We are amazed by the strength Danielle Hudes exudes—both mentally and physically. She is a weightlifter on a mission to push herself to be the best she can be, and then keep going. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her to discuss weightlifting, her goals for the future, and her advice to all of the other Tomboys out there.
How many years have you been weightlifting?
I have been weightlifting for about 4 years now. My first national competition was in 2014.
How did you get started in weightlifting? Who encouraged you to pursue it?
I first found weightlifting through trying out CrossFit. I realized I really liked doing the lifts and weightlifting seemed more like a 'real' sport, one I could begin to train for and have a measurable result. I was right, and I just really fell in love with it.
I would say I mostly encouraged myself to pursue it. I kind of just go for things I want to do sometimes, at all costs. My family definitely was excited about it and thought it was really interesting, and of course now they are very supportive.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your career?
I think the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome in my weightlifting career is periods of time that I wasn't improving when I feel I should have been. I feel that time is very precious in this sport and it is really disappointing to not blow my old performances out of the water after putting in so, so much work and time. I went through a tough period in life outside of training this last year and it became very difficult to have the same energy and focus every day that I not only needed, but was used to having. It has been very important for me to bring everything I could into each training session and kind of make it happen when I needed to.
What keeps you going?
I truly believe what keeps me going in all things, life and weightlifting, is just loving it. I know this about myself; I HAVE to enjoy the things I am doing. Even when training is hard and I feel crappy and tired and I'm hurting, I just love weightlifting so much and want it so bad that all of the other stuff doesn't matter. In life, I have this idea that there is just so much good to experience that I just try and try no matter what is going on. I always have this really hopeful kind of belief that there is something beautiful and positive around the corner. I have had enough experiences that I saw through to the end to prove that to me. In a lot of ways weightlifting and life feel similar. Nothing is linear and there are a lot of tough, grindy moments, and if you can see those things as opportunities to learn and grow, there's usually something way better on the other side. It all just takes a lot of work.
What’s your favorite memory from weightlifting?
My favorite memory from weightlifting has got to be meeting my girlfriend at the 2015 National Championships in Dallas, Texas! She had competed earlier in the day that I arrived at the meet. We were both helping out other teammates in the warm up room of the competition. We had a mutual friend that introduced us to each other and it's been pretty automatic from there. It is a really wonderful memory and it has shaped the way my life looks today!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received heading into a big competition? What’s the best advice you have to give to all of the other tomboys out there?
I don't know if I heard this directly from someone as advice or if I came to it through my own experiences, but the best approach I have ever had going into a big meet is to make it happen no matter what. I have had some pretty frustrating meets where I was fearful and tried to not miss a lift rather than going for it and making it happen. So I guess my advice for other tomboys is to own whatever it is you are doing, put aside fear, know yourself and your abilities, TRUST yourself and your abilities, and go after it. Make it happen!
What’s next for you?
I have a national meet coming up in Anaheim in early December. Beyond that, I'm planning on taking weightlifting as far as I possibly can. Hopefully that means making international teams and lifting heavier and heavier weights. I don't know where the ceiling is but I am planning on blasting through it and enjoying the process the whole way.
What goal are you working toward with grit and determination? Let us know in the comments.