A mother, daughter duo — in their first, competitive event — set four national records Nov. 21 at the WPC Northern Powerlifting Classic in Prince George.
Haley Van Diest and her daughter, Sierra Van Diest, 13, began their fitness journey together during the summer of 2019.
Last month’s powerlifting competition was the icing on the cake, and the catalyst that both said will push them to continue training as a team.
Haley began training in June of 2019 at Re4rm Fitness and, after being intrigued by it, Sierra followed shortly after in July of 2019.
“It just happened organically,” Haley said, noting after attending a powerlifting event as spectators hosted by local strongman Tyson Delay in January of 2020, Haley and Sierra decided it was something they wanted to pursue.
“Sierra watched a couple of the guys and girls compete there and she said: ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Haley said.
In February of 2020 Haley started exercising at Concrete Fitness due to the facility being more suited for powerlifting training. Sierra carried on at Re4rm Fitness. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., Haley would drop her daughter off to train, then go do her own.
Recently, Delay mentioned there was a meet coming up in November in Prince George, and suggested Sierra should compete.
“She was set on it,” Haley said. “I wasn’t certain.”
But due to the COVID-19 protocols in place barring spectators, the only way Haley could be there to support her daughter was to register as a competitor, herself.
“We both started training with Tyson at his gym specifically for powerlifting this past summer, and when we found out there were no spectators just [two weekends ago] the only way I could go was to be a competitor,” Haley said. “I had no choice. If she was going to do it, I was going to do it, so I signed up.”
The Northern Powerlifting Classic proved more successful for the duo than they could have ever dreamed.
Sierra pulled a 203.5-pound deadlift for a national record in the T1 13-15 age group, while Haley also recorded a 303-pound deadlift for a national record in the sub masters 33-39 class.
“I registered three, but I’m just claiming the one,” Haley said.
“It was just an incredible experience. Sierra is just phenomenal. It was like an empty bar, and she’s hungry for more.”
Sierra, meanwhile, said she enjoys how powerlifting has let her carve her own path — something she said she wasn’t able to find in other, common sports.
“Competing in my first competition was a mix of emotions,” Sierra said. “I was all over the place when we got to the venue: happy, nervous, anxious.”
She said being able to compete with her mom was like having her best friend there with her.
“We’ve been through so much together but this, I feel, has brought us so much closer. We were each other’s biggest supporters in the spur of the moment.”
Both thanked their trainers — Kim Colgate at Re4rm Fitness and Tyson Delay — for their immense support.
“Kim was the one who got me started on this path and got me into this sport,” Sierra said. “[Thanks to her] for being supportive, for giving me tough love when I needed it and for always being there.
“My coach, Tyson, who opened his services to me, to coach me and guide me the rest of the way.”
She said Delay opened up new mindsets, and new methods of training.
“Most of all, for never giving up on me,” Sierra said. “And his wonderful prompts when we were lifting. They made me laugh, as cheesy as they are. They were amazing.”
Haley said moving forward, she can’t imagine competing without her daughter.
“We’re a team now,” Haley said.
Haley and Sierra said they are now gearing up for another meeting coming up in the spring of 2020 in Prince George.