Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Victory over struggle is programmed into the DNA of every true athlete. Powerlifter Kayla Horne embodies this perfectly as she charges through her challenges with an eating disorder and anxiety to conquer her sport and inspire others in the process.
What inspires you?
I struggled with an eating disorder for many years and struggle with mental illness. Knowing that I can be a model of turning my pain into purpose and my trauma into triumph, inspires me to keep pushing, to keep getting up again for myself and those around me. I love pushing myself past limits I previously set upon myself. The body can withstand almost anything, it is the mind you have to convince.
I also have to say I draw inspiration from my former coach John Ballé. And all of the beautiful black lifting queens in my life and that I admire from afar. Some to name: Jennie, Jenn, Queen LaToneya, Kay, Chelsea, Storme, Kim Walford, etc.
What is the most significant challenge you face in achieving your goals?
The most significant challenge I face is struggling with eating disordered thoughts that can hinder my recovery and training process. I also struggle with letting my anxiety take over mentally while I am training.
Are there any suggestions you could make to other athletes who faced with the challenge of an eating disorder? What has helped you?
I think being an athlete with an eating disorder is not an uncommon thing. Food is a huge part of our success. I remind myself that food is fuel. You have to nourish yourself to flourish. As an athlete, I choose to fuel my body for optimal performance and recovery. Food is not the enemy, it is a medicine. I know that my lifts and mental health both suffer when I engage in eating disordered behavior. While meal timing, eating all of my meals, trying to meet my macronutrients, etc. have been triggering at times, I have also used all of those tasks to help strengthen me mentally.
" Endure some pain, figure out your why, and use your emotions to fuel the intensity" - Kayla Horne
What techniques do you use to manage your anxiety during a competition?
I listen to motivational videos of other bodybuilders, powerlifters, athletes, or just growth mindset individuals in general. Some of my favorites include: Makaveli motivation, Eric Thomas, Les Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Kai Greene. I also meditate, visualize completing the lifts successfully, and continuously remind myself of my "why".
How are you approaching staying fit and in shape during the Covid quarantine?
Initially, I used a lot of resistance bands, gallons of water, 5 gallon jugs, and took more interest in bodyweight exercises and calisthenics. I knew that when the gyms opened or I found a place to train again, I needed to be ready. I also made my nutrition much more of a priority. I used this time to also focus on mental fitness as well. Losing consistent access to the gym really took a toll on me. COVID quarantine allowed me to tap into my creative side and think outside of the box. Luckily, I eventually found some weights and was able to get a decent amount of training in. My advice would be, think divergently. If there is a will, there is a way.
What is a technical aspect of your sport you are focusing on or have previously improved?
I am focusing on really developing each individual body part in order to strengthen the three main lifts- squat, bench, and deadlift. I take more of a power building approach.
What is your approach to Recovery?
TI use the ion muscle soak, I drink BCAAs, make sure I hydrate, fuel my body properly, and stick to a sleep schedule. I also meditate before and after training.
Can you share a few word of advice for other athletes who are working hard to persevere?
The body can withstand almost anything, it is the mind you have to convince. Endure some pain, figure out your why, and use your emotions to fuel the intensity of your workout. Leave it all at the door, and lift those weights off of the floor! Training is your safe space to develop your mind and body connection. Value yourself and honor your body by moving and fueling it!