Today’s weekly member spotlight features pamo, a truly inspirational lady lifter. If you would like to nominate someone for the Weekly Member Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact lexyloowho or xJenYx.
Current, and any ‘before’ photos:
For reference, my height is 5’ 6”
What sports or fitness activities are you involved in? Do you compete at any level?
I lift heavy things and put them back down
What’s your story? When, how and why did you get into your chosen sport or fitness plan?
I got really close to two of the interns I met during my summer internship of 2010. I can’t thank them enough for helping me spark the fire that motivated me to make changes to my lifestyle. One of them pestered me until I finally caved in to go with her to the gym so she wouldn’t be the only girl in the weight room. The other one already had experience with bodybuilding and powerlifting, so he showed both of us everything we needed to know.
That summer, I had gotten into the habit of coming home after programming at work for 8 hours, taking a long nap, waking up to eat dinner, and then browsing the internet late into the night. I was a lazy bum.
I felt so weak and out of shape during my first workout and it motivated me to get better. Having lifting buddies was also another motivating factor because we would push each other to go and get stronger. Overall, it gave me something to look forward to after a long day at work.
Up until then, I had avoided stepping on scales or looking in the mirror, but I knew I had to make changes. I just didn’t know where to start. During my first week at the gym, I had my body fat measured at 37% and weighed in at almost 240 lbs. I was shocked. Why did I ever let myself get to that point?
Before I started going to the gym, I had been lurking http://reddit.com/r/fitness for a few weeks and saw other users’ amazing transformations. I was skeptical of my ability to achieve something similar but I was determined to try. I started to read everything I could on different methods of dieting and decided to start tracking what I ate. After a few weeks of making changes and being more mindful of what I ate, I weighed myself again and was 10lbs lighter.
So, I decided to keep with it. By the time summer was over and I went back to school, I had completely changed my lifestyle. I finally started learning how to cook and lifting was becoming an obsession. I realized I wasn’t destined to have the same body for the rest of my life and I could change my physique just by being active and, more importantly, being conscious of what I put into my mouth.
What are your current athletic or fitness-related goals?
In general, I just want to keep getting stronger and improving my body composition. I am currently more concerned about my upper-body strength. I don’t have any set deadlines, but I’d like to be able to do more than one unassisted chin-up at a time and eventually add weight. Same with dips, but I haven’t been able to move from unassisted with those yet. Benching two 45lb plates would be another bad-ass feat.
What is your workout or training regimen?
Fasted afternoon workouts 3 times per week.
Tuesdays – RPT deadlift, negative chin-ups or RPT assisted chin-ups, 1-arm DB rows
Thursdays – RPT bench, RPT standing shoulder press, RPT assisted dips, close-grip bench
Saturdays – RPT squat, romanian deadlift, hanging leg raises
RPT = reverse pyramid training
What does your diet look like? Do you take any supplements?
I started off with just a calorie restricted & lower carb diet. My naivete led me to believe that lower calories (and eventually super low carbs) + higher exercise/activity would lead to faster weight loss. It did to an extent, but I got to a point where I wasn’t happy and felt guilty whenever I would “break” my diet.
After spinning my wheels for months, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try. It helped me finally overcome my carbophobia and realize caloric intake is what really matters. I started being smarter about what nutritional advice to take. Martin Berkhan, Lyle McDonald, JC Deen, TheSpartanWarrior, and Silverhydra are some of the notable bloggers I have gained a lot of knowledge from.
My daily schedule involves fasting anywhere from 16 to 20 hours depending on how busy I am. I also cycle my calories and macronutrients depending on whether I am working out that day or not. I try not to get too wrapped up into small details since it has caused me unnecessary stress in the past, but in general:
– Training days: eat around maintenance + high carb, low/moderate fat, high protein.
– Rest days: eat at a deficit + low to moderate carb, moderate fat, high protein.
Supplements include daily fish oil, multivitamin, creatine, vitamin D3, EC stack. I also take
BCAAs before/during fasted workouts.
What have you achieved so far? What are your ‘numbers’ (times, weights, heights, etc)?
Squat: 200lbs x 6, Bench: 110lbs x 5, Deadlift: 187 lbs x 3
Those are the PRs achieved over the summer during a plateau where I was eating at maintenance but thought I was in a deficit. Once I figured this out, I cut calories too drastically and lost a little bit of strength, but I’m working my way back up.
What is your competition and/or training philosophy?
Cardio has to be enjoyable for me to even consider it. I get a rush from biking to campus and zig-zagging through crowds of pedestrians or walking and enjoying the environment. I generally avoid running on treadmills or hopping on an elliptical.
How do you motivate yourself?
Looking back at my lifestyle before I started and the desire to never let myself get to that point again. I also log all my lifts in a notebook to keep track of my progress. I use it as a reference to set goals for the next workout.
What advice do you take, and what do you ignore?
The internet is a great source of information, but there is so much out there that it’s hard to pick what to believe. You really have to do your own research and read up on a lot before deciding on what works best for you.
I generally avoid anything that sounds completely ridiculous or is backed by anecdotal bro-science.
What are some training or diet-related things you know are true but cannot prove?
I’m really big into electronic dance and dubstep music and can’t start a set until I find the perfect track.
What injuries have you dealt with? What are the injury risks that come with your athletic endeavors?
I ‘subluxed’ my right rotator cuff last winter attempting to do dumbbell pull-overs for the first time with too much weight. The pain was horrible. Never trying that again. Thankfully the injury wasn’t too severe but I didn’t feel safe doing any movements involving moving my arms with heavy weight over my head for months (e.g. shoulder presses, pull-ups, etc.).
Any advice on how to deal with these injuries and risks?
Have an experienced spotter when you’re trying something new and use light weight to get a “feel” for the movement. Once you slack on form, you put yourself a a high risk of injury.
What are your favorite sports/fitness books/DVDs/websites?
The internet has been my guide from the start. Most of the “fitness-related” information I seek on the Web is closer to nutrition.
Websites I frequent or have heavily relied on in the past are:
Anything else you want to add?
I’ve hit a few plateaus and have changed my diet and training regimen several times since I started. There is so much information out there and it gets hard to choose who or what to believe. The only thing I know at this point is: stick to something, be consistent, and don’t stress over the small details.
Finally, girls need to man up and hit the weights. Those 30 minutes on the elliptical or 50-rep sets on the abductor/adductor machines aren’t going to give you that booty you want.