Early life, family, educational background
Elite powerlifter Charity Witt was born on 12 May 1993, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. She was raised along with her older brother, Richard, and younger sister in Atlanta, Georgia, by their mother.
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Her mother is a Canadian, classically trained musician. She was a Texian university choir member and was traveling to Durango when she met Richard and Charity’s father. The pair instantly fell in love. Although they were in love, their marriage had many problems, and the children would spend most of their time outside to avoid hearing arguments. When Charity was nine years old, their father interrupted her and Richard while playing Nintendo; he said goodbye and asked that they never forget that he loves them. Charity’s mother’s strength to keep everything together despite the challenging circumstances hugely helped Charity build her own tenacity.
Her father returned when she was in her sophomore year of high school, however, they weren’t as close as they had previously been. During this time, Charity was not speaking to her brother, Richard, and was instead focusing on caring for her younger sister.
She was a nerd and introvert at school, and often felt that she didn’t belong in her family, so she ended up hanging out with the wrong crowd. During this time, she was drugged and raped, but it’s not known by whom. She continued to do well at school, but didn’t participate in sports as she did not enjoy it.
When she was 17 she was involved an abusive relationship that took a significant toll on her mental well-being, and as a result she overdosed on cough medicine as a suicide attempt. Not long afterwards, she ran away to Canada and got a job at a wedding venue that doubled as a bed and breakfast establishment.
The job didn’t pay much, but provided her with free shelter. In only a year, she was promoted to manager thanks to her work ethic and motivation, but then suffered a heart attack while at work.
She spoke to the Gwinnett Daily Post about the incident, saying that she had a heart attack right in front of her boss. ‘I came to, drove myself to hospital, got several tests and scans, and it came back that I had had atrial fibrillation. Essentially, the cardiologist wanted to schedule me for pacemaker surgery.’ She was terrified at the concept of such a massive operation, so before agreeing to it, she sought a second opinion, the second doctor telling her that she was abusing her body by working 80 hours a week, and not getting enough sleep. ‘The heart is a muscle, and it needs to be (taken care of); it was an awakening, and it was a turning point for me to quit my job and become a US Masters swimmer.’
#confession. Since @nbctitangames has aired, so many of you have asked me how I had the confidence to be on the show….
Posted by Charity Witt on Saturday, January 5, 2019
She quit her job in November 2011, and moved back to Georgia to live with her family. She was also diagnosed with scoliosis, presumably from when she was thrown from a horse in her childhood.
Her love for sports was brought on after being diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia. In her interview with the Gwinnett Daily Post, she said that swimming helped her control her heart, because it helps expand lung capacity and control breathing. From there, she moved on to lifting weights to help her swim better, but once she began powerlifting, she fell in love with it. On her first try at powerlifting, she was able to lift 275lbs (124.7kg), and knew it was meant for her. She also began doing endurance training, cross-training, and yoga.
Although she had fallen in love with the sport, her family was ‘disgusted’ with powerlifting she told The Athlete Daily – ‘They thought it was for dudes and told me I was going to be a disgusting powerlifter and it was only for sumo lifters and gross women.’ She added that it was rewarding to follow her passion and ignore the negative comments her family shared.
She competed in the 2015 Iron Beast Invitational in Gainesville, Georgia, and won the Best Lifting, beating all the participants – male and female – by getting the highest scores. She set an American Powerlifting Committee (APC) record in the squat of 280lbs (127kgs), a deadlift of 345lbs (156.49kgs), and a bench press of 170lbs (77.11kgs). Not only did she set a new record, but she was also the first female in APC history to win the overall best lifter title. She later set another two new APC Nationals world records; in the 165.35lbs (75kg) weight class, she did a 385lbs (174.63kg) deadlift and a 396lbs (179.62kg) squat.
Even after pulling a hamstring, she amazingly continued to set new world records at the International Powerlifting League (IPL), managing a 396lbs (179.62kg) deadlift, a 401.5lbs (182.12kg) squat, and a 984.28lbs (446.46kg) total.
After competing in powerlifting competitions for two years, breaking records and winning the overall best lifter at the IPL, Charity sought new challenges. At the gym she attended, she befriended four competitive strongmen who encouraged her to train as a strong woman. She found it difficult at first, but by 2016 she was competing in her first strongwoman competition at the Lee Haney Games. She placed first and qualified for both USS and NAS Nationals. In March 2016, she switched over to the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA), and competed in the Iron Coast classic, where she won in the Women’s Open 181.88lbs (82.5kg) weight class.
As she became more famous on Instagram, recruiters working for NBC’s Titan Games found her. The show is headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, so when Charity first received a message from the recruiters, she didn’t think it was real. They reached out a second time, and she realized that they were indeed legitimate. She made it past auditions, then competed against other female competitors one-on-one. Charity won the show, and the $100,000 prize; she used that money to build and open a training facility of her own. Following the competition, she said that it helped her grow more confident in herself, and with her career choice.
For now, her main focus is being a fitness coach – she sells hotel gym and home-based workout e-books and a package for up to $200, which she lowered during lockdown.
— Charity Witt (@witt_charity) March 13, 2019
The package includes an e-book, meal plan, access to a private Facebook group, and a template calculator.
Following her decision not to get a pacemaker, Charity always has to keep her condition in mind when competing. She told the Gwinnett Daily Post that dealing with afib has been a constant struggle, but she has gotten used to it, and is aware of signs that mean she needs to take a break from lifting. Charity added that competing actually helped her remain controlled and focused, ‘…because I was concerned about becoming too excited and (releasing) too much adrenaline. It was an incredible experience, but nothing that I could have done to prepare myself going into it.’
She applied for a Hope Scholarship when she returned to Georgia, which helped her study medicine, with a focus on Biochemistry and Pre-Oncology.
Charity is now a Naturopathic Doctor, with a specialty in Oncology, meaning that she wants to use alternative medicine to treat cancer. Her passion began when her grandfather prolonged his life by changing his lifestyle after being diagnosed with cancer; he avoided chemicals and maintained a proper, healthy diet. Another grandparent suffered terrible side effects while undergoing chemotherapy to treat his/her cancer. Their experiences lead her to believe that alternative medicine is the best route to resist the onset of cancer.
She spoke to The Athlete Daily about her decision to study natural medicine, explain what her grandparents went through and how her grandfather’s switch helped him. ‘… Seeing that up close and taking so many courses through school, I want to try to help through nutrition.’
From 4:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., she works in her rooms as a doctor; she trains in the afternoons, and for four hours at night, coaching clients as their personal trainer. She told The Athlete Daily that people make the excuse that they do not have time, but then nobody has time, ‘That was the biggest hurdle for me. Am I really going to dedicate myself to this, or am I going to pretend like I am?’
She starts her mornings off by drinking apple cider vinegar. She eats meat and carbs in moderation, is wary of supplements, and avoids dairy. Before she began powerlifting, she would eat 1,000 calories a day from chicken and vegetable shakes. Once she switched to a diet suited for lifters, she put on weight and had to change her lifestyle so that her metabolic rate would increase, and she could shed the fat.
According to The Athlete Daily, Charity gained 25lbs (11kgs) after she began powerlifting, ‘It really bothered me at first because when you gain weight, it’s not like [immediately], ‘Bam there’s muscle!’’ She said that changing her lifestyle was very challenging, and she had to accept that not all weight she gained was from building muscle. She added that when doing personal training, the best thing her clients can say is that they no longer want to be skinny, but they want to build muscle. ‘If I inspire them to eat more and enjoy the process, it’s all definitely been worth it.’
In an interview on Mark Bell’s podcast “Power Bite,” she shared her experience of being in abusive relationships and sometimes hiding in closets, so she could feel safe from her husband.
She doesn’t share her ex-husband’s name, but has said that deciding to leave him and file for divorce was a difficult decision, but worth it.
In 2015, Charity was dating fellow powerlifter, Landon Jameson, who won Georgia’s Strongest Man. He helped her prepare for her first lifting competition, and it is rumored that the pair married, but she then went on to date Matt Kafora, the owner of K9 Games Dog & Puppy training and Orangetheory Fitness gyms,. He lives in Arizona, and they posted photos to Instagram of them taking hikes together. Charity is currently dating bodybuilder and YouTuber Dusty Hanshaw. She sometimes joins him for a few videos on his channel.
After leaving her abusive husband, Charity has become an advocate for defeating domestic violence.
In an interview, she encouraged victims to rely on themselves, ‘You have control over your life, and you’re giving them control by not doing anything. You can walk away; there will be people out there who can help you.’
Her motto is not to quit when she is tired, but only quit when she is done.
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
When she is not working, Charity enjoys traveling and going on hikes.
She has blonde hair, hazel eyes, is 5ft 7in (1.7m) tall, and weighs 165lbs (75kgs).
Net worth and salary
As of late 2020, Charity’s net worth is estimated at over $1 million. She earns around $20,000 a month from the e-books and package, and a further $10,000 a month for her product endorsements and affiliations with Reebok, Herbstrong, MB slingshot, and Elivate Nutrition.