Dudley mother powers her way to World's Strongest Woman title fuelled by McDonald’s

A Black Country woman hopes she can inspire people after becoming the world's strongest woman over 40.

Maria has been English and British champion since taking up the sport competitively
Maria has been English and British champion since taking up the sport competitively

Maria Krzesinska was crowned world champion in the Masters Category (aged 40 and over) at the World Heavy Events Association World Championship, in Kuopio, Finland, on Saturday, December 18.

The 40-year-old from Dudley was put through a gruelling day of competition, flipping 200kg (30 stone) tyres, carrying sandbags, dead-lifting a 200kg quad bike, carrying a 60kg (nine stone) axle and hurling heavy objects over a distance of 3.5 metres.

She finished the competition 2.5 points clear of her compatriot Dolores McGuckin and was awarded a gold medal and a crate of smoothies as her prize, as well as the title of world champion, something she said was still very overwhelming.

"It's difficult to put into words how much this means to me as I was so overwhelmed when I found out I'd won the competition," said Maria.

"I was competing against people who I've faced at the European Championships and while it wasn't the heaviest competition, it was definitely the hardest fight I've had, being pushed all the way.

"So, when I knew I'd won, it was a mixture of jumping up and down and screaming with delight and trying not to cry and I know I sent a lot of excited messages to my coach, my partner and other people, so the adrenaline was pumping."

Maria Krzesinska has been training in power lifting for seven years

Becoming the Natural (drug tested) World's Strongest Woman was the culmination of a long journey for Maria, a journey which began for her seven years ago as she worked to overcome injuries from a car accident.

She said: "I started doing this with no intention of competing or anything like that, but just to overcome a knee injury I'd got from boxing and a car accident which nearly killed me.

"I started lifting to rebuild my knee and my leg and as I started to rebuild them, I started to rebuild myself and I just fell in love with lifting as it helped my self-confidence and my self-worth and my mental health.

Maria said she hopes she can inspire more people to take up the sport in the future

"It definitely helps build resilience and it gave me a focus because, as a woman, when you exercise, the focus is usually on what you look like.

"You're trying to lose weight or you want to look a certain way because society's told you that that's what you should do, whereas weight training makes it more about what you can do."

Maria trains several days a week, doing between one and three hours a session, to keep herself in shape, as well as running personal training sessions at the Empire DY9 gym in Halesowen.

Maria trains several days a week, fitting the rest of her schedule around her work outs

She also works shifts at McDonald's and is the mother of three children, so maintains a busy schedule, but said she kept the work and training balance well.

"I keep the balance by prioritising parts of the day for each bit, so I will work evening shifts for McDonald's over in Kidderminster," she explained.

"That means I can train in the morning when I'm fresh and get my sessions in, as well as find time to my personal trainer sessions, so it's all about making time for it.

She took up powerlifting as a way of rehabilitating her knee after injuries

"In terms of training, I get a programme from my trainer Rhianon Lovelace each week and follow what she tells me to do, whether preparing for a competition around powerlifting or strongman.

"There's so many different events in Strongman, so we do basic strength training to build a good base for all events, then specialise closer to the event when you know more about what is coming for the event."

Maria also said the free food she gets on her shifts at McDonald's does help with the protein side of her training, although it just complements her more balanced diet at home.

The 40-year-old was crowned world champion in the Masters Category at the World Heavy Events Association World Championship in Kuopio

She said: "I try and eat as much protein as I can and at work there's obviously plenty of food so I often have a Big Tasty with bacon, chicken breast strips, McFlurry and a milk shake.

"We get free meals on shift and I do eat the food at work, but there's a lot more that goes into it than just eating burgers as I try to cook when I'm at home and have a more balanced diet."

In the last year, Maria has competed in the Strongman games at Daytona Beach in Florida, coming 16th in the untested event, while she won the BNSF Britain's Strongest Woman competition and England's Strongest Woman.

She said the goals for 2022 were already set and ready for her to focus on.

She said: "What's next for me? To do it all again this year, as well as compete in this new competition which has been announced for this year.

"I want to go back to Florida and place higher in the untested event, which is for people either on drugs or natural, and also retain my natural world championship."

To find out more about Maria, go to instagram.com/mariaflump/?hl=en

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