The Resilient Evolution of Reeni Tharakan: Housewife turned Powerlifting Icon


SheSight is thrilled to have Reeni Tharakan join us to share her journey in this featured story. As we engage in a dialogue with Reeni, we’ll uncover the heartwarming details of her path, discussing the ups, downs, and sheer determination that helped her grab gold in national championships. We’re not just telling an individual’s story – we’re advancing our mission to make gender equality more than just a buzzword. Whether it’s the stories of well-known figures or those quietly making waves, SheSight is here to inspire, educate, and empower. We firmly believe that words have the power to ignite real change, and we’re committed to ensuring that no one gets left behind. Reeni’s tale not only challenges age-related assumptions but also shines a light on the crucial role of family support, dedication, and pursuing one’s passion.

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As our special guest, how do you feel sharing your awesome journey as a powerlifter with us on SheSight?

Reeni: Oh, it’s truly an honor! Being on SheSight gives me the chance to spill the beans about my journey – from being a housewife to diving headfirst into the world of powerlifting. It’s been a ride full of surprises and achievements, and I’m eager to share my story. If it resonates with and inspires other women, especially those around my age, well, that’s the cherry on top.

Let’s rewind a bit. Take us through your journey from being a housewife to becoming a powerlifter. What sparked this incredible transformation?

Reeni: My journey began 10 years ago, at the age of 53, I decided to step into the gym with a goal – shed some pounds and keep my health in check. Little did I know that this decision would lead me into the world of powerlifting. Despite being unfamiliar with the gym environment, I found it intriguing and gradually fell in love with the atmosphere.

I’ve always been physically active throughout my life, and that, coupled with the positive gym vibes, led me to explore new horizons. Joining the gym was driven by the excitement of trying something entirely new. Turns out, that one decision turned my life around and set the stage for my entry into powerlifting.

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Winning gold in powerlifting championships is a significant achievement. Can you share the emotions you felt when you realized you had clinched the championship?

Reeni: Winning a powerlifting championship is an indescribable feeling. Standing on that podium, hearing the national anthem play, and realizing that my sweat and tears had paid off – pure joy and pride. The Mongolian championship was a rollercoaster of emotions; I had to hold back tears of joy. The support and recognition, even from an actor, made the experience overwhelming and truly special.

Many might assume that powerlifting is for the young. How did you overcome age-related challenges and excel in the industry?

Reeni: Age? Never a hindrance for me. As I progressed in training, my trainers showed me national-level statistics, assuring me that I could compete effectively. The reactions I got, overwhelming yet positive, were affirmations of my success. Being called an “angel” or setting benchmarks for other women at the gym – it’s these moments that fueled my journey.

Balancing family responsibilities and intense training can be challenging. How did you find the balance, and what support did you receive from your family?

Reeni: Balancing family responsibilities and training is crucial, and I am fortunate to have unwavering support from my husband and two daughters. Their encouragement and attendance at my competitions play a vital role. Having a strong support system at home, including reliable help for household tasks, makes the journey smoother. It’s a collective effort that enables me to pursue my passion. I drive 60 km to and fro to get to the gym in Kochi. Also, I run a small business selling an assortment of pickles and condiments and also take orders for catering. So doing all these things simultaneously cannot be possible without the help of family members.

Any advice for women contemplating a new passion or major life change later in life?

Reeni: I would encourage every woman to embrace new passions and dreams, emphasizing the importance of support from family and finding a reliable mentor or trainer. Pursuing weight training, in particular, can contribute significantly to overall health and well-being. The key is to follow one’s passion with dedication and surround oneself with a positive support system.

How did your body react to the intense training, especially considering the stereotypes associated with powerlifting?

Reeni: Intense training brings about a unique sensation known as “sweet pain” at the gym, indicating the effort put into the workout. Even though my journey has been relatively smooth, minor injuries are par for the course in this sport. A balanced diet, including a ketogenic diet, plays a crucial role in maintaining weight and ensuring peak performance during competitions. After my 2021 nationals, I faced a sudden setback—a stroke. But Jagan, my amazing trainer, never gave up on me. In just a month, I was back on my feet. Nothing was going to keep me down!

Powerlifting often comes with stereotypes. What would you like to share to dispel any myths about this sport?

Reeni: Let’s tackle the most common one – powerlifting won’t make women bulky like men. That’s a myth. Hormones work differently in women, and without steroids, it’s impossible to develop a masculine physique. The sport is fair, with categories based on weight and age, ensuring a level playing field. Powerlifting is about individual progress, not hindered by misconceptions.

Reeni Tharakan's Fitness Story
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Lastly, what are your future goals and aspirations in powerlifting, and what do you hope to achieve in the coming years?

Reeni: I recently switched gyms, signaling my commitment to taking my powerlifting journey to a more professional level. Inspired by individuals in their 80s and 90s competing nationally, I plan to continue powerlifting for as long as possible. The sport’s fair competition structure and the ability to switch categories strategically make it an exciting and enduring journey. My goal? Inspire others and challenge age-related stereotypes in the world of powerlifting.

As we conclude, we’re sending her all the good vibes for more victories in the powerlifting arena. Her journey from a homemaker to a powerlifting champ is not just her win but a loud statement against age stereotypes Reeni’s story is your nudge to break free from expectations and dive into what sets your soul on fire, regardless of whatever and whoever the detractors may be.

So here’s to Reeni, and to all of you reading – whether it’s the weightlifting bench or any challenge you’ve been eyeing, go for it. Age is just a number, and passion knows no limits. Let Reeni’s journey be the spark you need to chase those fresh challenges with all you’ve got. Cheers to rewriting stories and embracing the power within!

-Staff Reporter

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