A fitness journey leads a 60-year-old Lafayette woman to begin a career in powerlifting


LAFAYETTE — “It feels great to get it done, you know.”

Donna Matte proved that age is nothing but a number.

When she started her fitness journey over two years ago, she never in a million years thought it would lead her to heavy weights and big pumps.

“Before I started this trip I thought I was old and that’s what it was going to be,” says Matte. “I’m going to get life insurance because I’m not going to live that long and all that stuff because I’ve been so unhealthy. After doing this, I just love this life. “

The 60-year-old weighed 267 pounds at the start of her journey. Now a lean 176 pounds, she decided to consider power lifting

“She told me she wanted to compete in a squat competition. So I searched and tried to find whatever I could,” says Matteo’s trainer Eli Justilian. “She wanted to do it around May, and I ended up only finding a full power lifting meet for her.”

Competing in her first meet in Baton Rouge was as easy as lifting the bar.

She battled a minor injury leading up to the competition, but won four events in the first round.

“Going into it, she had a little strain in her hip. So we had to address that before we actually lifted. So going into it we weren’t even worried about lifting the weight, we were just worried about lifting ourselves.”

“We went into it setting the weight to already break the records. So once the records were already broken, I continued to compete against myself.”

The real victory was creating a healthy lifestyle, but now that she’s in the best shape of her life, she hopes to inspire others that it’s never too late to try something new.

“I’m better than I was when I was younger and there are no limits. There’s nothing I can’t do.”

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