Lil Bianchi Kimble, Fitness Mag’s resident strong woman, strength and conditioning coach, owner of OTG Athletic, and world powerlifting champion not only talks the talk but walks the walk too. Dynamite comes in small packages, but when it comes to Lil, she’s a whole lot more than dynamite.
Not only does she dominate the powerlifting scene (with 12 national records and the world deadlift record under her belt – literally), she leads the conversation when it comes to women lifting heavy and inspires thousands of women to pick up the barbell.
We catch up with Lil to find out how she manages her powerlifting training, her training facility and business, and still finds time to run events like The Strong Women Project.
How do you find motivation and the energy to pursue your passions, run your business and still find time to train and compete?
Personally as an athlete, my hunger to achieve bigger things, lift heavier weights and ultimately win meets, is driven by an absolute need to break stereotypes. I feel like I have a point to prove about muscle, brawn and appearances. The more successful I am as a competitive Powerlifter the more I prove those wrong about powerlifting and women in strength sports – and that is what inspires me to push on, train hard and commit to the level that I have. Fortunately, this ties in with what I do professionally so it all goes hand in hand with growing strength sports in South Africa and promoting strength as a priority when it comes to training. I don’t find the time, I make the time.
How did you discover your love for powerlifting?
I don’t have some cliché backstory about how powerlifting saved my life. I believe that came from a multitude of things. I merely fell in love with the barbell and the feeling of empowerment brought on by lifting heavy weights. I have always been competitive, whether it be at a sport or just trying to beat my husband to the top of the stairs, I’m just wired that way. I fell in love with the iron’s ability to challenge me both mentally and physically. It is not just about lifting weights it’s about overcoming roadblocks.
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Take us through a day in your life.
I’m up at 4am daily and at OTG by 5am to meet the team and coach our members. We have a full time strength coach at OTG but I like to be there as much as possible to spend time with our clients and athletes. I train daily from 7-9am with my husband and one or two of our other powerlifters. It’s always nice to have a strong team of lifters to lift with – you need that push on those hard days. I’m generally in front of my laptop for the remainder of the day where I spend the majority of my time planning forward for our athletes, researching, writing, growing our brand and evolving our methods. I’m back at OTG again between 4 and 6pm where the majority of our athletes are back in the gym and its coaching back to back for the remainder of the day. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t passed out on the couch by 7:30pm every day.
What does your diet/nutrition look like? What approach do you believe in?
I eat to perform, so my “fuel” choices surround how they will affect my training. As a strength athlete, I need to constantly feed my muscle and my recovery. I don’t believe in “diets”, I believe in intelligent eating so I cycle my carbs and my fats, and I ensure I stick to my caloric requirements. Calories in vs calories out at the end of the day, this is what keeps me lean and competition ready 365 days a year.
It takes as much mental strength as it does physically to do what you do. How do you stay mentally healthy and strong?
My husband Scott is that little voice inside my head that keeps me going, he constantly reminds me that the rules are different for me and that being at the top means having no weaknesses. When I start to break down, he builds me up. He says that the best don’t break and that when I am down my competition is constantly rising, this keeps me on my toes, and it keeps me alive and pushing. I see illness and injury as a weakness and I am not weak. When I get injured or I fall sick it is always very short-lived because my mental game doesn’t have room for breakdowns. I believe in the law of attraction, if you think strong you are strong. Strength gives me confidence and that confidence gives me all the mental strength I need.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by all those people who walk through our doors who are just trying to be better versions of themselves, the OTG members who come in daily, the moms and dads who have a string of kids, full-time jobs, work stress and no excuses. As I am at the head of the helm at OTG I need to lead from the front and if they working hard I need to work harder. It is my responsibility to lead by example, I am motivated by how hard they work and unfortunately I have a team of athletes who push the bloody boundary so I’m constantly having to push the envelope.
Do you have any advice or tips for women who want to get into strength training?
Don’t listen to the naysayers, do something that scares you, challenge every fibre of your body mentally and physically, it will change the way you see the world and it will change the way the world sees you. Get a good coach!
Who inspires you to be a strong woman?
Strength athletes don’t inspire me, strong women inspire me. I am inspired by every single woman who is real, who is not slinging bullshit, who is authentic and not trying to fit in a box to please other people. You inspire me!
Do you have a strong woman moment to share with us?
Taking full ownership of OTG in early 2014, having to manage and coach 150 members, working 18 hours a day and prepping for my first world championship without a business partner, life partner or powerlifting coach definitely goes down as the most empowering, life-changing and strong women moment in my life that changed the course of my life forever.
Your body is a vehicle to transport your brain and your brain deserves a ride of extraordinary performance – Lil Bianchi Kimble
Get your copy of our May/June 2018 issue for Lil’s practical guide to strength programming.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.