My name is Maria Htee, I'm 29 years old and originally from Mae Hong Son in northern Thailand.
I came to Canada in 2007.
During that time, I started training for bodybuilding shows as a bikini competitor, and in early 2010, I placed fourth at my first two shows. I had been told by judges they thought I'd be better suited to competing in Figure, as I had very good muscle development, especially in my legs.
In 2013, I decided to competed as a Figure competitor. I won my class and the overall Figure championship of Newfoundland & Labrador.
Two weeks after, I competed in my first powerlifting meet.
My coach, Nick Roberts, was a National record holder in both Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting at the time. He thought I was well suited to competing at a high level in powerlifting, and I won both my weight class and the best female lifter award for the meet.
"I was instantly hooked."
We began training solely for powerlifting, and I competed at the 2014 Canadian Powerlifting Union (CPU) Nationals in St. Catharines, Ontario. I placed second at the event and even broke the national record for the squat.
Every month I continued to train, I continued to get stronger and I quickly set a goal to win the CPU Nationals in 2015 in St. John's.
Unfortunately, once again it was a second place result even though I broke the national squat record by more than 25kg. Luckily enough, I was still selected to compete at the 2015 IPF Classic World's team in Salo, Finland, and managed to win a silver medal in squat, and bronze overall.
This was a big breakthrough competition for me, and gave me the confidence I could one day be a world champion and world record holder.
When people ask me why I enjoy training hard so much, my answer is I love the feeling of pushing myself to the limit, and seeing what my body and mind are capable of.
My advice for new lifters and everyday gym-goers is: "Find what motivates you to do something great and follow that dream."