A YOUNG powerlifter is on a mission to improve the fitness and physical health of people in Weston.

Phoebe Pothecary, 20, who has spent all her life in the town, says taking up the sport has helped improve her mental health and body image struggles.

She is now starting a business as a powerlifting coach and personal trainer in Weston.

She said: "I’m really passionate about helping other people overcome struggles with body image and mental health, as well as increasing the fitness and physical health of our town.

"The more I can share my story, the more people I can help."

Phoebe, a member of the University of Bristol Lifting Club, was competing in competitions within five months of starting powerlifting in May 2022.

"I fell in love with the sport straightaway and it’s brought so many opportunities," added Phoebe.

"I’ve since competed in three other regional competitions and the 2023 British University Championships.

"My biggest achievements so far are placing first in my weight class and second out of all the women at my last regional event, competing at national level less than a year into the sport and qualifying for the 2024 Junior British Championships taking place at the Gymshark Lifting Club in March.

"In the future I hope to continue competing at national standard, hopefully break some of the South West records eventually, and who knows, maybe I’ll compete internationally one day.

"I also hope to start teaching other people to lift and help them find their place in the gym like I did."

She is keen to shift the focus of exercise to how we feel, rather than how we look, believing that will create "a much bigger community of happier, healthier and more powerful people".

She added: "There is so much more to strength training than using it to change the way you look.

"It’s easy to become so focused on appearance nowadays that we can forget all the other reasons exercise is good for us. Size doesn’t always equal fitness or strength.

"For me, the gym made me stronger, fitter, happier and more confident in my own skin. I became proud of what my body is capable of.

"My mental health improved. I had a whole new group of people to socialise with. I smile a lot more."

Check out Phoebe's website at www.fitwithpheebs.co.uk