I'm a girl with a big appetite.
I like to eat a lot, I like to workout a lot, and I like to do a lot.
I also like pushing myself to extremes, getting shit done and checking things off my list.
On the flip side, I've never have a lot of patience for things or people who move slow.
A few quotes that could describe my general approach to life:
"Go big or go home."
"Work hard, play hard."
"Just do it."
"I want to have my cake and I want to eat it, too."
I was brought up to believe that I could do whatever I wanted, as long as I put in the work first. Since I've never had a lot of patience and loved the feeling of instant gratification, I figured perfecting the art of multi-tasking was the answer. Multi-tasking meant I could get more done in less time, which translated into achieving results faster.
Multi-tasking seemed to be a challenge for a lot of people, so I figured if I could get better at it, then I could achieve more in life. After all, what could be more gratifying than actually being able to do it all? This would surely lead to a life of absolute fulfillment, right?!
Up until I hit my 30's, I did feel like I was living a fulfilling life. I had done a lot, I had experienced a lot, and I had achieved a lot.
But there came a point where I started to get bored and wanted something more... something more challenging.
So at the end of 2012, I decided to quit my job and start my own business. I knew basically nothing about business, but since I learn best by throwing myself into things and just doing them, I knew I'd be able to figure it out in time.
That being said, the past few years have been the most challenging, yet humbling, years of my life. I've felt severely overwhelmed, I've made many mistakes and have been through many hardships, but I'm grateful for all of these experiences because of how much they taught me.
One of the biggest things I've learned is that becoming good at multi-tasking meant that yes, I could do everything that I wanted, however, that didn't necessarily mean I could have everything I wanted.
There are some things in life that require patience, time, discipline and intense focus in order to achieve them. Entrepreneurship taught me this and this is what I've had to learn and put into practice in order to become successful with my business.
When we multi-task, we do a mediocre job of everything, but working on one thing at a time lets us dive deeper and do a better job at each task.
Now you're probably wondering where powerlifting comes into the picture here. Well, have some patience! 😉 I'm getting to that...
Once I figured out my business stuff, I decided it was time to shift my focus and start focusing on my health and fitness goals.
Annnd enter powerlifting...
What is Powerlifting?
Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves three lifts: squat, bench and deadlift. The whole point of the sport is to find out just how strong you really are, and then continuously work on getting stronger than that.
In competition, a powerlifter stands alone on a platform and tries to lift the heaviest weight they can for a single rep. There are judges who watch to make sure that the rules are followed. The winner in each weight class is the lifter who achieves the highest total for the three lifts (i.e.; if a lifter squats 250, benches 150, and deadlifts 400, their total would be 800).
My Athletic Background
I've been an athlete for most of my life, always playing a variety of sports (soccer, softball, basketball, track, snowboarding, volleyball.) I've also been lifting weights on the regular since high school and have always enjoyed lifting weights that were on the heavier side (I should mention that striving to be faster and stronger than the boys has kind of always been my thing...) I'm competitive, I like high intensity workouts, I have always been pretty strong and I've always admired muscles on both girls and guys.
All of that being said, I'm not surprised that I ended up getting hooked on powerlifting.
My Relationship with Food
Despite always staying active, I have always struggled with my food intake. I worked out more for the main reason of being able to eat more, but this often meant eating really low calories during the week and then binge eating on the weekends because I felt like I "earned it" after being miserable all week. Plus, I was hungry!
Or, if I was trying to stick to a "boring" meal plan, my cravings would sometimes sneak up on me and I'd cave and have a cookie. Then I figured since I wasn't disciplined enough to eat "perfectly" (did I mention I'm also a bit of a perfectionist?), I thought what was the point? I had already f*cked up. And then I'd go and eat the whole rest of the bag of cookies. #selfsabotaging
These binge-fests always made me wonder what was wrong with me? Why couldn't I just have the discipline to follow through? Why could other people get results and I couldn't? What were they doing that I wasn't? I often felt insecure and weak because I never seemed to be able to be able to figure this out. There was so much information out there, yet nothing seemed sustainable, and I just wanted to be able to enjoy food!
My Turning Point
At the beginning of 2016, I decided that this was going to be the year I finally made progress towards the type of physique I have been trying to achieve for so many years now. I was going to do whatever it took to figure this out and then put in the work.
My goals were to be leaner and to build more muscle. I didn't want to be skinny, I wanted to have more of a strong, athletic look.
In addition to working on my fitness goals, I also decided to try dating again (I had taken about a year off from the dating scene, simply because I wanted to see what would happen if I put all of my energy and focus into growing my business...)
I was really hoping to find someone who would be a positive influence on me; someone who I could workout with, eat healthy with and someone who wasn't leaving San Diego in a few months (apparently this is really hard combination to find in this city!)
In April of 2016, I met my match. He was really into fitness (a powerlifter), had an extensive amount of knowledge in nutrition, and having conversations with him simply fascinated me.
Ironically, we also happened to workout at the same gym! (World Gym) So after dating for about month, we decided why not start going together? So we did, but for the first few weeks we did our own style of workouts independently; he did his powerlifting routine, while I did my HIIT routine.
Then one day we decided to do an upper body workout together. That's when he told me, "Hey, you're actually pretty strong."
Shortly after that workout, he asked if I'd be interested in learning how to power lift. I didn't really understand what this meant, and felt kind of intimidated by it, but he offered to show me the basics, so I figured why not? I liked trying new things. Plus, I was curious to see how strong I actually was.
So in July of 2016, I started learning how to lift the "big three."
I started with the following weights:
Squats = 140lbs. for 5 reps
Deadlifts = 115lbs. (I hated these at first because I couldn't figure out the form)
Bench = 95lbs. for 4 reps.
It took me a little while to get into a routine because I found myself getting really anxious the whole day before I'd even get to the gym. It was really scary having to push a heavier weight each time I went! But after a couple of months, I started to get the hang of it and started actually seeing progress, which started motivating me more and more.
In the fall, my boyfriend told me I should start recording my lifts every gym session so I could document my progress and see where I could improve on technique. That was another thing I had to adjust to because I HATED videos of myself. But I wanted to improve, so I reluctantly listened to his advice. In order to keep myself motivated and stay accountable, I decided to go ALL IN by posting my videos on my YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Knowing people were going to see me doing the lifts forced me to want to improve faster (a little trick I played on myself, hehe.)
By December 2016, I was HOOKED. I was making all sorts of progress, my physique was changing for the better, and I was enjoying the entire journey. I had officially caught the "powerlifting bug" and there was no turning back.
Why Powerlifting is my New Favorite Way to Train
I Love to Eat
Powerlifting supercharges my metabolism so I can eat more calories, burn more fat and still maintain a healthy weight. In order to perform well, I need to make sure I'm eating more than the average person. I don't like starving myself or being hungry all the time and this style of training actually promotes eating more so I can be strong enough to lift the weight.
I now follow an IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) style of eating, which means I don't have to restrict myself and I'm able to enjoy foods without feeling guilty. Binge eating is a thing of the past now!
It has Changed my Physique Like No Other Workout Has Before
After powerlifting for just over 6 months, my legs look more athletic, I finally have a booty, my shoulders are more sculpted, my waist is getting smaller and my back is getting leaner. I am finally achieving "The V"!
I Only Have to Train About 4 Days a Week
I used to feel like I had to workout 6 days a week, which included weight lifting AND lots of cardio, which was just frankly a lot of work and a lot of time! And I never saw much progress.
I workout less now because it's essential that I give my body those rest days... I need them! Knowing that I don't have to drag myself to the gym or do a million different things every day to burn off calories just makes things easier.
I Enjoy Routine
Having a set routine every week makes everything flow more efficiently. I know what I'm supposed to do so it takes the guess work out. Having a routine helps me stay consistent, which is the key to making progress in anything.
It Gives me a Plan that Actually Produces Results and Fast
There's exercising and then there's training. Exercising is just working out with no master plan. Training gives me a plan that helps me achieve something. I like having a purpose for why I'm doing something because that's what motivates and drives me.
Once I started following a plan, I started seeing results pretty quickly. I was getting stronger and my physique was changing, for the better.
I Enjoy Tracking Progress and Analyzing Things
Take this blog for example; I write a post every week about my struggles, goals and achievements. When I document and keep track of what I'm doing, I can look back at it some day and see how far I've come, or see what I was doing at the time if I feel like I need to change something I'm struggling with.
With powerlifting, I can actually see my body changing and I can easily track my numbers, which are indicators of my strength. With any other workout, it's hard to gage whether I've made progress or not.
It Supports Individual Growth
I'm not in competition with anyone else but myself; I'm just trying to improve week by week. I love finding out what I'm made of and seeing what areas I can work on to improve.
I also don't need to depend on anyone else, as it's not a team effort. The solopreneur in me LOVES this because I can do it all myself without the help of anyone else (besides maybe a coach or spotter). I work on me for me and I either lift the weight or I don't.
I Enjoy Achieving Things that are Challenging
I'm the type of person who always strives to learn, improve and make progress in most things I do. I try to be happy with what I have, but I'm never truly satisfied. There's a high you get when you achieve a new PR and you just start to want to feel that more and more. It's addicting!
It Pushes my Mental Boundaries
It has forced me to master my mind and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Every time I train, I push myself to do something I have never done before, whether that's a heavier weight or a larger volume (more reps pushing that weight.)
It's also helped me practice patience, discipline and intense focus, skills that are never bad to have!
It Gives me Confidence
Being able to do something that I never thought I'd be able to do gives me a sense of confidence, and that confidence transcends across all areas of my life. It gives me the motivation to power through things I've never done before, which can always be scary at first, but the more I do things that are scary, the more confident I get, and confidence brings me a sense of peace.
Pushing through my biggest fears is really empowering.
I Like Being Strong
As a woman who loves being able to do everything herself, this really appeals to me. Why wouldn't you want to be both physically and mentally strong? I think it gives you more choices in life overall. Need to move that heavy furniture but can't afford to pay someone to move it for you? That's a problem. But it wouldn't be a problem if you were strong enough to lift it yourself... you could just do it and be done with it, then move on to something else! And without leaning on someone else for help!
I think when you are physically and mentally strong, you are less likely to get bullied, get hurt or stay down. You'll just pick yourself right back up and keep moving forward.
I also feel generally safer when I'm stronger because I am better able to protect myself.
I Like a Challenge
I have always enjoyed doing things that are challenging, both physically and mentally. That said, I love setting goals and achieving them. Powerlifting is a great platform to do that since I am able to track my numbers and see progress. Plus pushing through the mental challenge and coming out on the other side is really an empowering feeling!
I Like the Efficiency
I can become as strong as possible in the most efficient way. There are only 3 lifts I have to do and I just have to show up at the gym 4 times week for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
I'm an Adrenaline Junkie
I love the high I get from doing things that are difficult or extreme. Since I'm an entrepreneur, I think it's safe to say I naturally have a bit of a risk-taker personality in me. 🙂
It's a Great Outlet for Stress
I use the gym as my therapy. It's probably the healthiest outlet (besides writing) to work through whatever is stressing me out at the time. I just put my headphones on, rack the weight and push through the pain!
It Helped Decrease my Knee Pain
I used to do a lot of HIIT and plyo-type workouts, which were great for fat loss and burning a lot of calories, but these types of workouts also contributed to terrible knee pain that caused me to struggle every day, even with the simplest tasks, like walking up stairs! I also loved to hike and I loved to play soccer and I could no longer do these things without having to power through immense amounts of pain.
I don't do any kind of jumping around with powerlifting; all my lifts focus on steady, proper form. Now I am able to do the other things I love without the pain!
I Like Being Different
So many people want to "fit in" but I have always done better doing my own thing, which usually means doing the opposite of everyone else. There aren't that many women who do powerlifting, compared to other sports, and I like that. It's unique.
It's Fun to Workout and Count Macros with my Boyfriend
We are accountability buddies, which makes things easier. Plus, we get to spend quality time together doing what we both love, pushing each other and getting stronger together! When we aren't working out, we can talk about powerlifting, nutrition, the gym, etc., and can always find something to relate about. It's really nice having someone so close to you who's also on a similar journey!
It's a Relatively Cheap Sport
So far, all I've had to pay for is a gym membership ($25/mo.), wrist wraps for benching ($10), and chucks for deadlifting ($30). Other things I'll be paying for in the future as I get more into the sport are squat shoes, a belt, and maybe some chalk.
Powerlifting Equipment Recommendations
- Wrist wraps - I use these and love them!
- Belt - Helps you lift or pull more weight in the squat and deadlift.
- Squat shoes - Nike Romaleos are one of the most popular brands for squat shoes.
- Chucks - You want to wear shoes that have a flat base for deadlifts.
- Lacrosse Balls - These make a huge difference when I have knots and tight spots. Roll out on them every day!
- Foam Roller - Another great tool to roll out knots and tight spots!
- Powerlifting Watch - Find a powerlifting gym in your area!
Feel free to comment below and I'll try to answer them!