Susan Salazar - Powerlifter, IFBB Pro - Interview

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

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

I am 41 years old. I am a Women’s Physique, IFBB Pro. I am also a Navy veteran. I have been powerlifting for only six years.

2. How did you get into it?

I had just finished competing at an IFBB Pro show in Fort Lauderdale and I did not placed well. The judges’ critique was that I was “too bulky” and that I had to lose some size if I wanted to be competitive. I had heard that critique too many times, I was literally at my wits end. I had said to myself, “I quit, I’m done with this”. I realized that no matter what I did, I would never good enough for the judge’s panel. On the plane ride back home my training partner, Leonetta Richardson, who is an elite level powerlifter saw how discouraged I was and suggested I try powerlifting, just to give myself a break from the stage. As soon as we got back home, we started training and I did my very first single-ply, deadlift only meet and I have never looked back since. It was literally the best decision I have ever made.

3. What are your best lifts?

Squat 462, Classic Raw
Bench 264
Deadlift 490

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

I would call my lifting technique “slow and controlled”. I feel that being a bodybuilder for over fifteen years help developed my technique. I learned how to perform the exercises slow and controlled and with strict form. I use that same technique in powerlifting.

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

I am a bodybuilder, so I eat like one. This means I eat clean complete meals year-round with a few cheat meals here and there. I also carb cycle when it comes close to any competitions whether it is bodybuilding or powerlifting. Normally, calories vary depending on where I am in my training cycle, they range anywhere from 2500 to 3000 calories per day.

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

My style of training is based off the Conjugate Method and a lot of my bodybuilding accessories. For example:
Day 1 Dynamic Effort Upper is usually a speed bench with bands or chains, followed by some chest, deltoid and triceps accessories.
Day 2 Max Effort Lower is a maximal squat or a deadlift variation followed by some quadriceps and calf accessories
Day 3 Max Effort Upper is a maximal bench variation followed with some back accessories.
Day 4 Dynamic Effort Lower is a speed squat and a top set of deadlifts followed by some hamstring and calf accessories.

I target my entire body to improve lifting. I use the bodybuilding mentality that every muscle must be worked to achieve the “complete package”. Same goes for powerlifting, I do not want to have any weak or lagging muscles.

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

Patience and consistency, most new lifters want everything yesterday. It does not work that way. I have been competing in both bodybuilding and powerlifting for over fifteen years and I still know do not everything there is to know about being an athlete. Throughout that time, I have learned to be patient and dedicate all my effort into finishing what I set out to do.

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

My most memorable moment in powerlifting was back at the 2014 SPF Women’s Pro AM, I broke my first All-Time World Record alongside my training partners, Gracie Davis and Leonetta Richardson.

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

Again, I believe that my career as a bodybuilder has given me the mindset to be successful at powerlifting. A stage prep is no joke, especially doing it for over 10 years straight; it has helped me to persevere through most the most trying times in my career.

10. What do you like doing away from powerlifting?

Honestly, nothing. What else is there??? I truly believe that I was meant to powerlift. There is nothing else that gives me more satisfaction and joy than lifting heavy weights and putting my body through the physical stress it takes to get stronger and better.

11. What is your favorite motto/quote in life? “Trust yourself”

12. Future goals?

One of my future goals is to make as many of my athletes ALL-TIME World record holders.

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