Photos courtesy of Aila Kilmer
Aila Freedon Kilmer just graduated from grade 8 at Riverside Public School with honours, where she was named Athlete of the Year. (She was class valedictorian, too.) She has also been training with Ashley Moore at The BarBelles to be a sub-junior powerlifter.
Her Grade 8 teacher, Kate Pellerin, describes Kilmer as a motivated student who doesn’t let anything get in her way. “When she sets a goal there is no stopping her.”
Kilmer began strength training and conditioning classes in January this year. “I then quickly found a love of powerlifting and had a goal to get on the powerlifting team [at The BarBelles]. Which I have achieved and am now on the powerlifting team. My favorite part so far is making new PRs [personal records],” she said.
Kilmer has shared her love of powerlifting with her class by teaching her newfound passion to her peers and teachers.
“She will totally make her powerlifting goals a reality,” said Pellerin. “It’s amazing to see our younger generation embracing the weight training world.”
Kilmer trains every Tuesday and Thursday with powerlifting, as well as in strength and conditioning and a fitness class once a week to help increase her lifting techniques.
By April, Kilmer was recording personal bests. Her highest one-rep max for bench is 90lbs, for squats is 165lbs, and for deadlifts is 225lbs.
“The hardest thing right now is not always getting to increase weight. Sometimes you have to work on technique instead of just trying to lift as much as you can,” said Kilmer.
She has had to overcome a past hip surgery, which prohibited her from performing squats, benches or deadlifts properly, and her best moment so far has been seeing how much she has improved from the beginning of her training.
“I started doing the flexibility class which helped me get better depth in my squat, a bigger arch in my bench and have more control in my deadlift,” she said.
“Aila is a very inspiring young lady,” said Moore.
Kilmer will be training over the summer to hopefully one day enter a competition. “I do not have a meet I am signed up for yet. Although, my coach thinks from where I am right now that the meet in October, I will be able to compete in it.”
Moore added that “Aila is kind, hardworking, and has natural leadership qualities. Aila is a pleasure to coach and I consider myself very lucky to have her on the team.”
Kilmer has a message for people her age: “Anytime I tell adults that I’m a powerlifter, they are always shocked at my age. We don’t see that many sub-junior powerlifters. If anyone my age has ever thought about becoming a powerlifter, don’t think you can’t because if you really want to do it or try it then push yourself to find a way to be able to do it.”
Kilmer is excited to do fitness in Grade 9 next year at Huntsville High School as she will know how to do most of the required fitness techniques in the weight room. And she is eager to learn so much more.
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