From Strong Woman to Strongwoman

Lavinia Kava in action at her first Strongwoman competition. Photo: Anthony Rogers Photography

Albury athlete, Lavinia Kava, is known across the world for her determination and courage. If you scroll through her Instagram account you’ll witness a very brave, public  journey that saw her ‘get off the couch’, lose 27kg, set a world record and become an F45 ambassador.

Recently, Kava added Strongwoman to her compounding list of achievements, taking gold in the Australian Strongman Alliance Victorian Qualifier Women’s Open category – her first Strongwoman competition.

Lavinia claims first place in her debut Strongwoman event. Photo: Anthony Rogers Photography

The day’s events in Ballarat saw her complete the car deadlift (car + 45kg), monster dumbbell (37.5kg), hammer hold (13.25kg) and loading medley (39kg anvil, 70kg keg, 80kg atlas stone) with just 21 weeks of training under her belt.

National Strongman champion and Beechworth coach, Rahn Deuis couldn’t be more pleased with his newest athlete.

“As much as you can say she’s full of genetic potential I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone put as much effort into recovery protocols and nutrition as her,” Deuis said.

“She’s a natural athlete and despite being so young in strength training her numbers are pretty impressive. She’s deadlifting weights now that have taken other people years and years to get to.

“Considering she touched the implements probably two or three times prior, she killed it!”

Photo: Anthony Rogers Photography

Kava’s admitted this type of strength training has been a shock to the system, typically used to the HIT (high intensity training) that comes with F45.

“It’s very different to what I’m used to,” she said.

“The whole lifting weights, having to take longer rests, making sure technically it’s right so you don’t hurt yourself – but the biggest thing is the mental barrier to break through.”

Luckily, mental barriers are her specialty. When Kava moved to Albury with her partner four years ago she didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a gym routine, quickly finding herself in a rut of TV binging and weight gain.

Photo: Anthony Rogers Photography

Starting with a simple walk around the block, Kava chipped away at her fitness and diet, completing home workouts and, once she had the confidence, joined F45. From there, she lost 27kg and became an F45 ambassador, all under the watchful eye of social media.

Photo credit: Anthony Rogers Photography

“When I initially started my Instagram account it was all anonymous because I didn’t want anyone to know it was me,” she said.

“I would never show my face in any of the videos so initially everything was cut from the neck down. I was embarrassed because I was so unfit, but also I found a lot of people who were in the exact same shoes. Because I’d moved to Albury and didn’t have many friends and hadn’t found that social connection at the gym yet, I used Instagram to do that.

“It’s funny, I’ve done a full 360 now and I’m the one motivating the beginners. People think I’ve been training my whole life but I was just like them. I’m proof that if you don’t give up and be consistent you will get there.”

Continuing full steam ahead on her road of success (now with the taste of gold on her tongue), Kava has set her sights on competing in the Arnold Classic next year. Meanwhile, Kava’s coach has one hope for her.

“Just that she enjoys it,” Deuis said.

“If she has fun and wants to keep going there’s nothing to say she can’t be one of the better competitors in the country, or world, providing she’s enjoying it.”