Girl Hero Alexandra
Alexandra is a girl with an unquenchable sense of adventure. She is a marine biology major with a passion for healthy living. Alexandra chronicles her “adventures in the gym and in life” on her blog, Tales of a Freckled Lifter.
Meet Girl Hero Alexandra!
You’re really young and have such healthy habits already! What got you interested in health? Where you parent’s “health nuts” or did someone else spark this passion?
Growing up, I played outside, rode my bike around the neighborhood, and played on various softball teams, so I guess I’ve always been pretty active. My parents always tried to promote getting in some fun in the sun every day, too. Also, we ate pretty healthy, with the occasional Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonald’s chicken nugget happy meal. Then, when I was about 14 or 15, I noticed how great clean eating fueled my body and the effects it had on sports I played in high school, so I kind of naturally stopped eating fried or fast food and began to opt for healthier choices. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the occasional splurge….especially gelato!
How did you get into weight training?
It’s actually a pretty intense story. Back in 2009, I was going through my senior year of high school. Everything seemed normal, until my best friend started hanging out with the wrong crowd and turned to a life of partying, sex, and drugs. I was already stressed out about graduation, college applications, and the future, so losing my closest friend was hard. I developed an eating disorder and got down to a REALLY unhealthy weight. I realized what harm I was doing to my body when my family and I went to one of those anatomy “Body World” exhibits in February 2010. Passing by a mirror, I saw what I had become–I resembled the preserved people in the exhibit! Mortified, I started doing research on healthy ways to gain weight. No longer did I want to “punish” myself with restriction of food. I discovered bodybuilding.com and was immediately inspired by athletes like Erin Stern and Dana Linn Bailey. They were STRONG, healthy women, not frail, depressed girls. My new goal: gain muscle and fuel my body in a way that would get me results. So, I buried myself in research, bought nutrition and weight training books and a tub of whey protein, and started out with a simple full body 3-day split. And I’ve been loving it ever since!
Has weight training changed your body? If so, how?
Weight training has definitely created more definition across my entire body. My family is filled with tall, lanky, bean poles, so it’s been hard to put on muscle, but I’d say my arms and back have seen the best results. My joints have also become a lot stronger. I was a catcher on my high school softball team, and my knees always gave me trouble, but ever since I started incorporating heavy, compound movements like squats and deadlifts, they haven’t bothered me at all.
Do you have any weightlifting goals?
You bet! I think goals really help keep you motivated! I’d love to be able to deadlift two times my body weight, compete in a figure competition, and meet some of my weight lifting idols at the Arnold Fitness Expo held in Ohio every year.
Do you follow a paleo diet? How is that working for you? Changes?
I’m not a 100% strict paleo eater since I enjoy things like cottage cheese, whey protein, and peanut butter on occasion, but I try my best to stick to a grain free, mostly dairy free lifestyle. I was first introduced to the lifestyle when I found out I had an intolerance to oats. Researching about it and discovering things like the Whole 30 and Robb Wolf’s podcasts got me hooked! And I think the idea of eating tons of nut butter intrigued me too!
Energy-wise, I’ve never felt better! High fat, moderate protein, and lower carb consumption has really agreed with my body. It’s forced me to get creative with my meals—incorporating new meats, different types of veggies, and a plethora of omelet combinations! I feel like I can lift heavier in the gym, maintain more focus throughout the day, and I’ve also found I’m sleeping better at night. AND the internal pipes have been very happy if you know what I mean.
How do you handle going out to dinner or going over to people’s homes for dinner?
When I go out to eat, I usually stick to the basics—grilled meat with TONS of veggies. I’m a huge fan of seafood, so there’s always loads of fresh fish options to choose from! Most of the time I ask for no seasoning as well, just so I can enjoy the natural flavors of what I’m eating. At others’ homes, I usually do the same, but if I know there will be no healthy options, I may pack a protein bar or some fruit and nuts to tide me over.
What keeps you motivated?
Knowing there’s always someone out there warming up with my personal best. I get kind of competitive when I get in “gym mode” and always strive to go heavier, try harder, and live to my full potential.
Does your faith play a part in your “quest for health”?
DEFINITELY! I would be nowhere without the love of God. He saved me from those dark eating disorder days and has molded me into who I am today. I want to glorify Him by keeping my body healthy–He took the time to create it, so I figure I gotta keep it “temple” worthy!
Thanks!! That hike was the most amazing adventure of my life. If you ever go out to Yosemite, you gotta give it a go! I’ve been fortunate enough to go on some pretty great trips in my short life. Some of my favorites– Australia back in 2010 where we climbed the Sydney bridge, swam in the Great Barrier Reef, and visited Ayers Rock, Jamaica in 2009 on a mission trip to local churches, orphanages and elementary schools, England on family vacation, traveling to 35 of the 50 states, riding in a hot air balloon, swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove, and meeting one of my favorite musicians Keith Urban, backstage after I won a contest back in 2009. I’ve cherished every memory made! Life is so precious!! As for the future, I’ve got a whole bucket list of adventures I want to accomplish!
And just for fun! Why do you hate horseshoe crabs and colossal squid? Oh and I have to know…where did you take that picture of you and the koala on your about page? So cute!!!
HAHA!!! Oh goodness. Well the horseshoe crab fear comes from a vacation we took to Chincoteague, VA in 2003 to see the pony swim made famous by the book Misty of Chincoteague. (awesome event by the way, such a fun experience!) So I’m just walking on the beach, minding my own business, ya know? When all of a sudden, I see this alien looking creature flipped over on its back, wiggling its gnarly looking legs in the air. After major creeped out eye-twitching ensued, I screamed. It started wriggling towards me with its herd of friends! Don’t tell anyone…but I punted it into the ocean…
As for the squid—one of my best friends and I were watching a documentary during my freshman year of college and it was all about how colossal squid are taking over some coast in South America. After it was over, we looked at each other with eyes the size of grapefruits. Many squid-filled nightmares followed!
AHH and the koala picture was in Cairns, Australia, up by the Great Barrier Reef! He was stoned on eucalyptus leaves. heehee
Thank you Alexandra for sharing your story with us! I love your attitude towards strength training and life!!!!
Hugs and High Fives,
Keep up with my kettlebell workouts, real food recipes, and more in one of three ways! 1. Sign up to have posts emailed to your inbox. 2. Subscribe to the RSS Feed or 3. “like” Girl Heroes on Facebook (Be sure to click “subscribe” if you want posts to show up in your feed.) Simple dimple!
Journey with our family on the road at New School Nomads as we travel fulltime in RV through the United States!