My daughter, 9, is a deadlifter — some say I ruin her childhood and stunt her growth, but I don’t listen to haters

THE mother of a child weightlifter has revealed the backlash she is facing for letting her nine-year-old daughter work out.

Shelley Nelson says trolls tell her she’s ruining her daughter Stella’s childhood and “stunting her growth” by allowing her to lift weights.

Stella works out at the gym with her trainer Caleb Foxworth


Stella works out at the gym with her trainer Caleb FoxworthPhoto credit: Nick Huges
Stella is a deadlift pro at just nine years old


Stella is a deadlift pro at just nine years oldCredit: Instagram/ thelittlebeast.stella

But the proud mum hit back, saying she would never put her daughter at risk and that the youngster is safely pursuing her passion with a certified trainer.

“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to look,” she told her haters.

Stella, 9, began her fitness journey at just three years old and can now deadlift almost twice her bodyweight of 70 pounds (135 pounds).

She has planked at 25 pounds and can squat between 75 and 90 pounds.

I'm a bodybuilding grandma - people freak out about my
I'm a natural bodybuilding champion unrecognizable in my throwback pic

The small – but mighty – weightlifter can perform a 70-pound clean and jerk and a 55-pound snatch.

According to her mom, when she first started working out, people at the gym said, “Oh man, that’s so cool.”

People at her new gym, where she takes adult classes, have even said, “Man, maybe Stella can teach us something.”

“It’s just a cool journey to be with her,” Shelley said in an exclusive interview with The US Sun.

Stella receives a lot of support from her family, her trainer and the people at her gym.

However, Stella and her mother have also received some backlash, mostly via social media.

Shelley recalled trolls making comments like “She’s going to hurt herself” and “She’s going to stunt her growth.”

Haters also say things like “she doesn’t have to do that,” “her technique is wrong,” and “you’re robbing her of youth.”

Shelley usually deletes the bad comments and Stella doesn’t have access to her Instagram account @thelittlebeeast.Stella so she doesn’t see the bad comments.

“I like just putting them in their place because I just won’t listen to them,” Shelly said.

Shelley tells the haters, “Feel free to call and speak to her trainer, who is certified in weightlifting, CrossFit.

“He’s a certified nutritionist. He would never do anything to hurt her.”

She said, “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to look.”

“I would never do anything to put my child at risk because I’m not stupid,” Shelley added.

Stella has a special connection with her CrossFit and weightlifting coach, Caleb Foxworth, known on Instagram as @calebfoxworthcfms.

“He’s really great with her,” Shelley said.

Caleb “pushes her limits without putting her in danger.”

One comment caught Shelley off guard.

“I didn’t expect, oh, your parents have to live vicariously through you,” she said.

“Something like that because, I think at a deep disadvantage, I just can’t imagine a parent forcing their kid to do things.”

Shelley made it clear: “We’re not pushing them into anything.

“She does exactly what she wants.”

Stella’s mother believes her daughter would be treated differently if she were a boy.

“They think boys are tougher. They think guys can handle more,” she said.

“I just feel like society ends up thinking men are superior when it comes to weights and stuff like that.”

Stella keeps up with the boys though – she plays soccer with them and placed second against a 12-year-old boy in a competition at their gym when she was only about seven.

“A lot of little boys say, man, I don’t mess with Stella,” Shelley said.

Stella's mom, Shelley Nelson, doesn't listen to the haters


Stella’s mom, Shelley Nelson, doesn’t listen to the hatersPhoto credit: Instagram My daughter, 9, is a deadlifter — some say I ruin her childhood and stunt her growth, but I don’t listen to haters


DevanCole is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DevanCole joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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