My name is Heidi Cordner. I am a 42 year old Canadian high school Math teacher. I was born January 3rd, 1975 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When we moved to Toronto, I was 11 years old. To say I had a rough transition is putting it lightly. I was bullied in grades 7 & 8 for being tall, smart, and the new girl. But I try not to think about that time in my life too much because it was negative and made me feel like crap! But once I got to high school, I felt like I belonged-in sports. I played basketball, volleyball, and competed on the swim team. In fact, I had such a good experience in high school that I became a high school teacher so I could go back!
I have an amazing and supportive family: both my parents are athletic and health nuts. They’re gorgeous! As new immigrants, I watched them work non-stop to provide for us growing up. I have two younger brothers, and we are all educated, ultra competitive and independent. In 2002, I married my best friend Kelly. Together, we have two boys, Ethan and Aidan. Both play competitive soccer and keep us busy all the time! And it was my hubby who introduced me to arm wrestling!
I am also a professional arm wrestler. My arm wrestling name is the Tower of Power!! I started competing in 2002, but really got serious with my training in 2013. I won 3 gold medals at the Canadian championships in 2015. I have won multiple UAL (Ultimate Armwrestling League) tournaments, WAL tournaments, and I am the current Arm Melter women’s heavyweight belt holder in Canada. Most recently, I won the right arm WAL heavyweight championships in Las Vegas in June of 2016!
My ultimate dream would be to one day see women get the same treatment as men in the sport of arm wrestling: sponsorship, prize money, weight classes, etc. And of course, I would love to see it be an Olympic sport. As a Canadian-born woman of Egyptian descent, I would love to see women treated equally and allowed the same opportunities as men.
I represent a women’s clothing company called GRRRL. (Go to www.grrrl.com/ca) This is a movement geared towards changing the mentality of women from the effects of the media. We don’t use any photoshop, air brushing, or any other digital alterations in our advertising because grrrls are beautiful and perfect just the way we are J. The media has created unrealistic standards of beauty. Instead of using traditional sizing charts (which are outdated and inconsistent) the brand uses athlete models, so you can buy athletic clothing in size Heidi!
You can learn more about Heidi here!
What made you get involved in Arm Wrestling?
I originally got interested in the sport because at social events, I would often like to compete against women and men at arm wrestling, and thought it was fun (mostly because I would win!). So I figured I should give it a serious try and actually train and compete.
What adversity have you had to overcome as athlete?
Although I’m a tough bad-ass girly-girl, I’m also a big softie and I don’t mind losing. When I first got into the sport, I got my but whooped by girls half my weight and age. This drove me to train and focus on the goals I set for myself.
How often do you train and what does a particular training day look like?
My training schedule varies depending on what I am preparing for. I do weight training at the gym about two or three times a week, when I focus on two muscle groups per session (i.e. Back and biceps, chest and triceps, etc.) Then I train with my arm-wrestling team, the Toronto Arm Crushers. We have the largest women’s contingent in the province, and I am always looking to recruit and mentor more women in a male-dominant sport.
What are some key pieces of advice would you give athletes wanting to avoid injury?
For anyone interested in starting to train for arm wrestling, I would recommend that you find a team to work with. There are lots of small technique tricks that will a) reduce risk for injuries, b) shorten recovery time, and c) give you more options when you are pulling. In my sport, we call the beginning of our training “growing pains” because there are tendons and ligaments that many fit and sporty people aren’t used to working, so the recovery time seems lengthy. But more experienced pullers have wisdom to share to help!
What is your #1 fitness tip?
My motto: Just business on the table, friends off the table.
When Heidi isn’t busy training, she also enjoys helping others. She have even supported the, Because I Am A Girl campaign!