Everyone has their passion for something that puts them in a happy place. For Troy resident and Elsberry native, Kelli Millikan it is powerlifting.
Her recent success at the 2021 USPA Ironville Classic Powerlifting Championship didn’t come without hard work and hardships.
Millikan started about four years ago just doing some casual training and lifting, but it wasn’t long before she realized she was strong. Starting to take lifting more seriously she looked for some assistance from someone with not only the knowledge, but the experience to be better. Millikan made a connection with Emery Mullen from Daytona Beach, Florida who trains her remotely.
The most important thing Millikan had to learn came from Mullen, she explained, “Lifting is a marathon not a sprint.”
After Mullen writes her workout program she puts it to work with the help of her local training partner, AJ Hesser from Wentzville. The last two years she has included making sure she is using all the corrective movements necessary to be successful.
No one is more hardworking than Millikan. By day she is the Assistant Director of Nursing at the Elsberry Health Care Center and six nights a week you will find her training at CDY Fitness in Troy. Add in she is finishing up her R.N Degree through Moberly Community College. At this point in the program she has online classes and does clinical hours. This leaves her working five days a week, and doing clinicals the other two days. In her work out time she does four days of powerlifting and two days of mobility and cardio.
With Millikan’s schedule anyone would be a little stressed. Then add the hardships and she found herself overwhelmed. Early last year she lost her Dad to medical issues which weighed heavy on her mind. In December Millikan’s 38 year old brother passed away from medical complications, she was devastated. Not only had she lost a brother, but her friend and biggest supporter. She was done with her time in the gym and decided to concentrate on finishing her nursing program.
Ironic to her decision she ended up finding her inspiration in the gym. She went back to training to work through the grieving process.
At the championships in Waynesville, earlier this month Millikan set eight records, giving her a total of 10 records she currently holds. In all three lifts: squat, bench, and deadlift, she also set personal best records.
Millikan acknowledges that she wouldn’t be so successful if not for her support system. First, Liz Drew, owner of CDY Fitness, who has established a powerlifting section in the back of the gym. Second, several high school friends and family members that go to the competitions to support her. Finally, the learning of patience.
“I learned that in this sport it is not the “now”, but the future,” she said.
Powerlifting is here to stay for Millikan. She has three goals for herself in competing in the hobby she truly loves. First, lift 1200 pounds; second, qualify for the US Kerns Invitational with a qualifying dot score; and break 564 in deadlift.
It is clear that no matter what life throws at Millikan, she is in it for the long haul.