Workout at Inner City Weightlifting (ICW) is a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring hope and providing a path to success for the area’s most at-risk youth.

Yesterday on 6/27/17,

I went to one of my favorite places that I’ve worked with a number of different ways before InnerCity Weightlifting

This morning I went to one of my favorite places that I've worked with a number of different ways before– @innercity_weightlifting in Cambridge! Beautiful gym, kick ass coaches (Carlos you killed me–warmup in video) and an even better mission: InnerCity Weightlifting reduces youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal training. We use the gym to replace segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, disrupting the system that leads to urban street violence.🔪🔫🚫🚫 The best part? Most 1 on 1 training sessions are 💲25 and your money directly impacts the students in the program! Community and relationship building opportunity, while getting a workout? What more could you ask for? #ICW #becomemore #bostonfitness #wearefitboston #helpinghand #socialgood #nonprofit

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Beautiful gym, kick ass coaches (Carlos you killed me–warmup in video) and an even better mission:

InnerCity Weightlifting reduces youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal training. We use the gym to replace segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, disrupting the system that leads to urban street violence.🔪🔫🚫🚫

 

More from this morning, I told Carlos to "go easy on me". Some of this circuit included rows, shoulder press, and single leg RDL. @innercity_weightlifting Beautiful gym, kick ass coaches (Carlos you killed me), and an even better mission: InnerCity Weightlifting reduces youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal training. We use the gym to replace segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, disrupting the system that leads to urban street violence.🔪🔫🚫🚫 The best part? Most 1 on 1 training sessions are 💲25 and your money directly impacts the students in the program! Community and relationship building opportunity, while getting a workout? What more could you ask for? #ICW #becomemore #bostonfitness #wearefitboston #helpinghand #socialgood #nonprofity

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The best part? Most 1 on 1 training sessions are 💲25 and your money directly impacts the students in the program! Community and relationship building opportunity, while getting a workout? What more could you ask for?

I thought I was good challenging myself with my conditioning but it's so much different when someone else is coaching and timing you! 💦the finisher from Carlos included: ✔️weighted straight let sit ups ✔️med ball side throws ✔️ropes and ✔️sled. @innercity_weightlifting . . . . . This morning I went to one of my favorite places that I've worked with a number of different ways before– Inner City Weightlifting in Cambridge! Beautiful gym, kick ass coaches (Carlos you killed me), and an even better mission: InnerCity Weightlifting reduces youth violence by connecting proven-risk young people with new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal training. We use the gym to replace segregation and isolation with economic mobility and social inclusion, disrupting the system that leads to urban street violence.🔪🔫🚫🚫 The best part? Most 1 on 1 training sessions are 💲25 and your money directly impacts the students in the program! Community and relationship building opportunity, while getting a workout? What more could you ask for? #ICW #becomemore #bostonfitness #wearefitboston #helpinghand #socialgood #nonprofit

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Check out their Facebook and Instagram!

GETAWAY TRIP ANNOUNCEMENT❗️ June 8-10, 2018 at The Westin Resort and Spa in Snowmass, Colorado!

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STRONGwomen lift each other up! Life brings other strong women to us to teach us, support us, make us better humans, and to collaborate with on shared passions.
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Excited to announce I will be a featured speaker at the “Crossroads of Fitness Getaway ’18”. I’ll be speaking about going on “the other side of the gym”, building muscle, gym intimidation, how to care less about the negative comments women who lift get, and of course my beloved sport, strongman!
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I’ll be alongside Fitness Competitor & Olympic Lifter Abbie Elsner. I could not be more honored to be apart and headline Garrett Wood and Lauren Palm’s at Crossroads of Fitness first annual retreat in CO in June 2018! 

Click here to purchase your tickers now!

Coping with losing and having the best contest to date…NAS National Recap

Coping with losing….

I had one goal: to win my pro card. I did not make that goal and yet, this was the best contest I’ve ever had.

Why?

The experience.
Video below goes into detail on events themselves.

I’m not the calmest person to walk this earth and when I compete, my overly aggressive, competitive, personality comes out. I can be hard to be around and my energy can be overwhelming. With a winning mentality, losing can be tough. This has pros and cons, it makes me a great athlete but takes away from other areas of my life.

I’ve gotten “post contest blues” when I fail to reach my goals. Any athlete can relate. This tends to lead to a spiral of emotions including: questioning your self-worth, anxiety, uneasiness, etc. Yes, this can fuel the fire and your desire to succeed even more in the future, but it comes with a cost.

There’s been times in my life where I have been so obsessed with training that I have neglected other areas of my life. Don’t get me wrong, training won’t always be fun but if you’re not doing something you love, then why bother?

My biggest heartbreak of this contest was when I placed low on my favorite event (H-stone carry). This is an event that pushes you just as much mentally as it does physically. It’s going to hurt no matter what but if you can withstand the pain and talk yourself through it, you will be successful.

Mental toughness is what I pride myself in.  My hand slipped and I dropped it, before I was even tired. As I explain in my video, it doesn’t matter what you do in training, it comes down to contest day. I was disappointed, but not devastated.

I texted my coach the news that even if I won the next event, I wouldn’t win because of how low my placing was on that one event. I told him, I wasn’t that sad. I told my mom too. She wanted to know if I was crying. I wasn’t, and didn’t. I was surprisingly calm this entire contest. I really enjoyed walking around in between events and introducing myself to other athletes.

Ever since my injury, I’ve matured as an athlete and person in many ways. Instead of telling myself, “I’m a failure” when I don’t do what I set out to do, or place where I want, I take it in stride.

I feel lucky to compete and push my body outside of its comfort zone. There are many people that do not have the privilege of health. Not being able to walk for a few days will do that to you. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again…getting injured was my main facilitator for personal growth.

Mental scars left by an injury often corrupt your confidence and can lead to a plateau. The constant fear of re-injury can keep you from regaining back your confidence. I made sure this didn’t happen. I have mastered my mental game. I have devised a system on keeping myself in check and always being motivated to be the best athlete (and person) I can be. Being a role model in this sport for other people is just as important to me as winning is.

Taking a few weeks off of with no structured program then getting ready for the Arnold in March!

Well another nationals in the books! Didn't finish how I wanted but this was the first contest that I had an entirely different perspective and just enjoyed being there. After a serious injury 5 months ago I worried I wouldn't ever be a competitor top strongwoman again. Then 8 weeks ago when I found out I had stress fracture I thought it would be stupid to compete. The woman next to me (all 117lbs of her) @gmcravedi82 me that if we didn't go (she has some injuries too) we would regret it. I am so glad I went. I met AMAZING athletes this week and really took the time to talk to a lot of people and not be in my own world. I'm not a calm person, and I am proud of myself for how I have matured as an athlete and stayed upbeat and focused the entire weekend. Next up… Arnold in March and maybe some fun local contests. Best believe I'm coming back to nats for VEGAS next years. Lots of people to thank but most importantly @titanbarbell you are not only my coach but a true role model. You have influenced me in so many ways aside from being an athlete. Seeing you have a family, a successful business, and just be an all around good person has steered me in the right direction. Mom @k_dimez_ are like 10 people in one and always in my corner. Gym family– You're more than friends, you make this sport a way of life. We always are pushing each other and there for each other and this weekend reiterated that. @dmdonof1 @chickenlegsnomore @strongmanrichd @odestefani @_queen_beast @redbeardlifts @pockets75 @bigdoggry Thanks to @acumobility getting my body healthy. @beastmetals for the pinkest strongman equipment and getting me good at overhead, @hernetix_usa constantly testing me with new products. @playagainnow supplements that actually work. @startingstrongman for recognizing me when I was just a tiny human! ☺️ @strongmancorporation for growing this sport and doing amazing things for the women's class, @floelite and @prostrongman for the commentary and live streaming. Lastly– all my friends that reach out and are supportive because they know how much this means to me! Thank you. #nasnationals2016 #stillprocardchasing #arnold17 #smallhuman #largehuman

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Gaining Weight and Loving My Body

Two years ago I gained a lot of weight, and quickly. Within 6 months I packed on 15-20 pounds. I then lost it all in a month. Then gained it again.

“You have AMAZING legs”

“Why would you want to do that to yourself”

“Your back is perfection”

“You’re bigger than me” – some dude

#transformationtuesday about 30lbs difference and a completely different lifestyle. On the left I ran half marathons and did body weight squats and would go through phases of trying not to eat- @shivy_91 and I would text everything we consumed in a day then would binge. Today, I am aiming for a 405 squat and deadlift and I try to eat to meet my goals and not obsess over how my body changes. I go through phases where I am extremely hard on myself especially when you get the "you're so manly" comments, but at the end of the day I try to think about my #1 priority which is to be extremely strong and not obsess over if I have abs or not. I am sooooo happy being able train extremely hard and balance a life and eating different things. It's time now to get a little leaner and incorporate some more cardio, but I've accepted I'll never be below 15% bf again if I want to be the strongest I can be! #strong #chipotleoverabs #trapsovereverything #strongman #strongwoman #eatallthefood #ilovecarbs #thickchickcardio #girlswholift #hamburgersforhamstrings🍔

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The above are some comments I hear almost daily regarding my body. Compliments and insults–they come from complete strangers on the train to those closest to me.

I am gracious for the compliments because my body is a direct result of what it’s capable of. Bruised up and all (from event training), I am finally secure enough to not pick my body apart and insults do not get to me.

Women often ask me about how I have come to this acceptance of how much I weight and being bigger than the majority of the “average male”. Well here’s the short answer…

It was a process. A process of acceptance. A process of picking myself apart, counting calories, over-training, rewarding myself with food, and so forth. It takes learning, life obstacles, but most importantly realizing there’s more to life than what you weight. If the scale is your biggest problem, then you are one of the lucky ones, and don’t know what true hardship is.

My weight history through sports

High School/College: For almost 8 years I weighed 150-160lbs. I was a sprinter and then a rower. I had huge legs, not much of an upper body. In college, our coaches weighed us every few weeks. I was always around the same, whenever I got close to 160, I would track what I eat and lost weight.  I took pride in getting myself in the lower 150’s.

 

October 2014: My first NAS Nationals. I had been training strongman since June. I noticed I was starting to gain weight and was TERRIFIED. The scale once hit 161 and I immediately started paying attention to my diet and doing fasted cardio. Got my weight back down to under 160 so that I was in the lower end of the Women’s Middleweight at Nationals (140-160).

October 2014-March 2015: 6 months and 15lb weight gain

I placed at nationals and it qualified me for Worlds “The Arnold”.  My new weight class was 140-180lbs. At this level, it wasn’t divided into two smaller weight classes. I knew I had to step my game up and I started working with my now coach, Pro Strongman Eric Dawson for programming. My workouts were intense. At least three times a week I was deadlifting, squatting, or pressing a final AMRAP set (As Man Reps as Possible).

Increased volume leads to an increased appetite. I WAS SO HUNGRY. I was trying to eat the same amount I always did but would BINGE at night. Cereal, rice, pizza, Chipotle, anything. I was always starving. As a result, I started gaining weight. I wasn’t too worried because all of my lifts were increasing, I felt good, and my body was starting to really develop. I did notice my abs going away but I thought to myself, “No problem, I WILL get these back after March.”

Monday date by myself- didn't feel like cooking #chipotle #protein #brittanytime

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March 2015-April 2015: 1 month and 15lb weight loss

Immediately following the Arnold, I went on a diet and increased cardio. I wanted to get back to my old weight. On my 23rd birthday in April 2015, I compete at the Hudson Valley Competition and wanted to be in the under 160weight class. I counted everything I ate and did cardio every day and lost ten pounds in a month. The last few days before weighing in I did a water cut, sat in a sauna, and even was spitting in a cup to make weight. I weighed in a 155 and was SO HAPPY, it was like I got satisfaction of going below 160lbs in such a short amount of time.

Following this competition, I was a mess. My weight and the scale were a constant battle. It was a double edged sword of wanting to be as strong as possible, but also still wanting to weight a certain amount. For a few months I was all over the place. I knew I wanted to be one of the strongest woman in the world but I still wanted visible abs! Not saying it’s not possible to have both but from heavy lifting my core was getting thicker.

Summer of 2015: I deadlifted 405lbs. This was a long-term goal of mine. When I pulled 405lbs it was as if a flashlight went off. I was eating more, I weighed more, not doing cardio everyday but my lifts were SKYROCKETING. I started embracing the parts of my body that I did like.

Since the summer of 2015, I have consistently weighed anywhere between 172-187. 175lbs is where I personally feel my best: strong, fast, and lean. My athletic performance has continued to increase. The more I learn about my body, the more respect I have for it.

I realize drastic weight gain at this point in my training isn’t going to happen like it did in the beginning. I also realize then when I overeat and get closer to the 180s, I do not feel good. I feel slower and lethargic. BALANCE. A key word that I swear by for all aspects of life.

Advice…

It’s great to see the growing participation of people (women in particular) who are starting to lift weights. I realize most people are not lifting to participate in a competitive sport, but nonetheless you can NOT be afraid to eat more and have to take the scale with a grain of salt. The scale is a necessary evil and it’s a tool that has pros and cons. DO NOT LET A NUMBER DEFINE YOU.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

When your body changes and your hard work starts to show, know that the comments from family members, friends, and strangers will happen. EMBRACE them. I’ve had “men” tell me they can’t date me because of how much I lift and my legs are bigger than them. For every positive there’s a negative. DO NOT LET OTHERS COMMENTS DEFINE YOU.

As Socrates once said, “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

Keep your ultimate goals in mind and remember balance. Who cares how much you weight, what you look like, or your lifts if every other aspect of your life is falling apart?

Three Year Strongman Anniversary: A Tribute

Three years ago at my first novice strongman competition. If a picture is worth a thousand words then this one is it.

I fell in love with strongman three years ago. At my first competition I was 21 and a junior in college. My senior year of college marked my final year of rowing. Strongman was my next endeavor. The day I graduated I traded an oar for a log. You know you love something when you start tracking moments in your life by different competitions.

I stumbled upon a “MA State Strongman Competition” on the internet. I saw there was a women’s novice division and I was sold. I clicked “attending” via Facebook. Soon after that, I was bombarded with messages with women (also known as “The Gina’s”/founders of NEWs) offering me advice, and sending me DVDs in the mail. They asked, “Do you know what you’re getting into?” No, I didn’t but I knew I liked lifting.

The promoter told me I missed the cut off date to sign up but after calling him every day for a week, he let me sign up. I emailed Eric Dawson who I heard was a “pro strongman” and asked him if he could teach me atlas stones. Being a poor college student, I decided not to get any training because I couldn’t justify the cost, that’s what YouTube was for. To say the least, I prepared for my first competition for about a month without actually touching implements. Let’s just stay, an atlas stone is nothing like a medicine ball.

Strongman is a hobby, yes, but it impacts almost every aspect of my life. It influences who I spend my time with, who I let into my life, lets me eat more than the average person (everything), has helped me see myself in a positive light and has introduced me to friends worldwide. It’s the perfect example of “you get what you put in”. In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why strongman is the greatest sport ever.

  • Purpose: This is #1 for me. Not everyone that does strongman has a clear purpose; it may just be a hobby and something to try. However, strongman has helped me find my purpose. At one point in my life, when I felt secluded and alone, training and the atmosphere of strongman gave me a reason to get out of bed and improve my life. No matter how “bad” of a day I’m having, training always turns it around.

 

  • Fun: First and foremost is that at the end of the day, strongman is fun. Events like keg loads, truck pulls, and stone loads are fun. You’re running around with other competitors doing things that most people look at with raised eyebrows.

 

  •  An individual sport with a team atmosphere: You are competing alone most times (unless it’s a partner competition). At the end of the day though, you know what your PRs are, and what number you are trying to beat. You will always have a support team behind you. Even at competitions, you will find strangers encouraging one another. You can see someone struggle and it only takes one person to start cheering, or offering encouragement and before you know it the whole room is getting pumped, and you’re feeding off their vibes.

 

  •  Lifelong friends: There is something about bonding with other like-minded individuals. Sometimes personalities will clash, like any group, but you really have to trust someone with your life. If you’re spotting someone, your life is in their hands for a few seconds. The majority of people do not “get it” they do not understand why you strive to lift  absurd amounts of weight or run around with weird objects, but your strongman friends will back you.
  •  Family atmosphere: This goes back to lifelong friends; some of these people are more like family. I know I could move anywhere in the world and would feel at home with people in the sport opening up their gyms and their homes to me. When I was in Texas before the Arnold and needed a place to train, pro strongman Bryan Barret not only opened his gym for me but introduced me to his family and they brought me to their favorite BBQ place.
  •  Self-Reliance: While you have people supporting you and backing you, at the end of the day it’s up to you to set the standard and push the limits. You can have the best coach, best training atmosphere and best equipment in the world, but no one can do the work for you. With short term and long term goals, you set the stage. Strength is the perfect example of “the sky is the limit”. As you progress, goals are harder to achieve but there is always improvement to be made.

 

  •  Being a Role Model: The best compliments I receive aren’t on my lifts, or my strength, it’s how I effected or positively influenced someone else. I guarantee, if you do strongman, you will impact more people than you know. To a young kid, if you can lift a car or pull a truck, you are their hero. I feel complete when I know I’ve impacted the life a 16 year old girl to embrace the body she sees in the mirror for the exquisite machine that it is.

 

  •  Stronger: Physically and mentally. When you push yourself, and open yourself to being uncomfortable you grow. For me personally, the stronger I get physically, the stronger I get mentally. You have to practice both, and you are NEVER SATISFIED. Getting stronger will always be the answer to why I train. I’ll never be satisfied. You will be able to do things you never thought possible.

 

  •  Opens up doors: Strongman is open and accessible to all walks of life. If you told me years ago one of my best girlfriends would be from Australia, I wouldn’t have understood how.  At international competitions you will hear several languages in the same room. It’s amazing to be able to bond with like-minded individuals and be connected by one thing: strongman.  

 

  •  Gender Equality: This one happened fast as when I first started strongman I didn’t understand why women couldn’t make it “as far” as the men. In 2016 Strongman Corporation announced there would be a women’s pro class. When you are training or competition, it’s not about if you are male or female, what shape you’re in, what you look like, or what you’re wearing, it’s about what you can lift, move, and run with.

 

There are many more reasons why strongman is personally my favorite sport, but here were a few. It’s a goal of mine every day to educate people on strongman and show them it is for all walks of life: male or female, young or old, naturally athletic or just starting out. If you feel intimidated then reach out to someone you know and I’m sure they would be more than willing to help.

 

Throw Back Thursday: My first Big Contest

& why YOU should compete if you qualify

To anyone afraid of competing at the higher level because they don’t feel “they are ready” #TBT to: Nationals 2014, where my journey all started. I wanted to write this today because I’ve recently been talking to people that are unsure if they should compete at nationals, a higher level competition that is compiled of all the winners from various state shows around the US. The weights are heavier than local shows, and it no longer matters if you’re the strongest in your gym.

This applies to anyone that competes in anything because doing something that could put you at risk of failing, is scary, no matter what your sport.

This was my first nationals in October 2014 in Reno that changed my life.  I had been training strongman for 4 months and training for this show for 5 weeks, I only qualified because I won the MA state championship show by default. I had no intention of going, other people at the gym I went to were going, and they told me it would be a good learning experience. So, I decided I wanted to see Reno anyways!Submitted my entry form and then…

I looked up other competitors, I didn’t stand a chance.  My goal was to go and not place last. Little did I know, I’d end up placing second in my weight class which qualified me for Worlds (Arnold 2015). I saw the events and the weights and remember thinking “What the hell am I doing this for, I should train for a year, get strong, then qualify and go next year.” I vividly recall myself writing down the events in my journal and the likelihood I could do them; this is what it looked like:

Press Medley: 125lb keg/150 axle, 80lb dumbbell press away –No way

Yoke: 500lbs 50ft—I know I can do this, but incredibly slow

Carry Medley: 175lb keg carry, 200lb farmers, 225lb duck walk—I know I can do the keg, maybe not the farmers,

Car Deadlift: Deadlift a car—Zeroed this in August, will never zero again so I will do this

Wheel Barrow: 1150 50ft—doubt it

Keg over Bar: 125-175lb keg series over bar:–maybe the first keg.

 

As you see, I only 100% knew I could do ONE out of SIX events and was determined to get at least one more. In reality, I did ZERO the overhead, and I passed out after the car deadlift event.

Somehow, I placed second in my weight class (I used to be under 160lbs). I thought it was a mistake, to this day I am beyond grateful I went to this competition because it has shaped my life in so many ways.

Placing at nats qualified me for the Arnold 2015, and showed me the love and passion I have for this sport. I can’t imagine my life without it, it impacts a lot of my decisions.

Takeaways and why YOU should compete:

 I learned that it is VITAL to challenge yourself with weights you don’t think you can do. Most importantly, believing in yourself and your abilities, even when others (friends, family, other competitors) doubt them. I will never again write down events and weights and put the likelihood I’ll be able to complete them. If you find yourself doing this or even thinking about it, push it out of your head.

People come up to me, or reach out to me on social media and tell me I wouldn’t understand their fear because “I’ve always been strong”…As you can see, that is not the case, I started out an athletic 160lb girl that was fairly strong but  couldn’t imagine even deadlifting 300lbs (Now, two years later, I’m chasing 500lbs and weighing in around 175lbs).

What nationals did for me…

It gave me confidence, the ability to view my body in a more positive light, introduced me to people around the world, the girls I trained with are some of my best friends,  and as corny as this may sound: taught me to use my mind to my advantage. You’ll notice that I always preach how powerful the mind is. When I question my athletic abilities, I bring myself back to Reno. Right before the car deadlift I told my friend, “I’m going to lift this car” I lifted the car (passed out right after) but I did it…

Oh, and just to remind you of my failure, I ZEROED an entire event, and still placed. The event I zeroed was the first event of the day, talk about feeling bad. Since then, I made the dumbbell and the kegs one of my strongest overhead events.

I could write all day about my experience and speaking about it brings a huge smile to my face. Take the risk and go to the competition you don’t think you are ready for. The experience in itself is worth the risk.