Kristie Strand - Powerlifter Interview

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

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

I am 51 years old....almost 52! I have 5 kids, 4 daughters and 1 son. I also have 4 grandkids! I am married and I work with a Durable Medical Equipment company as a Territory Coordinator and love my job! I moved from Texas to Utah in 195 and absolutely love it here. I have only been seriously powerlifting for a little over 1 year.

2. How did you get into it?

I have always been health conscience and competitive. I grew up learning ballet, playing softball, and lifting. I have always loved and been amazed at what our bodies are capable of doing. I competed in women's bodybuilding a few times and enjoyed that, but decided that putting all my hard work and effort into someone else's opinion of what I needed to look like to win was no where I wanted to be. I was training with a coach for an upcoming bodybuilding show and the gym we trained at also trained powerlifters and I was always intrigued at the strength and camaraderie they all seem to have for each other. From that point on I knew that powerlifting is where I wanted and needed to be putting my efforts.

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3. What are your best lifts?

I would have to say my best lift is squats 253 then deadlifts 281 both at competitions. Bench is where I struggle but did get 131 at competition.

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

I am currently training with the World Class Powerlifter Shawn Bellon of Raw Power Training Systems @rptsllc. My training consists of all 3 of the main lifts throughout the week along with accessory work each lifting day. Reps and sets vary depending on where we are in meet season or improvement season. Mobility is key to keeping my body able to perform good solid technique on lifts so I work that daily.

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

Diet is so critical in helping me maintain weight and improving my strength in my lifts. I am currently working with another great individual IFBB PRO Annee Sheehan for my nutrition at this time. She coordinates my meals with how my programming for lifting is going. I eat almost no processed food, good proteins such as chicken, elk, and fish. Lots of good veggies with brown rice and quinoa. I also try to get in at least 3/4 to a gallon of water a day. I am currently sitting at about 2500 calories a day.

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

I usually lift MWF starting with squats on Monday. I will have a fourth day of weights in there most weeks but tapers off closer to competition. I have recently started incorporating a yoga class once a week and as mentioned before, mobility is a must for me daily. I also do some form of HIIT cardio and some long steady cardio throughout the week. I also try to get at least one if not two session of cryotherapy in every week as well as myotherapy. Both of these have been amazing in helping my recovery for aches and pains!

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

My challenges definitely are being older (the body does unfortunately not function the same as when you're 20 or 30!) I have a piriformis issue that keeps me from deadlifting in a "normal" foot position. This was a mental struggle for me as I didn't think I would be able to pull heavy again. My coach was awesome and had me change foot positions and it works for me! Mentally powerlifting can be a bit overwhelming. Pushing through those last hard heavy reps is brutal but reminding yourself that you are capable of anything helps. I'll always have my good friend Kristen Bellon in my head yelling, "don't you quit!!!!" when I wanted to during one of our training sessions together.

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

The biggest one that stands out the most is Fitcon this past year. I only like to know my openers for weight numbers and then on 2nd and 3rd attempts I let my coach decided what those are going to be. A few of my daughters came to watch me that day so I was so excited for them to see Mom and Mimi (what my grandkids call me!) do her stuff. It was deadlift time and I think I started with 250 which there was a time I couldn't move that off the floor. I pulled that easy and then second attempt went well also. Third attemp came and I had no idea what the weight coach had told them to load on the bar. I remember walking up to the bar, hearing my coach giving me cues and then pulling that bar with all I had!! I heard the cue to drop it and then I turned to see if it was a good lift. 3 white lights! I ran to hug my coach and asked what the weight was and it was 281!! I couldn't believe it! Highlight of lifting so far!

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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?

I am a firm believer in meditation to keep mental strength strong. I do it every day even if it is just for 5 or 10 minutes to quiet the chaos in my head and to breathe. I watch motivational videos and really enjoy Ted Talks. I also incorporate yoga weekly to help center myself. With all of the social media in this day and age it is so easy and tempting to compare yourself to others which is so self damaging. We are all different in our own lovely way and should nurture what we have to offer the world and not base it on a comparison to someone else. Be your own hero and celebrate who and what you are!

10. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

We are a very outdoors family. We love to camp in the mountains and play at the sand dunes. My husband and I snowmobile every chance we get during the winter. I love spending time with all my kids and my extended family.

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

Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. If you live by this then I feel you can not go wrong. When you are in tune with your soul and are doing what you are so very passionate about there will be no stopping what you achieve.

12. Future goals?

My goals for powerlifting right now are to have a 275 squat, 150 bench, and 300 deadlift by April 2018 Fitcon. I am also very interested in learning all I can about yoga and possibly becoming a Yogi.

Thank you so much for giving women a platform to reach other women and lift each other up. It is never too late to start something new. I did not start powerlifting until I was 50! Find your passion and cultivate it and do not let anyone stop you!

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