Exmouth powerlifter Gemma is targeting the very top of her sport

PUBLISHED: 11:01 22 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 22 May 2019

Gemma Marks doing the squat, an event in which she set a new unofficial world recdord. Picture GEMMA MARKS

Gemma Marks doing the squat, an event in which she set a new unofficial world recdord. Picture GEMMA MARKS


Gemma Marks is heading towards the very top of her sport and can already lay claim to being the holder of some British power lifting records.

Gemma Marks in action. Picture GEMMA MARKSGemma Marks in action. Picture GEMMA MARKS

Exmouth born and bred, the 36-year-old was in action at the recent BPU British Finals at Bodypower, held in Birmingham where she set eight new British records and also claimed an unofficial world record in the squat.

Gemma squat a superb 217.5kg which saw her top the previous British best for her class and was also the biggest female squat in the whole federation.

At Birmingham Gemma benched 112.5kg and did a deadlift best of 200kg for an overall championship total of 530kg which gave her the largest total of the day and another cross federation British record!

As a result of her extraordinary efforts at Birmingham Gemma is now number one strongest u90kg female Powerlifter in Britain, second highest female total in the BPU, and fifth highest female across all national powerlifting Federations.

Gemma Marks in action. Picture GEMMA MARKSGemma Marks in action. Picture GEMMA MARKS

So how did the security worker and qualified personal trainer get where she is today? She says: "I have loved being in a gym environment since the age of 18 which was when I ballooned in weight and decided to do something about it! I began running on a regular basis around eight years ago, often running upwards of 40 miles a week. I decided to embark on a career in fitness and undertook my PT qualifications and it was during this period of my life that I was first introduced to weight training.

"I soon discovered I was pretty good at it and built muscle fast. So, loving how my body was changing, I decided to become a serious body builder and compete and, over the following seven years enjoyed plenty of success.

"Last year I was preparing for another body building competition, but realised that, because of my work, I really could not commit the required early hours of cardio work and diet, but I was also very keen to set myself goals and targets and so I deciding to give powerlifting a go.

"I have always been extremely strong, even for a bodybuilder... and I did a few competitions last year that led to me getting even stronger and, in February of this year, I qualified to compete at the British Finals.

"Realising I needed some professional help if I wanted to become one of the best, I contacted the man that is now my coach and someone I will forever be thankful too (the first British man to hit 1,000kg in competition) Sam Parker.

"He piled 35kg on my squat competition personal best (PB) and has subsequently helped me become one of the strongest female squatters in the country."

So, how does Gemma train for competition?

She replies saying: "I train four days of each week and for three hours a time. They are long sessions, but a key factor rest - something that is really important for strength training.

"The work is primarily big heavy compound work, squat, deadlift, bench, rows, shoulder press, etc. Two sessions a week with the emphasis on legs and two a week with the emphasis on the chest, one chest and back and one chest and shoulders. In terms of my diet, lots of beef and carbohydrates."

It is a fact - and a remarkable one - that it has taken Gemma to become one of the strongest women in the country in less than 12 months!"

Next up we asked Gemma, who have been the main supporters of her journey to the top of her sport.

She says: There are truly so many who supported me along the way. I must mention Paul Collinson for firing up my passion for the sport and my coach, Sam Parker who is, quite frankly, worth his weight in gold to me!

"I get great support from Strength Shop, who sponsor my kit and, without any doubt, a huge influence and support is my partner - and biggest fan - Matt Hugill!"

We then asked what the future held for her and Gemma replied: "Short term the immediate goal is to win the WPC World Championship that is being held in Finland in November. I'd also love to get recognition for world squat achievements. Long term is the Olympia and become Britain's number one - I am currently ranked at number five - but I'm still learning and we are pushing even harder this summer."

Last, but certainly not least, Gemma says: "I am certainly focussed on the journey ahead. It is certainly an inspirational environment being at competitions.

"I have met lots of incredibly strong women in the sport and they all provide me with great inspiration. I really am very proud to be part of such a supportive sporting discipline family. "My aspirations in life now is to make a difference in female sports and inspire my daughter."

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