‘Bikini Beast’ takes new title: mom

Bikini BeastSeven years ago, Sara Jean Meyer watched her first bodybuilding competition.

When I saw the female bikini class on stage I was in awe,” she said. “I told myself that I was going to do that.”

Now a coach for USA Limitless, Sara Jean’s training began the moment she got back to her college dorm, where she cleared out the cupboards and began planning out workouts and a healthy eating regimen.

The following spring, she took the stage, placing second overall and qualifying for nationals.

Over the next several years, Sara Jean competed in 13 competitions, including the Arnold Classic. She attributes her success to a combination of training for bikini competitions and powerlifting.

I am a natural bikini pro, and I have competed both as a raw and equipped powerlifter as well,” she said. “Even through my competition season in bikini, I perform all powerlifting style training.”

Her numbers reflect her training: she squats 275; benches 125; and deadlifts nearly 300 pounds.

In addition to numerous awards and accolades, her style of training led to another nod of recognition: the nickname, “Bikini Beast.”

But this year, the beast took on a new challenge. Motherhood.

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Pregnancy Weightlifting | Powerlifting for two

Pregnant powerlifter

At 18 weeks pregnant, Sarah Reischel accidentally qualified for the September AAU Powerlifting National Championship. Competing in the 148-pound weight class in a push/pull powerlifting competition back in June, Sarah benched 126 pounds and deadlifted 286 pounds.

“I don’t know that I’ll be able to compete in September,” she said, laughing. “I’ll be quite a bit bigger by then.”

Now six months pregnant, Sarah is still lifting and feeling stronger than ever.

“I love feeling strong,” she said. “I don’t lift for aesthetics. I want to be healthy and strong and as prepared for labor as I can.” Continue reading “Pregnancy Weightlifting | Powerlifting for two”

Pregnancy Weightlifting | When to push, modify, and scale

Fit Pregnancy

You’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. You also lift heavy and the thought of not lifting for nine months makes you cranky.

You talked with your doctors and received mixed advice: keep doing the workouts you did before pregnancy, but don’t lift more than 25 pounds, or let your heart rate get too high, or go for a lifetime PR.

Fortunately, you did your research and have peace of mind that you can continue lifting heavy, but how heavy is too heavy? You’re making gains in the gym and seeing your numbers steadily increase and you’d rather not see that plateau or nose-dive.

You would also do anything and everything to keep your baby and yourself safe and healthy, so where do you draw the line? What is a good balance for continuing your training and having the healthiest pregnancy possible?

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Pregnancy Weightlifting | The studies that prompted the 10-pound rule

When Rosalie Watson found out she was pregnant, she was shocked.

“My first reaction,” she said, “was ‘but I was off to such a good year with my lifting and was supposed to be doing nationals, now what?!'”

Having lifted for 10 years and competed as a power lifter for five years, Watson told her doctors she planned to continue training. They were skeptical.

Then she received this letter:

Doctor Letter

Dear Rosalie,

I just reviewed the recommendations around heavy lifting in pregnancy. There is not much evidence around, but doing heavy lifting may increase your risk of miscarriage and hence the repetitive heavy lifting during the first trimester is mentioned as something to be avoided. There is not much evidence, to be honest, but they talk about heavy lifting being more than 20 kg [44 pounds] more than 20 times a week.

That weekend, Watson competed in a powerlifting competition, squatting 275 pounds, benching 176 pounds, and deadlifting 330 pounds.

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Pregnancy Weightlifting | Five reasons to exercise during pregnancy


There are obvious reasons to exercise during pregnancy: fewer aches and pains for mom, less weight gain, more energy, the list goes on. The stories of women working out until the day they went into labor are numerous. I did it with my two girls.

While anecdotal evidence is great, here we go into the science behind why exercise is so beneficial and recap findings by Dr. James F. Clapp III, an OB/GYN who followed more than 250 marathon runners through their pregnancies.

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