Lisa Gervais received a phone call in late September 2015 which had her jumping up and down with excitement.  She found out that she made the Team Canada Power Lifting Team and would be competing at the RAW Powerlifting World Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the end of October.  Lisa was one of six women and four men representing Team Canada.  Lisa, a mother of two sons who are four and nine years old, entered her first power lifting competition in Medicine Hat just this past August.  When asked  how she decided to enter power lifting she shrugged her shoulders and said “my friend was putting on the Grind Competition and she knew how strong I was, so I decided to try it”.  In her first competition, Lisa set three Canadian records for squat, bench press and total weight.

Lisa said she had never picked up a barbell until about three years ago.   A new cross fit gym opened in Medicine Hat and Lisa decided to check it out.  She had done kickboxing in the past so she thought cross fit looked like fun.  After her first session she was hooked.  Since then she has competed in a couple cross fit competitions and placed first in a team event and sixth place in the individual women’s event.  After her success in August with her first powerlifting competition, Lisa was approached by Colin Dewolfe owner and coach from Back Alley Fitness.  He was so impressed with her performance that he offered to sponsor Lisa if she was willing to put the work in and apply to Worlds.  Since meeting Colin, Lisa has been training with him five days a week. She spends about an hour and a half working with weights and another hour stretching and rolling out her muscles.

Lisa’s goal wasn’t just to go and place well at worlds.  Her goal was to crush the world record for squat and bench press.  She did not disappoint.  The world record for women’s squat in her weight division was 149.5 kilograms and Lisa blew past that squatting 152.5 kilograms.  The world record for women’s bench press in her weight division was 97 kilograms and Lisa set a new world RAW record at 98 kilograms.  She also set a Canadian deadlift record lifting 183 kilograms.  She set a third world record for total weight lifted at 433.5 kilograms.  “When I compete I like to go for broke.  I put everything I have into competing”, said Gervais.

Lisa was very excited to represent Canada at the World Championships but what she was most proud of was representing strong women.  She hopes her story will motivate more women to lift weights, whether it is at home or at the gym.  Lisa is a current FAME member and we couldn’t be more proud of her.

Females in Action Moving and Empowering (FAME) is a community collaboration bringing people together to share, learn, build capacity, and develop a support network to enhance and develop opportunities and to advocate for women and girls in sport and physical activity in Medicine Hat and Southeastern Alberta.  For more information check out our website at

Written by Kimberlee Brooks, FAME member.