My short bio: Journalist by day, middleweight strongwoman by night. I've been lifting for three years and have competed in two national competitions following years of heavy smoking and treating my body like crap. Started smoking at 15 and I varied between half a pack and 2 packs a day for nine years.

My Proof: A before/after:

Comments: 622 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

poop-machine311 karma

Can we see a before and after pic?

buriedinthemind40 karma

one among the fence?


Now we're coming home.

houseatlantic30 karma

Man your own jackhammer

alyssa211340 karma

The truth be told the child was born

alyssa211312 karma

Hell yea!

alyssa21136 karma

Before and after is in the bio.

pussgurka200 karma

How did you get started with lifting?

alyssa2113538 karma

I was athletic as a kid and then in high school and college just stopped caring and was all about smoking/drinking/eating. Eventually I got up to 200 pounds and was going through about half a pack of cigarettes in a day.

In 2014 I lost one of my longtime best friends to a heroin overdose. Though I never did hard drugs, I knew I was slowly killing myself with my lifestyle and it just shook me out of it. After her funeral, I decided I was going to change and that the cigarette I had in my hand was the last one I'd ever touch. I haven't smoked since that day.

I joined a gym that focused on circuit training and did that for about a year. One of the coaches who started working there pulled me aside one day and said with my strength and body type I could be a great strongwoman. I went up to a specialized gym with her and fell in love with it. I haven't looked back.

Yourewelcomejanet6 karma

What is your body type that makes it a “strong woman” body type?

I_r_redditmans4 karma

I don’t know about OP, but my lifter friend has told me that generally short thick people do better because you need to move the weight less distance.

alyssa21132 karma

Exactly what you said, I’m short and stocky lol

belaveri199184 karma

Have there been any lasting effects from smoking that have had any effect on lifting?

alyssa2113127 karma

I think between having sports induced asthma and being a heavy smoker for about a decade, my lungs aren't what they could be. I have an inhaler that I keep on me at all times. I don't use it as much as I used to but every now and then I use it. Breathing is something I'm always keeping an eye on while lifting, especially for reps.

dragonphysics61 karma

What kind of program do you recommend for an older (50+) woman who wants to shoot for a change like this? Asking for my wife who’s not a Redditor.

alyssa211379 karma

I'd suggest she find something that she likes to do that gets her moving. Whether that's running, dancing, swimming, anything that's burning calories that's enjoyable is a great start. Just joining a gym and going to do the treadmill will get old very fast.

For things like strength training or even just using weights, many gyms have trainers that she could work with. They'll help assess her goals. There are also a lot of gyms that are just women, if she feels more comfortable going there. But the key is finding something she likes to do so it doesn't feel like a chore that eventually just goes out the window.

dragonphysics17 karma

Thank you!! I’ll pass this on to her! You are awesome!!

verybonita23 karma

I’m 54 and have always hated exercise for its own sake. I’ve always liked walking my dogs, but no hills, lol. Anyway, I’ve recently started boxercise and, to my surprise, I really like it. Obviously, I’m struggling to keep up with the others that have been going for a while (and are younger!), but I do what I can and enjoy it. I’m planning on trying CrossFit soon, too. I just pay casually at the moment, but if I keep it up I’ll look at joining the gym. I’ve also done aquarobics, which was a start but wasn’t really getting me fit.

alyssa211311 karma

That’s awesome! Keep up the good work 💪🏻

Bigreddoc47 karma

How is your programming set up? Do you focus on the big 4 lifts or events? One event day a week or hitting them each session? We’d love to see you come over and post on r/strongman

alyssa211346 karma

I have a coach that gives me three workouts a week. I'll deadlift on one of the days, do squat and bench on another and then we have a day dedicated to events.

He puts a lot of arm work in my program which has done wonders for my press. I have a day that I'll do cardio on my own, whether going on the treadmill or doing kettlebell circuits at home.

I'll definitely pop over to the strongman page!

Kenn_Kennerson3 karma

Whaddaya bench?

alyssa21135 karma

145 last time I tested my max.

kgkglunasol2 karma

How long did it take you to get there? That’s awesome :) my max 1 rep from a month or so ago was 100lbs finally and it feels like progression is so slowwwwwww.

alyssa21133 karma

Benching is accessory work for me so I rarely max out. I'd say it took me about 2.5 years to get there. Bench press is really slow to go up in.

arghhmonsters28 karma

Is there really no point in living if we don't do deadlifts?

alyssa211318 karma

So I hear.

cruyff824 karma

Congrats.... what's your diet like now?

alyssa211345 karma

I track my macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) more than counting calories. I'm high protein, medium fat and low carb. I cycle my carbs so I'll have more on training days before and after my workout. On days where I'm not training my carb intake will be lower.

I meal prep and weigh out my foods because a big trap for me was portion control. It's meticulous but it helps me stay on track and saves money in the long run. I'm not at the grocery store as often or getting take-out.

pussgurka9 karma

Do you have any snacking ideas?

alyssa211335 karma

Jerky is one of my go-to snacks because it's high in protein. I also snack a lot on almonds, peanuts and fruit. Berries are my favorites because they are lower in carbohydrates. I also love to snack on cheese. I stay away from protein bars because they really are just glorified candy bars. You're much better to grab a banana and put some peanut butter on it.

sqrtof218 karma

I stay away from protein bars because they really are just glorified candy bars. You're much better to grab a banana and put some peanut butter on it.

Is this actually true tho?

A Pure Protein bar has 200 Kcal, 6g fat, 16g carbohydrates, and 20g protein.

2 tbsp peanut butter has 200ish calories, 16g fat, 8g carbohydrates, and 7g protein.

Seems like it just swaps carbs for fat with way less protein? Am I missing something?

alyssa211321 karma

From a macro standpoint, yes. Protein bars have a bunch of additives like sugar alcohol and random things in it. But with a banana and most peanut butters, they are in a natural form.

DomiNatron221212 karma

Why does that matter? You are not giving bro science answers so I'd appreciate your input

alyssa211341 karma

Because things like sugar alcohols are harder to digest and they bother my stomach. If protein bars work for people, that’s awesome. For me, I like eating things in the most natural state I can without artificial things in it.

LobsterMeta82 karma

She's trying to tell you that protein bars give her the shits.

alyssa211334 karma

Exactly lol

cbsx017 karma

Have you ever made jerky?

My favorite is marinating thin strips of steak in teriyaki overnight then throwing them in the dehydrator.

The google machine can give you more recipes but much cheaper than buying it out of a bag.

alyssa21133 karma

I really want to! I don’t have a dehydrator though.

hookercheese17 karma

Hi! How did you quit smoking? Congratulations!

alyssa211338 karma

Thanks! I actually went cold turkey. I lost one of my best friends to a heroin overdose and it served as a wake-up call to get my act together. I never used hard drugs but I was destroying my body in other ways.


Wow you're an inspiration to men and women alike.

Do you think the eating and smoking stunted your growth as a strongwoman? To a considerable degree do you think? I.e. having smoker's lungs and doing cardio

alyssa211323 karma

Thanks so much!

The smoking to an extent impacted me. Since I'm young I've had exercise induced asthma so I'm already at a disadvantage there. I've been smoke-free for about four years now so I know that my lungs are definitely healthier now.

Cardio has gotten easier for me but it's still a struggle at times. I recently switched to a new coach who has put a lot more conditioning work in so I've seen a difference there.

prospectiveuser8 karma

I see a lot of strongman athletes that eat immense amounts of food to maintain strength and size. Are you trying to stay in a particular weight class? Or do you only diet to stay away from junk food?

alyssa211315 karma

I compete as a middleweight so I’m smack in the middle of my weight class in one federation and then a few pounds over in the other one. I’m trying to lean out a little more and drop like 10 more pounds so I can be more efficient/healthier. I’d never go down to lightweight because I’d lose strength.

solid_paulie8 karma

Have there been times you have wanted to quit or questioned why you are doing it?

alyssa211310 karma

I've had competitions not go well or days that just feel tougher than others and it feels hopeless. But I remind myself that this is something that I do for fun, it's not a job, and it's something that keeps me grounded.

I had one competition that didn't go at all how I wanted it to, so I took two months off of strongman training to do Olympic lifting. But at the end of the day, this sport has done so much for me and I'm in the best shape of my life.

kerr_philip6 karma

Were you like 12 when you chain smoked? you don't look a day over 20 .....

alyssa21138 karma

Started smoking at 15. I’m going to be 29 in December.

Kingcentaur6 karma

How do you feel about running?

alyssa211314 karma

I love it! A lot of strongman events have moving in them, whether for time or distance, so running helps with my explosiveness as well as conditioning. Plus it's fun to break it up.

sh5136 karma

Just curious as and old time Coheed fan. Is that where the 2113 in for username comes from? That song is such a jam.

alyssa21139 karma

Sure is! Been a fan since 2003.

sh5134 karma

Nice! They kinda lost me after Good Apollo Vol1, but for a few years there, whoa buddy

alyssa21133 karma

Good Apollo 1 and IKSSE are my two favorites. Afterman was excellent though, really felt like old Coheed. I still catch them whenever they come around though, they play a lot of old stuff.

lameincomparison5 karma

That’s barely proof, show a photo of you lifting something heavy and then putting it down again.


alyssa21139 karma

Joshuages24 karma

Hows the big three? Deads specifically

alyssa211310 karma

In strongman we’ll only have a deadlift come up in our competitions. Squat and bench are accessory so I only hit them once a week and rarely max on them. Deadlift: 315 Squat: 255 Bench: 145

Jonathonathon4 karma

Came here to see lifts and stats, sadly disappointed OP. What are your lifts? PRs? Any competition videos? Grats on turning things around though, power lifting needs more love.

alyssa21134 karma

Right now I’ve got a 315 deadlift, 145 bench, 255 squat. Haven’t tested 1RM on dead or squat in a good while. Farmer carry I can do 185 per hand and a 525 pound tire flip for reps. My comp videos are all on my Instagram that has the same name on here if youre interested. I keep the account private for work purposes.

Jonathonathon2 karma

OP delivers! Haha, thanks for the stats. Mirin' that squat, probably your best lift of the lot I'd say? Keep it up, looking great so far!

alyssa21132 karma

Glad to deliver lol! Absolutely squat is my favorite. Squats, overhead pressing and carrying events are my best and favorite. In strongman we always have an overhead press, whether a log, dumbbell, axle. It’s a wacky sport lol but I love it

CliffCutter4 karma

What's your favorite color?

alyssa21138 karma


startledgrey3 karma

How long do you spend working out in one session, how many times per week?

alyssa21133 karma

Between an hour and a half to two hours three days a week and then 30-40 mins on a conditioning day where I’m running, doing steady state cardio or doing circuits.

DPL-253 karma

What's your total?

alyssa21132 karma

I don’t compete in powerlifting but my big three from the last time tested: Squat: 255 Bench: 145 Deadlift: 315

scootscoot2 karma

Why is everyone angrier in the after picture?

idiomaddict6 karma


alyssa21139 karma

I’d never use gear. I’ve got a medical condition that would keep me from ever touching that stuff. I know a ton of women who cycle but it’s something I would never do, medical condition or not.

vincentisntviolet2 karma

What inspired you to make such a huge change in lifestyle?

alyssa21135 karma

I lost one of my longtime best friends to a heroin overdose and while I never did hard drugs, I realized I needed to make a lifestyle change because I was cutting my life short.

LucasdelNorte2 karma

Do you have access to strongman/woman gym and equipment or do you mainly weight train with appropriately similiar movements?

And do you have a favorite event?

Any personal strongman/woman idols?

alyssa21133 karma

I go to a specialized strongman gym near my apartment. You can go on starting strongman’s website and they have a map of the entire U.S. and where the strongman gyms are. If you don’t have access to a gym, there are ways at regular gyms to train it. Like a trap bar can be used to train farmer carries. Power cleans on a barbell can be used to help with doing atlas stones and tire flips. Depending on the demand, some gyms could buy certain things, like a log or circus dumbbell. There are tutorials on YouTube about different way to train around this.

I love pressing events like dumbbell and axle and front carry events like Husafel and conan’s Wheel. Most people hate conan’s but I love it lol.

I look up to Donna Moore, who is a pro strongwoman from the U.K. I identify with her in th aspect that her doctor told her she needed to lose weight or she risked becoming diabetic. So she started working out and is now a world champion. She also works a fulltime job as well as doing strongman, which I think is amazing. There are a lot of people in the sport who work in the fitness industry so they’re in the gym all the time/have more knowledge about fitness things.

fuzzyparasite1 karma

What advice do you have for a pack a fay smoker who wants to quit?

alyssa21135 karma

Find a goal that you want to work towards or a reason that is deep within you. I’d say try and find an exercise that you like to do and get moving. You’ll find it harder but if you enjoy it you’ll mybe want to quit smoking to continue doing it.

RadarzizBuzzin1 karma

Whenever you get stressed do those cravings come back and if so how do you manage it. Also I like to run but I’m a current half a pack smoker and I feel it starting to effect my stamina. Any helpful tips you can provide on going through those awful withdrawals?

alyssa21137 karma

I rarely have cravings and on the off moments that I do, I think about my goals and how far I've come. I definitely struggled with missing that oral fixation, so I chewed a lot of gum. One thing I like to do when I do have a craving or see someone in the distance smoking, I'll take a deep breath and remind myself that it's something I wasn't able to do before. Quitting is not easy, but the further away from it you get, the better you'll feel!