Meet Maria!

Our Fall Athlete’s Corner Feature.

Maria DeMesa - Athlete's Corner
Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 32-year-old single mom living in Dublin, CA which is in the East Bay Area of Northern California. I’ve lived in CA my whole life and have played sports my whole life as well. For work, I am a freelance Graphic and Web Designer. I’m about as passionate about creating digital art for clients as I am about lifting heavy things.

When I was 25, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and it kind of put a lot of things into perspective to me. Being in pain 24/7 is rough, but ever since I started weightlifting and strengthening my body I’m able to handle all of it.

Tell us about how you got into your sport.

I have been playing sports my whole life. It started with tee-ball when I was about 7 and then soccer at 8 and I fell in love. I played mostly recreationally for AYSO, but also playing in high school at El Toro High School in Orange County and then Orange Coast College for 1 year all as goalkeeper. It wasn’t until well after college and after I had my daughter that I got into weightlifting. I joined Surf City Fit Club (SCFC) in Huntington Beach, CA and the atmosphere there COMPLETELY changed my perspective on every hang-up I had about myself or lifting weights or just fitness in general.

Maria DeMesa - Athlete's CornerHow has your sport changed your life?

Growing up, I was always the “bigger girl” or the “fat one” and I’d get teased a lot because I was just naturally bigger than every other girl I was around. I avoided anything that had to do with lifting any sort of serious weight so I never knew all the fun I was missing out on. Enter SCFC. Their approach to fitness is AMAZING. I never once felt out of place or uncomfortable, so I got into the habit of trying everything. I turned into the one that would see someone lifting something incredibly heavy or doing something that looked incredibly difficult and saying, “Ooooo, I wanna try!” It wasn’t until I found competitive Kettlebell Sport that I REALLY got into all things weightlifting. I figured out I was really naturally strong and I picked up the sport pretty easily. I participated in 6 BOLT style meets (6 different lifts all 10 minutes each with multiple hand switching and you can put the bell down during your set as many times as you need) and 2 GS style meets (3 different lifts all 10 minutes each with 1 hand switch and you can’t set your bell down or it ends your set). I have completed the Iron (Wo)Man Challenge in 4 out of my 6 BOLT meets – completed all 6 lifts in one meet.

I have since moved on from Kettlebell Sport competitions and I am not invested in Powerlifting. Before SCFC, I had never picked up a barbell before. Now I have picked them up AND put them down multiple times. I will be competing in my first USPA meet in September of this year!

Athlete's Corner - Maria DeMesa

How does participating in this sport make you feel about your body?

I’ve gained a lot more confidence in myself. I allow myself to unapologetically take up as much space as I need. I look at myself and can see how strong I am. I don’t hold any value to a number on the scale and I don’t hold value to the size of my clothing. It’s a pretty liberating feeling.

Where do you think this sport is going for women?

For both Kettlebell Sport and Powerlifting, I think you will see more and more women competing. Strength sports are usually filled with more men than women, but we’ve been evening out the playing field every year.

Who is your inspiration?

My little girl. She’s 6 and growing up in a world filled with negative messages about women so I make sure to focus on what she is capable of rather than what she looks like. I want my daughter to know that she is capable of anything she sets her mind to and the sky is the limit. I want that for all of the little boys and girls in the world.

What do you want to say to women who may not yet have the confidence to follow their dreams?

Life may be short, but it’s also never too late to do something you’ve dreamed about! We are all beautiful and capable of doing way more than we think we can so get out there and do the damn thing! Show the younger generations that they can do the damn thing, too and to never apologize for taking up the space they need.

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