17 Weight Lifters On Instagram Tell Us About Their Bodies

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The rise of women who lift heavy and train hard has been a long time coming. Yet female athletes of all types still face the disgusting wrath of Twitter trolls and worse for participating in these traditionally masculine activities. And although we know there isn't one body type that universally means "fit," that classic slim, trim, and toned figure reigns supreme in the fitness industry.

However, over the past few years, women interested in weightlifting and strength training have created a welcoming community on Instagram. Hashtags upon hashtags have sprung up to celebrate #womenwholift, finding your #quadgoals, and ladies who were #grownstrong. Used by pro athletes and beginners alike, Insta has become a way to learn from and be inspired by the best while getting encouragement for your own progress.

So we asked women from all different areas of weight lifting — including bodybuilders, CrossFit athletes, and powerlifters — about their bodies and the amazing work they put into them. Click through to learn how they fuel their workouts and get ready to add 'em to your #fitspo lineup.
It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Check out more #TakeBackTheBeach here.
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Photo: Via @swoleesi.
Amber Abweh (@swoleesi)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
“I love boba for my pre-workout and either sushi or poke for my post.”

Favorite workout song:
“I like anything upbeat. Right now my favorite is ‘Heartbeat’ by Childish Gambino.”

Describe your body in one word:
“I would describe my body as ‘powerful.’”

Why that word?
“Powerful, to me, means to be strong, empowering, and impactful. Thats how I want to be remembered.”

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
“I feel as if society has become more accepting of women who have muscles and lift, which is great. However, there are some people who still find it appalling. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, I don't care if people don't like muscles. What I do mind is when they use their opinion to bring down others. I'm a firm believer in uplifting people, so when I see any negativity, I try to fight back with positivity.”

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
“I learned that my body is amazing, whether it's lifting 400 pounds, or just being able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. The body can do anything you can set your mind to.”

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
“Do not be afraid of the weight room. Don't be afraid of lifting heavy weights.”
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Photo: Via @love2lift.
Lexi Berriman (@love2lift)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
“Right now my favorite pre-workout snack is two cups of white sushi rice, cinnamon, vanilla, unsweetened almond milk, and Truvia. I stir it up for a healthy rice pudding.”

Favorite post-workout snack:
“My post-workout is always the same: It's Dymatize ISO-100 [a whey protein powder] in Birthday Cake or Fudge Brownie. I stir in a half-cup of oats to the shake and drink it up.”

Favorite workout song:
“‘Can't Stop The Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake is so fun, it has to make my favs list right now.”

Describe your body in one word:
“Strong.”

Why that word?
“Because when you look at me that's what you see. I look like a girl, but I have muscle. I'm not all done up, but I pull off the messy/sweaty look.”

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
“I think it's awesome. It's being embraced more every year. The best part is that, at some point, [everyone has] to lift weights for your health inside and not just aesthetics.”

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
“I have learned that I never want to stop. I have clients in their 70s that get excited when they get stronger, so that drives me to want that my whole life.”

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
“Just start. Honestly, all you have to do is show up. It doesn't matter how much you can do, but you gotta show up.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
“My piece of advice would be to respect everybody that is working towards something. Every day you train, give yourself a compliment. Then set another goal to reach!”
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(Photo: via @prettystrongbec)
Becci Holcomb (@prettystrongbec)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
"I don't really have a favorite pre-workout snack. Either I won't eat or I'll have something small about an hour and half before I train, or I feel sick. Post-workout is a different story. I usually have some sort of protein, some sort of potato (tater tots and sweet potato are two of my favorites), and a veggie."

Favorite workout song:
"'You Can't Stop Me' from Andy Mineo."

Describe your body in one word:
"Perfect."

Why that word?
"Growing up, my mother told me from a very young age that I was fat, I couldn't do anything, I should never wear sleeveless clothes because I had fat arms, and more. This really screwed up my self-confidence. It took me 26 years to get out of that mindset. I was able to do this by getting out of my comfort zone and trying out power lifting. Today, I am proud of my body. It may not be considered the perfect body, but it is so perfect for me. I have been able to accomplish so much that I didn't know I could do."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I think how social media portrays us in pictures is not the most accurate. You normally see either very skinny or very ripped women. [But] there are a lot of female lifters who look [somewhere in between] or heavier. I think this can discourage some women and girls from lifting, because they don't look like all the lifters they're exposed to."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"I think [the idea of] women who lift is becoming more common, so it's less of a spectacle. Years ago, women were viewed as frail creatures who couldn't do anything but stay at home and take care of the house. That then evolved into women doing more aerobic exercise, and slowly, weight training has become more commonplace."

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
"I have learned so much! My body is capable of so much more than I thought. When you walk out and squat 500+ pounds, it’s exhilarating. There's something about lifting weights that lifts your spirit to a level of pure independence."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Don't give up. The training might get hard, your body might protest, but don't give up. You can do so much more than you know. You have to stick with it."

Anything else you’d like to add?
"Get out of your comfort zone. Only then can you truly experience the world and discover who you are."
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Photo: Via @crystalkantu.
Krystal Cantu (@krystalcantu)

Describe your body in one word:
“Strong.”

Why that word?
“My body has been through a lot in the past 27 years, mentally and physically. It’s proven time after time that it can withstand some of the toughest challenges life can throw your way. It has bounced back from things you’d think one could never come back from, and it’s continued to remind me that all things are possible.”

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
“I’ve seen different reactions when it comes to women with muscles. Some people find it extremely attractive; others don’t. But I’ve learned over time that the media is nothing but controversy and does nothing more than cause a stir. The media shouldn’t be looked at or cared about when it comes to your body. If, in your heart, you feel sexy, know that you are sexy. If, in your heart, you feel ugly, know that you are beautiful. The media does not define you.”

How do you think that view has changed over time?
“The media throws a mixture of views when it comes to women in general. When I was younger, I was made to believe that I was supposed to be thin to be attractive. As time went on, you saw more and more women look stronger and healthier versus extremely thin. I think, now more than ever, we as a society have realized that healthy no longer means skinny and beauty now comes from within and shines through. Muscles are beautiful, curves are beautiful, all women are beautiful.”

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
“In the time that I’ve been lifting weights, I’ve noticed a significant difference in my overall strength (mentally and physically) and my confidence. Lifting empowers me as a woman. Lifting encourages me to do more, not only in the gym, but in everyday life. Lifting frees my spirit and calms my mind. Lifting is the medicine most doctors won’t prescribe you, but it sure as hell is the medicine that has healed me.”

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
“If you want to do what I do, do it. Don’t question yourself, don’t doubt yourself, and don’t hesitate. Practice every day and enjoy the ride, for it is the journey that is most beautiful, not the destination.”
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Photo: via @trackfu.
Kimberly Walford (@trackfu)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
“For pre-workouts, I like to have something that’s heavy with carbs, like a sandwich or popcorn. I also take my pre-workout supplements, like creatine, because I need extra energy throughout. Something else I’ve really tried to focus on over the years is eating during my workout, even if it’s just a piece of candy or a protein bar, just something with carbs to keep my energy levels up while training.

“For post-workout, I like to finish with a heavy meal, especially anything with chicken, rice, or potatoes just to make sure I’m getting the protein and carbs that I need.”

Favorite workout song:
“Right now it’s ‘Beast’ by Rob Bailey."

Describe your body in one word:
“Explosive.”

Why that word?
“When I get under a bar, I want to harness as much energy as possible in a short amount of time. I have to be explosive to make it happen.”

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"Sometimes that [negative stereotype] is rooted in a lack of education about the benefits of strength training for women. And it’s also rooted in good old-age stereotypes that, for women, lifting heavy is going to limit your ability to reproduce, or it’s going to make you look less feminine and less desirable to men. It really sucks that that’s still how it’s seen by some people in society. But I’m thankful to say it seems like, over the years, we’ve really started to dispel those stereotypes by seeing people like myself and other female lifters.”

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
“It’s resilient and it has the ability to adapt. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten wiser about paying attention to flexibility and core exercises and utilizing the proper biomechanics as you lift longer. Those are the things that are going to allow you to stay in this sport as long as you want to — and help stave off injuries.”

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
“Find a great coach. Take the time to research the individual you choose to work with to guide you in your career… Figure out what type of lifting you want to do, [then look at the] state chair of that particular federation. Go join the Facebook and Instagram [of that federation] and talk to people on the page. You may find your coach on there, too.” (Ed note: For example, the International Weightlifting Federation or USA Powerlifting.)

Anything else you’d like to add?
"As always, I have to say thank you to my sponsors, SBD Apparel, Concrete, and Apeman Strong. They help support our sport, and that's what we need.

"My message to the lifters is that if you are interested in starting this sport, do not be deterred by what anyone else tells you unless it’s something positive. You need to have a strong belief in yourself and stay focused on what you want to accomplish in order to make it happen. As long as you never lose sight of that, you can always find what you need to get to your goals."
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6 of 18
Photo: via @ejanss.
Ewa Januszkiewicz (@ejanss)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
“Pre-, intra-, and post-workout snacks are always carb-heavy, which means delicious. [That includes] things like cinnamon coconut rice, fruit, pasta, or, if I want to be fancy, my favorite Starbucks drink. Having my intra-workout (during the workout) shake is the most important, though, because it provides me with lasting energy throughout my training and prevents hunger. Of course, protein is a must as well. Sushi is a common post-workout treat for me.”

Favorite workout song:
“That’s tough! Spotify playlists are my go-to. I like to go back to the '90s and 2000s hip-hop/rap songs. Currently it’s been ‘Dip’ by Danny Brown.”

Describe your body in one word:

“Powerful.”

Why that word?
“My body is strong, adaptable, muscular, and explosive. But to me it goes beyond my athleticism. My body houses my brain — my intellect, my emotions, my personality. My body is truly powerful — I am its sole proprietor, and with it, I overcome hurdles. Take me as a whole, and I am unstoppable.”

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?

“I think there has been a lot of progress in societal acceptance and even empowerment for strong women, especially given the positive media coverage surrounding sports like weight lifting, power lifting, gymnastics, and CrossFit. However, I think society is still very selective of which women they are accepting of when it comes to being strong or having muscle.

“This comes down to a lack of education and understanding of strength sports, and the remaining negativity is still deeply rooted in our culture’s perspective of “acceptable” (yet skewed) beauty standards. More so than ever before, body acceptance and health are being promoted. But, honestly, I am concerned that this is just another societal trend, rather than a cultural change.”

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
“That it is healthier, and I am happier, when I focus on performance rather than aesthetics.”

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
“If it scares you, then do it. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Practically speaking, though, I suggest you don’t rush. Focus on technique and process rather than the end goal.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
“Don’t ever put a ceiling on your goals. Don’t limit yourself. Be passionate, be kind, and kick ass."
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Photo: via @kris10pope.
Kristin Pope (@kris10pope)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
"I love Pop-Tarts before I lift. And pasta or cereal afterward."

Favorite workout song:
"Anything Lil Wayne!"

Describe your body in one word:
"Strong."

Why that word?
"I feel like every part of my body is functional for my sport, and I love that! Nothing I do is for aesthetics — only for the love of the game."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I think it has changed a lot, and people are starting to really respect female lifters. But there is still a lot of negativity from a large quantity of people. I hope in the future more people continue to be accepting of female athletes and the body types that come with strength training. I am proud of my body, I work hard for it, and I don't let anyone else's opinion affect how I feel about myself. So I don't think about it too much, honestly."

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
"I have learned that anything is possible. I started out pretty skinny before lifting and have earned every ounce of muscle mass that I have. That makes me proud!"

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Focus on technique first. It makes all of the difference to make technique gains [first] and add strength gains later on, instead of having to undo bad habits in Olympic weight lifting."
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Photo: Via @brittanyfried.
Brittany Fried (@brittanyfried)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"I like to eat an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"My Blackstone Labs Isolation Protein shake immediately after my workout. Then I have a full meal a little later, once I get home."

Describe your body in one word:
"Inspiring."

Why that word?
"Although I may not be shredded year-round or have the body to inspire everyone, my body inspires me. Whether [it's] how lean I can get on prep or how much I can lift, it's awesome to know what I can accomplish. Even if I don't look phenomenal, my body and its strength is inspiring."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I feel that media has shifted to empower women who lift. Although there are stragglers who just can't deal with a strong, confident, good-looking woman, the majority of the world can empower or be empowered by a woman who lifts. I think more women and young ladies can see that they can be who they want and don't need to be perfect by old society views. They can choose what their version of perfect is — whether they lift or not."

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
"I've learned that I'm stronger than I ever thought possible, and I don't just mean in actual physical strength. I've found that lifting and contest prep have showed me a determination and confidence that I didn't know I had."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"My advice to a beginner would be to listen to your body. Whether it's telling you to rest or showing you how awesome you are, it is your greatest tool in this world."

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"Focus on your progress, and don't let a minor setback derail your journey."
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Photo: Via @arooshanekonam.
Aroosha Nekonam (@arooshanekonam)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"Rice cakes with almond butter and lots of cinnamon!"

Favorite post-workout snack:
"Oats with protein powder (or 'proats' as I like to call them). Super yummy and satisfying, especially after leg day."

Favorite workout song:
"There are so many I love. I like a good mix, but one song that always gets me motivated is 'I Disappear' by Metallica."

Describe your body in one word:
"Mine."

Why that word?
"I have grown to accept my body in its entirety — every flaw and every imperfection is what makes it unique. I love it because it is my own; it's powerful, capable, and has never given up on me — even when I treated it poorly."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"There is a growing shift from the old mindset that women cannot be viewed as strong and feminine at the same time, especially on Instagram. It is now becoming more acceptable and aspirational to build your body up rather than to break it down. Women who are strong, have muscle, and can shift some real weight are now considered role models for the younger generation, and this is a beautiful thing."

What have you learned about your body from lifting weights?
"I have learned that if you treat your body right and fuel it properly, it can take you the places you need to go. I have seen amazing progress since I started lifting — mentally and physically. And I am only just getting started."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"My advice is [to focus on] progress, not perfection. Goals are individual, not universal, so just because someone can run faster or lift heavier [than you, that] does not mean your effort is invalid. Don't compare your progress to theirs; be the best version of you."
10 of 18
Photo: Via @christmasabbott.
Christmas Abbott (@christmasabbott)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"Boar's Head deli meat, half an apple, and some peanut butter."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"I have an immediate recovery shake within minutes after finishing my WOD. I use NutriForce Sports NutriWhey mixed with coconut water. Once I cool down and get home, I have a big salad. Right now I love a summer salad made up of a spinach and kale mix with strawberries, chicken, grapes, pine nuts, and a light balsamic."

Favorite workout song:
"'Ridin Round' by Kali Uchis."

Describe your body in one word:
"Badass."

Why that word?
"You gotta believe it to be it."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"Social media is becoming more and more conscious and embracing the strong female image rather than bashing it. We still have a long way to go. However, strong is now considered sexy and not scary."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Learn the technique, know your goals, celebrate the small successes, and always give yourself an 'atta girl.'"

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"The hustle to make it is hard — which is exactly why most people don't live out their dreams. It takes dedication, hard work, passion, drive, and a relentless effort to get anywhere out of the norm. Discover your self-worth and what you are capable of. Be relentless with your dreams even if you're the only one who believes in them."
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Photo: Via @eakinwale.
Elisabeth Akinwale (@eakinwale)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"I usually don’t eat immediately before training, but I will have a complete meal about 60 to 90 minutes before a workout. A healthy protein source (usually ground turkey, salmon, or white fish), some rice or sweet potato, and a green vegetable like broccoli or kale."

Favorite post-workout snack:

"Post-workout will be a similar meal, with a larger portion of complex carbohydrates. If I need a boost right before or during a workout, my favorite snack is an apple with SunButter, or some simple carbs in the form of lemonade."

Favorite workout song:
"'Never Scared' by Bone Crusher."

Describe your body in one word:
"Adaptable."

Why that word?

"It’s not the sexiest descriptor, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate my body’s ability to rise to fitness challenges, continually grow, develop, and do amazing things."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I think the mainstream view of women who lift and have muscle definition is a reflection of deeply rooted gender expectations in our society — expectations that become limiting if we feel the need to adhere to them. Which is a big reason lifting can be so empowering for women.

"From a personal perspective, I’ve always surrounded myself with people who appreciate strong women, and I haven’t felt much pressure to conform to a frail image of womanhood. Because of this, I think it’s important to continue to be an example of the diverse qualities of femininity — including physical strength."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"As increasing numbers of women embrace strength-sports, I think the fitness industry has responded accordingly, leading to even further opportunities for women to train hard, train heavy, and train with other women who are interested in developing strength. From Title IX, to increasing gender equity in pay among professional athletes, I think we will continue to see the mainstream fitness industry embracing and reflect all types of women."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Develop a love for the process and the art of your training. Competing in anything at a high level requires consistent effort sustained over a long period of time. If you don’t find enjoyment in the process it will be difficult to sustain motivation and to live with a focus in the present."
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Photo: Via @Camille4Wildcat.
Camille Brown (@camille4wildcat)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"I like to keep it simple — a banana, maybe some eggs. Typically I'm up at 3:30 in the morning, so I'll probably slam a protein shake."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"When I'm not on my diet regime, my favorite is definitely either my protein shake paired with a donut or the most epic breakfast burrito."

Favorite workout song:
"I'm one of those people who listens to a song on repeat until I'm sick of it, and then I find new song. Right now it has to be Rihanna's 'Work.'"

Describe your body in one word:
"Strong."

Why that word?
"That’s the only intention for my workouts. I do not work out to have abs or to look good for other people. I honestly just work out so I can be a strong woman."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I think, with Instagram and the whole fitspo hashtag, it’s getting better. We’re in this great transition from girls wanting a thigh gap to wanting quad definition.

"When I was in high school, everyone was just focused on being skinny. [But] I was just always working out to pursue my dream of being a collegiate softball player. So I was getting quad definition and a bit of a butt and it was very atypical at the time. Now to see high school girls who are looking up to females who want definition and that’s their goal — I think it’s a great transition that we’re seeing today."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"There’s still a lot to be done. I think it's still just a little too much about, 'I want to work out to look good.' I think it needs to be more, 'I want to work out because I want to be strong mentally, physically, and emotionally.' That's more important for the long run and your overall health."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"It’s hard. It’s not easy. It’s gonna take a lot of your time. But if it's something you really want to learn and pursue, then none of that's gonna matter. When you're sore and you don’t want to wake up at 4 in the morning but you gotta get it done, it's going to be so much more worth it when you get that PR [personal record] — there's no greater reward than seeing all of your hard work paying off."

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"Whatever kind of workout that you love to do, do it with full gusto. If that's yoga, that's awesome. Whatever your niche is — it doesn't have to be lifting — but whatever works for you, do it. Try new things and find what you love."
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Photo: Via @laurenfisher.
Lauren Fisher (@laurenfisher)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"My favorite pre-workout snack has to be Greek yogurt with almond butter and berries in it."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"I love to drink Progenex More Muscle Cookies & Cream and then eat a serving of rice."

Favorite workout song:
"I have so many favorite workout songs, but right now it would have to be 'El Chapo' by The Game and Skrillex."

Describe your body in one word:
"Machine."

Why that word?
"My body is like a machine because everything I do to fuel my body has a reason. I want to make sure my body is healthy for a long time, so I invest in it. I get bodywork done regularly, such as acupuncture and massage, and I eat clean. I always make sure I get a full 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. Without the proper fuel, my performance would suffer."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"We are finally getting to the point where they can recognize that strong and healthy is the new beautiful. And I think many more people are viewing women who lift weights to be powerful and positive inspirations to the next generation of females."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"Women now have the confidence to lift weights like men do and not worry about what others think. It empowers them to eat healthy and live a fit lifestyle. That’s what my initiative (and hashtag!) Grown Strong is all about: to remind young women that strength is beautiful, and to tap into their gift, whatever it may be. At the end of the day, being happy with who you are on the inside and out is the big motivation to why women find a reason to stay strong."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Sign up for a local CrossFit gym with quality coaches and members that will encourage you to learn and progress every day in the gym. Don’t be intimidated! CrossFit is all about community. And also remember to have fun with whatever you decide to do. Fun is the key to success!"
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Photo: Via @abbott.the.red.
Emily Abbott (@abbott.the.red)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"Because I’m working out a lot, I’m usually eating a lot. I’m into these gluten-free waffles. So I have two of them and put some Rainforest Nut Butter with Coconut from Nuts to You on top. With bananas and agave syrup, I can go the whole day."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"I try to have a protein shake and I add in some liquid carbs and some creatine. I usually pair that with coconut milk because it's really yummy. Sometimes I throw in a couple of ice chunks so I feel like it’s a little café drink. I also try to eat within 30 minutes of working out so I don't lose anything, because I'm constantly trying to repair and build up muscle."

Favorite workout song:
"Any Flume remix. There's a YouTube playlist of Flume — it's so good and it’s pretty epic so I can listen to it while I do anything.
I’m also really into old rock. Anything [by] Joe Cocker, like, 'With A Little Help From My Friends,' or, 'Space Captain,' or any Rolling Stones; anything you can sing along to. My parents used to play a lot of classic rock, so any time it comes on I can sing along to it. I have more of an eclectic taste — anything Top 40 totally depresses me."

Describe your body in one word:
"Powerful."

Why that word?
"For a long time, I tried to shy away from being my authentic self, which is that I’m a bigger girl with curves and muscles and I’m stocky. That helps me to be really powerful — I can lift things, I can jump onto things, I can pull myself up over obstacles. I think I just need to totally accept myself and my body for what it is — and it’s powerful and incredible. For a long time, I just wanted to be lean and skinny, but that's just not me. So I just totally embrace how powerful [my body is] and what my body can do."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I’m in a niche world. Everyone in CrossFit is super supportive. But there’s also a ton of trolls who say mean things. But when I hear that kind of stuff and when I see [it] in the media — women are always told they have to get toned and lean — I just try to focus on, 'Well, of course I want to look a certain way, but lifting and being able to clean-and-jerk 240 pounds is way more joyful to me than looking good in a pair of skinny jeans.'

"I think media is shifting, though, and people are beginning to recognize that a powerful woman is a strong woman. There are more outlets now for women to look any way they want to look. We all have such unique body types, we just have to learn to be comfortable in the body types that we’re blessed with. It's hard because the media portrays a certain type of woman, but there's so many types of women, and you just need to find which woman you want to be and be authentic to yourself."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Be easy on yourself. A lot of people come in and expect amazing things or that their body should be able to do something, and then they get upset when they can't. Even if you had a shitty day, you still got in the gym and you still moved. I think it's just showing up every day and focusing on the process, not the outcome. That's so much more important than losing five pounds.

"And try not to compare yourself to others, but compare yourself to you last week, last month, last year. You’ll get way more satisfaction out of that."
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Photo: Via @nicolemwilkins.
Nicole Wilkins (@nicolemwilkins)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
"Grilled chicken, brown rice, and avocado pre-workout. Protein shake with an apple post-workout."

Favorite workout song:

"Anything on Spotify — today's top hits, dance pop… I don't really have a current favorite song. There [are] too many to choose from!"

Describe your body in one word:
"Athletic."

Why that word?
"I am not thin and I am not obese. I am a muscular woman who wants to look, feel, and perform to the best of my ability."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"I have realized the older I get, that no matter what you do in life, you will not please everyone. The media has their own opinions on the ideal and if I don't fit that protocol, it is not my problem. I like who I am, what I look like, and the body I have been given. I do think that the media has come a long way with the acceptance of muscle on women."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"If you notice models in fitness magazines, athletes in CrossFit, and even the mannequins in sporting goods stores, there's more muscle on the women than there used to be."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Be consistent and make sure you love what you do. Set small goals and take it one day at a time."
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Photo: Via @krissymaecagney.
Krissy Mae Cagney (@krissymaecagney)

Favorite pre-workout snack:
"When I'm behaving myself, I used to do oats, but they take a long time to digest. So recently I switched to cream of rice with a little bit of honey and banana in it. When I'm not behaving myself, I'll have donuts."

Favorite post-workout snack:
"I usually drink Vitargo to get fast-digesting carbs to start the repair process quicker. And I also take vegan protein powder. Usually I have a meal an hour or two later."

Favorite workout song:
"Anything gangster rap from the '90s. Yesterday I listened to 'My Mind Playing Tricks On Me' by the Geto Boys."

One word to describe your body:
"Solid."

Why that word?
"There's kind of an ongoing joke at the gym — it's from a song lyric — we always say, 'Stay solid' to each other. It just means physically, emotionally, and mentally solid."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?
"There’s definitely been a turning point. The CrossFit industry has changed what is considered sexy for women. People realized that it's okay to be strong or muscular. And I don't think the media puts as much pressure on women to be thin as they used to.

"I do think there is still some negativity towards women who have the body types of getting muscular, but I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about that process. It's not easy to do. So I think it comes down to making sure women get their information from the right sources."

How do you think that view has changed over time?
"When bodybuilding created the bikini category, that lean physique was popular. But what’s happened recently is that CrossFit has re-popularized competitive weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongmen. It’s trendy now to be strong and competing in something where you can demonstrate your strength. I think people’s idea of a woman’s body has changed because of strength sports."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"The most important thing is to compete in a meet. I know it sounds incredibly intimidating, but the community is so supporting. And I think when someone experiences the community and meets other strong women at a powerlifting meet, it's incredibly inspiring. And if you’re not really training, it can be hard to stick to a program. It comes down to doing that first meet just to do it and meet other people who compete in that sport."
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Photo: Via @liftlikelindsey.
Lindsey Valenzuela (@liftlikelindsey)

Favorite pre- and post-workout snacks:
"CytoSport Monster pre-workout and Muscle Milk!"

Favorite workout song:
"'Push It' by Salt-N-Pepa."

Describe your body in one word:

"Pregnant."

Why that word?
"Because I'm currently seven months preggers."

How do you feel about the way we view women who lift?

"I feel a revolution is happening, and people are more accepting of women who are in great physical shape."

How do you think that view has changed over time?

"Women have decided not to conform to others' standards, accepting themselves for what they see as beautiful and strong."

One piece of advice you would give to a beginner:
"Trust the process; take it one day at a time. The journey to being a fitter you is just that — a journey."

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
"Never be afraid to face your fears. Believe in yourself daily."
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