Sayeeda ChowdhuryProgram Manager

All people deserve access to fitness, sport, and strength training, so they can embrace their strength. Every individual on this planet is unique and therefore offers something beautiful to this world.

Sayeeda is a native New Yorker, a medical and public health student, an advocate for sexual and reproductive health, and powerlifter. Her goals are to help all human beings to embrace their strength. She loves fighting for her Bangladeshi Muslim American community and fighting against all forms of oppression that affect all people.

After losing my cousin to her battle with cancer, struggling in medical school, and dealing with the political climate of a new Trump administration, I was suffering from a lot of anxiety and depression and searching eagerly for a way to cope with it all. A  friend offered to teach me to powerlift after I admired her Instagram post of her lifting at our school’s weight room. From the time I put the barbell on my back to squat, I knew this was what I was meant to do.

Strength training has positively impacted my mental health immensely. Although initially I was just using it as a way to cope, it surpassed that original purpose, and helped me become a more confident, happier, and stronger person, mentally and physically. It taught me about the potential I had within me, and it translated into believing in my potential for all the other things I hoped to accomplish with my life.

From personal experience with Learn to Lift classes for Muslim women, access to fitness, sport, and strength training is breaking the mold of who and what is considered strong. Physical strength can translate into strength in so many other arenas and that makes it incredibly valuable to all people. Current barriers to fitness are cost, gender and racial disparities, lack of adaptive fitness, non-inclusive and unsafe spaces, and the list goes on. Any form of discrimination and bigotry that exists today, is present in the fitness industry, and therefore the fight for social justice needs to prevail in fitness as well.

Women’s Strength Coalition is a place to put values and ideals into practice. We believe in strength for all and we work to elevate and collaborate with the people doing the work to make it happen. We bring people together who believe that the world of strength training needs to change. It is not just a business or an organization, but part of a movement to make spaces inclusive for all people because every individual deserves health and wellness.

I love putting the mission of the WSC into action with classes created to help individuals learn to lift weights. We have classes  catered towards communities not well represented in the strength training community and help them learn with those that are from that community. I love this work because I know how important representation is to me. I had never heard of powerlifting or even considered weight lifting but a badass woman taught me and showed me it was possible. I would like to keep passing it on to others and making sure everyone has the chance at it in a safe, comfortable space.

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