The FIRST athlete for my “Featured Athlete” series is none other than Sally Andersen.
I met her about a year or so ago at the Humane League’s After the Holidays Gala in Baltimore, MD. My bestie and I were so excited to meet a vegan lifting chick that we barely knew what to say! I remember Sally being cool (duh), funny and carrying herself very well.
Figure competitor turned Powerlifter, Sally gives us some insight into her world and how she got here:
Who has been your biggest inspiration to get into fitness?
In elementary school, when it was time to do the presidential fitness test, my gym teacher had all the girls sit to the side and watch the boys. He said we weren’t going to waste time watching the girls try pull ups because girls couldn’t do pull ups. I have such a clear memory of that day and of being told that no matter how hard I tried I would “never be as strong as the boys.” After defiantly jumping up and doing a few pull ups and getting sent to the principal’s office for calling him a sexist pig, I set out on a life mission to be as strong as the boys.
What about powerlifting stands out to you than other forms of training?
Deadlifting has always been something that I turn to when life isn’t perfect. I can walk up and be alone with the bar. I can’t rely on or blame anyone else for what happens in that moment. I either tackle my obstacle and big heavy shit up or I don’t. Nothing is grey or wushu washy. I listen to the first minute of Eminem’s “‘Til I Collapse” on repeat during so many deadlift sessions because he sums it up perfectly:
“Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.”
And then I sing the “yo’ left” part as “GO LIFT, GO LIFT…” 😛
What do you plan on accomplishing in the year 2015? 2016?
I never have any clue what the future holds. The last time I set long term fitness goals it had to do with being a runner. After a car accident ruined that dream, and I wasted a year fighting to still reach it, I’ve learned to just roll with life and chase short term goals. All I know for now is that I will be tackling my first sanctioned USPA powerlifting meets, one with Team PlantBuilt.
How did you make the transition to being vegan? What was the final motivating factor?
In my early 20s I was on 8 medications. When I finally grew sick of being pumped full of pills and still feeling less than healthy, I started changing my diet. One day I just realized I was eating a vegan diet. After doing some research on recipes, nutrition, etc., I dove in full force. It has been a lifestyle for me for over 8 years now. It started for health but stuck for the animals.
What setbacks have you been faced with and how did you overcome them?
Injuries! Oy vey, injuries! I’ve learned to tackle any injuries that come my way by seeing them as a learning and growing experience. I can now help my personal training clients from a first hand point of view when it comes to things like low back problems, shoulder sprains, tendonitis, and more.
How do you stay motivated?
Motivation has never been a problem for me. I’m an all or nothing type of person. When I throw myself into something I’m in it, no matter what may come. It’s harder for me to keep myself in check and not workout too much!
Any advice for those who want to become vegan and start training?
Just do it! Know that both are a learning curve but there’s endless knowledge and help out there. Don’t set out to do it perfectly, just set out to do it.
(with detailed tips & personalized support at an affordable rate)