Mpowered, By Women for Women – Yazmin Zammit Stevens

Mpowered, By Women for Women – Yazmin Zammit Stevens

An unconventional beautiful woman, living in a conventional world. Meet Yazmin Zammit Stevens, recently announced as the First Female Maltese Weightlifter to go to the Olympics.

Yazmin Zammit Stevens deserves an incredible introduction. She is Malta’s weightlifting National Champion and National Record Holder. She is the first woman in Malta to compete at the World Championships when she debuted in 2018. In that same year, she also participated in the Commonwealth Games and Gold Coast in Australia. Just a few months ago, she smashed two European Championships in Russia, breaking two national records with 88kgs in snatch and 102kg in clean and jerk. Scroll down to listen to the full podcast. 


If you think that is all – think again. Recently, it was become official that Yazmin Zammit Stevens will be the first female Maltese weightlifter to go to the Olympics. This life-long dream of Yazmin was announced after lifting at the Olympics was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic restrictions. This was a devastating moment for all athletes, including Yazmin, who had been working so hard to potentially secure a place.

Yazmin is also an influential figure on Instagram, with nearly 100K following her journey of smashing stereotypes for women. Trudy, as are many, was very interested to know all the logistics that go into weightlifting as a sport. Yazmin explains the process of a weightlifting competition.

‘When we compete at competitions, weightlifters compete with two main lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk and then the total of the two. You will first start off with the snatch and you have three attempts. The snatch is performed by lifting the barbell from the ground directly overhead in one movement. With the clean and jerk lift, you have a break on the shoulder and that is why you can manage to lift heavier here. I would say that they’re both as difficult as each other. However, personally, I prefer the clean and jerk because I feel that it requires all out strength and less technique. With the snatch, it gets very technical, but I always seem to rank better since I put a lot of effort in it. My aim is to rank equal in both disciplines.’

Press play to listen to the full podcast.

However, training as a weightlifter goes beyond simply performing these two lifts repetitively.

‘We do a lot of squat variations and deadlift variations in training to make sure that your body is strong enough to perform the main lift. We call them accessory exercises. When I first started weightlifting, I used to do just the main work and I didn’t know how important these accessory exercises were. Now, I probably take time with these exercises just as much as the main ones.’

Yazmin’s training schedule is quite hectic. She trains twice a day, every day, except Thursday and Saturday, in which she only trains one time. Sunday is her active rest day in which she keeps active with any another activity that is not weightlifting. On average, each training session takes her around 2hrs.

Yazmin started weightlifting at the age of 22 years old which is not the ideal time to start any sport since it is common practice to start at a younger age.

‘I was at University studying Mathematics and Statistics. My friends and I go bored of not keeping active as much as we used to, and we started attending Crossfit classes. Whenever we had weightlifting in the classes, I was obsessed. The people who managed the class realised this and suggested I take up weightlifting. I didn’t even know this sport existed in Malta! It went beyond anything that I ever imagined.’

Yazmin explains that doing any sport competitively is going to have its effect with injuries. Contrary to what people think though, weightlifting does not hurt your back or your knees. In fact, with good technique, it makes your body stronger to perform the usual daily things in life like carrying grocery bags and moving around furniture.

‘We, as athletes, train to be competitive and not necessarily to be healthy. Our aim is to compete and break records. When you’re an athlete, you’re going to have to deal with injuries. I used to have a tough time with injuries, especially when I had my ankle injury. Physically, it wasn’t that bad but mentally it was rough. Not being able to be a weightlifter during injuries breaks my heart. I feared disappointment all the time. I think that my experiences have helped me mature mentally so much’.


Image credit to All Things Gym. 

Making sure to treat your mental training as well as your physical training is important in any sport. Yazmin talks to her sports psychologist during her injuries, and she believes that that helped her to be forgiving with her herself and to treat herself with kindness, even after her recovery.

‘I dealt with my recent wrist injury so much better than my ankle or back injury, and this injury was worse because it required surgery. It really paid of mentally. I went to the competition hungrier than ever and wanted to have fun on the platform. It was also the first competition post-Covid, so there were a lot of emotions there! I believe that I broke a record because I went to compete with a different attitude and mindset. My number one motto is to make every lift count.’

As a 22-year-old weightlifter, Yazmin had BIG dreams, including that of going to the Olympics!

‘I get emotional thinking about 22-year-old Yaz! Everyone used to try and be realistic with me when I told them my big dreams. But I felt that if I worked hard, I knew I could make it. My immediate family were always very supportive of me training full-time. My dad is a principle of government schools, so he was always very education based. It meant a lot to me that he believed in me so much. My family’s support was also financial, even my younger sister would pay for me since I went all in with full time training. Everything that I’ve done, and still do, is 100% dedicated to the people around me. It has been an incredible 5 years.’

Turning the page to her Instagram, Yazmin influences a lot of people through the use of her platform. She breaks stereotypes every day and, especially with the Olympics recent announcement, she is a living proof that dreams do come true!

‘Sometimes, I forget how many people are watching me and my journey. I sit for hours, going through heartfelt messages and thinking what I did to deserve all this love! I have a very positive following and I believe that these people are following me because I’ve been authentic from the start’.

Yazmin’s main aim with her Instagram posts is to give motivation to other women to dream that same dream.

‘I want to make sure that with every post, I’m being 100% genuine. I’m nothing special. I’m just like every woman. My aim is to constantly help someone who’s a younger Yaz to believe that, yes, if I can do it – so can you!’

We enjoyed every minute of having you on our podcast, Yaz! There’s no doubt about this – Mvintage will always be cheering you on!