Arnold Strongwoman contestant says sport saved her life

Cara Brennan at the 2018 Arnold Sports Festival (WCMH photo)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Thousands of athletes are in town for the Arnold Classic, and for competitors, it’s a time to show what they’re made of in front of judges and spectators.

Among the competitors is Cara Brennan, who says when she picked up weights, it changed her life forever.

“I realized nothing was in my control in or in my power,” she says. “It was all bad things just happening to me. I was addicted to cigarettes I was a binge drinking bartender I got into a really bad, emotionally bad relationship.”

Cara Brennan at the 2018 Arnold Sports Festival (WCMH photo)

She says she suffered from depression and anxiety.

“When I got out of that relationship, I realized the only thing that would change is if I actively controlled over something positive and the only thing I could think of was to work out.”

Brennan joined a gym and met a strongman coach, saying for the past 4 years this sport helped her deal with her mental health issues and saved her life.

“An outlet to explore the infinite amount of possibility that is in here and it gives you these new challenges to learn more and more about yourself in a positive way,” Brennan says.

Brennan thanks her family for supporting her, along with her boyfriend, who was at her side during Saturday’s competition.

“It’s really exciting because I’ve seen her really improve over the last two and a half years and I’m just happy to see her go out there and consistently perform her best,” he says.

“Strongman is a very small community and it’s a very physically and mentally challenging sport. It attracts a lot of interesting people from tough backgrounds who have had a lot of struggles in their lives, whether it’s something like drug addiction or not ever feeling at home in their community, they are able to come here and get love and respect from their group just by being willing to work hard and be a part of a group. It’s incredible and I’m so grateful,” Brennan says.

The Arnold Sports Festival wraps up on Sunday. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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