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From Eating Disorders to Powerlifting Glory: Helen Redhead’s Inspiring Journey

Natasha Spencer
Published by Natasha Spencer | Social Media Manager
Last updated: September 20, 2023

Helen Redhead, the reigning British Champion in powerlifting, is set to represent the UK at the WPC World Powerlifting Championship this November. Her journey to the international stage is a tale of triumph over adversity, having battled severe eating disorders for over three decades.

Helen Redhead lifting weights
Courtesy of

In the UK, the number of individuals grappling with eating disorders is alarmingly high.

Some estimates suggest that between 1.25 and 3.4 million people are affected. The NHS reports treating more young people than ever before.

Redhead’s life took a turn for the better when she discovered weight training and powerlifting.

This passion not only improved her health but also sparked her dream of representing her country on the global stage.

Her journey was bolstered by her partnership with seasoned coach and British Champion Jason Swalwell. Swalwell, who had his battle with alcoholism, understood Redhead’s struggles.

After nine months of remote coaching, Redhead relocated to Kent to train full-time at Swalwell’s gym.

Redhead’s victory at the British Championships in July was a testament to her determination and hard work.

Now, she’s gearing up for the World Powerlifting Championship in Manchester.

Reflecting on her journey, Redhead said, “I’m truly honoured to be representing the UK in the WPC World Powerlifting Championships.

“Powerlifting and weight training saved my life, but it is the support and coaching from Jason that has got me to where I am today. I hope my story can inspire individuals battling with eating disorders.”

Swalwell added, “Helen’s transformation is a truly inspirational story and watching her go from strength to strength has been a genuine privilege.

“After several months of coaching her virtually, she made the move to Kent to focus on one-to-one training at my gym, and since then, she has become part of my family.

“After the journey she has had to get here, Helen should be incredibly proud to be representing the UK at the World Championships. Her transformation is an inspiration to everyone, not just those struggling with eating disorders, and I wish her all the best for Manchester, where I know she’ll smash it!”

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