"Pull for Pride, for me, is about raising money so that kids can be their free and queer and trans and GNC selves and be safe, loved, and treasured."
Name: Mickey Lambert
Age: 41 (turning 42 during Pull for Pride!)
Pull for Pride location: Brooklyn, NY
Favorite song to listen to while training: "Comeback Kid" by Sleigh Bells or "WTF" by Missy Elliott
Favorite post-training meal: meat
How do you identify? Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a fat queer powerlifter, a Mets fan, a music junkie, a karaoke enthusiast, and a short funky diabetic (RIP Phife Dawg).
What does Pull for Pride mean to you and what's motivating you to participate?
Pull for Pride, for me, is about raising money so that kids can be their free and queer and trans and GNC selves and be safe, loved, and treasured.
It's also about finding joy and power in a sport where my weight is an advantage, not a liability - and where I know that I can succeed with hard work and consistency. As scary as that proposition can be, at times.
When did you begin barbell training and what inspired you to start?
I had my first run at barbell training about three years ago, shortly after I was diagnosed with type II diabetes at 39.
In a moment where I felt really vulnerable and scared, doing something that would build my confidence, my strength, and some sense of positive connection to my body was really important. I fell off for a while, and then resumed (this time with better technique and one hell of an awesome coach) this year.
What do you find fulfilling about training?
The relatively linear relationship between work and result; making gains, realizing what my body is capable of, and seeing how my physical strength helps me in ways I never thought it could. (For example, it has improved my singing voice in a very noticeable way.)
Also, having something that I do that is mine and mine alone, and for which I own ultimate responsibility while also having real control.
What do you find challenging?
Staying consistent is always a challenge for me - I am still learning how to prioritize something that is for me and not for others. Making/watching/sharing videos of myself is still really not my favorite either but working on that.
What message or advice do you have for folks who might want to start strength training but aren't sure how or where to begin?
Get comfortable in your workout space and begin learning about strength training equipment. Watch videos on YouTube. If you have a potential coach or someone who you can work with, great! If your gym offers a free personal training session, take advantage of that time by telling the trainer that you want to build strength through barbell training. You will at least get a basic orientation, though you may have to insist specifically on a barbell routine.
If you are trans and/or queer, do you have any words of encouragement or insights for other trans and queer folks for navigating gym environments and approaching training?
Do a walk-through of any gym before you commit - preferably at the time you would likely be going during the day/evening. Do you see people who look like you? How are the staff interacting with customers? What does the locker room look like? Does it have any private changing areas and/or showers? Is the gym close enough to your home where you could go home and shower afterward?
Once in the gym: Headphones are a must for me to tune out any distractions. Having a program in hand can be helpful for fending off the unsolicited advice of those who think they know your body better than you do. Pro tip: NO ONE knows your body better than you do. No one.
Do you have any advice or encouragements for cisgender and straight allies who want to help make the gym a more welcoming space for trans and queer folks?
Be mindful of privacy and space, particularly in locker rooms. Mostly, be proud and supportive of your queer and trans gym buddies, but also, just leaving people be is frequently the most supportive thing you can do.
Do you have a strength role model(s) in your life (this could be strength training or strength in other ways)?
Pretty much my entire Pull for Pride team. And also my mom.