Being a mum is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs. I love spending time with my family and wouldn’t want to compromise on this at all. However, I also believe it is essential that every parent makes sure they find time for their own hobbies, to provide an opportunity to have some quality ‘me time’. I cherish that time of day, where I work on improving myself before the working day starts.

Ania Czerminska

Ania Czerminska

The main reason why I decided to start powerlifting was for my daughter, Maya. Maya was diagnosed with a neuro-muscular condition, which means she must use an electric wheelchair and be lifted from her chair by myself and my husband Marcin. When Maya was younger this wasn’t too much of a problem for me, as she was much smaller and lighter. But Maya is now nine and getting bigger every day, and having to pick her up and carry her was taking its toll on my back.

I realised I would have to be stronger to look after her for the rest of her life and my regular routine at the gym would not be enough to increase my strength by myself. I found a local gym which offered powerlifting classes and signed myself up. It was quite daunting at first, getting to terms with all of the equipment and techniques, but the motivation to get strong for Maya helped me persevere. I never expected to love it as much as I do.

Not only did the strength help me to look after Maya, but it gave me the courage to try a brand new career in firefighting. My powerlifting training helps with the physical elements of the job, and the everyday rewards of helping out members of our community feels amazing.

I don’t think what I do is particularly extraordinary, I am just trying to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help my family and community. Which is why I was so surprised when earlier this summer my husband told me he had secretly entered me into a competition by ŠKODA for the UK’s Toughest Mother. I had no idea until I was told I was one of three shortlisted mothers!

Being a part of the competition introduced me to some remarkable women, who show it is possible to be a great mother as well as excelling in your hobbies. The women I was against in the final both had truly inspiring stories, with Shirin taking her love of rock climbing from Iran to the UK, and Anita being a champion in BMX cycling. I was so thrilled to have won the competition and will cherish the title, especially on those days where I don’t feel as motivated!

The true measure of success for me is if my story inspires just one woman to go out and find a hobby you love regardless of whether it is a traditionally male dominated sport or not. Go out there and make it your own.

Read Ania’s story at

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