GGS Spotlight: Maya Camille Winters

Name:   Maya Camille Winters

Age:  34

Location:  Lansdowne, PA (Philadelphia, PA area)

What does being a GGS mean to you?  A vast majority of women in the lifting community seem to agree with the understood mission of GGS and converge at the shared experience of lifting being one of their most pivotal life decisions.  GGS is a much-needed hub!

How long have you been training?  I played 13 years of rugby and transitioned to lifting 3 years ago.

Favorite Lift:  Farmer’s Carries – nosebleed heavy!


She's not kidding when she says, "nosebleed heavy."  WOWSERS!

She’s not kidding when she says, “nosebleed heavy.” WOWSERS!


Most memorable PR:  Breaking a 405lb deadlift  for the first time, at 148 bodyweight, was pretty memorable.  For quite some time I fought this barrier weighing at a bodyweight of 185.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist: 

“The Animal” – Disturbed

“The Boys” – Nicki Minaj

“A Welcome Burden” –  Disturbed

“I Get Crazy”  -Nicki Minaj

“Tambourine” –Eve

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:

Caffeine, my favorite red wrestling shoes, and my tunes

Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:

I’m into black women.”  –> Absolutely not lifting related, lol!

Favorite post workout meal:  Fish, greens, avocado, and oats!!!

Favorite way to treat yourself:   Friday night sushi & horror films with my love and the 4 cats.


Maya "EARNING" her favorite post-workout meal! =)

Maya “EARNING” her favorite post-workout meal! =)


Favorite quote: 

If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” –Harriet Tubman

This quote really is applicable to any situation where there is doubt, the urge to quit, or an impending stressor

Favorite book:

“Bridgeman’s Guide to Figure Drawing” - Dynamism of posture and coincidences in proportions are presented in this text.

What inspires and motivates you?  My nephew James – He stepped into the world at 2.5lbs and hasn’t stopped progressing since.  He is positivity and determination embodied.  Also, Gypsy, my oldest cat fuels me when I compete.  Before I approach a major lift or event I call on her for courage.  Literally, I yell, “GYPSY!


Maya and her inspiration, Gypsy.

Maya and her inspiration, Gypsy.


What does a typical day look like for you?

4:30 -6:30

- Feed the cats (Gypsy, Peeky Shrew, Tiffany, and Wormwood)

- Train early sometimes or lecture prep for work OR

- Work on my paintings in the studio downtown(Philadelphia)

8:30 –11:30

-Lecture /teach /lecture prep depending on day of the week

- Break

- I usually train, eat, grade assignments, or complete lecture prep during this time


- Office hours


- Get home, demand quiet, cook dinner for everyone, and eat in silence

8pm onward

-Lecture prep, watch a bit of tv or read to decompress, and I try to get into bed before 9:30

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?  I’ve always been captivated by the look of muscles.  Early anatomical studies/drawings  that I completed as a young girl were always stylized to emphasize musculature.  Actually walking around and having the aesthetics that I once created with graphite pencil and pen & ink is pretty cool.  I always say that chubby version of me, at 9 years old would be pretty damn impressed with who she is today.  The teasing was awful.  The teasing made it easy to endure many harsh confrontations- wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Next training goal:  I have my sights on victory at the Arnold in February/March.  Also, I’m eyeing up 500# Deadlift  (from afar)– it’s time!


Next year, the Arnold will be HERS!

Next year, the Arnold will be HERS!


If you had to choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be? Loyal, fervent, gregarious.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?  I’d first inquire about the reluctant individual’s source of apprehension.

If she is nervous because there is a concern regarding injury, I would just encourage her to acquire referrals for a very thorough trainer until proficiency is gained.  Also, if your objective is to lift heavy for functional strength and not compete, do that!  A 1,000lb squat may not be your goal.  There are all sorts of objectives for lifting.

As we all know, a lot of women are concerned with looking masculine, getting too big, and not appearing sexually attractive once they start lifting.

The desire to fit within a norm, in my opinion, is the most debilitating in this situation.  Throw away the desire to fit and you will be free.

Musculature is not masculine.  Every female, unless born with some sort of disfigurement, has quadriceps, biceps, lats, etc.  Musculature is natural.  Oppressive ideals have excluded and disassociated women from this really awesome way of looking as a result of lifting heavy.  Archaic marginalization should not keep you from pulling some heavy deads experiencing the magnificence of an artfully executed clean and jerk.

Also, if you lift heavy weights, you will start to defy gravity in so many ways – *wink wink*


  • nissenpa

    I absolutely LOVED reading this. How cool to have a lifter who can also draw beautiful, strong bodies. Such a fun read.

  • V Smith

    A girl gone STRONG!! Absolutely love the quote!

  • cpiton

    Awesome article. Loved all the quotes. And a 405+ deadlift? Just WOW.

  • Amastre

    Got to meet her at a powerlifting meet back in August and got to see her pull 405, so awe-inspiring.

  • elise a. miller

    wow, maya is my new hero. and she’s a philly girl!

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