Cass uses power of her mind
EMERALD'S Cass Pickard is used to pushing her body to its limits as a world champion powerlifter, but the thought of challenging her mind was far more daunting.
And that's why she believes completing a Certificate III in Fitness through CQUniversity in October will be her "proudest moment”.
"I had tried to do a Certificate III through another organisation online previously, but I never completed it,” Cass said.
"I left school at 14 and went straight into the workforce. The thought of studying again was scary and something I put off for ages. I have always told myself I have a bad memory, I can't do that. It was my excuse and my way of not getting out of my comfort zone.”
Cass's journey to the world stage in powerlifting began when she joined a gym for the first time after having her two children in 2012 - mainly to lose weight and work on her lost self-esteem.
Twelve months later, at 38 years of age, she started powerlifting after only learning how to do a deadlift and squat eight weeks prior.
She qualified and represented Australia later that year in her first international competition. During the past six years, she has won on the national, Oceania and Commonwealth stages.
Cass won her first world championship in Belarus in 2017, which she backed up with a second world championship in Canada last year. Her current numbers, at 63kg, are squat 150kg, bench 75kg and deadlift 200kg.
The mum to Tyson, 9, and Dilyn, 8, trains in Emerald on her own, under the guidance of her online coach Joe Matthews, who is based in Canberra. She also is a casual truck driver at a coal mine and does motivational speaking.
She decided to study a Certificate III in Fitness because she wanted to learn more about her body and how different exercises affect her muscles.
"For the past six years, I have paid my coach to program for me. I know if he has programmed it and I do the work, then I'll get stronger,” she said.
"It's been really good to begin to understand the ins and outs of programming and how my muscles work.
"My decision to study through CQUniversity was made because there is a campus here in Emerald.
"Even enrolling was a big thing for me. I was always looking for outs. I came into the Emerald Campus and spoke with student success advisor Carin Van Rooyen and she was so supportive and encouraging. In fact, if it wasn't for her and her initial help and encouragement, I probably would have chickened out.
"CQUniversity also appealed to me because if I needed to defer or move within Australia, I could pick up where I left off very easily. Finishing the Certificate III in October will be my biggest rush because it's something I never thought I could achieve.”