CONCORD, NC – When you enter the Harrisburg Weightlifting Club, like most gyms, you will see people lifting weights, either to get in shape, train for a sport, or prepare for a lifting competition. However, in the HWC you’ll see something a little out of the ordinary.
Lara Mullis, 15, has a lot on her plate. She’s on the golf team at Central Cabarrus High School, plays several instruments, and is a reporter for the Carolina Kids News Network. She’s also a competitive weightlifter.
“I actually really started it to make my tumbling better,” said Mullis. “I'm a competitive cheerleader so it helped me in my tumbling, but I didn't know I would fall in love with weightlifting.”
She fell in love with the sports a year and a half ago and ever since then has been training at the Harrisburg Weightlifting Club a couple days a week.
This past March she learned she qualified for the Youth National Championships. Unfortunately, she had a prior commitment, a beauty pageant.
"It's completely out of the norm,” said her weightlifting coach Dan Rose. “I don't know any other fitness pageant girls that do weightlifting so it's really cool to see her being unique that way.”
Mullis has been competing in the pageant world since she was 4, and said she’s won more times than she can remember.
Balancing the elegance of the pageant world with the grit of the weight lifting world is something that’s surprisingly easy for Mullis.
"When I’m on the pageant stage and I’m like, man you know I just did a weightlifting competition last weekend and now I’m standing, and competing for pageant,” said Mullis. “It definitely changes your aspect of how you look at things and you think maybe you can't stereotype people.”
That’s the mission of Mullis and her teammates. To change the perception of how women are viewed no matter what they do.
"There’s a misunderstanding that girls aren’t strong, or this isn't a sport for girls, but girls are dominating this sport,” said Brooke Shorts, the first member of the HWC.
"It makes you stronger, it makes you more confident,” said Mullis. “It makes you, want to be you.
For more information on the Harrisburg Weightlifting Club, head to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HarrisburgWeightliftingClub