As a professional communicator, Amy Weldon understands the proverbial power of the pen — how choosing just the right word or phrase can not only educate and inform but also change minds and hearts.
But Weldon is equally conversant with a different kind of power — one that comes from putting her body to the test lifting weights as heavy as 415 pounds. A communications specialist for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Institute for NanoBioTechnology, she is a strongwoman and an avid participant in that sport’s organized competitions.
“Feeling strong just helps me feel like myself. I love feeling connected to my body, and working out helps me keep that connection,” says Weldon, who spends two to four hours doing deadlifts, push presses, and squats four days a week at local gyms, racking up personal records and training for her next competition.
Weldon began incorporating weights into her workouts about six years ago and quickly became an enthusiast. She is now coached virtually by a professional who lives in Germany.
“I started with a powerlifting for beginner’s program I found on the internet,” she says. “I transitioned to strongman training in January of 2020 after being introduced to the sport by my powerlifting coach and making a lot of strong new friends while attending the Official Strongman Games [in North Carolina] in 2017.”
Since then, Weldon has taken part in competitions in Baltimore; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Scotland (where she earned her master’s degree in science communications); and Norway. She has garnered more than 7,500 followers on her Instagram profile, @charmcitychick, focusing largely on her strongwoman training, empowering women, and mental health.
In addition to relishing the sport’s physical challenges, Weldon cherishes both the community she has found and a new appreciation for her body.
“As women, we are often pitted against each other by society, so finding this group of strong women who outwardly and fiercely supported me and each other taught me to think better of my fellow women and myself,” she says.
“Strength sports are all about what your body can do. Lifting has changed my focus completely from how I look to what I can accomplish in the gym, and made me feel comfortable and proud of my own body.”