Rana started her journey in sports at the age of nine, having played basketball for almost nine years, four of which were professional.
It was during this time that she found out that she was suffering from Anorexia. “I was so skinny and I always looked at myself as a fat person and as a result of the very intense cardio, basketball players go through, I was even skinnier than a regular person. And I struggled on the court, I had to fight really hard on the court since I had very low muscle mass. I decided to take a break from basketball and do CrossFit or weightlifting just to gain some muscle back, and to help myself get healthier and fix my self-image. After three months, four months, and six months I started seeing amazing results. And that just drove me to love the sport even more. It really helped with my confidence and my self-esteem, and I thought, okay, this might be my sport. And ever since I never went back to basketball.”
One of the things she learned from this is that she prefers individual sports. “Another aspect that had me continue in the field I’m in right now, which is Olympic weightlifting, is that individual sports suit me better than team sports. Team sports put so much pressure on me since there are many variables to control. But in individual sports, you just count on yourself; if you win, you win. You lose, you lose. It’s not another team’s fault.”
Misconceptions about weightlifting:
1. Most people believe that if you start weightlifting, you get extremely masculine.
2. This sport is not for women, and it doesn’t suit a woman to lift so much weight.
“I put myself under so much pressure on a daily basis when I’m training just to get one percent better each day. Participating in a competition would only mean that you have to test yourself up to 100 percent because you never do that during training. It gets me excited because it lets me know what I’m capable of. Whenever there is a time after a competition, you just get this energy or fuel that keeps you going for the next few months, you know, until there’s another competition.”
What does a day in the life of a weightlifter look like?
”I’m a full-time student. I’m a junior, cybersecurity student studying for my Bachelor’s degree. So I go to school from eight to four. Then I’ll hit the gym straight after uni, and get my workout done. It takes me about, two and a half, sometimes three hours. I go back home, I eat, I get some of my studies done, and sometimes when I feel like my joints or muscles are tight, I’d give it like half an hour, an hour to get myself all fixed up and mobile, and prepare for the next day of training.”