Muriel Hart, an Indigenous Cree woman from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, has become a standout in strongwoman competitions across Canada. Her journey began unexpectedly in 2014.

"I was introduced in 2014 back home in Nelson House, they needed a fifth person. I didn't want to at first, and then they paid my entry fee, so I came in fifth place. After that I got hooked, and the next year I came in second, then the year after that I came in first place. I've been hooked since."

Originally focused on weight loss, Hart grew tired of cardio and shifted to weightlifting, thanks to the guidance of visiting coaches from Winnipeg. Their encouragement led her to embrace strongman competitions.

Hart has competed in several southern competitions to qualify for provincials. Notably, she’s preparing for Vita's Strongest on July 1, a provincial qualifier. Success there could lead her to the provincials in Winkler, then nationals and subsequently, world championships.

"Last year, 2023, I made it to nationals (which was held in Winnipeg), and I became one of the Women's Masters division top ten strongest women. I was the only indigenous person from my northern community that made it to nationals. I enjoyed it very much and I was so amazed.  I love strength training, my favorites are Conan’s wheel, truck pulls, and Hercules hold grip. My longest time I've held for Hercules hold was like 59 seconds and 180 lbs. per hand."

Since moving to Portage la Prairie in December, she trains at the Portage Fitness Co-op, adapting conventional gym equipment for her routines due to the lack of specialized gear.

"They don't have strongman equipment, so a lot of stuff I have to mimic. Say if I'm doing a Viking press; I'll have to use a squat machine and just press with my arms instead of squatting. For a Conan's hold, I just hold the barbell and add weights on, hold it with my both my arms and stand there as long as I can."

Despite her achievements, Hart remains humble and urges others, especially women, to take up the sport.  

"You're never too late to lift, no matter what age division. I encourage more women to train. It's very rewarding. It gives you a good feeling, it makes me happy when I lift. It lifts my spirits. It's a great community, it's very supportive, when you go compete in other communities, there's women that cheer you on or the crowd cheers you on, and it just motivates you."

Hart is also passionate about inspiring more Indigenous women to join the strongman community.

"I'm a very proud Indigenous Cree woman from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, It's Nelson House back home. I encourage a lot of indigenous women to start lifting. We need more women in our strongman community. If I can achieve it, they can achieve it and I hope we see more women in the strongman community."