By Krysta Kearney
"The pursuit to strength is a physical and mental journey that improves the quality of your life."
There are a select few people that are known as the world’s strongest. These real life superheroes can carry cars, even airplanes! What does it take to be one of the world’s strongest women? You could have guessed it, strength. Strength in it’s many forms is feared by most, it is what is needed to get through the hardest of times and also what gives us the courage to lift both ourselves up and others. To be truly strong, you have to continually and relentlessly work on both physical and mental stamina. It’s about facing yourself, testing your limits, and pushing through boundaries. Being the ultimate you.
Brittany Diamond is no stranger to this. Being one of the world’s strongest women isn’t an easy feat, you can’t be strong without accomplishing physical goals and facing mental obstacles. In the six years that Diamond has been competing professionally she has placed third, three times in the Strongest Woman In The World competition. Three times! Her instant success is a tribute to the blood sweat and tears it takes to be one of the world’s strongest and is a symbol of the journey it has taken her to get to where she is today. Triumph is not an easy conquest.
“Life will throw unexpected things your way that are completely out of your control. If you have a plan, you better be willing to accept that at one point or another you are going to have to deviate from that plan. It’s inevitable that things don’t always go as you had hoped or planned, and at times that may seem unclear, and even downright unfair, but that’s life. The battle of life, in most cases, is fought on an uphill path. If there were no difficulties, there would be no success. If struggles and setbacks didn’t interrupt your plan, then what would ever really be achieved?” - Brittany Diamond Website
As a young girl, she used physical exertion as an escape. While not having the greatest home life, she would cope with day-to-day tribulations by going on long runs, tuning out the world around her. For her, exercise has always been used as therapy and a means to express and challenge herself. She wasn’t much into socializing and preferred to be on her own, she wasn't very keen on team sports and excelled tremendously in solo sports. Having ADHD, she always needed something to do. Being active was just who she was; and who she still is. In coping with ADHD symptoms, her mother steered away from going the medication route and encouraged her to stay agile, to, 'exercise it out of her’. All these factors shaped Diamond to be the independent woman she is today, especially those lessons from her mother, which were taught by example. Having no family, her mother was all on her own in life, made her own way, and fended for herself and her kids.
“She raised me to be super independent to a fault almost (haha).”
Diamond knew she wanted to go to college and would be the first in her whole family to go. Coming from a blue-collar background, they couldn’t afford her way through school so she took it upon herself to get a sports scholarship. Then devastation happened, during her senior year she had a bad injury. Instead of letting it set her back, she figured out a way to still get a sports scholarship. She had a goal in mind and she had to go to college. In doing research she discovered that the sport of Rowing is the only Division I sport an athlete could walk on and get a scholarship. She had never once rowed in her life, but learned quickly, trained hard and got the funding.
“That was my first time really stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for something I wanted.”
Diamond took to it pretty quickly and although she was good at it, she didn’t really enjoy it, but she stuck with it. It's what she needed to get through college. The way she looked at it is that it’s compatible with a full-time job, it paid her way through school. What she found was her love for the weight room. The sport helped her discover something that she really loved, where her athletic true passions were.
During her junior year, she interned at a local gym and stumbled upon some literature talking about Boston having a Strongman competition that offered a novice division. This jump started her interest in competing. In 2014 she graduated, found a corporate job, and made the big move to Boston. Yes, it was a great career move but the main reason she went was because some of the best strongman gyms in the country are there. For a few years, while holding a variety of corporate jobs she focused hard on becoming one of the strongest people in the world. This hustle was real and she basically never slept. At one point, she was working nights in hospitals, travelling all around the US and training for the largest competition of her life, her first Strongest Woman In The World competition. It was all too much, she literally never stopped moving. She was over extending herself, working and training day and night. Everyone told her she was going to get burned out and she didn’t believe them, her determination drove her. She did maintain it (for an impressive amount of time) before she ultimately did get burnt out.
“I noticed that after I would reach a big goal it was like a big downward spiral where I felt always lost and sort of like I had no identity if I wasn’t pushing myself in every aspect.”
It wasn’t until she faced a couple of massive injuries where surgery forced her to be stationary that she was able to realize the extent of what the busy life she created was doing on to her physical and mental stamina. It was hard, once you’re on top of your game you have to withhold a certain status, how could she stop? She had become the third strongest woman in the world! In ways, the injury saved her, something worse could have happened if she kept living the lifestyle she was. During this time she learned how to meditate, be present and mindful. This time was very powerful for her, it pulled her out of a depressive mental state. Now she understands how to live in the moment and be happy with who she is and where she is. Instead of only thinking of the next goal, she manages her time consciously and maintains a healthier lifestyle.
“I still don’t think I have fully recovered, honestly.”
Her mom once told her that it’s lonely at the top. It took Diamond a while to understand this. Right at the start of her career, people were making accusations involving her instant success, sabotaging her. The more she won, the more suspicious people got and were quick to assume she was using steroids. Rumors spread rapidly amongst the tabloids and her support groups, well what she thought was her support. She did her best to not let these accusations get to her, but it was incredibly hard. Who she thought were her true friends turned against her and she was left feeling alone. This shifted as she began to find a supportive group of women in the industry that familiarized with her. To this day she still has this strong support group, if anything it's only grown. They always uplifting and supporting one another, true soul sisters! Even the people she trained with were making accusations, which made her make the decision to start training on her own. She always liked solo sports anyways, and figured it would be best. She had been spending all of this time helping others; uplifting them and for what? Just to get pushed down herself? That’s not what life is about. The same people she was helping were hurting her.
“I'm such a helper and a giver that I felt like I couldn’t concentrate on myself because I was always in that role.”
Mental health challenges greatly effect a large population of elite athletes, it's stigmatized in the sports world so a lot of people don't seek help, they just keep pushing. Diamond has struggled mentally at various times in her life but has always managed to lift herself out. As someone that is always striving to be the best and the strongest, she puts so many pressures on herself. It wasn’t until more recently that she even realized that she had mental health issues. Her coping mechanism has always been to push herself to the absolute limit. Literally, the absolute limit! Now that she has awareness, she is able to recognize when she gets to these places and makes conscious decisions to not go to where she has driven herself to in the past.
“I feel a lot healthier, can connect with people more and expand my brain in different ways. I still struggle, I don’t think those struggles really ever go away when you have that personality type or anxiety but I can accept that I don’t always have to have a plan and things can be a bit unknown.”
Most importantly, she has become more empathetic and compassionate. As a personal trainer, it was hard for her to relate sometimes with her students who wouldn’t give their all. She knows how to reason with people, making her a successful business woman. Being a personal trainer isn’t easy and sometimes you are training one's mental health even more than their physical. It’s one reason she shifted her focus to online training, so she can choose the caliber of clients she takes on. She learned the fine line of setting space and boundaries with students.
“My expertise is in strength training but my main goal with my online clients is getting women (well anyone really) but women naturally want to train with me, is just to show what strength can do for your quality in life.”
It wasn’t until recently that she made the transition in quitting her corporate job to focusing solely on her own business venture, Brittany Diamond Training. Just prior to the pandemic, she saved enough money and decided to take the risk to do things on her own terms. There are pros and cons to both. In her own experience, the corporate world was much easier and she made a lot more money. Working for herself in some ways is incredibly rewarding but it also never shuts off, she is constantly working. It’s hard for her to take time off and when she does, she feels guilty like she should be pushing harder.
Thankfully, like we said before, she has a lot of support from women in the industry. Having this group of strong independent women has been huge for her, as they can familiarize and help each other. The industry is hard. You need to maintain a certain physical appearance and be on top of your game every day, it can get lonely. That support system is everything. One of her goals in her training programs is to help other people find a similar support system.
“A sense of community is important but the hardest part is...you can go to the gym down the street and you might not find that. Or you can go to your family (if you have a family) and you might not have that. You have to not be afraid to seek it, and to accept it."
In her online training programs she offers a variety of workouts in length and price. Brittany Diamond Training offers everything from a twelve week strongman program to a four week at home one, where training with no equipment needed. In addition, she offers full workout custom online training including conditioning, cardio, nutritional support and more. Her programs are designed to be inclusive, accessible to everyone. Diamond even offers a 10% discount on all programs for active military, police, first responders, nurses and single parents. The main goal is to improve an overall quality of life with a focus on health and fitness.
“I’ll talk about this until the day I die, I think people focus on it for all the wrong reasons. They think I want to look this way or lift this much. When that doesn’t really have anything to do with it and if you’re in it for that reason you’re not gonna last long.”
In the past three years, Diamond has noticed a shift in the workout industry. Before, women were afraid they’re going to get ‘bulky’ or ‘manly’. She is not sure if mainstream media attributes to this but feels like that stigma has kind of gone out of the window. Ads in general have changed so much as far as gender representation and how people feel they need to look. The current generation has a new outlook than the generations of the past. There has been a visible change around the gym where people seem to be there to want to work out and learn the equipment for the long term, rather than being there for immediate results.
This is one reason she is so passionate about teaching people strength. All of her own confidence has stemmed from it. If she can do it, anyone can do it. She was a skinny petit girl at one point that lacked confidence. The stronger she becomes physically, the stronger she is mentally. People don’t realize how much strength can do for them. Her biggest message in business is to encourage everyone to have strength in all aspects.
“When something feels scary and you’re hesitant, it’s probably the right choice.”
Recently, she shifted her branding. She doesn’t only do coaching anymore but is also signing contracts for various other endeavors, events and modeling for ads. Diamond says introducing modeling to her business can at times be tough morally but she sees the powerful message she can bring to women too. She is very selective about who she signs contracts with and withholds her own standards.
“I always tell people in brands I work with, ‘Do not edit my pictures.’ You have to educate people that it’s not all real.”
She strives to be as authentic as possible online which is incredibly difficult. We all have witnessed and been a part of the mind games that advertising can play. So many people, brands and businesses aren't trustworthy. Social media creates a façade and advertising can be very fake and deceptive, creating unreal perceptions of reality. She aims to be as true to herself and her brand as possible while creating a strong and powerful message that is motivational, what a true strong(wo)man would do! Throughout the years Diamond has received a lot of shame for how she looks and perceives herself. Which is insane, media will break you apart no matter how you look. Not all Strong(wo)men present themselves as ‘womanly’ as Diamond does. It's important to her to express her femininity and always with respect, strength and eloquence. Even when training, she wears makeup and fashionable exercise clothes. Some days, she doesn’t want to get dressed up to go to the gym, it’s hard to be on all the time!
“The old me wouldn’t wear any makeup, just put my hair up, wear old men's clothes, now it's like I have to look “pretty,” which is good, it's good to show women that side but I don’t always want to do that.”
Being on demand can be taxing sometimes but it is important to her to maintain this persona. She wants to show women and girls that they can do whatever they want to do and look however they want to look while doing it. It's important to encourage girls to be strong and independent. Self expression is important and it needs to be fostered. She utilizes her platform to take leadership and empower others.
“It’s important to do whatever the hell you want.”
Diamond always speaks her mind and is true to herself. She is very well aware that her actions affect both the current and next generations to come. It wasn’t even until 2017 that women were even granted pro status in Strongman competitions. Men get paid a lot more than women in the industry and are also apt to getting more endorsements. For example, Diamond got third strongest woman in the world three times and she made less than $5,000. Whereas the men, for third place, get an astronomical amount of money in comparison. For instance, in 2019, the World's Ultimate Strongman winner received $75,000. Many men in the industry don't have to have another job, they can rely solely on competitions. Diamond notes that since she has started there has been a lot of advancement in gender equality in the sport. Dione Masters is the president of the Strongman Corporation and she has been making a lot of headway for women, advocating for equal representation.
“I don’t think that I’ve felt any adversities that anyone else hasn’t. People always think that they're special and the cold hard truth is you’re not special. Everyone goes through (excuse my language), but everyone has shit that they’re dealing with. I think that people dwell on it and complain and have that victim mentality, I just have no patience for it.”
These words speak the truth. Diamond’s persistent attitude has gotten her far in life. Everyone has issues, so there is no reason to fester in it. If you want to do something, do it! There is only one way to be successful and you can’t do it by not trying. She has many plans in store for the future and when asking her about what’s next, she got really excited but chose not to share. We can’t wait to see what she does next! We do know that she has plans to continue with Brittany Diamond Training and has been starting to dabble with other jobs, but within the same industry. Competition wise, she feels like she is starting to get on the other side of things but is going to be actively competing in some fashion. There are so many opportunities for her. Every time she starts thinking about going back to the corporate world, another opportunity presents itself. We know whatever she does, she will still continue to be a positive message for women and girls, a true example of if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it!
Q + A
Have you had many tribulations in the industry?
“In the industry as whole, there are a lot of big heads, and people feel like they can do whatever the hell they want because of that, and they can just look down upon people because of that and I’m like, ‘No, no. no…I don't care if you are the President of the United States, I don't care if you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger , I don’t care if you’re a janitor…we’re all equal.”
Any advice on taking a leap?
“Do not care what ANYONE thinks because EVERYONE is going to judge you. Especially if you’re doing good, people are gonna hate you and make false accusations about you and say you’re a certain type of way. So just listen…because at the end of the day the only person you have is yourself.”
Advice for women?
“Just go for it. Honestly, I think that's part of the problem, as women we doubt ourselves. Just go for it, do you, screw societal norms.”