North America's Strongest Woman Trains In Mt. Juliet
by Kim Gebbia
MT. JULIET, Tenn. - It's an underground sport that's gaining strength in the Nashville area, thanks to one Watertown women. Melissa Garrett has been named North America's strongest woman, a title she won after years of training in a Mt. Juliet gym.
But it's a title most people probably don't know about. At the office, Garrett looks like most girls with well manicured nails and high heels, but this 30-year-old has a much tougher side.
"In a non-mental disorder type of way, I have two separate personalities," said Garrett.
One that quickly crunches numbers, the other powerfully lifts them by the hundreds.
Melissa Garrett was recently named North America's Strongest Woman.
"Before I was 10, I knew I was stronger than most girls," said Garrett.
Now at 30, she's stronger than every girl in the country and Garrett recently took home the national title at the Strong Man Competition in Reno, Nevada.
"It was superb, it was my first time at nationals and only my third strong man. I guess you could say I was born for it," said Garrett.
"What she can do is extraordinary, she has an extraordinary gift," said her trainer, Wade Johnson.
That's clear when on an easy day at the gym Garrett benches 225 pounds and squats 400. But on competition day, she nearly doubles that.
"It seems when you pass one 100 pound milestone you set your goal on the next," she said.
She can squat 700 pounds and bench 535.
"When I got started if you told me I could squat 700 pounds, I would have called you a liar," said Garrett.
Achieving these goals meant embracing her 6'2', almost 350 pound frame, something she wrestled with for years.
"I think we buy into this stereotype in this country that I should be thin and so I have been able to grasp with that a little more with the success in the strength sport," said Garrett.
"I don't think she has reached her potential of how hard she can work," said Johnson.
Her trainer believes Garrett will soon set another world record, an 800 pound squat.
"I think in the back of his head he thinks I can lift 800 pounds," said Garrett.
Sometimes Garrett said the toughest muscle to train is her mind, but it's the only one that can set and achieve any goal in lifting or in life.
"I tell everybody they are twice as strong as they think they are," said Garrett.
Garrett is training for another strong man competition in The Beast of Bluegrass in Kentucky coming up in April.