Powerlifting changed my life, and it might change yours too.


Powerlifting changed the trajectory of my whole life, it changed my career, it changed how I looked and how I felt, but most importantly it got me out of 6 years of chronic pain.

The Beginning of My Journey

I had been struggling with lower back pain for around 6 months until I finally decided to go get checked. After doing an X-ray they saw I had a small degree of scoliosis, but that didn’t explain the severity of pain I was in. Could barely walk or sit for more than 5 minutes. Lying down was so painful, I had to use heat pads and towels under my back to feel slightly better. An MRI then showed I had a disc bulge in L4-L5.

Diagnosis and Disappointment

This was enough for the doctors to tell me I would be in pain for the rest of my life, I would struggle if I ever wanted to get kids, and that this was my life from now on. Warned me to carry anything relatively heavy. I was a nationally competitive swimmer then, but I was told I could only do one style of swimming from now on.

Struggling with Pain and Self-Image

I was crushed. And I stayed in pain for 4 years after that. Doing physiotherapy twice a week, every week. I was already struggling a lot here with my body image and my relationship with food. I was frail and in pain, but had no idea what to do about it. I was just supposed to accept that there was nothing to be done. I also started developing knee pain along the line, and it got really bad.

Discovering Deadlifts

Until, I discovered deadlifts. I saw a video on Youtube of how to do deadlifts for dummies. I tried it out and felt okay. I couldn’t squat because my knees would hurt. And the bench was just too difficult, the empty bar fell on my face once and safe to say, it was not pleasurable.

Overcoming Pain and Gaining Strength

Slowly but surely, I started building my strength in deadlifts and doing exercises that didn’t aggravate the pain. In 2 months, my knee pain was 90% better. It barely ever flared up. And I had totally forgotten about my back pain at this point. I also started gaining muscle and my shape started to change. This was a result of strength training but was never the goal, I just didn’t want to feel pain anymore.

The Shift to Performance Goals

I then learned more and more about the science of strength training, and my goal transcended to performance goals. I loved feeling strong and capable, the self-efficacy that comes from lifting weights yourself is just addictive. It was enough for me to want to get more men and women out there to want to lift and get stronger.

Helping Others at Desert Barbell

It took years of me being in pain and years of me learning to get to this point. But you don’t need to wait that long. I got into this career path to help people like you that might be experiencing pain, and I have successfully been able to get people out of it at Desert Barbell Strength Gym. If you are tired of that feeling, contact us and let’s get started to a healthier and stronger you.

About the Author 


Dalia Zawil (Zaouil) serves as a Strength Coach at Desert Barbell, bridging her research background at Tohoku University, Japan, with the sports industry. She adopts an evidence-based approach to training, nutrition, and rehab, ensuring comprehensive client success. As an author for the Personal Coach Manual by Inspire Fitness Academy, she emphasizes small behavioral changes for transformative progress. Overcoming injuries, Dalia is now a powerlifter and strength advocate. She offers personal training, online services, seminars, and workshops for those interested in working with her.

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