Loughborough PhD student delivers webinar about her research to Para Powerlifting

Luisa Vargas was invited as a guest speaker to deliver a webinar to the coaches, officials, and athletes of the World Para Powerlifting organisation.

I (Luisa Vargas) was invited to deliver a webinar by Dillon Richardson, the performance and development manager at World Para Powerlifting (WPPO), on my research on disordered eating in female powerlifters. I was extremely honoured to do so as this is a huge organisation that I never thought I would be able to reach through my work. Although the research which I presented on was conducted before beginning my PhD at Loughborough University, and I now focus more broadly on exploring athlete mental illness, I find presenting this work helps me develop more confidence in discussing and disseminating my research findings for specific audiences.

(Para) powerlifting is a relatively new unexplored sport with not much research conducted in it, so I really wanted to provide a valuable talk around the psychology of making weight in order to enhance the general understanding of it within the sport. During the webinar I discussed my results which focused on the interaction between ‘making weight’ and disordered eating, as well as how weight classes can influence body image perceptions in female athletes. I concluded with applied recommendations for coaches and athletes to consider when thinking about weight classes, which were based off literature and participant accounts from my study. Following the feedback and questions asked from the audience, I was amazed to hear how many people resonated with the participant accounts which I presented. Overall, it was such an enjoyable experience, and I was so glad that the organisation found it helpful and eye-opening.