AN inspirational Greenock mum has 'raised the bar' for women in weightlifting.

Denise Trayling is going from strength to strength after taking up the sport three years ago.

The 45-year-old mum-of-two, who trains at Greenock Sports Centre, has qualified for the British Masters competition in March.

She said: "I think it's good for your kids to see the discipline and training I put in for sport.

"It's really important that kids see you exercise and you look after yourself - it sets a good example to them.

"Also, as you age it's really important that women in particular lift weights because you lose muscle mass after your twenties and can develop bone and joint problems if you don't have a lot of strength in your body."

Denise, who lives in Eldon Street with husband Leon and their children Raiffe, 10, and Connie, five, says sport has always been a huge part of her life.

She said: "Me and Leon both moved to London in our twenties where I worked as a personal trainer.

"I also did my Pilates teacher training down there too.

"We moved back home to raise our family and I now teach yoga and pilates across the area."

Denise said it was a chance meeting with a champion weightlifter George Byng which inspired her to try out the sport.

She said: "I was at the gym one day and George asked me if I had tried Olympic weightlifting and asked me if it was something I was interested in trying.

"So I said yes and I quickly became slightly obsessed with the training and learning the technique."

Since then Denise has competed at several competitions, the most recent being the Scottish Weightlifting Masters Cup in Easterhouse.

In the clean and jerk she managed a competition best of 58 kgs which gave her a 102 kgs total, a gold medal and three new Scottish records.

She said: "It's really intense and nerve wracking on the day but once you lift, it's such a relief.

"It's a great buzz.

"It's both a mental challenge and a physical challenge."

Denise hopes that more women will try out the sport.

She told the Tele: "It's something that I have got really into and I enjoy it.

"I like the training, discipline and learning the technique."

Denise, who trains five days a week in the gym and also attends Urban Fit, says she also tries to eat healthily.

She added: "For your diet, you ideally want to try and eat healthy and cut out the processed foods, especially before the competitions."

Denise is now looking forward to competing at the British Masters which will be held in Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Wales in March alongside Graeme Nicol and David Owens.

She said: "It's a big step up but I'll go and see how I get on."

Denise is keen to thank George Byng and Ian Hepburn for coaching her at Greenock Sports Centre, as well as Andy from Urban Fit.