Over the years, strength sports like powerlifting which stems from weightlifting have seen an uptick in participation by women. What is powerlifting? It is where the heaviest weight is used in three different categories: squat, benchpress and deadlift. Fitness experts say the benefits of lifting weights whether in workout or sport for women can be exponential. What has kept women back from participating, are the myths that weightlifting is only for men, access and approachability in a mostly male dominated sport for women and myths about women ‘bulking up like men’ which is not true, in fact, lifting can boost your metabolism and create fat burning muscle and tone in legs, buttocks and arms. For a Latina weightlifter and/or powerlifter, being able to lift your weight by 2x or 3x is a confidence builder and empowering for all to see.
Many Latinos have trail blazed and shaped USA weightlifting into the sport it is today. Sara Robles being one, who competed in various competitions including the 2012 Summer London Olympics and the 2016 Summer Rio Olympic games of which she earned a Bronze medal making her the first athlete from the United States to win a medal in Olympic weightlifting since the 2000 Summer Olympics. Despite her accomplishments, Robles spoke out on double standards in sponsorship dollars for female athletes with larger body types that don’t fit the ‘commercial model’ especially in mass media.
It is Olympic season and we, at BoldLatina are inspired by Latina athletes, we caught up with Cinthia Martinez, founder of Latina Lifters. Born and raised in Culiacan, Sinaloa, she immigrated to Las Vegas at the age of 14 not knowing any English. Growing up Cinthia held different jobs from cleaning houses to social media marketing. After losing her job unexpectedly she decided she wanted to work for herself and became a fitness entrepreneur, creating the Latina Lifters brand and community.
Building a business comes with challenges, but Cinthia knew she had to make it work as there is no turning back. Combining her love for fitness and culture has been a dream come true for her! Read on to learn about Cinthia’s journey so far.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START LATINA LIFTERS? WHO HAS INSPIRED/SUPPORTED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
Cinthia: After being in the fitness community for years, realizing the lack of representation for Latina women, I felt it was time to make something for us, complaining about it wasn’t going to change anything, we had to create it! I have an amazing support system, my fiance helps me with our designs, my son asks about the business daily, its cute & very inspiring. I have an amazing support system, a whole clica by my side, helping with decision making, future releases, photoshoots, etc.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT MESSAGE DOES LATINA LIFTERS WISH TO SEND TO THE LATINX COMMUNITY? WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
Cinthia: We are here, we are fuerte & we are proud! We have a beautiful culture, and we should be proud to show the world. We are resilient and that’s what makes us so special, being fuerte is not just about lifting weights but how we face challenges, racism, and daily struggles! My goal is to continue to grow this community, to educate others about the benefits of healthier habits, break the stigmas about women lifting weights, size inclusivity & self love.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT TIPS CAN YOU PROVIDE OUR AUDIENCE IF THEY WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Cinthia: Brace! It’s not an easy path but it’s worth it! Do your homework, research & don’t be shy to ask questions, it’s ok not to know everything, there is always people willing to help!
BOLDLATINA: HOW DO YOU SELF-CARE? DO YOU HAVE ANY HEALTH/FITNESS TIPS FOR OUR AUDIENCE?
Cinthia: I disconnect , or try to disconnect from social media everyday during my workouts, I make that time all about me, I enjoy the company of my friends and my gym family. I recommend you find what works for you, try different gyms, classes ,etc. If you find yourself feeling self conscious , remember it’s your journey, and everyone was a beginner at one point.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LATINX COMMUNITY IN REGARDS TO HEALTH AND FITNESS? WHAT GROWTH DO YOU SEE AND WHAT CHANGE NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE?
Cinthia: I think sadly our community still has a long way to go when it comes to fitness, being “healthy” seems like a chore for most people and it isn’t until something is wrong that people realize the importance of healthy habits and daily exercise. I believe we desperately need more access to health and fitness at a younger age, “start them young” will create the needed habits that will make a huge difference as an adult.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT ARE YOU PERSONALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH THE BRAND YOU ARE BUILDING?
Cinthia: More stories, my fav part of this journey is to hear what fitness has done for others. Listening to women , the challenges they faced, and how they were able to overcome them is the best feeling in the world.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE OUR LATINA/X COMMUNITY CHALLENGES ARE RIGHT NOW?
Cinthia: Barriers for quality health insurance.Lack of health insurance, high out of pocket cost, fear of deportation are some of the reasons why our community struggles to seek preventive care, later resulting in life threatening illnesses. Health care is a human right and it should be accessible to everyone regardless of their immigration or economic status.
BOLDLATINA: IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE IT BETTER FOR WOMEN, ESPECIALLY WOMEN OF COLOR/LATINA/X/BLACK WOMEN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Cinthia: Equal pay!!! Latinas earn $.53 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Black women earn $.61 cents, native american women earn $.58 cents… these wage gaps have barely moved in 30 years, it’s time to do something about it.
BOLDLATINA: WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, MAKES SOMEONE A BOLDLATINA?
Cinthia: A fearless woman, ready to take over the world, despite the challenges she will face, nothing can stop her.
BOLDLATINA: ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER BOLDLATINAS OUT THERE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
Cinthia: Show them what you got! Don’t be afraid to take risks, hard work pays off!
About the writer:
Liliana Lopez is a BoldLatina Fellow ’21 running BoldLatina’s social media content curation and creation. In addition, Lily drives our BoldLatina Spotlight Series which shares the stories of Bold Latinas making bold moves in career and entrepreneurship. In Lily’s words – “I hope to empower and uplift all BoldLatinas that deserve to be heard and recognized!”