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 Jill Mills             
                        An interview with the World's Strongest Woman
By Bill Morrison                      December 2002.

The strongest woman in the world, Jill Mills, proudly holds her award at the podium after winning the 2002 World's Strongest Woman Award.
                Visit Jill's Homepage at www.jillmills.com

 

Meet Jill Mills-- A mother, wife...and the Strongest Woman in the World! She has competed successfully in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and in the newer sport of Strong Woman Competitions. She has gone undefeated in all powerlifting and strength competitions she has entered. This is quite an accomplishment for a lady of only 30 years old, and I was fortunate enough to have her take time out of her busy schedule for this interview.

Jill's impressive list of accomplishments is a long one, and you can find out more information about Jill on her website at www.jillmills.com

Update: May 2003: Jill was just involved with shooting the movie "No Pain No Gain". Click here to read the press release.

(Bill Morrison): Jill, How long have you been working out, and what got you interested in lifting weights?

(Jill Mills): I have been consistently working out for 13 years, but even before then I was very fit from sports and hard work. I got interested in lifting weights because I would watch my Dad do exercises in the living room with his concrete filled plates and barbell.  I would wait for everyone to go to bed and I would pull the weights out and try to do the same exercises on my own. I was also running several miles a day from about the 5th grade and doing sit-ups every night.
Weightlifting was gratifying from the 1st time I picked up a weight. I was born with an intense competitive spirit and even then I was competing with myself.
 

(B.M.):  You have made transitions from bodybuilding to powerlifting to Strong Woman contests. Which sport have you enjoyed the most, and do you compete at more than one of them?

Jill Mills: The strongest woman in the World! Click here to check out Jill's website.(Jill Mills): Bodybuilding was just insanity. It wasn't as physically difficult as mentally, with all of the deprivation. I enjoyed powerlifting but not with the same intensity as I have enjoyed strongwoman contests. Powerlifting can be a bit one dimensional over time and I was never able to fully focus and commit myself. I despised the gear so I never learned to use it. I also hated not being able to put focus on cardio fitness. I love feeling powerful but not while sacrificing conditioning and speed.  I love the variety of training with strongwoman and all the places I've seen, wonderful opportunities and people I've met thanks to the sport. I enjoy the combination of powerlifting, weightlifting, and track and field with event training. This combo is imperative to becoming a top strongwoman competitor.

(BM): Which of those sports have you found the most demanding on your body for training, dieting and injuries?

(Jill): With powerlifting I had chronic brachial tendonitis. Strongwoman I have had many small injuries like scrapes/cuts, inflammation of different tendons and joints, and now 2 fractured vertebrae. With Strongwoman training, we put ourselves in some awkward positions and it can lead to bad injuries.

(BM): 2 Broken Vertebrae? Did it happen during competition or training?

(Jill): The doctors all seem amazed that I can't isolate the moment the fractures happened. When I'm lifting heavy it always hurts so I block the pain out and focus on getting the rep or set. If I had to guess though I would think it was in training. Probably when loading a heavy stone onto a tall platform and hyper extending my back. Also when I came home from Malaysia I started training for a meet and I think I just pushed it too heavy for too long.

(BM): That's quite a serious injury. Have you had to quit training, or adjusted your training to work around the injury?

(Jill): I have had to adjust my training. No squats (although light zerchers feel ok), deadlifts, powercleans, good mornings, or event training for probably 8 weeks. I go by feel on a lot of stuff and try to keep my core muscles as strong as I can with variations of my regular stuff. The doc would have to put me in a body cast and sedate me to keep me from working out.

(BM): I have noticed on your website that you have expressed interest in being instrumental in changing the stigma that women have to be frail and soft to be feminine. Can you elaborate on this?

(Jill): I have met many people over the years with the opinion that women must be soft and dependant in a physical and emotional sense. I have NEVER  understood that! What man, except maybe one with a severe insecurity problem, would want a woman who is helpless and dependant emotionally and physically on him.  I would imagine it to be annoying to be with someone who couldn't even carry a 30 lb bag of dog food in the house. And what woman would feel good about herself being that way??  It makes no sense to me!
It seems only natural to find a man or a woman who is physically fit and healthy to the more appealing person.

(BM): Do people treat you differently once they find out that you are officially the Strongest Woman in the World and have you achieved much fame with all your accomplishments?

(Jill): I do get a bit of recognition but nothing that I would call "fame". I get tons of emails from people from all of the world. The emails that touch me the most are the young girls who say I am their hero and they want to be world's strongest woman someday. It makes me feel like I am doing my part in changing their attitudes towards their abilities and their bodies in a positive way.

(BM):What does your daughter think of Mom being the World's Strongest Woman(WSW)? Does she want to follow in your footsteps?

(Jill):My daughter has always thought it was normal to have a mom like me until last summer when BBC sent a crew to follow us around for 3 days. When her friends found out she suddenly thought I was a celebrity and now she thinks it is cool. She used to tell me she didn't want me to compete but the other day she told me she didn't want me to quit.

(BM): That's great! It sounds to me like you are a positive role model for her and other women. Who has been your role model and the biggest influence for  you throughout your training and competition years?

(Jill): No question here.. my husband, Milo.

(BM): Do you think your injury will be healed in time for you to compete in the 2003 WSW competition?

(Jill): I am feeling much better already. I am very in-tune with my limitations. I don't trust anyone else out there to rehab me because I know what I feel. I think I have the ability to come back stronger, but the real question will be, will I want to compete at WSW '03?  I don't know.
My goals are mostly in powerlifting this year. I have not really ever trained with all of my devotion to powerlifting before. I have never gotten used to the lifting gear. I think for one meet this year I will train using it just to see what I can do. My goal is a 600 lb squat,350 bench, and 550 deadlift in the 165s. I really haven't set any goals for strongwoman for this year except to keep my unblemished record of wins clean.
 

(BM):What do you think most people that don't know you would be surprised to find out about the World's Strongest Woman?

(Jill):I had to get Milo's input on this question because I don't know what other people would say.. he said that most people would be shocked that I like to drink beer and have a good time. Most people are under the assumption that I eat really strict, like a bodybuilder. In all honestly, I eat less than 2000 calories a day (probably only about 120 gm of protein on average) and I can put away some Coors Light on a Saturday night, get up and train my butt off the next day. I went through the bodybuilding phase for several years but life is way too short to deprive myself of good food, good beer, and good fun.

(BM): Jill, thank you for the opportunity for this interview. I wish you the best of luck with successfully rehabilitating your back injury and defending your WSW title!

(Jill): Thanks a bunch! I'm just taking it a day at a time I can't wait to sit back on my cool couch and watch WSW 2002 on ESPN!

 

 

All pictures by Jim Walls, except the picture below that was taken by Monica Brant in Malaysia.

Jill Mills squatting in competition in Maylasia. Photo by Monica Brant.

Update: May 2003: Jill was just involved with shooting the movie "No Pain No Gain". Click here to read the press release.

For more information on Jill Mills visit her website at www.jillmills.com

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