PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Indiana may be known for basketball and racing, but it's also making a name for itself in the world of heavy lifting.
Born and raised in the Circle City, Jessica Fithen is the "Strongest Woman in the World."
She earned the title at a Strongman competition earlier this year in Palmer, Alaska.
Each Strongman competition has different events, and they're scored by weight, repetitions, or time. Fithen dominated her competition. She even won the 55 pound rubber Salmon throw with a distance of over 14 feet.
It's a pretty remarkable feat considering Fithen first learned about the sport just three and a half years ago.
"I was looking for something outside of my comfort zone. I hadn’t really been doing anything, and I still wanted to be fit," Fithen said.
Her journey began in an old ABC distributor's warehouse in Plainfield.
The building now houses the Unbreakable Athletic Academy, and it's home to Strongman competitors across central Indiana.
"A lot of the women in here are very, very strong," gym owner Jim Beebe said. "To see that we have the strongest is amazing."
What you won't find in the gym are bench presses or cardio equipment. It's filled with iron, stone, and stainless steel—each covered in a thin layer of chalk.
"Basically, it is the sport of lifting heavy odd objects," Fithen said. "We do things like lift kegs over our heads, or pick up atlas stones, or we pull trucks and that sort of thing."
To prepare for the competition, Fithen trained six days a week with each training session lasting several hours.
"Her personality is that she is very serious with her training and very not serious with the rest of her life," Beebe said.
That attitude helps bring out her competitive alter ego who curses like a sailor and sports bright purple hair.
"At competitions I’ll usually try to make it as bright as possible so my mom can find me," Fithen said.
Her mom won't have any trouble finding her now. She just has to look for the woman in first place.
"I think the mental aspect of pushing yourself outside of where you are comfortable really helps you grow as a person," Fithen said.
You can follow Fithen's journey and keep up with her workouts on Instagram.