Ellen Bittner is a retired elementary school teacher, a teacher mentor… and a competitive powerlifter.
Ellen grew up in a pre-Title IX era, when girls were expected to be quiet and sedate. Opportunities in sports and athletics were extremely limited. As an adult, Ellen continued to be physically inactive and sedentary. Teaching responsibilities, volunteer work, leadership positions, and committee work consumed much of her time and resulted in countless hours of sitting at meetings. As a result of her sedentary and physically inactive lifestyle, Ellen was grossly overweight and struggled with routine physical demands such as getting out of a car and walking upstairs.
Shortly after her retirement, Ellen was asked to participate in a longevity study being conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine …as part of the control group. The deaths of both of her parents in their 70s due to heart related conditions, suggested that Ellen might also be at high risk for a pre-mature death. The intake screening for the study confirmed that prognosis.
Ellen decided that she needed to take control of her health and her life. Since group exercise classes had proven challenging and embarrassing for her, she looked for a personal trainer who would be able to help her. Weight loss was slow and tedious, but Ellen began to feel stronger and more flexible after just a few months of training. Several years later, Ellen lost more than 50 pounds and had gained muscle and confidence.
Two years ago, when she was looking for a new challenge, her trainer suggested she look into doing powerlifting competitions. Ellen entered her first competition in July of 2010, and took home a gold medal! She has gone on to set state and national records and was a member of the United States team at the 2012 World Masters Bench Press Championships. You’re never too old to try something new!