimes the workout sessions are hard — my mind is saying ‘keep going!’ and my body wants to stop, but the support of the people at the gym motivates me to finish my lifts for the evening. I have a big competition coming up on September 23rd, and I am determined to obtain a world record in bench pressing. I want to accomplish that because it is a challenge, plus it will help my lifting team.
“When I started this journey, I was hardly able to do anything; but I was determined to be strong plus powerful, and able to take care of myself. I have had a hip replacement, a knee replacement, a broken leg, a fractured hip, and a year and a half ago was in a car accident that injured my back and my knee — plus I developed PTSD.
“Just being surrounded by people who were working out gave me the motivation to keep moving, and I eventually healed.”
“I have always gotten through these detours by feeling sorry for myself for about 2 weeks, a lot of physical therapy, and returning to the gym as soon as possible and utilizing parts of my body that were not injured. I would go to the gym using a walker and then a cane, but I went on a regular basis. Just being surrounded by people who were working out gave me the motivation to keep moving, and I eventually healed. Due to a lot of mobility issues and not really doing any physical exercise until I was 50, I have had to work really hard in order to be good at powerlifting.
“I want to leave you with the following ideas that have guided me:
“First of all, just show up. Even if you do not want to go or feel like the workouts are too difficult, do what you can do and modify things.
“Secondly, do not be afraid to ask for help. Most people at the gym want to help people just beginning to start powerlifting.
“Third, challenge yourself with higher weights and more repetitions.
“Lastly, make working out a part of your day. I think of it as my job. I started committing to go two times per week, and then added days — but it has to be a commitment. Find a workout partner so you have to be accountable to someone, and repeat to yourself over and over, ‘I can do this.’
“Guess what? YOU CAN DO THIS. And when you start noticing muscles and feeling stronger, you will be very proud.
“I am delighted to have been chosen as a Senior Planet Athlete, because it gives me an opportunity to come into contact with a number of Senior athletes all over the country and to share my love of powerlifting. My dream is to motivate some of you reading this blog to try it and those of you who are already lifting to continue doing what you are doing.”