My name is Arthi Nithi and I am the person behind this page! I began lifting in 2014 and started competitively powerlifting in 2016. Since then I've competed in multiple national-level competitions and represented the USA on the Jr. National team at the 2019 International Powerlifting Federation’s (IPF) Classic World Powerlifting Championships. I won 2nd overall and a gold medal in the squat category, breaking the Junior 63 kg (138 lbs) squat world record. You can learn more about my experiences and follow my lifting journey on Instagram (@arthinithi). Now enough about me—let's talk about why I started this page.
Going back to when I first started powerlifting at 18–I was definitely an odd one out. Here I was an Indian woman picking up heavy weights. I had no one on social media I could look up to, no one in my gym who looked like me, and parents who had never even heard of powerlifting. It was a struggle to figure out how I fit into my community and the fitness world. South Asian communities tell us, especially women, not to have big muscles. We are told not to lift so heavy and are questioned why we spend so much time in the gym.
Now going back 4 years to the summer of 2019. I had just competed at an international powerlifting competition. Surprisingly there were 2 other South Asian women who competed in the same session (@vrindasubhash, @karenjeet_bains). I have competed in 5 national-level competitions in the US and have never had that happen. It was an awesome feeling to know that there were 3 of us (and all women) representing the US and UK. Unfortunately, there weren’t many other South Asian lifters aside from us. I remember leaving having all these ideas of what if there was a community for us, and if that would help increase awareness and diversity in strength sports.
Fast forward to the present day. There are more South Asians in fitness and wellness. But there still is a lack of representation and knowledge that creates this cycle that keeps South Asians from lifting weights. If the few of us who do lift come together we can break that cycle.
I know there are many powerlifters like me in the South Asian Strength community but the intent goes beyond that. I want this to be an inclusive environment for all strength sports and levels of experience lifting. The idea is to show other South Asians if we can do it, they can too.