Cynthia Leu has made it a mission to equip women with the tools they need to break into spaces that were once exclusive to men. From powerlifting to military service, Cynthia has become an ambassador for women on the fringes, as well as anyone else who is struggling with their mental health.
“I talk a lot about how I want to empower women in strength-related sports and how picking up a barbell can be great for your physical and mental health,” Cynthia says.
Like most people, Cynthia was not born a powerlifter. In fact, she initially chased conventional expectations of women. Cynthia grew up with a mother who was a fashion designer and model. She was taught that to be the best possible person, it required being skinny and thin. For Cynthia, this lifestyle did not result in the healthiest of outcomes. She is candid about her battles with bulimia and other eating disorders. She openly talks about the overwhelming feeling of being weak – both physically and mentally.
I want to empower women in strength-related sports. Picking up a barbell can be great for your physical and mental health.”
“I felt weak for a really long time. But it wasn’t in a physical sense. I felt weak physically and emotionally. I couldn’t feel strong,” she explains.
Cynthia originally started going to the gym because she wanted to lose weight. But she later realized that weight loss didn’t have to be the gym’s sole purpose. Eventually, she was introduced to powerlifting, and it didn’t become just a trivial hobby.
“A lot of people ask me why I lift. Powerlifting saved my life. It makes me feel strong, and I have so much more confidence than I did prior to lifting,” Cynthia clarifies.
Once she started lifting, Cynthia noticed that the feeling of her stomach being full was no longer associated with negative thoughts. Fullness meant she was going to have the strength needed for her next gym session.
“What happened when I started lifting and becoming stronger and stronger – the added weight I put on the bar – it was a confidence boost,” she adds
Powerlifting completely changed Cynthia’s relationship with food. She’s now convinced that fitness and exercise can offer all women mental health improvements. Watch her talk about the subject in the video below and learn more about her at this Cynthia Leu Profile.