East Texas powerlifting champion honors her late daughter through her sport
Cleaver and her trainer had the idea to hold a powerlifting meet and fundraiser in memory of her daughter, Alavia, in honor of the 20th anniversary of her passing.
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Latosha Cleaver was 33 years old when she was laid off from her job.
One day, she took her two sons to the YMCA to play. That’s when she says she became curious about powerlifting and met a personal trainer who encouraged her to start training.
“I met a guy who was a trainer and he said, ‘I am starting a powerlifting team, you should join us.’ I was like, ‘I am not strong with my little 5-pound dumbbell!’ He said, ‘I will make you strong,’” said Cleaver.
That’s when she began power training and lifted a 185-pound barbell. She attended her first powerlifting meet and lifted 314 pounds.
“I was hooked from there,” she said.
Since then, she has broken national and international records, and she is now a personal trainer and fitness instructor; she is the assistant director for recreational sports for UT Tyler.
“I found out that I was strong enough to break world records,” said Cleaver.
Now she’s training other athletes to do the same.
“You have to find a reason within you to push harder, and it’s so internal. It’s 100% mental, as much as physical,”
Cleaver was affected by tragedy in 2003. She lost her daughter Alavia after four failed attempts to remove a benign brain tumor that kept spreading to her brain stem.
Cleaver and her trainer had the idea to hold a powerlifting meet and fundraiser in memory of Alavia in honor of the 20th anniversary of her passing.
Their goal was to raise $3000 to donate to The National Brain Tumor Society to share with everyone why Cleaver looks to the sky before she deadlifts.
Alavia’s birthday would be April 3 which is why the meet is on April 1 in Pittsburg. It will be held at The Raw Iron Gym at 10 a.m.
Cleaver has two sons who still root for her.
“My younger son’s like Mom, none of my friend’s moms are like you. They are not as strong as you. He is always bragging on his mom. Like my mom can lift more than you. He plays football and he is very proud of his mom,” said Cleaver.
Cleaver says she wears pink glitter on her eyes, and pink knee high socks that say ‘The Deadlift Diva’ to let people know that you can lift and still be feminine.
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