Athleta Van Huffelen was born in 1868, in Anvers, Belgium to a long line of athletes (and would later prove her name a fitting choice). In 1886 at only 18, Athleta started her weightlifting spectacles at the "Eden Alhambra" theater in Brussels. She would dance with three men on the shoulders or carry a heavy bar on her shoulders with four suspended men. After her initial success, Athleta traveled to England and later all over Europe and America holding exhibitions of her physical power.
Continuing in the business, Athleta and her daughters Brada, Louise and Anna performed together in spectacles demonstrating physical strength. In 1905, Athleta left the world of spectacles and lived in a country chalet (called "Village Athleta") along with her husband and family near Anvers, Belgium. The three daughters continued performing at the famous Parisian nightclub "Folies Bergere" but never reached the glory their mother had obtained.