Kristen Bellon - Powerlifter Interview

Authot: Jonathan. L, owner - Models Observer
October 2017

1. Tell us about yourself and how long have you been powerlifting?

I am 41, married with a child, I work in the residential mortgage world and have for decades. I started powerlifting four years ago this November and have been competing since May of 2014.

2. How did you get into it?

I've always worked out to stay in shape. In 2012 I started competing in figure and did four shows, but I always felt out of place. Like many women in the sport, I developed a pretty severe eating disorder. On my 37th birthday, getting ready a show two weeks out, I had had enough of the starvation/ head in toilet/ body hatred scene and backed out. That same week, realizing I wanted to compete in a strength sport, I Googled searched for a powerlifting coach and the rest is history. The eating disorder and body dysmorphia slowly subsided, although I work through tough times to this day.

A post shared by “Coach” Shawn Bellon (@rptsllc) on

3. What are your best lifts?

Best lifts- 290 squat (non-competitive personal best), 187 bench, 374 deadlift at 132 body weight (60kg).

4. What is your lifting technique like and how did you develop it?

Technique varies- my husband and coach (@rptsllc) does my programming. We vary rep ranges, volume, weight and intensity. The three 'big' lifts always are a mainstay with a variety of assistance work after. Focus is to increase strength, but we work just as diligently on recovery.

5. How do you utilize your diet as a way to maintain your weight while increasing strength? What is your caloric intake?

Diet is key to success- I used to be scared of food and have thankfully learned to utilize it for growth and recovery. Powerlifters do not need to be in a mode of forever bulk- a healthy, clean and consistent diet will definitely make for a better lifter. I recently stopped eating meat so I am very diligent in getting enough protein in throughout the day. I don't count macros, but I do track to make sure I get in my calories and again, protein. I try to consume at least 2300 calories per day, some days more if I can fit it in. The bulk of my diet consists of egg whites, greek yogurt, protein powder, peanut butter, vegetables, tofu, beans, nuts, oatmeal and fruit. Oh, and water! I shoot for a gallon a day (usually I miss that to be honest, but I still try!)

6. Please describe your daily/weekly training. Which muscles do you target to improve lifting?

I train with weights four days a week, do a conditioning/boot style class once a week, yoga once week and then three days of cardio mixed with mobility work. In addition to working on the main three lifts, I do a lot of back work and exercises to increase strength in my posterior chain. With lifting, a strong back, core, glutes and quads will really make a difference. Right now my training is Bench with assistance, Squat with assistance, Overhead Press with assistance and Deadlift with assistance.

7. What were the challenges of coming up as a powerlifter?

Physical challenges I have encountered are some hip, back and quad issues- I think starting this sport later in life without a really strong foundation may have lent to those injuries which are unfortunately re-occurring. Another challenge is the mental aspect, just getting to that point where you push through a lift no matter what. You need to let your body take over and at the same time mentally push through when you are at that point where it's really hard. I have been focusing on this in my training a lot more recently- I ask myself 'am I stopping at my mental wall or my physical wall', it keeps me honest! I constantly tell myself- Never Quit.

8. Tell us about some of your most memorable moments in powerlifting so far.

My most memorable moments- one was when my son was at one of my meets and he saw me push through my lifts, he was right up front yelling for me and the look on his face when I was done was priceless, he was so proud and having a son see his mom in that light- a strong woman who doesn't give up, that can't be beat. Another is my husband always being with me and always supporting me; one meet when I won Best Lifter he just picked me up and hugged me so tight in front of everyone, he did the same thing at my most recent meet when I benched my 187, he picked that number for me and his faith in me was just amazing. Also, the people I have met through lifting- true friends that mean the world to me.

9. Depcik & Williams (2004) found that women who strength-train experience greater reduction in body-image-disturbance than women who do not lift weights. How do you successfully grow your mental strength in addition to physical strength?

Growing my mental strength takes practice, practice, practice! Part of it is inherent; I've always had this crazy, sick work ethic and a strong will to succeed. At that same time, I am very shy and can be very insecure, so there has been a lot that has gone into pushing myself to be comfortable being successful. Yoga has helped with focus and that carries over to the platform. I listen to some motivational soundtracks and I also work with visualization practices. Months leading up to a meet I will visualize the lift, the weight, where I need to be with my stance/breath and cues.

10. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

Away from powerlifting I really love spending time with my family- we love little weekend getaways, hiking, outdoors, I've recently found a passion for decorating and home improvements (minor ones). I like yoga like I said, reading, learning I like gardening and time with my friends. Some days I like cooking and being bold with that too.

11. What is your favorite motto/quote in life?

My motto, as I said above, 'Never Give Up'. That will get me through anything- and not just lifting. Can you imagine how successful we would all be if we didn't stop when things got hard? :)

12. Future goals?

Future lifting goals- 325 squat, 215 bench, 405 deadlift by April 2018. I'm also a State Referee and am going to work hard at getting in my judging requirements to advance to a National Referee.

I want to end this by saying thank you, again, and if there is one message I could get to women out there is this- don't let others dictate your worth, don't let what the media or society decide for you what is beautiful or desirable- we all come in different shapes and sizes for a reason and there isn't one definition of beauty. Never be afraid to try something new and don't fear giving all you've got for what you want.

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